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The Moorish Idol, Zanclus Cornutus, is without question, one
of the most striking and beautiful fish offered for the home aquarium
trade. The Moorish Idol stands out in contrasting bands of black, white
and yellow, and an elegant filamentous dorsal, that if damaged, can grow
back quite quickly and easily. This fish can grow to be 7" in length,
and should be kept in a tank no less than 125 gallons if kept
individually, and no less than 200 gallons if kept in a mated pair. Due
to it's extreme social need, it is best to keep a mated pair in one
aquarium. This will help with acclimating as well as the success for
Space is absolutely essential
for keeping this species successfully, so they should also be provided
with plenty of unobstructed swimming space, as well as ample hiding
places to take refuge when feeling threatened. The tank should also be
well established, with plenty of algae for grazing in between meals, as
well as excellent filtration and vigorous water movement, to help
promote pristine environment conditions.
The Moorish Idol is not an Angelfish, nor a Butterflyfish, but rather a close relative of the Acanthruidae or
Surgeonfish family, and should not be kept with other Tangs,
Surgeonfish or Rabbitfish to avoid aggression. And since they are so
closely related to the Acanthruidae family, they are also easily
susceptible to biological disease, and that is why they require such
pristine conditions to thrive. Copper medications should also be
avoided, instead use quinine-based medications if necessary. Moorish
Idols will often pick at LPS corals, and certain soft Coral Polyps, as
well as other types of Sessile Invertebrates, or maybe even Motile
For fish that refuse to
eat, to survive in captivity live rock that is rich with coralline algae
and sponge growth may be needed to stimulate their desire eat, and help
with the ease of acclimation. The Moorish Idol is Omnivorous, and
should be fed a diet consisting of finely chopped meaty preparations
such as Mysis Shrimp, Vitamin Enriched Brine Shrimp, as well as
Spirulina and fresh terrestrial greens that have been blanched with.
Sponges should also be offered in their diet to promote continued
health, along with Vitamin Enriched Flake and Pellet foods, they should
also be fed several times daily. The Moorish Idol will thrive in a
temperature range of 77-82°F and a pH of 8.1-8.4.
Note:Keeping this fish can be quite difficult, due to their unpredictable
feeding behavior, so we recommend only expert aquarists for this
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