Red Belted Cardinal

Apogon townsendi

(0 Reviews)

Red Belted Cardinal

Red Belted Cardinal

Apogon townsendi

(0 Reviews)

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Care Facts

Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Peaceful
Diet: Carnivore
Reef Safe: Yes
Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons
Max Size: 3 inches

The Red Belted Cardinal (Apogon townsendi) is a small reef fish found among the eastern Atlantic Ocean. They have solid red bodies with horizontal black stripes. They reach a maximum size of 3 inches and should be housed in an aquarium of at least 20 gallons. They do well in small groups and though reef safe, should not be kept with small, prized invertebrates, as this is their natural prey. They typically hide among caves and overhangs during the day, then hunt at night. Their red coloration helps prevent detection, and their large eyes help spot prey with minimal light. They should not be kept with larger predatory fish. 


The Red Belted Cardinal (Apogon townsendi) - A Captivating Addition to Saltwater Marine Aquariums


The Red Belted Cardinal, scientifically known as Apogon townsendi, is a captivating saltwater marine fish species that has become popular among aquarium enthusiasts. With its vibrant colors and engaging behavior, this species brings a lively presence to saltwater aquariums. This comprehensive product description will delve into various aspects of keeping the Red Belted Cardinal, offering valuable insights for novice and experienced hobbyists.


Habitat of the Red Belted Cardinal


The Red Belted Cardinal is native to the Indo-Pacific region, inhabiting coral reefs and lagoons. These fish are often found sheltering in the wild among branching corals and rocky crevices. Their natural habitat is characterized by warm tropical waters, making them well-suited for saltwater aquariums with similar conditions.


Reef Compatibility of the Red Belted Cardinal


The Red Belted Cardinal is considered reef-safe, making it a suitable addition to reef aquariums. However, providing ample hiding spaces is essential, as these fish appreciate shelter and may seek refuge in live rock or coral formations.


Size and Lifespan of the Red Belted Cardinal


This species typically reaches a maximum size of around 3 inches (7.5 cm), making them well-suited for smaller to medium-sized aquariums. With proper care, Red Belted Cardinals can have a lifespan of 5 to 7 years in captivity.


Diet of the Red Belted Cardinal in Captivity


Feeding Red Belted Cardinals is relatively straightforward, as they readily accept a varied diet. Combining high-quality flakes, pellets, and frozen foods such as brine shrimp and mysis shrimp will help meet their nutritional needs.


Aquaculture and Availability of the Red Belted Cardinal


As of the latest information available, Red Belted Cardinals are not commonly aquacultured. However, they are readily available from reputable marine aquarium suppliers, including, making them accessible to hobbyists seeking to add this species to their collections.


Compatibility with Other Fish and Invertebrates


Red Belted Cardinals are generally peaceful and can coexist with various tank mates. However, caution should be exercised when introducing them to more aggressive species. Ideal tank mates include other mild reef fish, such as Firefish, Clownfish, and Gobies, creating a harmonious community within the aquarium.


Sexual Dimorphism of the Red Belted Cardinal


Distinguishing between male and female Red Belted Cardinals can be challenging, as they do not exhibit significant sexual dimorphism. Both sexes share similar coloration and size.


Juvenile to Adult Coloration Changes in the Red Belted Cardinal


Juvenile Red Belted Cardinals display vibrant red and white stripes across their bodies, while adults develop a distinctive red band around their midsection, adding to their visual appeal. The transition from juvenile to adult coloration is gradual and fascinating to observe.


Temperament of the Red Belted Cardinal


Red Belted Cardinals are known for their peaceful and non-aggressive nature, making them suitable for community aquariums. Their calm temperament contributes to a stress-free environment for the fish and their tank mates.


Tank Requirements for the Red Belted Cardinal

  • Minimum Aquarium Size: A tank with a capacity of at least 30 gallons is recommended.
  • Water Conditions:       
    • Maintain a pH level between 8.1 and 8.4.
    • Keep salinity within the range of 1.023 to 1.025.
    • Maintain a temperature between 75°F and 80°F.
    • Provide moderate water flow, simulating the conditions of their natural habitat.

Common Names of the Red Belted Cardinal


Red Belted Cardinals may also be known by other common names, including Pyjama and Striped Cardinalfish.


Five Compatible Tank Mates for the Red Belted Cardinal

  • Firefish (Nemateleotris spp.): Peaceful and visually striking, Firefish make excellent companions.
  • Clownfish (Amphiprion spp.): Known for their vibrant colors and interesting behavior, Clownfish are compatible tank mates.
  • Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto): A small, colorful fish that complements the Red Belted Cardinal in size and temperament.
  • Banggai Cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni): Another cardinalfish species that share similar characteristics and compatibility.
  • Tailspot Blenny (Ecsenius stigmatura): A bottom-dwelling fish that adds diversity to the aquarium without posing a threat.

Why Choose for the Red Belted Cardinal is a reputable supplier that provides high-quality marine fish and invertebrates. When you purchase the Red Belted Cardinal from, you can expect healthy specimens that have been appropriately acclimated and cared for. Their commitment to sustainable and ethical practices ensures that you receive a fish that has been responsibly sourced, contributing to the well-being of both the hobbyist and the marine ecosystem.


The Red Belted Cardinal is an excellent choice for saltwater aquarium enthusiasts, adding beauty and tranquility to any marine setup. With its vibrant colors, peaceful demeanor, and compatibility with various tank mates, this species will captivate hobbyists seeking a stunning and low-maintenance addition to their underwater ecosystems.

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