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Bowmouth Guitarfish (Rhina ancylostoma)


The Bowmouth Guitarfish or Rhina ancylostoma is a saltwater fish found in the tropical waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.  Upon first glance you would think this fish was a mutant, part Ray and part Shark, but it is in fact a Ray and the sole member of the family Rhinidae.  As you can see in the pictures, it has shark-like dorsal and tail fins with a broad head containing thorny ridges that run down its back.  These thorns are used for self defense when attacked by predators such as the Tiger Shark.  Its mouth is on its underside where it uses it to feed off of the bottom.   

The Bowmouth Guitarfish is also known as the Mud Skate or Shark Ray and is found around sandy bottoms or just on the outskirts of reefs.  They feed on crustaceans, molluscs, and small fishes.   This species of Guitarfish is quite large growing to 2.7 m (8.9 ft) in length and weighing 135 kg (300 lb)!  Over the years it has been proven that they are quite adaptable to captivity and are displayed in many aquariums throughout the world.  You can check out the Bowmouth Guitarfish underwater in the videos below.



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Shovelnose Sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus)


The Shovelnose Sturgeon or Scaphirhynchus platorynchus is one of the smallest of the freshwater sturgeons growing to about 30" in length, and weighing about 5 lbs maximum. Also known as the Sand Sturgeon, Hackleback or Switchtail, these fish are sought after not only for their flesh, but for their eggs as well, which are using to make caviar.  As you can see in the picture above, this fish has bony scutes along the sides and back, and four barbels on the underside of the rostrum. These four barbels form a straight line.  You can learn how to tell the difference between a Lake Sturgeon, a Pallid Sturgeon and a Shovelnose Sturgeon in the video below.

Shovelnose Sturgeon are found in the Missouri River and the Mississippi River systems. They use their vacuum-like mouth to suck up its food, which included insect larvae and small fish as well as crustaceans.  Because of its slow growth rate, late sexual maturity and the fact that it doesn't spawn every year, this fish is very vulnerable to overfishing.

If you have any additional information about the Shovelnose Sturgeon please leave us a comment below.


    

Banded Rudderfish (Seriola zonata)


The Banded Rudderfish or Seriola zonata is the one of the smallest species of Amber Jacks. The juveniles of this species have 6 black vertical bands running down their bodies. As they grow to over 10" these bands disappear making them much harder to differentiate between other species of saltwater fish, especially the Pilot Fish.   One good way to tell is the very tips of their tails are white. 

These fish are schooling fish that are often found following large creatures in the water and feeding off of their scraps.  Like other Jacks they are sought after by many fisherman and are said to be easy to catch with shrimp, flies and even spoons.  You can check out the Banded Rudderfish underwater in the video below.   

If you have any additional information about the Banded Rudderfish including recipes, please leave us a comment below.




Black Piranha (The Fish With The Most Powerful Bite)


The Black Piranha or Serrasalmus rhombeus is a freshwater fish found in the Amazon and Orinoco river basins in South America.  This predator is known for its amazing bite!  In fact, the Black Piranha has the most powerful bite of any animal in history, even a T-Rex!  Their highly developed jaw muscles allow the black piranha to exert bite force equivalent to 30 times its bodyweight!  This is more then the Great White Shark and even more then it's prehistory cousin the Megalodon!  You can check out their powerful bite in the video below.   


Black Piranhas are light colored when they are young with black spots, but as they mature their bodies turn black and their eyes turn red.  This fish does is not a swarm hunter like is close relative the Red-bellied Piranhas, but it is still considered to be a dangerous fish.

They are sometime kept in an aquarium of at least 100 gallons and can grow to about 16" in length.  Dim lighting is said to make the Piranha feel at home.  As you can imagine they are a carnivore that needs plenty of live foods. 

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Cyclops Shark (Carcharhinus obscurus)

Like something out of a science-fiction film this first photo is from the fetus of a Dusky Shark or Carcharhinus obscurus. This species is actually rather common is oceans worldwide, but rare one-eyed versions of this shark have popped up in several places in the world including Mexico.  Please watch the video below for more information.

It is thought that this these Cyclops Sharks don't live very long in the wild and that is why they are almost never seen.

Adult Dusky Sharks can grow to 4.2 m (14 ft) in length and weight in at 347 kg (765 lbs). They are often caught by fisherman and used it shark fin soup and also for their skin and liver oil.  Unfortunately their slow reproductive rate makes them very susceptible to overfishing. 

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Clown Goby (Gobiodon atrangulatus)

The Green Clown Goby or Gobiodon atrangulatus is a true guardian of the ocean. This saltwater fish bodyguard has been known to come to the aid of a certain type of coral. The coral will emit a chemical when under attack by the killer seaweed Chlorodesmis fastigiata. Within minutes these Clown Gobys will start biting away at the encroaching seaweed, saving the coral from the fast growing seaweed. 

This species of Goby is also kept in an aquarium setting. They are considered to be very easy to care for and can live under the following water conditions, 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025. Growing to just under 2", an aquarium of 10 gallons or more is acceptable. They are carnivores that can eat brine shrimp, table shrimp and other frozen meaty foods. Also known as the Earspot Coral Goby, Green Gumdrop Goby or Green Clown Goby, they are found in the Indo-Pacific in and around coral reefs.  You can check out the Clown Goby in the video below.

If you have any additional information about The Clown Goby please leave us a comment below.

Sarcastic Fringehead (Neoclinus blanchardi)

The Sarcastic Fringehead or Neoclinus blanchardi is a saltwater fish that is known for it aggressive behavior and ambush skills, as well as its unusual mouth. This fish will make its home inside of a shell and lie in wait for its prey to swim by. Once its unsuspecting meal wanders too close the Sarcastic Fringehead will dark out and display its UNBELIEVABLY large mouth. Sarcastic Fringehead fish are notoriously territorial and when another of its own kind gets too close in proximate they will battle each other much like the Kissing Gourami only much more vicious. You can see this amazing display in the videos below.


These fish are found in the Pacific Ocean and can grow to about 12" long (30 cm). They have slender bodies and are normally brownish-gray in color. Sarcastic Fringeheads are almost always found on the bottom and use their pectoral fins to "walk" across the bottom like the Oriental Flying Gurnard.

If you have any additional information about the Sarcastic Fringehead please leave us a comment below.


Spanish Hogfish (Bodianus rufus)


The Spanish Hogfish or Bodianus rufus is just one of the many different species of Hogfish.  Its body has a predominantly yellow coloration with the upper half of the head and the dorsal area in blue-purple. While young, they are predominantly blue to purple, as the fish grows older the yellow area expands and becomes darker. Its maximum length is 40 cm (15-3/4"), but usually grows to just about 28 cm (11").

In nature they can be found in the Western Atlantic: Bermuda, southern Florida (USA) and throughout the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea to southern Brazil. Spanish Hogfish inhabit coastal and clear shallow water (35 meters) and on coral or rocky substrate. They will feed on crabs, urchins and gastropods.

These saltwater fish are very active in the aquarium, but require places to hide at night, like caves and burrows and corals. They are very sociable, having no problems with other fish. In general are very hardy, and quite suitable for hobbyists.  You can check out the Spanish Hogfish in an aquarium setting in the video below.


If you have any additional information about the Spanish Hogfish please leave us a comment below.
Courtesy of Ellano J. Silva - Fisheries engineering student (UFERSA- Brazil)


Atlantic Trumpetfish (Aulostomus maculatus)


The Atlantic Trumpetfish or Aulostomus maculatus is a saltwater fish found in and around reefs in the Atlantic Ocean.  These fish are masters of camouflage, using their long slender bodies to mimic gorgonians, sea whips and sea weeds.  They lie in wait with their nose facing the sea floor until a small fish or shrimp swims too close sucking them up in its tube shaped mouth!  They are also known to shadow on top of herbivorous fish to get close enough to other smaller fish without being noticed.  Very tricky predators!
  

The Atlantic Trumpetfish is a close relative of the Seahorse and Pipefish and gets it name from it trumpet-shaped snout.  They are able to change their coloration at will although three basic colour schemes exist: reddish brown, gray with a blue snout, and yellow.  Growing to about 3' (1 meter) they will feed on shrimp, Grunts, Wrasses, Chromis and Soldierfish.  This species of Trumpetfish will fall prey to Jacks, Snapper, Grouper and sharks.  You can check out the Atlantic Trumpetfish swimming in the video below.
       
If you have any additional information about the Atlantic Trumpetfish please leave us a comment below.



Auratus Cichlid (Melanochromis auratus)


The Auratus Cichlid or Melanochromis auratus is a freshwater fish from Lake Malawi in Africa.  Also known as the Malawi Golden Cichlid, this fish is born a bright yellow color with the juveniles having two black stripes on their sides, and one on their dorsal fin.  As the fish begins to mature these lines will turn more blue.  The males of this species will become black with golden stripes, almost the opposite of their female counterparts.

Auratus Cichlid are often kept in an aquarium setting, but need a lot of room and they can be quite aggressive.  They will accept most aquarium foods and are considered to be quite hardy.

This species of Cichlid is a maternal mouthbrooder, which means that the mother will actually keep the baby fish in her mouth protecting them from potential predators.  The fry will occasionally come out of the mouth, but still stay close to the mother just in case they need to run back in.  This occurs for a period of about 4 weeks.  You can see this mouth brooding in action in the video below.


If you have any additional information about the Auratus Cichlid please leave us a comment below.



Leaping Mullet (Liza saliens)


The Leaping Mullet or Liza saliens is a freshwater fish from the Mugilidae family that is found throughout Europe. It can also survive in brackish waters of the Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, Sea of Azov and the Caspian Sea.  These fish get their names from their ability to jump right out of the water with ease.

The leaping mullet breeds in the summertime months and will produce between five hundred and two thousand eggs at a time. The newly hatched fry will feed on their yolk sac and grow quite quickly. Once they become older they will feed on algae and vegetable matter.  Leaping Mullets can grow to about 40cm in length (16").

If you have any additional information about the Leaping Mullet please leave us a comment below.


Midas Blenny (Ecsenius midas)

The Midas Blenny or Ecsenius midas is a small saltwater fish found in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. This species of Blenny is very popular in an aquarium setting and is known to be quite easy to care for.  They are sometimes mistaken for an eel due to their elongated bodies and similar swimming motions. 

Midas Blenny are omnivores that will eat a variety of foods including frozen, live and flake food. They can grow to about 4" in length and require a tank of 30 gallons or more with the following water conditions, 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025.  Like other Blenny, they should be giving lots of hiding spaces to keep they happy and healthy.  They are known to hide with just their head exposed checking out the rest of the tank.  

You can check out the Midas Blenny feeding along with some tankmates in the video below.


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Electric ray (Narcine brasiliensis)


The Electric Ray or Narcine brasiliensis has gray elongated spots with dark brown coloration in the dorsal region and a white belly. They measure on average 34cm (13") in width and 1 kg(2lbs), but can reach 54cm (21") in width, and total weight of 5kg (11lbs). These saltwater fish occur in tropical and temperate waters of the Western Atlantic. These animals are benthic and live in coastal waters with sandy or muddy bottoms.

Electric Rays will bury themselves in the substrate with only their eyes out waiting for unsuspecting prey to wander by.  They are nocturnal, carnivorous and viviparous.  As a defense they can release an electrical discharge from 14 to 37 volts, which is also used to communicate between individuals of the same species.  It is also used as a kind of radar much like the Hammerhead Shark to find prey in the murky waters.  You can check out an Electric Ray in the video below.

If you have any additional information about the Electric Ray please leave us a comment below.

Courtesy of Ellano J. Silva - Fisheries engineering student (UFERSA- Brazil)

Lionhead Cichlid (Steatocranus casuarius)

The Lionhead Cichlid or Steatocranus casuarius is a popular freshwater tropical aquarium fish originally found in Pool Malebo and the Congo River in Africa. This species of Cichlid goes by a few different common names including Blockhead Cichlid, African Blockhead, Buffalohead, Humphead Cichlid, Lionhead, Lumphead and Buffalo Cichlid. As you can see in the pictures, they get their nicknames from the large hump on the top of their heads.  The picture below shows a juvenile Lionhead Cichlid, their heads tend to become more prominent as they grow older.  
Male Lionhead Cichlids can grow to about to about 4 1/2" (11 cm) with the females being a bit smaller in size. When in an aquarium they are said to be found on the bottom and have jerky movement much like that of a Goby. They have a smaller swim bladder then most fish which allows them to stay on the bottom with ease.  You can check them out in an aquarium setting in the video below. 

An aquarium with the following conditions is suitable for the Lionhead Cichlid Hardness: 3 - 17° dH, Ph: 6.0 - 8.0, and Temperatures at 73 - 82 ° F (23 - 28 ° C). These fish are omnivores that should be fed a variety of foods including algae, flake, pellet, live foods and frozen foods. A good trick to keep your water clean is to feed them 2 to 3 times a day in smaller amounts instead of a large quantity once a day.  They normally get a long well with other fish and will be happier if they are provided a few good hiding spots.

If you have any additional information about the Lionhead Cichlid please leave us a comment below.

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