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Black Swallower (Chiasmodon niger)

The Black Swallower or Chiasmodon niger is a rarely seen deep sea fish found in the mesopelagic and bathypelagic zones at a depth of 2,300-9,000 ft (700-2,745 meters). This fish is known for its ability to swallow a fish up to THREE times its size! It accomplishes this by using its highly stretchable jaw and stomach. The Black Swallower will grab its prey from behind by the tail and then coil it into its stomach where it will be slowly digested. It also has sharp interlocking teeth which keep the prey from swimming away.  Meals come few and far between in the dark depths of the ocean and this adaptation keeps the Black Swallower alive even when days goes by without eating.

Black Swallowers are a relatively small saltwater fish, only growing to about 10" (25cm) in length. They are black in color with a blunt snout and a large mouth with canine teeth. They have two dorsal fins and an anal fin that contains a single spine. Their caudal fin or tail is forked. These fish have never been caught on camera, and what species have been collected are due to the fish swallowing more then it can handle. If the fish is unable to digest its prey quick enough gases will build up in the decomposition process, and force the Black Swallower to the surface where it dies.  You can learn more about the amazing creatures that live in the deep sea in the video below, including Barreleyes and the Deep Sea Angler Fish!

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Atlantic Bigeye (Priacanthus arenatus)

The Atlantic Bigeye or Priacanthus arenatus is a saltwater fish that is found in small schools, in and around reefs. These fish can grow to about 12" in length and are generally more active in the night then in the daytime. This species of Bigeye feeds on crustaceans, small fish and polychaetes. They fall prey to larger fish such as Triggerfish and some sharks.

Atlantic Bigeye have the ability to change colors from a dark red, to a light pink within seconds! Some think that this is a form of communication to others in the group, but no one really knows for sure. Found in the tropical waters of the Western Atlantic, these fish are quite edible and are considered to have a great flavor.  You can view an Atlantic Bigeye underwater in the video below.

If you have any additional information about the Atlantic Bigeye please leave us a comment below.

Yellow Watchman Goby (Cryptocentrus cinctus)

The Yellow Watchman Goby or Cryptocentrus cinctus is a very entertaining aquarium fish. Like it's close relative the Hi Fin Red Banded Goby, this species can have a symbiotic relationship with a Pistol Shrimp. The Pistol Shrimp will spend the day hard at work burrowing a hole in which the Yellow Watchman Goby and the shrimp live together in harmony.  Pistol Shrimp have terrible eyesight, so the Watchman Goby's job is to stand watch at the end of the hole, keeping an eye out for any potential predators.  If a predator happens to get too close the Watchmen will signal the pistol shrimp and they will both going into hiding.  At night, the Goby will go into the burrow, and the shrimp will collapse the entrance to close it off, apparently three is a crowd in this relationship.  The next day they start the whole process over again. These two creatures have even been known to share food with each other!  You can see this amazing relationship in the video below.

Yellow Watchman Goby have several different names including Yellow Prawn Goby, Yellow Shrimp, Prawn Goby, Midas Goby, Iga Tubumata, Watchman Gold, and Yellow Spotted Blenny. These saltwater fish are native to the Western Pacific Ocean.  In an aquarium the following water conditions are acceptable, 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025.  They are considered to be a peaceful fish, but can become territorial with other species of Gobies.  Growing to only about 3" in length, an aquarium of 30 gallons or more is acceptable.  They are carnivorous and should be fed a variety of mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, table shrimp, and other frozen meaty treats.
If you have any additional information about the Yellow Watchman Goby please leave us a comment below.

Indo-Pacific Tarpon (Megalops cyprinoides)

The Indo-Pacific Tarpon or Megalops cyprinoides is a fish capable of living in freshwater and saltwater. Also known as the Oxeye, Broussonet Tarpon, Hairen or the Ten Pounder, this fish can grow to about 1 meter (3.3 feet). If you have had the pleasure of hooking one of these fish you probably have noticed that they fight much harder then most fish of the same size. They are also surface jumpers, and will certainly give you a run for your money on light tackle with long runs, and lots of stamina.

This species looks a lot like it close relative, the much bigger Atlantic Tarpon. It's body is covered with large scales with a blue-grey coloration and a silver belly. They have a forked tail and an elongated dorsal fin. These fish have a large mouth compared to their body size with a protruding jaw that is pointing upward, and no real teeth. If you are fishing for Indo-Pacific Tarpon you will generally find them in estuaries and coastal waters, rivers and mangrove forests. The best way to catch these Tarpon are with flies, spinners, sub-surface lures or shrimps.

These fish have made their way into the aquarium trade, but they require a MASSIVE tank so they are only recommended for the advanced aquarium enthusiasts.  You can check out one in an aquarium in the video below.


POP QUIZ: Do you know the names of the other fish featured in the video above?

Japanese Bullhead Shark (Heterodontus japonicus)

The Japanese Bullhead Shark or Heterodontus japonicus is species of shark from the Heterodontidae family. This saltwater fish is found in the northwestern Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Japan, Korea, and China. They can grow to about 3.9 feet (1.2 meters) in length, and are found on the bottom of the ocean floor in depths of up to 120 feet (37 meters). These sharks can be identified by their short, blunt head and two high dorsal fins each with its own sharp spine for protection. They also have a pattern of irregularly shaped, vertical brown bands and stripes that adorn their bodies.
Japanese Bullhead Shark are known by several names including simply a Bull Head or Cat Shark, but also the Japanese Horn Shark, Cestracion Shark, and Port Jackson shark. These sharks are rather docile and feed on shelled invertebrates and small fish. With molar-like teeth, they grind their crunchy meals to a pulp making them easy to digest. When they reproduce the females will sometimes create communal nests in which they deposit their eggs. Often these nests are located in rock beds or among kelp. These nests are not guarded and the eggs do not hatch for an entire year!  This shark is not considered to be dangerous to humans, but you should be aware of their sharp spines on each dorsal fin.  You can check out the Japanese Bullhead Shark underwater in the video below.

If you have any additional information about the Japanese Bullhead Shark please leave us a comment below.

Sunrise Dottyback (Pseudochromis flavivertex)

The Sunrise Dottyback or Pseudochromis flavivertex is a saltwater fish with a cobalt blue body that has a bright yellow band from the tip of its nose to its tail. Also known as the Sunrise Pseudochromis or Blue Flavivertex Dottyback, they can be kept in an aquarium setting, but are considered to be only for advanced aquarium enthusiasts. An aquarium of at least 30 gallons with the following water conditions are recommended, 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025. Like most other fish, they like to have a few hiding spots.  These fish are ideal for a reef aquarium.
Sunrise Dottybacks are considered to be a semi-aggressive fish and should only be kept with other Dottybacks if introduced at the same time. They can be fed brine shrimp and frozen foods and will not normally take to flake foods. Sunrise Dottybacks can grow to about 3" in length and originate from the Red Sea. You can watch the Sunrise Dottyback in an aquarium in the video below.

If you have any additional information about the Sunrise Dottyback please leave us a comment below.

Aquarium Fish Of The Month - Spotted Cardinalfish

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