The Banggai Cardinalfish is Too Popular in the Hobby

The Banggai Cardinalfish could soon be gone from the wild

This cardinalfish is captive bread, yet the captive bread cardinals can only keep up with a small portion of the demand from the aquarium hobby. So much that restrictions could be coming down the road to prevent the export from Indonesia to hopefully slow down how many are taken from the wild. 

So when did the obsession for the Banggai Cardinalfish start? In 1994 Gerald Allen, of the Western Australian Museum documented the fish in its natural habitat, it was an immediate hit and the aquarium world began their Banggai frenzy. By 2001 it was estimated that over 2,000 were being scooped out of the sea A DAY! And the hobby continues to grow each year. By 2005 they were quickly becoming extinct completely gone in areas where they could easily be found, they were almost added to the endangered list, instead soon after they were put on the Red list of threatened species.

Indonesian fishermen take them by the thousands from the wild at a time with hopes that half will survive long enough to be sold for a nickel a piece. With the average fisherman making $70 a month, they claim the fish is easy to catch due to the nature of the cardinal they normally stay in schools and can be herded into their traps. The Indonesian government keeps preventing them from going on the endangered list.

What Can You Do?

Typically the captive bred Banggai Cardinalfish are more expensive, with that said the captive bred option can be found online for around $15! Ask your local fish store (LFS) if they are captive bred if they are not don't buy them, ask your LFS if they are able to get captive bred Banggai and tell them you are interested in captive bred options? It's supply and demand game, as long as you keep buying the wild caught cardinal they will keep taking them from the wild.

While captive bred option is the best alternative another great cardinal option would be the Pajama Cardinalfish, it does not have the same color scheme but similar characteristics and is also a great inexpensive option.

Do you own a Banggai Cardinal? Tell us what you think about them?

About author

I got into the aquarium hobby in 2004 after I went diving for the first time I knew I wanted a small piece of the ocean nearby to admire at home. I have a tech background, so I enjoy gadgets and automation. I plan to do a planted freshwater tank and play


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