The cardinalfishes (Apogonidae) are a species-rich (ca. 370 species), mainly marine group of mostly small-bodied, mouth-breeding perch-like fish. Very well known species are the Kauderni or Banggai Cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni) or the Pyjama Cardinalfish (Sphaeramia nematoptera), several other species belong to the standard assortment of marine aquaristics. Only very few species have made it into freshwater. The most important freshwater genus is Glossamia with currently 11 recognized species. All of them originate from New Guinea and Australia. Since hardly any ornamental fishes are exported from there – and if they are, they are rainbow fishes – Glossamia remained almost unknown in the aquaristics of the western world until now. This is a pity, because they are not colorful, but highly interesting species, all of them usually do not grow larger than 8-10 cm, whereas the largest specimen of G. aprion ever caught measured 18 cm.
In the wild, Glossamia often form a very substantial portion of the biomass of the waters they inhabit. The fish are attached to dense underwater vegetation. Without it, they do not feel safe and are shy and skittish. This changes immediately when they have “herbage” in the tank. Their diet consists of aquatic insects, crustaceans (shrimp) and small fish. In Australia, the species has a funny popular name: mouth almighty!
Among themselves and towards fish that do not qualify as food, the mouths almighthy are completely peaceful. They are, as with all cardinalfish, mouthbrooders in the male sex. At first we thought the females are very plump and a bit smaller than the males, because otherwise there are no external sex differences visible. But then we observed a brooding animal, a small fat one! Apparently the smaller ones are the males and eat themselves really big and round before they take care of the brood!
We have now received for the first time a nice, larger shipment of Glossamia aprion from New Guinea.
For our customers: the animals have code 417043 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesale.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer