Malacanthidae (Tilefishes)

Tilefish (Malacanthidae) are delicate and can be challenging to keep, but it is possible if one ensures they have the correct surroundings.

These fish do not handle stress very well, therefore it is of importance to prepare the aquarium so the environment is optimal before buying the fish. Good hiding places which resemble their natural holes in sand/coral gravel, combined with stone holes are optimum. Plenty of swimming space is also vital!

Tilefish should not be kept together with semi aggressive and aggressive species, as they are very shy. Fish which can kept with Tilefishes are for example: Anthias, Jawfish, Roundheads, Dartfish, Cardinalfish, Dragonets and small peaceful Wrasses.

As these fish will swim around wildly if stressed, it is a good idea to avoid keeping them together with anemones, elegance corals etc.

Slightly subdued lighting is also preferable. Moonlight is also a good idea, as these fish will sometimes jump up out of the water which can cause injury.

Tilefish will sometime require live food in the beginning, but will often eat frozen food after a while. Some individuals also eat fish flakes, but do be aware they will primarily eat from the water column, and not what lies on the bottom of the tank. They do not thrive well if there is a lot of competion for food.

Normally these fish will be fine in coral aquaria, but will sometimes go after small shrimps, and on rare occasions, LPS.

Generally, there is a better chance of success with these fish, if multiple ones are kept. It is a good idea to have other peaceful fish which spend a lot of time at the water column.
They are rarely aggressive towards fellow species, but will sometimes chase very shy Wrasses for example.

When purchasing this fish, ensure that it is has been caught correctly, so the swim bladder is not damaged. The fish must be able to hold still in the water without having to make an effort to swim downwards.