|Latin name||Zanclus cornutus|
|Local name||Moorish Idol|
|Family||Zanclidae - Zanclus|
|Origin||East Indian Ocean, West Indian Ocean, Australia, Indonesia, East Pacific, Central/West Pacific|
|Max length||25 cm (9,8")|
|Minimum volume||1000 cm (264 gal)|
|Suitable for aquarium||Experience, preparation and extra care required|
|Reef safe||Reef safe with caution|
Microalgea (Eg. spirulina)
Macroalgea (Eg. seaweed / nori)
It is recommended that this species be kept by experienced aquarists as it requires specialized food for its continual survival.
This species is easily susceptible to Marine Ich (Cryptocaryon irritants), when stressed by other fish, bad water quality, or when relocated.
This species requires frequent feeding, at least a couple of times per day.
This species is very sensitive during transportation and acclimatizing into the aquarium.
These fish eat exceptionally slowly and can be very selective feeders.
It can therefore be problematic to provide it with a sufficient and varied diet, in an aquarium with other, faster feeding species.
These fish should be kept in a well run aquarium where they can "graze" algae from rocks and stones.
If there are insufficient algae on the rocks, it is important to feed more frequently and supplement with algae rich food e.g. Spirulina.
This species revels in swimming and requires an aquarium with ample space.
This species is very shy and docile, so one should be careful when keeping it with more aggressive fish.
Moorish Idols (Zanclidae) have an impressive and special appearance, but are unfortunately quite difficult to keep.
A large number of these fish will die from malnutrition or because they refuse to feed.
In the wild they survive off of sponges, but they will quickly empty the aquarium of these. If one wishes to keep these fish, it is therefore imperitive to research the different types of specialist foods beforehand, so as to be prepared and have a good feeding plan.
This fish is particularly susceptible to diseases, which combined with their need for specialist food, makes Moorish Idols difficult to keep in a tank.
Moorish Idols are not reef safe, as they will often eat zoanthus.
This is a very special fish, but if one wishes to avoid the challenges of keeping Moorish Idols, Heniochus diphreutes is a good alternative.
Kenneth Wingerter. 2012. Aquarium Fish: Reconsidering the Moorish Idol - Advanced Aquarist - (English)
Bob Fenner. Tips on Helping the Moorish Idol to Survive in Captivity - Fish Channel - (English)
Bob Fenner. The Moorish Idol, Zanclus cornutus, Family Zanclidae - Wet Web Media - (English)
"Minimum volume" indicates the size of the tank needed to house this species under optimal conditions.
This is based on a medium size animal, which you want to keep for several years.
It might be possible to keep smaller specimens for a limited period in a smaller tank. A larger tank might be needed for fully-grown specimens.
"Hardiness" indicates how resistant this species is to disease and how well i tolerates bad conditions in general.
Some species doesn't handle transportation very well, but that doesn't mean that the species isn't hardy under the right conditions.
In this case, a "normal" aquarium is a reef aquarium with mixed corals or a fish only aquarium with an approximately salinity of 1.026 (sg) and a temperature close to 26°C.
Species requiring more than a 4000-liter tank are considered not suitable for home aquarium.
Special aquariums may cover tanks with low salinity, sub-tropical temperature, deep sand bed, sea grass etc.
Always reef safe: No sources indicate that this species will harm corals or other invertebrates.
Often reef safe: Only a few aquarists has reported problems keeping this species with corals and other invertebrates.
Reef safe with caution: This species may be a threat to some types of invertebrates.
Reef safe with luck: Most specimens will harm corals and/or other invertebrates, but you might be lucky.
Not reef safe: This species is a threat to most corals and/or other invertebrates.