Caracanthus maculatus
Source: JJPhoto.dk
Caracanthus maculatus
Source: JJPhoto.dk

Facts

Latin name Caracanthus maculatus - (Gray, 1831)
Common name Spotted coral croucher
Family Scorpaenidae - Caracanthus
Origin East Indian Ocean, West Indian Ocean, Australia, Indonesia, East Pacific, Central/West Pacific
Max length 5.0 cm (2.0")

As aquarium fish

Minimum volume 100 l (26 gal)
Hardiness Hardy
Suitable for aquarium Experience, preparation and extra care required
Reef safe Always reef safe
Aggressiveness Mostly peaceful but might be aggressive towards similar species

Food

Recommended
  • Zooplankton (Cyclops, pods...)
  • Small crustaceans (Krill, mysis, artemia...)

Venomous

This species is venomous, but it´s toxin is rarely dangerous to humans. It can however cause considerable pain.

In case of poisoning it is vital to have as much information as possible regarding the species/poison. Have telephone numbers for the poison hotline close to the aquarium.

Since different people can have different reactions to poisons, take precautions necessary to ensure personal safety and that of the surroundings.
This poison can be dangerous if suffering from allergies.

Frequent feeding

This fish requires feeding several times a day, especially when newly added.

When the fish can find its natural food in the aquarium it requires less frequent feeding. 

Target feeding

It may be necessary to target feed this species, otherwise it might have difficulties to obtain enough food.

Hiding amongst stony corals

This species likes to hide in and amongst the branches of corals, e.g. Acropora coral and

 will also do well if they can find other hiding places.

Description

When these fish lay eggs, they may place them underneath an Acropora or something similar.

The eggs can cause minor damage to the coral's tissue, but normally this will heal again.

Genus description (Caracanthus)

This kind of Scorpionfish likes to hide in between the branches of large stony corals, Acropora for example, so make sure to keep them with there corals in the aquarium.
They stay hidden a lot of the time, so they are not seen very often.

Family description (Scorpaenidae)

Scorpion-/Lionfish (Scorpaenidae) are both pretty and interesting because of their special appearance and behaviour.

They are generally hardy and do not need a large swimming area, but do often require feeding with small live fish and/or shrimps. Some will quickly begin eating frozen fish or shrimp whilst others will refuse to eat "dead" food. Their food must be highly nutritious and varied. They must not be fed too often. Feed them a large meal twice a week.

These fish are mostly peaceful, but will eat anything that fits into their mouth. One might be surprised by how large their prey can be, they can even swallow fish which nearly match their own length. They will also eat each other, if the size difference is large enough. Their venomous spines do not guarantee that they will not be eaten by other predatory fishes.

Do be cautious when having your hands in the aquarium as these fish are very poisonous.

Some Scorpionfish require a special substrate, either coral gravel or fine sand, as this resembles their natural habitat.

Be careful when catching Scorpion-/Lionfish as they can easily get caught in the net.


FishBase

Aquarium trade Yes
Distribution Indo-Pacific: East Indies to the Line, Marquesan, and Austral Islands, north to southern Japan.
English common names Scarlet-spotted velvetfish, Spotted coral croucher, Spotted croucher, Velvet fish

References and further reading

About references

Scott W. Michael. 2001. Reef Fishes volume 1 - TFH Publications / Microcosm Ltd. - (English)
Henry C. Schultz. 2002. Scorpionfish: Masters of Camouflage - Reefkeeping Magazine - (English)
Greg and Renee Hix. Scorpionfish in the Home Aquarium - Lionfish Lair - (English)
Greg and Renee Hix. Lionfish in the Home Aquarium - Lionfish Lair - (English)
Daniel Pomfret- 2007. Venomous Beauties: A Look at Scorpionfishes in the Home Aquarium - Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine - (English)

Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2014. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (08/2014).

Tags

venomous, hard to feed, predatory, lion
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