Facts

Latin name Holocentrus rufus - (Walbaum, 1792)
Common name Longspine squirrelfish
Family Holocentridae - Holocentrus
Origin The Mexican Golf, West Atlantic
Max length 35.0 cm (13.8")

As aquarium fish

Minimum volume 800 l (211 gal)
Hardiness Hardy
Suitable for aquarium Suitable with care
Reef safe Reef safe with caution
Aggressiveness Peaceful

Food

Recommended
  • Small crustaceans (Krill, mysis, artemia...)
  • Larger crustaceans (Shrimp, crabs...)
  • Other invertebrates

Can be a threat to small fish

This spicies might be a threat to smaller fishes.

Can be a threat towards small crustaceans

This species can be a threat towards small crustaceans, e.g. small shrimp.

Take care when catching these fish

These fish should not be caught with a net, as it is all too easy to damage their large eyes.

Low light conditions

This species thrives best in an aquarium with dimmed lighting.

Secretive

A very secretive species which hides between the rocks.
When it feels at home in the aquarium it will appear more, but is still not as active in the water column as most of the other fish.

Nocturnal

This species is nocturnal and therefore the most active when the light is dimmed or turned off.

Singly or in a group

This fish can live on their own or in a group.

Can be aggressive

This species can be aggressive if they are not provided with adequate space.

Overhangs and caves

This species thrives best in an aquarium with overhangs and caves. 

Description

Can be recognized by the white triangles at the tips of the dorsal fin.

Family description (Holocentridae)

Squirrel-/Soldierfish (Holocentrinae and Myripristinae) are normally a red/grey colour and very secretive.

As to how much they hide, varies from fish to fish, what they do have in common however, is that they are most active when the lights are off, but will, with time, come out more while the lights are on.

Squirrel-/Soldierfish are not generally a threat to other aquarium animals, but will sometimes eat very small fish and invertebrates.

Neither Squirrelfish or Soldierfish are particularly aggressive, and whilst most species can be kept in a small group, they will sometimes fight amongst themselves. In this case, space must be taken into consideration as the Squirrelfish will sometimes chase the less aggressive Soldierfish, if space is lacking. 

It is easy enough to get both fish types to eat, but if they do not come out during the day it is best to feed them when the lights are off. In the beginning it might be necessary to lure them out with live food. 

Squirrelfish have spikes on their head and gills which easily get caught in fishnets, so avoid those.
Being scratched by some species of Squirrelfish can result in an ugly wound and be painful, as some are actually poisonous.
If one is not careful when capturing and transporting these fish, their eyes can be damaged. 

FishBase

Aquarium trade Yes
Distribution Western Atlantic: Bermuda and southern Florida, USA to northern South America and Brazil; throughout the West Indies (Ref. 3724). Antilles, northwestern Gulf of Mexico, Yucatan to Colombia (Ref. 26938).
English common names Squirrelfish, Longspine squirrelfish, Miss darlington
Danish common names Langpigget egernfisk
Spanish common names Candil soldado, Candil ojón, Carajuelo rufo

References and further reading

About references

Scott W. Michael. 2001. Reef Fishes volume 1 - TFH Publications / Microcosm Ltd. - (English)
Henry C. Schultz. 2003. But They Don't Look Like a Rat with a Fuzzy Tail: The Family Holocentridae - Reefkeeping Magazine - (English)
Bob Fenner. Squirrel- & Soldierfishes, Family Holocentridae - Wet Web Media - (English)

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

Tags

nocturnal night, eats fish, shoal group, eats shrimp, docile shy
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