Pervagor melanocephalus
Source: JJPhoto.dk

Facts

Latin name Pervagor melanocephalus - (Bleeker, 1853)
Common name Redtail filefish
Family Monacanthidae - Pervagor
Origin East Indian Ocean, West Indian Ocean, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, East Pacific, Central/West Pacific
Max length 16.0 cm (6.3")

As aquarium fish

Minimum volume 600 l (158 gal)
Hardiness Average
Suitable for aquarium Suitable with care
Reef safe Reef safe with luck
Aggressiveness Mostly peaceful but might be aggressive towards similar species

Food

Maybee
  • Other invertebrates
  • Soft coral
  • Large polyp stone coral (LPS)
Recommended
  • Microalgea (Eg. spirulina)
  • Macroalgea (Eg. seaweed / nori)
  • Small crustaceans (Krill, mysis, artemia...)
  • Larger crustaceans (Shrimp, crabs...)

Eats tubeworms

This species likes to eat tubeworms.

Can be a threat towards small crustaceans

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

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. 

Eats glass anemones (Aiptasia)

This species eats glass anemones (Aiptasia).

But occasionally one finds an individual fish which refuses to eat them.

Enriched food

Over time this species can lose some of its colour when the food does not contain sufficient vitamins.

It pays therefore, to use a some type of enriched food, or one, specific to this species.

Initially shy

This species can be very shy when first introduced into a new aquarium.

More aggressive fish can be introduced after this species has acclimatized.

Hiding places

This species needs good hiding places, for example, between live rocks.

Description

In the beginning, feeding these fish can be problematic.

Attaching a shrimp to a coral, which can lure the fish into eating is one way to achieve this.

Family description (Monacanthidae)

Filefish (Monacanthidae) have a very characteristic appearance, but whether one likes them or not is a matter of taste. 

Some species are suitable for aquaria, although they will occasionally eat a coral or invertebrate. They are therefore not so well suited to coral tanks.
They are often used to fight glass anemones (Aiptasia) and Majano anemones. Pervagor nigrolineatus is especially good at this.

They need peace and quiet from both the aquarist and other fish, when adjusting to the tank life.

Be careful when catching them, as they easily becomes caught in the net.

FishBase

Aquarium trade Yes
Distribution Indo-West Pacific.
English common names Lace-finned leatherjacket, Blackheaded filefish, Black-headed leatherjacket, Black-head filefish, Redtail filefish
Danish common names Rødhalet filfisk

References and further reading

About references

Dave Wolfenden. 2013. Filefish: A bit of rough! - Practical Fishkeeping - (English)
Scott W. Michael. Can You Add Filefish to a Reef Tank? - Fish Channel - (English)
Bob Fenner. Filefishes, Family Monacanthidae, Part I, Part II, Part III - Wet Web Media - (English)
Scott W. Michael. Those Fabulous Filefish - 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

aiptasia, docile shy, eats feather duster worm, eats shrimp
Just a moment...
Just a moment...