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Species Profile: Anglerfish

One of the most interesting fish available in the aquarium hobby, is also one of the most difficult to see. Anglerfishes, also known as frogfish, are masters of disguise and camouflage, and have developed an amazing array of shapes, colors and textures to allow them to blend into their surroundings. Some look like rocks, some look like sponges, some look like algae, and some look like aliens from a distant planet.
Anglerfish get their name from the specialized dorsal spines that are found on their foreheads that resemble a fishing line and lure. They use this special appendage to lure prey towards them, then eat it whole. Anglerfish have enormous mouths for their size, and are capable of eating objects as big as they are.
Anglerfish are easily kept in aquariums, and some species do well in fairly small aquariums. Make sure that you know the adult size of the species that you are planning to keep to make sure that you are giving them enough space, Anglers can reach there adult size fairly quickly, dont be fooled by the small size that are usually found in pet stores. Some species like the Giant Anglerfish, Antennarius commerson can get up to 13″ in length. Anglers are predators, so you must be careful when choosing tankmates, if an Angler thinks it can eat something it will try. Do not keep anglers with fish of the same size or smaller, they will be eaten. Someone once described them to me as a giant mouth with a little fish attached. You should also not keep Anglers with shrimp or other small inverts that may be tasty. Other than towards prey items, Anglers are not aggressive, and make fine tank mates for larger, non aggressive species. Do not keep Anglers with aggressive species, they are easily picked upon and have little in the way of self defense.
Anglers spend most of their time sitting on the bottom, or “walking” around on their modified pectoral fins, that look more like legs in some species. You will rarely see an Angler swimming around in the open, as they are poor swimmers.
Feed Anglers a varied diet of small live foods, such as ghost shrimp or guppies. You can also train Anglers to eat fresh or frozen foods with the use of a feeding prong.
I hope that you have found this information interesting, Anglers are one of my favorite fishes, and I hope this will inspire someone to give them a try.
Until next time,
Dave

 

2 comments

  1. avatar
    http://www.vaonlineservices.com

    Are those glow in the dark angler fish available for purchase? Can you get va fish for an aquarium?

  2. avatar

    You’d be referring to the deepwater species that use bioluminescence to lure prey in dark depths. Those fish are not available in the aqaurium trade, as they need specific conditions to survive, conditions of great ocean depths that cannnot typically be reproduced in the everyday aquarium. The majority of these fish that are collected for research do not survive being brought out of the depths to the surface, largely due to the change in pressure.

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