Exotic Beauties: Extremely Unique Aquatic Pets

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Goldfish, angelfish, goby fish, tang fish and a lot more are the most commonly heard and sought species of aquarium pets in the pet trade. Nowadays, many aquarist are looking for aquatic pets that are not familiar, they’re looking for unusual or bizarre species of aquarium fish.

1. Leopard Moray Eel (Enchelycore pardalis)

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The beautifully colored Leopard Moray Eel of the Indo pacific region is characterized by its narrow, curved jaws, vivid red stripes on the head and elongated tubular nostrils. Your tank will surely look attractive once you put this creature which is also called Dragon Moray Eel or Hawaiian Dragon Eel. It can grow up to 92 cm.

2. White-spotted Boxfish (Ostracion meleagris)

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This beautifully and uniquely colored fish is a White-spotted Boxfish. It is also called Blue Boxfish and Black Boxfish. The various names are due to the dimorphic appearance of the male and female. The male is the more colorful of the two, with a vibrant blue body and a wide black swatch covering the top of the body like a cap. The entire body is speckled with dots, white on black and black on blue while a thin horizontal stripe of orange adorns the tail.

This fish is very difficult to keep in an aquarium. It should have a minimum of a 50-gallon tank. When stressed, the Spotted Boxfish releases a poisonous substance, called ostracitoxin, from its mucous glands which will kill other fish in the tank very quickly.

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The White-spotted Boxfish on the above picture is a female. It is entirely black with white dots.

3. Orange-lined Triggerfish (Balistapus undulatus)

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This pretty fish called Orange-lined Triggerfish is not reef safe and level of care for keeping as aquarium pet is easy. It is considered as the most aggressive fish kept in marine aquariums. Older specimens should be housed alone because it kills most fish and invertebrates that share its aquarium. The minimum tank size to keep a small fish alone is 50 gallons. It grows up to 30 cm or 12 inches in length.

Other common names are Orange-striped Triggerfish and Undulated Triggerfish. It is endemic to the tropical Indo-Pacific area. It feeds on coral, crabs and invertebrates.

4. Blue Ribbon Eel (Rhinomuraena quaesita)

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The elegantly colored Blue Ribbon Eel, like many eels, is sometimes thought to be angry or aggressive, because its mouth is often open, appearing ready to strike. In reality, the eel is simply breathing. It does not live longer than a month in captivity, although there are reports of them surviving and eating in captivity for 2 years or more. With proper sized tanks, water flow, and depth of proper sand they can be kept for much longer in pairs.

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The Ribbon Eel is native to the Indian and Pacific oceans. It can easily be recognized by its expanded anterior nostrils. A juvenile and a sub-adult is jet black with a yellow dorsal fin, while a female is yellow with a black anal fin with white margins on the fins. The adult male is blue with a yellow dorsal fin.

The ribbon eel grows to an overall length of approximately 100 cm or 36 inches, and has a life span of up to twenty years.

5. Valentinni’s Sharpnose Puffer (Canthigaster valentini)

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The photo above of a gorgeously pretty Valentinni’s Sharpnose Puffer is taken in Prague Sea Aquarium. This beauty of the sea can be found in reefs in the Indo-Pacific area. It reaches a maximum length of 11 cm. It is also referred to as a Black Saddled Toby.

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This lovely shot of a Black Saddled Toby is taken from Cebu, Philippines. It has four distinct black stripes (saddles) on its back. The head is blue-grey and the main body is white speckled with blue-grey spots. The tail and fins show hints of yellow and there is a rainbow streak of color behind the eyes. It feeds mainly on algae. Valentinni’s sharpnose puffer is highly poisonous to eat.

6. Elegant Firefish (Nemateleotris decora)

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The ever lovely and beautiful Elegant Firefish or Purple Firefish is a dartfish of the Indo-West Pacific. It is found over hard, open bottoms of reefs and sandy patches, as well as deeper coastal outer reef drop-offs. It reaches a maximum length of 9 cm or 3 in. This species is often found in pairs and is monogamous. These fish feed on zooplankton, especially copepods and crustacean larvae. They will dart into holes when alarmed.

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This fish is popular in reef aquarium and is resistant to disease. These fish are relatively docile and will not attack tankmates where kept in a suitably sized aquarium; however, if kept in confined quarters these fish may squabble over territory. Firefish are commonly kept in nano reef aquariums.

7. Dwarf Lionfish (Dendrochirus brachypterus)

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Dendrochirus brachypterus is a surefire prolific beauty to admire. It is a lionfish of the Indo-West Pacific It occasionally makes its way into the aquarium trade. It grows to a size of 17cm in length.

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8. Harlequin Filefish (Oxymonacanthus longirostris)

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The colorful and adorable Orange-spotted Filefish can be found in the Indo-pacific Oceans.  It is often offered for sale in the aquarium trade. It is difficult to maintain in an aquarium unless it is provided with live corals. The fish must be kept in a species-specific tank, or a tank with very passive tankmates such as seahorses or pipefish.

The Harlequin Filefish is pale blue with about eight longitudinal rows of orange-yellow patches. In the wild it almost only eats Acropora polyps.

9. Hawaiian Blue Pufferfish (Canthigaster papua)

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The good-looking and admirable Hawaiian Blue Pufferfish can be found in the Indo-West Pacific. It occasionally makes its way into the aquarium trade. It grows to a size of 10cm in length. It’s easy to keep as pet but not reef safe.

10. Scooter Blenny (Synchiropus ocellatus)

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In the aquarium trade, this amazingly unique-looking creature is known as the Scooter Blenny. This often causes confusion because many then believe that the species is a member of the Blenny family when it is actually not. Commonly known as the Scooter Dragonet, it is often referred too as the Ocellated Dragonet. It is native to the southwest Pacific Ocean. Scooter Dragonets’ diet consists almost entirely of copepods; small zooplankton living in the water column.

11. Tailspot Blenny (Ecsenius stigmatura)

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The awesomely gorgeous and nice-looking Tailspot Blenny of the Western Pacific Ocean occasionally makes its way into the aquarium trade. It is coppery-colored fish with a distinct blackish spot at the base of the tail, hence the name. It grows to a size of 6 cm in length.

12. Map Pufferfish (Arothron mappa)

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The captivating and uniquely patterned Map Puffer of Indo-Pacific region reaches a maximum length of 65 cm. It has an oval shape and the body is covered in small prickles. It is gray in color with black patterns, which could be considered map like in appearance, its identifying feature. It feeds on algae, corals, sponges, sea squirts, crustaceans and mollusks. Like most puffers, the map puffer is highly poisonous to eat and it is not reef safe. The level of care as pet is moderate.

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Hope you enjoyed this. Thank you!

For more aquatic pets see

Top 12 Most Colorful and Beautiful Aquarium Fishes

Freakiest and Weirdest Aquarium Fish

Pretty Aquatic Pets: 10 Most Beautiful Shrimps

Bizarre and Exotic Pets: Weird and Unique Turtles

Unique Aquatic Creatures: Rare but Attractive Aquarium Pets

Absolutely Freaky and Weird Frogs: Will You Have Them As Pets?


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