Care Recommenations for Pajama Cardinal – Sphaeramia nematoptera
- Care Level: Easy
- Temperament: Peaceful
- Diet: Carnivore
- Reef Safe: Yes
- Max Size: 1-3.5 inches
- Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
The Pajama Cardinal, also known as the Polka Dot or Spotted Cardinal, has a very unique patterning and color orientation covering its body. The greenish yellow front is divided by a solid black band in the middle of the body, while the dorsal region is off-white with vibrant red-orange spots or polka dots. These fish are part of the Apogonidae family and hail from the Indo Pacific region.
Tank Requirements for the Pajama Cardinals
The Pajama Cardinal is a smaller species and a slower swimmer. These fish are extremely peaceful in nature and very social. Keep them with other reef safe and peaceful fish. Cardinal fish do best in small groups or schools, a 30-gallon aquarium should allow for this behavior. They can grow to be about 3.5 inches when fully mature. Due to their timid nature, these fish are great to house with Seahorses and Pipefish. Be sure your tank has plenty of live rock or plants for hiding during the day, as the Pajama Cardinal is a nocturnal species and more active at night. This species is completely reef safe and should not bother corals, clams, or other invertebrates.
Pajama Cardinal Dietary Needs
With a carnivorous diet, feed your cardinal a diet of vitamin enriched brine and mysis shrimp, other finely chopped meaty portions and quality pellet and flake food. These fish adapt easily to captive feeding, however, in order to prevent eating difficulties, it’s best to feed at night when they are most active. Pajama cardinals should be fed 4-6 times per week. These fish are very easy to care for and would be a great choice for a beginner aquarist.
Keep pajama cardinals in a good environment in warmer water temperatures between 75 and 80°F. For best health, maintain a pH value of 8.1-8.4, a salinity of between 1.024-1.026 (1.025 is ideal), nitrates and ammonia levels at 0 ppm, and dKH between 8-9.5.
Written by: By Christeena Satterfield