Pajama Cardinal

Sphaeramia nematoptera

General: The Pajama Cardinalfish (Sphaeramia nematoptera, Bleeker, 1856) is a colorful, hardy fish that fits well in most aquariums. Its peaceful disposition, unique, eye-catching patterns, and ability to accept a wide variety of foods all make it ideal for all levels of aquarists. They can typically be found hovering under ledges or other hiding spaces during the day and become active at night searching for food. If possible, at least a pair of Pajamas is suggested, and even more if tank space permits, as these fish do prefer to school together.

Physical Appearance: Pajama Cardinals possess a unique appearance that makes them popular with aquarists; they have a chimera-like assemblage of seemingly-different colors and patterns. Their face is a yellowish-orange, with a deep red eye. About halfway down is a large, vertical black bar, followed by red dots on a grey body back to the tail.

Temperament: These fish, along with other Cardinals, are peaceful with other tank inhabitants. When kept in groups, light aggression may take place, but only to establish a hierarchy amongst the fish.

Diet: A varied carnivorous diet is ideal for these Cardinals. Suggested foods include frozen mysis and brine shrimp, as well as diced whole fish and shrimp. Pajama Cardinalfish from Sustainable Aquatics are also accustomed to eating our Hatchery Diet. Pelleted food is also a great way to round out their diet.

Size: Pajamas typically reach a maximum size of 3”.

Distribution: Pajama Cardinalfish are found in the Western Pacific Ocean, from Java to Fiji, and from the Ryukyu Islands to the Great Barrier Reef.

Interesting fact: The Pajama Cardinalfish, like many other cardinals, are mouthbrooders. The male carries and incubates the eggs in his mouth until they hatch. Pajama cardinals will frequently spawn in a healthy aquarium, and males can be seen incubating eggs. Unlike the popular Banggai cardinal, Pajama cardinal larvae are very small and require small live foods and a specialized larval-rearing environment to survive.