|Synonyms||Balistes tomentosus, Monacanthus tomentosus, Pervagor tomentosus, Stephanolepis tomentosus|
|Maximum Size||12cm (4.7")|
|Sexual Dimorphism||In mature fish, the males develop retrorse bristles on the body, and these remain absent in females.|
|Temperature||Tropical: 23-27 deg C (73-81 deg F)|
|Water Parameters||SG: 1.020-1.025, pH: 8.1-8.4|
|Compatibility||Fish only with live rock; Reef with caution.|
|Lighting||No special requirements|
|Reef Aquarium Compatibility||Whilst young fish do not appear to cause significant problems in reef aquaria, adults are not completely reef safe and may pick on a variety of sessile invertebrates.|
Acreichthys tomentosus is known from weedy rubble zones on shallow coral reefs, seagrass beds, and seaweed-rich sandy inshore areas, to depths of 15m (49ft). This is a fish that has an appetite for pest anemones (Aiptasia spp.) but in the wild, feeds primarily on amphipods, molluscs, and polychaetes, along with some plant matter. These well-camouflaged fish will indeed eat Aiptasia, but older specimens may also pick on coral polyps, and for this reason they are not considered totally reef safe. However, in a vast system with an abundance of fast-growing corals, and if the fish are kept well-fed, this may not be so much of an issue. In smaller quarters though, they are more suited to a fish-only set-up. A safer option for the natural eradication of Aiptasia in reef aquaria would be Peppermint Shrimps (Lysmata wurdemanni). A. tomentosus is a shy, peaceful species that can be kept alongside other fish of similar size and temperament but may lose out to more aggressive feeders in some communities. Tank bred fish are offered with increasing regularity and are often reared from an early age on a diet that features nuisance anemones to ensure they recognise these as food.
Offer a varied diet for omnivores. Meaty items should include krill, vitamin-enriched brineshrimp, finely chopped cockle/ mussel/ prawns/ squid/ fish/clam meat etc, and herbivore rations such Nori, marine algae, vegetable matter etc. Feed small amounts 3 times per day.
This species has been bred in the home aquarium. Several hundred adhesive eggs are deposited on the substrate, usually around clumps of algae, and these are defended by the female. The eggs should hatch within 72 hours (temperature dependent) and the larvae can be offered tiny copepods and rotifers. Some 15 days later, the larvae assume the juvenile fish stage and can be offered other foods such as baby brineshrimp (Artemia nauplii).