Common name: Crown Squirrelfish, Crown Squirrel fish
Scientific name: Sargocentron diadema
Max size: 7 in / 17 cm
Temperature: 72-78ºF (22-26°C)
The Crown squirrelfish is not that widespread in the trade but is still one of the most commonly available squirrelfish species. It is a predatory fish that hunts during the night. The fact that this predatory species is active at night might not come as any surprise as the Crown squirrelfish has very large eyes and mouth. They have a red brownish body with white lateral lines that runs from the gill covers to the tail fin of the fish. Crown squirrelfish also have a couple of horizontal white lines on their gill covers and a single white line beneath their mouths.
The Crown squirrelfish is a predatory fish and it will eat fish and invertebrates small enough to be suitable prey. Remember that this species has a large mouth and can devour larger things than you would expect a fish of their size to be able to swallow. They are not reef safe as they eat invertebrates. Crown squirrelfish usually leaves coral and stinging anemones in peace. They should only be kept with fish that are of similar size or larger than the Crown squirrelfish. Do not keep them with very aggressive fish. It is a schooling species and should never be kept alone without other Crown squirrelfish present.
Crown squirrelfish originates in the Indo Pacific region. They can be found from the Red Sea and the eastern coast of Africa to the Hawaiian and Pitcairn islands. Their northern distribution limit is the coast of Japan and the southern the coast of Australia.
This species is not suitable for beginners but you don't have to be an expert to keep them. If you have a large aquarium and some experience keeping saltwater fish and like Crown squirrelfish you might consider getting it.
Crown Squirrelfish care and aquarium setup:
Since the Crown squirrelfish is not a small fish and is best kept in a school it should be provided with a large aquarium. I recommend a 100 gallon / 400 L tank to house a school of the species but I know of people keeping a school in a 50 gallon /200L tank successfully. They are most suitable for "Fish only" or " fish with live rock aquariums". Do not keep in reef tanks. The tank should contain plenty of open area and some hiding places such as caves where the fish can retreat to. A well circulated aquarium and a high and stable water quality are important when keeping the Crown squirrelfish.
Ideal conditions for this species is pH 8.1-8.0, salinity 1.020-1.025, and temperature 72-78ºF (22-26°C).
Feeding Crown Squirrelfish
The Crown squirrelfish is a carnivore species that feeds on small fish, invertebrates etc in the wild. They can sometimes, but not always, be trained to accept marine pellets. They should be feed a varied high protein diet consisting of live and frozen food as well a chopped up sea food. Make sure that you feed them suitably sized food. Feed your Crown squirrel fish 2 -3 times a day.
Breeding Crown Squirrelfish
We have no information regarding the breeding of Crown squirrelfish in home aquariums. Some species of squirrel fish have been bred in aquariums but little is know about what triggered those spawnings. All species are very hard to breed. Sexing Crown squirrelfish is hard and the results of such attempts are often very unreliable.