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Filefish

Also known as Foolfish, Leatherjackets, and Shingles, Filefish are warm-water fish with a rough, Sandpaper like Skin and a long file-shaped Dorsal Spine. Filefish belong to the Family Monacanthidae. Fresh Marine offers several interesting Filefish to grace your aquarium. However, prior to delving into specific models, let us understand the following standards common to Filefish:

Compatibility. Filefish are peaceful towards their tank mates. Keep only one Filefish or a mating pair per tank. Filefish are not Reef compatible and they should not be kept with Corals, Invertebrates, and Small & Slow moving fish.
  • Habit & Habitat. Filefish are found in the shallow regions of Temperate Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. They are generally found alone, in pairs, or small groups, on Lagoons, Crevices, Seaward Reefs, Seagrass Beds, and Estuaries.
  • Morphology. Growing up to a length of around 6, Filefish are quite hardy. They have a laterally compressed body, thick & rough skin, and a slender Spine on the Head as an organ of defense. The Fins are soft and simple with small Pectoral Fins and truncated, fan-shaped Tail Fins. The Snout is tapering and sticks out, Eyes are situated at nearly the top of the Head.
  • Ideal Marine Aquarium Environment. Filefish thrive at a temperature of 73-84 degrees Fahrenheit, a Specific Gravity of 1.021 to 1.025, and a pH of water at 8.20-8.40. Your tank should be equipped with Live Rocks, Coral Rocks, and Caves to provide ample hiding space for Filefish.
  • Aquarium Feeding. Filefish are Omnivores, feeding on Algae, Seagrass, Mysis Shrimp, Brine Shrimp, Krill, Sponges, Tunicates, Gorgonians, Corals, Crustaceans, and Hydrozoans. Filefish should be fed at least thrice a day.
  • Aquarium Breeding. Filefish reproduce sexually and do not easily breed in captivity. There are marked morphological differences between the two genders, in the terms of their color, body shape, and size. Males have larger Caudal Spines and Bristles than their female counterparts.
  • Care. Filefish are difficult to maintain and should be handled only by Expert Aquarists.


  • Now, let us look at some of the bestselling Filefish available at Fresh Marine.

    Flame / Redtail Filefish (Pervagor melanocephalus). Also known as Blackheaded File Fish, these Filefish are Orange and Red in color with Gray or Black colored Head. The Caudal Fin of these Filefish is Orange, Soft Dorsal & Anal Fins are Yellow, while first Dorsal Spine is Blackish Brown. Growing up to a size of 3.9, these Filefish require a tank capacity of 20 Gallons.

    Tassle Filefish (Chaetodermis pencilligerus). Also known as Leafy File Fish and Prickly Leatherjacket, this Filefish has a light colored body marked with dark horizontal stripes. Growing up to a size of 12.2, this Filefish requires a tank of around 100 Gallons capacity.

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