The Moorish Idol is also commonly known in Hawaii as "Kihikihi" which means "curves," "corners," or "zigzags," and refers to its shape and color pattern. It is the only member of the family Zanclidae, and a very close relative of the Tangs or Surgeonfish. One of the most widespread fish, it can be found throughout the Indian Ocean, Red Sea, and all of the tropical Pacific.
The Moorish idol bodies are tall and round, their snouts being very elongated. The fish has alternating vertical bands of black, white and yellow that run the length of the body. All fins are short and blunt save the dorsal which is very long and slender, though this feature shrinks with age.
The Moorish Idol tends to be very peaceful.As its beauty is most evident while swimming, giving it adequate room is well rewarded. It is compatible with most fish and larger invertebrates, but should not be kept with any polyps or corals, which it will eat. Small invertebrates may be threatened as well.
Perhaps the most graceful of all marine fish, for many hobbyists, it also one of the most difficult fish to keep because it is so difficult to feed. For all but the most expert hobbyist, it is better admired in the ocean or in a public aquarium rather than in a home tank.
The Moorish Idol is a very difficult fish to feed. Live rock with large amounts of algae and sponges on which it can feed will help it acclimate. Then offer a varied diet of finely chopped meaty items, mysid shrimp, vitamin-enriched brine shrimp, Spirulina, and algae. It should be fed several times a day.
The Moorish idol is not reef safe and should not be kept with any polyps or corals as this is one of it's preferred diets. It may also eat sexy shrimp and other small invertebrates. It is best to supply live rock with a good supply of algae and sponges on which to feed. Will gladly feed on zoanthid colonies as well. Try offering finely chopped meaty items, mysis shrimp, algae, sea weed strips and Spirulina.
Maximum Size: The Moorish Idol grows up to 7 inches.
General Size Specifications: This fish will come to you generally between 3 - 5 inches.
Minimum Tank Size: The Moorish Idol prefers a tank of at least 80 gallons with plenty of places to hide & swim. Water Conditions: Keep water quality high (SG 1.020 - 1.025, pH 8.1 - 8.4, Temp. 72 - 78° F).
Habitat: Range: Hawaii, Tahiti. And region of Indo-Pacific ocean.
Feeding and Diet: The Moorish Idol is a omnivore and likes to eat variety of chopped foods (meats & veggies), algae, live foods (worms & Mysis Shrimp). Very difficult to feed- see below. Feeds on coralline algae and sponge in the wild. Offer a varied diet including frozen foods for herbivores as well as dried algae sheets. Live brine shrimp and fresh clam in the shell may be required to induce feeding.