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Common Name: Gumdrop Coral Croucher, Venemous Velvetfish
Scientific Name: Caracanthus maculatus, C. madagascariensis, C. typicus, C. unipinna.
Physical Description: Body flattened vertically, round and thin like a coin standing on edge. Eyes and mouth close to front of face. Coloration tan to pink with pink to bright red spots and markings. C. madagascariensis has brightest coloration. Fish is covered in tiny bumps giving it a soft, velvet-like appearance.
Sexual Dimorphism: Not dimorphic.
Spawning: Pairs spawn under Acropora or Pocillopora coral branches.
Minimum and Optimum Tank Size: 30+ gallons
Diet: Carnivore, ambush predator. Mysis shrimp and other frozen meaty foods are commonly accepted. May require live shrimp during acclimation.
Natural Habitat: Coral reefs.
Max Size: 5 cm or 2 inches.
Distribution: C. maculatus and C. unipinna Indo-Pacific, C. madagascariensis Western Indian Ocean, C. typicus Hawaiian Islands.
Temperment: Peaceful, but aggressive toward conspecifics. May consume tiny ornamental crustaceans.
Habits: Live among the branches of Pocillopora and Acropora corals, using pelvic fins to climb and wedge into coral branches. Related to anglerfish and stonefish, behavior is similar.
Ideal Water Chemistry: pH 8.2, salinity 1.020 - 1.024, temp 72* - 78*F
Hardiness and Lifespan: 6/10. Lifespan is not known. Probably around 5 years or more.
Sensitivities: Ammonia, Nitrite.
Photoperiod: 10 - 12
Activity Peak: Dawn, Dusk
Other: These fish are mildly venemous. The venom is used for defense only and is injected from the dorsal spines when the fish is tightly squeezed. The reaction is similar to a bee sting. Use caution when working in the aquarium so you are not stung.

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