The Moorish Idol is one of the most beautiful aqarium fish. Unfortunately, they are extremely difficult to keep in captivity and should not be purchased for your aquarium. Best leave this one where it can survive, in the ocean! Another fish that looks similar to the Moorish Idol, but can be kept successfully in an aquarium is the Longfin Bannerfish, Heniochus acuminatus. Other species of Heniochus can also be kept. The Moorish Idol, Zanclus cornutus or "Crowned Scythe", is the only member of the family Zanclidae. It eats sponges, tunicates and other benthic invertebrates in the wild, which explains why aquarists have an impossible time getting them to eat in captivity. This is a beautiful fish that should be left in the ocean.
This fish has earned the name Oldwife for the sound it makes when it is captured. The noise? Well, they grind their teeth! These peaceful and very unique looking fish will reach 1' 8" and need a tank that is at least 180 gallons and is best kept by intermediate aquarists. They are from Australia and are seasonal, so coming by one is a rather rare experience! They have a venomous first dorsal spine, much like the Lionfish and if stung, soak the wound in hot water (100 to 110˚F). This carnivore does well with any meaty marine flesh.
This is a rare find! Even if you try to raise several juveniles together, they may never form a permanent bonded pair as they grow up. When they are around 2.5," give or take, they become mature and that is when the will kill each other until one remains. They can be kept in a nano tank as small as 10 gallons with no other fish and 40 gallons if you want tank mates. Either way, the tank MUST have a sealed lid with no holes of any kind. Equipment cords, skimmers, etc, will have to be tightly fitted through that back black strip or if you have a sump, over flows are a typical "go to" place for Firefish! Only peaceful fish as tank mates and a reef setting is best.