The Blackfoot Cardinalfish, Apogon nigripes is not a commonly known Cardinalfish and they have a small known range in comparison to other cardinalfish.
During the day the body has an orange colour which changes to an orange green orange colour at night. There are white patches on the sides of the body. The dorsal fins have a red tint on the first rays and the anal and pelvic fins have a similar tint on the leading edges. The specimens we have sighted in Tanzania have been around 5 to 6 cm in length.
BLACKFOOT CARDINALFISH IN THE WILD
The Blackfoot Cardinalfish are nocturnal feeders and during the day collect in small shoals among the sea grass. At night they are seen solitary on rubble surrounding the sea grass. Very little seems known of this not unattractive looking Cardinalfish. They are quick to hide in the sea grass when approached and have a cheeky looking appearance.
The Blackfoot Cardinalfish is found from St Lucia in South Africa to the Red Sea. They are found in shallow water on beds of sea grass.
The Blackfoot Cardinalfish are nocturnal feeders , feeding mainly on zooplankton and small benthic organisms.
With all Cardinalfish, during breeding pairs are formed and after performing a mating dance, the eggs are laid by the female and fertilized by the male. The male then collects the fertilized eggs and carries the eggs in his mouth until they hatch. During this time the male cannot feed. Towards the end of the incubation period the males become quite skinny making the protruding mouth more noticeable. This can result in cannibalism with the male eating some of the eggs. We have only witnessed the egg laying on one occasion and it seems to occur on nights with a full moon.
Blackfoot Cardinalfish are probably not commonly kept in aquariums being one of the lesser known species. Some cardinalfish have been bred in captivity by breeders such as Orafarm where they are occasionally available.
Purchasing captive bred fish takes the pressure off of wild populations and if one can do so one should. Most Cardinalfish are reasonably hardy and easy to keep.
BLACKFOOT CARDINALFISH CLASSIFICATION
Species: A. nigripes