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Pajama Cardinalfish
Please Note: Due to variations within species, your item may not look identical to the image provided. Approximate size range may also vary between individual specimen.
Pajama Cardinalfish (Sphaeramia nematoptera)
Additional locales and sizes may be available!

Quick Stats

Care Level Easy
Temperament Peaceful
Color Form Green, White
Diet Carnivore
Reef Compatible Yes
Water Conditions sg 1.020-1.025, 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4
Max. Size 3½"
Origin Fiji, Indonesia, Sri Lanka
Family Apogonidae
Minimum Tank Size 20 gallons
Compatibility View Chart
What do these Quick Stats mean? Click here for more information


The Pajama Cardinalfish is a rainbow of playful colors. It has a greenish-yellow face, bright orange eyes, and a silver-based body dressed with a bold black scalar margin and a posterior dotted with orange polka-dots. Though its bold coloration may stand out, Sphaeramia nematoptera has a peaceful nature that lets it blend perfectly into any community saltwater aquarium.

For the best care, the Pajama Cardinalfish should be kept in small schools in suitably sized aquariums of at least 30 gallons. Because the Pajama Cardinalfish is a slow and methodical swimmer, it should be housed with peaceful tankmates and offered a plethora of hiding places amongst rockwork or plants. Most Pajama Cardinalfish will tend to hide in sea grass or other plants. Some may also camouflage themselves against long spined sea urchins.

Like many other schooling fish, the Pajama Cardinalfish will form a strict hierarchy when kept in small groups within the aquarium. However, unlike some social fish, this member of the Apogonidae family does not use aggression to exert dominance over other cardinalfish.

The Pajama Cardinalfish requires a well balanced diet of meaty foods such as feeder shrimp, flake foods, pellet foods, marine flesh, bloodworms, and depending on its size, live feeder fish.

Approximate Purchase Size: Small: 3/4" to 1-1/4" Medium: 1-1/4" to 2-1/4"

Customer Testimonials

Houston B Nashville , TN
These little guys are so cute! I have one as of now (I am going to get more soon), and he comes out at about 6:00 pm or so even if the main lights are still on - he comes looking for food! I would recommend getting a small LED lunar light so you can see these guy's nocturnal instincts. They are carnivores so you may need to have frozen or live foods for them, but they are a joy to have!
John F Darien , CT
I have a school of 7 pajama cardinals and they are a great addition to my tank. There are three males in the school and the biggest is almost 3-1/2 inches! They truely are beautiful fish. Very hardy and a great addition to any aquarium!
Richard L Corpus Christi , TX
Very peaceful and very relaxed. They school together, and reside in the top part of the tank. I get a lot of compliments on the looks of these little guys.
Greg O Knoxville , TN
This fish is very hardy and a great addition to any tank.
John O Polo , IL
A very colorful and peaceful tank inhabitant. These fish are active mostly after the main lights go out for the day. A great fish for a reef tank.
Richard L Corpus Christi , TX
These little guys are very peaceful. They school together, so a group of 3 or more is a good idea. They are very neat to look at because of their color markings. I would recommend to anyone looking for peaceful fish. I have had a problem in the past getting them to stay alive for 14 days, but Drs. Foster and Smith have taken care of all my problems as usual. You can't beat a 14-day guarantee. I wouldn't buy from anyone else. I finally have 3 of these guys thriving in my 55 gallon, and they are beautiful fish.
Carole I St George , UT
This is a wonderful fish to have in any reef aquarium or fish-only. It is very peaceful and gets along with other fish and is fun to watch.
Peter L Coconut Creek , FL
I have two and they swim around like helicopters. Really cool FISH!!!!!!!!!
Chris G Scarsdale , NY
really cool fish. mien likes my Chinese Dragon Bubbler. I accidently broke it, however, I leaned it over and it is his new home. Great fish to have for a peaceful tank.
Jacob G Laurelton , NY
I love these guys, i have 6 and they've been going strong for about 2 years. The largest one makes me laugh the most, he's actually the biggest scaredy-cat in the group. I'm keeping them in a 75 gal with 2 clownfish, a filefish, pistol shrimp, watchman goby and a neon goby. Definetley will order from live aquaria again, these fish are top-quality!
Jeff S Metamora , IL
I received 3 of these a few weeks ago along with some Tangs. Unfortunately, one died right away while in quarantine. I didn't notice it because of the reflection. I put the last two in the 540 gallon display recently. Only one made it. They are just too tiny. I hope the last one lives and gets bigger.
Trevor W [city not selected] , ID
Great fish. Get one right away! They are so cool and colorful. I have had mine about 2 months and it is doing fine. I totaly recomend this fish and Doctors Foster and Smith! Happy Fish!
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