Monkeyface Prickleback Fish “Cebidichthys Violaceus”

monkeyface prickleback fish

The monkeyface prickleback is a species of fish that resides on the Pacific Coast of North America, from Alaska to Baja California. This particular species is considered endangered and has been declared so by the IUCN since 1996. The monkeyface prickleback was first discovered in 1901 on San Nicolas Island off the coast of Southern California by an expedition led by Charles Haskins Townsend.

Some monkeyface pricklebacks are just monkeyfaces with prickles, but monkeyface pricklebacks fish have monkey faces and prickly backs. This is because they are a cross between monkeyface fish and the thorny skate, which is itself a type of ray.

Origin and description

monkeyface prickleback fish

The monkeyface prickleback is a fish that is found in the Pacific Ocean. It has a long, slender body and a protruding lower jaw that gives it its characteristic monkey-like face. The skin on the back of this fish is covered in spines, which give it its name. These spines can be quite sharp and can cause a lot of pain if they come into contact with skin.

The monkeyface prickleback is a predatory fish and feeds on small fish, crabs, and other invertebrates. It is a popular gamefish and is often caught by recreational anglers. This fish can be found in both saltwater and freshwater environments, but it prefers to live in areas with a lot of vegetation.

The monkeyface prickleback is a popular fish for aquarium enthusiasts and can be found in many pet stores. It is a hardy fish and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions. It grows up to 12 inches in length and makes an interesting addition to any home aquarium.

Species profile

monkeyface prickleback fish

The monkeyface prickleback is a species of fish in the family Tetraodontidae. This species has been found inhabiting reefs and rocks along rocky shorelines from depths of 0 to 20 meters.

This fish has a wide and flattened body with a protruding snout, giving it its common name. The dorsal (upper) surface is typically olive-green to brown in color, while the ventral (lower) surface is white.

There are three dark longitudinal stripes on the body and a black spot at the base of the tail. The spines along the back and sides of the fish can be quite sharp and are used as a defense against predators.

Scientific name

The scientific name for the monkeyface prickleback is Cebidichthys violaceus

Range and habitat

The monkeyface prickleback is found inhabiting reefs and rocks along rocky shorelines from depths of 0 to 20 meters. In general, they live on the coral reefs or around rock faces that have some shelter from predators such as algae overhangs or crevices. They are usually seen alone or in small groups of less than six individuals.

Size

The monkeyface prickleback is typically around 12 centimeters long.

Tank size

The monkeyface prickleback requires a tank of at least 30 gallons with plenty of rocks and driftwood for hiding.

It is also best to keep them in groups, as they are very territorial when it comes to their own species. Along the same lines, only one male should be kept per aquarium.

Life cycle

They will lay eggs on the rocks, and then guard them until they hatch. The females are typically not as brightly colored as males during the breeding season.

The young fish go through a larval stage where their body is transparent with only their eyes pigmented. Once this period has passed (around six days), they become easier to identify by their colors and patterns.

After they have settled, the male will display to the female by pressing his body against hers with his dorsal fin pressed up against her anal fin. He then releases sperm into a sticky mass that she can choose whether or not to pick up. If she does decide to fertilize them, it takes around two days for them to hatch.

The eggs are quite large, measuring around one millimeter. Once they have hatched, the female will guard them until their yolk has been absorbed into their bodies. During this time, she will reject all food offered to her and can be aggressive towards other tank mates as well as humans if approached carelessly. After two days of being guarded, the young fish will be on their own.

Are they aggressive or peaceful?

The monkeyface prickleback is a territorial fish and can be aggressive towards other members of its own species, but it is otherwise peaceful. It should only be kept with similarly sized fish that will not pose a threat to it. The young fish are also quite vulnerable and should not be placed in tanks with more dominant fish.

Monkeyface prickleback care

monkeyface prickleback fish

The monkeyface prickleback is a hardy fish and does not require much special care. The tank should be well-maintained with regular water changes and the appropriate levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate monitored. They can tolerate a wide range of water temperatures but prefer it on the cooler side.

Feeding them is easy, as they will accept most types of food. They should be fed a varied diet that includes both live and frozen foods.

What they eat

The monkeyface prickleback is omnivorous and will eat anything it can find. They are generally not picky, so you don’t have to worry about getting them the perfect food. Feeding frozen brine shrimp or bloodworms regularly is beneficial for their immune system.

Tank mates

Since the monkeyface prickleback is a slow-moving fish, it can make an ideal addition to any community tank. Some good tank mates for this fish include other bottom feeders such as gobies and catfish, as well as small schooling fish like tetras or danios.

Water conditions

The monkeyface prickleback does best in a brackish water tank with a salinity of around SG ~0.005 and temperature at 72-78°F (22-26°C). Water quality is important for this fish, so regular partial water changes are essential to keep nitrate levels low, below 20 ppm, as well as to remove traces of medications should the fish ever get sick.

The monkeyface prickleback is a hardy fish that can adapt to a wide range of water conditions, making it an ideal choice for both beginner and experienced aquarists. However, due to its slow movement, this fish should not be kept with overly active or aggressive tank mates.

With the right water conditions and companions, the monkeyface prickleback makes for a unique and interesting addition to any community tank.

Breeding

monkeyface prickleback fish

The monkeyface prickleback is one of the easiest fish to breed in the aquarium. The male and female will form a breeding pair, and the female will lay her eggs on a flat surface such as a rock or piece of driftwood. The eggs will hatch within a few days, and the fry can be fed newly hatched brine shrimp or other small foods.

If you are lucky enough to find an egg-carrying female, it is possible to induce spawning without a male present by placing her in the breeding tank with some fine gravel or sand and increasing the temperature slightly until she spawns.

It has been reported that this species can change sex from female to male if there is no other mating option available.

Lifespan

The monkeyface prickleback can live for up to ten years in the wild. In the aquarium, they typically have a lifespan of two to four years.

Parasites and diseases

The monkeyface prickleback is susceptible to a number of parasites and diseases. One such parasite is the nematode Contracaecum sp., which can cause fatal intestinal blockages in fish. Other parasites that affect this species include the copepod Mytilicola Orientalis, which infests the gut and reproductive organs of the monkeyface prickleback.

Removal of parasites and other external agents is an important part of the captive husbandry for this species – they are a great challenge to keep in captivity, but offer a unique opportunity for advanced aquarists.

Predators

The monkeyface prickleback is preyed on by a number of predators, both in the wild and in captivity. Some common predators include marine mammals (such as dolphins and seals), seabirds (such as cormorants and gulls), larger fish (such as halibut and rockfish), and octopuses.

Do they make good pets?

The monkeyface prickleback is a challenging fish to keep in captivity but offers a unique opportunity for advanced aquarists.

Conclusion

The monkeyface prickleback is a fascinating fish that is susceptible to a number of parasites and diseases. They are preyed on by a number of predators, both in the wild and in captivity. While they are not recommended for the average aquarist, they can make interesting and rewarding captives for those who have the experience and facilities necessary to care for them properly.