The tripod fish, also called the tripod gurnard, is a species of marine fish in the family Triglidae. It has three long fins that act like legs that it uses to “walk” across the bottom of shallow waters offshore. Tripod fishes are found along the southeastern coast of North America and Australia.
One day while walking on the beach I spotted something interesting out in deeper water about 10 yards from shore. It was tripod fish! The fish would slowly move forward by alternately pointing its snout down and up so it could use its pectoral fins for support against gravity.
They have three sets of tentacles that they use for hunting prey and they live in the deep ocean.
The tentacle is not only used as a weapon but is also used for sensing objects nearby using sensitive cells called ampullae of Lorenzini. The tripod fish has two types of teeth located on its upper jaw; one set with jagged edges and another set with sharp points.
Origin and description
Tripod fish are found in the Indo-Pacific region which ranges from East Africa all the way eastward across Southeast Asia, Northern Australia, Micronesia, and the Mariana Islands. Their habitat is typically in lagoons or coastal reefs with seagrass beds which are rich in nutrients that tripod fish rely on for food.
They live at depths between 16 feet (five meters) to 328 feet (100 m).
They are very interesting creatures that live at the bottom of reefs. They have an elongated body with three long filaments located on either side of their head and one in between, so it looks like they only have two eyes instead of three. These animals tend to be transparent or brownish-yellow with small black spots all over their body. The average length of the Tripod Fish is about 12 inches (30 centimeters), but there are some species that can reach up to 24 inches (60 cm) in length.
Tripod fish belong to one of two families: tripod fish, and sea moths or anglerfish. They both have elongated bodies which are laterally compressed, but the most notable difference is that tripod fish have three long filaments on either side of their head and one in between. The pelvic fins are fused with a medial fleshy lobe to form an adhesive apparatus which is used for attaching onto hard surfaces while feeding.
Tripod fish do not have scales like other fishes; instead, they have denticles. These small teeth-like structures help protect their bodies from predators and parasites by making it difficult to remove them for potential prey species who try to eat them.
The tripodfish, also known as a triplefin or sea toad, is named for its three very tall and spiny first dorsal fin rays. The remaining fins are greatly reduced in size. This fish has a long tubular snout with minute nostrils at the tip and large eyes located high on the head and above the mouth. Its body is round and laterally compressed, with soft skin covered by tiny spines.
The coloration of this fish is variable but generally consists of a brownish or yellow-brown background, overlaid with five to eight dark bars surrounded by white margins (larger in females). They are also capable of rapidly changing their body color from light to dark, and to light again.
The scientific name of the tripod fish is Bathypterois grallator
Color and appearance
The color of the tripod fish is brown. It has three dorsal fins, one large and two smaller ones closer to its tail fin.
It has a long tubular snout with minute nostrils at the tip and large eyes located high on the head and above the mouth. Its body is round and laterally compressed, with soft skin covered by tiny spines.
It is able to rapidly change its body color. This species can reach a maximum length of 19 centimeters (cm) but is more commonly observed at lengths under 12 cm.
Range and habitat
The tripod fish is found in the Indian Ocean and western Pacific. It prefers reef environments with rocky or coral substrates, where it lives among the branches of corals and other structures using its spiny dorsal fin rays to steady itself while standing upright on the bottom.
It can be found from Japan southward along eastern Australia as far west as the coast of India.
The tripod fish is a nocturnal species that spends much of its time foraging among crevices and caves during the day, generally in tropical waters at depths less than 100 meters (m).
They are found around coastal reefs with clear water temperatures ranging from 23 to 28 degrees Celsius. They prefer to live in crevices or caves with their heads oriented toward the current for feeding.
The tripod fish is small in size. It can reach a maximum length of 12 cm but most adults are found at lengths under 11 cm.
The Tripod Fish needs a minimum of 30 gallon tank.
Tripod fish has an unusual life cycle that doesn’t include a larva. Instead of going through a metamorphosis, the eggs hatch as tiny versions of their parents with similar color patterns and shapes. They spend the first few years of their lives living in coral reefs where they feed on small crustaceans such as copepods and krill.
Tripod fish are viviparous, meaning they give birth to live young. They typically only give birth every other year even though the gestation period is about one year long. The female can produce up to 20 baby tripodfish which will attach themselves onto her pelvic fins while she gives birth so that she can protect them during this vulnerable period.
They are dioecious, meaning they have separate male and female sexes which reproduce by cross-fertilization.
Are they aggressive or peaceful?
Tripod fish are mostly peaceful and will only attack if their territory is threatened.
Tripod fish care
Tripod fish require a lot of care. They need to have a proper aquarium setup with high-quality water and live plants, as well as excellent filtration equipment. Without all this, they will not be able to thrive in their environment and may even die from poor living conditions or stress-related issues. The tank needs to stay at a pH of between eight and nine, with the water temperature at around 76 degrees Fahrenheit. They need about 20 gallons per tripod fish in order to thrive very well in their environment.
What they eat
Their natural diet consists mainly of various kinds of invertebrates, but they are also known to eat fish. These include mollusks and crustaceans. They will not eat any kind of plant matter in the wild, so it is best for them to be fed with meaty foods only in captivity. The tripod fish can usually be fed once or twice a day.
Tripod fish are peaceful creatures that do not pose a threat to any other types of tank mates. They can be kept with many different kinds of saltwater aquarium inhabitants, including corals and invertebrates. However, take care when choosing their companions as they may eat small shrimp or crabs if they are introduced into the same tank.
Tripod fish need excellent water quality in order to survive. The pH level should be between eight and nine, with the temperature at around 76 degrees Fahrenheit. They also prefer low levels of nitrate, ammonia, and nitrite if they are kept in captivity.
They do not require any specific lighting or filtration system on top of this; however, these are musts when keeping most saltwater creatures. The tank should be covered and filtered, as the tripod fish is a jumper that will do anything to escape if given the chance.
Breeding tripod fish
Breeding tripod fish in captivity is very hard and not recommended. Not only do they require excellent water quality, but they also need a large tank with lots of food for both males and females to breed successfully. It takes around three years for the male tripod fish to mature, at which point he will start building an area under their favorite rock to attract a female.
The male will then use the rock to attach himself and begin cleaning it with his fins, after which he will breed with her.
The eggs are laid under this same rock for protection from other fish in the tank as well as being kept safe from predators until they hatch into tiny tripod fish that must be cared for just like any other type of fry.
They can live up to around 20 years depending on the type of aquarium they are kept in. They will not be able to survive for as long if their environment is less than adequate, so it is best to keep them at a pH between eight and nine and with excellent water quality and filtration systems.
Parasites and diseases
The parasitic copepod can cause eye damage and blindness in the tripod fish. The species of parasites that affect this particular fish are Porocephalus Mysidacea, a type of hairworm, which lives inside the stomach lining. It does not seem to be common, but it is possible for these parasites to take up residence within the eyes of the tripod fish. This results in blindness and damage to these organs, which is a significant problem for the species, as it needs its sight to catch prey efficiently.
The biggest problem with the tripod fish is usually stress-related from poor living conditions, so make sure they are kept in a tank with proper lighting, temperature, and water quality.
Tripod fish are preyed upon by any type of large aquatic predators that they encounter in the wild. They may also be eaten by other tripod fishes or small invertebrates, crabs and shrimp included. At their largest size, these creatures only grow to around two inches so they pose no threat to larger carnivorous saltwater aquarium inhabitants such as groupers and eels.
Does it make good pets?
This species of fish is not usually kept in an aquarium, but if it were to be they would fare better with other tripod fishes. They are territorial and aggressive towards any similar-looking types of creatures that might end up in their tank.
These animals might make a decent pet for experienced hobbyists who have successfully maintained saltwater tanks before, because of their specific needs.
Tripod fish are unique and interesting creatures that live in the reefs of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. They have a fascinating adaptation that allows them to remain upright on their fins when they find themselves out of the water, but this oddity is not enough alone to make these animals good pets for most people.