Common names for the Five-Lined Cardinalfish include Five-Striped Cardinalfish, Toothed Cardinalfish and striped cardinal.

In the wild these fish are typically found in small shoals that allow the fish to make the most of their pin-stripe pattern to help protect them from predators. They use the stripes and the false eye-spot on their tails to confuse any potential predators.

Five Lined Cardinalfish in Sea Urchin
Five Lined Cardinalfish in Sea Urchin

They are shy fish, and like to have lots of bolt holes to hide in. They will sometimes make their home in a Long-Spined Sea Urchin, the spikes from the Urchin provide both protection and camouflage.

These stunning little fish is an ideal candidate for smaller tanks & larger tanks alike. They will not harm sessile invertebrates, but will eat crabs, shrimps, small fishes, and snails.

These are one of the more aggressive species of Cardinalfish, and should be kept singularly in smaller tanks. In very large tanks (6 foot plus), they can be kept in a good sized shoal. It is not recommended to keep this in small groups of 3-5 as the result will likely be that the smallest of the shoal will be picked on and killed, until only one fish remains.

You may have noticed the large eyes these fish have, this is because they are nocturnal. This doesn’t mean they will only come out at night, it just means they will likely be more active at night.

Tank Requirements & Facts

Five Lined Cardinalfish
Five Lined Cardinalfish
  • Minimum tank size: 50 Gallon (200 Litres)
  • Prone to disease: No, they are considered very hardy
  • Beginner Compatible: Yes
  • Adult Size: 5 inches (12.7cm)
  • Reef Compatible: With caution. They will not harm sessile invertebrates, but will eat crabs, shrimps, small fishes, and snails.
  • Predator Tank Compatible: Absolutely not
  • Care Level: Very easy
  • pH: 8.1 to 8.4
  • Temperature: 24°C to 28°C
  • Preferred Tank Level: All over
  • Lots of hiding places required
  • Number to a tank: To be kept singularly in smaller tanks, and groups of 6+ in larger tanks.


  • These are carnivores.
  • Will not harm sessile invertebrates, but will eat crabs, shrimps, small fishes, and snails.
  • They are fast eaters, ensure you are feeding enough for the entire tank and not just these fast little fish.
  • Live foods, frozen foods and flake will all be appreciated.


Place your fish in the bucket and then drip acclimate for about 45 minutes at a rate of 3 drips per second. This should bring the fishes water parameters in line with your tanks parameters.

Once your fish has been drip acclimated, catch the fish with a net and place it gently into your tank. Do not put any of the water the fish originally came in, into your tank.

Will Striped Cardinals suit my tank?

These active little fish will suit most home aquariums. They look particularly stunning as a small shoal in a large aquarium and at the moment, they are relatively inexpensive to buy.

Toothed Cardinalfish
Toothed Cardinalfish

If you have a particularly shy fish, these fish could help give him or her a bit of confidence to come out of hiding. They are considered great dither fish and very rarely hide away.

They will not suit any predator tank, they do not grow big enough and will likely become a snack for the more aggressive fish.


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