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Hispid Anglerfish

Scientific Name: Antennarius hispidus
Family: Antennariidae

About the Hispid Anglerfish

Species Type: Saltwater Fish
Category: Anglerfish, Frogfish, & Toadfish

Care Level: Difficult. Healthy specimens may be difficult to find, as stress during shipping is normal. Triggering a feeding response in captivity may present a challenge, or meeting the dietary demands of the species may require special daily care. Is prone to disease, requiring high water quality. Proper acclimation and quarantine are essential, and the use of a UV Sterilizer is suggested. Recommended for advanced marine hobbyists only.
Origin: Atlantic, Southeast and Western Indian Ocean, Northwest, Western Central and Eastern Central Pacific
Compatibility/Temperament: This fish is not compatible with any fish that is up to twice its size. It is one of the few fish that can swallow fish larger than themselves.


Antennarius hispidus (Shaggy angler) Is a slow moving fish loaded with some very "High Tech" gear. It most of its time walking along the bottom of the tank using its downward facing pectoral fins as front legs and its pelvic fins as hind legs. Walking around on these highly adapted "Legs" it lurks in rock formations and crevices patiently awaiting its next victim. It gets the "Anglerfish" part of its name from the fact that it is an expert fisherman that has its own fishing rod which is called an illicium and on the end of it they have a lure called an esca. Different members of the Antennariidae family are often identified by their differing Lures (Esca) Some have Esca resembling a single worm while others like the Hispid have an esca that resembles a ball of tube worms. The Shaggy Anglerfish will shake its esca to attract the attention of his prey and once close enough he will swallow them whole in an instant gulp. As mentioned this fish can eat prey twice its own size, this is possible because the stomach expands to a size larger than the fish itself.

The other fascinating asset of this fish is that it has "Jet Propulsion", It's gill plates are completely enclosed in its head. The exhaust from its respiration is cleverly redirected to two outlets just behind each pectoral fin (close to the body as if in the "arm pit" formed by the pectoral fins) each exhaust is controlled by muscles that act as valves. In an emergency the Hispid Anglerfish can use this "Water Jet propulsion" to attain amazing short bursts of speed.

As if all this all isn't curious enough the fish can spread its fully functioning finnage and swim just like any other fish. When swimming it swims at the normal pace of most other fish but when walking it is extremely deliberate and slow with each step and movement.

This fish has a rating of "Difficult" however that is misleading, It is a very hardy fish in terms of acceptable water conditions. It is only rated as "Difficult" because this fish will only eat Live Fish and live Invertebrates (Such as Shrimp) This combined with its very slow movement makes it very difficult to feed. If there are tank mates that will also eat live food, his tank mates will almost always beat him to the prey. Only having this fish in a species only tank, or Natural feeding (Filling the tank with enough fish so that he can use his fishing gear to attract and consume his prey) and/or Target Feeding (Using a feeding stick or feeding bell) will ensure that this fish is adequately fed until you can train it to accept frozen food. The other factor that sets this fish as "Difficult" is that it will eat anything it is able to fit into its mouth, and since its mouth can accept fish twice its own size that severely limits tank mates.

For these reasons, the Hispid Anglerfish is not recommended for the beginner fish keeper.

Hispid Anglerfish Diet

Only accepts Live food (Fish, Shrimp). With lots of patience can be trained to accept frozen.


6 - 7 inches

Minimum Tank Suggestion

45 Gallon

Ideal water parameters for Hispid Anglerfish

Marine fish are highly sensitive animals with very specific care requirements. Most all saltwater species will require similar water conditions, designed to replicate that of natural seawater. Ammonia and nitrite levels should absolute zero, temperature at 76F to 80F, and salinity at 1.024 to 1.026. Although some fish are tolerant of lower levels of Nitrate, the goal in every aquariums should be to keep Nitrate as close to zero as possible, and certainly under 20ppm. Finally, maintaining a stable pH of 8.0 to 8.4 is desired. Achieving this is made easier by monitoring alkalinity, which should be kept at 8-12 DKH, and calcium, which is targeted at 400 to 460ppm.

Contributing Members

The following members have contributed to this profile: tanks4thememories
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