The Banggai cardinalfish belongs to the phylum Chordata which also includes various groups of the subphylum, Vertebrata: fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Because this species has an internal skeleton that is ossified, a swim bladder, and has bony scales and gill slits covered by an operculum, it is placed in the class of fishes known as Osteichthyes. Within that class there is one order that exceeds all others in diversity, the order Perciformes, or perch-like fishes to which this species belongs. The perciform fishes are believed to include 148 families in approximately 1,500 genera, encompassing almost 10,000 species of fishes. The cardinalfishes of the family Apogonidae are characterized as possessing two separate dorsal fins.
The first dorsal fin contains 6 to 8 spines and 8 to14 soft rays in the second dorsal fin. There are two spines in the anal fin and the number of soft rays range between 8 and 18. Males are mouth-brooders with most species being nocturnal, feeding on zooplankton and small benthic invertebrates. This family is thought to be one of the largest families of fishes with about 27 genera and 250 species. The largest genus, Apogon (which means without a barb) accounts for the highest number of species in the family. There is, however, only one species, kauderni, found in the genus Pterapogon and that is the Banggai cardinalfish.
This species (also know as Banggai cardinals) was first described in 1920 from collections of fishes originating in waters surrounding Sulawesi in Indonesia. It had remained unknown to western science when it first began to appear in 1995 and since then it has exploded into the marine ornamental trade.
The information presented in this manual primarily includes the observations and experiences of the authors and represents insights obtained from a firsthand perspective. However, the procedures described have also been supplemented with data on the reproduction and early life history of this species that has largely been obtained from various attempts to produce this species in captivity both by hobbyists and researchers.