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Calloplesiops altivelis - (Steindachner, 1903)

A somewhat elusive character, but among the best-liked of marine aquarium species. Scott W. Michael


This spotted beauty exhibits interesting hunting behaviors and is also one of the most durable fishes available to the home aquarist. This fish is very shy, spending much of its time hiding when first added to a tank. With time, it will make longer appearances in open areas, occasionally displaying its elegant form as it slowly moves from one hiding place to another. It will never be especially bold.

When frightened, it may dive into a niche head-first, leaving its tail and eyespot exposed, apparently mimicking the head of a moray eel.

Family: Plesiopidae

Other common name(s):

  • Marine Betta
  • Sea Betta

Native range:

Habitat: Reef. Needs suitable caves and crevices to shelter in.

Maximum length: 20 cm (8 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 209 L (55 gal)

Water: Marine 24 °C (75 °F) - 28 °C (82 °F)

General swimming level: Midwater to bottom.


Carnivore. Feed meaty foods such as mysis shrimp, krill, carnivore rations or grated fresh or frozen seafood two or three times a week. Occasional meals of live foods, such as adult brine shrimp, will be eaten with relish.

Aquarium Compatibility

It seldom bothers its tankmates, except for members of its own kind, and is best kept singly. If a pair can be acquired, they may lay a gelatinous mass of eggs in a hole or crevice. The male guards the eggs.


Mouthbrooders - demersal (on or near the bottom) spawners that protect their eggs and, in some cases, their fry, in the buccal cavity of one parent.


This fish will “slurp up” very small fishes (e.g., tiny gobies) and shrimp. When the Comet hunts, it tips its body forward, erects its huge pelvic fins and curls its tail to one side. It propels itself toward its potential victim by undulating the pectoral fins. This exaggerated approach may distract the Comet’s victim, and the extended pelvic fins and tail form a barrier to impede the prey’s escape.

Reference: 101 Best Saltwater Fishes
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: SWM