Name: Monodactylus argenteus|
Origin: Africa to Asia|
The Mono requires a progressively higher water salinity as it grows so an aquarist who has both a freshwater and a (large!) marine tank is the ideal owner for a shoal of these fish. Another name used mostly in Australia is the Finger Fish. This is because it has an almost fingerlike dorsal and anal fin. The scientific name Monodactylus means one finger. These fish have not been bred in aquaria. They should be kept in a shoal in a deep tank.
These have been bred by aquarium hobbyists (inquire for details on this if you like I can give the phone number to those trully interested). The fry are microscopic and when I peered into the scope I realised that the little black speck in the puddle on the glass tray was just the head of the fry! The food they eat is of course microscopic and still experimental because others that have spawned them aren't talking. Secondly, Monos can live in true fresh water and true saltwater at any age. This is being done with little work and no problems. Including large adults spawning in freshwater. There are several varieties of this fish.
I am just getting into monos and really like them. I've had two argentia monos for several months and they're both quite aggressive. I read on another page that someone was having difficulty with an archer beating up on his monos. Get this - I have a mono that is just barely 3 cm long, and he spends all day picking on my 16 cm archer! This archer is big enough to eat my little mono, but I guess he doesn't know it because of the mono's height to length aspect. I've now added two sebae monos along with my two argentias (200 liter, slightly brackish) the big sebae is the largest of the four, but so far my larger argentia still rules the tank. They ALL seem to be aggressive fish! Like cichlids, but without the territorial behavior.
I have kept monos in both freshwater and saltwater tanks. The only thing that I have found critical to keeping monos is to keep the pH high otherwise your mono will not last very long. The first mono I had which I kept in my freshwater tank was fairly placid, but my second mono that is twice the size and lives in my saltwater tank continually chases my fox face about the tank though it does not nip its fins and does not bother any other tank occupants. Its appetite is voracious, though it took a couple of days to settle in but now it eats anything. One other thing that I have noticed is that it hates when the lights are turned off, it bounces around the tank as soon as they are switched off. So I always turn off my white light before I turn off my blue actinic light so that it gradually darkens the tank rather than suddenly going black. Monos look their best when they are young because of the vertical black stripes that they have along their body. It's a pity that they lose them when they get older but they are still a great fish!
I currently have two monos in a 110 liter. They aren't alone though. There are also 2 large angels, a scat, a discus, a pleco, and strangely enough a solitary danio. I say strangely enough because when I added a school of about 12 large jumbo neons the 2 monos began to systematically eat them one by one. The two were working together like herding dogs. I feed them an assortment of food: tetramin, frozen brine shrimp, frozen bloodworms. Oh yeah, they seem to like the tetra pro. They tend to flip the flakes, it looks pretty cool. My tank conditions are as follows: filtration - Emperor 280, 1 teaspoon aquarium salt to each 20 L, and a constant temperature of 29°C. They seem to like it. All in all I love my monos.
For a few weeks now, I've been taking care of a shoal of 7 Mono's. They are now almost 3 cm. I liked them very much, ever since I saw them in the stores. What strikes me most about these fish, is the aggressive behavior between them. I expected that they where a bit more tolerant towards each other. But no, at least 4 of my shoal of 7 are very aggressive, and are constantly chasing and picking the others. Luckily for those who are being chased, I provided hiding places like big shells, plants (Vallisneria Spiralis) and rocks. My tank contains 150 liters, and I add 1 teaspoon of salt on every 10 liters of water. My plants do very well, I got a tip that Vallisneria does very well in brackish water. And it's true. And my Mono's seem to like them too. So, if you are looking for a turbulent aquarium, these are the fishes for you!!