Living Coasts has a new species on display in the aquarium – the bristletail filefish (Acreichthys tomentosus).

This small, mottled brown fish might not be much to look at, but it has a special skill – it’s an incredibly good tank cleaner! The filefish eats Aiptasia, a pest anemone which comes in with the sea water used in our exhibits and grows in the marine tanks. The Aiptasia can take over a tank, which not only makes it look messy, but uses up vital nutrients - and it can sting the inhabitants.

This species of filefish has been brought in to help keep our ray tank clean, but this won’t be until the fish reach 2-3 inches in length, so they need a bit of time to grow first. The filefish have settled into a smaller tank temporarily and are on display in the Hidden Treasures section of our Aquarium. 

Filefish can change their colours and the patterns on their body to camouflage in their surroundings. Because of this, they can be incredibly difficult to find, especially amongst the rocks - can you spot all five?


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