Tassle Filefish

Tassle Filefish

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The Tassled Filefish (Chaetodermis penicilligerus) also known as a Leafy Filefish or Prickly Leatherjacket Filefish, is a unique and visually distinctive saltwater fish that is sometimes kept in marine aquariums. These filefish are known for their interesting appearance and specific dietary preferences. Keeping a Tassled Filefish in your saltwater aquarium requires careful attention to their diet and tank conditions. Here's a care guide to help you maintain a Tassled Filefish in your saltwater aquarium.

Tank Size

A suitable tank size for a Tassled Filefish is at least 50 gallons (around 189 liters). A larger tank is preferable, as it provides more swimming space and water stability.

Water Quality

Maintain stable water parameters, including a temperature range of 72-78°F (22-26°C) and a specific gravity of around 1.023-1.025. Regularly test and adjust pH, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates to ensure optimal water quality.


Use an efficient filtration system, such as a protein skimmer, to remove waste and maintain water clarity. Live rock can assist in biological filtration and provide hiding spots for your Tassled Filefish.


Tassled Filefish have a specific diet and primarily feed on live gorgonians and soft corals, particularly from the genera Sarcophyton and Sinularia. In captivity, it can be challenging to provide them with suitable food. Consider sourcing gorgonians and suitable soft corals that can be grown in your tank.


Tassled Filefish are generally peaceful but may nip at soft corals if their dietary needs are not met. Keep them with compatible tankmates that won't harass or outcompete them for food.

Hiding Spots

Provide hiding spots using live rock, caves, and crevices to make your Tassled Filefish feel secure. Ensure that the soft corals they feed on are strategically placed in the tank for their diet.


Quarantine new fish before introducing them to your main tank to prevent the spread of disease.


Regularly monitor your fish for any signs of stress, disease, or aggression, and take appropriate actions if any issues arise.

Keeping a Tassled Filefish in a saltwater aquarium can be a challenging endeavor due to their specialized diet. It's essential to be well-prepared to meet their dietary needs by providing them with a suitable environment with the required corals and by maintaining water quality. If you are unable to provide a consistent source of gorgonians and soft corals, it may be best to consider other marine fish species that are easier to care for in captivity.