Flashlight Fish: Everything You Need to Know [Best Guide]

Flashlight fish are special creatures that have a unique ability to produce their own light. It is almost like they have their own flashlight to help them see and talk in the dark ocean.

Flashlight fish, also known as lanternfish or lightfish, possess a unique ability to produce their own light, creating a mesmerizing spectacle in the dark depths where they live.

So, in this article, we will delve into everything you need to know about these amazing creatures. We will see flashlight fish size, flashlight fish care, flashlight fish aquarium, and flashlight fish cost.

What is a Flashlight Fish?

In simple words, a flashlight fish is a special type of fish that can make its own light. It has glowing spots near its eyes that it can turn on and off, like a tiny flashlight.

This light helps the fish see in the dark depths of the ocean and also helps them communicate with other fish.

Are Flashlight Fish Rare?

Yes, flashlight fish are considered rare because they are found in specific parts of the ocean and their populations are not abundant.

They typically inhabit deep-sea environments where little light penetrates, making them less commonly encountered by humans.

How Many Flashlight Fish Are There in the World?

It’s difficult to estimate the exact number of flashlight fish in the world’s oceans due to their elusive nature and habitat in deep-sea environments.

Scientific research on these creatures is ongoing, and population assessments are challenging to conduct in their natural habitat.

Types of Flashlight Fish

There are two main types of flashlight fish:

  1. Anomalopidae
  2. Photoblepharon


The splitfin flashlight fish, also known as Anomalops katoptron, is characterized by a split dorsal fin, which gives it a unique appearance. These fish possess light-producing organs called photophores located below their eyes, allowing them to produce bioluminescent light.

They use this light to communicate, attract prey, and navigate in the dark depths of the ocean.


The twofin flashlight fish, scientifically known as Photoblepharon palpebratum, has two distinct dorsal fins. Like the splitfin flashlight fish, it also possesses photophores that emit bioluminescent light.

These fish are often found in deeper ocean waters, where they use their light to communicate with each other and potentially to confuse predators or prey.

Can You Have a Flashlight Fish as a Pet?

It’s generally not feasible to keep flashlight fish as pets. These fish require specific conditions found in their natural habitat, such as deep oceanic environments with low light levels and stable temperatures, which are challenging to replicate in a home aquarium.

Flashlight fish have specialized feeding habits and may not readily adapt to captive diets. Therefore, it’s recommended to admire these fascinating creatures in their natural habitat rather than attempting to keep them in captivity.

Are Flashlight Fish Saltwater or Freshwater?

Flashlight fish are primarily found in saltwater environments. They inhabit deep oceanic waters, often near coral reefs or in caves, where they use their bioluminescent capabilities to navigate and communicate in the darkness of the ocean depths.

What do Flashlight Fish Eat?

Flashlight fish primarily feed on small crustaceans, plankton, and other tiny organisms they find in the water column. They may also consume small fish larvae and zooplankton.

Where can Flashlight Fish be Found?

Flashlight fish are typically found in deep oceanic waters, often near coral reefs, caves, or rocky crevices. They prefer dimly lit environments where they can utilize their bioluminescent abilities for navigation and communication.

What is Flashlight Fish Size?

Flashlight fish are relatively small, typically ranging from about 2 to 4 inches in length, depending on the species. Some species may grow slightly larger, reaching up to 6 inches in length.

How Do You Take Care of Flashlight Fish?

Flashlight fish require specific care conditions in captivity to thrive. It’s essential to recreate their natural habitat as closely as possible, including providing dim lighting and plenty of hiding spaces.

They also need a well-balanced diet consisting of small crustaceans, zooplankton, and other suitable foods. Maintaining stable water parameters, including temperature, pH, and salinity, is crucial for their health and well-being.

Regular water changes and monitoring water quality are essential aspects of flashlight fish care in an aquarium setting.

How to Build Flashlight Fish Aquarium?

To build a suitable aquarium for flashlight fish, start with a tank of appropriate size, typically at least 20 gallons for a small group of flashlight fish. Create a dimly lit environment by using low-intensity aquarium lighting or keeping the tank in a shaded area.

Include plenty of hiding spots such as caves, PVC pipes, or live rock formations to mimic their natural habitat. Use a substrate like sand or fine gravel and maintain stable water parameters, including temperature (around 75-78°F), pH (7.8-8.4), and salinity (1.020-1.025).

Add live plants and corals sparingly, as flashlight fish prefer dimly lit environments. Finally, provide a varied diet of small crustaceans, zooplankton, and other suitable foods to meet their nutritional needs.

What is the Flashlight Fish Cost?

The cost of flashlight fish can vary depending on factors such as species, size, and availability. Generally, flashlight fish are not commonly available in the aquarium trade compared to other marine species, which can make them more expensive.

The twofin flashlight fish price is around $90, while the splitfin flashlight fish price is $125. For other flashlight fish, prices may range from around $20 to $50 or more per fish, depending on factors such as rarity and demand.

Where to Buy Flashlight Fish?

Flashlight fish are not commonly available at typical pet stores or aquarium shops. However, you may be able to find them through specialty marine aquarium suppliers, online retailers, or local fish clubs and forums.

It’s essential to research and ensure that you are purchasing from a reputable source that adheres to ethical and sustainable practices. Consider the specific needs of flashlight fish and ensure that your aquarium is properly set up to accommodate them before acquiring any specimens.

You can search for splitfin flashlight fish for sale near me to get the better idea of rates in your area.


In conclusion, flashlight fish are fascinating creatures that inhabit the depths of the ocean, captivating both scientists and aquarium enthusiasts alike. Their unique bioluminescent abilities, coupled with their symbiotic relationship with bacteria, make them a remarkable species to study and observe.

While they may not be commonly kept in home aquariums due to their specialized care requirements and limited availability, their presence in the marine ecosystem serves as a reminder of the incredible diversity and wonder of the underwater world.

As we continue to explore and learn more about these enigmatic creatures, we gain a deeper understanding of the delicate balance of life in the ocean and the importance of conservation efforts to protect their habitats for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.