Southern Crested Weedfish

Cristiceps Australis
Southern Crested Weedfish - Marinewise © 2024 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Cristiceps Australis
Other names Crested Weedfish, Weedfish
Size Up to 18 cm (7 in)
Weight Under .25 kg (.55 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters, estuaries & bays amongst seagrass beds & rocky reef areas rich in algae
Depth Range 1 - 15 m (49 ft)
Southern Crested Weedfish Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Southern Crested Weedfish are native to the southern coast of Australia, including regions such as Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and parts of Western Australia.
  • They have a distinct appearance characterised by a slender, elongated body with a flattened head. They possess a prominent, crested ridge along their back, which varies in colour from shades of brown and green to mimic the surrounding seaweed.
  • Southern Crested Weedfish have developed specialised pelvic fins that act as adhesive discs, allowing them to cling tightly to the underwater vegetation and rocks amidst strong currents.
  • These fish are carnivorous, preying on small invertebrates such as crustaceans, molluscs, and tiny fish that reside within the seagrass and algae.
  • They are primarily nocturnal, becoming more active and hunting during the night when they face less threat from predators.
  • The breeding season for Southern Crested Weedfish in Australia usually occurs during the warmer months, from late spring to early autumn. During this time, they engage in courtship displays, where males use their unique crests to attract females.
  • They have unique parental care with male Southern Crested Weedfish, protecting the eggs from predators and keeping them well-aerated by fanning water over them.
  • Their estimated average lifespan is between 3 – 4 years.
Species Interaction

Recreational Fishing, Aquarium, Snorkeling & Diving

The Southern Crested Weedfish is not a species targeted for recreational fishing but is often caught as bycatch when targeting other species. They can occasionally be found in large, established reef aquariums. In the wild can be an exciting experience for snorkelers and divers. Due to their camouflage ability, patience and a keen eye are necessary to spot them amidst the rocky and weedy environment. Slow and gentle movements are essential to avoid startling these shy creatures.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Clinidae

Genus: Cristiceps

Species: Cristiceps Australis

Conservation Status

Currently, the Southern Crested Weedfish is not listed as a threatened species in Australia. However, it’s crucial to cross-reference this information as conservation statuses can change over time.

How to catch
Southern Crested Weedfish

Catch Difficulty: Easy

Tackle: Running Sinker Rig

Bait: Fresh cut flesh baits, Prawns, Shellfish, Squid, Worms

Technique: Keep bait close to the reef/structure

Popularity: Not targeted - Bycatch

Southern Crested Weedfish
As Aquarium Fish

Care Level: Moderate to difficult

Temperament: Shy

Diet: Carnivore

Reef Compatible: Yes

Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Difficult

Temperament: Shy

Location: Inner Reef, Lagoon

Danger: None