The fish life around the Gili Islands in Indonesia is very diverse. The main reason is that Indonesia is part of the coral triangle. The WWF organization defines the Coral Triangle as:
“The Coral Triangle, the global center of marine biodiversity, is a 6 million-km2 area spanning Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands.
Within this nursery of the seas live 76% of the world’s coral species, 6 of the world’s 7 marine turtle species, and at least 2.228 reef fish species.” – www.panda.org
Being part of the coral triangle means that the Gili Islands offers the divers lots of fish species.
Most damselfish live along reefs, but certain species, the anemone fishes, are noted for living among the stinging tentacles of sea anemones.
Many species are brilliantly colored, often in shades of red, orange, yellow, or blue; most do not exceed a length of about 15 cm. Most damselfish are highly territorial or at least “home ranging”.
The most famous damselfish is the clown fish. The movie “Finding Nemo” released in 2003 by Walt Disney made this little damselfish amazing popular.
Divers will spot the damselfish on all our dive sites. Turtle Heaven is not only famous for the turtles but also for the big school of Sergeant Damselfish.
An important group associated with coral reefs is surgeonfish. They are named for the sharp, sometimes venomous pines ahead of the tail. These spines may be used in defense and are harmless to divers. Some surgeonfish develop a large horn on their forehead.
The most famous surgeonfish is Dory. The movie “Finding Dory” released in 2016 made her famous.
Diving Sharkpoint gives the divers not only a chance to see sharks. But they will spot definitely lots of surgeonfish. Big schools of powder blue surgeonfish will cross in front of the divers looking for food. And don’t forget the amazing colored orange-spined unicornfish socializing and mixing up with all kind of other fish.
Rainbow runners are known for the seven bright hues that reflect off their bodies when light strikes them. They, however, appear to be crystal blue in poor illumination. The top body is a dark olive blue to a green that fades to white beneath the arms. Two short light blue to bluish-white stripes extend lengthwise along the edges, separated by a wider olive to yellow stripe.
Rainbow runners belong to the Jack family and frequently form schools of varying sizes, ranging from very few to several hundred individuals. They feed mainly on small fish and larger crustaceans of zooplankton.
They can be spotted in big schools mostly at Gili Trawangan. The dive sites: Halik, Sharkpoint, Deep Turbo and Sunset Reef are recommended to see them.
Butterfly fish, with their amazing array of colors and patterns, are among the most common sights on reefs throughout the world. Although some species are dull-colored, most wear intricate patterns with striking backgrounds of blue, red, orange, or yellow. Many have dark bands across their eyes and round, eye-like dots on their flanks to confuse predators as to which end to strike and in which direction they’re likely to flee.
They have thin, disk-shaped bodies that closely resemble their equally recognizable cousins, the angelfish. They spend their days tirelessly pecking at coral and rock formations with their long, thin snouts in search of coral polyps, worms, and other small invertebrates.
Some butterfly fish travel in small schools, although many are solitary until they find a partner, with whom they may mate for life.
Places to dive with schools of butterfly fish around the Gili Islands are Deep Turbo, Halik and Turtle Heaven.
Snappers are small to medium-sized fish with a compressed body, relatively large mouth. They are commonly encountered in a variety of inshore environments including the lower reaches of freshwater streams, mangroves, shallow coral reefs and deep outer reef slopes.
They can be easily spotted on Sunset Reef, Sharkpoint, Halik, Deep Turbo, Simons Reef, and Hans Reef. There are there in huge schools just above the reefs.
Moorish Idols prefer living in tropical and subtropical areas throughout the pacific and indo pacific regions. Though they are found in flat reefs but are also spotted in lagoons as well. Clarity of water does not bother them.
They are omnivorous in nature, are very picky about their food and that is why they are termed as snobby. Also they prefer dieting on of small and live foods, such as brine shrimp, vegetable foods, etc. Though they are bold grazers in nature but these species are extremely shy about their eating, especially in the company of other fishes. They eat 2-3 times a day.
All the dive sites around the Gili Islands are territory of the Moorish Idol.
Diving the Gili Islands
Diving in the coral triangle has the advantages that the divers will see a lot of reef fish. Most of the divers are interested in Sharks, Turtles, Mantas and other big fish. But they forget that the ocean offers more than that. There is a lot more different fish life around the Gili Islands.