Aquarium Design, Installation and Maintenance, Thousand Oaks, CaliforniaMarine Aquarium Maintenance and Installation, Thousand Oaks, California



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By Jim Wolf, Marine Biologist

They are very comical. Sitting perched amongst the rocks waiting for food to pass as they move their eyes in all directions. Members of the Hawkfish family are a welcome addition to almost any aquarium. 

They usually come from deep water (which explains their high price and red coloration), and almost always thrive in captivity. Only one species per tank and feed them high protein foods such as shrimp and small fishes (incidentally, do not under estimate what they stuff in their mouth!) They lack a swim bladder so they sink when they stop swimming, and have reinforced fin rays to help prop them up when at rest. They most common cause of death among Hawkfish is (in captivity) jumping out an aquarium with too large an opening in the lid. 

There are about 35 species in 10 genera, but only four commonly make it into the hobby. 

Cirrhitichthys: These hawkfish come from shallower waters and have a blunt head. Their dorsal fin spines have 3-5 small rays coming off of them, and they attain a maximum length of 3 inches. 

Neocirrhitus: This is the familiar red hawk, and it is in a class by itself. They lack the rays on their dorsal fin spines and attain a length of about 3 inches. They are commonly found at depths of greater than 100 feet! 

Paracirrhites: These are the Hawaiian hawks (although they are found through out the Indo Pacific) and they lack the dorsal fin rays and come in a variety of colors and with some species attaining a length of 12 inches! 

Oxycirrhites typus: The long nosed hawk is unmistakable with its long draw out snout. They have similar care and feeding as the other hawks and grow to reach about three inches in length.


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