The Longnosed Hawkfish

Of all the marine fishes that are available many are very beautiful, some are different and others are just individual. The longnose hawkfish is one of the latter and in addition it’s colourful. The proper name for the fish is Oxycirrhites typus.

The full length of the fish could be 5” ((13cm) though it is likely to be smaller in an aquarium. The system should be a reef as it is important that there are areas of rock and perhaps branching corals so that the hawkfish can ‘sit’. The aquarium does not need to be a large one – a three foot length is enough (though as with all fish the larger the better as it arguably becomes more ‘natural’). The fish is not a strong swimmer and tends to sit and watch for food before moving to a new position, so it follows that very strong seawater currents are not  liked. The only other demand the fish makes is good quality seawater which is the usual anyway.

Any fairly experienced aquarist looking round a marine shop on seeing this fish would feel cautious because of the long nose, in the same way as with say a copperband butterfly fish. However, unlike the potential for problems with feeding a copperband the hawkfish is not problematic. It will eat frozen fare such as chopped fish, mysis and brine shrimp and will also take suitable freeze dried offerings, plus flake food. The food the fish normally eats in the wild is very small crustaceans and even very small fish so this has to be born in mind to ensure  that an adequate diet is offered. Fortunately the diet generally ties in with many other fish type requirements. The fish is likely to eat any very small crustaceans it finds so a reef system could provide some. Larger invertebrates including corals are safe.

Another big plus for this fish in addition to it being peaceful is hardiness. The longnose hawkfish is hardy overall and with proper system maintenance should not be a cause for concern.

The longnose hawkfish is not always easily obtained and an aquarist who desires one could need to place a specific order with a dealer. Once the fish has settled into its new home it becomes a very interesting addition, the shape of the fish and the colouration being part of this. It’s very entertaining watching the fish perch on one of its resting points observing and hoping for food. Given time the fish will beg the aquarist for food, paddling to hold a position in the seawater – ‘come on then, I’m starving, get on with it, feed me!’