15+ Fish With Big Forehead – Pictures & Facts

We humans have a particular tendency to identify other creatures based on our biology. Unless they have spikes that look like hair on their head, fish theoretically don’t have foreheads. But, a few unique fish species have a larger head or a hump on the head that we refer to as a big forehead.

Naturally, big foreheads in fish species have distinctive benefits that help them adapt to their environment and offer a better chance of surviving.

  • Gathering Food

Species like the Napoleon Wrasse and the Green Humphead Parrotfish have thick foreheads that act like battering rams. They use them to break apart coral for food or during territorial disputes.

  • Social Displays

The prominent forehead bump (called a kok) on the Flowerhorn Cichlid is a display feature. The larger and brighter the kok, the more dominant and attractive the fish appears to potential mates.

  • Echolocation

Seawater species such as dolphins and beluga whales use echolocation to navigate and hunt for prey. They emit sounds through their blowholes, which travel through the melon (fatty development on the forehead) and out into the water.

Here are a few fish species that have big foreheads. Some of these are aquarium-friendly; more are not. 

15 Fish With Big Forehead

1. Flowerhorn Cichlid

Information ChartFlowerhorn Cichlid
Scientific Name:Amphilophus citrinellus hybrid
Aquarium SafeYes
Care Level:Intermediate to advanced
Temperament:Aggressive towards their own and other species
Color:Variety of colors and patterns 
Lifespan:10 to 12 years
Size:10-12 inches
Diet:Omnivorous, with a preference for meaty foods. 
Minimum Tank Size:75 gallons for an individual
Temperature:78 to 82F
WaterConditions:pH: 7.4 to 8.0
Moderately soft water
Tank Mate CompatibilityBest kept alone in a sufficient capacity tank

Selectively bred from various Central American cichlids, the Flowerhorm cichlid is found in aquariums worldwide for its vibrant colors, intricate patterns, and unique shape. One of the most striking features of Flowerhorn Chichlids is their nuchal hump, a prominent growth on its head. 

Frequently chasing away intruders, Flowerhorns are highly territorial in nature and have a natural curiosity towards their surroundings. They often identify and interact with their owners, showing remarkable intelligence and social behaviors.

Also Read: Sucker Fish: Care Tips, Tank Mates & More

2. Napoleon Wrasse

Information ChartNapoleon Wrasse
Scientific Name:Cheilinus undulatus
Aquarium SafeNot recommended for home aquariums. Better suited to large public aquariums and specialized setups.  
Care Level:Expert
Temperament:Generally peaceful
Color:Vibrant bluish-green with dark spots on the dorsal fin. 
Lifespan:Over 30 years
Size:Over 6 feet
Diet:Carnivorous. Feeds on crustaceans, mollusks, and invertebrates. 
Minimum Tank Size:NA
Temperature:75 to 82F
WaterConditions:Seawater Environment
Tank Mate CompatibilityNA

Also known as Humphead Wrasse or Maori Wrasse, Napoleon Wrasse is a majestic fish primarily found in the waters and reefs of the Indo-Pacific regions with abundant hiding spots and crevices. Its elongated body, vibrant colors, and intricate markings adorn its prominent-most feature of the hump-like forehead. 

Typically, Napoleon Wrasses are solitary and peaceful creatures. Except for the breeding times, when they often display a bit of temporary aggression towards competing males. The juvenile Wrasses often function as cleaning crews by removing parasites from the larger fish.   

3. Frontosa

Information ChartFrontosa
Scientific Name:Cyphotilapia frontosa
Aquarium SafeYes
Care Level:Intermediate
Temperament:Relatively peaceful, can become territorial during breeding. 
Color:Blue-gray body with white or yellow stripes running vertically. 
Lifespan:15 to 20 years with proper care
Size:11-13 inches
Diet:Carnivorous. Feeds on small fish and crustaceans. 
Minimum Tank Size:Larger than 125 gallons for a small group
Temperature:75 to 80F
WaterConditions:pH: 7.8 to 8.5Moderate water hardness
Tank Mate CompatibilityThrives in a group and with other peaceful cichlids. 

Naturally found in the Northern part of Lake Tanganyika in Africa, Frontosa cichlids inhabit areas with rocky substrates and deep waters. Frontosa are characterized by their big hump-like forehead and prominent blue stripes along their body with beautifully white base coloration. 

Frontosa cichlids are relatively peaceful and form small groups or schools to reduce anxiety and feel safe in their environment. However, they may get a bit aggressive during breeding seasons to maintain a hierarchical order based on dominance. 

Also Read: Do Goldfish Have Teeth?

4. Redcap Oranda Goldfish

Information ChartRedcap Oranda Goldfish
Scientific Name:Carassius auratus
Aquarium SafeYes
Care Level:Beginner to intermediate
Temperament:Very peaceful and social
Color:Black, white, orange body with red-colored hood on the head. 
Lifespan:10-15 years
Size:6 to 8 inches
Minimum Tank Size:20 gallons for a single oranda
Temperature:65 to 75F
WaterConditions:pH: 6.5 to 7.5Soft water hardness
Tank Mate CompatibilityOther peaceful community fish

Considered among the most popular aquarium fish, the Redcap Oranda Goldfish was selectively bred for centuries in China from wild carp species. True to its name, Redcap Orandas have a giant red cap on their head, known as a wen, resembling a big forehead. The growth often covers their eyes and makes it harder for the Orandas to move around. 

In general, Redcap Orandas are well-loved for their charming and friendly demeanor. They’re social creatures who enjoy the company of other goldfish and form small groups within the aquarium. They also have an affinity for digging through the substrates in a burrowing-like behavior in search of food. 

5. Mahi Mahi

Information ChartMahi Mahi
Scientific Name:Coryphaena hippurus
Aquarium SafeNot suitable for home aquariums due to their size, rapid growth rate, and specific care requirements. Some public aquariums have them. 
Care Level:Expert
Temperament:Solitary. Sometimes found in small groups. 
Color:Iridescent blue-green and yellow bodies with vertical bars along their sides. 
Lifespan:4 to 5 years
Size:4 to 5 feet
Diet:Carnivorous. Feeds on fish, squids, and crustaceans. 
Minimum Tank Size:NA
Temperature:70 to 80F
Tank Mate CompatibilityNA

Commonly encountered in warm ocean water all over the world, including the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific,  Mahi Mahi prefers an offshore habitat near floating seaweed, debris, and buoys to hide and attract prey. Dazzling in glamorous green, blue, and gold, this oceanic fish has a blunt head and slender body for rapid swimming. 

Mahi Mahi are highly migratory creatures and often travel in groups numbering in hundreds. They also are voracious predators and look for food in floating objects and debris. Anglers often target areas with submerged and floating objects when hunting for Mahi Mahi. 

Also Read: 15 Fish With Big Lips – Photos & Facts

6. Aracana (Coffin Fish)

Information ChartAracana (Coffin Fish)
Scientific Name:Chaunax spp.
Aquarium SafeNot suitable for home aquariums due to specialized care and relatively less known requirements. 
Care Level:Expert
Temperament:Generally peaceful and solitary. Bottom-dwelling. 
Color:Brown or mottled in color. Blends in with their surroundings. 
Lifespan:Not well documented 
Size:Around 6 to 8 inches
Diet:Carnivorous. Feeds on smaller fish, crustaceans, and invertebrates. 
Minimum Tank Size:NA
Temperature:50 to 60F
Tank Mate CompatibilityNA

Known as the sea toad, Coffin Fish is a popular fish found in deep-sea environments around the world. However, they’re mostly encountered on continental slopes and abyssal plains, where they inhabit muddy substrates and low-light conditions. Aracanas have a particularly eerie appearance with a bulbous head and a wide, gaping mouth. 

Coffin fish are ambush predators. They emit bioluminescent light from their esca, a fixture on their head, to lure small fish and invertebrates. Aracanas are relatively slow swimmers and rely on their camouflage and stealth to capture prey. 

7. Bluecheek Parrotfish

Information ChartBluecheek Parrotfish
Scientific Name:Scarus coeruleus
Aquarium SafeUsually not kept in home aquariums due to larger size, specific care requirements, and aggressive behavior. 
Care Level:Advanced
Temperament:Aggressive and territorial towards other fish. 
Color:Blue markings on their cheeks and greening body color. 
Lifespan:10 to 20 years
Size:12 to 24 inches
Diet:Herbivorous. Prefers an algae diet.
Minimum Tank Size:NA
Temperature:75 to 82F
WaterConditions:pH: 8.1 to 8.4
Tank Mate CompatibilityBest kept alone

Originating from the coral reef ecosystems of the Caribbean Sea and the western Atlantic Ocean, Bluecheek Parrotfish are commonly sighted, feeding on algae growing on the corals. Males of this species exhibit a more vibrant coloration with bluer, brighter cheeks and more complex patterns. Both sexes of the species change coloration as they mature. 

One remarkable feature of Bluecheek Parrotfish is their method of sleeping. The fish secretes a mucous cocoon around its body to protect itself from predators and parasites. During the day, Bluecheeks are observed foraging the reefs in search of algae. 

Also Read: White Mold In Aquarium, What Are They?

8. Bottlenose Dolphins

Bottlenose Dolphins
Information ChartDolphins
Scientific Name:Tursiops truncatus 
Aquarium SafeNo, even though they’re kept in marine parks for entertainment purposes. 
Care Level:Expert
Temperament:Highly intelligent and social animals. Playful and acrobatic. 
Color:Gray in color with a white belly.  
Lifespan:40 to 50 years
Size:6 to 13 feet
Diet:Carnivorous. Feeds on fish, squid, and crustaceans. 
Minimum Tank Size:NA
Temperature:Wide variation of temperatures
WaterConditions:Saltwater environment 
Tank Mate CompatibilityNA

Commonly sighted in both coastal and offshore waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans, Bottlenose Dolphins are renowned for their intelligence, agility, elongated snouts, and big foreheads called melons. Bottlenoses typically have a grayish-blue coloration with a whiter underbelly to avoid predation from below despite having only a few predators.

Bottlenose dolphins are highly social and interactive animals, living in groups called pods. These mammals engage in acrobatic displays, displaying affection, and refining group hunting skills. They also use their melons to locate prey through echolocation. 

9. Hammerhead Shark

Information ChartHammerhead Shark
Scientific Name:Sphyrna mokarran
Aquarium SafeNot suitable for captive care. But some public aquaria have successfully kept them. . 
Care Level:Expert
Temperament:Solitary predators. Found in small groups. 
Color:Grayish-brown coloration with lighter underside. 
Lifespan:20 to 30 years
Size:10 to 20 feet
Diet:Carnivorous. Feeds on fish, squids, rays, and crustaceans. 
Minimum Tank Size:NA
Temperature:Found in various temperature regions worldwide
WaterConditions:Seawater environment 
Tank Mate CompatibilityNA

Preferring warm waters yet tolerating cooler temperatures, the Hammerhead Sharks are found in oceans worldwide. The most striking feature of Hammerheads is their T-shaped flattened head containing a sensory organ known as ampullae of Lorenzini. It receives electrical signals transmitted by prey animals and helps it hunt also in murky waters. 

Hammerheads migrate long distances in search of food, mates, and suitable habitat. During the mating season, males of the species engage in aggressive displays of mating rituals. However, they are generally not considered a threat to humans, even though they may investigate divers occasionally. 

Also Read: South American Vs African Cichlids: Pros And Cons

10. Green Humphead Parrotfish

Information ChartGreen Humphead Parrotfish
Scientific Name:Bolbometopon muricatum
Aquarium SafeNot suitable for most home aquariums. 
Care Level:Advanced
Temperament:Generally peaceful. Can become aggressive towards other fish if threatened. 
Color:Green in coloration with a bluish hue. 
Lifespan:Several decades under optimal conditions
Size:4 to 5 feet
Diet:Omnivorous. Feeds on algae, coral polyps, and small invertebrates.  
Minimum Tank Size:NA
Temperature:75 to 82F
WaterConditions:pH: 8.1 to 8.4Seawater environment
Tank Mate CompatibilityOther larger peaceful fish species. 

Native to coral reef environments throughout the tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans, The Green Humphead Parrotfish or the Green Parrotfish plays a critical role in maintaining the coral reef ecosystem. Justifying their name, Green Parrotfish have a vibrant green coloration and distinctive head hump that develops further as they mature. 

Green Parrotfish are omnivores, with a leniency towards feeding algae from the corals. Given the opportunity, they also feed on coral polyps and invertebrates. Their beak-like jaws are adapted to scraping algae and grinding away coral skeletons, which are later excreted as fine sand—promoting the natural process of reef formation and maintaining a healthy balance. 

11. Asian sheepshead Wrasse

Information ChartAsian sheepshead Wrasse
Scientific Name:Semicossyphus reticulatus
Aquarium SafeNot commonly kept at home aquariums. More suitable for larger public aquariums. 
Care Level:Advanced
Temperament:Aggressive towards other fish with similar size and structure. 
Color:Dark brown or black with bright markings on their body. 
Lifespan:Several decades. 
Size:3 feet
Diet:Carnivorous. Feeds on crustaceans, mollusks, and small fish. 
Minimum Tank Size:NA
Temperature:72 to 78F
WaterConditions:pH: 8.1 to 8.4
Seawater environment
Tank Mate CompatibilityBest kept alone or with other larger species. 

Found in rocky shores and coastal waters of the northwest Pacific Ocean, particularly in Japan, Korea, and China, Asian Sheepshead Wrasses prefer temperate climates but also are found in cooler waters with a strong current. The most unique features of Sheepshead are their big forehead and protruding lips that resemble a sheep or a goat—giving them a somewhat comical look. 

They use their powerful jaws and teeth to crush and consume hard-shelled prey. During mating, males of Asian Sheepshead Wrasse undergo a dramatic change in coloration, with blue and greens becoming more pronounced and predominant. 

Also Read: How To Take Proper Care Of Tropical Fish Babies (Fry)

12. Green Terror Cichlid

Information ChartGreen Terror Cichlid
Scientific Name:Andinoacara rivulatus
Aquarium SafeIntermediate
Care Level:Yes
Temperament:Territorial and aggressive in the tank.
Color:Vibrant green and blue coloration with orange accents on their fins. 
Lifespan:8 to 10 years
Size:8 to 10 inches
Diet:Omnivorous. Mainly feeds on worms and small crustaceans.. 
Minimum Tank Size:55 gallons for a single individual
Temperature:72 to 81F
WaterConditions:pH 6.5 to 7.5
Soft to moderately hard water
Tank Mate CompatibilityRobust species capable of handling aggressiveness. 

Inhabiting slow-moving rivers and tributaries of the Amazon River basin in Peru and Ecuador, Green Terror Cichlids prefer environments with lots of hiding spots and sandy substrates. With a deadly combo of striking appearance and somewhat aggressive demeanor, Green Terror has a distinct hump-like forehead on its torpedo-shaped body. 

Green Terror Cichlids are known to be territorial and aggressive toward other fish, especially while establishing dominance within a tank. However, they relax more when kept in a larger tank with lots of hiding spaces. Green Terrors are opportunistic feeders and prey on a variety of small fish and crustaceans in the wild. 

13. Texas Cichlid

Information ChartTexas Cichlid
Scientific Name:Herichthys cyanoguttatus
Aquarium SafeYes
Care Level:Intermediate
Temperament:Territorial and aggressive 
Color:Various shades of blue, green, and orange. 
Lifespan:8 to 10 years
Size:10 to 12 inches
Diet:Omnivorous and accepts pellets, flakes, and frozen food. 
Minimum Tank Size:55 gallons for a single Texas Cichlid
Temperature:72 to 82F
WaterConditions:pH: 7.5 to 8.0Soft to moderate water hardness
Tank Mate CompatibilityRobust species that can handle occasional aggression. 

Native to the southern United States and northern Mexico, Texas cichlids are found in slow-moving rivers, streams, and reservoirs with sandy substrates. They prefer areas with dense vegetation and submerged roots where they have sufficient hiding spaces. Texas cichlids display iridescent green, blue, red, and yellow coloration with a relatively big forehead and mouth, contributing to their unique appearance. 

This fish species is quite territorial and can be aggressive towards other fish in the tank, especially during breeding season when they show domiHow To Take Proper Care Of Tropical Fish Babies (Fry)nance to establish hierarchy. Texas cichlids feed on small fish, crustaceans, and invertebrates in the wild.  

Also Read: 10 Reasons Why Your Fish Keep Dying

14. Beluga Whale

Information ChartBeluga Whale
Scientific Name:Delphinapterus leucas
Aquarium SafeNot suitable to captive care. Best observed in accredited marine facilities. 
Care Level:NA
Temperament:Highly social animals. Playful with humans. 
Color:White and light gray
Lifespan:35 to 50 years
Size:13 to 20 feet
Diet:Carnivorous. Preys on small fish, squids, and octopus. 
Minimum Tank Size:NA
Temperature:Adapted to live in icy conditions
Tank Mate CompatibilityNA

Primarily found in the Arctic Ocean and adjacent seas, Beluga Whales inhabit coastal areas and shallow bays. This remarkable marine mammal is well-adapted to life in the Arctic, possessing a thick layer of blubber and a big forehead to detect prey in the ice-covered regions through echolocation. They’re typically white or gray in coloration and lack a dorsal fin to easily navigate the icy surfaces.

Belugas are highly social animals, similar to dolphins. They live in pods and communicate using verbal signals, including clicks, whistles, and chirps. They emit high-frequency sounds to navigate and locate their prey in murky waters.   

15. Ocean Sunfish

Information ChartOcean Sunfish
Scientific Name:Mola mola
Aquarium SafeNot suitable for captive care. Best observed in the wild. 
Care Level:NA
Temperament:Solitary animals but often found in small groups. Slow-moving and docile. 
Color:Gray or brown in color with occasional pigmentation. 
Lifespan:Several decades.
Size:10 feet
Diet:Primarily planktivorous. Occasionally feeds on jellyfish, salps, squids, etc. 
Minimum Tank Size:NA
WaterConditions:Seawater environment 
Tank Mate CompatibilityNA

Inhabiting oceans all over the world, Ocean Sunfish, aka mola mola, are the heaviest bony fish, with adults reaching up to 10 feet in length. Its flattened, disk-shaped body lacks prominent fins, limiting its maneuverability and making it rely on ocean currents for propulsion. Despite their cumbersome appearance, the rounder rudder-like tail fin allows them some form of agility in the water. 

Ocean Sunfish are often found near the surface—sunbathing. It helps them regulate their body temperature and aid digestion. This species of fish is primarily solitary but forms loose groups during mating seasons.   

Also Read: What’s The Weight Of A Gallon Of Water In Pounds And Kilograms?

The Bottom Line

We’ve compiled a list of 15 fish with big foreheads. Hope you found what you were looking for and have enjoyed reading the intriguing behaviors of the species.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.