Longnose Hawkfish Care and Breeding Guide

Longnose Hawkfish, scientifically known as Oxycirrhites typus, is a popular marine water aquarium fish that has its native habitat in the tropical reefs of both the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In the ocean, it is usually found in depths that can be as deep as 10 to 100 meters deep. In the past, the fish had a reputation for being expensive and difficult to find in the market. Things have now changed and now the fish is more readily available in pet shops and the cost is also more affordable.

It has become a big favorite for most hobbyists due to its high tolerance to diseases, high level of intelligence, and its colorful body. The fish can sometime get frisky and needs to be provided with plenty of rocky hiding places within the tank. Because the fish is highly territorial it is best to introduce it into a community aquarium last to avoid the possibility territorial aggression. If you are going to keep the fish in the same tank with other fish, it best to choose the tank mates carefully. The fish is a highly aggressive predator who will easily feed on other small fish as well as invertebrates.

Appearance of Longnose Hawkfish

longnose hawkfish

The fish has got a very long snout and features a tuft of cirri that is found just next to the tip of each the dorsal spine. The tail fin of the fish is concave-like in shape. Awkwardly though, the fish lacks a swim bladder which anyway is a characteristic of all other members of the fish that belong to the Cirrhitidae family.

The fish has got impressive patterns that adorn its body from the head to its tail fin. The colors of the patterns on its body are red and white that form markings that are mottled.  The fish usually grows to a maximum of five inches in total length and features patterns all over its body that resembles those on other fish such as scorpion fish, rockfish, and lionfish. Please note that the adult males of the fish have a characteristic fringing on their pelvic and caudal fins.

Native Habitat and Natural Distribution in the Wild

The original natural habitat for the fish is the Indo-Pacific as well as the East Pacific. In the Indo-Pacific, the geographical distribution of the fish extends from the Red Sea and South Africa waters to Hawaii. This range goes as far north as the southern parts of Japan and also as far south as parts of New Caledonia. On the eastern Pacific region, the fish is found between the Gulf of California to the northern coast of Colombia as well as the Galapagos Islands.

In the waters, the fish is usually found in depths of from 10 meters to 100 meters. The Longnose Hawkfish specifically likes to hang in areas of the water with steep outer reef slopes that usually have strong currents. The fish prefers to perch itself on black corals and Gorgonians where it waits for small fish and invertebrates to feed on.

Tank requirements and care

The fish needs to be housed in a tank that is at least thirty gallons with lots of rocks and corals to replicate the natural environment where it lives in. It is on these rocks that the fish likes to perch itself on. The water temperature in the tank needs to be set to be around 24 – 26°C. Please note that this temperature range is almost the same as that it experiences while in the wild.

Never house the fish with other species of fish that are too small to be eaten by it. It is a highly aggressive predator fish that will easily eat small fish! Longnose Hawkfish is not known to like eating crustaceans but because it is an aggressive predator don’t take chances with it by placing it in the same tank with your crustaceans.

Don’t house the fish in a tank with corals that have strong stings i.e. Sea Anemones or Catalaphyllia. These may kill the fish easily! Ensure that the water is salty because the fish is a marine water fish. The lighting in the tank should be moderate as the fish is sometimes found in depths of 300 feet.

Performing water changes on a regular basis is the best thing to do in order to provide the fish an optimum environment.

Feeding the fish

It is a carnivorous predator fish that needs to be fed on meat while in the aquarium setting. You can feed it foods such as live brine shrimp or even frozen foods. There are reported cases of the fish that have been conditioned to eating even dried foods. Don’t just feed I one particular food but balance its diet. You can offer it different types of crustaceans as these are some of the staple food that forms its natural diet in the wild. Offering it other types of smaller fish and other meaty products can also do.


All breeds of the fish usually start their early stages of life as females but usually have the ability to transforming into males later in their lives. The male of the fish is known to court the female when time for spawning is around the corner. If you are keen enough and you have a pair of male and female, you may notice some sort of courtship dance in your aquarium. It is unfortunate however to note that even when successful spawning occurs in the tank, the offspring that result may not mature to adults.

The bottom line

The Longnose Hawkfish is a marine water aquarium fish that can make a great addition to your aquarium. It is known to be highly territorial and aggressive especially with small fish and therefore if you plant to house it together with other fish species don’t put it in the same tank with very small fish.

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