Mini reef aquarium guide. Reef aquarium setup for large reef tanks, Nano reef tanks, Pico reef or MIcro reef aquariums with reef tank lighting, filtration, choosing coral reef animals, and problem solving!
The Longnose Hawkfish grows up to 5" (13 cm), yet in captivity, it commonly only grows to 4" (10 cm). Males are slightly larger than females and you can put a pair in a 45 gallon tank, unless the female decides to turn into a male, at which point, all out war breaks out! They have been known to breed in captivity and they are the most peaceful of the hawkfish clan, however, on occasion is has been known to attack shrimp and eat neon gobies. A well fed Hawkfish would rarely do this, and one raised in captivity on non-live foods would rarely exhibit this behavior, though this is the animal kingdom, so there is no guarantee! Keep salinity at 1.023 minimum and 72˚F to 81˚F with a few high places for them to perch and a lid, since they do like to jump. Avoid other hawkfish or aggressive fish as tank mates.
This video shows the Longnose Hawkfish opening it's mouth part way, which gives us a glimpse into why they may be able to eat small nano tank sized fish like neon gobies and clown gobies. These hawkfish are less likely to perform this heinous crime, but a hungry "aquatic raptor" may feel differently, so keep them well fed. Salmon flesh, raw and minced will help them keep their color. The two tank mates seen here are appropriate.
This short video shows a Flame Hawkfish in it's typical raptor like perch on a higher level in the tank. To the right is a hermit crab that the hawkfish has noticed, but doesn't seem interested in. As someone approaches near the end of the video, the lightning fast speed at which these fish can move is seen! They tend to hide more than other hawkfish, but with proper, non-aggressive tank mates, they will stay out in the open more often.
This video shows the extreme curiosity that Flame Hawkfish have! They just can't help themselves to "get a closer look!" Their oversized pectoral fins are used to balance their chubby, red, teardrop shaped body, adding to their comical nature! These fish only grow to 3.5" or 9 cm, making them great for a 20 gallon nano tank or larger!
The Falco's Hawkfish is one of the best beginner saltwater fish around! Not only are they easy to feed, but they are inexpensive for saltwater fish, and can be kept in a 15 gallon nano tank! They cannot be housed with peaceful fish, but will be bullied by very aggressive fish in smaller tanks. Their personality is matchless in the marine world, and their tiny 2.7" size makes them a must have even in a reef. They will eat small sexy shrimp, small hermit crabs and small snails.
The Falco's Hawkfish come in a few different shades of red. Some are reddish brown, while others, like this specimen are bright red! The Falco's that are found near coral are the redder specimens while the ones near only sandy and rubble areas are a brownish red. They can be kept alone, as pairs, or in small harems in very large tanks. Their small 2.7" size keeps their typical hawkfish attitude in check, so they can't do too much damage, unless you are a small snail, small crab of any sort or small shrimp!
Hawkfish are a small predatory family of fish that spend most of their time on protruding coral blocks or branches of the reef.
The name 'hawkfish' comes from their predatory, 'hunting like a hawk' behavior. They use their pectoral fins to 'sit up' and watch for prey, and when they see it, they swoop down and devour it quickly.
In the aquarium these are very interesting fish to watch. They are very active, alert and are one of the hardiest aquarium residents. Many can be kept in reef situations except some will eat small crustaceans like cleaner shrimp. There are two especially that are known for this, C. fasciatus and P. forsteri.
There are only about 35 known species of Hawkfish. The family of fishes ranges anywhere from 10 cm (4 inches) to 1 meter (39 inches) in length but most of the aquarium specimens are under 15 cm (6 inches).
Stout bodies and large heads are one of the distinguishing characteristics which separates the Hawkfish from other families like the Blennies. Another obvious characteristic is that all hawkfishes have tufts of hair, called cirri, on the tips of their dorsal spines. Some are easily seen while others are harder to find but all hawkfishes have them.
Although breeding in the aquarium has not taken place, something is known about how they breed in the wild, see Breeding Marine Fish for more information.