Longhorn Cowfish ~ Long-horned CowfishFamily: Ostraciidae Lactoria cornutaPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
Probably the most well known of the boxfish! The Cowfish, Longhorn Cowfish, or Long-horned Cowfish can be seen in almost every public aquarium. They are hardy and they love to eat!
The Cowfish, Longhorn Cowfish, or Long-horned Cowfish are easily recognized by the horns on the forehead and the bottom rear of the body. These horns make them hard for predators to swallow. In any case their flesh is poisonous and would not make for a very good meal!
NOTE: The Cowfishes in the genus Lactoria, especially this Cowfish, Longhorn Cowfish, or Long-horned Cowfish must be dealt with carefully. If overly harrassed or stressed, it can release the toxic substance, ostracitoxin. This is a response to stress and can poison your tank. Make sure you keep this fish in a comfortable and not overly stressed environment, and keep it well fed!
For more Information on keeping this fish see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Marine Aquarium
Maintenance difficulty: The Cowfish, Longhorn Cowfish, or Long-horned Cowfish is easy to keep. Boxfish are not challenging if you feed young specimens several times a day. Start with brine shrimp.
The puffer's teeth will continually grow throughout its life so you will need to supplement their diet with some hard shelled foods. Occasionally offering foods such as live ghost shrimp and various live snails will keep their teeth worn down.
Maintenance: Feed all kinds of live and frozen foods. The boxfish also eats greenstuffs. Best to feed small amounts several times a day. We generally feed squid, shrimp (the same kind people eat), mussels, and all kinds of chopped up fish. Be sure to wash these foods thoroughly before feeding. A good vegetable formula like Formula II is also beneficial. Live fish will also be taken but should not be fed exclusively.
Habitat: Natural geographic location: Cowfish, Longhorn Cowfish, or Long-horned Cowfish are found in the Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to the Marquesan and Tuamoto islands, north to southern Japan, south to Lord Howe Island. Inhabits inshore on coastal muddy or sandy habitats in still bays, and commonly found in harbours and estuaries. Small juveniles on protected shallow mudflats. Found in weedy areas near rocks or reefs. Juveniles often near river mouths and in brackish water. Adults are solitary, juveniles often form small groups. Large adults are shy. Feeds on benthic invertebrates by blowing away the sand
Foods: All kinds of meaty foods and greenstuffs. A bottom feeder. Puffers are primarily predatory fish in the wild though they do graze on a bit of algae. This puffer will enjoy all kinds of meaty foods including shrimp, worms, clams, various mussels, snails, tunicates, and fish.They are not picky eaters and will quickly become adapted to a variety of prepared aquarium foods and an occasional algae wafer. Flake food is not recommended. Even though they may eat it, puffers will not thrive on it.
Length/Diameter of fish: Cowfish, Longhorn Cowfish, or Long-horned Cowfish adults can grow to 50.0 cm (20 inches). They usually only get about 40.0 cm (16 inches) in aquariums. Their size can be deceiving since they are usually very small at the pet stores.