Polka-dot Boxfish

Yellow Boxfish ~ Blue-spotted Boxfish

Family: Ostraciidae Picture of a Polka-dot Boxfish, Yellow Boxfish, or Blue-spotted BoxfishOstracion cubicus
Latest Reader Comment - See More
My Boxfish is attacking the goldfish wings. How to avoid it.  Rajee

  This is a juvenile Polka-dot Boxfish, Yellow Boxfish, or Blue-spotted Boxfish. It's so cute! It's amazing that this little fellow will grow up to be an adult thats 18 inches (45 cm)!

   The Polka-dot Boxfish, Yellow Boxfish, or Blue-spotted Boxfish has an almost perfectly shaped cube for a body. It is yellow or cream colored with dark-blue spots. As they grow older the body becomes more elongated and the color can change to different colors, but mainly a yellow-green. The spots turn white with blue rings around them.

For more Information on keeping this fish see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Marine Aquarium

Geographic Distribution
Ostracion cubicus
Data provided by FishBase.org
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Tetraodontiformes
  • Family: Ostraciidae
  • Genus: Ostracion
  • Species: cubicus
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Maintenance difficulty:    The Polka-dot Boxfish, Yellow Boxfish, or Blue-spotted Boxfish 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. 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. Live fish will also be taken but should not be fed exclusively.

Habitat: Natural geographic location:    Polka-dot Boxfish, Yellow Boxfish, or Blue-spotted Boxfish are found in the Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to the Hawaiian and Tuamoto islands, north to Ryukyu Islands, south to Lord Howe Island. The Red Sea population differs slightly in coloration and has been known as Ostracion argus; closely related to Ostracion immaculatus from southern Japan. Southeast Atlantic: south coast of South Africa. Inhabits lagoon and semi-sheltered seaward reefs. Juveniles often among Acropora corals. Solitary. Juveniles expatriating to subtropical zone from the pelagic larval stage. Small juveniles secretive in narrow crevices. Occurs near shore in rock bottoms.

Foods:    In the wild this boxfish feeds primarily on algae with a compliment of microorganisms, invertebrates, mollusks, sponges , sand dwelling polychaetes, crustaceans, foraminiferans, and small fishes.

  In the aquarium you should feed 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.

Social Behaviors:    Apparently this fish is sometimes aggressive and sometimes not. Keep an eye on newcomers with an established boxfish and any new boxfish that are added to the aquarium.

Sex: Sexual differences:    Apparently many boxfish are easy to sex but we haven't found this information yet.

Light: Recommended light levels:    No special requirements.

Temperature:    No special requirements. Normal temperatures for marine fish is between 74 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit.

Length/Diameter of fish:    Polka-dot Boxfish, Yellow Boxfish, or Blue-spotted Boxfish adults can grow to 45.0 cm (18 inches).

Minimum Tank Length/Size:    A minimum 100 gallon aquarium is recommended.

Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong    No special requirements.

Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom    No special requirements.

Availability:    This fish is available from time to time.

Lastest Animal Stories on Polka-dot Boxfish

Rajee - 2010-03-10
My Boxfish is attacking the goldfish wings. How to avoid it.

  • Jim Jones - 2010-03-18
    ??? Goldfish Wings?? If you mean a freshwater goldfish then you are mistaken on your Boxfish, and Boxfish are exclusivley saltwater. You might be talking about a freshwater puffer, and unfortunatley, dangling things will always be picked at (had a saltwater puffer "eat" the stingers of a lionfish and died... he couldnt resist.
  • roywilson - 2012-07-11
    Maybe you need feed small crab's 'earthworm's or? maybe because the goldfish is small. In fact boxfish are predator. They eat smaller fish when it's angry. You should get a female boxfish or? get some more fish. I suggiest get other pufer fish
  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-07-12
    Try re-arranging the tank and make the Boxfish focus on looking for a new territory.
Anonymous - 2004-04-01
A common misconception is that this fish is a slow swimmer but it can keep up with just about any fish, especially when an attempt is made to catch it. They can dart from one end of the tank to the other in a flash. I have had several and they do seem prone to ich. Freshwater dips and keeping the salinity low, around 1.020, seem to help a lot.

Dj Orion - 2007-08-27
I just got a yellow spotted boxfish the other day and added it to my tank. The tank is occupied with a long horned cowfish, porcupine puffer, dogface puffer, queen angel and blue spotted puffer. Once the boxfish entered the tank, the dogface immediately attacked it. This dogface has never attacked anything before, so I am doubting their compatibility. I quickly removed the dogface from the tank, and placd him on a frying pan. (just kidding) But I would be extra careful on what fish to keep with this one.

Glenn - 2008-03-29
These fish emit a toxic slim if stressed that can kill everything in the tank. I know, I watched it happen (beware).

  • Just talking - 2010-09-13
    Me too. T_T. Two of my fishes died because of that, including my boxfish.
Micsizzle the shizzle - 2005-04-13
Omg guys, this web site is so super. I love fishes, but i dont like touching them ...ewww. so I just look at them.

ddd - 2004-10-13
I love your website. it is good cause i went somewhere in japan and i have a project on this fish, so it was very useful. i love the way boxfish swim backwards, it is so CUTE!i went to Kushimoto or Wakayama, have u been there? well i love this site and i would want to buy a boxfish! Bye


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