Flame Hawkfish

Brilliant Red Hawkfish

Family: Cirrhitidae Picture of a Flame Hawkfish or Brilliant Red HawkfishNeocirrhites armatus
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We have had our Flamehawk for at least twelve years and she's still going strong.  Berry Family Dentistry

   The Flame Hawkfish or Brilliant Red Hawkfish is a rather shy fish that does not adapt well to captivity. Their pretty color makes them sell well in pet shops even though they are usually expensive.

   They are best suited to a reef environment. The Flame Hawkfish or Brilliant Red Hawkfish are difficult to acclimate and need constantly moving well oxygenated water. It is probably best to stay away from this fish unless you are an experienced marine aquarist.

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

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Perciformes
  • Family: Cirrhitidae
  • Genus: Neocirrhites
  • Species: armatus
Flame Hawkfish ((Neochirrhites armatus)
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Flame Hawkfish in aquarists tank.

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.

Flame Hawkfish ((Neochirrhites armatus)
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Flame Hawkfish in aquarists tank.

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!

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Maintenance difficulty:    The Flame Hawkfish or Brilliant Red Hawkfish is hard to keep. They need very clean, oxygen-rich water, that is constantly moving. Reefs are an ideal situation for this fish.

Maintenance:    The hawkfish are carnivores. They do well on a diet which includes all kinds of live, frozen, and flake foods. Best to feed small amounts several times a day. Brine shrimp is the staple diet for these small carnivorous fish.

Habitat: Natural geographic location:    Flame Hawkfish or Brilliant Red Hawkfish are found in the western Pacific, from Japan to Australia. They are usually seen hiding among branches of live corals (Stylophora mordax, Pocillopora elegans, P. eydouxi, or P. verrucosa). Retreats deep into the coral when approached.

Foods:    All kinds of meaty foods from small fish and invertebrates; crustaceans.

Social Behaviors:    Found singly on the reef with one male presiding over a territory that will include 2 to 7 females. In the ocean they are seen hiding among branches of coral.

Sex: Sexual differences:    The male is usually larger.

Breeding/Reproduction    Oviparous, monogamous. They exhibit typical Hawkfish courtship and spawning. See general breeding behavior for Hawkfish in the Breeding Marine Fish page.

Light: Recommended light levels:    No special requirements.

Temperature:    Hawkfish should be kept at temperatures between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Length/Diameter of fish:    Flame Hawkfish or Brilliant Red Hawkfish adults can grow to 7.5 cm (3.0 inches).

Minimum Tank Length/Size:    A minimum 20 gallon aquarium is recommended.

Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong    Likes constantly moving well oxygenated water.

Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom    Usually spends most of its' time on coral outcroppings near the bottom.

Availability:    This fish is occasionaly available and is generally expensive. It is observed that the brilliant red color will fade in captivity.

Author: David Brough. CFS.
Lastest Animal Stories on Flame Hawkfish

Berry Family Dentistry - 2011-10-13
We have had our Flamehawk for at least twelve years and she's still going strong.

Sad Flame Hawk Owner - 2006-09-18
The Flame Hawk is my favorite fish. I've had 6 Flame Hawks in the past. All but one jumped out of my tank. Sadly I was never home to save them. Because of the jumping I've stopped buying Flame Hawks that was until last week. I was at the pet shop saw the cutest little Flame Hawk swushing about the tank. I paid alot of money for the fish and am sad to say I think this Flame Hawk is not going to live long. IT IS NOT EATING. It doesn't seem to be afraid in the tank. Its swimming all about the tank and none of the other fish are bothering it.

I'm feeding or trying to feed Brine Shrimp and flake food. The Flame Hawk just keeps getting hit on the head with the food.

~Sad Flame Hawk Owner

  • Mark - 2011-01-09
    I wish I had read your piece earlier, bought my flame hawk fish 6 hours ago, as I was reading your article couldn't find my fish, there it was dead on the floor.
Dave - 2010-06-26
Great fish. The very first fish I ever purchased. He eats great and gets along with his tank mates awesome. Has a great personality and will show off in front of the tank if he knows you are anywhere around to get your attention and feed him. I did try to add some peppermint shrimp one time and he ate all four of them. I feed him all kinds of different frozen foods and live black molly babies.

Anonymous - 2008-08-31
Flame hawkfish are easy to keep and of bouyant personality.