» Posted by on Jan 3, 2018 in Blog, Steph | Comments Off on Fish Family Spotlight: Hawkfish

Fish Family Spotlight: Hawkfish

written by Stephanie Lamprea

 

So, you have your new saltwater tank, you’ve properly cycled it, and you’re now looking for fish. What are good options for a beginner saltwater aquarium? There are lots of great fish for this scenario, but in this article I’d like to talk about one particular (and my personal favorite) fish family – Hawkfish! 

 

 
From left to right: Longnose hawk, Flame hawk, Falco hawk

 

There are 12 genuses and 33 species of hawkfish that make up the Cirrhitidae family, and they are distributed predominantly within the Indo-Pacific region. Hawkfish share many physical features with the venomous Scorpaenidae family! Fortunately hawkfish themselves are not venomous, but their fringe aesthetic and crazy colors make them impressive.

Hawkfish are also great for beginners in the salt water game! Many hawkfish seen in aquariums and pet stores remain small (about 3 to 4 inches). Because hawkfish do not have swim bladders, they perch on rocks and coral, and the way they move around the tank (either through small hops or effortful linear swimming) is really fun to watch in comparison to other tank mates. Just watch them as their eyes dart vigorously as they scavenge for food, and when they do swim, it is in a swooping circular motion like that of a hawk.

 

My hawkfish at home – his name is Oddyseus.

 

Hawkfish are reef-safe (though they also do well in FOWLR tanks), and they are extremely hardy and easy to care for. Their diet encompasses a variety of meaty foods that are dry (like pellets or flakes), and frozen or live (like brine shrimp). For this reason, small shrimp may not make good tank mates with a hawkfish, along with some smaller bottom dwellers like species of gobies or blennies. However, hawkfish thrive in a peaceful/semi-aggressive environment. In my tank at home (75 gallon FOWLR), my hawkfish is housed with clowns, an extremely petty royal gramma, a firefish, and a school of blue chromis, and everyone gets along just fine. Normally there should be one hawkfish only per tank, but there are cases where hawkfish have paired off and hosted a hard coral, or harems of hawkfish have been formed with a dominant male. Hawkfish are hermaphroditic and adapt their gender to their surroundings.

 

Some hawkfish artwork we made at home

 

To sum this up, hawkfish are hardcore and pretty much great fish for any saltwater tank, reef or FOWLR. I can say that my hawkfish has enriched my love for the aquarium hobby, so for saltwater enthusiasts out there, stop by your favorite local fish store (Absolutely Fish!) and ask about any of our hawkfish species we carry!

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