Longnose Hawkfish

The Longnose Hawkfish is a great fish for your family aquarium.  If your aquarium has a lot of rockwork and caves, you will definitely want to add this fish.  It will use the caves to hide during the day and come out at night to feed.  They can grow up to 6 inches in length.  

The Longnose Hawkfish is best kept in an aquarium with a sandy bottom so it can do its best to stay hidden. As you can guess based on the name, the Longnose Hawkfish has a prominent long snout, much like a hawk.  It will perch itself on top of the rockwork hoping to be camouflaged.  It will not be completely invisible but it will be harder to see it

The Longnose Hawkfish, also known as the Hawkfish, is probably the most unique fish available in pet stores today. They have vertical mouths, large eyes, and a spiky body covered in scales. Despite all these intimidating features, the Longnose Hawkfish is not overly aggressive towards other fish. They are a hardy fish when it comes to surviving in an aquarium environment. 

These fish can be black, brown, or red, or any combination of the three. They have two long dorsal fins that extend from the top of their head to the bottom of their tail fin.

Longnose Hawkfish

Information about Longnose Hawkfish

  • Average size: 3 to 5 inches
  • Colors: White with red stripes
  • Good Pet: Yes
  • Good with Other Longnose Hawkfish: Moderate
  • Good with Other fish species: Moderate
  • Suitable for First-Time fish Owners: Yes
  • Health Concerns: The fish has a high tolerance to diseases but can catch Marine Velvet
  • Average Life Span: 5 to 7 years
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Physical Appearance of Longnose Hawkfish

The Longnose Hawkfish has a long slim body that’s white in color with vertical and horizontal red stripes. The fish has extra-long pectoral fins that are scaleless. The fish has a long snout that ends in a small tapered mouth. The eyes of this fish are round and slightly bulged outwards to give it a better sight of prey in the water.

Temperament of Longnose Hawkfish

The fish is semi aggressive and also very curious. The fish enjoys perching on branches or rocks in the aquarium.  It jumps from its perch whenever it notices some activity, but will hop right back to perch after exploring.

Longnose Hawkfish is territorial in nature and if you plan on keeping it together with other fish or sea creatures, it is best to introduce it last. If you introduce this Hawkfish first, it develops a sense of dominance and can easily nip on new occupants.

This fish is a very fast swimmer and has also been known to jump from open tanks. Because of this you will want to keep your aquarium covered to protect your fish from jumping out.

Best Habitat for Longnose Hawkfish

The fish should be kept in a tank with a minimum size of 30 gallons to give it plenty of space to swim. The tank should also have lots of corals and rocks for the fish to perch on. Longnose Hawkfish don’t have swim bladders. This means that if they aren’t swimming, they tend to sink to the bottom of the tank. That’s the reason why the fish perches on obstacles to prevent sinking.

The best temperatures for the fish should be between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. These are the exact temperatures available in the natural habitat of this fish.  As always it is suggested to have two thermometers in the aquarium to help you monitor the temperature of the water.

The salinity in the fish tank should remain between 1.020-1.025. The pH of the water should also be maintained between 8-8.4. Water testing kits are necessary to make sure that the water quality remains at optimal levels.

The fish doesn’t require bright lighting because in the wild the fish is often found very deep in the water where light rarely penetrates. It is best if you can mimic its natural habitat as much as possible.

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Tank Conditions 

The fish should be kept in a tank with a minimum size of 30 gallons to give it plenty of space to swim. The tank should also have lots of coral and rocks for the fish to perch on. Longnose Hawkfish don’t have swim bladders. If they aren’t swimming, they tend to sink to the bottom of the tank. That’s the reason why the fish perches on obstacles to prevent sinking.

The best temperatures for the fish should range between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. These are the exact temperatures available in the natural habitat of this fish.  Having a thermometer in the aquarium can help you monitor any slight changes in the temperatures of the water.

Longnose Hawkfish

Also make sure that the salinity in the fish tank remains between 1.020-1.025. The pH of the water should also be maintained between 8 – 8.4. Water testing kits are therefore necessary to make sure that these parameters remain at optimal levels.

The fish doesn’t require bright lighting because in the wild the fish is often found very deep in the water where light rarely penetrates. Of course you want to mimic its natural habitat as much as possible.

Best Tank mates for Longnose Hawkfish

Most aquarists prefer keeping only one Longnose Hawkfish in a tank to avoid aggressive behavior.  Placing more than one Hawkfish in a tank could lead to fatal battles unless you have a very huge tank that can hold more than a hundred gallons. Here are some good tank mates for your fish as long as you add the Longnose Hawkfish last.

Avoid placing your Longnose Hawkfish with stinging creatures because your fish will not do very well receiving repeated stings. Some of the creatures to avoid include the sea anemones and Catalaphyllia coral.

Tank Maintenance

Like any other saltwater fish, you have to maintain a clean tank for the Longnose Hawkfish. The best maintenance practices include tank cleaning and maintaining water conditions at optimum levels. 

Every month, replace about ¾ of the water in the tank with new water. Make sure to match the salinity of the water in your tank so that there isn’t any shock to the fish being hit with fresh water. 

Between cleanings you can top off the tank with freshwater.  Saltwater evaporates especially if you have installed heating options within the tank. As the water evaporates, salt is left behind. You only have to add some fresh water to the tank because there is salt in the tank already. 

When cleaning the tank, scrub the walls of the tank using warm water and rinse off. Remember not to discard all the water that was initially in the tank before cleaning. You want to leave behind some water so that your fish don’t get stressed when you add the clean water. 

You also have to constantly check on the salinity, pH, and temperature in the tank. You can check on salinity using a hydrometer and the pH using testing strips available in pet stores. Temperatures also ought to remain at optimum level to avoid stressing your fish.

Health Issues

Longnose Hawkfish are generally disease resistant. It’s even documented that in a community aquarium all other fish may show signs of illness but the Longnose Hawkfish survives the outbreak. As long as you maintain the quality of the water in your fish tank, feed them on a well-balanced diet, then, your fish can live a long healthy life. 

Here are some general signs of a sick Longnose Hawkfish.

  • Hiding most of the time
  • Not eating 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Abnormal swimming behavior

Marine Velvet 

One of the diseases that’s likely to affect your Hawkfish is Marine Velvet. The illness is caused by poor water quality or drastic changes in the water quality. Marine Velvet is spread by a parasite called Amyloodinium. 

The parasite attaches itself onto the skin of a fish making it sick. If you look at a sick fish from a dim light, it’s possible to see brown spots that almost look like specs of gold or rust. The fish may also lack appetite, lose weight, become lethargic, and scratches against objects to relieve the discomfort. 

The best treatment for Marine Velvet is by copper to the tank. It must be in the right dosage otherwise it could become toxic to your fish. It’s also worth noting that copper is harmful to invertebrates living in the water with your fish. It’s recommended to remove the sick fish from the main tank and transfer it into a quarantine tank. 

Another method that can help kill the parasite in the water is removing all the fish from the tank and placing them into a separate tank. Allow the main tank to remain without fish until the parasites die from starvation.  This parasite requires a host body, and if they don’t have one to attach to, they will die off. 

Longnose Hawkfish
fish flakes

The Attention Requirements of Longnose Hawkfish

This is one of the best saltwater fish for beginners and experts alike because it’s a good feeder and is resistant to fish diseases. As long as you maintain the quality of the water to avoid buildup of nitrites, nitrates, phosphates, and ammonia, you fish will survive and live a long life.

Feeding Longnose Hawkfish

The fish is mainly a meat eater, but in the aquarium the fish can eat a combination of flakes and meat foods. Brine shrimp, small fish, and other crustaceans make a good meal for the Longnose Hawkfish.  Live foods are preferred over frozen ones because it gives your fish a diet close to what they eat in its natural habitat. 

It’s also advisable to dip fish flakes, frozen, or live foods in vitamins or garlic to boost their resistance to infections. These fish need to be fed two times a day. It is important that everything gets eaten to avoid contaminating the water. If you notice that some food doesn’t get eaten, wait before dropping more food in the tank to allow them to finish before you drop any more in.

Related Questions:

Can I breed the Longnose Hawkfish in the aquarium?

If you have a male and a female in a single tank, you’ll notice that during mating they tend to swim together near the surface of the tank. The practice is usually called the courtship dance and the female lays eggs which the male places sperm on for fertilization. If you’re lucky enough to see it, the eggs and the sperm of the Longnose Hawkfish appear like cloudy spots in the tank.

The eggs are very fragile and could get eaten by the fish or die before hatching. Very few fries make it to adulthood.

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