The Watchful Hawkfish.
A Large Family
With around 33 species, the hawkfish family, otherwise known as Cirrhitidae, is quite extensive. Types of hawkfish can vary in colors and patterns as well as sizes. The smallest hawkfish, called the Falco Hawkfish, is a red and orange speckled fish only grows up to 3 inches long. The Cirrhitus rivulatus, or the giant hawkfish, however, can grow up to 24 inches.
Though there are many species, hawkfishes all have one thing in common. They have the ability to perch on their pectoral fins to get good vantage points on reefs, just as a hawk would at the tops of a tree.
In the Wild
Hawkfishes live in the tropical seas of Mexico and other South and Central American countries. Primarily reef dwellers, these fish will often hover near the ocean floor where they remain sedentary and motionless. From time to time, they will swim to the reef’s surface, where they will perch and look for predators and for prey, which usually consists of crabs, small shrimp, and smaller fishes.
In the Tank
As aquarium fish, hawkfish species are hardy and able to survive most tank conditions. Their bright colors and spines topped with branch-like cirri make them interesting additions to marine tanks. Some species of hawkfish can be a little aggressive, so it’s best to keep hawkfish with other hardy fish that are of similar size and temperament.
While there are many species of hawkfish, another similarity in the family is that hawkfish are protogynous hermaphrodites, which means these fish are all born female, but when it comes to spawning purposes, some hawkfish will become male because of inner or outer triggers.
The hawkfish is one type of fish you can’t miss in your marine tank!
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