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Ultimate Longnose Hawkfish Care Guide

Table of Contents

Longnose Hawkfish are one of the most unique and special fish in the saltwater aquarium hobby.

With their vibrant red coloring, energetic attitude, and unique perching behavior, they’re a fish I recommend every aquarists to own at one point in their life.

But before you go ahead and rush to your LFS to put one inside your tank, you better know how to take care of it, giving it the best life it can in captivity.

So without further ado, we’ll dive into everything there is to know about keeping a Longnose Hawkfish in your tank.


  • Scientific Name: Oxycirrhites typus
  • Care Level: Easy-Moderate
  • Regions of the World: Central America, Indo-Pacific, Hawaii, and more
  • Minimum Tank Size: 30
  • gallons
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Temperament: Moderate
  • Reef Safe: Yes
  • Max Size: 5 inches at maturity (5-7.5 Centimeters)
  • Aggression: Aggressive during feeding
    Price: Mid-High
  • Captive Bred: Not that we known of
  • Lifespan: Around five to seven years

Longnose Hawkfish Appearance

Longnose Hawkfish has a few defining characteristics that make them easy to spot. The first is their long nose or snout, that’s pretty unique in the saltwater aquarium hobby.

The second most defining characteristic is cirri, on their dorsal fins. They use these to perch in the wild, and inside of your tank environment. Other than that, they have the brightest red coloration out of all the hawkfish, like the Falco Hawkfish.

Longnose Hawkfish Tank Conditions

Longnose Hawkfish do best in a tank environment that’s at least 30 gallons, with plenty of different places to perch itself. This can be anything from live rock, corals, or even something like a frag rack or algae eraser. They are known to be jumpers, so be sure to place some sort of top on your tank to avoid this from happening.

As far as water paramters go, they are just like pretty much any other reef fish with the following:

  • Temperature: Mid 70s – Low 80s Farenheit
  • PH: 8.1-8.4
  • Salinity: 1.024 – 1.028

Longnose Hawkfish Diet

Longnose Hawkfish are ambush predators, so their most natural feeding habits would be live food in the form of brine shrimp, krill, or smaller fish. If not fed properly, it wouldn’t be unusual for them to go after a molting hermit crab or shrimp.

I’ve had a lot of success feeding my Longnose frozen krill, which I bought from my LFS, and run under water to thaw out upon feeding time.

Hawks are aggressive eaters, so don’t expect the rest of the tank to get food until it’s done eating. I’ve seen him take food straight out of my clownfish’s mouth as he was biting it several times.

If they are hungry, they make take on pellets or flakes, but it’s definitely not their preferred food.

I’ve only ever seen mine eat a flake when it’s fallen from the surface of the water, or a big flake on top that looks like a bug or something.

Their ambush predator eating style runs in their DNA.

Longnose Hawkfish Aggression and Tank Mates

In my experience, Longnose Hawkfish are not aggressive fish at all. They are just aggressive eaters as we touched upon earlier.

If your Hawk is aggressive it’s likely one of the following issues:

  • Your tank is too small
  • There is not enough perching spots
  • You’re not feeding it properly
  • You’ve mixed it with another hawkfish

Longnose Hawkfish Breeding

There’s still a lot to learn when it comes to the Longnose Hawkfish breeding process from start to finish.

Here’s what we do know.

We know that Longnose Hawkfish are sequential hermaphrodites, meaning that they are all born as females, and change gender in the wild when certain conditions are met, typically being them being the most aggressive or largest fish.

Once there’s a male in the region, the females will seek it out, and begin the courting process.

Hobbyists have gotten them to lay eggs just fine, but when it comes time to raise the fry, from what I can tell, it has not been done successfully.

Frequently Asked Questions

Longnose Hawkfish are reef-safe in the sense that they will not eat your corals. But what they will do, is perch on top of things inside of your tank, including corals and anemones. So if you’re worried about this behavior damaging your precious corals, then it may not be the best fish for you. You can limit the chances of this happening by putting it in a larger tank, therefore giving it less opportunities.
No Hawkfish are known to be poisonous or venomous. We’ve seen this come up a few times so we figured we’d address it here.

It can be pretty difficult to tell between male and female Longnose hawkfish.

Some aquarists report males to have more black markings along their fins, but there isn’t much info surrounding this.

Concluding Thoughts

Overall, the Longnose Hawkfish is an incredible saltwater aquarium fish that’s truly unique in a number of ways.

If you’re looking for a non-aggressive, vibrant red fish with unique behavior and eating habits to add to your tank then the Longnose Hawkfish could be for you.

We wouldn’t recommend getting one if you have lots of smaller crabs and tiny fish, as anything that can fit in its mouth can be lunch. That being said, I’ve kept plenty of shrimp and snails with mine and have had no issues.

Lastly, be sure to not mix one with any of the other hawkfishes, such as a Flame Hawkfish or Falco Hawkfish, as this is a recipe for disaster in most tanks.

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    My name’s Austin, and I created OtterAquatics to teach aquarists of all skill levels on how to succeed in the hobby.