Longnose Hawkfish Care (Oxycirrhites typus)

longnose hawkfish

Last updated on August 9th, 2022 at 09:52 am

Early aquarists found the longnose hawkfish (Oxycirrhites typus) to be very appealing but did not know much about keeping it alive and well in an aquarium setting. Today, many people still love the looks of this fish, and now keep them with relative ease.

This hawkfish has been labeled one of the most difficult fish to care for by both hobbyists and marine biologists alike.

But the truth is, longnose hawkfish care is relatively simple, although it’s important to maintain good water quality in order to keep your fish happy and healthy. However, these hawkfish are easy to feed and make great additions to reef tanks that contain compatible tank mates.

When you’re thinking about choosing new fish to bring home from the pet store, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by all of the species you have to choose from. Luckily, there are some varieties that are highly recommended for both beginners and experienced hobbyists alike, such as the longnose hawkfish (Oxycirrhites typus).

Origin and descriptions

The longnose hawkfish, also known as Oxycirrhites typus, is a tropical marine fish that can be found in west and central Atlantic Ocean, at depths of 3 to 65 meters. The hawkfish gets its name from its noticeably longer than average snout that bears a curved tip.

This species is often confused with other similar-looking hawkfish species, but it can be identified by its two rows of pearly white spots running down each side of its body. In addition to being distinguishable by their unique markings, longnose hawkfish are also recognized for their large eyes and overall slender appearance.

Their coloring ranges from yellowish-brown to brown with bright orange stripes running along their sides. Juveniles are more vibrant in coloration than adults. The fish grows up to 5 inches in length and can live up to 20 years if properly cared for. They are considered an omnivorous species, meaning they will eat both meaty foods such as brine shrimp or mysis shrimp as well as vegetable matter such as spirulina flakes or seaweed sheets.

Mollusk - Full Description & 7 Amazing Classes

Species profile

longnose hawkfish

Oxycirrhites typus is a species of marine ray-finned fish, a hawkfish of the Cirrhitidae family. It can be found around 10 to 100 m (33 to 328 ft) beneath tropical reefs in the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. The species is often found among gorgonians and black corals on the outer edges of reefs.

They can grow up to 5 inches in length. They are generally a bit aggressive fish and can be kept with most other fish species of similar size. They should not be kept with smaller or more aggressive fish as they may become nipped at or bullied by them.

Scientific name

The scientific name of the longnose hawkfish is Oxycirrhites typus


They are found in shallow estuaries and mangrove areas, preferring temperatures between 77 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The Longnose Hawkfish is also found in quiet waters like tidal pools, lagoons, bays, harbors and inner reef slopes. It’s important that your aquarium mimic its natural habitat as closely as possible.

They prefer moderately hard, alkaline waters with temperatures between 68 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. They can also tolerate a range of pH levels, from 8.0 to 9.5, and salinity levels from 1.020 to 1.025 at a minimum, however, care should be taken to ensure salinity does not fluctuate too greatly over time as it can stress and even kill your fish if prolonged for extended periods of time.

Longnose hawkfish size

These hawkfish can grow to a size of about 5 inches (12.7 cm) in length.

Tank size

Due to their size, the minimum recommended tank size is 30 gallons (114 liters).

Tank requirements

A small tank that is easy to maintain and has plenty of room for plants, rocks, and other decorations. This fish can be housed in a reef or fish-only setup with other peaceful or semi-aggressive species. They may eat small invertebrates such as copepods and amphipods. The tank should be well-lit with a water temperature of 72–82°F (22–28°C).

Basslet Fish Care Guide

Longnose hawkfish are not picky about their substrate, but it does need to be soft enough for them to burrow into it. It’s also important to ensure that there are no sharp edges on any decor items, as they could injure these fish. These animals will spend most of their time buried in sand or rubble during the day and emerge at night to feed.

They have very good eyesight so they will likely see all food items before they get anywhere near them. Feeding your longnose hawkfish frozen mysis shrimp and live brine shrimp is an excellent way to provide nutrition while keeping costs low.

Tank mates

The Longnose Hawkfish will do best with tank mates of a similar temperament. It is not recommended to house them with large or aggressive fish. Keep in mind that some species might consume smaller fish, so keep other tank mates appropriately sized for your pet and make sure they are not easily swallowed.

Some good tank mates are Anthias, Banggai cardinalfish, Blue-green chromis, Butterflyfish, Clownfish, Damselfish, Dottybacks, and Dwarf angelfish.

There are also some fish that can be kept with a Longnose Hawkfish but only in a large aquarium or when they are young. These include Blue Tangs (Paracanthurus hepatus), Trigger Fish, and Wrasses.


longnose hawkfish

These fish are generally very easy to breed, making them popular for both marine and freshwater aquarists. They should be conditioned for about 4-6 weeks before spawning. During that time they should be fed smaller portions of live foods as often as every other day in order to encourage optimal health and weight gain.

Foods like live brine shrimp, tubifex worms, or chopped silversides should be offered in addition to regular flake foods. After conditioning, these fish will usually spawn on a flat surface such as a rock or plate of glass.

Atlantic Ghost Crab Facts (Ocypode Quadrata)

The female will lay several hundred eggs which will then be fertilized by the male who then guards them until they hatch around 48 hours later.  The fry can be fed rotifers or newly hatched baby brine shrimp initially. As they grow larger, more suitable foods can be used such as microworms and freshly hatched baby brine shrimp.

Are they aggressive or peaceful?

These fish can be a bit more aggressive than some other fish and should not be housed with aggressive species. But because of their size, they are generally safe to house with larger tetras and gouramis. They can also live in planted aquariums as long as there is plenty of space for them to swim away from predators.

Longnose hawkfish care

longnose hawkfish

Oxycirrhites typus are easy to care for, making them a great option for beginner fish keepers. They will eat any meaty foods that you feed your other tank inhabitants. Supplement their diet with sinking shrimp pellets and plankton wafers.

Longnose hawkfish are very active swimmers, so be sure to provide plenty of hiding places in your aquarium. A sand substrate is best as it helps prevent these fish from getting stuck on rocks or glass during feeding time. If you have a reef aquarium, make sure there is enough space between corals so that they can swim freely through open water.

While they’re generally peaceful, they may nip at small or slow-moving fish like clownfish and gobies. Be careful when placing them in an aquarium with other species as they may bully others into submission. It’s also important to note that they are prone to jumping out of tanks if not properly secured; always use a hooded cover when possible!

Longnose hawkfish diet

Longnose hawkfish are nocturnal hunters that feed at night on small fishes and crustaceans. In captivity, they will eat shrimp, whitebait, mysis, and brine shrimp.

They also need to be fed vitamin C-rich foods in order to maintain good health. This can be accomplished by feeding them live foods or by adding a vitamin supplement to their food source. They should be fed multiple times per day. It is important not to overfeed them as it can lead to digestive problems, which can kill your fish quickly if left untreated.

Blue Crab 'Callinectes Sapidus'

Longnose hawkfish lifespan

They can live up to 5-7 years when properly cared for.

Parasites and diseases

Longnose hawkfish are subject to internal and external parasites and diseases. Internal parasites include nematodes, cestodes, digeneans, acanthocephalans, monogeneans and pentastomes. External parasites include isopods (used to be classified as crustaceans), copepods, ostracods, polychaetes, and leeches. Most of these animals have specialized mouthparts that allow them to burrow inside a fish’s body.


The longnose hawkfish can be eaten by several different predators including moray eels, lion fish, giant triton snails, and tiger sharks. They should be kept in an aquarium without any fish that are aggressive towards them.

As with all new additions to an aquarium, your new Longnose Hawkfish should be quarantined before being introduced into your main tank. Some species of marine life are known to carry diseases and parasites which can harm or kill other marine life in an aquarium.

Do they make good pets?

Oxycirrhites typus is one of those fish that’s not quite suitable for a beginner. This is because they are very shy and need to be kept in a large tank. However, with more experience, you will find them to be one of your favorite marine fish for their beauty and timid but not aggressive personality. In fact, many hobbyists report that these fish often learn to recognize their owner’s hands in an aquarium after several weeks.