Oxycirrhites typus (Longnose Hawkfish)

Oxycirrhites typus

Last updated on August 23rd, 2022 at 06:08 pm

Oxycirrhites typus, commonly known as the Longnose hawkfish, has long been one of the most popular marine fish species in the hobby. While their popularity may be due to their striking appearance or their larger size when compared to other hawkfish species, one of the biggest draws to keeping an Oxycirrhites typus (Longnose hawkfish) in your home aquarium is because of their more laid-back nature and friendly behavior when compared to other hawkfish species such as the Red Sea hawkfish or Whitetail Hawkfish.

Longnose hawkfish are beautiful fish, but their stunning looks are just the beginning of what makes them such valuable aquarium inhabitants. These fish have proven to be incredibly easy to care for, and they can thrive in both saltwater and freshwater aquariums alike. Of course, there are some special considerations that go into caring for these fish, so you’ll want to follow the steps below to ensure the health of your new Longnose hawkfish!

Origin and descriptions

Oxycirrhites typus

The Longnose Hawkfish, Oxycirrhites typus, is a member of Pisces, living in tropical waters throughout the Indo-Pacific region. The oxygen minimum zone species is found from one metre to 600 metres. This fish is native to Australian waters. In addition to its scientific name, it is also known as Longsnout Hawkfish or Common Longnose Hawkfish.

It has nine dorsal spines and two anal spines. It reaches a maximum length of 20 centimetres (7.9 inches). This species typically dwells at depths that range from 0 – 50 m (0 – 164 feet), but have been recorded down to 610 m (2,000 feet). It swims using undulating movements as well as by quickly flitting back and forth.

Species profile

Oxycirrhites typus

The Oxycirrhites typus is one of many species of fish called hawkfish from the Cirrhitidae family. While generally referred to as hawks, they are rather related to parrotfishes. They are named for their wing-like pectoral fins. For most members of the family, these pectoral fins lack spines and rays that help direct water flow when moving in conjunction with their dorsal fin.

Like most other groups in its class such as rabbitfishes or codlets, hawks spend their days at rest in holes or crevices on rocky surfaces where food comes to them. These openings can be anywhere from microscopic to large, enough to comfortably hold an adult human hand.

Plotosus lineatus (Striped eel catfish)

Oxycirrhites typus common name

The common name of the Oxycirrhites typus is Longnose Hawkfish or dwarf hawkfish


Oxycirrhites typus are found in shallow waters, 3-100 feet deep. They live in rocky areas that provide crevices for hiding as well as algae growth for food. These are bottom dwellers which means they will be kept near a substrate of fine sand or medium-sized gravel. If you choose to keep your hawkfish on a gravel substrate make sure to add some larger diameter rocks to give him places to hide should he feel threatened.

Without ample hiding spots, these fish can become stressed out very easily. A nice broadleaf plant-like java fern would also look great in a tank with an Oxycirrhites typus. This species does not grow more than 6 inches long so I recommend keeping them either singly or in small groups of two; any more than that is likely going to cause aggression issues.

Oxycirrhites typus size

The average size of a longnose hawkfish is 5.1 inches (13 cm)

Oxycirrhites typus tank size

The minimum recommended tank size is 30 gallons or larger.

Tank set up

A Longnose Hawkfish is best in a tank of at least 30 gallons with lots of live rock to hide. Provide plenty of places for it to dart in and out of as they are very shy.  In addition, have adequate hiding spots created by rocks, corals, or anything you can find that will allow your Longnose Hawkfish to remain hidden. They should be housed with medium-sized or larger fish that won’t harass them much. Smaller fish will end up in their stomachs soon enough!

Despite all its feistiness, it does not like other Longnose Hawkfish so keep just one per tank. They also do not mix well with any Pseudochromis such as dottybacks, false perculas, etc. The Pseudochromis family tends to nip at the fins of other species and harass them regularly when trying to steal food from their mouths!

They will also enjoy plenty of crustaceans like brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp, amphipods, copepods, etc., which makes them a good addition to an invertebrate aquarium or a refugium that has an abundance of small creatures running around. As with all fish, make sure there are enough hiding places so that these shy fish can feel secure when viewing other more aggressive species.

Keep in mind, because these fish are nocturnal you may not see much during daytime hours but come nighttime when everything else is sleeping, they usually come out and start feeding voraciously on any types of meaty foods including most cephapods, Mysis shrimp pieces and any other foods that have been leftover from your main meals during the day time hours.

Basslet Fish Care Guide

Oxycirrhites typus tank mates

Oxycirrhites typus

Oxycirrhites typus gets along well with other fish. Make sure you only have 1 per tank. The Longnose Hawkfish is a bottom feeder so it is important to do plenty of partial water changes to keep your aquarium clean. Because it is a bottom feeder, you will want to ensure there are no sharp rocks or shells on your aquarium floor that may harm your Longnose Hawkfish.

Some good tank mates are a lot of smaller fish. These fish include things like damsels, clowns, blennies, and gobies. You may also want to consider adding a few snails or hermit crabs to your Longnose Hawkfish’s aquarium.

Remember that no matter what fish you add to your aquarium you should do plenty of research about what fish types will get along with one another.

Oxycirrhites typus breeding

Oxycirrhites typus

Oxycirrhites typus are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning they begin their lives as females but become males later in life. They are oviparous and external fertilization is done with a male pressing against a female’s abdomen to release sperm into her opening. It is difficult to tell male from female Longnose at birth or during puberty, however, as they are not sexually dimorphic.

At sexual maturity, some will develop a long snout while others will remain shorter-snouted. The snout acts like a tube that directs eggs towards pouches on either side of its body where they can be held for several days until spawning occurs. During courtship, pairs may form hierarchies based on size and age. Spawning behavior has been observed both in captivity and under natural conditions; though observations are rare because nests are buried beneath sand and an observed pair stopped immediately upon discovery.

Spawning has been known to occur in temperatures between 20–29°C with successful development only when temperatures do not exceed 29°C. However, it is likely that Ocycirhthys requires greater warmth than what was tested since laboratory-bred animals have reached sexual maturity after being kept at 30–32°C. Captive raised fries developed normally even when water temperatures dropped below 24°C suggesting tolerance of lower water temperature (but still not dropping below ~24°C).

Banded Sunfish (Enneacanthus Obesus)

Very little is known about parental care in wild specimens due to difficulty observing them in their burrows. Captive parents have been seen guarding broods following spawning and collecting food for young but it is unknown if these individuals were larger fish displaced by recently matured spawners or simply nonbreeders that took over care duties.

Are Oxycirrhites typus aggressive or peaceful?

Longnose Hawkfish are peaceful fish, they shouldn’t be housed with large or aggressive tank mates. It is generally not advisable to keep any long-tailed fish with them due to their large caudal fins which may get injured. If kept with other non-aggressive fish such as colorful wrasses or a school of smaller gobies, they will show no signs of aggression.

Oxycirrhites typus care

Oxycirrhites typus

Longnose Hawkfish are relatively easy to care for. They should be housed in a large reef environment with plenty of rockwork, caves, and nooks where they can hide during their less active period. The more hiding places you provide, as well as lots of open areas for swimming, the better.

Oxycirrhites typus will also do best if kept in schools of 5 or more individuals. If a male is added to a tank without any other fish he may become very aggressive towards other animals and/or anemones within your aquarium. In order to prevent such behavior, it is suggested that at least two females are placed into each male’s home.

When attempting an introduction between different species, it is suggested that there be at least 6 months between introduction attempts so that one species does not out-compete another for food or space.

Oxycirrhites typus diet

The Longnose Hawkfish are carnivores. They eat small invertebrates in their environment including insects, worms, and crustaceans such as krill. Feeding is easy; they will accept most small marine life foods like brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp, chopped silversides, or other meaty items. This fish should be fed several times a day to keep it healthy since it is a voracious eater.

Water parameters

Oxycirrhites typus

Ideal water temperature range should be between 73 and 78°F, 0-30ppm of salt should be added to achieve neutral pH and a specific gravity of 1.010 -1.025 with a hardness between 5-15 dKH (12) should be perfect. A marine quarantine tank should also be utilized when introducing new fish into an aquarium in order to prevent any problems from occurring before adding them to your display tank(s). The same process is recommended for Longnose Hawkfish additions as well.

Geophagus steindachneri - Red Hump Eartheater

Oxycirrhites typus lifespan

They have an average lifespan of 5 to 7 years or more. If cared for properly, some individuals have been known to reach 10 years old in captivity.

Parasites and diseases

When kept in an aquarium with other fish, Oxycirrhites typus are vulnerable to parasites and diseases, especially if they come from a contaminated source.

Your Longnose Hawkfish may show signs of external parasites, including but not limited to marine ich, or white spot disease. External parasites should be treated with praziquantel; it is most effective when used at a concentration of 3.5mg/L for 7 days. Like all fish, your Hawkfish is susceptible to marine and freshwater diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and fungi.

Change your water regularly to prevent the buildup of parasites in your tank. Be sure to quarantine new fish for at least one month before introducing them into your main tank.

For ongoing treatments, consider installing a UV sterilizer or investing in frozen or freeze-dried food medicated with Metronidazole or other broad-spectrum medications if you have poor water quality.


Aquarists have reported attacks on their Longnose Hawkfish by larger, predatory fish such as Basslets, Butchered Puffers, Triggers, a Crowntail Surgeonfish, Goldspotted Pufferfish, and more. The last two are particularly notorious for consuming smaller fish whole.

Do Oxycirrhites typus make good pets?

Oxycirrhites typus can make great saltwater fish for intermediate aquarists, but they are not beginner-friendly. They tend to be territorial and aggressive toward other species of fish. If kept with other fish that are larger than them or more active than them, they may attack them mercilessly.

The tank should have lots of hiding places; without a place to go when scared or under attack, they’ll eventually fight back until either one or both are injured or killed. Hawks will also sometimes eat small invertebrates such as snails and shrimp if their diet isn’t varied enough—and it’s your job as an aquarist to ensure that it is!