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Longhorn Cowfish
2 likes Boxfish
(Lactoria cornuta) Expert Peaceful 20" 150 gallons 72-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025 Omnivore Indo-Pacific Ostraciidae Boxfish Reef Compatible Longhorn Cowfish are extremely popular with hobbyists and are most likely the first name that comes to mind when the species of Boxfish is mentioned. They are a hardy species that can be found grazing among the reefs and sand within less turbulent waters throughout the Indo-Pacific. They are generally peaceful and have an excellent defense against predation by having horns on their foreheads as well as their rear undersides as well as having the ability to secret a venomous ostracitoxin from their already poisonous skin when stressed (ostracitoxin can also be released upon death); care should be taken to keep Longhorn Cowfish comfortable and in a low stress environment as their ostracitoxin can kill other tank inhabitants. Longhorn Cowfish can be found through online vendors, but may sometimes be hard to find; special ordering may be necessary at local retailers. Although they may seem small at a local retailer, Longhorn Cowfish are often seen in the wild at sizes of 20", but generally only reach around 16" in an a home aquarium. They should be housed in nothing less than a 150 gallon system and be provided with plenty of live rock and live sand for shelter and grazing. They love to eat and due to this fact along with their large adult size, they can add a sizable biological load to their aquarium; strong, efficient biological and mechanical filtration is required along with a quality protein skimmer. In the wild they prefer calmer waters and should not be exposed to high, turbulent water movement (low to moderate is recommended). Although they can be reef compatible, a FOWLR system is ultimately recommended as they will not usually harm corals or anemones, but will gladly snack on live snails, tubeworms, small shrimp, and benthic invertebrates in addition to small fish. Longhorn Cowfish are generally peaceful and should be housed with peaceful tank mates that will not cause them stress; however, they can become aggressive with conspecific tank mates and multiple specimens would need a much larger aquarium with plenty of separate territory. Choose tank mates wisely and remember that Longhorn Cowfish have the ability to release ostracitoxin into the water column. Longhorn Cowfish are omnivorous and can be observed in the wild searching for benthic invertebrates in the sand, eat various marine algae, and snacking upon snails, tubeworms, and small fish. They are not picky eaters and in an aquarium environment they will readily accept a wide array of live, frozen, or freeze-dried, and vitamin enriched brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, bloodworms, ghost shrimp, krill, chopped clams, marine algae, mussels, silver sides, snails, and quality, Spirulina-based flake foods for carnivores, omnivores, and herbivores as well as other prepared foods. Longhorn Cowfish, like other boxfish, have teeth that are constantly growing and can be kept in check by the feeding of live snails and various live "feeder" shrimp. Feed 2-3 times a day.
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Ashley Gilbert
Cubicus Boxfish
1 like Boxfish
(Ostracion cubicus) Difficult Semi-Aggressive 18" 125 gallons 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, sg 1.020-1.025, pH 8.1-8.4 Omnivore Indo-Pacific to Southeast Atlantic Ostraciidae Boxfish Reef Compatible The Cubicus Boxfish is found inhabiting coral and rocky reefs in tropical and temperate marine waters of the Indo-West Pacific, including Indonesia, New Guinea, north to the Philippine Islands and east to Fiji and French Polynesia. Larval fish generally settle on sheltered rocky and coral reefs in the summer months, when juveniles are often found in small aggregations. Within the aquarium hobby the Cubicus Boxfish is also referred to as the Yellow Boxfish, Polka Dot Boxfish, or Cube Boxfish. The Cubicus Boxfish is sometimes confused with the Longhorn Cowfish, Lactoria cornuta which is occasionally also called the Yellow Boxfish; however, the Longhorn Cowfish has distinctive horns where the Cubicus Boxfish does not. While many hobbyist are attracted to this species because of their unique look and coloration, they should only be kept by expert aquarists with very large aquariums. The Cubicus Boxfish is easily recognized by its angular box-shaped body, bright yellow coloration and black spots. Juveniles of the species have fairly large black spots, but as the fish grows, the spots become smaller and brownish, sometimes even changing to white spots with a black margin. The adult of the species has a brownish/gray base color with dots outlined in black and typically grows to around 18 inches in length. The Cubicus Boxfish is a very difficult fish species to keep in the aquarium setting due to its large size, sensitivity to fluctuations in water parameters and somewhat specialized feeding requirements. An expert aquarist who would like to keep this species should have at a minimum a 125 gallon aquarium, but larger being better. While this species can be kept in reef aquariums, use caution as they will often nibble at tubeworms and if stressed can release a poisonous substance, called ostracitoxin, from its mucous glands which will kill other fish in the tank very quickly. The Cubicus Boxfish will require both large areas to swim and an abundance of rocky caves and crevices (suitable for such a large species to retreat into) in order to be properly housed in a home aquarium. The Cubicus Boxfish can be a shy feeder when first introduced into the aquarium environment. When first introduced, the Cubicus Boxfish prefers a diet of live foods; such as, brine shrimp, mysid shrimp or bloodworms. However, once acclimated the Cubicus Boxfish will eat a diet that includes chopped squid, clams, mussels, and frozen or flake herbivore preparations.
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