Skunk Tilefish

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Species group:

Other common names:

Scientific name: Hoplolatius marcosi

The basics:
The Skunk Tilefish’s color pattern is “skunk-like” in name only, as no true skunk can match its beauty! It has very specific needs, but does well for careful aquarists.

The Skunk Tilefish is native to the Indo-Pacific region, where it lives on sand and coral rubble bottoms.

Appearance / health:
The 12.7 cm (5 in) body is elongated and white, with a blue tint, in color. A brilliant red stripe extends from the snout to the forked tail.

Skunk Tilefish prove quite hardy when provided proper care. They may be injured or consumed by large fish and invertebrates, and their showy tails are irresistible to fin-nippers.

Behavior / temperament:
Skunk Tilefish are always on the go, poking about the rocks and coral in the tank’s lower and middle levels. They get along well with many non-aggressive reef fishes and invertebrates, but are territorial towards others of their kind.

The Skunk Tilefish requires a well-filtered 113 liter (30 gal) or larger aquarium that is provisioned with numerous rock/coral caves. Live sand and coral rubble, which will provide additional food in the form of micro-organisms, make the best substrates. AS they construct burrows in the wild, the substrate should be at least 3 inches deep. Skunk Tilefish are accomplished jumpers, so all openings in the hood must be secured. They do best in pairs.

The following water quality parameters should be maintained in order to assure long-term health: Temperature: 22-25.5 C (72-78 F); Specific Gravity (Salinity): 1.020-1.025; pH: 8.1-8.4.

The diet should include finely-chopped clam, mussels, and other meaty foods, live and frozen rotifers, cyclops, Mysis and brine shrimp, and flakes/pellets formulated for carnivorous marine fishes.

Despite the popularity of this and related species, thus far only the Zebra Dartfish has been induced to spawn in captivity.

Written by Frank Indiviglio

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