Aquarium Fish

Longhorn Cowfish

posted: 05/15/12
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Longhorn Cowfish
Courtesy of Drs. Foster and Smith
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The Longhorn Cowfish inhabit the reefs of the Indo-Pacific, usually in the less turbid waters. The body is yellow and covered with white dots, and is occasionally referred to as the Yellow Boxfish; however, the Longhorn is not to be confused with Ostracion cubicus, commonly called the Cube Boxfish, or Yellow or Polka Dot Boxfish. In the wild, it is not uncommon to see a 20" specimen, while in the aquarium the Longhorn Cowfish tends to be dramatically smaller — 16" or less.

When possible, the Longhorn Cowfish should be the first fish introduced in the tank. It is intolerant of other Longhorns, so keep it in a large tank, with some live rock for algae scraping. Use caution if placing the Longhorn Cowfish in a reef tank as it may nibble on tubeworms. When housed correctly, the Longhorn Cowfish is long-lived.

Similar to other boxfish, the Longhorn Cowfish's skin is poisonous, and when threatened, it will release a toxin lethal to other tank members, including other Longhorns.

Since they are omnivores, the Longhorn Cowfish should be offered a variety of meaty and vegetable foods. They are slow eaters, and should not be housed with aggressive eaters.

Fish Facts

Name: Longhorn Cowfish (Lactoria cornuta)

Family: Ostraciidae

Range: Indo-Pacific

Size: Up to 20 inches

Diet: Omnivore

Tank Set-up: Marine: Coral or rock, plants

Reef Compatible: With caution

Tank Conditions: 72-78°F; sg 1.020-1.025; pH 8.1-8.4

Minimum Tank Capacity: 125 gallon

Light: Medium

Temperament: Peaceful

Venomous: Yes

Swimming Level: No specific level

Care Level: Difficult

Reproduction: Egg Layer

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