Aquarium Fish

Shaw’s Trunkfish

posted: 05/15/12
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Shaw's Trunkfish
Courtesy of Drs. Foster and Smith
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Shaw's Trunkfish is also called Shaw's Cowfish, or the Striped Cowfish, and is a member of the Ostraciidae family. Males and females of Aracana aurita are dimorphic, with the males having a blue to green hue that is absent in the female.

This is a very difficult fish to keep in the aquarium setting by any other than the most experienced aquarist. The Shaw's Cowfish should have a minimum of an 70-gallon tank. Use caution if placing it in a reef tank as it will often nibble at tubeworms. When stressed, the Cowfish releases a poisonous substance, called ostracitoxin, from its mucous glands which will kill other fish in the tank very quickly.

Very little success has been achieved in breeding this fish in an aquarium.

When introduced into a tank, the Shaw's Cowfish can be fed a diet of live brine shrimp or bloodworms. After acclimatization, chopped squid, clams, mussels, and herbivore preparations can be fed. This fish has the peculiar habit of coming to the surface and spitting when it is hungry.

Fish Facts

Name: Shaw's Trunkfish (Aracana aurita)

Family: Ostraciidae

Range: Indo-Western Pacific

Size: Up to 7 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: 70 gallon

Light: Medium

Temperament: Peaceful

Venomous: Yes

Swimming Level: No specific level

Care Level: Difficult

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