Flame Hawkfish: Lifespan, Breeding, Tank mates, Care & Aggression

Flame Hawkfish

If you’re looking for an attractive addition to your aquatic collection- consider a Flame Hawkfish (Neocirrhites armatus). Aquarium enthusiasts appreciate this stunning breed’s bright coloration – an intense red complemented by a distinctive body shape – which makes it stand out in any marine environment. Additionally, this fascinating creature is known for its engaging personality and behavior- making it all the more appealing in your tank too! This article explores several key aspects of taking care of these impressive swimmers – covering their lifespan, breeding habits, size, tank requirements, and compatibility with other types of aquatic life.

Flame Hawkfish

Flame Hawkfish Lifespan

The lifespan of this fish while confined, is subject to various influences. When sustained with appropriate care and a fitting home, Flame Hawkfish can live up to 5 – 8 years typically. Nevertheless, exceptional cases denote certain members surviving beyond 10 years due to receiving optimal conditions and supportiveness.

Factors Affecting Flame Hawkfish Lifespan

1. Diet and Nutrition: For Flame Hawkfish owners concerned with the long-term well-being of their pets, prioritizing a properly balanced diet is key. A range of top-notch frozen or live food should be included – consider small crustaceans, brine shrimp, and mysis shrimp.

2. Water Quality: The health and prosperity of the fish are heavily reliant on the maintenance of superior quality water within their aquatic space. This necessitates consistent surveillance and measurement of notable parameters such as temperature, pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. By implementing effective procedures that include frequent water changes and apt filtration systems, the requisite conditions can be established so that these fish can thrive.

3. Tank Environment: The fish thrive in a well-established aquarium with plenty of hiding places and suitable substrate. They prefer a peaceful and low-stress environment, so it’s important to provide adequate hiding spots and ensure there are no aggressive tank mates.

Flame Hawkfish Breeding

Breeding the fish in captivity is a challenging but rewarding endeavor. The following steps are involved in successfully breeding Flame Hawkfish:

1. Breeding Behavior: Flame Hawkfish are hermaphrodites. They start their lives as females and can transition to males later in life. When a dominant male is absent, the largest female in a group will undergo a sex change and transform into a male. The male will then take on the role of guarding the nest and attracting a female for spawning.

2. Breeding Setup: For those looking to facilitate successful breeding amongst these aquatic pets, creating an environment conducive to such endeavors is imperative: this encompasses providing ample hiding spaces with strategically placed live rocks throughout a clean and well-maintained aquarium space. Regulating water temperatures within the ideal range of 78 – 82°F (25 – 28°C) while monitoring pH levels – which should remain at or above 8.1 – 8.4. 

3. Rearing the Fry: Once the female lays her eggs, which typically hatch within 4-6 days, it is important to separate the fry from the adult fish to prevent them from being consumed. Transfer the eggs or fry to a separate rearing tank with gentle water movement and appropriate food such as rotifers and newly hatched brine shrimp.

Flame Hawkfish Size

When matured Flame Hawkfish will typically measure between 4 and 5 inches (10 – 13cm) in length as an average. However, its worth noting that there are exceptions where certain individuals may grow up to as much as 6 inches (15cm). Because of the sluggish rate at which they develop this means these fishes may need a few years before they attain their complete growth potential.

Flame Hawkfish Tank Size

To provide a comfortable living space for a Flame Hawkfish, a minimum tank size of 30 gallons (113 liters) is recommended. It’s important to consider their active nature and provide ample swimming space. A larger tank of 55 gallons (208 liters) or more is preferable if you plan to keep multiple Flame Hawkfish or want to create a community tank with compatible tank mates.

Flame Hawkfish Tank Mates

When choosing tank mates for Flame Hawkfish, it’s crucial to consider their semi-aggressive nature and territorial behavior. Some suitable tank mates include:

  • Peaceful and non-aggressive fish species such as clownfish, gobies, and tangs.
  • Docile invertebrates like cleaner shrimp and small hermit crabs.
  • Compatible reef-safe species such as soft corals, polyps, and some types of anemones.

Avoid aggressive or territorial fish species, as they can lead to conflicts and stress for the Flame Hawkfish. Additionally, caution should be exercised when introducing Flame Hawkfish to a reef tank with delicate corals or small ornamental crustaceans.

Flame Hawkfish Care

Flame Hawkfish

Proper care is essential for the well-being and longevity of Flame Hawkfish. Consider the following care guidelines:

1. Tank Setup and Maintenance: Provide ample hiding places with live rock or coral structures. Ensure a well-circulated aquarium with efficient filtration to maintain water quality. Regular water changes of 10-20% every two weeks help keep the water parameters stable.

2. Feeding and Nutrition: Flame Hawkfish are carnivorous and require a varied diet. Offer a combination of high-quality frozen or live foods such as brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, and small crustaceans. Supplement their diet with quality pellets or flakes designed for carnivorous marine fish.

3. Water Parameters: Maintain a temperature range of 78-82°F (25-28°C) and a pH level between 8.1-8.4. Salinity should be kept around 1.023-1.025. Regularly test and maintain appropriate levels of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and phosphate. Avoid significant fluctuations in water parameters to prevent stress-related health issues.

4. Disease Prevention: To prevent common fish diseases, practice good hygiene and quarantine new additions to the tank. Observe any signs of illness, such as loss of appetite, abnormal swimming behavior, or visible parasites on the fish’s body. Promptly address any health issues by consulting with a knowledgeable aquatic veterinarian or seeking advice from reputable aquarium forums or experts.

Flame Hawkfish Aggressive Behavior

Flame Hawkfish are known for their territorial and semi-aggressive behavior. It is essential to understand their natural instincts and take appropriate measures to manage aggression:

1. Understanding Natural Behavior:

Flame Hawkfish are territorial by nature and may exhibit aggressive tendencies towards other fish, especially smaller or similarly shaped species. They stake out their preferred hiding spots and defend them vigorously. It’s important to provide ample hiding places and create territories within the aquarium to reduce potential conflicts.

2. Dealing with Aggression:

If aggression becomes an issue, consider the following strategies:

  • Provide multiple hiding places and suitable shelters throughout the tank to create separate territories.
  • Avoid introducing fish species with similar body shapes or coloration that may trigger territorial disputes.
  • Monitor the tank closely and be prepared to separate aggressive individuals if necessary. Using a tank divider or separate containment may be required in extreme cases.

Can Flame Hawkfish Live Together?

While it is possible to keep multiple Flame Hawkfish in the same tank, careful consideration and monitoring are necessary to ensure compatibility:

1. Suitable Tank Setup for Multiple Flame Hawkfish: Provide a larger tank with ample hiding spots and territories. A tank size of 75 gallons (283 liters) or more is recommended for multiple Flame Hawkfish.

2. Introducing Multiple Hawkfish: When introducing multiple Flame Hawkfish, it is advisable to add them simultaneously or introduce the smaller or less dominant individuals first. This helps to reduce aggressive behavior and establish a more balanced hierarchy.

3. Monitoring Compatibility: Watch for signs of aggression, such as chasing, fin-nipping, or territorial disputes. If aggression escalates to a harmful level, it may be necessary to separate the fish or rehome one to a different tank.


Flame Hawkfish are captivating fish species that bring vibrant color and character to marine aquariums. By understanding their lifespan, breeding habits, size, tank requirements, compatibility with other fish, and appropriate care guidelines, aquarists can create a suitable environment for these fascinating creatures to thrive. With proper attention to their needs, Flame Hawkfish can be delightful additions to marine aquariums, captivating viewers with their fiery beauty and engaging behavior.


  1. Can Flame Hawkfish be kept in a community tank?

    • While Flame Hawkfish can be kept with suitable tank mates, their semi-aggressive nature should be considered. Choose peaceful and compatible species to minimize conflicts.
  2. Can Flame Hawkfish be kept with corals in a reef tank?

    • Flame Hawkfish can be kept with certain corals in a reef tank. However, caution should be exercised, as some individuals may nip at small ornamental crustaceans or disturb delicate corals. A careful selection of corals that can tolerate their presence is recommended.

Recommended Reading: Lawnmower Blenny: The Small But Mighty Fish You Need in Your Tank

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