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FAQs about the Hawkfish Behavior

Related Articles: Hawkfishes, Hawkfishes of the Cook Islands

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What Cirrhitids do the vast majority of the time...

Color Changing Flame Hawkfish 11/21/09
Hi crew,
<Hello Lynne>
I recently purchased a Red Flame Hawkfish who is in my QT and has been eating a variety of foods (frozen mysis shrimp, brine shrimp plus, prime reef frozen and flakes and plankton). I've had him for about a week now and I've noticed that when I return home at night from work and put on the tank light the fish is almost white in color and then after about 15 minutes or so he's back to his deep red color.
He's been eating well each day since I purchased him and seems healthy in every way. Is this color changing normal for this fish?
<Is normal, a characteristic of Hawkfish, no need to worry.>
Thank you,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Color Changing Flame Hawkfish 11/22/09
Thanks James! What a relief!
<You're welcome, Lynn. James (Salty Dog)>

Flame Hawkfish behavior 11/11/09
Just got into the marine hobby and I'm really enjoying it and love WWM.com.
I have had my tank up and running for one month and one day. It is a 38 gallon tank long. I have aragonite substrate and 30 pounds of live rock I have been taking my time adding about 7-8 pound pieces once a week, goal is 40 pounds. I cycled the tank with 4 mollies and live rock and was putting some stuff in the tank called BioZyme. After two weeks I added a blue/green damsel then last week I added a watchman goby and pistol shrimp.
I have some blue hermits and few Nassarius snails and all kinds of wild stuff that comes out at night. Yesterday I got a flame Hawkfish. He has paid no attention to the crabs and my shrimp seems to stay under the rocks,
<Yikes... and for good reason. The Hawk is a shrimp predator!>
he does come out to move some sand when the watchman is playing lookout.
The Hawkfish hasn't paid any attention to him either yet. Now here is my concern. The flame Hawkfish will do his perching and chill out but then he'll swim to the back corner and just keep trying to swim to the top he does it so many times he starts turning from his beautiful deep red to almost white he'll then go over to the rocks perch and turn back his normal red. He is eating great he ate some fish flake, frozen blood worms, and frozen Spirulina brine shrimp. My ammonia is zero as well as nitrate, ph is 8.3, and salt is 1.024. I took these tests today. My alkalinity was 196 two days ago didn't test that this morning. So is this swimming up and down normal, is he just still getting used to his home, or do I have a sick fish?
<Is normal behavior for this fish, family>
All my other fish are very happy I don't see the watchman to often maybe once or twice a day but his color looks great and I notice him and the pistol are growing. Thanks for the help.
<Thank you for sharing your obvious delight with our interest. Bob Fenner>

Forget Harry, it's "dirty" Hawkfish Hello all, I have been to your site frequently. The WWM crew are responsible for saving my choc. star and my Hawkfish. <Actually, pardon the interruption, you are responsible... we only blindly assist> Once again I'm in over my head... I have a 29 gal tank up since June 04. it has a TetraTec filter with built in heater, Penguin 1140 powerhead, crushed coral substrate, 6 lbs live rock. my amm, and no2 are 0 but I have been battling my pH and nitrates. pH seems to fall rapidly from 8.3 to 8.0 and sometimes 7.8 with no apparent reason. <IS apparent, you lack sufficient alkaline buffering capacity... Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alkalinity.htm > I correct with marine buffer by SeaChem. my nitrates are between 20 and 40 depending on how close it is to water change time. Should I do large water change to get nitrates down? <Not at these levels, the livestock you list> I use RO water from my LFS for water changes. I change 6 gal a week. I always vacuum the gravel when I do a water change. I think this water problem is directly related to my hawkfish's problem. He eats great but his "bands" (he is a banded Hawkfish) are being obscured by what I can only describe as "dirt", He's turning grey. Should I remove him to QT and medicate him? <Mmm, not so fast> I also have a choc chip sea star and a clownfish in the tank. The star is thriving. The clown has only been there for 4 or 5 days and has her own problems... namely the Hawkfish doesn't like her and chases her.  <Typical> I'm considering moving her if they don't resolve the problem soon. BTW clown was QT'd for 4 weeks and FW dipped before going to main tank. She was fine at that time.  I'm not sure how long hawk has been turning grey, it just dawned on me today he was half grey..  Any advice would be appreciated.  Thanks, Beth <The Hawk is likely "changing color/markings" due to the presence, interaction with your Clownfish... I would separate these two with a partition, perhaps just a floating plastic colander... for a week. Bob Fenner> 

Goby x Pinos Hello, <Hi there> Great website! I got just one question: I have, in my reef, an Amblycirrhites pinos. Recently (three days ago), I've acquired a neon goby. The goby is hiding almost all the time, and I think that's because the pinos is pursuing him. <Likely so> If that is true, is there any chance that the pinos will settle down and stop harassing him with time? or should I just remove the pinos while there is still time? <Likely will keep after till it catches, consumes the goby> Thanks man!! Sorry about the bad English :P Rodrigo Urquiza <Your English is perfect. Bob Fenner>

Flame Hawk Breathing Fast? I have a recently acquired flame hawk in quarantine. He appears to be breathing heavily, though I'm not certain what the breath rate they are. Do they normally breath fast? It's currently breathing like twice a second. Is this normal? Jim <No, sounds pretty fast. More than likely, could be the beginning of Amyloodinium. You can get additional info on the treatment at WWM. Less likely gill flukes, also on WWM. -Steven Pro>

Flame Hawkfish Behavior Gentlemen: I have had a flame Hawkfish in my 125G FOWLR for about 1 year. He is a great fish with a lot of personality. I recently noticed that he is having difficulty swimming to the surface to get food. Typically he is one of the first fish to feed. My water parameters are as follows: pH 8.2 - 8.2 ammonia nil nitrite trace nitrate 50 (wet/dry with protein skimmer) I realize that hawks do not have a swim bladder and cannot remain buoyant for extended periods of time. Even as frozen food sinks to the floor, he is not showing any interest. However, he continues to show a desire to feed on krill. He waits until the krill gets close to the floor and then gathers it up. I would think that this is an encouraging sign. <agreed> His breathing seems to be more rapid than normal, and his usual brilliant red color is somewhat faded. I would appreciate any insight that you can provide in my efforts to save this fish. Thanks, Mitch <ahhh... the pale color simply evidences stress that you already know exists. Unfortunately the "why" cannot be explained by general symptoms of rapid gilling and swimming behavior. The best bet would be preventative medicine in a quarantine tank. Formalin or Quick Cure combined with abroad spectrum antibiotic may be in order unless you see more specific symptoms. Best regards, Anthony>

- Hawkfish Out of Sorts - I have a 58 gallon reef tank that has been up and running for about 10 months.  My BakPak 2R protein skimmer really started to smell bad and cleaning it only seemed to work for a couple of days, at most. <Perhaps something you are feeding??> My water was perfect in every way with no ammonia, no nitrites and a nitrate reading of about 1 or 2.  I decided to switch to an AquaC remora hang on skimmer and, at the same time, decided to replace 3 of the 4 powerheads I had in the tank.  Everything seemed to go well.  The next evening, however, I noticed that my long-nose Hawkfish was breathing very fast, just sitting on a rock he never sits on and not eating.  I also noticed that there was an area in the corner near him that had the sand blown away.  I must have had some reflection current, however, since the powerhead that was opposite that area was actually raised from its previous level.  I do not notice any spots on the Hawkfish or any other external signs of any trouble.  Could changing the current have caused this problem? <Not directly, but perhaps the change in routine, your hands in the tank and whatnot... this would be a source of stress.> I am perplexed and any assistance would be appreciated. <Give things a couple more days... chances are good that things will return to normal.> The fish has been extremely active and hardy up until this occurred. Thank you. Scott <Cheers, J -- >

Stocky Hawkfish Are Stocky Hawkfish able to close their eyes? <only during Michael Bolton videos... thanks for asking>

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