Fish of the Week: Longhorn Cowfish

longhorn cowfishOur fish of the week is the Longhorn Cowfish (Lactoria cornuta)! Another member of the coral reef ecosystem, these boxfish have angular bodies covered in thick, fused scales. This armor-like coating makes it a little hard to move, so cowfish use extra fin effort to propel themselves. They are bottom-feeders, blowing jets of water into the sand at the bottom of coral reef ecosystems to reveal the tasty snacks hiding just below the surface.

It is recommended that only one Longhorn Cowfish be kept in a home aquarium (250 gal or more). Preferably, they should be the first fish you introduce to a system. Give them plenty of time to acclimate before adding other fish. Their skin is poisonous and they release a toxin into the water when stressed, which can kill other fish, including other longhorns. They are omnivorous fish, but need to be kept away from aggressive eaters since they need time to ingest food (tiny mouth and all). These are certainly not a fish species for a beginner. They can start off cute and tiny (1″-2″), but have been known to grow up to 16″-20″ long!

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