Our fish of the week is the Yellowhead Jawfish (Opistognathus aurifrons)! Otherwise known as pearly jawfish, these fish like to burrow in the sand and rubble to make their homes. They are a relatively peaceful fish, but also rather shy and like to hide in their burrows most of the time. If you would like to keep these fish, make sure you have at least 4″ of sand covering the bottom of your tank. Keep in mind that this additional substrate will make your tank extra heavy, so be sure that your tank is properly supported.
Other species of fish will usually leave the jawfish alone. Jawfish may try to chase away smaller fish investigating their subterranean burrows. Predatory fish, such as eels and groupers, will try to eat your jawfish. They are carnivorous fish, so make sure to give them some tasty, meaty meals twice daily.
Jawfish are also notorious jumpers so make sure your lid is secure and all holes, even the small ones, are covered.
When I was working in Mystic Aquarium, we had a jawfish tank that was undergoing renovation. After we removed the fish and all the sand, we found more fish living beneath the sand that no one had seen in a long time! They had lost all their color from living underground for so long!