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Hoplolatilus marcosi, the Skunk Tilefish. Scott W. Michael

[edit] Overview

The tilefishes all have a long, continuous dorsal fin, a relatively long anal fin, and a spine on the operculum. The larvae have numerous spines on the head and scales. The Subfamily Malacanthinae, the sand tilefishes, contains the species encountered in the aquarium trade. This group consists of 2 genera with 12 species. The largest member of the group attains a maximum length of 60 cm (23.6 in.). Most live on sand flats—often adjacent to coral reefs—and some species form large mounds out of shell fragments and coral rubble. These mounds provide shelter and food for many small fish species, as well as a refuge for the tilefishes. Some feed on zooplankton, while others eat crustaceans, worms, and small fishes. Many species occur in pairs.

Check for and avoid specimens suffering from improper decompression. Members of the genus Malacanthus are more durable than most of the Hoplolatilus species. The latter require peaceful tankmates and some do best in conspecific or heterospecific pairs.


Native range:

Taxonomic rank: Family

Common name: Tilefishes

Total known Total profiles
Subfamilies 2 0
Genera 5 1
Species 40 1

Captive care: The sand tilefishes vary in their suitability to aquarium life. Some rarely acclimate to captive conditions, while others thrive in larger tanks if provided with frequent feedings and suitable habitat. All are prone to leaping out of open aquariums. Place the aquarium in a low-traffic area and avoid sudden movements when working in or around the tank. Provide a coral head, a flat rock forming a cave in the sand, or a a mound of coral rubble where the tilefish can hide.

Feeding: Getting some of these species to feed can be a challenge, and keeping them with dither fishes, such as torpedo gobies, may help. Offer live foods, such as adult brine shrimp, to induce feeding, with high-quality frozen foods such as mysid shrimp as part of a varied long-term diet. Feed Hoplolatilus species several times daily.

Notes: Subfamilies:

  • Malacanthinae (Sand Tilefishes), constructing burrows or mounds of coral rubble.
  • Latilinae (Tilefishes), deeper bodied than the slinky Sand Tilefishes.

[edit] Subfamilies


[edit] Genera

  • Hoplolatilus

[edit] Species

Facts about MalacanthidaeRDF feed
Biogroup-Organism Marine Fishes  +
Common name Tilefishes  +
Family taxonomic rank Family  +
Native range Indo-Pacific  +, and Atlantic Ocean  +
Reference Reef Fishes Volume 1  +