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What is a Foxface Rabbitfish?

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  • Written By: Debra Durkee
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Images By: n/a, Lesniewski
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2016
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The foxface rabbitfish is a brightly colored saltwater fish native to the western Pacific Ocean. A peaceful, hardy fish, it is also popular in home saltwater aquariums. Easily identifiable by its distinctive coloring, the foxface rabbitfish has a bright yellow body and a black or brown and white striped face. A member of the Siganidae family, it is also known as the foxface lo and the badgerfish.

These fish typically reach a mature length of 9.8 inches (about 25 cm). Their bodies are long and vaguely oval, and they have an elongated snout. The stripes on the head of the foxface rabbitfish extend over the snout, and the white background reaches past the fish's gills. The rest of the body is a solid, bright yellow, but the fish can turn dark brown when stressed, frightened, or when adapting to new conditions. Spines down its back and belly are venomous, and while not deadly to people, some individuals can have a reaction to their poison.

In their native environments, the foxface rabbitfish can be found in lagoons and reefs in the Philippines, New Guinea, Indonesia, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Marshall and Caroline Islands. While they are often found with other types of fish, they usually do not associate with others of their species. If found in the vicinity of another, they are typically mates. They feed mainly on algae, and when kept in captivity they are invaluable in keeping the tank clean.

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Easy to keep happy in a home aquarium, foxface rabbitfish have minimal requirements. In a 75-gallon (283 liter) tank, they can easily be kept with a number of other fish excluding sharks, rays, groupers, triggerfish, or trumpetfish. When housed with another of their own species, they can also become aggressive. These omnivores will graze on the algae in the tank, and will also eat flake food, lettuce, spinach, plankton, clams, mussels, and other types of seafood. They can also damage coral reefs in their tanks, nipping at and grazing on the invertebrates in the reef, especially if not given adequate amounts of other types of food.

Almost identical is another easy to maintain saltwater fish. The only difference between the foxface rabbitfish and the one spot foxface rabbitfish is, as its name suggests, a single black spot on the side of the latter. This variety is also called the blotched rabbitfish or the one spot foxface lo.

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