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Cirrhitichthys falco
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Cirrhitichthys falco

Common Names: Dwarf Hawkfish
Falco Hawkfish
Spotted Hawkfish
Synonyms: Cirrhitichthys serratus
Family: Cirrhitidae
Category: Percoids
Distribution: Indo Pacific; Can be found over a wide range, from the Red Sea to the west coast of South America and the east coast of Africa. However, this fish is most common in the Indo-Pacific area.
Main Ecosystem: Reef; Found on various zones of the reef, usually with at least moderate coral growth.
Temperament: Territorial; Though these fish are more peaceful than others in the genus, they can still be territorial. Typically the only tankmates they will pester are small substrate-dwelling fish or other hawkfish, with which they will usually fight. It is best to avoid keeping these fish with other hawks unless in a large tank. If the hawkfish will be the most aggressive specimen in the tank, add it after all of the other fish.
Diet: Carnivore; Like all hawkfish, this species is carnivorous and perches while waiting for food. When a morsel is spotted, the hawk will dash out and grab it, then return to cover. Almost all meaty fare is greedily eaten. This fish cannot be trusted with shrimp and other vulnerable motile crustaceans, for it is likely that they will be eaten.
Care: This is a very hardy fish. Its basic care requirements are a place to perch and to set up a territory around. As with other Cirrhitids, the falco hawkfish is highly resistant to disease and is actually tough enough to withstand cycling in a new tank. This fish is very tolerant of substandard water quality and is a great beginner’s species.
pH:
Temperature:
21°C - 28°C
70°F - 82°F
Specific Gravity:
1.018 - 1.026
Potential Size: Male: 7.5cm (3")
Female: 6cm (2.4")
Water Region: Middle, Bottom; They spend most of their time sitting on either rockwork, coral, or the substrate.
Activity: Diurnal
Gender: Males grow larger than females. A male hawk will always be bigger than the females in his harem, though females from another group may be larger. These fish are hermaphrodites, and the largest female of a harem will sometimes become male, either to challenge the existing male or to replace him if he disappears.
Breeding: The falco hawkfish has not been bred in home aquaria, and captive spawning has not been documented. However, they have frequently been observed spawning in the wild. This fish forms groups consisting of one male and one to six females. The male will court one or more females just before dusk, and choose a ready partner. Both fish will rise up into the water column and release their gametes at the peak of the spawning run.
Variants: Coloration within the species varies, and often depends on the area from which a specimen was caught. The blotch and stripe patterns differ from fish to fish.
Comments: The falco hawkfish is a great candidate for most peaceful saltwater setups, as long as they are not tempted with possible food items as tankmates. Hawkfish delight aquarists with behavior which is both interesting and amusing. They can be “trained” to recognize their keeper and use their expressive eyes to keep watch on the hand that feeds them.

This species is often confused with the similar Cirrhitichthys aprinus and C. oxycephalus.
Main Colours: White, Red
Markings: Mottled
Mouth: Normal
Tail: Concave
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Image Credit: sirbooks
Submitted By: sirbooks
Contributors: sirbooks
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