Neocirrhites armatus is known under several different common names in English, including Flame Hawkfish, Red Hawkfish, and Brilliant Red Hawkfish. Just like the other hawkfishes, this species belong to the family Cirrhitidae in the order Perciformes. Cirrhitidae is a strictly tropical family that can be found in the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific. They share several notable morphological features with the scorpionfishes of the family Scorpaenidae.
Neocirrhites armatus has not been evaluated for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Geographical distribution, habitat and habits
The Flame Hawkfishes are found in the Pacific, from the Japanese Ryukyu Islands to the Equatorial Islands (US Territory) and the Mangareva Island in French Polynesia. Their geographical range proceeds southward down to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia and the Micronesian Wake islands.
The Flame Hawkfish is typically found along surge-swept reef fronts and submarine terraces in the ocean. They rarely venture further down than 10 meters / 33 feet. This fish will usually hide among branches of live corals and will typically retreat deep into the corals when frightened.
The male Flame Hawkfish will claim a territory and live there together with 2-7 females.
Size and appearance
The largest scientifically measured Flame Hawkfish was 9 cm / 3.5 in. The flame hawk fish is easily identified on its bright red body with a black field just under the dorsal fin. The juvenile hawkfish has a slender body with a perch-like dorsal fin. As they mature, their bodies grow higher and adult specimens have high, sometimes almost round, bodies. The dorsal fin grows longer as the fish grows older and the dorsal fin on adult specimens goes all the way back to the tail fin. The dorsal fin will also change shape with age and adult specimens have more even dorsal fins than the juveniles which have perch-like dorsal fins.
Flame Hawkfish care
The Flame Hawkfish needs well oxygenated water in the aquarium to do well and constant water movement is recommended. The levels of soluble waste must be kept at an absolute minimum. This fish prefers reef aquariums, since this resembles its natural environment. In the aquarium, it will usually spend most of its time among corals near the bottom. It is not considered an easy fish to keep and it may loose its vibrant red color in the aquarium.
It is not advisable to keep Flame Hawkfish in aquariums smaller than 20 gallons / 75 liters.
The recommended water temperature is 75-80 degrees F / 24-27 degrees C.
Feeding Flame Hawkfish
The Flame Hawkfish is a carnivore species and will usually accept live, frozen and even dry food. It is fond of small fish and most types of invertebrates, including crustaceans. Keep it on a protein rich diet suitable for carnivores and include many different kinds of food to ensure optimal nutrition. Brine shrimp can be used as a base.
Breeding Flame Hawkfish
The Flame Hawkfish is an egg-laying species that will spawning near the water's surface during the night. The male fish is usually larger than the female. This species is a pelagic spawner, i.e. its eggs are buoyant and will be swept away by currents in the sea. The eggs will hatch after roughly three weeks.
The hawkfishes are famous for their protogynous hermaphrodism. If the dominant male dies or is removed, one of the females will change and become a male.