Hawaiian Squirrellfish
Hawaiian Squirrellfish

Hawaiian Squirrellfish

Sargocentron xantherythrum

Hawaiian Squirrellfish
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Common name: Hawaiian Squirrelfish, Hawaiian Squirrel fish, Striped Squirrelfish
Scientific name: Sargocentron xantherythrum
Max size: 7 in / 17 cm
pH: 8.1-8.4
Salinity: 1.020-1.025
Temperature: 72-78ºF (22-26°C)

Hawaiian squirrelfish have become popular in the aquarium trade due to their hardiness and the fact that they are easy to collect in the wild and transport to your local fish store. It has the characteristic look of all squirrelfish with a large mouth and large eyes. This is an adaptation to their lives as nighttime predators. The body is bright red with white lateral lines that runs from the gill covers to the tail fin of the fish. Hawaiian squirrelfish also have a couple of horizontal white lines on their gill covers and a single white line beneath their mouths. White stripes are also present on their fins.

The Hawaiian squirrelfish, or Striped squirrelfish as it is also called, originates as the name suggests from the area around Hawaii and the Johnston Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. It is found on depths between 0-712 ft / 0- 217 m. They live in groups as young but form pairs as they grow older and leave the schools.

The Hawaiian squirrelfish is a suitable beginner fish due to their hardiness and relatively low aggression level. They are also relatively cheap. They should not be kept with very small fish or with small crustaceans or other invertebrates as they will eat them if they can. The species can be kept with most other fish species as long as they are not too aggressive. They are not reef safe as they as I already said will eat invertebrates if they can. 

The Hawaiian squirrelfish is a nocturnal fish and will hide in a shaded place during the day.

Hawaiian Squirrelfish care and aquarium setup:

The Hawaiian squirrelfish should be kept in an aquarium no smaller than 70 gallons / 250 L. They prefer an aquarium with a lot of overhangs and caves where they can hide and wait for prey. The aquarium should also contain open areas for them to swim in. This species can be kept in "fish only" and "fish with live rock" aquariums. It should not be kept in reef setups, but you can keep them with corals and large sting anemones. They prefer if the aquarium has some shaded places where they can rest during the day. Try to keep the water quality high and stable even if the Hawaiian squirrelfish can tolerate less than optimal conditions

Ideal conditions for the Hawaiian or striped squirrelfish are pH 8.1-8.4, salinity 1.020-1.025, and temperature 72-78ºF (22-26°C).

Feeding Hawaiian Squirrel fish

The Hawaiian squirrelfish is a predatory fish that mainly feeds on crustaceans in the wild but it will eat small fish and other invertebrates as well. They can sometimes, but not always, be trained to accept pellets. They are best feed a varied diet including live food such as small feeder shrimp, frozen food such as mysis and brine shrimp and chopped up sea food. Feed them 2-3 times a day.

Breeding Hawaiian Squirrelfish

Squirrelfish are generally speaking very hard to breed. The Hawaiian squirrelfish is no exception and we have no information on breeding this species in aquariums. In the wild, the Hawaiian squirrelfish is an egg scattering species that lay their eggs in open water. Sexing Hawaiian squirrelfish based on outer appearance is very hard and unreliable. If you want a pair it is best to get a group of young fish and let them pair up as they grow older.

Squirellfish Articles:

Crown Squirellfish – Sargocentron diadema
Red Coat Squirrellfish – Sargocentron rubrum


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