The Flame Hawkfish is one of my all time favorite fish and I have always had one in my reef tank. Their body is a striking red color and they have a black stripe going down their back. Despite their striking coloration, they do look goofy since they are not great swimmers and have these “bug” eyes that rotate independently of one another.

Flame Hawkfish – Personality Included

The goofiness really gives them some character and a personality, making them a unique addition to any reef tank. These fish have so much personality that my daughter thought it was appropriate to give our first one a name, which turned out to be Burt (I guess he looked like a Burt….no offense to any of you Burts out there). All subsequent Flame Hawks roaming my tanks have been named Burt in honor of that first fish. And, believe it or not, we have never named any other fish, a testament to the funky demeanor of these fish.


Flame Hawkfish


As I mentioned, they are not great swimmers and essentially avoid a lot of free swimming, preferring to perch on rocks, corals and anything else they can hang on to conserve energy. I have to admit I do find it comical to see them “out of breath” when they finally find a landing spot after propelling themselves across the tank.

They are cute, but…..

Flame Hawkfish are predators and do have an appetite for crustaceans so you do have to be careful about keeping them with certain species such as cleaner or scarlet shrimp. I have kept shrimp with my Hawkfish and have found it to be ok as long as the shrimp are on the large side. They may also hassle hermit crabs or snails so be on the lookout for that behavior. In regards to prepared foods, the Flame Hawkfish is willing to eat a wide variety of grub, including frozen mysis and brine shrimp, pellets and flake food.


Give one of these fish a try if you have never done so. Heck, find a mated pair and try two. They are that entertaining!



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If you are looking for additional insights and information, please explore my many other reef tank and SPS related articles as well as my book, A ReefBum’s Guide To Keeping an SPS Reef Tank: A Blueprint For Success. Additionally, you can see all of my reef tank videos online now as well as my Live HD Webcam.


Happy reef keeping!