Ostracion meleagris

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Latin name Ostracion meleagris - Shaw, 1796
Local name Whitespotted boxfish
Family Ostraciidae - Ostracion
Origin East Indian Ocean, West Indian Ocean, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, East Pacific, Central/West Pacific
Max length 25 cm (9,8")
As aquarium fish
Minimum volume 800 cm (211 gal)
Hardiness Average
Suitable for aquarium Experience, preparation and extra care required
Reef safe Not reef safe
Aggressiveness Unknown
Recommended Macroalgea (Eg. seaweed / nori)
Small crustaceans (Krill, mysis, artemia...)
Mostly Other invertebrates
Soft coral
Large polyp stone coral (LPS)
Maybee Larger crustaceans (Shrimp, crabs...)
Beware of
Eats tubeworms

This species likes to eat tubeworms.

Threat towards invertebrates

This species likes eating crustaceans, small bivalves and the like.

Poisonous skin

This species has a toxin in its skin, which it releases when highly stressed or dying.

This poison can kill all the aquatic life in the aquarium, if unlucky.

Keep in mind
Poor maneuverability

This species cannot maneuver in strong currents, especially so when small.

Pay particular attention to the pump’s water inlet as these fish in certain circumstances, can get stuck.


This species often has a fun and interesting personality.

Descriptions and further reading

The females are dark with white spots, while the males are blueish with spots on their backs.

Family description (Ostraciidae)

Boxfish(Ostraciidae) have a unique square shape and a particular way of swimming.
They have a rather special personality, which one quickly comes to love.

Boxfish live typically off a mixture of algae, coral polyps, zooplankton, and in some cases crustaceans.
They are not normally reef safe and when small will require gentle water circulation.

Boxfish can secrete a poison when stressed or if they die, which can in the worst case, kill the contents of a whole aquarium.
Never use the water the fish was transported in.

Aquarium trade Yes
Distribution Indo-Pacific and Eastern Pacific: East Africa to the Mexico, north to southern Japan and the Hawaiian Islands, south to New Caledonia and the Tuamoto Islands. The subspecies <i>Ostracion meleagris camurum</i> is found in the Hawaiian Islands and <i>Ostr
English common names Spotted trunkfish
Spotted boxfish
Whitespotted boxfish
Black boxfish
Blue-spotted boxfish
German common names Weisstüpfel-Kofferfisch
French common names Coffre pintade
Danish common names Blåplettet kuffertfisk
References and further reading

About references

Bob Fenner. The Puffers Called Box-, Cowfishes, family Ostraciidae - Wet Web Media - (English)
Richard Aspinall. 2012. Oddballs for the Marine Aquarium - Tropical Fish Hobbyist - (English)