Cantherhines macrocerus


Latin name Cantherhines macrocerus - (Hollard, 1853)
Common name American whitespotted filefish
Family Monacanthidae - Cantherhines
Origin West Indian Ocean, The Mexican Golf, West Atlantic
Max length 46.0 cm (18.1")

As aquarium fish

Minimum volume 5000 l (1319 gal)
Hardiness Average
Suitable for aquarium Suitable with care
Reef safe Not reef safe
Aggressiveness Unknown


  • Larger crustaceans (Shrimp, crabs...)
  • Soft coral
  • Large polyp stone coral (LPS)
  • Microalgae (Eg. spirulina)
  • Small crustaceans (Krill, mysis, artemia...)
  • Sponges
  • Macroalgae (Eg. seaweed / nori)

Can be a threat towards crustaceans etc.

This species will eat shrimps, crabs, small bivalves, snails and the like.

Insufficient information

There is little available knowledge of this species, so there can be important information missing on this page.


This fish can have a wide variety of colours from grey to yellow or a bluish green.

Family description (Monacanthidae)

Filefish (Monacanthidae) have a very characteristic appearance, but whether one likes them or not is a matter of taste. 

Some species are suitable for aquaria, although they will occasionally eat a coral or invertebrate. They are therefore not so well suited to coral tanks.
They are often used to fight glass anemones (Aiptasia) and Majano anemones. Pervagor nigrolineatus is especially good at this.

They need peace and quiet from both the aquarist and other fish, when adjusting to the tank life.

Be careful when catching them, as they easily becomes caught in the net.


Aquarium trade Yes
Distribution Western Atlantic: Florida, USA and Bermuda to São Paulo, Brazil. Eastern Atlantic: St. Paul's Rocks (Ref. 13121).
English common names Whitespoted filefish, American whitespotted filefish
Spanish common names Lija de lunares blancos, Cachúa lija

References and further reading

About references

Dave Wolfenden. 2013. Filefish: A bit of rough! - Practical Fishkeeping - (English)
Scott W. Michael. Can You Add Filefish to a Reef Tank? - Fish Channel - (English)
Bob Fenner. Filefishes, Family Monacanthidae, Part I, Part II, Part III - Wet Web Media - (English)
Scott W. Michael. Those Fabulous Filefish - Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine - (English)

Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2014. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication., version (08/2014).


eats shrimp, eats crab, eats bivalve clams mussels scallops, eats snails
Just a moment...
Just a moment...