Ostracion cubicus
Source: JJPhoto.dk
Ostracion cubicus
Source: JJPhoto.dk
Ostracion cubicus
Source: JJPhoto.dk

Facts

Latin name Ostracion cubicus - Linnaeus, 1758
Common name Yellow boxfish
Family Ostraciidae - Ostracion
Origin East Indian Ocean, West Indian Ocean, Australia, The Red Sea, Indonesia, East Pacific, Central/West Pacific
Max length 45.0 cm (17.7")

As aquarium fish

Minimum volume 800 l (211 gal)
Hardiness Delicate
Suitable for aquarium Experience, preparation and extra care required
Reef safe Not reef safe
Aggressiveness Unknown

Food

Maybee
  • Larger crustaceans (Shrimp, crabs...)
Mostly
  • Other invertebrates
  • Soft coral
  • Large polyp stone coral (LPS)
Recommended
  • Macroalgea (Eg. seaweed / nori)
  • Small crustaceans (Krill, mysis, artemia...)

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.

Can be a threat towards crustaceans etc.

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

Eats tubeworms

This species likes to eat tubeworms.

Demand a very large aquarium when fully grown

This species needs a very large aquarium when fully grown.

Exactly how big the aquarium should be is hard to say, but the size of this species is such, that it cannot normally be kept in a home aquarium.

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.

Live food

There is a greater chance of success with this species if one can supply a living feed to allow it to adapt to the tank.

Personality

This species often has a fun and interesting personality.

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.

FishBase

Aquarium trade Yes
Distribution Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa (Ref. 3141) to the Hawaiian and Tuamoto islands, north to Ryukyu Islands, south to Lord Howe Island. The Red Sea population differs slightly in coloration and has been known as Ostracion argus; closely relate
English common names Spotted box fish, Yellow boxfish, Cube trunkfish, Black-spotted boxfish, Boxfish
Danish common names Plettet kuffertfisk
French common names Bourse coffre, Poisson coffre jaune, Poulet de la mer

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)

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

Tags

live food, eats shrimp, eats crab, eats bivalve clams mussels scallops, eats snails, eats feather duster worm
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