The Magnificent Foxface or Magnificent Rabbitfish, Red Fin Foxface, or Andaman Foxface as it is also known, looks nothing like any other saltwater fish that you will ever own.
Its distinctive white head with a black band that runs through it and amazing rusty red looking body make this fish truly spectacular.
These fish are normally found living in pairs in the wild but in a home aquarium, we would advise against it unless you have a very large aquarium.
When these fish first started to be imported in the 1980-90 they command a high price. Over $600 for a young fish, now 40 years later they are more affordable and widely sold throughout stores worldwide.
Let’s have a closer look at this amazing fish and see if it’s going to be suitable for your fish tank.
|Scientific Name||Siganus magnifica|
|Common Names||Magnificent Foxface Rabbitfish, Andaman Foxface|
|Size||9 inches (22 cm)|
|Tank Size||65-70 Gallons Minimum|
|Cost||From $70-$140 Depending on size and quality|
These amazing saltwater fish can be found swimming and living happily in pairs in the Indo-Pacific, Indian Ocean. The Indo-Pacific Ocean contains one of the biggest marine biodiversity of all the oceans. With over 700 different types of corals and more than 3000 varieties of fish.
Due to the size and the remoteness of this ocean, many areas have not been explored so who knows what other amazing fish live deep beneath the waves.
If they are anything like the Magnificent Foxface then we’d love to see them.
Feeding on a mainly herbivorous diet they can be found in and around the corals and live rocks searching for food.
The Magnificent Foxface Temperament & Behaviours
One interesting fact about the Magnificent Foxface is that they possess venomous dorsal spines. So care must be taken when catching them.
They have a tendency to get them caught in conventional fishnets and this can lead to the fish becoming stressed. If this happens, simply leave the net in the water and move it slowly back and forward to help release the fish carefully. Never try to catch these fish with your bare hands.
*** If you are stung by this fish seek medical assistance quickly ***
This fish can change its color in seconds, turning from its normal bright colors to a blotchy pattern when it feels frightened or threatened.
In the home aquarium, they should be housed kept singly unless you buy a bonded pair which is rare to find and very expensive. They offer no threat to other fish but do become territorial to any other Foxface added to the tank. Therefore unless you have a tank over 150 Gallons we would not recommend keeping more than one Foxfish.
Other fish stay away from the foxfish due to their poisonous fins. This self-defense mechanism works really well and the Foxface have very little enemies.
Provide plenty of rocks, caves and hiding places for this fish to retreat to if they feel threatened.
Foxface Tank Requirements
Magnificent Foxface fish need excellent water quality and strong water circulation. Normal saltwater measurement are required SG: 1.020-1.025, pH: 8.1-8.4 and Temp 24-28 deg C (75-82 deg F)
Good filtration is vital for them to live a long and happy life.
Ensure you perform regular partial water changes but ensure they are done with as little disturbance to the tank as possible, otherwise these fish will become stressed. You can see their stress levels change through their color. The more patterned and darker colors the fish displays the more stressed the fish is.
We always recommend tanks as large as possible, but as a minimum, it should be 75 gallons (284 liters) minimum.
Plenty of rocks and hiding places are a must, and live rocks for them to pick at without doing too much damage to corals will also help them feel at home.
With the right conditions and diet, these Rabbitfish will live between 5-7 Years.
Are Magnificent Foxface fish suitable in a reef tank?
Yes, but care should be taken with certain soft corals. As long as you provide lots of variety in their diet and feed small amounts of food often, they will be perfectly fine in any reef aquarium.
As mentioned before plenty of hiding places and rocks are a must.
These fish are very hardy and will adapt to their new home within a day or two. Don’t be too worried if they dart into a dark hiding place and turn a funny color, this is normal. They will hide for a few hours before they start to emerge and take a look around their new home. Once settled their full color will be visible and they will start to look Magnificent again.
One good tip is to feed the other fish in your tank soon after adding your new Magnificent Foxface. This will be a good distraction whilst your Foxface gets used to their new home.
Also try dimming the lighting for a few hours, then slowly brighten them to allow the fish to acclimatize better. I have had three type of Rabbitfish the Fiji Foxface, Magnificent Foxface, and a One spot Rabbitfish. This fish is almost as pretty as the Magnificent Foxface but in my opinion, spoilt with the strange Block spot on its body making it an inferior fish in my opinion.
What do Foxface eat?
Once acclimatized to their new home these fish will eat a large variety of foods. They have a big appetite for feather caulerpas, macroalgae that commonly grows on your rockwork in home aquaria making them a handy weapon against algae.
If you encourage them to eat flake food and frozen then you will reduce the risk of the nipping and eating you lovely corals. Their noses are long and designed to get right into the living rocks and find food.
It will be hard to provide the staple diet they can get in the wild but providing a variety of foods including live foods will help make them thrive in your fish tank.
I highly recommend feeding them plenty of vegetation and even Algae supplement pellets or Tablets. Mine liked Seaweed strips which I held in place on the side of my tank with a magnetic food clip. One that had no metal and was suitable for saltwater marine fish tanks without rusting.
Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp and finely chopped krill also make excellent food for Rabbitfish. Don’t overfeed your Rabbitfish, yes they will eat plenty once settled into their new home but overfeeding will only lead to poor water quality.
Breeding & Sexing
No reported cases of breeding Magnificent Foxface in the home are known. They have been bred in public aquariums and zoo’s but not in the home aquarium.
If you have successfully bred any Rabbitfish in the home we’d love to hear from you.
Suitable Tank Mates For Magnificent Foxface
These fish are suitable for community aquariums and live happily with most species of saltwater fish. As previously mentioned the Magnificent Foxface has the ability to release poison from its fins which most fish are afraid of and therefore stops them being attacked by large predators.
Damsel and Dottyfish are smaller saltwater fish and add lots of color and character to your tank. My Foxface had a very good relationship with my cleaner Wrasse they were always together for some reason.
The only thing you need to be careful about is keeping them with other Rabbitfish. They are best kept alone unless you have a very large tank. Fights over territory can be explosive and lead to one of the fish being killed by the other.
These fish are not expensive compared to other beautiful saltwater fish but you don’t want to risk losing one in a fight.
Final Thoughts-Should you buy a Foxface
If you’re accidentally stung by your Red Foxface, it is best to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Acclimatizing this fish is a good idea, at least 3 hours should be applied to slowly acclimatize your new Rabbitfish to its new home. It is also wise to quarantine your new purchase before adding the Magnificent Foxface to your tank.
This fish is often misidentified with its close relative S. unimaculatus, but the S. unimaculatus features a big black blotch on its sides.
I loved mine and I’m sure they will be a good addition to your tank. These very hardy fish are inexpensive and will live for a good 5-6 years.
Brightly colored and interesting these fish will become one of your favorite fish very quickly.