This is a mated pair of Yellowhead Jawfish, Opistognathus aurifrons. This is the Florida variety of this species, which is much prettier than the variety found in the rest of the Caribbean. In the wild, jawfish pair up at a very early age and remain in those pairs for their entire lives unless disturbed by a storm or predation. Sometimes yellowhead jawfish will live as pairs in a colony of jawfish that can number in the hundreds, and it’s anybody’s guess as to how monogamous the pairs are. In the areas where we collect pairs, they are not part of a colony and are instead isolated pairs, separated by as much as 50 feet, so we are certain that these are a male and a female.
Yellowhead jawfish are a very popular aquarium fish that are not aggressive and require little special care. They do like to dig holes in the sand, so you’ll need to have some sand in your tank and be patient while they dig around to find a spot that they like. Once established in an aquarium, the will spend most of the time hovering over their holes, and may eventually start a courtship process and spawn in your tank. They are mouth brooders, so following spawning, the male fish will incubate the eggs for several days until they hatch. These fish have been spawned and reared in hobbyist tanks for at least 30 years, so the chances are high that you’ll have some success with the spawning aspect of it. Rearing the larvae and juveniles will require and abundant supply of planktonic first food followed by newly hatched brine shrimp.
Jawfish are easy to care for and will eat most prepared foods. If you’re hoping to get them to spawn, make sure that they are fed some sort of high quality conditioning food, and keep them on a long day (14hr) photoperiod. The adults may try to jump out of the tank on dark nights, so keep the tank covered at all times.
Yellowhead Jawfish are seasonal for us. We start to see them in May through October. Every year’s availability will be different and we normally start out with smaller juveniles in the begging in the season. Pairs of Yellowhead Jawfish can be found through out the season.
Please Note: Any new fish purchased from us or from a local pet store should to be quarantined. All fish from anywhere in the wild can be possible carriers of bacteria and protozoa that can lead to an infection in your system, so we always recommend that you use some sort of quarantine system prior to adding them to your system. If you have a fish only system and can medicate the whole system, you may not need a separate quarantine tank. If you have a reef system that cannot be medicated, a good ultraviolet sterilization system should prevent any kind of disease outbreak. We medicate our system for bacterial infections and protozoans, but because we dont always hold our fish for long periods of time, there is no way to be sure all the protozoan cysts have been killed. A little bit of prevention will save you lots of trouble down the line.