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.
joshua969 (verified owner) –
Great to have a mated pair of my favorite fish. Within a couple days they are now trying to impress each other with who can build the best burrow. Such entertaining and adorable fish. They were packed great and arrived healthy. Will not hesitate to order fish from KP Aquatics in the future.
sgrom42 (verified owner) –
Awesome fish from an awesome collector. I heard a lot about these fish from different sources and for whatever reason I wanted to have them. I was very happy to be able to get them straight from the collector, KP Aquatics! Shipping went fairly well, even though it was the day before Hurricane Irma hit the Keys (a disaster for everyone – lots of damage to KP aquatics too. 🙁 ). The pair of fish arrived in good health, and immediately started to hide (tip: have some PVC for them in the tank). They soon started digging, and eventually settled in a burrow near a rock. For about two months I didn’t see them much – they usually hid all day and if I saw them it would only be one. They were however my first fish; once I added a third fish (firefish) they started coming out more.
Now (about 4 months) they are out all the time, especially at feeding time. I really think having other fish was an important factor in that – in a friend’s tank the jawfish is also out frequently, and there are like 20 other fish in the (very big of course) tank. I feed them a rotating combo of freeze dried mysis, LRS nano frenzy, and frozen omega one predator mix – i base the food into the water column, pumps at max, and they greedily go for it (they don’t seem to eat from the substrate, only suspended food particles).
Anyway, awesome fish from an awesome collector. Don’t fret if they hide for a while;tankmates *may* be key to seeing them out (even though they should probably be the first fish, and their tankmates should be mellow). Thanks, Kara and Phillip!
Leah Szczepanski –
Fish arrived very healthy, took some time for them to adjust to their surroundings and they are still pretty shy, but at night, when they can’t see me, I can watch them constructing their burrows. They seem to get along very well, I am sure they are truly a mated pair.
Renee (verified owner) –
Have had my mated pair for a week now and both are doing great! Perfectly packaged on arrival, they were the calmest fish I’ve ever seen during acclimation. They shared a burrow for the first 7 days, then yesterday the female moved out and dug her own. Extremely happy with the whole experience! Thanks Kara & Philip!
These fish are so much fun! We have them housed with a couple of fish we paid over $200 each for and they are so much more entertaining. They have even spawned twice in a short period of time with the male fish holding the eggs in his mouth. Funny to see and really fun for our kids too. Thanks KP!
Patricia Husband –
These jawfish are a blast. They arrived in perfect condition bagged together in a small piece of PVC pipe with screen rubber banded on each end. Im guessing the reason for this is to keep the mated pairs together. The first night they both ate and then retired to separate corners of the tank. Today I found them in the same burrow. They are still a bit shy but are eating and quite active. These are the first fish I have ordered from Ken and Im very pleased. Thanks Ken.
Martin Morse –
All my new livestock arrived healthy and happy. The two neon gobies and the two jawfish are in quarantine and doing great; the snails and the brittle starfish are in the display tank and hard at work. Thank you, Ken, for the great service and great products!
Perry Acosta –
Got a pair of these in February of 2009, unfortunately one only lasted a week, however the other is still doing fine. Really did want a pair though.
Andy szekeres –
I have to say, the folks at Sea Life Inc impress me so much. From the way they pack to the way the put up with goofy requests. These fish are great. Once they got into the tank they started on there project and are so cute!
michael mattox –
One of our favorite fish. Colorful, active, full of personality. Will not bother anything in your tank. make sure you have a mixed particle sand bed that is 5″ to 6″ deep for them to construct a home.
Leslie Rudnik –
These fish are comical! Took less than 6 hours for them to find and construct their “home”! Great fun to watch!
Mark Bailey –
Just got a mated pair of these. I couldn’t be happier. They have tns of personality, very very pretty. Great addition to any tank.