Scrawled Cowfish (Acanthostracion quadricornis)
Max Size: 1 foot 10 inches
Reef Compatible: With Caution. May eat tubeworms
Minimum Tank Size: 250 gallons
The Scrawled Cowfish, scientifically known as Acanthostracion quadricornis, displays a striking yellow hue adorned with bluish markings over its triangular body. As they mature, these fascinating fish develop pointed "horn" spines over each eye and at both rear bottom "corners" of their bodies, which increase in size with age.
Boxfish, Cowfish, and Trunkfish belong to closely related species. They share similar box or pyramid-shaped body structures. While they may bear some resemblance to puffers, they do not have the ability to "inflate" when stressed, unlike puffers.
Though their coloration, habitat, and body shape may vary, these fish are typically equipped with pointed snouts they use to extract prey items from rockwork and crevices. Their diet mainly consists of invertebrates such as corals and polyps, crabs, shrimp, mollusks, worms, and similar prey. In the aquarium, they can be fed a varied meaty diet of fresh or frozen prey, provided the food is appropriately sized for their relatively small mouths.
It's important to note that these fish are not considered Reef Safe. Many of them have a tendency to consume corals, particularly smaller-polyped corals and polyps. While they generally coexist peacefully with most tankmates, they should not be housed with aggressive or highly active swimmers that may stress these passive, weak-swimming fish.
In moments of distress, these fish have the ability to release toxins into the water, which can harm themselves and their tankmates. To address this, always transfer a struggling boxfish or cowfish into a separate quarantine tank if stressed, and closely monitor their interactions with other tankmates. It is advisable to avoid placing them in tanks with large, aggressive, or highly active tankmates to ensure their well-being and harmony in the aquarium environment.