Yellow-head Jawfish

yellow-head jawfish

The yellow-head jawfish (Opistognathus aurifrons) uses its mouth to burrow into the substrate, hence the name, jawfish. As the name yellow-head suggests, the head portion of these fish is yellow, and the body is light blue to green.

It is found off the coast of Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean. It is a bottom-dwelling fish (the bottom-dwelling fish always have the most interesting personalities), and it needs substrate deep enough so that it can burrow into it.

yellow-head jawfish closeup

The substrate should consist of both sand and coral pieces and it must be deep enough so that the jawfish can burrow deep enough into the substrate to completely bury itself while standing on the end of its tail. They reach a size of about 4 inches or 7.5 cm in length. They won't feel safe unless they are able to burrow into the substrate. You will also need to place a flat rock in the tank that will serve as the roof for their burrow. This is how jawfish hide from predators and this is what it takes to make them feel secure. If they become frightened or stressed they will jump out of the aquarium so you should keep the tank covered at all times. This is especially important when they are first introduced into the tank and are feeling insecure.

It is a peaceful fish that should only be kept with other fish that are also peaceful. Jawfish like to be kept with other members of their own species so you should keep at least 2-4 of them together in your tank as long as there is adequate space. They are compatible with a reef tank.

Jawfish are carnivores and they like to eat chopped fresh or frozen meaty foods, especially crustaceans and marine fish.

The yellow-head jawfish will breed in the aquarium. After spawning, the male jawfish incubates the eggs in his mouth and won't feed until they hatch about a week later.

Yellow-head jawfish can be obtained for around 20-25 dollars each.