By Bob Goemans
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 Opistognathus aurifrons (Yellowhead Jawfish, Pearly Jawfish)

Opistognathus aurifrons
(Jordan & Thompson, 1905)

Yellowhead Jawfish, Pearly Jawfish

Likely Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable


These fishes belong in the Order Perciformes and Suborder Percoidei as members of the Family Opistognathidae (Jawfishes) consisting of 3 genera, and 100+ species.

Probably not what many would consider a reef aquarium fish because of its need for a deep substrate. Yet, they are peaceful and will do well in an invertebrate tank when provided a pebble-like substrate for their vertical burrows. They are carnivorous/plankton feeders, and mouthbrooders. You could not go wrong with an environment filled with various, easy to maintain soft coral/mushroom disc anemones, a deep pebble-like substrate, possibly located in some shallow wide-mouth jars, and few of these fascinating and intelligent fishes. Do not mix more than one species in the same aquarium.

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