By Bob Goemans
Site Supported in Part by:
San Francisco Bay Brand 


Hoplolatilus starcki

Randall & Dooley, 1974

Blueheaded Tilefish, Stark’s Tilefish

Likely Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Indo-West Pacific Ocean: Bali, Indonesia, the Philippines to Timor, north to the Mariana Islands, south to Rowley Shoals and New Caledonia, and throughout Micronesia.

Size: 6 inches (15 cm)

Natural Environment: Inhabits rubble covered reef bottoms near steep outer reef slopes and is usually found in depths between 65 – 300 feet (20 – 90 m) and usually no more than 10 – 15 feet (3 – 5 m) above the bottom substrate where they burrow for protection and feed on zooplankton.

General Husbandry: Occasionally seen in the trade with this attractive species having a slender elongated body with a blunt bluish head, yellow body and tail. Juveniles are entirely blue.

Best maintained fish-only aquariums with subdued lighting, yet can also be maintained in reef aquariums, with both having low rocky crevices and caves to hide in when needing to do so. The aquarium should also have wide-open swimming areas and sandy areas to create burrows. A fast swimming fish that tends to dig under reef structures, live or inert.

If maintained with moderately aggressive tankmates, will remain in hiding during daylight hours and may not get its fair share of the food when its feeding time. If maintained with peaceful tankmates, will spend a good portion of its time in the aquarium open areas.

As to diet, products such as marine fish and crustacean flesh, clams, and other marine meaty foods should be enriched and finely chopped and fed several times daily.


    Order: Perciformes

    Suborder: Percoidei

    Family: Malacanthidae

    Subfamily: Malacanthinae

    Genus: Hoplolatilus

FYI: Requires covered aquariums, as they are excellent jumpers!

May undermine structures in the aquarium.

Best first introduced into a dimly lit aquarium.

Will eat smaller fishes and ornamental crustaceans.

    Experience Level: Intermediate

    Temperament: Peaceful

    Diet: Carnivore

    Coral Safe: Yes

    Fish Safe: With caution

    Invertebrate Safe: With caution

    Acclimation Time: 30 minutes+

    Aquarium Environment: Reef or fish-only aquarium

    Tankmates: Peaceful

    Minimum Tank Size: 50+ gallons

    Temperature Range: 72 - 81°F (22 – 27°C)

    Specific Gravity: 1.020 - 1.026

    pH: 8.0 - 8.5

 Hoplolatilus starcki (Blueheaded Tilefish, Stark’s Tilefish)
Photo © John Randall
Site Supported in Part by: