Yellow-Headed Jawfish (Opistognathus aurifrons) Jordan & Thompson 1905
The Yellow-Headed Jawfish gets up to 4” and lives in open areas of crushed coral/sand at depths of 10 to 131 feet. This fish needs crushed coral and other items to help with the construction of their burrow, so make sure there is some in your tank for your new fish. If their burrow keeps collapsing they will start again and again, and well, how many times would you want to rebuild your house? Especially with the market the way it is!
The best building materials (which you can put in one area of the tank and the Jawfish should stay put), is 5” of crushed coral/sand and broken coral branches, snail and bivalve shells and 0.4” or less sized rubble and a flat rock for the roof. Remember, the fish is 4”, so a little “head” room would be appreciated. Trust us, your Jawfish will send you a fruit basket he will be so happy! (That is if he had fingers and a cell phone)
They will hover up to 5 feet over their burrow and if startled, don’t blink, since they almost break the sound barrier when they dart in head first! (remember the “head room?”) Each jawfish needs a sandy/crushed coral area of 2’ to 2 1/2’ in area, so in a large tank, a few can be kept.
They do not empty your sand of micro fauna as once thought, so no worries there! These guys are great for smaller tanks of 29 gallons or larger. An UNHAPPY jawfish will build a den under some rocks and will stay there with only his head or 1/2 of his body sticking out of the burrow. This is from inappropriate tank mates, (fast moving fish like wrasses) not a large enough sand area, and/or lack of building materials.
Only when courting can the differences between male and female be discerned. The male will form black spots under his chin and will display for the female and eventually carry the eggs in his mouth! What a guy! The male will carry them for 7-10 days and can be fed enriched rotifers and then Artemia nauplii until they are large enough to feed the Artemia. Feed mysis shrimp, vitamin-enriched brine shrimp, and frozen foods for carnivorous fish.
When acclimating, make sure this is one of the first fish you add to your tank due to their timid nature. Put screening over your tank until your jawfish is settled and has made a home, then jumping dangers will be less likely.
PH: 8.0 to 8.3
Minimum Tank size: 29 gallons (2 to 2.5 feet per jawfish)
Tank mates: Passive fish