Flame Hawkfish Profile

Care Information on the Flame Hawkfish - Neocirrhitus armatus

Flame Hawkfish
Nomore3xfive / Flickr / CC By 2.0

The Flame, or Red Hawkfish (Neocirrhitus armatus) is a great little fish for most saltwater reef tanks. It spends most of its time just waiting for its next meal to swim, crawl or walk by as it sits perched on a coral head or rock outcropping.

Guide Fish Care Rating:

2 Stars

Scientific Name:

Neocirrhitus armatus (Castlenau, 1873).

Other Common Names:

Red Hawkfish


Fiji, Cook Islands, Australia, and other West and South Pacific waters.

Description & Average Size:

This fish's body is a brilliant flaming red color, has a contrasting black band on its back, black bands around the eyes, and grows to about 4 inches.

Minimum Tank Size Recommended:

20 gallons


A bottom-dweller that lives in areas where coral heads and stones are present to perch upon and hide in. It will normally be close to a convenient place to dart into and hide when any threats approach it.

Characteristics & Compatibility:

This fish's vibrant red color, personable nature, and small size makes it a highly sought after specimen by aquarists. However, like most Hawkfishes, it is predatory bottom-dweller. It likes to sit on top of rocks or corals to keep watch, ready to pounce on any unsuspecting prey that swims too close.

In a reef tank, this fish will most likely take up residence in a hard coral head, perching on top when at ease, and darting down inside the coral head when threatened.

It may also take up refuge next to the base or under the tentacles of a large Magnificent/Ritteri Anemone (Heteractis magnifica, previously known as Radianthus ritteri).

The Flame Hawk gets along fairly well with other fishes ​but may act aggressively towards other bottom-dwelling species. In a small aquarium this may present a problem, so either avoid other bottom-dwellers or provide this fish with plenty of room and hiding places to ease territorial conflicts.

Diet & Feeding:

The Flame Hawkfish is a carnivore with a diet preference for small crustaceans, some sessile as well as motile invertebrates. It will eat feather dusters and ornamental shrimps, as well as may pick hermit crabs and snails right out of their shells! Even though fish are not a preferred food source, they may try and eat smaller fish if the opportunity arises.

This fish can be a very finicky eater, and in captivity some specimens may have a tendency to not want to eat at all. We found that most would adapt pretty well, while others would just ignore tank fed fares. With persistence and patience on our part, stubborn feeders would eventually figure out that the dried shrimp, flake foods, and other meaty fares we were providing them was food. This fish can be fed a daily diet of crustacean and fish fleshes, mysid shrimp, and other fresh or frozen meaty fares suitable for marine carnivores.

  ~Debbie & Stan Hauter