Foxface Fish Care: Tank Setup, Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases & More!

I remember the first time I saw a Foxface fish – I was amazed by its striking coloration and unique facial markings. Foxfaces are saltwater fish indigenous to the Indo-Pacific region, known for their striking beauty and fascinating behaviors.

Foxface require a tank size of at least 75 gallons, with a temperature range of 72-78°F and a pH range of 8.1-8.4. They are herbivores and need a varied diet of high-quality seaweed and algae-based foods. They also require a well-lit aquarium with plenty of hiding places and live rock. Regular water changes and tank maintenance are important for their health. 

Caring for Foxface fish in a home aquarium can be a rewarding experience, but it requires attention to detail and a deep understanding of their needs. They are docile herbivores, spending their day grazing on algae, and are a perfect addition to a reef aquarium.

Years ago, I added a Foxface to my own aquarium, and I quickly realized the importance of maintaining water quality to ensure their health and happiness. In this article, we’ll dive into the essential aspects of Foxface care, from feeding to tank requirements, and all the key aspects to ensure your fascinating fish thrives.

Foxface fish

Species Summary


Foxface fish, also known as Siganus vulpinus, are saltwater fish native to the Western Pacific. Their fascinating appearance and behavior make them a popular choice for aquarium hobbyists.


In the wild, Foxface fish typically live up to 5 years, but they can live longer in well-maintained home aquariums. With proper care and a balanced diet, their lifespan can reach 8-10 years.


The Foxface has a bright yellow body with a dark brown to black face, hence the name. Their distinct profile, with a snout resembling that of a fox, has always caught my eye when visiting local aquariums.


Growing to an average size of 8 to 10 inches in length, Foxface fish require a sizeable tank, preferably over 120 gallons, to accommodate their growth and activity.

Growth Rate

Foxface fish grow rapidly during their first year of life, typically reaching 4-5 inches in length. Their growth slows down as they mature, with their maximum size reached in about 5 years.

Behavior & Temperament

Foxface fish are generally peaceful, making them suitable for community tanks. However, they may become aggressive towards other fish with similar shapes or colors.

Male vs Female

Sexual dimorphism isn’t strong in Foxface fish, making it difficult to differentiate between males and females. Males may exhibit slightly larger fins, but this is not always a reliable indicator.

Tank Setup

Tank Size

A suitable tank size for Foxface is important. I once had an issue with my Foxface in a small tank, so I recommend a minimum of 125 gallons. This gives them enough space to swim and explore.


Foxface fish enjoy bright light as they usually inhabit areas with strong light in the wild. Use a combination of T5 or LED lighting to achieve 8-12 hours of quality light daily.

Filtration & Aeration

Efficient filtration and aeration are crucial for Foxface care. I suggest using:

  • Hang-on-back filters for tanks up to 150 gallons
  • Canister filters for tanks above 150 gallons

Also, add an air pump and air stone to ensure adequate oxygen levels.


Foxface fish thrive in water temperatures of 72-78°F (22-25.5°C). Maintain stable temperatures using an adjustable heater.

Tank SizeHeater Wattage
125-150 gallons300-350 watts
150-200 gallons350-450 watts


A mix of sand and crushed coral works best for Foxface tanks. This allows them to dig in the substrate like in the wild.


Provide hiding spots using:

  • Caves
  • Shelters
  • PVC pipes
  • Large rocks

Avoid overcrowding the tank with decorations.


Real or artificial plants create a natural environment:

  • Java Fern
  • Anubias
  • Eelgrass

Remember to use plants that can handle high light levels and saltwater.

Water Quality

Water Temperature

Foxface fish thrive in water temperatures between 72-78°F (22-26°C). Maintaining this range is crucial for their health. I once had a Foxface, and I made sure to install a reliable heater and a thermometer to keep the temperature stable.

Water pH

Foxface fish prefer a pH level of 8.1-8.4. Test the aquarium’s pH regularly and make any necessary adjustments to ensure it remains within this range.

Water Hardness

For optimal Foxface care, aim for a water hardness of 8-12 dKH. You can use products like calcium and alkalinity supplements to achieve the desired hardness.

Water Changes

Regular water changes are essential for keeping your Foxface healthy. Aim for a:

  • 10-20% water change every two weeks, or
  • 5-10% water change weekly.

This helps maintain clean water and prevents the buildup of harmful substances.

Tank Maintenance

A well-maintained tank is crucial for your Foxface’s health and happiness. Regular water changes help maintain your tank’s water quality.

I remember my first Foxface thriving after I got into a routine of changing 25% of the water every week. It’s a habit I recommend to every Foxface owner.

Water temperature must be stable as well. Your tank should be in the 72-78°F range. A reliable heater and a thermometer will ensure your Foxface’s comfort.

Adequate filtration is paramount. It removes dissolved and particulate waste. A canister or hang-on-back filter will suit most tanks. Clean the filter media monthly to keep it functioning optimally.

Foxfaces enjoy swimming space. A 75-gallon tank is the minimum recommendation. The larger, the better!

Live rock serves as a playground, hiding spot, and food source. An ideal ratio is 1-1.5 lbs of live rock per gallon. Considering your tank size, aim for 75-113 lbs of live rock.

Include live sand as substrate to help with natural filtration. A 2-3 inch layer is perfect.

Here’s a quick summary of tank maintenance:

  • Perform 25% water changes weekly
  • Keep the temperature between 72-78°F
  • Use a canister or hang-on-back filter
  • Provide a 75-gallon tank at minimum
  • Include 1-1.5 lbs of live rock per gallon
  • Use live sand as the substrate (2-3 inch layer)

By adopting these tank maintenance practices, you’ll contribute to a thriving environment where your Foxface can flourish. Remember, consistency is key!

Tank Mates

Foxface fish 3

Compatible Fish Species

In my experience, Foxface fish can happily coexist with various tank mates. Some ideal companions include:

  • Clownfish
  • Tangs
  • Butterflyfish
  • Angelfish

These species tend to have similar temperaments and water requirements, making them suitable companions.

Incompatible Fish Species

However, not all fish are ideal tank mates for Foxface fish. The following species should be avoided:

  1. Large aggressive fish (e.g., Lionfish, Triggerfish)
  2. Small invertebrates (e.g., Shrimps, Crabs)

When I first added a Foxface to my tank, I had a cleaner shrimp that my Foxface ended up harassing. I had to remove the shrimp for its safety. Make sure to research each species’ requirements before introducing them to your Foxface’s tank.


What To Feed

Foxface fish enjoy a varied diet. They primarily feed on algae, so providing them with various types of macroalgae is essential. If you wish to feed your foxface fish well, I recommend incorporating:

  • Macroalgae: Caulerpa, Ulva, and Gracilaria are great examples.
  • Pellets and Flakes: High-quality herbivore or omnivore pellets and flakes.
  • Frozen Foods: Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, and algae-based frozen foods.


Foxfaces are grazers, meaning they nibble on food throughout the day. Feed them 2-3 times a day in small portions to encourage natural grazing behavior.


  • Foxface fish have venomous dorsal spines, so use caution when feeding. I experienced a mild sting once, and it wasn’t pleasant.
  • While feeding flakes and pellets, soak them in water for a few minutes. This prevents air ingestion, which can lead to swim bladder issues.
  • Occasionally, supplement their diet with vitamins and minerals to improve their overall health.

Remember, a balanced diet is crucial for your foxface to thrive and stay healthy.

Common Diseases


Fin Rot and Ich are common diseases that can affect Foxface fish.


  • Fin Rot: Frayed or rotting fins, ragged edges, and discoloration.
  • Ich: White spots, scratching against objects, and rapid breathing.


For Fin Rot:

  1. Improve water quality.
  2. Use antibacterial medication.

For Ich:

  1. Increase tank temperature slowly to 86°F.
  2. Add aquarium salt and use Ich treatment medication.


  1. Maintain optimal water quality.
  2. Quarantine new fish before adding them to the tank.

I remember battling Ich in my aquarium, and noticed my Foxface fish constantly rubbing against rocks. Thankfully, with the proper treatment and care, my fish fully recovered. Remember to stay proactive to keep your Foxface healthy and happy.

Signs of a Healthy Fish

Foxface fish 2

When observing a Foxface fish in your aquarium, there are several indicators that help you assess its health. One key sign is the fish’s vibrant coloration. A healthy Foxface will have bright, bold colors and defined patterns, whereas a dull or faded appearance might signal potential issues.

Active swimming and normal behavior are also essential indicators. In my own experience, I’ve found that a lively Foxface shows off its curiosity by exploring the tank and interacting with its surroundings.

Another sign to look out for is the fish’s appetite. A healthy fish will eagerly consume food and maintain a steady appetite. On the contrary, a sudden loss of interest in food can suggest an underlying problem.

Lastly, the condition of a fish’s fins, gills, and eyes can shed light on its overall well-being. Clear eyes, undamaged fins, and regularly pulsing gills are important signs of health.

In summary, to ensure your Foxface is healthy and thriving, look out for:

  • Vibrant colors and patterns
  • Active swimming and normal behavior
  • A consistent appetite
  • Healthy fins, gills, and eyes

By paying attention to these signs, you can provide the best care for your Foxface fish and maintain a thriving aquarium environment.

Signs Your Fish Is Sick

In my experience as a Foxface fish owner, I have found that it’s essential to recognize the early signs of illness in order to provide timely care. Here are a few indicators you should look out for:

  1. Loss of Appetite: If your Foxface isn’t eating as much as it usually does, or is refusing food altogether, it could be a sign that something is amiss.
  2. Lethargy: A healthy Foxface is an active and curious swimmer. If your fish is spending more time hiding or resting on the bottom of the tank, it may be unwell.
  3. Physical Changes: Pay close attention to your Foxface’s appearance. Clamped fins, bloating, rapid breathing, or spots on the body can all signify health issues.

I remember when my own Foxface exhibited some of these symptoms, and it turned out to be a case of swim bladder infection. Prompt treatment helped it recover quickly. So, make sure to monitor your fish’s behavior and appearance to catch any signs of illness early on.


Breeding Setup

When I started breeding Foxface fish, I found that having a separate breeding tank was essential. This tank should have a stable environment with optimal temperature, pH levels, and salinity. You can also use a breeding box to separate the mating pair from other tankmates.

  • Temperature: 75-79°F
  • pH: 8.0-8.3
  • Salinity: 1.022-1.025 SG

How To Breed

The key aspect of Foxface breeding is triggering the spawning process. I have observed that mimicking their natural habitat helps. A few things you can try are:

  1. Gradually raise the temperature by 2-4°F
  2. Increase the lighting period within the tank
  3. Offer a nutrient-rich diet to enhance conditioning


Once the eggs are laid, move them to a separate tank as Foxface adults may eat their offspring. Maintain optimal water conditions for the fry’s growth:

  • Temperature: 76-78°F
  • pH: 8.0-8.3
  • Salinity: 1.020-1.025 SG

Feed the fry with live, newly hatched brine shrimp for the best nutrition. Remember, taking care of the fry is crucial for their survival.

Product recommendations for Foxface:

  1. Tetra Whisper Bio-Bag Cartridge: These filter cartridges can help keep the water clean and clear in your Foxface tank.
  2. Seachem Prime: This water conditioner can help remove harmful chemicals from tap water and make it safe for your Foxface.
  3. API Aquarium Test Kit: Regular water testing is crucial for maintaining a healthy environment for your Foxface, and this test kit can help you monitor the levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate in your tank.
  4. CaribSea Arag-Alive Bahamas Oolite Sand: This sand substrate is perfect for creating a natural-looking environment for your Foxface.
  5. Hikari Marine S Pellets: These pellets are specially formulated for marine fish like Foxface and contain high levels of protein and other essential nutrients for healthy growth and vibrant coloration.
  6. Hydor Koralia Nano Aquarium Circulation Pump: This compact and efficient pump can help improve water circulation in your aquarium and provide your Foxface with a more natural environment.
  7. Zoo Med Laboratories AquaSun LED Aquarium Hood: This energy-efficient LED hood can provide ample lighting for your Foxface tank and help promote healthy plant growth.
  8. Coralife BioCube Protein Skimmer: This protein skimmer can help remove organic waste from the water and keep your Foxface tank clean and healthy.
  9. Omega One Freeze-Dried Mysis Shrimp: This tasty treat can provide your Foxface with a high-quality source of protein and help promote healthy growth and coloration.


Caring for a Foxface can be both rewarding and enjoyable. I remember when I got my first Foxface, and how fascinated I was by its unique appearance and behavior. With proper care and attention, Foxfaces can thrive in a home aquarium.

Regular maintenance and monitoring of water parameters are essential to ensure the well-being of these fish. Providing a well-balanced diet and a comfortable environment are key factors in your Foxface’s overall health and happiness.

Some key points to remember:

  • Maintain ideal water conditions
  • Offer a variety of high-quality foods
  • Create an environment with ample hiding spots
  • Be cautious with tankmates due to venomous spines

In my experience, keeping a Foxface has been an amazing journey. I am continually learning more about these beautiful fish and observing their unique behaviors. Taking time to understand their needs has allowed me to enjoy a healthy and thriving Foxface in my aquarium.

I hope the information provided here gives you a solid foundation for successfully caring for your Foxface. Remember, a well-cared-for Foxface makes for a happy and engaging aquarium companion.


What should I feed my Foxface? Foxfaces primarily eat algae, so it’s essential to offer marine algae or seaweed sheets. You can supplement their diet with high-quality pellets or flakes.

How big of a tank does a Foxface need? A minimum of 75 gallons is necessary for Foxfaces to ensure ample swimming space and hiding spots.

Are Foxfaces reef safe? Mostly yes. Foxfaces usually won’t harm coral, but there have been some instances of them nipping at soft coral or polyps.

How can I create a comfortable environment for my Foxface? Make sure to provide plenty of rockwork and live rock for them to graze on and hide in. Maintain proper water quality and parameters, as well.

While I have enjoyed taking care of my own Foxface, I once made the mistake of not providing enough hiding spots, which led to stress and subsequent health issues for the fish. It’s important to learn from experiences like these to ensure the well-being of your aquatic pets.

Reference: Wikipedia.


Hi there! My name is Jacob, and I'm the founder of this Pet people blog that talks all about aquarium and fishkeeping. I've been passionate about fish and aquatic life since I was a kid, and I've spent countless hours learning about different species, their habitats, and how to create the perfect environment for them to thrive in.

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