Ornate Bofish

Aracana ornata


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Ornate Bofish
The Ornate boxfish with its unique box-shaped body and vibrant, polka-dotted pattern is a captivating addition to any saltwater aquarium. It's known for its gentle nature and more expirienced care level requirement. Its horn-like protrusions make it a standout specimen in any large display tank.

Ornate Bofish

Aracana ornata


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Ornate Bofish Care Facts

Care Level: Expert
Temperament: Peaceful
Diet: Omnivore
Reef Safe: No
Minimum Tank Size: 100 gallons
Max Size: 8 inches
The Ornate Boxfish, "Aracana ornata"  is a variety of Boxfish with characteristic "horns" protruding from its head resembling a bull or cow. Though in its juvenile stage, the "horns" are yet not developed. The Ornate Boxfish is native to Australia and is a yellow/brown base color with geometric patterns all along its body. Males will sport a much more vibrant blue color on its body along with a bright orange tail that features scalloped edges and baby blue outlines. Females will be more dull in color but still carry the unique pattern and fin shape making them just as unique. They should be kept in a tank of at least 100 gallons as they can grow to 8 inches in length, with plenty of live rock and a sand substrate. It is a great reef fish as long as it is not kept with larger, more aggressive or speedy fish. Be sure not to house the Boxfish with cleaner type fish as well,  as it has sensitive skin, and they do secrete poison from skin glands when stressed or in danger. This poison may kill fish in the aquarium very quickly.  Also be sure to keep the lid on your tank tightly sealed to prevent jumping. They can pick on smaller inverts and tubeworms once it gets larger so plan accordingly. The Ornate Boxfish should be fed an omnivore diet of live Brine shrimp or Mysis, chopped squid, clams, mussels, and herbivore preparations for diversity in their diet.


The Ornate Boxfish (Aracana ornata), also known as the Ornate Butterflyfish or Ornate Coralfish, is a captivating addition to saltwater marine aquariums. This species hails from the Indo-Pacific region, inhabiting coral-rich environments and coastal reefs. Below is a comprehensive guide covering various aspects of keeping the Ornate Boxfish in a captive environment.

Habitat of the Ornate Boxfish

In the wild, Ornate Boxfish are commonly found in tropical waters around coral reefs, typically at depths ranging from 3 to 30 meters. They prefer areas with abundant coral growth and rocky outcrops, where they can find shelter and forage for food.

Reef Compatibility of the Ornate Boxfish

Ornate boxfish are not considered reef-safe, as they tend to nip at corals or bother other reef inhabitants. Caution should still be exercised when introducing them to a reef tank, especially with delicate coral species.

Size and Lifespan of the Ornate Boxfish

These fish typically reach 8 inches in captivity. With proper care, Ornate Boxfish can live in the aquarium environment for 5 to 8 years or more.

Diet in Captivity

In captivity, Ornate Boxfish should be fed a varied diet consisting of high-quality marine flakes or pellets, supplemented with frozen or live foods such as brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, and chopped seafood. A diverse diet will help them receive all the essential nutrients they need to thrive.

Aquaculture Availability of the Ornate Boxfish

While wild-caught specimens are occasionally available, Ornate Boxfish are increasingly being successfully bred in captivity, making aquacultured individuals more readily available to hobbyists. Purchasing aquacultured specimens can help support sustainable practices within the aquarium trade.

Compatibility with Other Fish and Invertebrates

Ornate Boxfish generally exhibit peaceful behavior towards other tankmates. They can be kept with various fish species, including other peaceful reef inhabitants such as tangs, gobies, and wrasses. When selecting tankmates, it is essential to ensure compatibility regarding size, temperament, and dietary requirements.

Sexual Dimorphism of the Ornate Boxfish

Ornate Boxfish does not display significant sexual dimorphism, making it challenging to visually distinguish between males and females.

Juvenile to Adult Coloration Changes in the Ornate Boxfish

Juvenile Ornate Boxfish typically exhibit a more subdued coloration than adults. As they mature, their colors become more vibrant, featuring striking black, white, and yellow patterns.

Temperament of the Ornate Boxfish

Ornate Boxfish are generally peaceful and non-aggressive towards other tank inhabitants. However, if kept in smaller tanks, they may become territorial towards conspecifics or similar-looking species.

Tank Requirements for the Ornate Boxfish

To provide a suitable habitat for Ornate Boxfish, a minimum aquarium size of 100 gallons is recommended. The tank should be well-established with ample live rock structures for hiding and exploration. Maintain stable water parameters, with temperatures ranging from 75°F to 82°F (24°C to 28°C), pH levels between 8.1 and 8.4, and salinity around 1.020 to 1.025. Moderate water flow is ideal for simulating their natural reef environment.

Why Choose the Ornate Boxfish from Saltwaterfish.com

Saltwaterfish.com offers a diverse selection of high-quality marine fish, including aquacultured Ornate Boxfish. By purchasing from Saltwaterfish.com, hobbyists can be confident in the health and sustainability of their aquatic livestock. With their commitment to exceptional customer service and expert advice, Saltwaterfish.com is a trusted source for marine aquarium enthusiasts.

Other Common Names of the Ornate Boxfish

  • Ornate Rug Boxfish
  • Ornate Coralfish
  • Ornate Cowfish

Five Compatible Tank Mates for the Ornate Boxfish

In conclusion, the Ornate Boxfish is a captivating and peaceful addition to saltwater marine aquariums, suitable for novice and experienced hobbyists. With its vibrant coloration, peaceful temperament, and reef-safe nature, this species brings beauty and tranquility to any aquarium setting. When sourced from reputable suppliers like Saltwaterfish.com, aquarists can enjoy the beauty of the Ornate Boxfish while supporting sustainable aquaculture practices.

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