Scrawled Blue Cowfish - Caribbean

Acanthostracion quadricornis


(1 Reviews)

Scrawled Blue Cowfish - Caribbean

Scrawled Blue Cowfish - Caribbean

Acanthostracion quadricornis


(1 Reviews)

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Care Facts

Care Level: Expert
Temperament: Peaceful
Diet: Omnivore
Reef Safe: No
Minimum Tank Size: 180 gallons
Max Size: 20 inches
The Scrawled Blue Cowfish, Acanthostracion quadricornis  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 lovable Scrawled Blue Cowfish is native to the Indo-Pacific Oceans and is a yellow/tan color with blue lines and dots scrawled along its body. This reef fish grow up to 20 inches in the wild, while aquarium specimens may reach up to 12 inches in captivity. 
They should be kept in a tank of at least 180 gallons, 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 Scrawled Blue Cowfish 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 Scrawled Blue Cowfish, scientifically known as Acanthostracion quadricornis, is a captivating species popular among saltwater marine aquarium enthusiasts. This fish adds a distinctive charm to any aquarium setup with its unique appearance and intriguing behaviors. This comprehensive guide will delve into various aspects of caring for the Scrawled Blue Cowfish, covering habitat, compatibility, diet, tank requirements, and more.

Habitat and Distribution of the Scrawled Blue Cowfish

The Scrawled Blue Cowfish is native to the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea and the Western Atlantic Ocean. Its natural habitat includes coral reefs, rocky areas, and seagrass beds, where it can be found foraging for small invertebrates and algae among crevices and rubble.

Reef Compatibility of the Scrawled Blue Cowfish

This species is not considered reef-safe due to its potential for consuming various invertebrates and corals within the aquarium.

Size and Lifespan of the Scrawled Blue Cowfish

Juvenile Scrawled Blue Cowfish typically measure around 2-3 inches in length, while adults can reach sizes of up to 20 inches or more. They can live for 5-10 years in captivity with proper care.

Diet of the Scrawled Blue Cowfish in Captivity

In captivity, the diet of the Scrawled Blue Cowfish should consist primarily of meaty foods such as shrimp, mussels, clams, and various marine-based frozen foods. They also benefit from occasional algae-based foods to supplement their nutritional needs.

Aquaculture and Availability of the Scrawled Blue Cowfish

While the Scrawled Blue Cowfish is occasionally aquacultured, it may not be readily available in the aquarium trade. However, enthusiasts can find specimens from reputable sources like Saltwaterfish.com, which offers healthy and responsibly sourced marine fish.

Compatibility of the Scrawled Blue Cowfish with Other Fish and Invertebrates

Due to its potential for aggression towards smaller fish and invertebrates, it is best to house the Scrawled Blue Cowfish in a species-specific or carefully curated community tank. Compatible tank mates include larger, robust fish species such as Tangs, Triggerfish, Lionfish, and Pufferfish.

Sexual Dimorphism of the Scrawled Blue Cowfish

No distinct visual differences between male and female Scrawled Blue Cowfish make sexual dimorphism challenging to discern in this species.

Juvenile to Adult Coloration Changes in the Scrawled Blue Cowfish

Juvenile Scrawled Blue Cowfish typically exhibit a vibrant blue coloration with distinctive yellow markings and spots. As they mature, their coloration may intensify and develop additional markings or patterns, contributing to their unique aesthetic appeal.

Temperament of the Scrawled Blue Cowfish

While generally peaceful, the Scrawled Blue Cowfish may exhibit territorial behavior and aggression towards tank mates, notably smaller fish and invertebrates. Care should be taken when introducing them into a community tank to prevent conflicts.

Tank Requirements for the Scrawled Blue Cowfish

The minimum recommended aquarium size for housing a single Scrawled Blue Cowfish is 180 gallons, with larger tanks preferred for multiple specimens or community setups. A well-established filtration system is essential to maintain water quality, as this species is sensitive to fluctuations in water parameters.

Water Conditions of the Scrawled Blue Cowfish

  • pH: 8.1-8.4
  • Salinity: 1.020-1.025
  • Water Temperature: 75-80°F
  • Water Flow: Moderate to high, mimicking natural reef environments

Other Common Names for the Scrawled Blue Cowfish

  • Blue Spotted Boxfish
  • Cubicus Boxfish

Five Compatible Tank Mates for the Scrawled Blue Cowfish

Why Choose the Scrawled Blue Cowfish from Saltwaterfish.com

Saltwaterfish.com offers a wide selection of marine fish, including the Scrawled Blue Cowfish, sourced from reputable suppliers and aquaculture facilities. By purchasing from Saltwaterfish.com, customers can be assured of receiving healthy specimens that have been properly cared for and acclimated, along with excellent customer service and support for their aquarium endeavors.

In conclusion, the Scrawled Blue Cowfish is a fascinating addition to saltwater marine aquariums, boasting striking coloration and intriguing behaviors. With proper care and consideration for its unique needs, enthusiasts can enjoy the beauty and allure of this captivating species in their aquatic habitats.

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