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Boxfish / TrunkfishBoxfish / Trunkfish

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Camel Cowfish - Tetrasomus gibbosus

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Cubicus Boxfish - Ostracion cubicus - Box Fish

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Boxfish / Trunkfish

Hailing from the Family, Ostraciidae, and also known as Coffer fish and Cowfish, Boxfish / Trunkfish are small sized, square shaped, bony fish. Quite a preferred pick by aquarists due to their vibrant colors, box shaped body, and hexagonal patterns on their skin and skeletons, Boxfish / Trunkfish are compatible in both, Marine as well as Freshwater Aquariums. Fresh Marine offers several beautiful Boxfish / Trunkfish of different types, to grace your aquarium. However, prior to delving into specific models, let us understand the following standards common to Boxfish / Trunkfish.

Compatibility. Boxfish / Trunkfish are peaceful and are generally compatible with other peaceful and slow moving tank mates. Due to their Tubeworms consuming nature, they are not too preferred in Reef Aquariums. The Mucous Glands of Boxfish / Trunkfish may secrete a toxin, Ostracitoxin, in defense, which may prove lethal to the other tank mates. Therefore, it is important that you do not keep aggressive eaters with Boxfish / Trunkfish.
  • Habit & Habitat. Boxfish / Trunkfish are found in Tropical and Temperate Waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. These fish can be spotted near Coral Reefs, rocky regions, and sand & grass beds. Boxfish / Trunkfish usually live in Harems (more than one female per male).
  • Morphology. The Scales of Boxfish / Trunkfish are Hexagonal, shaped like a plate. These Scales fuse together to form a solid, box-like Carapace, from which the Fins and Tail come out. Owing to this fixed structure having only moveable fins, Boxfish / Trunkfish swim slowly. The vibrantly colored Juveniles are round in shape. Some Boxfish, also known as Cowfish, have a pair of Horns on their body, one on head and the other on Caudal Fin to defend themselves from attackers. These horns may even destroy your aquarium décor, if stick somewhere. Therefore, take care that no such eventuality happens.
  • Ideal Marine Aquarium Environment. Boxfish / Trunkfish grow well in an aquarium with a temperature range of 72-78°F; Specific Gravity of 1.020-1.025; pH level of water within 8.1-8.4; and dKH 8-12. A minimum of 55 Gallons capacity tank with slow water movement is required for keeping Boxfish / Trunkfish. Ensure that your tank has ample hiding places (Rocks & Caves) for Boxfish / Trunkfish.
  • Aquarium Feeding. Boxfish / Trunkfish are Omnivorous and feed especially on Crustaceans, Mollusks, Squid, Clams, Mussels, Sampling Polyps, and Algae. Therefore, they sustain well in an aquarium with Live Rocks, which have ample Algal growth for consumption. They can also eat Brine Shrimp, Mysis Shrimp, Krill, Polychaete Worms, & Bloodworms, and dried Seaweeds.
  • Aquarium Breeding. Aquarium breeding in Boxfish / Trunkfish is very difficult.
  • Care. Boxfish / Trunkfish require only an expert’s handling. Most of these fish secrete a harmful toxin when stressed. This toxin can kill all the aquarium inmates. In addition, many of these fish also release the toxin when dead. At this time, rigorous water changes and heavy treatment with Aquarium Carbon gets vital for the well-being of your aquatic pets.


  • Let us now look at some of the best selling Boxfish / Trunkfish options available at Fresh Marine. We are providing a Genus based categorization here.

    Genus – Ostracion.
  • Boxfish Black Female/Blue Male (Ostracion meleagris). Growing up to 6.3” long, these Boxfish / Trunkfish require a tank of minimum 55 Gallons.
  • Cubicus Boxfish (Ostracion cubicus). These Boxfish / Trunkfish are colored in a way to hint other animals about its vicious nature. Growing to a maximum length of 18”, the fish requires a tank of minimum 150 Gallons capacity.


  • Genus – Tetrasomus.
  • Camel Cowfish (Tetrasomus gibbosus). Also known as Helmet Cowfish, Thornback, Thorn backed Boxfish, Cowfish Helmet, and Hovercraft Boxfish, these Boxfish / Trunkfish have a drab, pale, Tan hued body with random Blue and Black colored dots. Growing 4” in length, these Boxfish / Trunkfish require a minimum tank of 70 Gallons. The eyes of these Boxfish / Trunkfish are large and blue in color. When hungry, this fish has a strange habit of coming to the water surface and spits.


  • Genus – Lactoria.
  • Longhorn Cowfish (Lactoria cornuta). One of the most popular aquatic pets due to its unique appearance and its aquarium adaptability, Longhorn Cowfish live in the Indo-Pacific Reefs. The fish is Yellow in color with White dots marking the body and is therefore also called Yellow Boxfish. These Boxfish / Trunkfish grow up to a maximum of 16”.


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