Anoplocapros lenticularis, White-barred boxfish

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Matt Clarke looks at the White-barred boxfish, Anoplocapros lenticularis, a very unusual marine boxfish which poses some difficulties for the fishkeeper.

Common name: White-barred boxfish, Humpback boxfish, Smooth boxfish, Red boxfish, Flame boxfish.

Scientific name: Anoplocapros lenticularis, (Richardson, 1841).

Origin: This is an Australian aracanid boxfish found in fairly deepwater parts of the Indian Ocean off the western and southern coasts.

Size: This species hits a maximum size of 20cm/10”.

Water: A temperate marine species and found in cooler waters, so it’s not a good fish for the typical marine aquarium. Opinions differ on the temperature required, but it is believed that they are difficult to keep above 16°C/61°F and suffer even at low tropical temperatures.

Diet: Said to be easy to feed when conditions are right. Offer a range of frozen foods from Mysis to brineshrimp and small shrimp.

Aquarium: The temperature requirements of this species mean it is a species only for experts. A good chiller will be needed to help keep the temperature within reasonable limits. Also bear in mind that boxfish can potentially poison other inhabitants if threatened, so choose tank mates with care.

Identification: A. lenticularis are sexually dichromatic — males being vivid orange with white markings while females and younger specimens are orange with black and white markings. They’re so different you could easily mistake the sexes as different species.

Availability: Dutch importer De Jong Marinelife imported these fish from Australia and had them on display at the Interzoo trade show. As far as we know they’ve not yet made it to UK stores, but could be available to the specialist importers.

They’re rarely seen, which is probably no bad thing.

Price: We’d expect these to be retailing in the UK for around £100.

This item was first published in the August 2009 issue of Practical Fishkeeping magazine. It may not be reproduced without written permission.