Eastern smooth boxfish, Anoplocapros inermis


Matt Clarke takes a look at an interesting subtropical fish for the larger marine aquarium.

Common name: Eastern smooth boxfish.
Scientific name: Anoplocapros inermis (Fraser-Brunner, 1835).
Origin: Endemic to eastern Australian waters, it is most commonly reported around Sydney but occurs from southern Queensland to the Bass Strait in marine regions in the East Central Australian Shelf and the Pacific Ocean.
Size: Around 35cm/14”.
Diet: Believed to be an omnivore which grazes on algae and invertebrates, including molluscs, worms, sponges and tunicates.

Aquarium: According to research from temperate trawling, this continental shelf species lives in water from 10-300m/33-985’ deep and is found in cooler subtropical waters. As a result, it warrants a special aquarium which you’ll need to keep cooler than a typical marine system.

Given its size a large aquarium is a must. It should be furnished with live rock or seeded artificial rocks in order to allow this fish to graze naturally.

Larger fishes are sexable and often live in pairs in the wild, so if you have enough room try getting a couple.

Notes: This fish was offered for sale labelled as Strophiurichthys robustus, but this name is now believed to be a synonym of Anoplocapros inermis.

You might also see it referred to as Anoplocapros robustus.

Like most boxfishes, the colour pattern changes with age. Small juveniles are bright orange and develop brown spots as they grow older. Adult females have a dark base colour and bright yellow dots, while males are blue-white with big expanses of yellow.

Availability: Like most subtropical Australian marine species, these are rarely offered for sale. This one was spotted at Real Reefs in Gloucestershire.
On sale at £46.

This item was first published in the September 2010 issue of Practical Fishkeeping magazine. It may not be reproduced without written permission.