Can Longnose Hawkfish and Cleaner Shrimp Live Together in Same Tank?

Whether you are new to the world of home aquariums or you are an experienced hobbyist there is one main rule when it comes to the creatures in your tank: only choose creatures that will get on well together.

You can curate your ideal tank, full of wonderful colored fish, snails, and other animals but at the end of the day, if they do not all get along well together then you are going to have a lot of problems. 

This can be anything from your fish being eaten, to fighting and diseases. So, here we will tell you all about keeping longnose hawkfish and cleaner shrimp in the same tank to help you make your decisions.

Will a longnose hawkfish eat cleaner shrimp?

Whether or not longnose hawkfish will eat cleaner shrimp depends entirely on the size of the shrimp. For example, if you have baby cleaner shrimp in your tank then it is very likely that they will quickly become a snack for your longnose hawkfish. 

When the shrimp are small enough you can almost guarantee that they will be eaten by your longnose hawkfish, even if you keep them well fed. Basically, the temptation is just too much for them to resist.

However, once your cleaner shrimp have reached adulthood it is much more unlikely that they will be eaten by your longnose hawkfish. So, if you want to keep these two species together you should only do so once the shrimp have reached adulthood. 

You can either buy cleaner shrimp that have already reached the adult stage of their life or you can buy them as young, allow them to grow, and then introduce the longnose hawkfish at a later stage. If you already have the longnose hawkfish then you may have to keep them in a separate tank if this is your method of choice.

Can cleaner shrimp live together?

Yes, cleaner shrimp can live together in the same tank. However, the situation can very quickly get out of hand. Not only will the shrimp multiply pretty quickly but scientists have also found that if more than 2 cleaner shrimps were placed in the same tank to begin with the dominant pair of shrimps will kill off the weaker pair. 

So, it is best to begin with only 2 cleaner shrimp in your tank. Simply let them multiply on their own and you will soon have enough to keep your tank nice and clean. 

Can hawkfish be kept together?

Whether or not hawkfish can be kept together in the same home aquarium depends mostly on the type of the hawkfish (i.e. are they the same type or different?) and the size of your reef tank.

Hawkfish can be quite aggressive in their nature and so the more space that you can give them the better the situation will be in your tank.

The best way to have more than one hawkfish in your home tank will be to buy a mated pair and then introduce them into your tank together last. This then allows the other creatures to establish their territories before permitting the hawkfish pair to then weave their way into the workings of your tank.

If you introduce the hawkfish pair first then you may find that they excessively bully and fight with other fish. Although they will not kill your other fish they can leave them exhausted and open to all sorts of different diseases which can then kill them.

If you have a wonderfully large home tank then you can introduce more than hawkfish. But ensure that you do indeed have enough room. Hawkfish are notoriously intolerant of just about every other fish, so if you can avoid them meeting and their territories overlapping you will have a better and more peaceful time managing your tank.

Are hawkfish reef safe?

Yes, hawkfish are indeed reef safe. This is because coral does not form a part of their diet. They will eat small creatures, fish, and crustaceans but they will not eat corals. 

They will, however, happily perch on them all day. So, although they will not eat them they may cause some damage to more sensitive and fragile corals just by resting on them. 

So, if you already have more delicate corals in your tank then you should reconsider adding a hawkfish of any sort even though they are considered to be safe for reef tanks.

How big do hawkfish get?

Exactly how big a hawkfish can gets depends on its environment. For example, hawkfish in the wild have been known to reach up to 20 inches in size. However, in most home tanks they will only reach a maximum size of 3 inches, so there is no need to worry about them growing to 20 inches and outgrowing or overtaking your tank.


Making sure that you pair fish together well in your tank is an important part of the process. You should always ensure that their temperaments match, they have enough room, and also that they will not eat or bully each other. 

So, if you are considering adding a longnose hawkfish and cleaner shrimp into your tank then you should only do so once the cleaner shrimp have reached adulthood. This will make sure that they are big enough not to be eaten by any hawkfish that you have in the tank. 

Additionally, you should only introduce a maximum of 2 shrimp and 2 hawkfish (a mated pair) into the same tank, unless it is very large. This will ensure that each fish has enough space not to bother each other and also that your shrimp will not kill each other. 

If your shrimp have any offspring then it is highly likely that the majority, if not all, of them, will be eaten by the hawkfish. This is almost entirely unavoidable, even if you keep your hawkfish well fed. So, it is best to keep an eye on your tank to remove any offspring.


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