Masked Rabbitfish (Siganus puellus)

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Masked Rabbitfish
Siganus puellus
Masked Rabbitfish (Siganus puellus)
Name Masked Rabbitfish
Name Lat. Siganus puellus
Family Rabbitfishes
Family lat. Siganidae
Order Surgeonfishes
Order lat. Acanthuriformes
Origin Indo-Pacific
Habitat Lagoons, seaward reefs
Diet Herbivore
pH 8.1-8.4
Hardness 8-10 °KH
Behavior Peaceful
Keeping Individual, pair
Reef Compatible Yes
Care Level Moderate
Life Span 8-12 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 25 cm
Temperature 24-28 °C
Salinity 33-36 ‰
Aquarium ~ 800 l
US Units
Size 10"
Temperature 75-82 °F
Salinity 1.020-1.025 sg
Aquarium ~ 200 gal

Distribution and habitat

The range of Siganus puellus extends from the eastern Indian Ocean to the central Pacific, where they live in lagoons and outer reefs with dense coral cover, and over seagrass and algae beds to depths of 30 m.


They need a well-structured aquarium with plenty of swimming space and a reef structure (hiding and retreat possibility) with living stones, which they can graze on (algae) and which act like a biological filter as well as fine-grained sand surfaces. Only lime-rich, heavy metal-free sands, gravels, stones or sea sand of various grain sizes may be used as substrate

Filters, skimmers and heaters are necessary to ensure water quality, as well as pumps to simulate tides, swells and bottom currents. Lighting must correspond to the species-appropriate day-night rhythm of the animals

Salinity: 33-36 ‰ pH value: 8.1-8.4
Carbonate hardness: 8-10 °KH Nitrate content: 2-8 mg/l
phosphate content: 0.01-0.1 mg/l nitrite content: 0.0-0.05 mg/l

For salinity, an average value should be aimed for, which may only vary slightly by +/- 0.5 ‰. Ammonia and ammonium must not be measurable. Special attention must be paid to constantly good water quality.


They feed mainly on algae. The change of diet does not always succeed without problems. The food supply should consist of a combination of commercially available algae and seaweed (e.g. nori, caulerpa) with scalded lettuce or spinach or a commercially available, vitamin-enriched frozen special food mixture for herbivores. Dry food (granules, tablets) with a high vegetable content is also well accepted. Live or frozen food such as Artemia, Krill or Mysis should only be offered in small quantities. Fine coral sand serves as a digestive aid for them

It is recommended to feed small portions several times a day. Regular and varied feeding promotes health and increases resistance.

Behaviour and compatibility

It is recommended to keep them in pairs. To avoid territorial fights, they should be placed in the aquarium at the same time. They are incompatible with other Siganus species, but can be socialized well with other, not too small fish.

Sex dimorphism

There are no known external distinguishing characteristics.

Reproduction and breeding

There are no known reports of successful breeding in the aquarium.


All hard rays of the fins are connected at the base with a poison gland. Accordingly, special care is required when working in the aquarium. In case of direct contact is recommended to wear gloves. They are well suited to control the growth of algae in the aquarium.

As coral reef dwellers, they should not be maintained in a fish-only aquarium. If kept in pairs, with sufficient activity (live rocks, large reef surface) and frequent as well as varied feeding, they can be maintained even in challenging coral tanks without attacking the corals

If different species are kept together, care should be taken to ensure that the fish match each other in terms of water quality and temperature requirements, as well as their social behavior, and that the setup meets the needs of all species kept together. New fish to be introduced must be acclimated slowly to the water in the aquarium

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: Lucie Schiemer; Image: Franz Lowak

Source: BAENSCH & DEBELIUS (2006): Meerwasser Atlas Bd. 1, Mergus Verlag; ENGELMANN (2005): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Fische, Verlag Harri Deutsch

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF