Sea Fish

Cow Fish, Lactoria Cornuta

  • Scientific name:  Lactoria Cornuta
  • Common Name: Cowfish, Bullfish, Horned Chestfish
  • Aquarium size:  300-400 liters
  • Temperament: Calm
  • Temperature:  Between 24º and 27ºC
  • pH: Between 8.1 and 8.4
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Length:  30 cms



The cow fish, Lactoria cornuta, also known as the horned boxfish, even as a bull fish, does not go unnoticed, it is impossible, its strange and original morphology makes it unique among marine aquarium fish.
Belonging to the Ostracionidae family , also called boxfish (horned boxfish), it is characterized by protrusions that adorn its forehead like horns, and which are the ones that give rise to its common name «Cow Fish».


In the wild, the cow fish can measure up to 50 centimeters, but in the aquarium they rarely exceed 30 centimeters.
They have an angular, box-shaped body, characterized by the presence of a bony shell, which completely covers their body.
The anal, dorsal and pectoral fins, as well as the tail, stand out from this shell. His fins are too far behind, making him a terrible swimmer.
The distinguishing note of these fish are their horn-shaped protrusions that come out of the forehead , barely visible in the youngest specimens, but which grow with age.
It is not uncommon for them to lose them from time to time, but they do come out again. Tooit has other horns under the tail fin.
They are usually yellow in color, slightly green , although there are specimens in other less attractive colors such as brown or gray.
Their body is dotted with white spots, which can be bluish, brown or green.
There are no sexual dimorphism.

Distribution and habitat

They are native to the Indian and Pacific oceans , they are also present in the Red Sea and even East Africa.
In their natural state, we can find them in depths ranging from 1 to 45 meters deep (although they can reach up to 100 meters), in areas of coral reefs , but also in areas near the coast, lagoons or estuaries, always protected areas .
In the juvenile state, they are usually associated with marine invertebrates Acropora corals (stony corals), where they find refuge from other aggressive fish species.

Aquarium conditions

The Lactoria cornuta is a fish that swims in intermediate waters , for which it needs an aquarium of about 400 liters, with temperatures ranging between 24ºC and 27ºC, with a pH between 8.1 and 8.4.
They like clean waters, well oxygenated and moderately soft.
To recreate its natural habitat, the bottom of the aquarium must be covered with area and rock, where we will provide holes where you can take refuge.
Because they are not very good swimmers, we must provide the aquarium with a moderate current, which helps it to move, but does not pose any risk to its integrity.

Aquariums by size

  • Small aquariums
  • 10 liter aquariums
  • 20 liter aquariums
  • 30 liter aquariums
  • 40 liter aquariums
  • 50 liter aquariums
  • 60 liter aquariums
  • 80 liter aquariums
  • 100 liter aquariums

Aquarium type

  • Complete aquarium kits
  • Nano aquariums
  • Prawns
  • Aquariums for Bettas
  • Tortugueros
  • Aquariums for kids
  • Farrowing
  • Cheap aquariums


  • AquaLed
  • Tetra


They are omnivores, accepting any food that is offered , including lettuce or spinach leaves.
In the aquarium we can provide them with a diet based on small crustaceans, mollusks, pieces of fish, tubifex and dried or freeze-dried prawns , combined with green foods and appropriate dry foods.
Because they are poor swimmers, they do not like to compete for food . In a community aquarium, we will make sure that it receives adequate food, and that other specimens are not eating its portion.

Everything you need to maintain your aquarium

  • Best digital pH meter
  • Best Aquarium Test
  • Best anti-algae
  • Best bacteria for aquarium
  • Best siphoner for aquarium
  • Best Aquarium Water Clarifiers
  • Best reverse osmosis filters for aquarium
  • Best UV lamps for aquariums

Behavior and compatibility

The Cow fish is a calm fish that can live in a community aquarium, as long as it is not threatened by other more nervous specimens.
In this case, they can be upset, feel scared and secrete a toxic substance (ostracytoxin) through their skin that can cause indisposition in the rest of the inhabitants of the aquarium.
When the specimens are young, they form small groups, but in adulthood it becomes a solitary and territorial fish, which does not admit the presence of other specimens of the same species.


Its clutch is known to consist of very small eggs. In a first phase, the fry live in a pelagic way after spawning, which always occurs when the sun sets.
Its reproduction in captivity is quite difficult, and has only been achieved by experienced acuryophiles.


The Cow fish is a fish that is not too difficult to keep in captivity , as long as we do not place it in a community aquarium where it has to compete for food, or that travel companions stress it.
In adulthood it  is territorial, it is not advisable to have more than one Lactoria cornuta in the aquarium.
Its acclimatization to the aquarium is relatively simple.

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