Yellowhead Jawfish

The Yellowhead Jawfish, also known as the Yellow Head Jawfish or Yellow-headed Pearly Jawfish, has a yellow head and a light blue-green body. It inhabits the sandy, rubble-strewn areas on the reefs of the tropical Western Atlantic, and is found in close proximity to its burrow or cave. The Yellowhead Jawfish can attain a length of 5 inches in the wild, and up to 4 inches in an aquarium.

The Yellowhead Jawfish is moderately hardy. It tends to be shy and is best kept with other docile fish. It will not bother other tank inhabitants, but other burrowing fish may bully it. It needs to be kept on 5-7 inches of fine soft substrate such as sand of various particle sizes (not fine). Known for being a jumper when startled or frightened, the tank should have a tight-fitting lid. This fish will spend much of its time in its burrow and when it does venture out, if it is startled, it will bolt back into its burrow tail first with lightning speed. As long as the tank is large enough, several can be kept in the same tank. Multiple specimens provide very interesting behavior as they "dance" up and down in the burrow. Supply various size rocks among the soft substrate to help reinforce the burrows against them; rockpiles are ideal.


Although other jawfish may exhibit color variations during breeding, the Yellowhead Jawfish does not. One differentiating characteristic is that since it is a mouth breeder, the male will hold the eggs in his mouth.

The Yellowhead Jawfish is typically a shy feeder, eating very small live foods that wander near its burrow in the wild. In the tank, it can be enticed with small pieces of mussel, daphnia, brine shrimp, bloodworms, or other meaty foods. Eventually, prepared foods can be offered. Feeding must be done near the burrow.

Minimum Tank Size: 113 Litres
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Peaceful
Reef Compatible: Yes
Water Conditions: dKH 8-12, 72-82° F, sg 1.021-1.023
Max. Size: 4"
Colour Form: Orange, Tan, White
Diet: Carnivore
Family: Opistognathidae
Origin: Caribbean

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Easy to Care For
Easy to Feed
Peaceful with Others
Reef Safe
Invertebrate Safe

  1. I have two Yellowhead Jawfish and am in awe of their great personalities – not to mention they are ADORABLE fish. Sometimes it seems like they put on a show for me. Though my two live in separate burrows, I catch them visiting each other every now and then. The smallest of the two closes his burrow entry with shells each night and then opens it when I turn on the light the next morning. Highly recommend!

  2. I am absolutely fascinated with Jawfish. They are truly a beautiful fish. They love to eat live brine shrimp, when they mate they build a burrow separate from the one they live in

  3. I have named my Yellowheaded Jawfish “Jaws,” because he is constantly digging in the sand. He has given me hours of enjoyment by popping his head up and then spitting out the dirt he has moved for his tunnel. You will get hours of enjoyment from this fish with the added bonus of his beauty

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