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Related FAQs: Rabbitfishes Siganids 2, Rabbitfish Identification, Rabbitfish Behavior, Rabbitfish Compatibility, Rabbitfish Selection, Rabbitfish Systems, Rabbitfish Feeding, Rabbitfish Disease, Tangs/Rabbitfishes & Crypt, Rabbitfish Reproduction,

Related Articles: The Blotched or One-Spot Rabbitfish, Siganus unimaculatus by Bob Fenner

The Blotched or One-Spot Rabbitfish, Siganus unimaculatus



By Bob Fenner



Years back, this “spine foot” (another group name for the family Siganidae) was sold along with the Foxface (Lo or Siganus vulpinus) as just a variant of the Foxface. Their care in captivity is identical; as is the need to be careful when handling them. All Rabbitfishes are painfully spiny and can be toxic if you’re spined but good.

For comparison’s sake:

Siganus unimaculatus, Blotched

Siganus vulpinus, the Foxface, no spot/marking


Blotched Rabbit Range:

            Siganus unimaculatus is commonly found over shallow reefs from S. Japan through the Philippines to W. Australia. It is often collected for the trade in both the Philippines and Indonesia.


            Like all Rabbitfishes, the One-spot gets along with all that get along with it. Some notable problematic situations arise if the fish is kept in too small confines. A system of four foot length, seventy gallons is the minimum suggested; larger is much better. Other members of the same sub-order (Acanthuroidea) can prove antagonistic; particularly larger Tangs. And though the species is found almost always in twos in the wild; it’s best to stock it one to a tank.

            Nothing can or will substitute for your careful observation of your livestock. Should you see your Rabbit hiding continuously, being backed into a corner, dorsal spines facing, you should be pro-active in moving either it or the antagonist elsewhere. Again, WATCH YOUR HANDS (!) when netting these fishes. Their anterior dorsal pelvic and anal spines are VERY PAINFUL to get jabbed by.


            Picking out a healthy Siganid is relatively easy; the family ships well and even torn fin rays heal in quick order. Look for:

1)      Clear eyes sans obvious scratches.

2)      A lack of bloody marks, though scratches are to be expected of newly arrived specimens

3)      That the specimen has been on hand a good week or more to allow it to rest up, become adapted to captive conditions, foods.

4)      That it is indeed feeding; on foods you can and intend to proffer.


            A fish-only arrangement is fine for this fish, indeed all Siganids… many living in shallow reefs, occasionally foraging into freshwater streams that pour into the ocean. Hence vacillation, maintaining a purposely lowered specific gravity is not an issue.

            Some live rock is greatly appreciated; with this fish, Sigands period, spending a good deal of their days seeking out and scraping algal aufwuchs from hard substrates. Of course, the LR also aids in promoting stable and optimized water quality.

            Best to have their systems well-circulated, a good ten times plus turn over, to promote the moving up and out of accumulated wastes, mulm, and to improve gas distribution.


            As alluded to above; these fishes are largely herbivorous; or rather algivorous, and should be offered prepared or live palatable species of algae daily. Other staple foods I endorse are nutritious brands of small pellets, tablets and frozen/defrosted mixtures. More frequent, smaller food offerings during daylight hours (they hide, sleep at night) are preferable over once daily.


            Like their close kin, the Surgeonfishes, Siganids tend toward easy susceptibility to pathogenic disease, particularly Cryptocaryon. Also like them they are sensitive to copper and dye medications. Better by far to try avoiding introduction of disease causing organisms through careful purchase, dips/baths and a good week or two in isolation/quarantine twixt their introduction to main/displays.

Here a very Crypt infested Blotched Rabbitfish. Quinine compounds, particularly Chloroquine (di) Phosphate (CP) are the best route to go in actual treatments of Acanthuroid Protozoan complaints.



            As yet these fishes have not been commercially produced; though a few species are of human food/fisheries importance. They have the shared Acanthuroid issues of long pelagic larval developmental time and slow growth going against them here.


            Suitable for use for fish only to full blown reef systems; the blotched or one-spot Rabbitfish is a looker with little demands. All it really needs is space, easy-going tankmates, a good deal of algae in its diet and it’s good to go.  


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