The magnificent foxface, Siganus magnificus, is a wild looking species of rabbitfish. Once part of the Lo genus, the five former species of this genus have since been folded into Siganus with the other rabbitfish, but we still know what’s up!
The smaller overall adult size of the foxfaces makes them an ideal candidate for home aquariums. They are diligent algae eaters and their long snout gives them access to the cracks and crevices of live rock, further giving them the seal of approval for enlisting them in the fight against algae growth.
The five species of foxfaces formerly belonging to the genus Lo were all discovered and described long ago, so it’s rare that they get any air time in the headlines. The rarest species, the black Foxface is cool and all, and the standard foxface sometimes shows us an aberrant white specimen, but the magnificent foxface is the real looker in the group.
We can still vividly remember the first time we saw a Siganus magnificus in the late 90s when it was a rare fish, and this specimen carried the sticker price of $700! Nowadays it’s much more common to encounter this fish at typical fish stores for much less, but the pale, silvery fish offered for sale rarely demonstrate the full color potential for this species.
When they are in their prime, a magnificent foxface is truly, magnificent: A stark white body is punctuated by a large black saddle edged in fine spots, with the signature facial stripe of many rabbitfish. Furthermore, the pectoral, anal and tail fin are edged in vivid yellow, while the soft parts of the dorsal fin are edged in a light red.
It’s actually quite rare to see the magnificent foxface in peak form; it is uncommonly kept and it’s just so seldom that we see a Siganus magnificus decked out in its Sunday best. We were reminded of the splendor of this underrated reef fish by a specimen in the aquarium of Tanne Hoff, well known for having a special touch at mixing many fish in with diverse soft and stony corals.
The magnificent foxface typifies a large group of marine fish which are readily available for home aquariums, but rarely appreciated and conditioned to the point where their full beauty truly shines. We’ll be highlighting several species which fit this description in the future but in the meantime, give a good hard look the next time you see a magnificent foxface at the LFS, you might really like what you see.