Skunk Tile Goby (Hoplolatilus marcosi)

Skunk Tile Goby (Hoplolatilus marcosi)

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Hoplolatilus marcosi (Skunk Tilefish) Care Sheet

Scientific Name: Hoplolatilus marcosi
Common Name: Yellowface Tilefish, Purple Tilefish, Blue Gudgeon
Family: Malacanthidae
Origin: Western Pacific, including the Philippines, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea


  • Size: Up to 4 inches (10 cm)
  • Coloration: Characterized by a yellow face, blue to purple body, and a vibrant orange stripe running from the head along the dorsal ridge.

Tank Requirements:

  • Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons (190 liters)
  • Aquascape: Provide plenty of live rock for hiding places and territories. They are burrowers, so a deep sand bed of at least 3-4 inches is recommended.
  • Water Movement: Moderate to strong flow.
  • Lighting: Moderate to high lighting to support the growth of corals and live rock, but they can adapt to various lighting conditions.

Water Parameters:

  • Temperature: 72-78°F (22-26°C)
  • pH: 8.1-8.4
  • Specific Gravity: 1.020-1.025
  • Alkalinity: 8-12 dKH


  • Feeding: Omnivorous. Provide a varied diet including high-quality marine pellets, flakes, and frozen foods like brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, and finely chopped seafood. Feed 2-3 times a day.
  • Supplements: Vitamin-enriched foods can help maintain vibrant colors and health.

Behavior and Compatibility:

  • Temperament: Generally peaceful but can be territorial, especially towards conspecifics or similar species. Best kept singly or as a mated pair.
  • Tankmates: Suitable for a peaceful community tank with other non-aggressive fish, invertebrates, and corals. Avoid keeping with aggressive fish that may bully or outcompete them for food.

Special Care:

  • Cover: Ensure the tank has a tightly fitting lid as they are known to jump.
  • Acclimation: Drip acclimate to avoid shock due to their sensitivity to sudden changes in water parameters.
  • Burrowing: Provide a suitable substrate for their natural burrowing behavior, which helps reduce stress and displays natural behavior.
  • Disease Prevention: Maintain high water quality and avoid overcrowding to reduce stress and the risk of disease. Quarantine new arrivals.


  • Reproduction: Very difficult to breed in captivity. Little is known about their breeding habits in the wild. Generally requires expert knowledge and a specialized setup to attempt breeding.

General Tips:

  • Regular water changes (10-20% weekly) to maintain pristine water conditions.
  • Monitor water parameters regularly to ensure stability.
  • Provide a varied and balanced diet to ensure they receive all necessary nutrients.
  • Observe daily for signs of stress or illness, such as changes in behavior, appetite, or appearance.


Hoplolatilus marcosi is a beautiful and interesting fish suitable for intermediate to advanced marine aquarists. Their vibrant colors and unique behaviors make them a striking addition to a peaceful reef tank. Proper care, including providing a suitable environment and diet, is crucial for their health and well-being.