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Marine Butterflyfish

Saltwater Butterflyfish Guide 


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Butterflyfish are beautiful, graceful, and delicate fish that are found in all the seas of the world!


Saltwater Butterflyfish are some of the most beautiful and exotic of all the reef fishes. The vivid colors and delicate shapes of these ornate wonders attract aquarists and divers alike. They are found in tropical to cooler waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, though primarily in the Indo-West Pacific.


They have a supple, elegant form and graceful swimming movements. Their appearance and mannerisms, and their name reference, aptly liken them to the beautiful winged butterflies, insects of the Order Lepidoptera. Many are brightly colored in hues of black, white, blue, red, yellow, and orange. They often sport bold diagonal stripes and eyespots on their sides, and many have masked faces.


These marine fish and the closely related Angelfish are collectively known as Coralfish. Both these fish have flat disc-like bodies that allow them to slip between rocky outcroppings and reef crevices. Butterflyfish will have a protruding snout, varying in length depending on the species that is tipped with a small mouth. This extended snout allows them to reach inside cracks and holes to feed small organisms hiding within. 


There are over 120 described butterflyfish species, but only some of these can adapt to the aquarium. As a rule the butterflyfish are harder to keep than angelfish because of their specialized diet. Depending on the species, diets can include stony corals, anemones, non-coralline invertebrates, and algae. Some are obligate coral feeders, so unless you are willing to buy live corals for food, these ones should be avoided.


The list of butterflyfish below includes fish guides for many available aquarium species. They are placed in categories based primarily on the willingness of each fish to accept aquarium foods. But keep in mind that other environmental factors such as the water parameters, decor, and tank mates can also effect how successfully these fish will be adapted and sustained in the captive environment.


Each fish guide has in-depth information about their places of origin, habitats and behaviors as well as the fish care needed for successfully keeping them in the aquarium. Pictures are also provided within each guide to help with fish identification and aid in choosing the best pet fish.

Butterfly Fish :

Butterflyfish Habitat : 


Saltwater butteflyfish are found in tropical, subtropical, and temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, though primarily the Indo-West Pacific. Most live along rocky and coral reefs at depths of less than 65 feet (20 m). There are a few that are found at very extreme depths, almost 10 times as deep, down to 590 feet (180 m).


For the most part, marine butterflyfish dwell among shallow reefs within a few meters of a home range. They are mostly diurnal, moving about and feeding during the daytime. At night they seek refuge among crevices in the reef and rocky outcroppings.


Many are solitary, but some are found in pairs, while some of the zooplankton feeders will gather together in large groups of their own kind. The corallivorous butterflyfish tend to form mated pairs and claim a coral head as their home, becoming very territorial.


Butterflyfish Facts  : 


Butterflyfish have an oval shaped body that is very thin laterally. This shape along with a protruding snout, allows them to move among the rocks on a coral reef and find food within the nooks and crannies. They have a continuous dorsal fin and the tail fin is either rounded or truncated, but never forked.


Saltwater butteflyfish are very similar to the equally showy saltwater angelfish. But angelfish are distinguished by strong preopercle spines found on each of the lower gill covers, which are lacking on the butterflyfish.


Most butterflyfish are moderately sized, ranging being between 4 ⓠ9 inches (12 ⓠ22 cm) in length, though a few are larger. The largest species are the Lined Butterflyfish Chaetodon lineolatus and the Saddle Butterflyfish Chaetodon ephippium. These two can reach up to 12 inches (30) in length.


Many species are brightly colors with bold patterning though some have a less dramatic design. They sport shades of black, white, blue, red, yellow, and orange and there are often eyespots on the flanks. Many have a dark mask around the eye or a dark band running through it. By night while they are hiding in the reef, they can exhibit very different coloring.


A positive to keeping some species in a reef tank is that there are some individuals that may help rid the reef of those pesky Aiptasia species like the Glass Anemone Aiptasia pulchella. Some that are used for this are the Raccoon Butterflyfish Chaetodon lunula, Copperband Butterflyfish Chelmon rostratus, Yellow Longnose Butterflyfish Forcipiger flavissimus, and the Merten's Butterflyfish Chaetodon mertensii.


Butterflyfish Species : 


Saltwatter Butterflyfish are members of the Perciformes Order, the perch-like, Ray-finned or Bony Fishes. This order of fishes originated more than 65 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period, also a time of the dinosaurs. Perciformes are comprised of more than 7000 species of fish with about 155 families.


Saltwater butterflyfish are members of the family Chaetodontidae with about 129 described species in 10 genera. These butterflyfish are ocean dwellers and are unrelated to the freshwater or African butterflyfish, which is a single species in the family Pantodontidae. Along with the closely related Angelfish, they are sometimes collectively known as Coralfish.


This is a large group of fish so several subgenera have been proposed. However based on a landmark assessment of osteology by S.D. Blum in 1988, followed by a range of DNA sequence data that appears to be in agreement with his findings, they may be split into several groups with various subgenera contained within. The type species, Foureye Butterflyfish Chaetodon capistratus, would still be the basis of the Chaetodon genus. Three new genera may be named Lepidochaetodon, Megaprotodon and Rabdophorus. A fourth genera that is yet un-named includes the Three-banded Butterflyfish Chaetodon robustus and its relatives. There are still some disparities on how to ultimately grouping them, so much is yet to be determined.


Butterflyfish classification (current as of 2013):

  • Phylum: Chordata

  • Subphylum: Vertebrata

  • Class: Actinopterygii = Osteichthyes (Ray-Finned or Bony Fishes)

  • Order: Perciformes (Perch-Like fishes)

  • Suborder: Percoidei

  • Family: Chaetodontidae (Butterflyfishes)

  • Genera:Bannerfish, Coralfish

    • Amphichaetodon - 2 species

    • Coradion- 2 species

    • Chelmon- 3 species

    • Chelmonops- 2 species

    • Forcipiger- 4 species

    • Hemitaurichthys- 5 species

    • Heniochus- 8 species

    • Johnrandallia - 1 species

    "Typical" Butterflyfishes

    • Chaetodon- about 90 species

    • Prognathodes- 12 species

Butterflyfish Care : 


Many butterflyfish are best kept in a fish only (FO) or a fish only live rock (FOLR) aquarium, but make a poor choice for a reef, as they will nip on coral polyps. A few species like the Raccoon Butterflyfish, Copper-banded Butterflyfish, and Merten's Butterflyfish are an exception. These types have been used to help rid reef aquariums of the pesky Aiptasia species of Glass Anemones.


Most members of this family are grazers that feed on algae, sponges and corals. Some are omnivorous and eat small and planktonic animals while many species are obligate corallivores and must have live coral polyps as the primary source of nutrition. So unless you are willing to buy live corals for food these ones should be avoided.


All butterflyfishes should be offered a large variety of food including live brine, flakes, and frozen foods of all kinds including Formula I, Formula II, Angel Formula and spirulina. Several sponge-based frozen foods are now available and can be fed to butterflyfish. Young fish may be easier to acclimate to aquarium conditions and should be fed several times a day.


Butterflyfish need a good sized tank. The aquarium needs plenty of hiding spaces created with corals or rocks, preferably live rock, but also open space for swimming. They are generally shy fish that need peaceful tank mates. Some species however, especially the obligate coral feeders, can get very territorial. These fish are fine when kept either singly, in pairs, or in small small groups but mixing them together with other Butterflyfish can be a problem. Great care is needed when trying to include different Butterfly fish in the same tank, and is often best avoided.


These fish are pelagic spawners. They release many tiny eggs into the planktonic water column where they float with the currents until they hatch. Once hatched the fry are in a post-larval where their body, extending from the head, is covered with large bony plates. This is a distinctive feature found only in this family, Chaetodontidae, and one other, the Scatophagidae Family of Scats.


Marine butterflyfish have not reportedly been spawned successfully in captivity. There are, however, reports of some success in rearing wild collected larvae of some of the corallivorous butterflyfish. It is hoped these captive reared fish will be adapted to accept aquarium foods, and thus broaden the species selections that can be sustained in captivity.

Aquarium Fish: Butterflyfish


By Francesco Ricciardi

courtesy to 


Advanced Aquarist welcomes Francesco Ricciardi, a biologist and underwater photographer. Francesco shares his photography and presents an overview of tropical butterflyfish.


Very few groups of tropical marine fishes can boast such a multicolored body pattern like the butterflyfish. This marine family - scientific name Chaetodontidae, from the ancient Greek, it means "brush-teeth" - includes 114 different species belonging to 10 genera, of which the genus Chaetodon is the most abundant in terms of number of species. The majority is found in the Tropical Indo-Pacific, while only four species occur in the eastern Pacific, and 13 species in the Atlantic.

The common name makes reference to the brightly colored body (mainly yellow, white and black but with many variations in terms of patterns) of many species. They typically have an "eye-spot," often located at the basis of the caudal fin, probably an anti-predatory adaptation (predators, especially in the confusing sensory world of coral reefs, may be induced to think that the fish is far larger than is it in reality. The eyespot can even reduce the probability of being bitten on the fins by small predators like fang-tooth blennies). Their disc shaped body, highly compressed, allows them to move easily through the cracks and crevices of the reef, and even if they are not particularly fast swimmers, are difficult prey for reef hunters.


The majority of species is about 20 cm long, with a pronounced jaw, which in some species like Forcipiger flavissimus can be about the 25% of the total body length. If the fish preys only on coral polyps, normally the snout is reduced, while for invertebrate feeders, due to the need to insert the mouth in very small holes or narrow crevices, becomes long and thin. Planktivorous species normally have protruding jaws to catch small, free-swimming prey.

Fig 1. The Big Longnose Butterflyfish (Forcipiger flavissimus) is one of the most common species available in the aquarium trade.

Fig 2. The Brown Butterflyfish (Chaetodon kleinii) is a good tank mate for aquarium beginners, thanks to the easy adaptation and feeding habits.

Fig 3: The Threadfin Butterflyfish (Chaetodon auriga) is another good member for big aquaria. Being territorial, if kept in small tanks, it may become aggressive.

Butterflyfish are present in tropical seas worldwide, often associated with coral reefs, many of them being obligate or facultative coral-feeders ('obligate' means they are able to feed only on coral polyps, while the facultative ones can even rely on other kind of food like algae, plankton or small invertebrates).


Coral feeders are strictly territorial, normally living in pairs that last for their life time, in a prolonged monogamy not so common in the animal world. There is not an evident sexual dimorphism: males and females generally look alike, even if sometimes the male is slightly bigger.


Butterflyfish reproduction starts with external fecundation, at least for the few species studied, and normally occurs at dawn, after some complex courtship behavior. Fecundated eggs will be released in the current, where they will remain until hatching. The presence of a drop of oil in their yolk sac guarantees that the newly hatched larvae will remain floating on the surface. When the larva arrives at around 5 mm of length (in a stage called 'tholichthys stage', unique among reef fishes) a bony armor covers the head, extending to form spines dorsally and ventrally. These pelagic larvae remain planktonic for two or more months, and after that period the armor is absorbed and the larva can settle at night, quickly transforming into juveniles.

Fig 4: An exemplum of a butterflyfish to be avoided. The Ornate Butterflyfish (Chaetodon ornatissimus) be cause it is an obligate coral-feeder.

Fig 5: The Blackened Butterflyfish (Chaetodon decussatus) is a possible good tank mate, even if it needs good water conditions and a large aquarium.

Fig 6: The Longfin Bannerfish (Heniochus acuminatus) is a peaceful butterflyfish and is easily kept in aquarium.

Juvenile butterflyfish can live in different habitats than adults, normally shallower areas inside branched corals, or mangrove roots. Some of them, at a later stage, form large groups living together, but normally are solitary, and some of them act as cleaner fish. Sexual maturity is reached after about 1 year of life. Butterflyfish lifespan is about 3 or more years, with bigger species living longer.


The home range of butterflyfish depends on the species, varying from a few square meters to very large territories, which is mainly dependent on food availability. Marine biologists use some obligate corallivores like butterflyfish as indicators of the health of a coral reef. If the reef is healthy and in good conditions, it can support the coexistence of many different species of butterflyfish, so their presence is evidence of the good overall status of the ecosystem.


Butterflyfish are commonly kept in aquaria even if some species are quite hard to maintain. For this reason, a deep knowledge of the particular species you are willing to host is necessary both for it health and for the safety of the whole aquarium. The knowledge especially of the feeding habits of each species is vital to avoid bad surprises.

Fig 7: Another example of a Butterflyfish to be avoided, due to its dietary requirements: the Raccoon Butterflyfish (Chaetodon lunula)

Fig 8: The Saddled Butterflyfish (Chaetodon ephippium). It's possible to keep in it aquarium but it requires very good water conditions and a large aquarium (it's a good swimmer and needs space to move). In the wild it feeds on coral and invertebrates, so a fish-only aquarium could be the better option.

Fig 9: All the Coradion species (here the Two-eyed Coralfish Coradion melanopus) cannot survive in captivity.

Let's have a quick look on some of the most common species present in the aquarium trade.


Genus Heniochus: also known as "Bannerfish" due to their long dorsal fin. Heniochus are easily kept in aquariums. In the wild, some juveniles act as cleaners, so sometimes in the aquarium they might bite the other fish's fins. One of the most common species is Heniochus acuminatus (and not acuminata, as sometimes proposed). Adults normally swim in pairs and are planktivorous. Heniochus need a large aquarium, but can easily tolerate meaty and algae dried food.


Subgenus Chaetodontops (includes the Raccoon Butterflyfish, Chaetodon lunula, the Pakistan Butterflyfish,Chaetodon collare, and 7 more species: C. auripes, C. fasciatus, C. flavirostris, C. nigropunctatus, C. reticulatus, C. semilarvatus, C. wiebeli). Most of these species feed on invertebrates and algae, but some others feed on coral polyps so they should be avoided. Have a look at the snout: the more rounded and less pointed it is, the higher is the probability that it is a coral-eater. In general, this group should be avoided or carefully evaluated before purchase.


Subgenus Rhadophorus. A large group of butterflyfish composed of 19 species, inhabiting shallow and coastal reefs. They feed normally on invertebrates or algae, and can tolerate captivity, depending on the species and type of feeding. They can become aggressive if the tank is too small. Very popular and good tank mates belonging to this group are the Auriga Butterflyfish (Chaetodon auriga), the Black-Backed (C. melannotus), the Double-saddled (C. ulietensis), the Vagabond (C. vagabundus), the Saddleback (C. ephippium) and the Latticed Butterflyfish (C. rafflesi). Members of this group can be kept in aquarium but only with the right tank size and conditions, and many of them can be kept in fish-only tanks.


Subgenus Lepidochaetodon. Members have arounded body and slightly pointed snout, and feed on a variety of invertebrates whereas some of them are planktivorous. Belonging to this group are the Brown Butterflyfish (Chaetodon kleinii), which is probably the easiest butterflyfish to maintain in an aquarium, but unfortunately its color pattern is not so spectacular like that of other species. In the wild, it feeds on invertebrates and algae, in aquariums it may accept dry or frozen food. However, it may feed on leather or soft corals if present in the tank.


Genus Forcipiger. This group includes very few species (just 2, but a new species has recently been discovered in the Indonesian Papua, but it's not yet officially described). One is the very common Long-nosed butterflyfish (Forcipiger flavissimus). The long pointed snout is used in the wild to catch small invertebrates from their tiny holes or crevices. In the aquarium, if kept in large tanks and correctly acclimatized, live peacefully feeding on a variety of dried or frozen food.

Fig 10: The Eastern Triangular Butterflyfish (Chaetodon baronessa), as obligate coral-feeder, cannot survive in aquarium

Fig 11: The Pacific Double-Sadded Butterflyfish (Chaetodon ulietensis) is a good tank mate, if proper conditions of space and nutrition are accomplished

1 - Copperband Butterflyfish

 Chelmon rostratus 


Minimum Tank Size: 125 gallons

Care Level: Difficult

Temperament: Peaceful

Reef Compatible: With Caution

Water Conditions: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025

Max. Size: 8"

Color Form: Orange, White, Yellow

Diet: Carnivore

Compatibility: View Chart

Origin: Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore

Family: Chaetodontidae

The Copperband Butterflyfish, also known as the Beaked Butterflyfish, Beaked Coralfish, or Orange Stripe Butterfly, has a long, narrow nose and mouth used for hunting into crevices and holes for food. The Copperband Butterflyfish has yellow-orange vertical bands with a black edging. It has a false eyespot on the rear of the dorsal fin. This is a difficult fish to mistake for any other.


It is best housed in very large reefs, or in peaceful community tanks. It should be kept singly, not with conspecifics or similar butterflyfish, and should not be kept with any stress-inducing fish. Caution should be exercised if housing these fish in a reef aquarium. They may pick on invertebrates, especially anemones and feather dusters. They are an excellent fish when used to control aiptasia, or glass anemones, in the reef aquarium.


The Copperband Butterflyfish is a difficult fish to feed; it is a shy and deliberate feeder that may need a variety of foods offered to it in order to start feeding.


Approximate Purchase Size: Small: 2 to 2 3/4"; Medium: 3" to 4 1/4"; Large: 4 1/4" to 5" X Large 5" to 5 3/4"

Butterflyfish  speices : 

2-Pearlscale Butterflyfish

 Chaetodon xanthurus 


Minimum Tank Size: 70 gallons

Care Level: Moderate

Temperament: Peaceful

Reef Compatible: No

Water Conditions: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025

Max. Size: 6"

Diet: Omnivore

Compatibility: View Chart

The Pearlscale Butterflyfish is another beautiful example why marine Butterflyfish remain perennial favorites among hobbyists. This gorgeous fish boosts visual interest with lively color and eye-catching, graphic patterning. The addition of this stunning specimen in your Fish Only With Live Rock (FOWLR) is sure to make your heart flutter.


True to its namesake, the Pearlscale Butterflyfish has a pearly white body that appears to give off an iridescent glow under the right aquarium light conditions. The brilliant pearly white body color is enhanced by a striking reticulated pattern in contrasting black coloration. Bold punches of orange coloration grace the anterior dorsal and anal fin area up to the peduncle as well as portions of the caudal fin in sickle-shaped bars. Highlights of yellow coloration gracefully trace the tips of the dorsal fin for a truly elegant effect.


The Pearlscale Butterflyfish is part of the "xanthurus complex" consisting of lookalike species with similar latticed pattern. The Mertensii Butterflyfish is a great example of a lookalike. The Pearlscale Butterflyfish is distinguished by a white-rimmed, dark oval spot located slightly askew behind the eye band. Also, upon careful observation, the Pearlscale Butterflyfish has a true reticulated (net-like) or crosshatch pattern while the lookalikes have a distinct chevron or V-shaped pattern.


House the Pearlscale Butterflyfish in a 70-gallon or larger aquarium with other peaceful fish and others of the same species, if all were introduced into the tank at the same time. Similar to other Butterflyfish, the Pearlscale Butterflyfish may require extra "TLC" when first acclimating to the home reef aquarium. The diet of the Pearlscale Butterflyfish should include various meaty preparations including frozen, freeze-dried, fresh or flake food. Also provide regular vegetable food source and vitamin-boosting supplements.


Approximate Purchase Size: Small: 1-1/2"-2-1/4", Medium: 2-1/4"-3-1/2", Large: 3-1/2"-4-3/4".

3-Pakistan Butterflyfish

 Chaetodon collare 


Minimum Tank Size: 125 gallons

Care Level: Moderate

Temperament: Peaceful

Reef Compatible: With Caution

Water Conditions: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025

Max. Size: 7"

Color Form: Black, Red, Tan, White

Diet: Carnivore

Compatibility: View Chart

Origin: Indonesia, Sri Lanka

Family: Chaetodontidae

The Pakistan Butterflyfish, also known as Red-tailed Butterflyfish, Collare Butterflyfish, or Redtail Butterflyfish, has a rich brown to black color with light spotted scales throughout. Its mask-like head includes two white bands with a black band through the eyes. The tail is most distinct with its wide red band followed by black and white bands.


The Pakistan Butterflyfish eats stony corals in the wild and care should be taken when housing it in a reef aquarium as it will nip at many sessile invertebrates that grow on live rock. A 125 gallon or larger aquarium is suitable for a pair introduced to the tank together, otherwise, is best kept singly with plenty of swimming room.


The Pakistan Butterflyfish requires a varied diet including marine fish, crustacean flesh, brine shrimp, and frozen meaty preparations. Once acclimated to the aquarium, it requires feedings several times daily.


Approximate Purchase Size: Small: 1-1/2" to 2-1/4";; Medium: 2-1/4" to 3 1/2"; Large: 3 1/2" to 4 1/2"

4-Heniochus Black & White Butterflyfish

Heniochus acuminata 


Minimum Tank Size: 125 gallons

Care Level: Easy

Temperament: Peaceful

Reef Compatible: No

Water Conditions: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025

Max. Size: 8½"

Color Form: Black, White, Yellow

Diet: Omnivore

Compatibility: View Chart

Origin: Indonesia, Maldives, Tahiti, Vanuatu

Family: Chaetodontidae


The Heniochus Black & White Butterflyfish, also known as Longfin Bannerfish, has a very elongated white dorsal filament. It has a base color of white with two wide black stripes. The soft dorsal and caudal fins are yellow, and there are black marks above the eyes. Members of theHeniochus genera are often called Bannerfish instead of Butterflyfish.


The Heniochus Black & White Butterflyfish may reside in a 125 gallon or larger aquarium with other peaceful fish and others of the same species, if all were introduced into the tank at the same time. When swimming, the elongated white dorsal filament moves like a banner in the wind.


It prefers a diet of small meaty foods and herbivore preparations.


Approximate Purchase Size: 1-1/2" to 2-1/4"; Medium: 2-1/4" to 3 1/2"; Large: 3 1/2" to 4 1/2"; XLarge: 4 1/2" to 6"

5-Raccoon Butterflyfish

Chaetodon lunula 


Minimum Tank Size: 125 gallons

Care Level: Easy

Temperament: Peaceful

Reef Compatible: No

Water Conditions: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025

Max. Size: 8"

Color Form: Black, Orange, White, Yellow

Diet: Omnivore

Compatibility: View Chart

Origin: Fiji, Hawaii, Indonesia, Maldives, New Caledonia, Tahiti

Family: Chaetodontidae

The Raccoon Butterflyfish is yellow-orange, but darker on the upper half of the body. It has a black patch around its eyes, with a broad white stripe posterior to it. Two black stripes bordered in yellow reach from the white stripe to the dorsal fin.


The Raccoon Butterflyfish is a peaceful fish that may reside in a 125 gallon or larger fish-only aquarium with other butterflyfish. It should not be kept in a reef tank since it will eat invertebrates and is deemed unsafe with corals.


When first acquired, if it will not eat, it may be tempted with a small anemone. Once acclimated, it can be fed a varied diet of meaty foods, crustacean flesh, mysis shrimp, and frozen preparations several times daily.


Approximate Purchase Size: Small: 1-1/2" to 2-1/4"; Medium: 2-1/4" to 3 "; Medium/Large: 3" to 4"; Large: 4" to 5"; X large 5" to 6"

6-Latticed Butterflyfish  

Chaetodon rafflesi 


Minimum Tank Size: 120 gallons

Care Level: Moderate

Temperament: Peaceful

Reef Compatible: No

Water Conditions: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025

Max. Size: 6"

Color Form: Black, Yellow

Diet: Carnivore

Compatibility: View Chart

Origin: Fiji, Indonesia, New Caledonia

Family: Chaetodontidae

The Latticed Butterflyfish, also known as the Raffle's Butterflyfish, is yellow with dark scale margins giving a lattice-like appearance. It has a black eye band and a blue patch between the eyes; the tail has a black vertical stripe.


It requires a 120 gallon or larger aquarium that has numerous hiding places and peaceful community members. In the wild, it will prey on hard and soft corals, zoanthids, and/or anemones. If the fish is asleep or stressed, it will get a dark spot on the front of the body.


The Latticed Butterflyfish will feed on chopped sea foods.


Approximate Purchase Size: Small 1 1/2" to 2 1/4" Medium 2 1/4" to 3 1/2" Large 3 1/2" to 4"

7-Saddleback Butterflyfish

Chaetodon ephippium 


Minimum Tank Size: 125 gallons

Care Level: Moderate

Temperament: Semi-aggressive

Reef Compatible: With Caution

Water Conditions: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025

Max. Size: 9"

Color Form: Black, Blue, Orange, White

Diet: Omnivore

Compatibility: View Chart

Origin: Fiji, Hawaii, Indonesia, Maldives, Melanesia, New Caledonia, Sri Lanka, Tahiti, Tonga

Family: Chaetodontidae

The Saddleback Butterflyfish, also known as the Saddled Butterflyfish or Saddle Butterflyfish, has a large black "saddle" with a white border on the rear upper corner of the body and dorsal fin. Orange coloration is found on the lower half of its face as well as outlining the black tail. The base color is gray with several blue-gray stripes on the lower body.


The Saddleback Butterflyfish will do best in a 125 gallon or larger aquarium with plenty of swimming space and well-maintained water quality. It should not be kept with any of its species unless it is introduced to the aquarium as a male and female pair. The Saddleback Butterflyfish may be kept in a reef environment but will eat most stony corals, a few soft corals, and invertebrates that inhabit any live rock.


Its diet should include a variety of meaty preparations.


Approximate Purchase Size: Small: 1-1/2" to 2-1/4"; Medium: 2-1/4" to 3 1/2"; Large: 3 1/2" to 4 1/2" X large 4 1/2" to 6"

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