Facts

Latin name Chaetodon flavirostris - Günther, 1874
Common name Black butterflyfish
Family Chaetodontidae - Chaetodon
Origin Australia, East Pacific, Central/West Pacific
Max length 20.0 cm (7.9")

As aquarium fish

Minimum volume 500 l (132 gal)
Hardiness Average
Suitable for aquarium Suitable with care
Reef safe Reef safe with luck
Aggressiveness Docile

Food

Recommended
  • Zooplankton (Cyclops, pods...)
  • Small crustaceans (Krill, mysis, artemia...)

Eats tubeworms

This species likes to eat tubeworms.

Can nibble at clams

This species sometimes nibbles at clams including Tridacna species.

Searches through sand for food

This species searches through the sand for food, which can make the water cloudy and shakes up detritus.

In an aquarium their natural food source in the sand is quickly exhausted.

Sensitive during transportation

This species is very sensitive during transportation and acclimatizing into the aquarium.

Requires a varied diet

This species must be fed with an appropriately varied diet.

Requires plenty of space for swimming.

This species revels in swimming and requires an aquarium with ample space.

Best as a pair

This species thrives best in a pair. (Male and female)

Hiding places

This species needs good hiding places, for example, between live rocks.

Refuses to eat at first

This species can refuse to eat when newly introduced.
Normally however, they begin to eat within about a week, but it's advantageous if they can find their own food in the aquarium.

Genus description (Chaetodon)

Some species of the Chaetodon genus are grouped together in what is known as a "complex", since they are so very similar.

Regardless of resemblance, it is important to be able to distinguish them, as in some cases they vary greatly in their needs. Sometimes there are just small differences in colour or pattern, but in other instances it is vital to know where the fish originally come from.

Family description (Chaetodontidae)

The Butterflyfish are known for their attractive patterns and colours. They are closely related to Angelfishs, but can always be distinguished, as they lack the spines on each side of the head of the Angelfish.

A smaller group of these fish will seek out primairily soft corals, like Zoanthus. A larger part of the species will target different types of LPS corals. Butterflyfish are also known to seek out anemones, tubeworms and bristleworms.

Therefore it is important to choose the correct species in relation to the corals wanted, if one desires to keep Butterflyfish in a coral-aquarium.
Bristleworms, tubeworms and other small invertebrates are also a part of the diet for many Butterflyfish.

It can be problematic, with many of these species, to get them eating in the beginning, but many of the species cannot resist live zooplankton or live mussels with crushed shells. Another option is to mimic their natural behaviour by stuffing their food into coral skeletons or stones.

They ignore most other fish and are generally peaceful, therefore multiple Butterflyfish will have no problem living together. One should however be cautious about keeping similar species together unless they are a couple.

As these fish can be difficult to acclimatize and get feeding, it is important to buy healthy fish, to avoid having to deal with more problems. Make sure to check that they do not have parasites or any visible infections.

There are some species that should not be kept in an a aquarium, as they are food specialists and will almost always refuse to eat replacement foods. It can be possible to breed some species, which will eat frozen foods. Otherwise the only way to keep food specialists is by feeding them their natural diet, which consists of live SPS or LPS corals for example.

FishBase

Aquarium trade Yes
Distribution Pacific Ocean: Australia to Pitcairn.
English common names Yellowsnout butterflyfish, Dusky butterflyfish, Black butterflyfish
Danish common names Sort fanefisk

References and further reading

About references

Bob Fenner. Corallivorous Butterflyfishes… For Aquariums? - Wet Web Media - (English)

Scott W. Michael. 2004. Angelfishes and Butterflyfishes (Reef Fishes Series Book 3) TFH Publications / Microcosm Ltd. - (English)
Bob Fenner. Butterflyfishes; Separating the Good Ones and Those You Don't Want - Wet Web Media - (English)
Collection of links to additional information - Wet Web Media - (English)
Tea Yi Kai. 2014. Reef Nuggets 2: Aquatic Lepidopterans for your reef (Revised edition) - Reef Builders - (English)

Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2014. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (08/2014).

Tags

pair couple, eats feather duster worm, eats tridacna, butterfly
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