Chaetodon octofasciatus
Source: Bernard E. Picton / CC-BY-SA-3.0
Chaetodon octofasciatus
Source: JJPhoto.dk
Chaetodon octofasciatus
Source: JJPhoto.dk

Facts

Latin name Chaetodon octofasciatus - Bloch, 1787
Common name Eightband butterflyfish
Family Chaetodontidae - Chaetodon
Origin East Indian Ocean, West Indian Ocean, Australia, Indonesia, Central/West Pacific
Max length 12.0 cm (4.7")

As aquarium fish

Minimum volume 500 l (132 gal)
Hardiness Average
Suitable for aquarium Not suitable for home aquarium
Reef safe Not reef safe
Aggressiveness Might be aggressive towards similar species

Food

Mostly
  • Soft coral
  • Large polyp stone coral (LPS)
Recommended
  • Zooplankton (Cyclops, pods...)
  • Small crustaceans (Krill, mysis, artemia...)
  • Larger crustaceans (Shrimp, crabs...)
  • Other invertebrates

Difficult to keep alive

This species is extremely hard to keep alive and thriving.

Eats tubeworms

This species likes to eat tubeworms.

Can nibble at clams

This species sometimes nibbles at clams including Tridacna species.

Can be aggresive

This species is not neccessarily aggresive, but it has a greater tendency towards aggresion then other species of the same genus.

Feeding problems

These fish normally eat for the most part, coral polyps, therefore problems can arise in captivity when trying to give it an alternative food.

It is therefore essential to be well prepared before acquiring them and have several suitable food types ready to present them with.
However well prepared, there will be a large percentage, that will die after a short time in captivity.

It may mean having to keep living corals, mussels and zooplankton as food, in order to keep these fish alive whilst they are getting accustomed to alternative types of food.

Frequent feeding

This fish requires feeding several times a day, especially when newly added.

When the fish can find its natural food in the aquarium it requires less frequent feeding. 

Well established aquarium with pods

This species thrives best when there is a sufficiently large amount of micro life (copepods, amphipods or similar) in the aquarium, so that the it can always find their own food.

Acclimitises best as a juvenile

This species will better acclimatize to the aquarium`s condition if introduced, when young.

Very small individuals can be very delicate.

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.

Eats glass anemones (Aiptasia)

This species eats glass anemones (Aiptasia).

But occasionally one finds an individual fish which refuses to eat them.

Hiding places

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

Description

These species has two variations: a white creamy one and a yellow orange one.

Both varieties have black stripes.

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 Indo-West Pacific: East Indies and the Philippines, through Papua New Guinea and the Great Barrier Reef to the Solomon Island, Palau, and north to China; extends into the Indian Ocean at least to the Maldives, India and Sri Lanka.
English common names Eight-banded coralfish, Eightband butterflyfish, Eight-banded butterflyfish
Danish common names Ottebåndet 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

aiptasia, pods, eats feather duster worm, eats tridacna, butterfly
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