Hemitaurichthys zoster
Source: JJPhoto.dk
Hemitaurichthys zoster
Source: BEDO (Thailand) / CC BY-SA 4.0

Facts

Latin name Hemitaurichthys zoster - (Bennett, 1831)
Common name Brown-and-white butterflyfish
Family Chaetodontidae - Hemitaurichthys
Origin East Indian Ocean, West Indian Ocean, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, Central/West Pacific
Max length 18.0 cm (7.1")

As aquarium fish

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

Food

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

Eats tubeworms

This species likes to eat tubeworms.

Can nibble at clams

This species sometimes nibbles at clams including Tridacna species.

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. 

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.

Number of fish

This species can function in large numbers down to just two.

Initially shy

This species can be very shy when first introduced into a new aquarium.

More aggressive fish can be introduced after this species has acclimatized.

Hiding places

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

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 Indian Ocean: East Africa to Guam (Ref. 35721), north to India, south to Mauritius.
English common names Black pyramid butterflyfish, Brown-and-white butterflyfish
Danish common names Sort pyramidefanefisk
French common names Papillon jaune et blanc, Papillon pyramide noir

References and further reading

About references

Bob Fenner. Butterflyfishes of the Genus Hemitaurichthys - Wet Web Media - (English)
Bob Fenner. The Pyramid Butterflyfish, Hemitaurichthys polylepis - 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

shoal group, docile shy, eats feather duster worm, eats tridacna, butterfly
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