Heniochus pleurotaenia
Source: A.T. Cooper/Reef Life Survey / CC BY 3.0

Facts

Latin name Heniochus pleurotaenia - Ahl, 1923
Common name Phantom bannerfish
Family Chaetodontidae - Heniochus
Origin East Indian Ocean, West Indian Ocean, Australia, The Red Sea, Indonesia
Max length 17.0 cm (6.7")

As aquarium fish

Minimum volume 400 l (106 gal)
Hardiness Average
Suitable for aquarium Suitable with care
Reef safe Unknown
Aggressiveness Peaceful

Food

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

Live food

There is a greater chance of success with this species if one can supply a living feed to allow it to adapt to the tank.

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.

Docile

This species is very shy and docile, so one should be careful when keeping it with more aggressive fish.

Hiding places

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

Singly or in a group

This fish can live on their own or in a group.

Will not eat in the beginning

This species will sometimes refuse to eat when first introduced to the aquarium. 

Description

Can be distinguished H. varius from by having a light band between the pelvic and anal fins.

Genus description (Heniochus)

This species is well known for their long dorsal fin, hence the name Bannerfish.

The most interesting species of this genus are H. acuminatus and H. diphreutes, as they are the easiest to keep.
H. diphreutes, especially, is a good choice for aquarists who wish to keep Butterflyfish in a coral aquarium, as they are often reef safe if well fed.  

 

 

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: Maldives and Sri Lanka to Java, north to the Andaman Sea.
English common names Indian Ocean bannerfish, Indian bannerfish, Phantom bannerfish
Danish common names Fantomvimpelfisk
German common names Phantom-Wimpelfisch
French common names Pavillon kabubu, Poisson cocher fantôme

References and further reading

About references

Bob Fenner. Bannerfish Butterflies, The Genus Heniochus - 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

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