Heniochus varius
Source: JJPhoto.dk

Facts

Latin name Heniochus varius - (Cuvier, 1829)
Common name Horned bannerfish
Family Chaetodontidae - Heniochus
Origin Australia, Japan, Indonesia, East Pacific, Central/West Pacific
Max length 19.0 cm (7.5")

As aquarium fish

Minimum volume 500 l (132 gal)
Hardiness Average
Suitable for aquarium Experience, preparation and extra care required
Reef safe Not reef safe
Aggressiveness Docile but might be aggressive towards similar species of same gender

Food

Mostly
  • Soft coral
  • Large polyp stone coral (LPS)
  • Sponges
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.

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. 

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.

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.

Can coexist as a pair

They can live as a pair provided they are introduced simultaneously.

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 Pacific Ocean: Indonesia to the Society Islands, north to southern Japan, south to Rowley Shoals and New Caledonia; throughout Micronesia. Reported from Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean (Ref. 5439). Replaced by Heniochus pleurotaenia
English common names Humphead bannerfish, Hunchbacked coralfish
Danish common names Brun vimpelfisk
French common names Barbet souffré, Poisson cocher cornu

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