Microcanthus strigatus
Source: JJPhoto.dk
Microcanthus strigatus
Source: JJPhoto.dk

Facts

Latin name Microcanthus strigatus
Common name Stripey
Family Chaetodontidae - Microcanthus
Origin Australia, Japan, Indonesia, East Pacific, New Zealand, Central/West Pacific
Max length 16 cm (6.3")

As aquarium fish

Minimum volume 800 l (211 gal)
Hardiness Hardy
Suitable for aquarium Suitable with care
Reef safe Not reef safe
Aggressiveness Peaceful

Food

Maybee
  • Soft coral
  • Large polyp stone coral (LPS)
Mostly
  • Other invertebrates
Recommended
  • Microalgea (Eg. spirulina)
  • Macroalgea (Eg. seaweed / nori)
  • Zooplankton (Cyclops, pods...)
  • Small crustaceans (Krill, mysis, artemia...)

Eats tubeworms

This species likes to eat tubeworms.

Insufficient information

There is little available knowledge of this species, so there can be important information missing on this page.

Heavy load

This species eats a great deal and demands an aquarium that can tolerate such a heavy load.

Best in a shoal

These fish thrive best in a large or small shoal.

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.

References and further reading

About references

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

eats feather duster worm, shoal group, butterfly
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