Platax orbicularis
Platax orbicularis
Platax orbicularis
Platax orbicularis
Platax orbicularis
Source: Chaloklum Diving / CC BY 3.0
Platax orbicularis
Source: Wikimedia Commons / Public domain
Platax orbicularis


Latin name Platax orbicularis - (Forsskål, 1775)
Common name Orbicular batfish
Family Ephippidae - Platax
Origin East Indian Ocean, West Indian Ocean, Australia, Japan, The Red Sea, Indonesia, East Pacific, Central/West Pacific
Max length 60.0 cm (23.6")

As aquarium fish

Minimum volume 2000 l (528 gal)
Hardiness Average
Suitable for aquarium Suitable with care
Reef safe Not reef safe
Aggressiveness Mostly peaceful but might be aggressive towards similar species


  • Soft coral
  • Large polyp stone coral (LPS)
  • Small polyp stone coral (SPS)
  • Macroalgae (Eg. seaweed / nori)
  • Small crustaceans (Krill, mysis, artemia...)
  • Larger crustaceans (Shrimp, crabs...)
  • Other invertebrates

Subsceptible to ich

This species is easily susceptible to Marine Ich (Cryptocaryon irritants), when stressed by other fish, bad water quality, or when relocated.

Threat towards crustaceans

This species poses a threat towards shrimps and crabs etc., which are relatively small.

Can be a threat to anemones

This species likes eating anemones.

Heavy load

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

Requires a varied diet

This species must be fed with an appropriately varied diet.

Likes to hide at first

These fish may well hide themselves for a while, whilst getting acclimatized.

Do not disturb the fish while acclimating because it will prolong the process.

Requires plenty of space for swimming.

This species revels in swimming and requires an aquarium with ample space.

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.

Overhangs and caves

This species thrives best in an aquarium with overhangs and caves. 

Genus description (Platax)

Batfishes are not well suited to coral aquaria, as they pose a threat to shrimps, anemones, corals and other invertebrates.
They grow fairly quickly, a small fish can grow to be 25 cm in height within a couple of months. 

These fish will begin eating quickly, with the exception of Platax pinnatus, but will sometimes hide for a few days after being transported.
Be careful when catching the fish as their fins are easily damaged.

Batfishes should be fed with both algae based foods and different types of frozen food or seafood.

Family description (Ephippidae)

Many Spadefish cannot adjust to captivity and become much too big, but several species of the Batfish (Platax genus) can be kept in a large aquarium. 


Aquarium trade Yes
Distribution Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to the Tuamoto Islands, north to southern Japan, south to northern Australia and New Caledonia. Recorded off the coast of Florida in the Western Central Atlantic (Ref. 51238).
English common names Round batfish, Copper batfish, Orbicular batfish, Orbiculate batfish, Batfish, Circular spadefish batfish, Circular batfish
Danish common names Almindelig flagermusfisk
German common names Fledermausfisch
French common names Feuilles de palétuviers, Platax rond, Poule d'eau, Poisson chauve-souris orbiculaire

References and further reading

About references

Bob Fenner. Crazy About Batfishes, But Not Spades, Family, Ephippidae - Wet Web Media - (English)

Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2014. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication., version (08/2014).


docile shy, eats shrimp, eats crab, eats sea anomone
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