By Bob Goemans
Site Supported in Part by:
Dr Gs Marine Aquaculture 


Hemitaurichthys zoster

(Bennett, 1831)

Black Pyramid Butterflyfish, Girdled Butterflyfish

Likely Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Indian Ocean: East Africa to Mauritius, east to western Thailand in the Andaman Sea.

Size: 7 inches (18 cm)

Natural Environment: Inhabits off shore reefs and found near deep drop-offs in large shoals at depths from about 3 to 200 feet (1 – 60 m) and is mainly a zooplankton feeder.

General Husbandry: This highly attractive and very hardy species has a black body and face with a wide white vertical band covering the central portion of the body. In fact, the white band is somewhat ‘pyramid’ shaped, hence one of its more common names. There’s also yellow edging on its anal fin, and the dorsal area related to the white band, is also edged in yellow.

Adapts quite easily to aquarium life in larger reef style aquariums or peaceful fish-only community aquariums, especially those with lots of open swimming space. A meaty diet of live fortified brine shrimp, black worms (Lumbriculus variegatus), and/or various flake and frozen meaty foods such as mysis, should be offered several times daily.

It can be maintained in fish-only or reef aquariums singly, in pairs, or in small groups, and is not a danger to corals. Nevertheless, may consume small decorative tubeworms and other useful small worms.

Rarely is there a problem getting this species to feed in the aquarium, however if needed small human consumption clams/black mussels purchased in local grocery stores and placed on the half-shell in the aquarium will help entice it to begin feeding. Over time, frozen foods like mysis and brine shrimp will be more readily accepted.


    Order: Perciformes

    Suborder: Percoidei

    Family: Chaetodontidae

    Genus: Hemitaurichthys

FYI: Pressing some soft foods into openings/crevices on a piece of old dead coral skeleton can sometimes encourage finicky eaters to begin feeding.

Experience Level: Beginner

Temperament: Peaceful

Diet: Carnivore

Coral Safe: Yes

Invertebrate Safe: Yes

Acclimation Time: 30 minutes+

Aquarium Environment: Reef aquarium and fish-only aquarium.

Tankmates: Peaceful or non-aggressive

Minimum Tank Size: 100 gallons

Temperature Range: 72 - 82°F (22 – 27°C).

Specific Gravity: 1.020 - 1.026

pH: 8.0 - 8.5

 Hemitaurichthys zoster (Black Pyramid Butterflyfish, Girdled Butterflyfish)
Photo © Bob Goemans
Site Supported in Part by:
Dr Gs Marine Aquaculture