By Bob Goemans
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Ocean Nutrition 


Chaetodon falcula

Bloch, 1795

Falcula Butterflyfish, Blackwedged Butterflyfish

Not Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Indian Ocean: Nicobar and Andaman Islands, north to India, Sri Lanka, Maldive Islands, and the East Coast of Africa.

Size: 8 inches (20 cm)

Natural Environment: Inhabits lagoon patch reefs and reef faces from 3 – 50 feet (1 – 15 m) and feeds on stony coral polyps, worms, sea anemones, crustaceans, sponges, urchin feet, and other invertebrates.

General Husbandry: Quite attractive, as it has a white body with several narrow vertical dark grey lines, two well defined black saddle-like patches on the top of the body, a black eye band, black peduncle, and yellow dorsal, anal and tail fins.

Should be housed in larger peaceful fish-only aquariums, especially those with lots of open swimming space, and live rock hiding places. A meaty diet of live fortified brine shrimp, black worms (Lumbriculus variegatus), and/or various frozen meaty foods such as mysis, should be offered several times daily.

Should there be a problem getting this species to feeds, small human consumption clams/black mussels purchased in local grocery stores and placed on the half-shell in the aquarium may help entice it to begin feeding. Over time, frozen foods like mysis and brine shrimp may be more readily accepted. Furthermore, if feeding in captivity begins, this becomes a very hardy species!


    Order: Perciformes

    Suborder: Percoidei

    Family: Chaetodontidae

    Genus: Chaetodon

FYI: Should not be maintained with others in the same genus or with others from other butterflyfish genera.

Is said to be safe with soft corals, yet becomes destructive with age.

Juveniles acclimate more easily to aquarium life than do adults.

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: No

Invertebrate Safe: No

Acclimation Time: 30 minutes+

Aquarium Environment: Fish-only aquarium

Tankmates: Peaceful or non-aggressive

Minimum Tank Size: 75 gallons

Temperature Range: 74 - 82°F (23 – 28°C)

Specific Gravity: 1.020 -1.026

pH: 8.0 - 8.5

 Chaetodon falcula (Falcula Butterflyfish, Blackwedged Butterflyfish)
Photo © Bob Fenner
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