Not Reef Tank Suitable
Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable
Range: Indian Ocean: Red Sea, East Africa to Christmas Island, north to Sri Lanka, and west to Thailand and Bali.
Size: 5 inches (12 cm)
Natural Environment: Inhabits lagoon reefs and fore-reef slopes rich in stony coral growth at depths between 10 – 100 feet (3 – 30 m) and feeds on coral polyps, worms, crustaceans, and algae.
General Husbandry: Quite nice looking, hardy and fairly easy to maintain. Has a yellowish body covered in small brown-grey spots, which are aligned in a vertical pattern on the upper body, and horizontally on the lower body. Its dorsal is edged in yellow, and there’s a orange patch above the caudal peduncle.
Best maintained in larger peaceful fish-only aquariums, especially those with lots of open swimming space, live rock hiding places, and having micro and macroalgae growths. As to diet, a meaty diet of live fortified brine shrimp and/or black worms (Lumbriculus variegatus) is a good beginning. Once feeding regularly, various frozen meaty foods such as mysis, can be offered several times daily.
Some journals list this species as corallivore, i.e., eats only live coral polyps, but since there’s some evidence it also injests some algae in the wild, flake foods, especially those containing Spirulina and/or Nori should also be occasionally offered. Nevertheless a difficult species to get feeding in captivity.
And should there be a problem getting this species to feed, 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.
FYI: Should not be maintained with others in the same genus or with others from other butterflyfish genera.
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: Intermediate
Coral Safe: No
Invertebrate Safe: No
Acclimation Time: 30 minutes+
Aquarium Environment: Fish-only aquarium
Tankmates: Peaceful or non-aggressive
Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
Temperature Range: 72 - 82°F (22 – 28°C)
Specific Gravity: 1.020 -1.026
pH: 8.0 - 8.5