By Bob Goemans
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Chaetodon humeralis

Gunther, 1860

Three-banded Butterflyfish

Not Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Eastern Pacific Ocean: California south to Peru.

Size: 7 inches (17 cm)

Natural Environment: Inhabits rocky shallow inshore areas at depths of about 6 – 180 feet (2 - 50 m), and often found in tidepools. Feeds on algae and benthc invertebrates.

General Husbandry: Rarely ever collected for the U.S. trade, this attractive species has a silvery body with three vertical brownish black bands, one passing through the eyes.

There is very little aquarium husbandry information available for this species, however, it should no doubt receive similar treatment as others in this genus, e.g., be housed in larger peaceful fish-only aquariums, especially those with lots of open swimming space, and live rock hiding places. 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.

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. Flake foods, especially those containing Spirulina and/or Nori should also be occasionally offered.


    Order: Perciformes

    Suborder: Percoidei

    Family: Chaetodontidae

    Genus: Chaetodon

FYI: Should not be maintained with others in the same genus, unless a mated pair.

Juveniles would no doubt acclimate more easily to aquarium life than 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

Temperament: Peaceful

Diet: Omnivore

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: 70 - 82°F (21 – 28°C)

Specific Gravity: 1.020 -1.026

pH: 8.0 - 8.5

 Chaetodon humeralis (Three-banded Butterflyfish)
Photo © Bob Fenner
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