By Bob Goemans
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Real Reef Rock 


Chaetodon striatus

Linnaeus, 1758

Banded Butterflyfish

Not Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Western Atlantic Ocean: Florida, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico south to Brazil.

Size: 6 inches (16 cm)

Natural Environment: Inhabits rocky patch reefs and fore-reef slopes at depths between 10 to 170 feet (3 – 50 m) and feeds on hard and soft coral polyps, crustaceans, and various types of worms.

General Husbandry: Has a silvery body with two mid-body dark vertical bands, a third dark band passing through the caudal peduncle, and a narrow black eye band. Its dorsal, anal, pelvic and tail fins are mainly black, with the dorsal, anal, and tail edged in white.

Best maintained 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.

This is usually a easy species to get feeding on regular aquarium foods, however, if refusing to eat, try small human consumption clams/black mussels purchased in local grocery stores and placed on the half-shell in the aquarium, which may help entice it to begin feeding. Over time, frozen foods like mysis and brine shrimp and various flake foods may be more readily accepted. Once feeding, a very hardy species.


    Order: Perciformes

    Suborder: Percoidei

    Family: Chaetodontidae

    Genus: Chaetodon

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: Intermediate

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: 55 gallons

Temperature Range: 70 - 79°F (21 – 26°C)

Specific Gravity: 1.020 -1.026

pH: 8.0 - 8.5

 Chaetodon striatus (Banded Butterflyfish)
Photo © Bob Fenner
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Two Little Fishies