By Bob Goemans
Site Supported in Part by:
Aquarium Systems (Instant Ocean) 


Chaetodon trichrous

Gunther, 1874

Tahiti Butterflyfish

Not Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Central Pacific Ocean: Society and Marquesas Islands, and Tuamotu Archipelago.

Size: 5 inches (12 cm)

Natural Environment: Inhabits coastal lagoon patch reefs, outer reef faces, and fore-reef slopes at depths between 10 to 80 feet (3 – 20 m) and mainly feeds on zooplankton and benthic invertebrates.

General Husbandry: This rarely seen in the trade, yet quite hardy species has a brownish yellow body with scales highlighted in yellow, black eye band, and yellow tail.

Best 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 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.


    Order: Perciformes

    Suborder: Percoidei

    Family: Chaetodontidae

    Genus: Chaetodon

FYI: Juveniles acclimate more easily to aquarium life than do adults.

Preferably maintained without others in the same genus or as a mated pair.

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: 72 - 82°F (22 – 28°C)

Specific Gravity: 1.020 -1.026

pH: 8.0 - 8.5

 Chaetodon trichrous (Tahiti Butterflyfish)
Photo © John Randall
Site Supported in Part by:
Champion Lighting and Supply