By Bob Goemans
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Chaetodon wiebeli

Knaup, 1863

Wiebel's Butterflyfish, Hong Kong Butterflyfish

Not Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Indo-West Pacific Ocean: Gulf of Thailand, north to Southern Japan.

Size: 7 inches (17 cm)

Natural Environment: Inhabits rocky and coral reefs at depths between 10 – 85 feet (3 – 25 m) and feeds on soft and stony coral polyps, various benthic invertebrates, and algae.

General Husbandry: Quite attractive, yet a species not often seen in the trade. Its body is basically yellow with diagonal brown lines, a black eye band with a white bar behind it, and a black patch on the forehead. It's dorsal, anal, pelvic and tail fins are yellow, with the tail edged in black.

Best maintained in larger peaceful fish-only aquariums, especially those with lots of open swimming space, live rock hiding places, and having some 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. Flake foods, especially those containing Spirulina and/or Nori should also be occasionally offered. Not a difficult species to get feeding in captivity.

Yet 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: May consume Aiptasia anemones.

One per aquarium unless a mated pair.

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

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: 72 - 82°F (22 – 28°C)

Specific Gravity: 1.020 -1.026

pH: 8.0 - 8.5

 Chaetodon wiebeli (Wiebel's Butterflyfish, Hong Kong Butterflyfish)
Photo © Bob Fenner
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