Fish Profiles – Butterfly Fish Facts

Hey, dear friends. In today’s article, we would like to share a fish consisting of freshwater and saltwater species. That is butterfly fish. After reading, we hope you will know more about it and take good care of it. Rant over, let’s dive in.

Butterfly fish profiles

What are butterfly fish? They are tropical fish from the Pantodontidae or Chaetodontidae family. You can find them on the reefs of the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans. Actually, there is one butterfly that survives in freshwater. That is African Butterfly Fish. Besides that, butterfly fish are brilliant and different species may come in various colors with a deep and narrow bodies. Also, they are diurnal fish. While they prefer hiding in reef crevices at night. Just continue reading, the table below will give you more info about them.

Family Pantodontidae /Chaetodontidae
Distribution  The Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans
Care Level Depends on diverse butterflyfish species
Diet Omnivores /Insectivore /Carnivores
Average Size 4.7-8.7 inches (12-22 cm)
Temperament Peaceful most of the time
Minimum Tank Size 30–150 gallons

Butterfly fish freshwater

When it comes to freshwater butterfly fish, there is an interesting fact – there is only one freshwater butterfly species – African Butterfly Fish (Pantodon buchholzi). They are small but have large pectoral fins. Also, the swim bladder allows African Butterfly Fish to breathe at the water’s surface. Besides that, they are fond of stagnant, soft, and acidic water, hence, the less powerful the filters should be. Accordingly, peat filtration is an excellent alternative. Next, we will cover more additional information about African Butterfly Fish.
freshwater butterflyfish

Family Pantodontidae
Distribution West Africa
Care Level Moderately difficult
Diet Insectivore & Carnivores
(e.g. aquatic insects, small fish, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, brine shrimp, etc.)
Average Size Less than 5.1 inches (13 cm)
Lifespan  5–6 years
Temperament Semi-aggressive
Minimum Tank Size 30 gallons
Breeding type Egg-scatterers
Compatible Tank Mates Bristlenose Pleco, Nerite snails
Water Requirements ① Water temperature: 73-86℉ (23-30℃)
② pH level: 6.9-7.1
③ Water hardness: 1-12 dKH
Tank Set Up ① Light requirement: low
② adequate hiding places: add aquatic plants
③ add aquarium lids to avoid fish jumping out of aquariums

Saltwater butterfly fish

There are diverse types of saltwater butterfly fish. In this segment, we will list some:

  • Copperband butterfly
  • Saddleback butterflyfish
  • Lined butterflyfish
  • Schooling butterflyfish
  • Threadfin butterflyfish
  • Pearlscale butterflyfish
  • Orange butterflyfish
  • Punctato butterflyfish
  • Latticed butterflyfish
  • Eclipse butterflyfish
  • Burgess butterflyfish
  • Altiveils butterflyfish
  • Vagabond butterflyfish
  • Blackback butterflyfish
  • Black and white heniochus
  • Indian butterflyfish
  • Long-nosed butterflyfish
  • Pebbled butterflyfish

After knowing some saltwater butterfly fish, here are a further introduction to the three saltwater butterfly mentioned above. You can choose your favorite one for saltwater tanks.
saltwater butterfly fish

1. Orange butterflyfish

Orange butterflyfish are also famous as Sunburst, Blacklip, Corallicola, and Klein’s butterflyfish. Their body color is usually golden-yellow, with a black and blue or blue eye band.

Family Chaetodontidae
Origin East Africa /Hawaii /Samoa /Japan /Lord Howe Islands
Care Level Easy
Diet Omnivore
Average Size 6 inches
Lifespan 10 years
Temperament Peaceful most of the time
Minimum Tank Size 120 gallons
Breeding type Egg-scatterers
Reef compatible No
Tank Requirements ① Water temp: 72-78℉
② pH level: 8.1-8.4
③ Water hardness: 8-12 dKH
④ Specific gravity: 1.020-1.025

2. Saddleback butterflyfish

Saddleback butterflyfish are also called Saddle butterflyfish, or Saddled butterflyfish. They have a yellow snout and black tail. Also, there is a black spot on the white and tan body, plus a black line over the eyes.

Family Chaetodontidae
Origin Indian and Pacific Oceans
Care Level Moderate
Diet Omnivore
Average Size 12 inches (30 cm)
Lifespan 7 years
Temperament Peaceful
Minimum Tank Size 125 gallons
Breeding type Egg-scatterers
Reef compatible No
Tank Requirements ① Water temp: 72-78℉
② pH level: 8.1-8.4
③ Water hardness: 8-12 dKH
④ Specific gravity: 1.020-1.025

3. Pearlscale butterflyfish

Featuring attractive patterns and brilliant colors, Pearlscale butterflyfish have pearly white body colors. Furthermore, they are hardy. Hence, they can be a great addition to your saltwater tanks. You can decorate a Pearlscale butterflyfish aquarium with rocks and corals, providing plenty of hiding places and swimming rooms.

Family Chaetodontidae
Origin The Central Indo-Pacific region
Care Level Moderate
Diet Omnivore
Average Size 6 inches (30 cm)
Lifespan 5–7 years
Temperament Peaceful
Minimum Tank Size 70 gallons
Breeding type Egg-scatterers
Reef compatible No
Tank Requirements ① Water temp: 72-78℉
② pH level: 8.1-8.4
③ Water hardness: 8-12 dKH
④ Specific gravity: 1.020-1.025

Copperband butterflyfish

Copperband butterflyfish feature long snouts and vertical yellow banding on the body. Then are Copperband butterfly reef safe? Actually, Copperband butterflyfish can be reef safe, but you should keep them with caution. Commonly, the butterflyfish would not attack corals in the tank. Nevertheless, they may eat large fleshy coral polyps. Thus, you should be cautious. Definitely, Copperband butterflyfish are carnivorous. So they can be held in reef tanks as long as you make sure compatible with tank mates and maintain regular maintenance.
Copperband butterflyfish

A call to action

There are many ways to take good care of butterfly fish, the easiest daily maintenance is using the aquarium water test strips and aquarium hydrometer to help you monitor the water conditions. Consequently, you can make adjustments in time. The water test trips can be helpful to monitor the water chemistry of hardness, which monitor the water quality parameters changes in water PH, total alkalinity, carbonate root, nitrate, nitrite, and free chlorine level so you can get a better idea to build your tank ecosystem. On the other side, the aquarium hydrometer is a piece of equipment to test accurate and reliable aquarium salinity, which delivers precise full-range salinity and specific gravity readings.

That is all for today. For additional interesting facts about butterfly fish, welcome to share them with us in the comment. We are happy to receive your sharing. Finally, thanks for taking the time. And we hope this article helps.

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