Chaetodontidae Butterfly Fish

The butterflies are some of the most beautiful of all marine fish, on account of their vivid coloring. They are widespread in the tropical seas, where they live in coral reefs, either singly or as couples, generally staying close to the coast. The juveniles often have a different coloring from adults, which can cause some confusions between species. Butterfly fish generally have a specialized diet, according to the species: some graze on algae, some eat the tentacles of anemones or coral polyps, while others prefer different kinds of invertebrates. This sometimes leads to acclimatization problems, as they will not accept a normal diet. They must therefore be trained to eat other food: adult brine shrimps, worms, pieces of mussel, small shrimps. If they refuse this type of food they will soon die. The Chaetodons are considered the most demanding of fish as regards living conditions. This means the water must be of excellent quality - thoroughly stirred, filtered, and oxygenated - and regular changes, in small quantities, are beneficial. The temperature must be a minimum of 26°C, and the specific gravity 1.022-1.023-

Generally speaking, it is only possible to keep one Chaetodon per tank: they are territorial and do not really get along with each another, although they do accept fish from other species. Nevertheless, invertebrates are out of the question as cohabitants. The decor should consist of blocks of coral, through which they can weave about in comfort, thanks to their body form, but they must be given sufficient free space for swimming and feeding.

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