Atlantic Spadefish

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Chaetodipterus faber - (Broussonet, 1782)
Atlantic Spadefish

A voracious eater likely to outgrow even the largest home aquarium. Scott W. Michael


Although related to the finicky Pinnate Batfish, this species usually eats voraciously in the home aquarium, getting far too large: 3 ft. (91 cm) and up to 19.8 lb. (9 kg). It is also much too active to squeeze into most home aquariums. Have a large frying pan ready if you buy one.

Family: Ephippidae

Other common name(s):

Native range:

Habitat: Open water in shallow areas, where it forms impressive schools sometimes numbering in the hundreds.

Maximum length: 91 cm (36 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 1.893 L (1 gal)

Water: Marine 22 °C (72 °F) - 28 °C (82 °F)

General swimming level: Midwater to bottom.


Omnivore. Feeds on smaller fishes and benthic invertebrates in the wild. Offer meaty foods and herbivore rations.

Aquarium Compatibility

Will eat many types of sessile invertebrates, including some corals and anemones.


Wild-caught adults are associated with ciguatera poisoning in humans who eat them.

Reference: 101 Best Saltwater Fishes
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: SWM