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Family Chaetodontidae

The butterflyfishes are among the most beautiful and elegant of reef fishes, but they vary greatly in their suitability to aquarium life.

In many cases, this is a function of their diet. Some species (the obligate coral feeders that must eat live coral polyps to survive) rarely, if ever, survive in captivity, while others are durable aquarium inhabitants.

Less experienced aquarists will do best by choosing among the hardy species listed below.

BEST AQUARIUM SPECIES Species likely to thrive with proper care & feeding:



WORST AQUARIUM SPECIES Species not likely to survive:

Bennett's Butterflyfish

Other butterflyfishes that are obligate corallivores and poor subjects for aquarium keeping:

  • Goldenstriped Butterflyfish, Chaetodon aureofasciatus
  • Eastern Triangle Butterflyfish, Chaetodon baronessa
  • Orangeface Butterflyfish, Chaetodon larvatus
  • Arabian Butterflyfish, Chaetodon melapterus
  • Reticulated Butterflyfish, Chaetodon reticulatus
  • Triangular Butterflyfish, Chaetodon triangulum
  • Chevron Butterflyfish, Chaetodon trifascialis
  • Indian Ocean Redfin Butterflyfish, Chaetodon trifasciatus

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