Ornate Butterflyfish

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Chaetodon ornatissimus - Cuvier, 1831
Ornate Butterflyfish

A big, gorgeous fish best observed in the wild. Scott W. Michael


Unless you have a vast reef tank filled with stony corals ready to be constantly grazed, this gorgeous fish should never be acquired. As with all the coral-eating butterflyfishes, it has an abysmal record of survival in captive systems, even those of professionals.

Family: Chaetodontidae

Other common name(s):

Native range:

Habitat: Seaward reefs, patch reefs with heavy cover of Acropora spp. corals.

Maximum length: 20 cm (8 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 513 L (136 gal)

Water: Marine 24 °C (75 °F) - 28 °C (82 °F)

General swimming level: Midwater to bottom.


Obligate corallivore. Virtually impossible to keep in captivity.


Adult form monogamous pairs. Juveniles often seen singly in branching corals.

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