Amy Tokic
by Amy Tokic
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fast facts

About Butterflyfish

Community Aggressive
Aquarium Size
Large (55 gal+)
Swimming Region
Fish Water Condition
Suitable Tank Mates
Clownfish, Gobies, Damsels, Hogfish, Parrotfish and Tangs
Difficulty Of Care
Weekly care
Butterflyfish General description

Butterflyfish are a large family of saltwater fish made up of over 100 distinct species. They resemble angelfish in appearance and have compressed, disk shaped bodies. Although they are among the more demanding and expensive species of saltwater aquarium fish, butterflyfish are a favorite amongst hobbyists due to their dazzling colorations. These vibrant colorations and patterns are an evolutionary defense mechanism designed to confuse predators that prey on shoals of butterflyfish.

Butterflyfish are a large family of saltwater fish made up of over a 100 distinct species.


Butterflyfish are found in most coral reefs around the world.


Butterflyfishes are one of the most colorful species of saltwater fish. They come in dazzling shades of blue, red, yellow and orange and often sport intricate patterns of stripes and spots.

Maintenance and care

Most species of butterflyfishes have very specific dietary and environmental requirements, and should therefore only be kept by experienced aquarists. Butterflyfishes rely heavily on live rock and coral as a food supply and it is important to keep them in aquariums with lots of coral and live rock to graze on. They also prefer aquariums with large swimming spaces and numerous caves and crevices to hide in.

Butterflyfishes are generally peaceful towards other fish and make for excellent community fish. Certain species, however, can be very territorial and aggressive towards members of their own species and should not be housed together. However, there are certain species of butterflyfishes that can be kept in groups provided that they are housed in large aquariums.


Butterflyfish do best when fed on a varied diet of both meaty and vegetarian foods. They can be fed on shrimp, brine shrimp, shellfish and seaweed sheets. It is important to remember that certain species have very specific dietary requirements that should be thoroughly researched prior to purchase.

Most species of butterflyfish have very specific dietary and environmental requirements, and should therefore only be kept by experienced aquarists.


In the wild, butterflyfishes form breeding pairs that mate for life. However, breeding them in an aquarium environment is an extremely difficult task due to their extremely demanding water parameters. They also go through an extremely delicate larvae stage making them doubly hard to breed in the aquarium.

Aquarium varieties

Raccoon, Auriga, Yellow Longnose, Teardrop, Sunset, etc.

Photo Credit: Brocken Inaglory/Wikimedia; Nhobgood/Wikimedia

Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

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