Chaetodon madagaskariensis

Common Names: Madagascar Butterfly Fish
Madagascar Pearlscale Butterfly Fish
Seychelles Butterfly fish
Synonyms: Chaetodon madagascariensis
Family: Chaetodontidae
Category: Chaetodontids
Distribution: Indo Pacific; East Africa south to Port Elizabeth, South Africa, also Madagascar, the Seychelles Islands.
Main Ecosystem: Reef; Inhabits mature reef ecosystems with stony reef building corals present in quantity.
Temperament: Peaceful; Likely to be territorial toward conspecifics and Butterfly Fishes of similar appearance. Integration with Butterfly Fishes of dissimilar appearance possible in large aquaria, but this practice should be left to advanced aquarists. Peaceful toward a wide range of other fish species from other Families.
Diet: Carnivore; A feeder upon coral polyps in the wild: other dietary items include phytoplankton, polychaete worms and other cnidarians. Because of this diet, this fish is, like most other Butterfly Fishes, NOT REEF SAFE in an aquarium in which live corals are being cultivated! Filamentous algae also forms part of the natural diet and should be included among aquarium fare. Can be migrated to more practical aquarium foods such as Mysis Shrimp, Cyclop-eeze and live Brine Shrimp. Sponge based marine fish foods such as those used for Angelfishes may also be beneficial. Be advised that this species is known to graze upon open polyps such as Zoanthids in the wild, adding to its unsuitability for a reef aquarium.
Care: Spacious aquarium decorated with coral skeletons to provide shelter and cover. Like most Butterfly Fishes, requires scrupulous attention to water chemistry, and will succumb readily to disease if conditions are not optimal. Provide an aquarium of at least 75 gallons, preferably larger, and choose active but peaceful fish species as companions. A "medium difficulty" Butterfly Fish that may present problems for the aquarist when persuading it to feed in the aquarium: should be acclimatised with care and weaned gradually onto practical aquarium foods. Therefore recommended only for the experienced marine aquarist.
25°C - 27°C
77°F - 81°F
Specific Gravity:
1.022 - 1.025
Potential Size: Male: 15cm (5.9")
Female: 15cm (5.9")
Water Region: Middle; In the wild, swims close to branched coral growths for shelter and protection.
Activity: Diurnal; Active throughout daylight hours, during which it is an active forager.
Gender: None known.
Breeding: Captive breeding not known at present. Reported to be an open water spawner in the wild.
Variants: None known.
Comments: Differs from the almost identical Chaetodon xanthurus in having an angular chevron shaped spot immediately behind the head above the eye stripe (in Chaetodon xanthurus this is more rounded and oval). Additionally, the eye stripe is incomplete, and does not reach the top of the head, distinguishing it from Chaetodon mertensii. Its geographical location also separates it from the other 'Pearlscale Butterflies', as its range does not overlap with the other species, so if the collection point is known, this provides confirmation of identity. Note correct taxonomic name (according to Fishbase) - the spelling of 'madagaskariensis' with a 'k' reflects the German origin of the describer, and the fish was first described in a German publication.
Main Colours: White, Black, Orange
Markings: Striped And Spotted
Mouth: Normal
Tail: Flat
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Submitted By: Calilasseia
Contributors: Calilasseia
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