Chaetodon xanthurus

Common Names: Pearlscale Butterfly Fish
Yellow Tail Butterfly Fish
Family: Chaetodontidae
Category: Chaetodontids
Distribution: Indo Pacific; Found in the Philippines, the East Indies, and as far north as Okinawa.
Main Ecosystem: Reef
Temperament: Peaceful; In the wild, this fish forms mated pairs and is territorial toward conspecifics and similar looking species. Therefore, only one individual should be kept in an aquarium unless a mated pair can be obtained. May be compatible with Butterfly Fishes that are conspicuously dissimilar in appearance such as Forcipiger species, but only experienced aquarists should attempt such a pairing in case it fails. Generally displays a peaceful disposition toward fishes from other Families.
Diet: Carnivore; A feeder upon coral polyps and small invertebrates in the wild, also grazing intemittently on algae. Because of this, like most other coral feeding Chaetodon species, this fish is NOT REEF SAFE in any aquarium in which live corals are being cultured! In captivity, can be migrated to more accessible aquarium foods, but should be fed a considerable variety for best health once persuaded to feed in the aquarium. Should be fed specialist marine fish foods with some sponge content (e.g. specialist Angelfish foods), some foods containing algae, and foods such as live Brine Shrimp, Mysis Shrimp, and if small marine Amphipods are cultured in a refugium, these will be eaten too.
Care: Considered one of the "medium difficulty" Butterfly Fishes, primarily with respect to persuading the fish to feed in the aquarium. Once feeding, however, the fish is a typical Butterfly Fish - in other words, requires scrupulous attention to water cleanliness. Requires an aquarium aquascaped with branched coral skeletons to mimic its natural habitat in order for the fish to feel secure. Provide some open swimming areas between regions of coral aquascaping. Should be kept with other relatively peaceful marine fish species, that are similarly active and able to compete for food, in spacious quarters (recommended minimum aquarium size 75 gallons).
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: Not Specified; Inhabitant of mature reefs with established populations of reef biulding stony corals.
Activity: Diurnal
Gender: None known.
Breeding: Captive breeding of this species is currently unknown.
Variants: None known.
Comments: This is one of no less than FOUR "lookalike" species with the same latticed pattern upon the flanks. Distinguised from Chaetodon mertensii by the presence of a dark oval spot, edged with white, above the forehead and behind the main 'eye stripe' (this spot is chevron-chaped when seen head on in the related Chaetodon madagascariensis). The related Chaetodon paucifasciatus has posterior markings that are brick red instead of orange, making it the easiest of the four 'lookalikes' to distinguish from this species, and in addition has a yellow eye stripe instead of a black one. Geographical location also distinguishes the four "lookalikes" as their ranges do not overlap.
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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