General Information

NOTE: Due to variations within species, your item may not look identical to the image provided.

Scientific Name:
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General info

The GOLD BACK Butterflyfish Chaetodon ephippium is a very beautiful and unmistakably in shape, size, and color. A popular favorite, this is one of the most sought after butterflyfish in the aquarium hobby. It is also one of the easier butterflyfish to keep, though some technical care is needed to maintain it. This fish will even go up to the surface to take foods from its keepers once it is comfortable and familiar with its environment and routine.

This fish has a combination of bold features that make it an outstanding show piece. Its body has the typical butterflyfish disc shape compressed laterally. But it has a more pronounced snout than most species, giving it a rather ornamental aspect. A good sized specimen can reach a length of almost 12 inches (30 cm), though they are generally a bit smaller in the aquarium.

In color the body is yellowish gray adorned with a large black area on its back, edged by a broad white band. There are several wavy blue lines on the sides and strong orangish red markings that accent the rear fins and the base of the tail. Yet one of its most fantastic features, seen on full grown adults, is a long pennant type filament extension that streams from the soft dorsal fin. Thus a few more descriptive common names it known include Saddleback butterflyfish, Blackblotch Butterflyfish, Saddled CoraL Fish, and Saddle Butterflyfish,

This fish is a real eye catcher and once it is successfully acclimated it will become quite hardy. Successfully acclimating this fish however, can be quite variable between specimens. Smaller ones will often not feed and larger ones need a lot of space to become comfortable. The best success is with the medium sized fish.

For an aquarist with some fish keeping experience this is a great choice. Being a large fish, when it attains its full adult size it will need a larger than average, well established aquarium. A 100 gallon tank is the minimum suggested size. Decorate the tank with rocks creating many caves for hiding places along with plenty of swimming space. It swims freely and usually spends a good deal of its time in the open water, moving in and out of crevices as it forages for food.

Many reef-keepers hope to keep this butterflyfish in a mini reef, but as it will be a coral eater it is best kept in a fish only community tank. The tank should be well decorated with rocks creating many places where this butterflyfish can hide, along with plenty of room to swim. This species itseL F is a non-aggressive fish except with other members of its own kind. It can be kept with a variety of other species with a similar temperament, as well as the larger and rather territorial angeL Fish like Pomacanthus and Holacanthus. Though not a very quick swimmer, it swims freely and usually spends a good deal of its time in the open water. It can be a long lived pet. The record life span in captivity for this fish is over 25 years in the Nancy Aquarium in France.

Additional information