Care Level: Moderate
Reef Compatible: No
General Description: The Saddleback Butterflyfish has a large distribution across reefs of the Indo-Pacific, Hawaii, and the Coral Sea with exceptional specimens coming from Fiji or Australia – our first choices here at Aquatics Unlimited! Following suit of its name, the Saddleback butterfly is overall beige in color with a large black patch or ‘saddle.’ Like many butterflyfish, the Saddleback butterfly is not a good reef inhabitant because its wild diet includes various stony corals. The Saddleback butterfly may help to eradicate nuisance Aiptasia anemones. One of the larger species, an adult Saddleback butterfly can reach a size of approximately 10″.
Diet Requirements: Saddleback butterflies are carnivores. Encouraging a butterfly to accept prepared foods can be a challenge at first. We have found that offering live brine shrimp at the beginning can gain the interest of particularily fussy or stubborn individuals. Note: All of our butterflies for sale are eating a combination of live brine shrimp and frozen foods. A diet consisting of various frozen meaty preparations such as brine shrimp, spirulina brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, and other mixed foods that include coral or sponge will maintain optimal health, immune function and coloration. Offer sheet algae to graze on, though not all individuals may show interest. We highly encourage soaking frozen foods in vitamin and fatty acid supplements, as butterflyfish have high metabolisms. It is not uncommon for butterflyfish to revert back to ignoring food altogether, or only accepting live foods, for a period of time due to the stress of a new environment.
Care Requirements: An established, minimum 125 gallon aquarium is ideal. The Saddleback butterfly will appreciate some live rock and crevices to swim through and take refuge. Butterflyfish are sensitive to nitrite and ammonia spikes, and an established tank will also offer more abundant microfauna to forage on. A Saddleback butterfly should not be kept with overly active species that could outcompete it in food resources. Compatability with other butterfly species is variable, but only one Saddleback butterfly is suggested per aquarium. A Saddleback butterfly would make a great addition to a relatively peaceful fish only with live rock aquarium. Recommended water conditions, 72-78° F, KH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, salinity 1.020-1.025.
Purchase Size: Small: 1-1/2″ to 2-1/4″; Medium: 2-1/2″ to 3-1/2″; Large: 3-3/4″ to 4-1/2″; XLarge: 4-3/4″ or larger.
Note: Your item may not look identical to the image provided due to variation within species. Purchase size is approximate.