Black and White Butterflyfish
- Species Information
- Described:White body with two bold black stripes running diagonally down its body.
- Maximum Size:10"
The black and white butterflyfish, or longfin bannerfish, Heniochus acuminatus (Linneaus 1758) is one of the most popular butterfly fish kept in the marine aquarium hobby. It is sought after due to its willingness to accept prepared foods, hardiness in captivity, and peaceful personality. In the wild these butterfly fish eat plankton and small invertebrates. In captivity they usually adjust quickly and will learn to eat a variety of prepared foods. At our Sustainable Islands project we feed black and white butterfly fish our hatchery diet, as well as frozen brine, mysis, and cyclopeeze. Unlike the very similar looking Heniochus diphreutes, these fish are not schooling butterflies and are usually found in pairs or solitary in the wild. They are generally reef safe but may pick at soft corals. An interesting fact about this Heniochus is that juveniles are often seen picking parasites off of other fish.
Physical Description– The black and white butterfly fish is white with two bold black stripes running diagonally down its body. There is a black bar between its eyes and a small black spot on its snout. Its dorsal and caudal fins are yellow, and the first ray of the dorsal fin is always white and elongated giving this species the alternate name “bannerfish”. It is very commonly confused with H. diphreutes.
Temperament– Like most butterflies these fish are extremely peaceful. They are not schooling fish and should be housed one per tank unless a pair is acquired. They will get along with most peaceful fish including other types of butterfly fish. Avoid extremely aggressive tank mates such as groupers, eels, or lionfish as these fish may become prey, especially as juveniles.
Size– Black and white butterflyfish reach a maximum size of 10 inches. Because of this, and their active swimming behavior, they require a minimum tank size of 100 gallons.
Diet– At our Sustainable Islands project we feed black and white butterfly fish our Hatchery Diet, as well as frozen brine, mysis, and cyclopeeze.
Distribution– These fish are extremely adaptable and have an extensive range from the coast of Africa, north to Japan, south to southern Australia, and as far east as French Polynesia.