Longnose Butterfly fish

  • Species Information
  • Scientific Name:Forcipiger flavissimus
  • Described:longnose butterflyfish

Forcipiger flavissimus

The longnose butterfly fish, Forcipiger flavissimus (Jordan & McGregor, 1898) is a beautiful, peaceful addition to the home aquarium.  This unique looking fish is highly adaptable in the wild, making it a wonderful candidate for life in captivity.  They are naturally found in reefs and reef drop offs covering a depth range of 6 to 460 feet!  In the wild they use their long pliers-like jaws to feed on worms, tube feet of urchins, copepods, amphipods, mysis shrimp, fish larvae, as well as hard and soft coral polyps.  In captivity, they will readily accept most prepared foods including our SA hatchery diet, Spirulina brine, cyclopeeze, mysis shrimp, and gel food.  They may pick at corals in an aquarium but if they are well fed they will generally leave them alone.  Longnose butterfly fish are active, spending their days swimming about their tank in search of food items.  Ample swimming space is required as well as live sand and live rock which they will graze on and use as shelter.  This fish do extremely well in captivity with the oldest specimen reaching 18 years!

Physical Description– The longnose butterfly fish has a bright yellow body with a black spot on the upper portion of its anal fin. The top half of its face its black, the bottom half white with this coloration intersecting the eyes.  It’s most noticeable quality is its long, narrow snout which allows for its specialized feeding behavior.  This fish is often confused with the only other fish in its genus, the Big Longnose Butterfly (F. longirostris), however this fish has a longer snout and its eye is entirely black, not divided in color like F. flavissimus.

Temperament– The longnose butterfly is a peaceful fish that does best when housed with peaceful tank mates.  It will use its long, sharp dorsal spines to defend itself when threatened and can be housed with mildly aggressive fish provided that it is added to the tank first.  It will fight with others of its kind, including F. longirostris but should get along with other butterflies.

Size– This fish can reach a maximum size of 9 inches.  Because of their large size and active grazing behavior, they should be housed in 90 gallons or larger.

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Diet– In captivity, they will readily accept most prepared foods including our Hatchery Diet, Spirulina brine, cyclopeeze, mysis shrimp, and gel food.

Distribution– The longnose butterfly has an extensive range from the East Coast of Africa, throughout the Red Sea and Indo Pacific, as far north as Japan, as far South as Australia and across the Pacific to Central America.