Blue Spot Butterflyfish
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The blue spot
butterflyfish or Chaetodon plebius
is a member of the
They are indigenous to the coral reef systems
found in the shallower regions of the Indo-Pacific. The blue spot
butterflyfish is commonly referred to as blue-blotch
butterflyfish or the coral butterflyfish. The latter name references
its dietary habits in the wild.
This fish has
yellow disk shaped body with slightly darker
horizontal markings and a patch of sky blue on the upper mid-section of
its body. It has a single vertical stripe that runs down through its
eyes toward the lower part of its body. It also has an “eye
the caudal attaches to its body. This eye-spot is meant to confuse
predators. Its real eye is almost camouflaged in the vertical stripe.
The blue spot will grow to a length of approximately six inches long.
The blue spot diet
consists primarily of coral polyps from the
Acropora species which flourish in the shallow water eco-systems native
to the blue spot habitat. This fish has also been known to function as
a cleaning fish ingesting
parasites off of
other fish. But it is its
specialized dietary requirements that have sparked controversy among
ecologists and aquarists around the world.
whether or not it
is even fair to take an animal with such
specialized nutritional needs and radically change its diet to
transition it into a life of captivity is a subject of heated debate.
This fish is notorious for refusing to eat once it has been removed
from its natural habitat. It will very
often succumb to malnutrition
resulting in its eventual death. It has been known to completely ignore
the highest quality marine reef foods. It is even argued whether this
fish is severely traumatized by its abrupt transition or if it simply
does not recognize a foreign source of nutrition. Many conscientious
aquarists will avoid this species altogether as a suitable fish for
If you wish to attempt to
raise one it is highly recommended that
you do not purchase one online unless it comes with a guarantee that it
is feeding in captivity. If you buy one locally ask that you be allowed
to watch it eat to insure that it has acclimated to aquarium life
before taking it home. They have been reported to function just fine in
their new environment once they start eating. In nature these fish are
typically found in pairs. You might want to take this into
consideration at the time of purchase.
spots are carnivorous. In captivity they can be fed vitamin
enriched brine shrimp, protein based marine fish food or finely chopped
fresh seafood such as shrimp or squid.
A feeding blue
a wonderful addition to a community tank.
They are a non-aggressive, striking beautiful species that mixes well
with fish of similar temperament. A minimum tank size of 75 gallons
will suffice. If you are a reef tank owner bear in mind that they may
learn to eat your coral as a suitable substitute for their dietary
needs. These are mid-water to bottom swimmers in an aquarium setting.
There is no
information available on this specific
species, but the family of fish collectively referred to as
butterflyfish has an average life expectancy of five to seven years.
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