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Black Back Butterflyfish

(Chaetodon melannotus)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Peaceful   • Maximum Size: 6"
• Minimum Tank Size: 75 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
• Diet: Carnivore   • Origin: Indo-Pacific
• Family: Chaetodontidae   • Species: Butterflyfish   • Aquarium Type: FOWLR

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Black Back Butterflyfish native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

With their beautiful black, white and yellow color form and constant activity the Black Back Butterflyfish will make a remarkable addition to any FOWLR aquarium setup. Black Back Butterflyfish are a peaceful, nocturnal species native to a wide range of reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific. Although they aren't too picky once they are established to their aquarium, they may refrain from eating for a time during their acclimation (live food can help them get started). Black Back Butterflyfish coexist peacefully with peaceful, heterospecific tank mates, but generally live solitary or in pairs and can be territorial with their own kind. Their environment should be well oxygenated and have plenty of water movement.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Black Back Butterflyfish in the home aquarium.

Black Back Butterflyfish require an aquarium of at least 75 gallons and a pair should be kept in a 110 gallon or larger setup; they should be provided with ample swimming space and plenty of live rock for territory, security and shade. Excellent biological and mechanical filtration is required as well as protein skimming to ensure excellent water quality; they also require a highly oxygenated environment with sufficient water movement. Lighting intensity should initially be subdued during their introduction to a new system as they are naturally a nocturnal species that can sometimes be difficult to acclimate to a new aquarium.

Black Back Butterflyfish are peaceful and can coexist well with many other marine species, although they can be territorial towards conspecifics; tank mates should not consist of overly aggressive or territorial fish that may bully others. They should ideally be kept in a FOWLR setup as they will eat many different corals, anemones, and some invertebrates as part of their diet.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Black Back Butterflyfish.

Black Back Butterflyfish are nocturnal carnivores that mainly feed on anemones, coral polyps, nudibranchs, and a variety of benthic invertebrates within their natural environment. In the aquarium they should be fed a wide variety of meaty foods such as live, frozen, and vitamin enriched brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, krill, chopped clams, mussels, crab meat, and other meaty marine foods. They can eventually be conditioned to accept freeze-dried, prepared foods once they start eating regularly. Feeding should be 1 to 2 times per day and only what will be consumed within a few minutes.

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