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Orbiculate Batfish

(Platax orbicularis)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Peaceful   • Maximum Size: 20"
• Minimum Tank Size: 180 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
• Diet: Omnivore   • Origin: Indo-Pacific
• Family: Ephippidae   • Species: Batfish   • Aquarium Type: FOWLR

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Orbiculate Batfish native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

Orbiculate Batfish, also called Circular Batfish, are a beautiful and interesting species in where the juveniles have the ability and the natural camouflage to mimic floating leaves and marine algae while they nibble on algae and planktonic life throughout their natural reef habitat of the Indo-Pacific. As juvenile Orbiculate Batfish mature, they will lose their brown-orange coloration and their relatively long anal and dorsal fins will eventually appear much shorter as their bodies fill out with maturity.

Orbiculate Batfish are very friendly and peaceful with other fish species and are quite social among conspecifics; they will form schools with other Orbiculate Batfish that they come across in their environment. Orbiculate Batfish (Platax orbicularis) are commonly misidentified and confused with their Teira Batfish (Platax teira) cousins; they can be differentiated by the fact that their cousins (Platax teira) possess a dark blotch below their pectoral fins as well as an elongated, dark vertical blotch just before their anal fins.

Orbiculate Batfish appear as cute, small fish when they are initially purchased, but they can quickly outgrow an average aquarium as they rapidly reach a maximum size of around 20". Orbiculate Batfish are a striking species that may be the center of attention in the aquarium, but as juveniles they aren't very hardy and will require pristine water conditions and should not be housed with tank mates that may harass them.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Orbiculate Batfish in the home aquarium.

Orbiculate Batfish should be provided with an aquarium of at least 200 gallons along with plenty of unobstructed swimming space. They should also be provided with a sandy to crushed-coral substrate and plenty of live rock and hiding places. As an adult, this species will have a large biological impact on their system and will need efficient protein skimming as well as high-end biological and mechanical filtration to ensure pristine water conditions. Orbiculate Batfish juveniles can be susceptible to Ich and may benefit from UV sterilization in addition to an already well establish system.

Like all batfish, the Orbiculate Batfish is a mild mannered species and will coexist peacefully with a wide variety of tank mates, but they are not reef safe as adults (they will eat sessile invertebrates, e.g.; anemones and various coral species) and should ideally be housed in a FOWLR aquarium.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Orbiculate Batfish.

Orbiculate Batfish are omnivores that will eat plankton, small invertebrates, sessile invertebrates and marine algae in the wild. Their aquarium diet should consist of a variety of live, frozen, or freeze-dried, and vitamin enriched zooplankton, brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, chopped krill, ghost shrimp, and other prepared/chopped meaty foods. They can also learn to accept quality Spirulina-based flake foods for omnivores and herbivores. Feed at least 2-3 times a day.

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