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Teardrop Butterflyfish

(Chaetodon unimaculatus)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Peaceful   • Maximum Size: 8"
• Minimum Tank Size: 90 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
• Diet: Omnivore   • Origin: Indo-Pacific, Hawaii
• Family: Chaetodontidae   • Species: Butterflyfish   • Aquarium Type: FOWLR

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Teardrop Butterflyfish native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

Teardrop Butterflyfish are a beautiful and peaceful species that can be found in various reef and lagoon environments from the Indo-Pacific to Hawaii. The Teardrop Butterflyfish makes an excellent choice for experienced hobbyists looking to add some activity and color to a large FOWLR aquarium. Teardrop Butterflyfish can be timid and can refuse food during the acclimation process; although they can usually be enticed to eat by the feeding of live brine shrimp or ghost shrimp. Once they have been eating live food for at least a week, they may also accept frozen and prepared foods.

Teardrop Butterflyfish will do very well with many different tank mates as well as their own species; as long as they aren't housed with fish species that commonly bully others. Teardrop Butterflyfish require stable, pristine water conditions as well as open swimming space, sufficient water flow, and places where they can hide and take shelter; a well established aquarium is essential. Teardrop Butterflyfish are quite popular with many experienced hobbyists and can readily be purchased from local and online retailers alike.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Teardrop Butterflyfish in the home aquarium.

Teardrop Butterflyfish should be housed in an established aquarium of at least 90 gallons and provided with a sand substrate as well as plenty of live rock built up to form multiple caves and crevices for shelter (they appreciate dark hiding places) as well as some open, unobstructed swimming space. To ensure pristine water conditions, sufficient oxygenation, and efficient water movement, strong biological and mechanical filtration is required as well as the use of a quality protein skimmer.

They are a timid species and are very peaceful towards their own kind as well as heterospecific tank mates. If multiple Teardrop Butterflyfish were to be kept in the same environment, they would require a much larger aquarium. They are an excellent choice for FOWLR systems, but are not recommended for reef tanks due to their strong preference for eating a wide variety of corals and other sessile invertebrates as well as polychaetes, small crustaceans, and sponges.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Teardrop Butterflyfish.

Teardrop Butterflyfish are an omnivorous species that naturally prefer to eat LPS coral, SPS coral, soft coral, polychaetes, small crustaceans, marine algae, and sponges. In the aquarium they should be provided with a wide variety of meaty foods such as live, frozen, and vitamin-enriched, brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, ghost shrimp, chopped krill, chopped crab meat, bloodworms, nori, marine algae, and high quality flake food (preferably Spirulina-based). They will also graze on any filamentous algae that be already be in the aquarium. Feeding frequency should be twice a day.

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