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Vagabond Butterflyfish
(Chaetodon vagabundus)
Quick Care FactsCare 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 1.022-1.026
Diet: Omnivore
Origin: Indo-Pacific
Family: Chaetodontidae
Species: Butterflyfish
Aquarium Type: Fish Only
Species Information
Vagabond Butterflyfish are an elegant butterflyfish species that can be found throughout the reefs of Indo-Pacific. Vagabond Butterflyfish may not eat for a while during acclimation to a new aquarium and live food is recommended for the first few weeks until they learn to accept frozen and prepared meals. Most butterflyfish can be aggressive and territorial with conspecific tank mates and the Vagabond Butterflyfish should be housed as a solitary specimen or as part of a pair. However, they will not bother heterospecific tank mates and they can coexist peacefully if not housed with aggressors that will bully them.
All Butterflyfish require pristine water conditions as well as open swimming space, hiding places, and plenty of water movement in addition to an already established aquarium; if their special needs are met they can thrive in the home aquarium. Vagabond Butterflyfish are very popular within the hobby and are generally available through online and local retailers alike.
Aquarium Care
A single Vagabond Butterflyfish should be kept in a system of at least 90 gallons while a pair would need a 125 gallon or larger setup. They appreciate a sandy substrate as well as multiple live rock caves and crevices where they can seek shelter and search for food. Excellent biological and mechanical filtration is a must and protein skimming needs to be utilized to ensure pristine water conditions in order to keep them healthy. They also need to have moderate to high current and well oxygenated water in order to thrive. Lighting should initially be subdued during their introduction and acclimation, but can later be raised to normal levels as long as they have a place to seek shade and shelter when needed.
Vagabond Butterflyfish are generally peaceful towards their own kind, but should only be kept singly or in pairs unless housed in an extremely large aquarium. Tank mates of other species can coexist peacefully and safely with them as long as they are not overly aggressive or of a bullying nature. Vagabond Butterflyfish are not recommended for reef systems as they will eat anemones, coral polyps, sponges and benthic invertebrates.
Feeding & Nutrition
Vagabond Butterflyfish are omnivores that generally feed on anemones, coral polyps, benthic invertebrates, sponges and various marine algae within their natural habitat. In an aquarium environment they should be provided with a wide array of meaty foods such as live, frozen, and vitamin enriched brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, krill, chopped clams, mussels, crab meat, sponges, and the occasional anemone. They will also graze on filamentous algae and once they are fully acclimated and have been eating live foods, they will learn to accept freeze-dried and other prepared foods such as high quality, Spirulina-based pellets and flakes, prepared marine algae and other vegetable matter. Feeding should be 1 to 2 times per day and only what will be consumed within a few minutes.
Additional Photos