Golden Butterflyfish
Golden Butterflyfish

Golden Butterflyfish

Chaetodon semilarvatus

Golden Butterflyfish

Chaetodon semilarvatus is know under many different names in English, such as Golden Butterflyfish, Yellow Butterflyfish, Bluecheek Butterflyfish, Redlined Butterflyfish, Addis Butterflyfish, Red Sea Butterflyfish, Red Sea Butterfly Fish, Heniochus Butterflyfish, Heniochus Butterfly, and Heniochus Bannerfish.

Chaetodon semilarvatus has not been evaluated for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Geographical distribution, habitat and habits

The Golden Butterflyfish inhabits the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. It is commonly found in areas with prolific coral growth, especially on mature reefs with large populations of stony corals. The depth range for this species is 3-20 meters / 10-65 feet. The Golden Butterflyfish is typically seen in pairs or small aggregations, sometimes hovering under ledges of Acropora plate corals. This is a diurnal species, i.e. it is day active.

Size and appearance

The largest scientifically measured Golden Butterflyfish was 23 cm / 9.1 in.
This is a strikingly coloured fish; the body is of a vivid yellow shade and decorated with sharply contrasting black vertical stripes.

Golden Butterflyfish care

The recommended aquarium size for the Golden Butterflyfish is at least 80 gallons / 300 litres. The aquarium should have a lot of suitable hiding spots but also plenty of open area to swim around in. It is considered a medium difficult fish to care for because it can be hard to get it to eat in its new home. As soon as it gets enough nutrition, it becomes quite a hardy aquarium inhabitant.

The Golden Butterflyfish will usually behave peacefully towards other fish and can be kept in friendly community aquariums. It is however hard to keep more than one butterflyfish – regardless of species – in the aquarium unless it is a compatible pair. If you want to keep several butterflies you will need a really large and cleverly decorated aquarium and it is a good idea to avoid keeping specimens of the same size. The Golden Butterflyfish is not considered reef compatible since it is fond of eating live corals.

It is very important to keep the levels of organic waste down when keeping Golden Butterflyfish. The recommended water temperature is 72-78° F / 22-25.5° C and the pH-value 8.1-8.4. The Red Sea has an average specific gravity of 1.028-1.035. Ideally combine the Golden Butterflyfish with other species from the Red Sea, since they will appreciate the high salinity.

Feeding Golden Butterflyfish

The Golden Butterflyfish is a carnivore and feeds primarily on coral polyps and small invertebrates in the wild, including worms and shrimps. It can be hard to get your Golden Butterflyfish to eat in the aquarium and you should be prepared to provide it with live food, e.g. live shrimps. Once it has begun to eat in its new home, you can gradually train the fish to accept fresh and frozen food as well. Some specimens will even eat flake food.

Breeding Golden Butterflyfish

This is an egg-laying species that form pairs during breeding. Very little is known about its breeding behaviour.

Butterflyfish Articles:

Copperbanded Butterflyfish – Chelmon rostratus
Klien's Butterflyfish – Chaetodon kleinii
Lined Butterflyfish – Chaetodon lineolatus
Longfin Bannerfish – Heniochus acuminatus
Raccoon Butterflyfish – Chaetodon lunula
Saddleback Butterflyfish – Chaetodon falcula
Schooling Bannerfish – Heniochus diphreutes
Threadfin Butterflyfish – Chaetodon auriga
Yellow Longnose Butterflyfish – Forcipiger flavissimus


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