Klien's Butterflyfish
Klien's Butterflyfish

Klien's Butterflyfish

Chaetodon kleinii

Klien's Butterflyfish
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The species Chaetodon kleinii is known under several different names in English, such as Klein's Butterflyfish, Klein's Butterfly, Klein's Coralfish, Whitespotted Butterflyfish, Yellowspot Butterflyfish, Yellowspotted Butterflyfish, Blacklip Butterflyfish, Bluehead Butterflyfish, Brown Butterflyfish, Orange Butterflyfish, Sunburst butterflyfish, and Corallicola Butterflyfish. The name is frequently misspelled Klien's Butterflyfish instead of Klein's Butterflyfish.

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

Geographical distribution, habitat and habits

Klein's Butterflyfish lives in the Indo-Pacific and Eastern Pacific. Its geographical range stretches from the waters off East Africa (south to Coffee Bay, South Africa) to Hawaii and Samoa. The northern border is found south of Japan, while the southern limit is located in the waters off New South Wales, Australia and near New Caledonia. In the Eastern Pacific, you can find this fish to the Galapagos Islands. 

Klein's Butterflyfish is a reef associated fish that occurs on seaward reefs and in deeper lagoons and channels. Its depth range is 4-61 meters / 13-200 feet.

Size and appearance

The largest scientifically measured Klein's Butterflyfish was 15 cm / 5.9 in.

The body is golden yellow, dusky yellow or yellowish brown with two thick white bars running vertically across the body. One of the bars begins near the start of the dorsal spine, while the other begins at the middle of the back. The sides are adorned with a profusion of dotted horizontal stripes. The head is white and a black bar runs vertically across the eye. In adult specimens, the bar is blue above the eye. 

Klein’s Butterflyfish care

This species can be kept in a 50 gallon / 190 L aquarium or bigger. It is a fairly hardy species that can be recommended for saltwater beginners. It can be kept with other butterflyfishes, including members of its own species, but it is best to introduce them to the aquarium simultaneously to avoid territorial fights. In the wild, Klein's Butterflyfish occur singly or in pairs. Klein's Butterflyfish is considered reef compatible with caution, because it is fond of eating leather corals and certain soft corals.

The recommended water temperature when keeping Klein's Butterflyfish is 72-78º F / 22-25.5 º C. Keep the specific gravity at 1.020-1.025 and the pH-value between 8.1. and 8.4.

Feeding Klein’s Butterflyfish

In the wild, Klein's Butterflyfish feeds chiefly on algae, zooplankton, and soft coral polyps, especially the species Sarcophyton tracheliophorum and Litophyton viridis. Try to mimic this diet in the aquarium by giving your fish both algae and meaty foods. You can for instance serve various shrimps, crustaceans, fish, and marine preparations, plus some type of algae based food. Natural algae growth is also beneficial. Feed your Klein's Butterflyfish several small meals throughout the day instead of just one or two big ones. 

Breeding Klien's Butterflyfish

Klein's Butterflyfish is an egg-laying species that will scatter the eggs. It forms pairs during breeding.

Butterflyfish Articles:

Copperbanded Butterflyfish – Chelmon rostratus
Golden Butterflyfish – Chaetodon semilarvatus
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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