Common name: Schooling Bannerfish, False Moorish Idol
Scientific name: Heniochus diphreutes
Max size: 7 in / 18 cm
Temperature: 72-78ºF (22-26°C)
The Schooling bannerfish is very similar to the longfin bannerfish and the "Moorish Idol". This is why it is also called False Moorish Idol. Longfin bannerfish are sometimes sold as Schooling bannerfish and vice versa. The Schooling bannerfish have a smaller snout, bigger eyes and a more rounded breast area. It is important that you make sure that you get a Schooling bannerfish and not a Longfin bannerfish since the later is not reef or coral safe.
The Schooling bannerfish is commonly available it the aquarium trade and can if not found in your local fish store be ordered online. Your fish store can most likely order it for you if they don't have it and you don't want to order it online.
The Schooling bannerfish has a white body with to wide black vertical bands on it. The dorsal find is extremely elongated extending upwards and then backwards. It ends far behind the tail fin. The tailfin is yellow.
The Schooling bannerfish or false Moorish idol is suitable for community aquariums with other similar sized friendly species. They should not be housed white aggressive fish such as angels and triggers. You can keep several Schooling bannerfish in the same aquarium. If you want to keep several specimens in the same aquarium you should introduce all of them to the aquarium at the same time.
This species is considered reef safe with caution. They leave corals, anemones and gorgonians alone but can if hungry eat ornamental shrimps and other small invertebrates. This is seldom an issue if the Schooling bannerfish are kept well fed.
The Schooling bannerfish is a relatively hardy species that can be recommended to intermediate to advanced marine fish keepers.
The Schooling bannerfish originates from the Indo-Pacific Ocean. The species can be found from the East African coast to the Hawaiian Islands.
Schooling bannerfish care and aquarium setup
The Schooling bannerfish should not be kept in aquariums smaller than 50 gallon / 200 L. A larger aquarium is recommended if you want to keep a school.
The Schooling bannerfish have very few requirements in regards to the decoration of the tank and once those demands are meet you can build the rest of the decorations after the needs of the other fish you keep in the tank. They prefer to have a few large hiding places and a lot of open space to swim in. Never keep Schooling bannerfish in a tank without plenty of space to swim. They do well in reef aquariums, but may eat certain inhabitants (see above).
The Schooling bannerfish prefers a well lit and well circulated aquarium. Ideal conditions for the Schooling bannerfish is pH 8.1-8.4, salinity 1.020-1.025, and temperature 72-78ºF (22-26°C).
Feeding Schooling Bannerfish
The Schooling bannerfish is easy to feed and will accept all food types. In the wild they feed on zooplankton. In aquarium it is important to give them a good varied diet and to feed them often; at least 2-3 times a day. A good Schooling bannerfish diet can be based around a high quality flake food and complemented with fine chopped sea food and frozen food such as vitamin enriched brine shrimp.
Breeding Schooling Bannerfish
There are no external dimorphisms that can be used for sexing Schooling bannerfish. The Schooling bannerfish have not been bred in aquariums. Little is know about how this species spawn. It is theorized that they are egg scatterers that spawn in schools and release the eggs in the pelagic. Most bannerfish are seasonal spawners and it is likely that a trigger is required to breed this species.
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Golden Butterflyfish – Chaetodon semilarvatus
Klien's Butterflyfish – Chaetodon kleinii
Lined Butterflyfish – Chaetodon lineolatus
Longfin Bannerfish – Heniochus acuminatus
Raccoon Butterflyfish – Chaetodon lunula
Saddleback Butterflyfish – Chaetodon falcula
Threadfin Butterflyfish – Chaetodon auriga
Yellow Longnose Butterflyfish – Forcipiger flavissimus