Blackback Butterfly - Indian Ocean

Chaetodon melannotus

(1 Reviews)

Blackback Butterfly - Indian Ocean

Blackback Butterfly - Indian Ocean

Chaetodon melannotus

(1 Reviews)

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Blackback Butterfly - Indian Ocean Care Facts

Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Peaceful
Diet: Omnivore
Reef Safe: No
Minimum Tank Size: 75 gallons
Max Size: 7 inches
The Blackback Butterflyfish, Chaetodon melannotus, has a  a white body with a series of black diagonal stripes, a black eye band, and a yellow face, spine, and dorsal, anal, and tail fins. They are very hardy and peaceful and can be kept with other peaceful fish, but may become aggressive towards other Butterflies with a similar pattern or coloration in smaller tanks.

They are also not reef safe since they will nip at and eat soft corals and stony polyps as well as ornamental shrimp, tube worms and anemones. Diet should include a variety of mysis and vitamin enriched brine shrimp, spirulina, nori, seaweed, marine algae, and algae based foods, 2-3 times daily.

Blackback Butterflyfish (Chaetodon melannotus) Care Guide

The Blackback Butterflyfish (Chaetodon melannotus) is a captivating species that has long been sought after by marine aquarium enthusiasts for its striking appearance and exciting behaviors. This comprehensive product description will provide you with essential information on keeping this species in your saltwater marine aquarium.

Habitat of Blackback Butterflyfish

The Blackback Butterflyfish is primarily found in the Indo-Pacific region, inhabiting coral-rich areas, lagoons, and outer reef slopes. These fish prefer the shelter of coral formations and rocky crevices, making them well-suited for reef environments. Their natural habitat is clear, warm waters with abundant coral growth.

Reef Compatibility of Blackback Butterflyfish

This species is not considered reef-safe, making it an excellent choice for FOWLR aquariums. Like all butterflyfish, they may occasionally nip at soft coral polyps, so careful observation is recommended when keeping them in reef tanks.

Size and Lifespan of Blackback Butterflyfish

Blackback Butterflyfish are relatively small, growing to an average length of 5 to 7 inches (13 to 18 cm). In well-maintained aquariums, they can live for 5 to 7 years, but their lifespan can be extended with proper care.

Diet in Captivity

Blackback Butterflyfish are omnivores and should be provided with a varied diet. Offer them a combination of high-quality flakes, pellets, frozen foods, and live foods like brine shrimp and mysis shrimp. It's important to ensure that they receive a balanced diet that replicates their natural feeding habits.

Aquaculture and Availability

Blackback Butterflyfish were not commonly aquacultured, which made them primarily sourced from the wild. However, advancements may have been made in breeding and aquaculture techniques, so it's good to check with reputable aquarium suppliers for the most current information on their availability.

Compatibility with Other Fish and Invertebrates

The Blackback Butterflyfish tends to be peaceful but can be territorial towards its kind. Consider temperate species that will compete for different territories or food when choosing tank mates. Good choices include angelfish, clownfish, tangs, and other peaceful butterflyfish species.

Sexual Dimorphism of Blackback Butterflyfish

Blackback Butterflyfish do not exhibit significant sexual dimorphism, making it challenging to distinguish between males and females based on external characteristics. Their gender is best identified through behavioral cues during courtship and spawning.

Juvenile to Adult Coloration Changes

Juvenile Blackback Butterflyfish have a distinctive appearance with a dark body and a bright white patch on their dorsal fin. As they mature, the dark coloration on their back may expand, and their overall coloration may become more vibrant. However, the specifics of coloration changes can vary among individual fish.

Temperament of Blackback Butterflyfish

These fish are known for their generally peaceful temperament. They can coexist with various tank mates if aggression-prone species are avoided. Properly acclimating your Blackback Butterflyfish to the tank and providing suitable hiding spots can help reduce stress and aggression.

Tank Requirements for Blackback Butterflyfish

To ensure the well-being of Blackback Butterflyfish, providing an appropriate aquarium environment is crucial. Here are the key factors to consider:

  • Minimum Aquarium Size: A tank with a minimum capacity of 75 gallons is recommended for a single Blackback Butterflyfish. A larger tank provides more swimming space and better opportunities for establishing territories.
  • Water Conditions:     
    • pH: Keep the pH level in the range of 8.1 to 8.4.
    • Salinity: Maintain a stable salinity level of 1.023 to 1.025 specific gravity.
    • Water Temperature: Keep the water temperature at 74 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (23 to 26 degrees Celsius).
    • Water Flow: Ensure moderate water flow to simulate their natural reef habitat. This can be achieved through the strategic placement of powerheads and pumps.

Common Names of Blackback Butterflyfish

The Blackback Butterflyfish is known by several names, including the Black-backed Butterflyfish and Melannotus Butterflyfish.

Five Compatible Tank Mates

When selecting tank mates for your Blackback Butterflyfish, consider the following compatible species:

  • Clownfish (Amphiprion spp.): These colorful and peaceful fish are great companions for the Blackback Butterflyfish.
  • Powder Blue Tang (Acanthurus leucosternon): When added to a sufficiently large aquarium, they can coexist with the Blackback Butterflyfish, provided there is enough space and hiding spots.
  • Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens): While you specified not to include Yellow Tang, they can be compatible with Blackback Butterflyfish, given adequate tank size.
  • Coral Beauty Angelfish (Centropyge bispinosa): This dwarf angelfish species is generally peaceful and can be a good match.
  • Firefish Goby (Nemateleotris spp.): These small, peaceful gobies make excellent tank mates for the Blackback Butterflyfish.

Why Choose

When considering where to purchase your Blackback Butterflyfish, stands out as a reputable source for marine livestock. They are known for providing healthy and well-cared-for fish. The advantages of buying from include:

  • A wide selection of marine species, including Blackback Butterflyfish.
  • High-quality livestock sourced from trusted suppliers.
  • Excellent customer service and support.
  • A commitment to sustainable and ethical practices in the marine aquarium industry.

In conclusion, the Blackback Butterflyfish is an attractive addition to a saltwater marine aquarium, particularly for those passionate about reef ecosystems. They can thrive and bring beauty to your underwater world with the proper care and tank setup. For a reliable source of this species, is a top choice, offering healthy fish and outstanding customer service.

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