And lastly, make sure they’re feeding, and doing so on the types of
foods you intend to feed them at home. Non-feeding animals are a
nonstarter for me. If you must have a fish but haven’t seen it eat in the
dealer’s tank, put a holding deposit down and collect the specimen a few
days or even a week later, but only after you’ve personally seen it eating.
Most butterflyfishes are argumentative with their own kind, except
in mated pairs or (very) occasional groupings, but not C. kleinii. This
Chaetodon gets along fabulously with others of its species, and, in fact, it
actually gets along pretty well with any other animals that also get along
with it. There are few aquarium displays more beautiful than biotope-
type setups showing different organisms interacting with one another.
For folks living in the United States, check out the source of the
animals you’re considering. Those hailing from Hawaii and Fiji are
superior and take much less of a beating being shipped to the mainland
than those from more far-flung locales. For other folks, including those
in Europe, the specimens from the Red Sea and East Africa are better.
Foods and Feeding
As previously stated, some butterflies eat little, if anything, in
captivity except for live coral polyps. This is not the case for the
sunburst butterfly, which accepts all food formats readily, be they
dried, live, or frozen.
My favorite approach is to maintain as large as possible and practical
a refugium, tied-in with the main/display system, and set the lighting
for a reverse-daylight photoperiod that runs inverse to the principal
aquarium’s light regimen. Most of the small live organisms will come
out and reproduce during the night, and this light arrangement
provides a good deal of fare for the display-tank livestock.
In addition, I would offer a nutritious, highly palatable pelletized
food of good quality at least twice daily, as well as a mix of small
frozen seafood organisms, defrosted for the fish, at least once per day.
A Hardy Gem for the Reef Tank
Although usually encountered in the trade under the name
“Klein’s butterfly,” I think the name more commonly used by the
scientist set for C. kleinii, the “sunburst butterfly,” is much more
apt for this gorgeous, shining, reef- and tankmate-friendly species.
Aside from the above names, this species is also often labeled the
corallicola, yellow, orange, or blacklip butterflyfish. Whatever name
you may find it under, it is an exemplary, hardy, beautiful, and fairly
low-cost member of the butterflyfish family that is perfect for larger
reef-aquarium setups. D
A school of C. kleinii engage in a “flash mob” of sorts on a
Sulawesi reef, stealing the eggs of a nesting three-spot
damselfish in the confusion.
A group of sunburst butterflies cavort on a shallow reef in Mauritius.
An adult C. kleinii photographed in Hawaii.