Butterflyfish are a large family of saltwater fish made up of over 100 distinct species. They resemble angelfish in appearance and have compressed, disk shaped bodies. Although they are among the more demanding and expensive species of saltwater aquarium fish, butterflyfish are a favorite amongst hobbyists due to their dazzling colorations. These vibrant colorations and patterns are an evolutionary defense mechanism designed to confuse predators that prey on shoals of butterflyfish.
Most species of butterfly fishes have very specific dietary and environmental requirements, and should therefore only be kept by experienced aquarists. Butterfly fishes rely heavily on live rock and coral as a food supply and it is important to keep them in aquariums with lots of coral and live rock to graze on. They also prefer aquariums with large swimming spaces and numerous caves and crevices to hide in.
Butterfly fishes are generally peaceful towards other fish and make for excellent community fish. Certain species, however, can be very territorial and aggressive towards members of their own species and should not be housed together. However, there are certain species of butterfly fishes that can be kept in groups provided that they are housed in large aquariums.
Butterflyfish do best when fed on a varied diet of both meaty and vegetarian foods. They can be fed on shrimp, brine shrimp, shellfish and seaweed sheets. It is important to remember that certain species have very specific dietary requirements that should be thoroughly researched prior to purchase. Most species of butterflyfish have very specific dietary and environmental requirements, and should therefore only be kept by experienced aquarists.
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