Saltwater Aquarium Fish for Marine Aquariums: Yellowhead Butterflyfish
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Yellowhead Butterflyfish
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Yellowhead Butterflyfish (Chaetodon xanthocephalus)
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Quick Stats

Care Level Moderate
Temperament Peaceful
Color Form Black, White, Yellow
Diet Omnivore
Reef Compatible No
Water Conditions 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size 8"
Family Chaetodontidae
Minimum Tank Size 125 gallons
Compatibility View Chart
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Overview

The Yellowhead Butterflyfish is an uncommon butterflyfish distinct in appearance, demonstrating a large amount of white coloration that elegantly accentuates its namesake yellow head. Closely related to the Saddleback Butterflyfish (Chaetodon ephippium), the Yellowhead Butterflyfish originates in the Western Indian Ocean, ranging from East Africa to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, occupying the sheltered coral-rich reefs at about the depth of 20 meters.

The Yellowhead Butterflyfish is easily identifiable for its dominant pearl-white body coloration and golden-yellow “halo” that meticulously outlines the perimeter of the fish. In addition to this cheerful and striking color pattern, the Yellowhead Butterflyfish sports beautiful gray-blue chevron markings. The result is a truly beautiful and unique butterflyfish sure to appeal to any collector or marine aquarium hobbyist.

The Yellowhead Butterflyfish will do best in a 125-gallon or larger aquarium aquascaped with a generous amount of live rock and ample swimming space. The ideal setup is a mature, fish-only-with-live-rock (FOWLR) system with excellent water quality and brisk water movement, housing other similar-sized peaceful fish.

Yellowhead Butterflyfish are solitary in nature and tend to demonstrate territorial behavior towards conspecifics as well as other butterflyfish species. Only one specimen should be housed per aquarium unless introduced to the aquarium at the same time as a male and female pair. Yellowhead Butterflyfish are not recommended for the reef aquarium as they will eat most stony corals, a few soft corals, and invertebrate species that inhabit live rock.

Similar to other Butterflyfish, Yellowhead Butterflyfish may require extra "TLC" when first acclimating to the home reef aquarium. The diet of the Yellowhead Butterflyfish should include various meaty preparations including frozen, freeze-dried, fresh or flake food. Also provide regular vegetable food source and vitamin-boosting supplements.

Approximate Purchase Size: Small: 1” to 2", Medium: 2-1/4” to 3-1/2”, Large: 3-1/2" to 4-3/4".

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