News / Species Spotlight / Highly Underrated Fish - Pakistan Butterfly (02/24/16)

Highly Underrated Fish - Pakistan Butterfly

In the Wild

Chaetodon collare are abundant in the tropical and subtropical waters of the western Indo-Pacific. They range from the Persian Gulf all the way east to Bali. Adults of this species are usually found in pairs off outer reefs, that being said large shoals of them are commonly reported. Little is reported as to whether or not this is seasonal behavior. Juveniles are usually found schooled up in estuaries and other sheltered locations.

C. collare seems to have a diet that is at least somewhat dependent on where they are found; they are widely reported as coral polyp eaters, though fish collected from seagrass flats seem to be more dependent on algae sources for nutrition. There is little (if any) published scientific data on surveys of stomach contents.

These are species with a very fast population doubling time at less than 15 months, so it is very stable population, and a great candidate for sustainable aquarium collection.

In the Aquarium

The Pakistan Butterfly is also frequently called the Brown, Collared, and Red Tail Butterfly. Whatever you want to call them, they are gorgeous, highly active and hardy aquarium inhabitants. They have a totally undeserved reputation for being finicky eaters; we feed them a wide variety of foods, and they eagerly accept pretty much everything that comes their way.

They grow fairly slowly to a record size of roughly seven inches, but more commonly max out at around five inches or so. As they approach these adult sizes, they are substantially more likely to be quarrelsome with each other. Like most butterflies, they should be considered "semi-aggressive,' so if you intend to add a school of these fish, add them at a small size, all at once, to a very large aquarium.

Individual specimens can (and should) be added to most other tanks as these fish offer a high level of activity and a stark contrasting coloration. These are a perfect "centerpiece" fish for any aquarium that doesn't house a lot of sessile invertebrates.

Scott W. Michael, Angelfishes & Butterflyfishes, 1st ed. (T.F.H. Publications Inc, New Jersey, 2004).
Gerald R. Allen, Roger Steene, Mark Allen, A Guide To Angelfishes & Butterflyfishes, 1st ed. (Odyssey Publishing / Tropical Reef Research / Vanguard Press, Perth, WA, 1998)
Rudie Kuiter, Butterflyfishes, Bannerfishes, and their relatives, 1st ed. (TMC Publishing, Chorelywood, UK, 2002).
In House Resources: Eli Fleishauer, Brent Robinson, Adam Mangino