Parenthetically Speaking (Breeding Blog Searches & Butterfly Fish)

Saddleback Butterfly Fish

I actually don’t remember what it was that sparked my interest in Butterfly fish but am I ever glad it did.  THE MOST searched for words that bring strangers to my blog are  Butterfly fish, fish with eyespots!

Now I suppose that whoever it is looking for information on the butterfly fish is probably a wee bit disappointed when they click on my butterfly fish post and find snide comments about “the single’s scene”:

Parenthetically Speaking: Butterfly fish and the Singles Scene

Since butterfly fish have been so good to me I’ve decided that I need to become more of an expert.  My topic today is the Saddleback Butterfly fish because I live in view of the Saddleback Mountain Range and I’ve attended classes at Saddleback Community College.

Regular Butterfly Fish with false eyespots

Now here’s The Saddleback!

The fish derives its common name Saddleback Butterflyfish from the two well-defined black saddles that can be seen on the back. The body is decorated with shades of orange and bright yellow on both back and tail. The rest of the fish is mainly white, but the sides are adorned with narrow black stripes. There are two black patches on the dorsal side and a black eye band. (The black eye is undoubtedly from being unceremoniously spewed into the water and bumping into plankton – read on for further explanation)

Another Saddleback Butterfly FishIndo-Pacific area.

Maximum Size:

Up to 9″.  What’s the old joke about how long 9″ is?  Or is that 6 inches?

Characteristics and Compatibility:

Like most fish in the Butterfly Fish Family, the Saddleback Butterfly spends most of its time during the day picking at coral polyps as it cruises the reef. At night they hide in various cracks and crevices. It should not be kept with any of its species unless it is introduced to the aquarium as a male and female pair. (Aha,  the single scene is coming back to me!)

Minimum Tank Size Suggested:

It is not advisable to keep this species in an aquarium smaller than 100 gallons / 375 litres. The aquarium should have plenty of free space for the fish to swim around in.

100 gallons.  Now that’s a lot of liquid. I would suggest that if you can afford a 100 gallon tank you have a salt water pool built instead.

Diet & Feeding Saddleback Butterfly fish

Feed this fish an ample supply of finely chopped meaty seafood. ( Wait 20 minutes after the butterfly fish has eaten before you go into your salt water pool for a  swim . .. .  whether or not YOU have eaten).

The Saddleback Butterflyfish is a carnivore species that feeds chiefly on invertebrates in the wild. It is important to keep it on a varied diet consisting of many different types of invertebrates in the aquarium. You can for instance give it clams and various shrimps. It will normally accept dead food(a fish after my own taste). It loves anemones and it is a good idea to give it anemones once in a while as a treat. (I prefer Hershey)

Tasty Anemone



Some species appreciate an omnivore diet comprised of items such as small invertebrates, coelenterate polyps and tentacles, fish eggs and filamentous algae.  (These species prefer Sushi bars.)

Breeding Butterfly fish


Pelagic Saddleback Butterfly Fish


“pelagic spawner”
(english) A species that sheds pelagic eggs into the water column at the peak of a conspicuous spawning ascent. A species that has numerous buoyant eggs, none or poorly developed embryonic respiratory organs, little pigment, no photophobia, e.g. Platichthys flesus. (See also: pelagic egg, spawning ascent)”

The Butterfly fish is a pelagic spawner. The female butterfly fish will release the eggs into the water and the male will fertilize them. The eggs are buoyant and will intermingle with the plankton and follow the currents. Most species form pairs, but they do not guard their offspring. (After pelagically spewing them into the water you’d expect them to at least keep ONE of their false eyes on the kiddos.)

After the larval stage, the fry will develop large bony plates that extend from the head and protect the body. This is called a tholichthys larval stage and has only been observed in Butterflyfish and fish from the family Scatophagidae in the order Perciformes. As the offspring matures, it will lose its plates. (And the adults will lose their minds – whoops that’s not fish)

The Saddleback Butterflyfish inhabits the Indian Ocean where it can be found from eastern Africa to Indonesia. It is reef-associated and typically encountered on the reef edge and upper slope. It likes environments effected by powerful current and rarely ventures below 50 feet. This species typically live in pairs or form small groups. Juveniles are known to hide among the corals. (If I were spewed into the water, drenched with sperm and left to perish I would hide too)

Saddleback Butterflyfish care

The Saddleback Butterflyfish is semi-aggressive towards other fish. If you want to keep several specimens of the same species, the safest course of action is to keep a compatible pair. (Brilliant deduction)

The recommended water temperature for an aquarium with Saddleback Butterflyfish is 72-78º F / 22-25.5º C. Keep pH-value at 8.1-8.4 and the specific gravity within the 1.020-1.025 range.  (That’s exactly how I like it too)

So for those of you who have blogs you may want to cut ‘n paste my original BUTTERFLY FISH post into your blogs and watch your blog stats breed!

Try not to be pelagic about it.

Yet another Saddleback Butterfly fish

10 comments on “Parenthetically Speaking (Breeding Blog Searches & Butterfly Fish)

      • Why does this very FISHY blog post keep coming up as a new post? This sounds fishy to ME. Not to mention my aching “ailments” and you know which one I mean but won’t say…….I have class 🙂 Is this a default post? it shows up once a week? Love, Laurie F.


        • Laurie,
          Are you being serious? If you are I have no idea how this is happening. I really don’t. That would explain, however, how I get so many hits on fish!
          You are the only one who has said this to me . . . Are you pulling my fins?


          • Darling Judith, I AM being serious about it appearing all the time. I am NOT being serious about you using it for posts!!!! I swear, I am not pulling your fins, not even one tiny fin. When you post a new post, this old post appears at the bottom. No lie. My eppiglottitis posts go up too sometimes. Maybe people just love fish and searing throats?! Yours, in loving kindness, Laurie-Fish


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