Dot Dash Butterfly Fiji



Dot Dash Butterfly, Chaetodon pelewensis

  • Common Name: Dot Dash Butterfly
  • Latin Name: Chaetodon pelewensis
  • Distribution: naturally found in the waters surrounding Fiji in the Pacific Ocean. It is not known to have any specific distribution outside its native range.
  • Max Size: around 6 inches (15 centimetres) in length.
  • Temperature Range: between 75°F and 82°F (24°C – 28°C).
  • pH Range: between 8.1 and 8.4.
  • KH Range: 8-12 dKH.
  • Care Level: requires moderate care and is considered to be moderately difficult to care for. It is a delicate species that requires stable water conditions and proper acclimation.
  • Lighting Preference: This species prefers moderate to high lighting levels in the aquarium.
  • Preferred Food: The Dot Dash Butterfly is primarily a herbivorous fish that feeds on a diet consisting of various types of algae, including filamentous, sheet, and turf algae. Supplementing their diet with high-quality marine flake or pellet foods, as well as occasional live or frozen meaty foods, is recommended.
  • Behaviour: The Dot Dash Butterfly is generally peaceful, but it may become territorial towards conspecifics or other butterflyfish species. It is best kept in a larger aquarium with ample swimming space and suitable hiding spots.
  • Suitable for Reef Tanks: The Dot Dash Butterfly can be kept in a reef tank, but caution should be exercised as it may nip at certain coral polyps and sessile invertebrates. Careful selection of compatible tank mates and monitoring of its behaviour is necessary.
  • Interesting Facts:
  • The scientific name refers to its native distribution around Palau, an island country in the Pacific Ocean.
  • Like other butterflyfish species, the Dot Dash Butterfly has a laterally compressed body and a small mouth adapted for picking and nipping at its food sources.

The Dot Dash Butterfly Fiji, Chaetodon pelewensis, is a striking fish with a maximum size of around 7 inches (18 centimetres). It has a disc-shaped body with a white colouration and a pattern of black dots covering its body. The dorsal and anal fins feature bright yellow patches, adding to its overall beauty.

Natural Habitat:

In its natural habitat, the Dot Dash Butterfly is found in the waters around Fiji. It inhabits coral reefs and lagoons with abundant coral growth. These areas provide shelter, food sources, and ample hiding places among the intricate coral structures.

Keeping the Dot Dash Butterfly Fiji Healthy:

The Dot Dash Butterfly requires a moderate level of care and is moderately difficult to keep in home aquariums. It thrives in well-established aquariums with stable water parameters. Maintaining proper water temperature between 75°F and 82°F (24°C and 28°C), a pH range of 8.1 to 8.4, and a KH range of 8 to 12 dKH is crucial for its well-being.

Special Requirements and Feeding:

The Dot Dash Butterfly Fiji are omnivores. They feed on various types of filamentous and macroalgae in the wild, as well as on invertebrates. They should be provided with a varied diet consisting of high-quality marine-based flakes, pellets, and frozen or fresh vegetables. It also benefits from the inclusion of live rock in the aquarium, as it grazes on algae growth. Regular feeding and a diverse diet help ensure optimal health.

How Many Should I Keep?

The Dot Dash Butterfly can be kept singly or in pairs, depending on the size of the aquarium. It is recommended to provide ample swimming space and territories for multiple individuals, especially if keeping them in pairs.

Lighting Preference:

The Dot Dash Butterfly prefers moderate to high lighting in the aquarium, as it mimics the bright and well-lit conditions of its natural coral reef habitat. Adequate lighting helps enhance the fish’s vibrant colouration and overall appearance.

Suitable Tank Mates:

When choosing tank mates for the Dot Dash Butterfly Fiji, it is important to consider other peaceful species that can coexist peacefully. Avoid housing it with aggressive or territorial fish that may stress or harm the butterflyfish. Good tank mates include other peaceful community fish, such as tangs, angelfish, and peaceful wrasses.

Reproduction in the Wild:

This species is known to form pairs during the breeding season, suggesting monogamous behaviour. Pair formation may involve courtship displays and rituals to attract potential mates.

During courtship, the Dot Dash Butterfly may exhibit vibrant coloration and engage in synchronized swimming patterns with its partner. These displays serve to establish and strengthen the pair bond. The exact courtship behaviours and signals used by the species are not well-documented.

Once the pair has established a strong bond, spawning can occur. Butterflyfish typically release their eggs and sperm into the water column, where fertilization takes place. The fertilized eggs develop into larvae, known as fry, which are pelagic and drift with ocean currents.

The fry undergo a pelagic larval stage, during which they feed on planktonic organisms and continue to develop. This phase can last for several weeks, during which time the fry are vulnerable to predation and other environmental factors.

Breeding Chaetodon pelewensis:

Breeding the Dot Dash Butterfly Fiji in captivity is challenging, and successful breeding attempts are relatively rare. However, if conditions are favourable, it is possible to encourage breeding behaviour and potentially raise the offspring.

  1. Set Up:

To breed Dot Dash Butterflies, a spacious and well-maintained aquarium is required. The aquarium should mimic their natural habitat, including live rock for hiding places and ample swimming space.

  1. Courtship/Spawning:

Courtship and spawning behaviours in the Dot Dash Butterfly are not well-documented. However, it is believed that these fish form monogamous pairs during the breeding season. They may engage in elaborate courtship rituals, including displaying vibrant colours and swimming together in synchronized patterns.

  1. Rearing:

After successful spawning, the eggs of the Dot Dash Butterfly will hatch into larvae, known as fry. Rearing the fry can be challenging, as they have specific dietary and environmental requirements. It is crucial to provide suitable live foods, such as copepods and rotifers, to ensure their proper growth and development. Rearing tanks with appropriate filtration and water quality are essential for their survival.

Sexual Dimorphism:

Sexual dimorphism in the Dot Dash Butterfly Fiji is not prominent, and it can be challenging to distinguish between males and females based on physical characteristics alone. Both sexes exhibit similar colouration and body shape.


The Dot Dash Butterfly, Chaetodon pelewensis, is a naturally occurring species found in the waters around Fiji. It is not known to be a captive-bred or line-bred strain. The original wild fish come from the reefs and lagoons in the Fiji region.


The Dot Dash Butterfly Fiji, Chaetodon pelewensis, is a captivating species native to Fiji. With its unique coloration and graceful swimming, it adds beauty to any marine aquarium. While its reproductive behaviour in the wild is not extensively documented, breeding attempts in captivity can be challenging but rewarding. By providing the right conditions and care, it is possible to observe the courtship, spawning, and rearing of this fascinating fish. However, successful breeding remains relatively rare. As with other butterflyfish species, the Dot Dash Butterfly requires diligent care and attention to thrive in the aquarium environment.


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