Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles


Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles, Chaetodon madagascarensis

  • Common Name: Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles
  • Latin Name: Chaetodon madagascarensis
  • Distribution: The Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles, is naturally occurring in the waters around the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean.
  • Max Size: The Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles can reach a maximum size of around 6 inches (15 centimetres) in length.
  • Temperature Range: The ideal temperature range for the Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles is between 75°F and 82°F (24°C and 28°C).
  • pH Range: They prefer a pH range of 8.1 to 8.4.
  • KH Range: The Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles thrives in a moderate to high carbonate hardness (KH) level of 8 to 12 dKH.
  • Care Level: The care level for the Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles is considered moderate to advanced due to their specific requirements and delicate nature.
  • Lighting Preference: They prefer moderate to high lighting levels in the aquarium.
  • Preferred Food: The Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles primarily feeds on a varied diet consisting of small invertebrates, including crustaceans, mollusks, and coral polyps.
  • Behaviour: Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles are generally peaceful fish but may become territorial towards other butterflyfish species. They are active swimmers and can be seen exploring their surroundings.
  • Suitable for Reef Tanks: While the Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles can be kept in a reef tank, caution should be exercised as they may nip at or consume certain types of coral and other sessile invertebrates.
  • Discoverer: The Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles, was first described by the French zoologist Achille Valenciennes in 1831.
  • Interesting Facts:
  • Like other butterflyfish species, the Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles has a small, protractible mouth that is adapted for picking and nibbling at small prey items.

The Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles (Chaetodon madagascarensis) is a visually stunning fish with a maximum size of up to 6 inches (15 cm). It showcases a unique body shape with a compressed oval form and a distinctive concave forehead. The scales of this species are adorned with iridescent patterns resembling delicate pearls, hence its name. Its colouration varies from shades of yellow, orange, and white, creating a captivating display in any aquarium.

Natural Habitat:

The natural habitat of the Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles is characterized by the abundance of coral reefs, rocky outcrops, and warm tropical waters. It is commonly found in the Indian Ocean around the Seychelles region. These areas offer a rich diversity of marine life, including colourful corals, seagrass beds, and intricate rock formations. The fish seek shelter and forage for food among the coral branches and rocky crevices.

Keeping Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles Healthy:

The care level for the Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles is considered moderate, and it requires attention to specific parameters to ensure its well-being. It thrives in aquariums with stable water temperatures ranging from 75-82°F (24-28°C) and a pH level between 8.1-8.4. Maintaining water quality through proper filtration, regular water changes, and monitoring of ammonia and nitrate levels is crucial.

Special Requirements and Feeding:

Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles are omnivores. They feed on various types of algae in the wild, as well as on invertebrates. Offer a varied diet that includes high-quality flake or pellet foods, supplemented with fresh vegetables like spirulina, seaweed, and blanched greens. It is essential to provide a balanced and nutritious diet to support its overall health and vibrant coloration.

How Many Should I Keep:

It is generally recommended to keep the Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles individually or in small groups of compatible individuals due to their territorial nature. Each fish requires ample space to establish its territory and minimize aggression. Providing a larger tank with plenty of swimming space is beneficial.

Lighting Preference:

The Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles thrives in aquariums with moderate to high lighting. Adequate lighting not only enhances its vibrant colouration but also supports the growth of beneficial microorganisms and the health of live corals and plants within the tank.

Suitable Tank Mates:

When choosing tank mates for the Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles, opt for peaceful species that can coexist harmoniously. Avoid pairing them with aggressive or territorial fish that may intimidate or harass them. Compatible tank mates may include peaceful community fish, such as small gobies, peaceful wrasses, and other non-aggressive reef-safe species. Ensure compatibility and monitor the behaviour of all tank inhabitants before adding the Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles.

Reproduction in the Wild:

In the wild, the Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles (Chaetodon madagascarensis) follows a reproductive strategy known as broadcast spawning. During this process, males and females release their eggs and sperm into the water column simultaneously, increasing the chances of fertilization and the survival of the offspring.

Breeding Chaetodon madagascarensis:

  1. Set up:

To breed Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles in captivity, you will need a spacious aquarium with stable water parameters. Provide ample hiding spots and live rock for the fish to establish territories and deposit eggs.

  1. Courtship/Spawning:

Courtship displays play a vital role in initiating spawning behaviour. Male Pearlscale Butterflies will exhibit vibrant colours and engage in intricate swimming patterns to attract females. Once a pair has formed, they will select a suitable spawning site within the aquarium.

  1. Rearing:

After spawning, the fertilized eggs will float in the water column. It is important to promptly remove the eggs and transfer them to a separate rearing tank or specialized breeding apparatus. Maintain optimal water conditions, including a temperature of around 79-82°F (26-28°C) and stable water quality. The larvae will hatch within a few days and should be fed with nutritious live foods such as rotifers and newly hatched brine shrimp.

Sexual Dimorphism:

Sexual dimorphism in the Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles is not easily distinguishable. Both males and females display similar body shapes, colours, and patterns. Visual cues alone may not reliably determine the sex of these fish.


The Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles (Chaetodon madagascarensis) is a fish species naturally found in the Seychelles region of the Indian Ocean. While there are captive-bred and line-bred strains of this species available, the original wild fish are native to the Seychelles and surrounding areas.


The Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles (Chaetodon madagascarensis) is a captivating fish known for its unique body shape and iridescent scales. Breeding this species requires careful attention to water parameters, courtship displays, and proper rearing techniques. Sexual dimorphism is not easily distinguishable, and the fish are naturally distributed in the Seychelles region. By understanding their reproductive behaviours and providing suitable conditions, aquarists can enjoy the fulfilment of breeding Pearlscale Butterfly Seychelles in their own aquariums.


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