Yellow Teardrop Butterfly



Yellow Teardrop Butterfly, Chaetodon interruptus

  • Common Name: Yellow Teardrop Butterfly
  • Latin Name: Chaetodon interruptus
  • Synonyms: None
  • Distribution: The Yellow Teardrop Butterfly is naturally occurring in the eastern Pacific Ocean, specifically found along the coastlines of California and Baja California.
  • Max Size: The Yellow Teardrop Butterfly can reach a maximum size of approximately 5 inches (12.7 cm) in length.
  • Temperature Range: The recommended temperature range for the Yellow Teardrop Butterfly is between 72°F and 78°F (22°C – 26°C).
  • pH Range: They prefer a pH range of 8.1 to 8.4.
  • KH Range: The recommended KH range for the Yellow Teardrop Butterfly is between 8 and 12 dKH.
  • Care Level: The care level for the Yellow Teardrop Butterfly is considered moderately difficult. They require stable water conditions and specific dietary requirements.
  • Lighting Preference: They thrive in aquariums with moderate to high lighting levels.
  • Preferred Food: The Yellow Teardrop Butterfly primarily feeds on a varied diet consisting of small meaty foods such as frozen mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, and quality flake or pellet foods.
  • Behaviour: Yellow Teardrop Butterflies are known for their peaceful nature and active swimming behaviour. They are generally non-aggressive toward other fish species.
  • Suitable for Reef Tanks: Yes, the Yellow Teardrop Butterfly can be suitable for reef tanks. However, caution should be exercised when introducing them to a reef environment, as some individuals may nip at certain types of corals.
  • Discoverer: The Yellow Teardrop Butterfly (Chaetodon interruptus) was not named after a specific discoverer.
  • Interesting Facts:
  • The Yellow Teardrop Butterfly is known for its vibrant yellow colouration and distinct teardrop-shaped pattern near the eye.
  • In the wild, Yellow Teardrop Butterflies are found in rocky reef habitats, often seen near kelp forests and other submerged structures.

The Yellow Teardrop Butterfly (Chaetodon interruptus) is a visually striking fish species known for its vibrant colours and unique markings. It can grow up to a maximum size of around 6 inches (15 centimetres). This butterflyfish has a sleek and compressed body shape with elongated dorsal and anal fins. Its body is predominantly yellow, adorned with eye-catching black markings. One distinct feature is a teardrop-shaped black mark behind the eye, which gives the fish its common name.

Natural Habitat

The Yellow Teardrop Butterfly is typically found in tropical coral reef environments. It inhabits areas with clear and warm waters, often residing in shallow reef slopes and lagoons. Its natural habitat is characterized by an abundance of coral formations, providing the fish with hiding places and sources of food. These butterflyfish prefer areas with moderate to strong water flow, as it aids in dispersing their eggs and larvae.

Keeping  Yellow Teardrop Butterfly Healthy:

Keeping the Yellow Teardrop Butterfly healthy requires moderate care and attention. It is important to create a suitable aquarium environment that closely replicates their natural habitat. The water quality should be carefully maintained, with regular monitoring of temperature, pH levels, and salinity. Ensuring proper filtration and circulation is crucial for maintaining optimal water conditions.

Special Requirements and Feeding

The Yellow Teardrop Butterfly has specific dietary requirements. It primarily feeds on a variety of marine algae, small invertebrates, and coral polyps. Providing a well-balanced diet consisting of high-quality commercial foods, such as flake or pellet foods designed for omnivorous marine fish, is essential. Additionally, supplementing their diet with fresh or frozen foods like brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, and finely chopped seafood can help meet their nutritional needs.

How Many Should I Keep?

It is generally recommended to keep the Yellow Teardrop Butterfly in pairs or small groups to provide social interaction. However, the specific number of fish that can be kept in an aquarium depends on the tank’s size, filtration capacity, and compatibility with other tank mates.

Lighting Preference

The Yellow Teardrop Butterfly thrives in aquariums with moderate to high lighting levels. Proper lighting helps support the growth of beneficial algae, which serves as a natural food source for these fish. Providing a suitable lighting spectrum, such as a combination of daylight and actinic lights, helps enhance their vibrant colours and overall well-being.

Suitable Tank Mates

When selecting tank mates for the Yellow Teardrop Butterfly, it is important to consider their compatibility with other fish and invertebrates. Peaceful and non-aggressive species that share similar water requirements and diet preferences are usually suitable companions. However, caution should be exercised when introducing them to potential tank mates to prevent any aggression or territorial disputes.

The Yellow Teardrop Butterfly, with its striking appearance and lively behaviour, can be a captivating addition to a well-maintained marine aquarium. Its delicate nature requires diligent care and attention, ensuring optimal water conditions, suitable diet, and compatibility with tank mates.

Reproduction in the Wild

The reproductive cycle of the Yellow Teardrop Butterfly begins with courtship behaviours, where males and females engage in intricate displays to attract a mate. These behaviours often involve graceful swimming patterns, fin flaring, and vibrant colouration to signal their readiness to reproduce. Courtship rituals help establish compatibility and readiness between potential mates.

Once courtship is successful, the female releases her eggs into the water column. The eggs are typically small and buoyant, allowing them to float freely in the ocean currents. This dispersal strategy increases the chances of the eggs encountering favourable conditions for development and survival.

Simultaneously, the male Yellow Teardrop Butterfly releases his sperm into the water, fertilizing the eggs externally. This external fertilization method is common among many marine fish species.

Breeding: Chaetodon interruptus

  1. Set Up:

To encourage breeding, a well-established aquarium with stable water conditions is essential. The tank should provide ample swimming space and include live rock or coral structures for the fish to explore and potentially lay their eggs on.

  1. Courtship/Spawning:

During courtship, male and female Yellow Teardrop Butterflies engage in elaborate displays of behaviour. This can involve circling each other, fin flaring, and vigorous swimming. Once courtship is successful, the female releases her eggs into the water column, while the male simultaneously releases his sperm to fertilize them.

  1. Rearing:

After spawning, the eggs float freely in the water. The Yellow Teardrop Butterfly does not provide parental care for the eggs or the hatched larvae. The eggs hatch into transparent larvae known as “planktonic fry.” These larvae then undergo a pelagic phase, drifting with ocean currents, feeding on plankton until they undergo metamorphosis and settle onto a suitable substrate, such as coral, to continue their growth.

Sexual Dimorphism

Sexual dimorphism in the Yellow Teardrop Butterfly is minimal. Both males and females share similar body shapes, colouration, and markings, making it challenging to differentiate between the sexes based on physical characteristics alone.


The Yellow Teardrop Butterfly is naturally found in the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific region, including areas such as the Red Sea, the Maldives, and the Seychelles. While there may be captive-bred or line-bred strains available in the aquarium trade, the original fish from which these strains derive are primarily sourced from the wild populations in their native range.


The Yellow Teardrop Butterfly, scientifically known as Chaetodon interruptus, is a visually stunning fish species with its vibrant yellow colouration and distinctive black markings. This delicate butterflyfish requires moderate care and attention in a well-maintained marine aquarium. It thrives in environments that mimic its natural habitat, including proper lighting, water quality, and suitable tank mates. While breeding the Yellow Teardrop Butterfly in captivity can be challenging due to its pelagic larval stage, providing the appropriate setup and conditions may increase the chances of successful reproduction. Overall, this species adds beauty and grace to marine aquariums and is a captivating addition for enthusiasts seeking to showcase the wonders of the underwater world.


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