Life of Sea | Schooling Bannerfish (Heniochus diphreutes) | This fish is one of favorite aquarium fish. They are also known as Bannerfish, Schooling pennantfish, Schooling pennant butterflyfish, Heniochus butterfly, Schooling butterflyfish, Schooling coachman and False moorish idol. In their natural habitat, they live in shallow lagoons to outer deep reef walls. They can be found in Red Sea and South Africa to warm-temperate Australia and the Hawaiian Islands. Schooling bannerfish are sometimes traded, in aquaria, as a less expensive alternative to actual Moorish idols.
Schooling bannerfish have white body with two broad oblique dark-brown bands running across the body from the dorsal fin to the abdomen and anal fin. A short brown band runs from the top of the head to the eye. The soft portion of the dorsal fin and the caudal fin are yellow. Schooling bannerfish are similar in appearance. The rear black stripe on Schooling bannerfish splits the center of the anal fin with the white mid body stripe, whereas the black stripe of Longfin bannerfish ends higher up on the anal fin.
Schooling bannerfish is the only Heniochus commonly held to be reef-safe. This species are carnivores. They consume zooplankton in the wild. Juveniles may act as cleaners of larger fish. In cavity, you can feed them a number of different foods. The primary diet is meaty fare. They usually accept algae-enriched frozen or prepared foods.
Heniochus are much easier to care for than other butterflyfish and the similar-looking Moorish idol. They are tolerant of a fairly wide range of water conditions and can withstand disease. The fact that they are not specialized feeders also contributes to their hardiness. This species enjoys aquariums with moderate to strong current above the aqua scape.
Schooling bannerfish are peaceful fish. They live well with other non-aggressive fish. This species is found in large groups in the wild, so aquarium specimens are likewise best kept in schools. In smaller aquariums Heniochus often become territorial towards each other. To prevent this, ensure that larger tanks (75 gallons/280 liters) are provided for a school.
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