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Pearlscale Butterflyfish (Chaetodon xanthurus)
Pearlscale Butterflyfish
Please Note: Due to variations within species, your item may not look identical to the image provided. Approximate size range may also vary between individual specimen.
Please Note: Due to variations within species, your item may not look identical to the image provided. Approximate size range may also vary between individual specimen.
Pearlscale Butterflyfish (Chaetodon xanthurus)
Additional locales and sizes may be available!
Additional locales and sizes may be available!

Quick Stats


The Pearlscale Butterflyfish is another beautiful example why marine Butterflyfish remain perennial favorites among hobbyists. This gorgeous fish boosts visual interest with lively color and eye-catching, graphic patterning. The addition of this stunning specimen in your Fish Only With Live Rock (FOWLR) is sure to make your heart flutter.

True to its namesake, the Pearlscale Butterflyfish has a pearly white body that appears to give off an iridescent glow under the right aquarium light conditions. The brilliant pearly white body color is enhanced by a striking reticulated pattern in contrasting black coloration. Bold punches of orange coloration grace the anterior dorsal and anal fin area up to the peduncle as well as portions of the caudal fin in sickle-shaped bars. Highlights of yellow coloration gracefully trace the tips of the dorsal fin for a truly elegant effect.

The Pearlscale Butterflyfish is part of the "xanthurus complex" consisting of lookalike species with similar latticed pattern. The Mertensii Butterflyfish is a great example of a lookalike. The Pearlscale Butterflyfish is distinguished by a white-rimmed, dark oval spot located slightly askew behind the eye band. Also, upon careful observation, the Pearlscale Butterflyfish has a true reticulated (net-like) or crosshatch pattern while the lookalikes have a distinct chevron or V-shaped pattern.

House the Pearlscale Butterflyfish in a 70-gallon or larger aquarium with other peaceful fish and others of the same species, if all were introduced into the tank at the same time. Similar to other Butterflyfish, the Pearlscale Butterflyfish may require extra "TLC" when first acclimating to the home aquarium. Pearlscale Butterflyfish are not considered reef safe. The diet of the Pearlscale Butterflyfish should include various meaty preparations including frozen, freeze-dried, fresh or flake food. Also provide regular vegetable food source and vitamin-boosting supplements.

Approximate Purchase Size: Small: 1"-2-1/4", Medium: 2-1/4"-3-1/2", Large: 3-1/2"-4-3/4".

Customer Testimonials

Aidan C Hopkinton , MA
Just got this fish and I really love it! It is very pretty and is always swimming around and happens to be best buddies with my yellow tang. I got the large and it started eating frozen brine shrimp on the first day. I really enjoy this fish and I keep him with some other smallish predators like a snowflake moray, marine betta, and a dwarf zebra lion fish in a 60 gallon aquarium. I highly recommend these fish because they are beautiful and easy to care for. Just make sure they have at least 1 ledge and one crevice to sleep and they will get along perfectly.
Harold L Carnegie , NY
I began my third tank and first put my clowns in. The Pearlscale was the second fish and does outstanding. Always busy and not aggresive.Make sure you have some ledges for them to sleep under. Look for one very active at the FS and they work out.It began eating the afternoon I brought it home.Also comes to the glass. Great addition. This is my butterfly tank. You can't go wront. Keep the tank with current and clean.
Harold L Carnegie , PA
An outstanding fish. I have only Butterfly Fish in a new tank. It is very calm and is enjoying to watch due to moving all of the time. Moves slowly and is very calm. Eats well and finds a spot for night rest. If you have a calm tank this is an outstanding fish. The cost is never high on this fish.
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