This is a popular fish, also known as a Treadfin Butterflyfish because, as it gets older, it grows a trailing filament from its posterior dorsal fin, which can get as long as 8 inches. Native to the Indo-Pacific area and the Red Sea, its coloration's will vary depending on the region. In the Indo-Pacific area, the fish is white anteriorly and yellow posteriorly, with a black band across its eye and an eye-spot on the posterior dorsal fin. This eye-spot, or false-eye, is intended to confuse predators; they don't know if the Auriga is coming or going, making it more difficult to catch for dinner. The Red Sea version does not have this eye-spot.
Size: sm. 1 1/2"-2"; med. 2"-3"; lg. 3"-5"; xl. 5"-6" (rare)
Tank: min. 80 gallon
Food: (Omnivore) Needs a varied diet and will eat most anything offered. In the wild they mostly eat coral polyps, crustaceans and algae. Substitutes that can be feed in captivity include frozen and freeze-dried preparations containing algae. Also offer asparagus, broccoli and dried algae. Feed 2 to 3 times a day.
Adaptation: A shy fish at first, it needs a lot of hiding places. Insure it has plenty of room to swim and live rock, which it will clean the aiptasia anemones from. Once acclimated, this fish becomes much bolder.
Compatibility: While this fish is good at getting rid of the unwanted aiptasia anemones, once finished, it will start to eat wanted creatures such as fanworms and feather dusters. Use to eating coral polyps, crustaceans and algae in the wild, it will do the same in a reef system, so should not be kept in one. A community aquarium, with peaceful tank-mates, is best for this fish. Live rocks are a favorite; picking at it without doing any damage to the rock.