The Iconic Raccoon Butterflyfish

Raccoon Butterflyfish (Chaetodon lunula)Some of the marine fish we like to keep are surprisingly recognizable to both hobbyists and non-hobbyists alike—probably because they’re frequently depicted in photographs and artwork. Among these iconic fishes is the raccoon butterflyfish (Chaetodon lunula) of the Indo-Pacific and southeast Atlantic, a very hardy species that’s better than your average butterfly in terms of aquarium suitability and even beginner-friendliness. C. lunula would also be a great choice for natural pest-anemone control in reef tanks if it could be kept in such a system safely (but, alas, it cannot—more on this later). Physical traitsC. lunula has “typical” butterflyfish morphology, with a highly laterally compressed body and a pointed snout. Its color is orangish-yellow overall with a dusky hue on the dorsal half of the body and faint diagonal stripes on the ventral half. Like its terrestrial namesake, its eyes are obscured by a black “mask.” Behind the mask is a white bar, and two dark bands edged in yellow extend upward from the white bar.

Diodon holocanthus: an Endearing Puffer for Spacious Aquariums

Porcupine pufferfish (Diodon holocanthus)Circumtropical in distribution and ascribed more common names than one can possibly keep straight (spiny puffer, porcupine puffer, porcupinefish, longspined porcupinefish, and balloon porcupinefish, to list but a few), Diodon holocanthus can be a worthy, very pet-like aquarium candidate. This species does, however, have certain non-negotiable needs to be met if it is to live a long, healthy life in captivity. Physical traitsD. holocanthus has a robust, vaguely (American-style) football-shaped body with prominent, bulbous eyes and numerous elongated spines covering its body. These spines normally lie flat against the fish, but when threatened or harassed, it can swallow water or air, causing its body to inflate to nearly twice its size and its spines to stand erect (thus resembling what everyone else in the world calls a football with spikes all over it). The teeth are fused together to form a beak-like structure. Not the most colorful fish in the sea, D. holocanthus typically has a creamy to light-brown base color with dark-brown mottling and spots.
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