Batfish are large, beautiful marine fish that can easily become the focal point of your aquarium. With their bright personalities and gigantic size, they are excellent fish for intermediate tank owners. Tall and thin, they often require a large tank to swim in and are not suitable for coral reefs as they love to nibble on anything invertebrate, including coral and anemones. The most difficult aspect of keeping any Batfish is meeting their dietary requirements. A peaceful species, Batfish are quite social and prefer to school with other Batfish. However, you should be careful who you house Batfish with as their peaceful nature allows them to be bullied by more aggressive species when they are juveniles.
Sub-Species for Aquariums:
Platax Teira – Known as the Long-finned Batfish, the Platax Teira can grow to be thirty inches tall, with the dorsal fin being almost twice the length as the anal fin. Sometimes mistaken for the Butterflyfish, the Platax Teira is stripped vertically in black and white with yellow pectoral fins.
Platax Orbicularis – A bit smaller than the Teira, the Platax Orbicularis is known as the Round Batfish because of its round body. It is still quite large, coming in at 20 inches at maturity, though it lacks the long fins of the Teira and is more rounded and leaf-like in appearance.
Platax Pinnatus – Perhaps the most beautiful, and the most difficult to keep, the Platax Pinnatus is a solid black fish rimmed in a deep red. It resembles the Platax Teira in shape but creates a stunning silhouette in the aquarium. It is not recommended for novice or intermediate owners due to its delicate nature.
General requirements for Batfish are fairly easy to meet, the greatest need they have is LOTS and LOTS of swimming space. This is a fish that loves to school with its own kind and is BIG. The minimum tank a single fish should be kept in is 55 gallons, but the larger the better. They are hardly finicky about water requirements, but do require regular vacuuming and water changing as they defecate frequently. Again, the most important form of care for the Batfish is tank size. You cannot purchase a big enough tank for these fish. They love to swim and they are happiest when schooling.
Batfish are omnivores and require regular amounts of both protein and vegetation. The Platax Teira and Orbicularis are quite easily adaptable and will eat most anything provided including flake food quite happily. Be careful not to over-feed them, but be sure they are eating. Because of their peaceful nature, Batfish are often beaten to the food bowl and will starve.
Size: Up to 30 Inches
Freshwater/ Saltwater: Saltwater
Reef Compatibility: 1
Tank Mate Compatibility: 9
Lifespan: Up to 5 Years