Pennant coralfish

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Pennant coralfish
Pennant coralfish melb aquarium edit2.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Chaetodontidae
Genus: Heniochus
Species: H. acuminatus
Binomial name
Heniochus acuminatus
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The pennant coralfish (Heniochus acuminatus), also known as the longfin bannerfish or coachman, is a tropical fish of the family Chaetodontidae. It is also known colloquially as the "poor man's Moorish idol".


The fish is mostly black and white, with an elongated dorsal fin, making the fish reach around 25 cm. The fish's caudal, anal, and pectoral fins are most commonly bright yellow. It is very similar in appearance to the closely related Heniochus diphreutes, but has a longer and more circular shape.

A school of Heniochus acuminatus


They are social fish, and are found in pairs or in shoals. They are a very passive fish, and rarely territorial. Some individuals even act as cleaners, especially when young, by removing parasites from other fish.


Heniochus acuminatus eating jellyfish

The pennant coralfish eats mostly plankton in the wild, but are omnivorous in an aquarium setting.


The pennant coralfish's natural distribution is in the Indian and Pacific Oceans in reef settings, from southern Japan to Micronesia and Lord Howe Island, and in the Seychelles. Currently it is registered as introduced species in the Black Sea.[1] The pennant coralfish is commonly found at depths of 2 - 75m. [2]

A comparison of the three remarkably similar fish, the moorish idol (left), schooling bannerfish (top), and pennant coralfish (bottom)

Economic value[edit]

The fish is uncommonly harvested for anything other than the marine aquarium industry. It is commonly sold as an alternative to the Moorish idol, which is considered to be nearly impossible for most hobbyists to keep. It is fairly easy to care for when maintained in a properly sized aquarium with peaceful tankmates.


  1. ^ Black Sea Fishes Check List
  2. ^ Dianne J. Bray, 2011, Longfin Bannerfish, Heniochus acuminatus, in Fishes of Australia, accessed 26 Sep 2014,

External links[edit]