Because of these, they are often selected as an alternative replacement for those seeking to have an elegant looking marine fish to the tank and yet something stress-free to handle. Thus, the fish is often referred to as False Moorish Idol or sometimes one would call it as “Poor Man’s Moorish Idol”, somehow to imply that it is a second-tiered lower class choice of fish. However, put aside the rather biased perception, there is actually nothing wrong with keeping them as pets to create the stunning aquarium look because they are still unique and special in their own ways. I would definitely recommend yourself having a first hand look at the fish before deciding or coming to the conclusion on whether they live up to the standards comparing against the Real and True Moorish Idol.
There are 8 different species classified as belonging to the Heniochus genus. Acuminatus or rather aptly called Long-Fin Bannerfish is the most common among all. The dorsal fin that extends out and ends in a pointy shape is perhaps the best eye-catching feature that made people get attracted to the fish. The beautiful elongated fins can sometimes outgrow the overall length of its body and the older the fish, the longer it gets. Another species that is the perfect lookalike is the Heniochus diphreutes or Schooling Bannerfish which is basically slightly different based on the shorter snout and pointy anal fins. Both the acuminatus and diphreutes are schooling fish which means that they prefer to travel in large groups and moving in synchronized pattern all swimming together in shoals.
In terms of aquarium community behavior, the bannerfish is regarded as one the best choice of fish that can live harmoniously without interfering with the daily activities of the other tank mates. To describe them, one would say that they are pretty shy and tame and most of the time they will go along minding their own business searching for foods without caring what is happening around them. Among the possible different species you can consider trying to mix with your Heniochus can be blue hippo tang, clown fish, bass anthias and damselfish. In terms of suitability for reef tank, there is quite a big question mark here with different accounts and opinion given by different people but my view is that they are generally considered as reef safe which means that they do not go about tearing apart the large polyps corals or mushrooms on purpose.
However, coming to certain situations when they are starving or sometimes searching for foods, they will start to exhibit their nipping behavior, accidentally shredding away pieces of the corals causing damage in the process. Thus, I would ensure that the fish are well-fed in order to avoid coming to this situation as the reefs can be very expensive to replace and grow back. Looking for reef safe community pet fish? How about trying out the endearing and loving triggerfish or even a hogfish wrasse.