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FAQs on Chelmon Butterflyfishes 2

Related Articles: Chelmon ButterflyfishesFoods/Feeding/Nutrition

Related FAQs: Chelmon Butterflies 1, Chelmon Identification, Chelmon Behavior, Chelmon Compatibility, Chelmon Selection, Chelmon Systems, Chelmon Feeding, Chelmon Disease, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition, Using Chelmons as Aiptasia Controls, Butterflyfish Identification, Butterflyfish Foods/Feeding/NutritionButterflyfish Compatibility, Butterflyfish Behavior, Butterflyfish Systems, Butterflyfish Selection, Butterflyfish Disease, Butterflyfish Reproduction,


Butterflyfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Copper Banded Butterfly changing appearance...     4/20/20
Hi gang,
<Hey Chuck>
I have kept a copper banded butterfly for 3+ years in my macroalgae display tank (connected via common sump with my reef tank)
<Chelmon rostratus is not one of the easiest BF species to keep; it requires top water quality and a varied diet.>
... it's a low intensity tank, with just a juvenile scopas tang for company.
<What are your water parameters?>
He feeds almost exclusively on frozen Mysis, and whatever else he gleans from the seaweed.
<This diet is not varied enough.>
Recently, the gold vertical stripe underneath the 'false eye' near the tail has started going dark... almost black. It's symmetrical on both sides of the fish. No signs of trauma... appears to be a pigmentation issue. Is this a sign of stress... or advancing age... or anything else you can think of?
<Not because of advanced age, no... these fish can live up to 20 years. I think this is more environmentally stress related.>
Thanks in advance for any help on this...
<Cheers. Wil.>

Copper band butterfly; sys., stkg.     8/22/18
Hi guys I just was reading that Robert Fenner is very knowledgeable in the butterfly field so I had a question...
<Will gladly proffer my input>
I have a 93 gallon cube up for 3 years now and I know the Copperband calls for a 125 gallon tank but what is your opinions on putting one in a 93? Is this certain failure...is this 50/50...is this a decent chance...is the fish going to live but be miserable?
<I'd say decent chance... not volume alone of course goes into such stocking considerations. MOST important here is securing a healthy, eating specimen>
I only wonder about this because I’ve had a magnificent fox in my tank now for 2 years and it to calls for min 125 gallons but he seems very happy and does really well he is approx 6-7”...I have about 12 fish in my tank currently most of which are more of the 2-4” sizes at full grown...anyways like i said do I at least stand a fighting chance to make this work...oh and I have a 125 gallon sump and a 25 gallon skimmer sitting in the sump so I think I will be ok with the bio load...I am really hoping to get an answer back that I want to hear lol so I am hopeful but if not I guess it’s not meant to be...thanks a bunch for your time hope to hear back soon
<Chelmons have gotten better and better in recent years. Likely improved collecting, holding, shipping at play here. If this were my system and I had such an interest, I would go ahead w/ this acquisition.
Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

copper band issues; health... ref. to reading and more re Chelmons     5/29/14
Dear All,
Haven't needed to draw on your advice for some time, but this week I need your collective wisdom. This isn't going to be a short question, so bear with me!!
<Take your time>
I took on a copper band butterfly a week ago, he was feeding well and I observed him feeding however he was being harassed by his tank mates so I agreed to take him on. My tank is a well established mixed reef, 150L and houses a pair of baby ocellaris clowns, a blue nano goby, a small mandarin and the copper band. Clean up crew are a variety of snails, a cleaner shrimp and an emerald Mithrax crab (who hitch-hiked in the rock). My first thought was to get the copper band feeding so have been heavily feeding the tank, doing large (30%) water changes every 3rd day to keep water quality good. I tested the water this morning, ammonia and nitrite are undetectable, nitrate is around 5 ppm. pH is a little lower than I'd like at 7.4;
<!? WHOA! This is WAY too low... Do check your checker... and FIX if it's really this low... pH is (like the Richter scale) a base 10 log...>

salinity 1.024 and temperature 25C. Yesterday I noticed a significant cloudiness in the water that wasn't relieved by water changes and as the sand isn't being blown about I think I'm seeing a bacterial bloom due to the large increase in feeding and the fact that one of the light tubes has died…
<... no need to overfeed... but instead to target... and not do the water changes.... HAVE you read on WWM re Chelmon Foods/Feeding/Nutrition?>

and now to the problem (!) - I'm considering if I shouldn't move the copper band to my QT to give it a better chance to get enough food to fatten up, and to give the tank a chance to come back into balance. The corals aren't looking as good as they usually do which concerns me, although I think the light is responsible for that rather than the bloom?
<... the changes, cloudiness. the very low pH if this is real>
My QT is pretty bare and I don't want to stress the fish out anymore than is absolutely necessary.
<Moving the fish will likely spell it's doom...>
Any suggestions would be gratefully received x
<The reading on WWM... re the genus en toto. Bob Fenner>

Re: Randall's Goby and a Neon Goby, Now Chelmon exp.  -- 11/09/2009
Hi Bob
Just a quick note to let you know how I got on with the Copperband.
As you know I got him on 17th October and he had a bad case of Lymphocystis.
I was going to get a Neon Goby to help him out. However, I never did. I ended up getting 2 cleaner shrimps and kept on top of my water properties.
I upped from a 20ltr to a 40ltr per week change, and changed carbon etc etc
I am glad to report that his Lymphocystis has completely disappeared and there are no signs on any of my other fish of catching it from him.
He eats a combination of a little flake, all of my Aiptasia and Mysis and garlic brine shrimp (frozen alternated every 2 days or so) and seems to have really settled into his new home. He is approaching me, in the corner of the tank, whenever I walk into the room.
My only other concern, is how much to feed, I feed seaweed on a clip every 2 days, flake a couple of times per day, algae pellets every other day, and frozen brine / Mysis every other day. Is this too much, or too little for my current stocking levels, as per original (below) email.
<Not too much>
Thanks for your time taken to reply to me, and your website is invaluable, with plenty of help and advice for someone like me who is new to the hobby!
<Thank you for this update, input. BobF>

Copperband in a Reef?...Sure! - 07/27/06 Hello, <<Howdy>> I was hoping to get a Copperband Butterfly after hearing they eat Aiptasia and because they are so beautiful. <<Indeed...striking fish>> My questions are... well I have a reef tank.. so I have many questions.  I read from a few sources that they will eat feather dusters and possibly anemones and I read from your FAQ's that butterflies in general will eat mushrooms and polyp coral.  Will in your opinion a Copperband butterfly eat clams, star polyps, xenia, Acros, Montipora capricornis, Stylophora, LPS, Ricordea, shrimp or starfish? <<I've kept these fish in varying systems with no problems over the years (have one in my current reef tank) regarding the organisms you've just listed.  They will quickly decimate Featherdusters, spaghetti worms, etc....and they will occasionally pick at a clam (though I think this is mostly a case of mistaken identity where the fish goes after a "worm-like" protuberance, or goes for a food item that has drifted inside the clam), but never persistently/causing permanent damage in my experience.  There's always the chance a certain individual will be problematic...but this fish is worth the gamble in my opinion>> I hate to ask so many detailed and tedious thing so a Y , N or a maybe after each item would suffice as I don't want to waste TOO much of your time. <<No worries mate>> One last thing, I currently have a 4-inch Pacific Sailfin Tang that has been in the tank for a year now. <<I hope this is a big tank>> Will the tang pick on the butterfly or do they look different enough. <<Mmm, is likely the tang won't like the butterfly to start.  But again, in my experience, it's not been a lasting issue with Copperbands and Tangs>> Thanks for the help. Adam   <<Regards, EricR>>

Copperband Butterfly acting lethargic  - 2/11/2006 Hello WWM Crew!  First, let me thank you for your site and great information.  I have been reading for the last 2 hours or so (not for the first time!) but haven't been able to spot the answer I'm looking for.  So if I've overlooked it somewhere please do not think ill of me. <Mmm, no. And if you have ideas on how to arrange the content here, to make it more readily accessible, assimilable, please do speak up> I have a 75g tank w/a 30g sump that has been up for about 2.5 months with LR, and fish and inverts for about 6 weeks.  I let the LR cure for two months prior to putting it into the tank, and it seemed to cycle during that period.  Since setting up the tank, I had my original cycle and my NH3, NO2 and NO3 have all been staying pretty much at 0.  Ca was low at about 320 ppm but I managed to increase it to 450 over the last 10 days.  I add a small amount of Iodine (<5 ml) once a week.  Same with Kent essential elements.  I change out about 10 gallons per week with fresh saltwater.  My SG=1.025, Ph=8.2, KH=11.  I have about 75-80 # LR in the main tank, maybe another 15# in the sump, and am running UV and a protein skimmer.  I run a 1200 gph pump from the tank through the sump and have a 2nd closed loop system w/a Squid and an 850 Eheim pump. total flow in the tank seems pretty good.  I have one pearly Jawfish, one sailfin blenny, 2 clowns, 1 blue tang, 1 Copperband butterfly, 2 Turbos, several Astreas, several Trochus, and about a dozen total hermits (blue, red and scarlet).  I overfed a bit when starting out and have some algae growth and a little Cyano started in the areas out of the main current.  I am getting these under control now but still am working on cleaning it up a little.  Last week 2 emeralds died within a day of each other, and two Turbos mysteriously bit the dust.  All the inverts and fish seem healthy with the exception of the butterfly.  So I guess I have two questions.  Any idea why the emeralds and snails would have died? <Mmm, possibly from some sort of "imbalance" from the addition of the supplements... though these should be discounted due to your water changes... or a biological agent/poisoning in situ> And now for the big question!  My Copperband, who I love dearly, went from being perfectly normal and eating well one day, to laying on the bottom, gasping and not eating the next. <... am gravitating more to the latter stated cause> He was eating Mysis and then decided one day he would only eat live brine shrimp.  (I guess even fish love McDonalds, eh?) <Don't supersize!> Anyway, I tried a variety of things to get him back on Mysis but he just wouldn't eat.  Eventually he showed what I was told by my LFS is a Lymphocystis growth on his lower lip. <Environmental/stress related/direct> I was told to not worry about it as it would go away on its own in a month or so, <Yes, good advice> and it never seemed to bother him eating.  So in an effort to keep him well fed while getting rid of his wart, I kept giving him brine shrimp though I added Zoe and Zoecon vitamins and a garlic elixir to the shrimp as well as feeding them to gut load then before feeding.  Unfortunately he seems to now be in bad shape - drifting around the tank, wont eat, and even looks somewhat emaciated even though he ate as recently as last night.  I haven't noticed any cysts on him and his color is good.  He looks normal with the exception of his laying on the bottom on his side and slight pumping of his gills.  Is it possible for him to starve to death eating brine shrimp? <Yes... not uncommon> Could he have some sort of parasite? <Yes> Would a freshwater dip help him? <Not likely> Also, it seems that I noticed the tang scratch the LR a couple of times when I first added him to the tank about 3 weeks ago but he is fine now, and he was fine at the LFS for the week they had him. <They do this...> Did I introduce a parasite to my tank with the tang? <Possibly... am sure you're aware of the benefits of quarantine> I know - I should have isolated him first but it seemed sort of foolish since I had just bought all the other fish from the same LFS the in the previous couple of weeks before.  Sorry for the long note but I wanted to make sure you had as much info as I could remember to type! Thanks in advance - Rob <Mmm, I would add a unit/pad of Polyfilter in your filter flow path here... allow the calcium concentration to drift down into the upper 300 ppms... and suspend the addition of supplements for a while. Bob Fenner>

My Copperband, a new addition, has developed two white patches   2/1/06 on its left side. Please see attachment. Please advise if you can identify what this may be and how to treat. Thanks, Tom <Is trouble... could be protozoal and/or bacterial/pathogenic in nature. This fish is (too) skinny, and this is likely a factor here as well... There are a few "things" you might do to bolster its immune system, indirectly curing the apparent complaint... Soaking foods in vitamin et al. prep.s... offering foods with more caloric content, adding purposeful cleaner/s... Without these changes this animal will perish (sooner). Bob Fenner>

Follow-on from sick Chelmon   2/3/06 Contagious and or a risk to fellow tank inhabitants? <Potentially... yes. Depends on what the root cause/s are, what "it" actually is... Copperbands "break down" much easier... on a sliding scale than other fish groups... the hyperinfectivity this inspires can be trouble, contagious... Bob Fenner>

Butterflyfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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