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FAQs on Butterflyfish Behavior

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Related FAQs: Butterflyfish, Butterflyfish Identification, Butterflyfish Systems, Butterflyfish Foods/Feeding/NutritionButterflyfish Compatibility, Butterflyfish Selection, Butterflyfish Disease, Butterflyfish Reproduction, Hawaiian ButterflyfishesRaccoon B/F's, Double-Saddlebacks, Threadfins

Chaetodon multicinctus in Hawai'i.

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

Punctato Butterfly erratic swimming... no useful info.  1/17/08 Newly introduced Punctato Butterfly seems to be swimming a little erratic. <-ally> He seems to be swimming much faster than the other fish and near the top of the tank. He swims normally at times but since he was a new introduction I am a bit concerned about this swimming pattern. <... no quarantine?> It does not seem to be motivated by aggression of the other tank inhabitants. <What are these?> Less than 24 hours could this just be adjustment to the new surroundings? <... in what size, make-up system?> Chemicals and PH level within normal ranges. Other tank inhabitants seem normal. Dianne Fields <Good for them. Data please. Bob Fenner>

Lemon Butterfly only using one gill 10/13/05 Hello Bob. <You've got Josh this time.> I have a Lemon butterfly at home and I notice that only one gill is moving (the other one is completely closed). What does this mean?  <It sounds like a gill parasite. Research here and elsewhere on this and be prepared to take action.>  It starts to move again after a short period of time but is this a concern? <I would be concerned at this point. Is this a new fish? Do you have a QT? Form a plan and be at the ready.> Thanks <You're welcome - Josh>  <<There was a recent posting of same behavior exhibited in an Emperor Angel, I believe Bob said they can do this "on purpose" (sort of like choosing to breath with only one lung).  Do Google the site.  Marina>>

Urgent Chaetodontid Color/Marking Question Hi WWM, <Hello there> We are currently in the very final steps of producing the English version of a DVD, which is to appear on the market soon. During our research we found and used your site a lot and have found it incredibly helpful, detailed and - though we are divers - it has made us aware of and interested in aquariums. Well done! <Thank you> Narration for the DVD is to take place next week! All help appreciated! For more info, please visit http://www.DiscoverTheBlue.com <Will post, share> Our momentary question: Many Butterfly Fish have an 'eyespot' dorsally. We believe that we have understood the reason for this. -> Excerpt from our text: >>most attackers believe that their prey will flee in the direction into which its eye is pointing. When the hunter pounces the Butterfly Fish escapes - taking a quick route that the hungry predator did not consider!<< There are some, however that have a huge spot right on their REAL eye instead and lack the fake one. Example: Chaetodon semilarvatus. <Yes> Why would that be? Aren't they giving away their flight direction? <Another strategy... likely either to mask the eye altogether, or give the appearance of a much larger individual. Many fishes, invertebrates with focusable vision do mainly focus on the eyes of potential predators, prey... Have had Cleaner Shrimps climb onto and clean UW camera lens ports...> Kind regards. Hoping to hear from you! <Be chatting, Bob Fenner> Jacques Tarnero

Klein Butterflyfish mating My two Klein's Butterflyfish appear to be trying to mate. Or at least it appears as if they are doing some sort of mating dance. Is this possible? Is it possible for them to mate in captivity? Are they livebearers or egg-bearers? Is there anything I should be doing in regard to this activity?  <I don't believe you have to worry about that. Butterflies are sprayers, they really don't mate like freshwater angels etc, it's like a group thing, and they are egglayers. I do not recall anyone breeding butterflies in small closed system aquariums. James (Salty Dog)> 

Copperband Butterfly Behavior Hello, My newly acquired Copperband butterfly spends a large portion of his time swimming up and down with his nose against the glass on the left side of my aquarium. Otherwise he seems to be healthy. He looks good and spends some of the day grazing. He also eats pretty well. Me eats Mysis shrimp since he ran out of Aiptasia. Is he hungry? lonely? bored? itchy? Is there anything I can do to make him happier? Right now he's in my 55g reef, but I plan to move him to a 240g reef once its ready.  Do you think that will help?  <Well Justin, its not normal behavior for a fish to do that. As long as he is eating, you've won half the battle. Butterflies do appreciate very clean water. For starters (and in any marine system) do a 10% water change per month. You may want to try using some Chemi- pure in your filter. Something about this filter media that actually calms fish down. I've had a watchman goby for two months. Rarely ever saw it. After about a week with Chemi- pure he readily comes out at feeding time and noses around more so than he did before. May be a coincidence, but I have seen this trait before. James (Salty Dog)> 

Butterfly Sleep Wear? Nah- It's A Nocturnal Color Pattern! Hi Scott <Hi there!> It seems that the fish only has these white round markings on its body in the dark?.................does this make any sense. <Could be a nocturnal color pattern> When I got back home from work yesterday, my tank lights were on and the butterfly looked fine now circular white markings on either side of its body. This morning was a bit overcast and when I first opened my curtains I noticed that the butterfly has those white markings again.........But once more light got into the room the markings were gone again. Seems really strange have u heard of this kind of thing before. <Yep- sounds like a nocturnal color pattern. Common in many species> Also I got some new typo of hitchhiker with my new rock, can you believed my buddy was actually gonna throw this great rock straight out from the sea away......... <Yikes! Happens a lot, though> Don't have a pic, but it's a little round creature with a lot of ends that look like legs. <Sounds like an amphipod of some sort...Probably harmless..> Are there sites or anywhere on WetWebMedia where I could maybe identify this new guy, I also got quite a few hermits and some think like a snail but with large hardy shells. Thanks again, Ziad <Well, you could purchase a copy of Bob and Anthony's "Reef Invertebrates", which has a lot of good information on many of the creatures that you'd see on live rock. Regards, Scott F> Regards Ziad Limbada

Klein's Butterfly Hello, <Hi there> I have a 230 gal. tank with 230 lb. of live rock, two pulsing Xenia, two clowns, one coral beauty, one algae blenny and a Klein's butterfly (all yellow except for face - 4 in. long). I would like to have a small school of Klein's butterfly fishes - 3 or 4.   The one that I have doesn't eat the Xenia.  Here are my questions. Will they swim in a school? <This is one of my favorite Butterflyfishes, and have observed, photographed it many times throughout its range... it is almost always encountered as individuals (though I have seen them in groups occasionally... teaming up to eat Damselfish eggs/nests in Sulawesi most recently)... unlike the bulk of Butterflyfishes that occur in pairs... and the few that aggregate on a regular basis. I don't know that the species would associate with others of its own kind in your setting>   Will they be peaceful towards each other?  Can I add one at a time and do they have to be adult size? <Good questions... you might try sending your query out to a wider audience, perhaps ReefCentral or reefs.org in the hopes that someone might have more experience with this BF>   At what age do they get the full yellow colour (lose the brown band)?  Are they all Xenia safe or am I just lucky with this one.  If a school would work what number would be best for my tank?  The only other fish I intend to add is a Royal Gramma. Thanks, Peter <Most lose the darker banding at about four inches total length. I would try adding whatever number you intend to ultimately have all at once. If it were me, a total of three in this system. Good luck, life. Bob Fenner>

Butterflyfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
New eBooks on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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