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FAQs on Butterflyfish Compatibility

Related Articles: Butterflyfishes

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

Butterflyfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Butterflyfish compatibility question      8/16/17
Hello Wetweb Media Crew! I hope this email finds you well. ��.
<Thank you Kathy; yes>
I am currently in the finishing stage of cycling my 560 gallon FOWLR tank. ( tank size : L 72", W 60", H 30")
I was wondering if I can put some golden semilarvatus and Tinkeri Butterflyfish together in this tank? In your opinion, would these 2 have a chance of co existing together?
<Yes; have high confidence (have collected both species... in the Red Sea and HI), that they will be fine together in a system of this size, type. I would MAKE SURE the system is completely cycled first>
And, given that the Tinkeri requires a lower water temperature , will the other fishes do okay with this?
<I'd shoot/aim for an intermediate temperature... the mid to upper 70's F will suit all; as will a "normal" spg/density of water; 1.025 or so at this temp.>
Future tankmates that I have in mind would be a red sea emperor angel or a scribbled angel and some tangs.
Thank you very much for taking time out to read my email. Your website has been a source of very useful information to me ever since I got into this hobby.
Sincerely yours,
<Please do report back regarding your ongoing stocking, observations. Bob Fenner>

butterfly fish compatibility         5/16/15
Hi I was doing research but I couldn't find anything on this, I have true Falcula Butterflyfish, is it compatible with banner fish(Heniochus ) or will they fight?
<Mmm; in a 180....  though they can be definitely picky, likely 2, 3 H. acuminatus would go with the Falcula>
I was thinking of buying 2 or 3 banner fish and eventually placing them with the true facula in a 180 gallon fish tank.
thanks for your advice!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Butterfly Fishes In A Five Foot Tank – 02/14/13
Hello guys,
<<Hey Steve>>
I have a really quick question and won’t take up too much of your time hopefully.
I have a five foot long 187 gallon tank (60" x 24" x 30"). I want to put 2 Heniochus butterfly fish into my tank and was wondering if I could also add either 2 yellow pyramid butterfly fish, a latticed butterfly fish, or a golden butterfly fish, with the 2 Heni's? I can’t seem to get a definitive tank size on most of them. I'm also not too sure about the compatibility but since there are all different species I can’t imagine any quarrels between them but then again I could be wrong. I would appreciate any help you could give me.
<<There’s no guarantee these fishes will get along, but if you can add them all at once I think the Heniochus with either the Latticed Butterfly (Chaetodon sp.), or a “pair” of Golden Butterflies (Semilarvatus sp.), or a “pair” of Yellow Pyramid Butterflies (Hemitaurichthys sp.) could do fine in this tank. Adding more than four of these fishes total is pushing it a bit for this tank, in my humble opinion. Cheers, EricR>>

Compatibility of a saddleback butterfly with a millet butterfly - 3/10/12
I am in process of combining FOWLR tanks together into a standard 125 gallon tank. I currently have a 4" millet butterfly in a 55 and he is doing very well. I also have a 3" saddleback butterfly in a 37 tall and he is also doing well. Both eat frozen food and pellets. I have had them both for over a year with no problems. The millet is in a tank with a yellow tang and flame angel. At first the tang did not care for the addition of the millet, but the millet held his own for a few days. They all get along fine now. The saddleback is in a tank with a maroon clown with no issues.
I was wondering about putting these two butterflies in my 125 gallon tank.
I plan on acclimating them and adding them at the same time with the rock structure already in place in the new tank. I will probably add them before I add the yellow tang and flame angel. What are your thoughts on these two fish getting along in this new environment?
<I give you good odds here>
You can see a picture of both these fish at the following links:
Thanks for sharing your experienced opinion.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Butterfly Fish/Compatibility/Systems 2/14/12
<Hello Justin>
This is the first time I
<Please cap "i's" in future writings.>
have written into your forum. I read it a lot and I have a couple of questions regarding butterfly fish specifically the auriga. In my 55 gallon fish tank with 10 gallon sump with protein skimmer 80lbs of live rock, 60 lbs of live sand.   I have a Nemo clownfish Yellow Tang
<And proper nouns such as names of fishes.>
bi colored blenny and azure damsel. How will the butterfly fish get along in this tank? I also have two bubble tip anemones and two feather dusters that the wife does not want to get rid of.
<Not good.  Tank is too small for an auriga and will be too small for the Yellow Tang.
The auriga is very likely to nip/eat the tentacle tips off your anemones.>
There is also plans to get a green mandarin and a flame angel.  How will they get along?
<Should be fine without the butterfly.  Your Azure Damsel is on the semi-aggressive side and may harass the Flame Angel or other new additions initially.>
 If the auriga butterfly does not get along with what i have or what i have planned is there any butterfly fish that will?
<Mmm, I suggest reading here and related articles/FAQs keeping in mind that a 50 gallon tank is too small for most
Butterflyfish and many species will go after anemones. 
A totally safe Butterflyfish would be the Black Pyramid Butterflyfish. 
James (Salty Dog)>

Adding a Butterflyfish... to a reef aq.   3/9/11
I was curious of your thoughts on Butterflyfish in a reef tank. In particular, the Triangle, Black & White, and the Semilarvatus Butterfly.
<These can be useful additions, I am not sure which species you mean by the first two, perhaps Hemitaurichthys and Heniochus, if so, then all three are known to be reasonably ok on the 'safeness' scale, depending on your particular definition of 'safe'. I am sure you are aware there are no guarantees.>
<No problem>
Tommy D.

Butterfly-Safe Corals?   9/15/10
I want to take an inverted approach to a basic question of fish and invert compatibility. We all are familiar with the term of "reef safe" fish, but I want to look at it from the other standpoint. What are the "fish safe"
cnidarians? With such a whacky question, I thought who better to ask that the collective wisdom @ WetWebMedia?
Specifically, what cnidarians (corals, anemones, gorgonians etc) are so noxious that they are "Butterflyfish Safe"? ;)
<Most Zoanthids, Corallimorphs, Alcyoniids and Xeniids>
Yes, the overall thought is that maybe my largest display tank may feature a Butterflyfish community with whatever inverts, algaes and cnidarians they'll simply leave alone because they're so distasteful and unpleasant that they are "Butterflyfish safe"! I have a few ideas in my head already, but I'll reserve making any suggestions of my own so I get unbiased answers. I realize there are MANY shades of gray here - curious for one or more opinions of what might work ;) And yes, given my experience with corallivores like the Harlequin Filefish, I may be tempted to try a species like Chaetodon reticulatus or C. meyeri.
Thanks Bob et. al!
Matt Pedersen
<Welcome Matt. Bob Fenner>

Corals And Butterflies???/Butterflyfish Compatibility 8/11/10
To whom this reaches I thank you for your time.
<It is James, and you're welcome Hugo.>
I wrote to you about a month ago and Mr. Fenner answered in regards to a Red Sea Biotope for a 540 gallon FOWLR aquarium that was in the process of starting up.
I thought my aquarium was just going to be the fish I had selected, live rock and fake corals from living color. After researching, visiting my local fish stores and watching marine documentaries I have come to the conclusion that I would like to have soft corals and lps corals as well. Now my problem is that I am about to purchase two Chaetodon semilarvatus and two Chaetodon auriga, from the Red Sea, and I have heard on many accounts from reefcentral.com to books to this website that butterflies are not reef safe at all. I think I already know the answer to the question I am about to ask but I just have to ask it anyway. Will I be ok adding these two butterflies with soft corals and lps in the aquarium?
<Mmm, will all depend on what type coral species you have or plan on having. Chaetodon semilarvatus will eat most hard and soft corals, clams and tubeworms, but is generally safe with Sinularia soft corals.
Chaetodon auriga prefers SPS corals and is generally safe with soft corals. Do keep in mind there are no guarantees. If you plan on keeping LPS and softies, the following Butterflyfish are generally safe with them.
Chaetodon auriga (Threadfin Butterflyfish) E to M
Chaetodon baronessa (Triangular Butterflyfish) D
Chaetodon falcula (Saddleback Butterflyfish) M to D
Chaetodon guttatissimus (Spotted Butterflyfish) M to D
Chaetodon kleinii (Klein's Butterflyfish) E
Chaetodon multicinctus (Multiband/Hawaiian Butterflyfish) D
Chaetodon octofasciatus (Eight Banded Butterflyfish) D
Chaetodon plebeius (Blue Spot/Coral Butterflyfish) D
Chaetodon punctatofasciatus (Spot Banded Butterflyfish) M
Chaetodon rafflesi (Latticed Butterflyfish) E to M
Chaetodon xanthurus (Pearl Scale Butterflyfish) E to M
Chelmon rostratus (Copperband Butterflyfish) M
Hemitaurichthys zoster (Black Pyramid Butterflyfish) E
Prognathodes aya (Atlantic Long Snout Butterflyfish) M
(E, M, and D are the degree of difficulty in keeping this fish.)
You have an advantage of this working out since you have a large system, and if it is well stocked with LPS and soft corals, any possibility of these fish sampling the corals would likely go unnoticed.>
Above all else I care for my livestock and do not want my greed or desire get in the way of their well being.
I plan on adding a Red Sea Emperor Angel as well. I have read first hand accounts of emperors being reef safe. I know each individual is different.
Do emperors touch lps? I know they have been known to nibble on soft corals.
<May want to read here and related articles/FAQ's.
Thanks you for your time,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Australian CB in hiding, BF comp.  - 8/1/10
Hello...We purchased a healthy Copperband (4-5 inches) about 2 weeks ago for our 75 gallon saltwater tank. Our Raccoon Butterfly immediately was VERY aggressive with the CB and eventually the CB found an isolated hiding place in the corner of our tank.
<Mmm, there may not be enough psychological space for both BFs here>
The Raccoon Butterfly has slowly eased up on the behavior towards the CB.
The CB is eating fine. However, it stays confined to the corner of the tank. The RB is king of the tank and swims over to the CB's corner sometimes, but it is uneventful now. There are no other aggressive fish in the tank. The RB has only shown this behavior towards the CB and no other fish.
<They "occupy" the same ecological niche... are perceived competitors for food, room>
Will the CB ever start to roam the tank?
Or will it be a permanent fixture in the hidden corner. The CB does seems to rise to the top water surface in his corner (out of hiding) when the lights are off. But goes back low in hiding when the lights come on. Should
we just wait this out, realize that this is where the fish will stay hidden, or try something else? Thanks so much.
<If you had another established system I'd move one of these Chaetodontids to it... is there a larger tank in your, their future? Bob Fenner>

Golden Butterfly dominance.   2/8/10
Hello Crew! You all are the best, thanks so much for your time. I have researched Butterflies for months.
I loved what I learned about the Red Sea Golden Butterflies, so I got 2 of them. Not a made pair, but 2 from the same order of a dozen that came in. The biggest one is 4" the smaller is 3". The smaller one is dominating
the bigger one. Chasing him into the same corner every 10 minutes.
<How large a system? What decor/set-up? What other fish species present?>
They've been together here now a month. Its so ugly and predictable now, that the bigger one anticipates the chase, and runs to that corner once the little bully gets behind him. The bigger one waits a few seconds, and gets right back out in the open again. So far he's not bullied into an area and stays there. He swims right back to the bully sometimes, and they pick rocks together like nothing happened. My Atlantic Blue Tang has befriended the bigger one and has begun helping his friend by blocking the bully's path once they almost reach the corner. This tank is 8 ft. long.
<Ahh, large enough>

The bully is not chasing the bigger one away from just one area he's claimed. He chases him away from all over the tank. I hate this. I spent so much time researching fish dispositions for this very reason. Heck, that's why I
didn't get a Queen or Passer Angel, or Clown Trigger for that matter! I saw here where you warned that 2
Black & White Heni's will butt heads for awhile to establish dominance, no real body damage to each other.
But they eventually learn their roles and live peacefully. Is the same true for these Red Sea Butterflies?
<Usually, yes>

All fish are different, no one behaviour is guaranteed, but just in general....will the bully finally realize he won? And can these two beauties eventually live together peacefully? The bully is so small, I cannot get him out. I'd consider rearranging the rockwork, but its not a one spot territorial issue. Its the social dynamic of one dominating the other. Do they grow out of it as they mature?
<In the wild, C. semilarvatus is almost always encountered in twos/pairs... occasionally in large/r aggregations. I have seen many times in captivity where having a small, odd number worked out better than twos or even numbers of individuals. Perhaps the "odd fish out" helps to diffuse aggression>
I'm afraid if I add a third one to keep the smaller one in check, it may backfire, and the bully will team up with the new one and really terrorize the 4" one to death
or illness. The other tank mates are:
2 cleaner shrimp
1 7" Atlantic Blue Tang
1 4" Flame angel
1 10" Emperor angel
1 2" Royal Gramma Basslet
Thank you for helping with this issue. My tank is so colorful and peaceful.
When these splotches of yellow whiz by it is so distracting and disheartening to see him get bullied. Everyone else gets along great.
<If it were me/mine, I'd catch out the bully and let it "have a time out" for a few days in a plastic floating colander in the tank. This often cures such behavior. Bob Fenner>
Re: Golden Butterfly dominance.
Okay, I will, thanks. Is it too late now to add a third one? Looks like the bigger one got Ich now on his
fins from the stress of harassment.
<I'd hold off till there is no sign of Crypt. Try isolating the bully for now... consider, read re Quinines in the meanwhile on WWM. B>

Hemitaurichthys polylepis (Pyramid Butterflyfish)
Question/Butterflyfish/Compatibility, fdg.  9/15/09

<Hi Cassidy>
I recently purchased two Hemitaurichthys polylepis about 2 months ago. I made the decision to purchased based off it being a plankton eater and faring well in the home aquarium. I researched prior to purchasing to make sure they would work well in a reef tank.
<Many dealers advertise as reef safe, but known to pick on nearly every invertebrate present. I consider them unsafe for reef systems.>
They have been nipping at a plate coral very slowly - but it's to the point where it will not survive if they are left in the tank. I have tried to offer them 4 feedings per day to curb this behavior but it makes no difference. I have not seen or noticed any damage elsewhere in my tank. I have 6 plate corals and they only prefer one that is Fungia cycloseris even though I have several specimens of that specific species.
I have noticed they will eat just about anything offered including my hands! I was under the impression they would eat plankton for the majority of their diet. They will eat smashed peanuts, carrots, love seaweed (they
are up to 4 5x5 sheets daily that they refuse to share with the tangs whom are twice their size), lobster eggs, DT's, Cyclops, Mysis, brine, baby brine, etc. . So I was a little curious - took out some Chaeto from the fuge since I've never seen a fish that will eat it - they eat that too. Is it normal for them to act like Billy goats?
<Although fairly easy to keep, this feeding behavior seems a little unusual.>
They are completely fearless - when I put a net in the tank all my fish scatter and hide and they swim right into it.
<Very unusual here, normally a skittish fish that shoots into caves/crevices at the slightest sign of danger.>
Is it time for them to find a new home?
<That decision will be entirely up to your preferences....butterflies or corals.
May want to read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Hemitaurichthys.htm>
Thank you for your advice,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

More than one Butterfly in 210 gallons  8/8/09
I have a 210 gallon tank with about 315 pounds if live rock and a HUGE Aiptasia infection.
<Interesting descriptor... maybe affliction...>
I tried Berghias but had no luck. About 4 months ago I bought a Copperband Butterfly which has been making a very noticeable impact. I also added 5 Peppermint Shrimp, which I never see, but do occasionally see indications they have molted. A nearby LFS has suggested that I add 2 more butterflies, either 2 Raccoons or a Raccoon and another Copperband until the infestation is gone and then to remove 2 of them.
<Worth trying in my estimation>
They say to add a pair, not one. The only other fish in this tank is a Blackcap Basslet.
I am at the point where the Aiptasia is killing most any corals left, so the risk the Butterflies might eat them in no greater than if I have to turn off the lights let the tank go fallow to kill the Aiptasia. Do you feel the size of the tank is sufficient to support adding 2 more Butterflies, or would you just wait this out a year or so and see what happens?
<Should be sufficient space here>
Thanks for your highly trusted advice,
<Do please peruse here as well:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Copperband and Longnose Butterfly Compatibility -- 07/22/09
Hi there,
<<Hey Aaron>>
You all are the best source out there for this hobby by far.
<<Thanks 'we appreciate the kind words>>
I have been looking all over for an answer but couldn't find anything.
Would a Copperband (about 3" healthy, been in the tank for about 2 months and the latest addition) get along with a new Longnose BF (Smaller, say 2-3").
I have a mildly stocked 125
gallon tank with live sand and live rock. If you need all the specifics I can give you them, but in general do you think this could work or would they pick on each other?
<<There are general rules of thumb, but 'compatibility' among fishes in an aquarium can be a very tricky thing. Many factors come in to play (e.g. -- size of the environment, availability of food, method/order of introduction, etc.), not the least of which is the individual 'personalities' and tolerances of the selected fishes themselves 'both of which often change with time and maturity. The size/length of the tank is to your advantage here, but adding the Longnose would still be a gamble. If you can remove the Copperband to other quarters for a couple days just before adding the Longnose, and then introduce/reintroduce both at the same time, you would increase the odds of a successful cohabitation. But either way, if you are prepared to remove one or the other should things turn too ugly 'I would give the Longnose a try with the Copperband
Thank you so much for all your help.
<<Is a pleasure to assist'¦ EricR>>

Butterfly And Angel That Will Not Eat Coral? 7/21/09
Hello Gang,
<Hi Becky>
Thank you all for the information you provide.
<You're welcome.>
I have a 155 gallon FOWLR tank that I'd like to add "something" to. I have a few angels and butterflies. Could you recommend a coral or polyp that is noxious enough they'll leave it alone?
<Yes, they would likely leave Fire Coral alone, but then you would have to be extremely careful while cleaning the tank, being better to wear long rubber gloves.
I'm sure Bob can attest to their sting.
The other issue in keeping these corals is lighting, they require strong light to survive.>
These guys pick at everything and I really enjoy them, BUT...I want a little more to look at. This tank is over five years old, however, the fish are not. I recently purchased a few small pieces of live rock from the LFS to reseed my scape. It had a couple mushrooms hanging' on to it. The fish sucked 'em off in no time. To these guys, everything is fair game, right?
-Flame Angel
-Bi-color Angel
-Lamarck Angel
<The Lamarck should be safe with corals unless you've got a renegade.>
-Vagabond Butterfly
-Saddleback Butterfly
-Royal Gramma
-Tomato Clowns (2)
<Pygmy Angelfish can go either way depending on their eating personalities.
I've got a Coral Beauty and a False Lemon Peel in my tank and they haven't touched a thing in two years. The butterflies are definitely coral eaters and should not be trusted with corals.>
My rockwork is set-up like a divider between front and back. This seems to work well and gives more swimming room. All the fish are great eaters. The one animal I do not want is an anemone. I really like LPS like torch and frogspawn, etc. I know these are all out of the question. Oh, as far as lighting, I has PCs on the tank now, but I do own two 175 MHs. I hope you have a few good suggestions.
<Other than Fire Coral, which would probably be hard to find, I have no suggestions as far as corals go. Bob or another crew member may chime in here.
<<No... if you're responding, answer completely. If a bb is the/an answer, refer folks to ours. RMF>>
Have you considered any of the very colorful cleaner shrimp and starfish?>
Please let them be something other than plants!
Thanks again,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Butterfly And Angel That Will Not Eat Coral? 7/21/09

Hello again,
<Hi Becky>
Thanks for the speedy reply.
<You're welcome.>
I've been looking for some type of Fire Coral and have not had any luck.
<Didn't think you would.>
I wrote a few e-tailers. I previously said that I want to add something interesting to my FOWLR tank. I didn't want an anemone, however, I'm reconsidering. What would you think of adding a orange/purple tube
<Would not.>
What will stand up to my butterflies?
<No corals should be trusted with butterflies.>
The guy at the LFS tried to sell me some leather corals. He progressed to Montipora, then almost anything was fair game! I pictured one of my beaky fish ripping and plucking them to pieces. I read Bob's posting on starfish. If I add a few Fromia, will they leave it alone? I'm also thinking of adding an urchin.
<These should be fine although the starfish will require supplemental feeding.
Look/read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seastars.htm>
Do you guys like stocking people's tanks?
<As long as we're not footing the bill.>
Thanks tons.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Pakistan Butterflyfish (Chaetodon collare)  4/21/09
I have looked all over the web and cant get find a strait answer on this fish! My LFS has a very nice 2-2.5 inch ( Chaetodon collare ) in stock and I'm getting mixed answers from the owner and from the web on how reef safe they are.
<They are not. Wild fish eat coral polyps. If all else fails, visit Fishbase, thus, and see the sections on Diet and Food Items:
While tolerably adaptable in aquaria, and among the better Butterflyfish in terms of home maintenance, there's no reason at all to expect them to forego their natural diet if you put out a nice buffet of coral polyps in the tank with them!>
i have a 6 foot long 18x18 tank with about 150 pounds of live rock. The tank is stocked mostly with polyps and mushrooms. the LFS owner told me that the fish would eat them all, then said it "might pick" at them, i
think he was just trying to sell me a fish!
<Bob F. may argue this point, but I'd say that with one or two exceptions (genera such as Heniochus and Forcipiger) all the Chaetodontidae will, at best, be occasional polyp nibblers. Some feed on polyps rather than anything else, and such species are difficult to keep in captivity. Others view polyps as a tasty supplement to a more mixed diet. But either way, I'd not recommend any Chaetodon sp. for the reef tank.>
I've been looking around the WWW. and some web sites say Reef Compatible :
With Caution some say not at all, i want a non biased opinion ....thanks for your time
<Cheers, Neale.>

Mixing Butterfly with coral, comp.   2/3/09 Hi guys. I have been doing lots of research as to what butterfly fish can go with which coral. I have read both the Scott Michael book, the Bob Fenner book, and used various resources on the web, as well as my LFS. While both books are very informative, the specific information as to what each fish would eat is somewhat sketchy. <Mmm, actually... not so... There are some "almost strictly" planktivorous species... that are identified... in these works, even just on WWM...> There does appear to be an irony, in that it seems that the more colorful a fish is the more difficult it is to care for, or the more likely it will eat corals! <Tis so> So the specific fish I am interested in would be one or two of the following in order of preference: Chaetodon melannotus, <Not such a good choice> C semilarvatus, C. falcula. auriga, C. punctatofasciatus, <These are... along with Forcipigers, Heniochus, Coradions, Hemitaurichthys species, Some other Chaetodons...> C miliaris (but I don't like that in captivity the miliaris can lose its color). I am trying to get an idea of which coral would be most likely to succumb to their appetites, and it is not easy. <SPS mainly...> I currently have a 125 gallon tank with 200 pounds of live rock, an ASM protein skimmer, 50 gallon sump, and two 96W dual lamps, (along with two metal halide (don't know wattage) which I do not currently use). Fish are four blue green Chromis, one bicolor angel (doing very well, and eating like mad at every feeding), and one coral beauty angel. It might interest you to know the two angels get along fabulously, with the bicolor being the leader, and the c. beauty being his shadow. <And there's sufficient room for both> I also have one cleaner shrimp, ten blue leg hermits, and twenty assorted snails. Water quality has been excellent, with my biggest "problem" being nitrates of 20ppm. <Mmm, a DSB in the sump likely... RDP with macro algal culture> I am not interested in having a full blown reef tank but I would like to have a few corals. So my question is: are there any corals that could survive in a set up like this? <Mmm, very likely yes> I like the polyps most, but anything that could make it would be worth trying. <I'd try them> Thanks for your great informative site! Bruce <Happy to share. Bob Fenner>

Butterflyfish Compatibility, sel.  12/30/08 Dear Bob, <Rusty> I plan on having a 180 gallon tank with a Saddle butterfly, a semilarvatus butterfly, a Heniochus Bannerfish, a collare butterfly, and a Copperband butterfly that I plan to keep with a clean up crew. Would these fish be safe to keep with a Linckia starfish, a tuxedo urchin, cleaner shrimps, Nassarius snails, hermit crabs, and turbo snails? Would these fish be OK to keep in a 180g tank with a 55 gal sump with loads of Chaetomorpha algae? <Mmm... if it were, my system, I'd do a bit of rethinking re this mix of Butterflyfishes... a single Ephippium/Saddleback is fine, as are Chelmons... but the Gold mask really need to be in pairs/twos to be happy and the Heniochus and Collares are really only happy in a group... 3, 5... So, I'd eliminate some, add others... to the numbers here. They'll all get along with the invertebrates you list... though I think Linckia Seastars are poor bets in almost all captive settings. The size of the tank is fine for what you list. Bob Fenner>

Auriga Butterfly Compatibility 5/10/08 I just recently put a 60g tank up. Right now the only thing in there are 5 hermit crabs, 1 emerald crab, a little blue green Chromis (mostly to help with cycling the tank), I just put two of my inverts from a previous tank in after the 60g had been cycled for a month, they are a long spin urchin and a chocolate ship star. They both seem to be doing well. My plan is to place one more invert (from yet another established tank) in, and that is a bubble tip anemone, with a maroon clown. Can I place an auriga in if the bubble tip has a maroon to defend it? I know I would have to place the maroon in last due to territorial issues, so I would place the anemone in last as well. Also I would like to add one more fish to the mix at some point and that would be a volitans. Will they butterfly, volitans and auriga play nice? <Just like humans, fish are individuals. However, as a general rule, these should get along. Make sure the Butterfly is eating well before purchasing it.> Could a small volitans fit a medium sized maroon in its mouth? <yes> Also given the nature of the maroons disposition, would the volitans even try to eat it? <not likely if kept well fed> I have about 50 lbs of live rock in the tank with a lot of places to hide. I am running a very powerful canister filter which currently only had light carbon and light chemical filtration due to the lack of bio load currently in the lank, as well as a skimmer. I also have a quarantine tank that all my new animals go into, to minimize new disease to the tank. I just am concerned with those three fish being good, not only to themselves but to the inverts as well. Thanks for your help you all have been very helpful. <You are more than welcome Spencer> <<Thanks Curt -Sara M.>>

Butterflyfish as Buddies? (Compatibility)   4/24/08 I can't tell you how much I appreciate this site and you, the people who devote their time to it. Truly, I can't even begin to count the hours I've spent reading the content here. It's a remarkable site and a fantastic boon to those of us new to this great hobby. Kudos upon kudos to all of you! <On behalf of my fellow Crew members, thank you for your kind comments. I've been proud to have been affiliated with WWM for almost 6 years now. I cannot believe how much the site has grown and improved. We've got some amazing people here, all under the wonderful influence of Bob.> <<Which spelled backwards is boB... Heee! RMF>> I've searched WWM as well as the rest of the net for an answer to a specific fish compatibility question but have had no luck in finding a suitably specific answer to my question and so I send this email to a source I consider infinitely knowledgeable. <I don't know about the "infinitely" part!><<I do... and not! RMF>> Are Heniochus diphreutes (Bannerfish) and Chelmon Rostratus (Copperband Butterfly) compatible in the same tank or are they too similarly shaped/striped not to display competitive tendencies? Thanks so much in advance, Nate <Good question, Nate. The Biggest concern that we normally have with husbandry of the Copperband is simply keeping the fish alive and happy! That being said, in my experience, the Copperband is generally not interactive with other Butterflyfish. However, it would not be unrealistic to expect some possible interaction in the confines of an aquarium. The Heniochus species are usually pretty good community fishes, in my experience, as long as they are given sufficient swimming area. I have kept the H. diphreutes with a C. punctatofasciatus in a 225 gallon system for years without issues. Granted, this is my experience and yours will differ, but I am pretty confident that, in a system with sufficient space, you could keep other species with the Heniochus. The key is to add both fishes as relatively small, young specimens, and to add them at the same time in an aquarium of sufficient size. Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.>

Cnid. compatibility with butterflies  3/30/08 Hi, I went through the FAQs and articles in the website. Not able to get a clear picture so asking you folks by email (Sorry for the trouble). Can I keep the following inverts with butterflies? 1. Leather coral 2. Mushrooms 3. Sea Fan 4. Palythoa 5. cucumber 6. Xenia 7. Anything else I can keep? <Sure, an ocean full> I do know that LPS will be totally out but what of SPS like Acropora? How many butterfly types can I mix in a 120 gal tank? <Depends on the species... two-three> Cheers Ranjith <And you! B>

Butterfly Fish Systems/Compatibility 3/7/08 Hello, <Hi Sam> I have a standard 180 gallon aquarium, 72x24x24. I wanted to make this a butterfly isotope. I would like to keep one: Chaetodon auriga, Chaetodon collare, Chaetodon ephippium, Chaetodon falcula, Chaetodon fasciatus, Chaetodon rafflesi. I calculated 1 inch per 4 gallons. Am I overcrowding the aquarium? <With excellent filtration and use of a large sump, you could get away with six butterflies.> Do I have extra room for any other possible butterflies? <I would not add more.> Are all these butterflies relatively hardy? <The fasciatus (Raccoon) and auriga would be good choices, although most Raccoon Butterfly Fish imported are the lunula. The others can be moderately difficult to acclimate. The flavissimus (Long Nose) would be a better choice than some of the others you list.> In order, how would you add the butterflies into the aquarium? <I'd put the Raccoon in last.> Lastly, are all these butterflies compatible with each other? <Should be OK providing you have plenty of nooks and crannies for retreats and sleeping quarters. Do read here and linked files above. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/poorchaetodons.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BFsBestWrst.htm Thank you and I love your website!! <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Copperband And Ornate Butterfly Compatibility 8/15/07 I have 90g FOWLR tank that has been set up for almost a year. I've had the luxury of going slow with it, and only started adding fish in January, and have added about a fish per month since then. Right now the tank contains a Percula Clownfish, Cardinal Banggai, Golden Head Sifter Goby, Black Cap Basslet/Gramma, and a Copperband Butterfly (Chelmon Rostratus). I have an opportunity to get an Ornate Butterfly (Chaetodon ornatissimus). I have read that Butterflies generally should not be mixed, but can be if their shape, color and pattern are different. The shapes of these two butterflies are different, but while the patterns go a different direction, they are both fish with white and yellow stripes. Is there likely to be a problem with these two in a 90g tank? <Not really, the Ornate won't be around very long to cause trouble. This is an extremely difficult fish to acclimate and is best left in the wild.> The Ornate Butterfly is such a beautiful fish, I hate to pass it up, but there's obviously not much point if they are unlikely to be compatible in a 90g. <Do read here and related files above. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/poorchaetodons.htm> Thanks for your input. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Elegance Not Stinging; Catalaphyllia vs. Butterfly fish - 4/17/07 First of all what a brilliant site. You are all so smart. Hope you can help me. <Thank you, will try> I purchased a Catalaphyllia from my LFS a while back now. As of late I purchased a saddled butterfly of medium size and asked the store clerk "will this peck at my Catalaphyllia?" He answered with "no the coral will sting the butterfly". So I thought I would try it out and placed the fish into my tank while I watched waiting for it to settle in. The next minute the litter bugger started pecking at my elegance.  Did this coral not sting the butterfly?  A healthy Catalaphyllia is meant to have quite a bite, but all he had done was suck himself in. He hasn't been his normal self since. The butterfly has been taken out as soon as I could say boo and is happily adapting in my spare tank. <Wow!  Popular question tonight!  Butterfly fish should not be kept with corals.  They are known to eat corals and anemones that sting.> Also I am thinking about getting a bubble tip anemone for my clowns. Will this release its "chemicals" and affect the elegance? <It is more likely that the Catalaphyllia will sting and kill the anemone.  It is definitely not a good combination.> Thanks so much for your time. <You're welcome!  Brenda>

Chaetodon ephippium comp.  1/2/07 Howdy Crew and Happy New Year!! <Happy new year to you and yours as well! JustinN with you on this fine day.> We currently have a 90G display tank, 29 G QT, and a 10G algae/pod grower. <Ok, sounds good> We bought the display tank used with ~90# of LR. It was down for 3 hours before being restarted with 60G old water 30G new. It has a Coralife 220 skimmer 3G HOB 'fuge an Emperor 280 BW and PH's that turn the water 14x an hour. Amm and NI are 0 NA < 10ppm pH 8.0, Alk 4.25 meq/L, Ca 400ppm <Good> Current occupants are: 2 Sebaes,1 C. bispinosus, 1 "lawnmower" blenny, 3 cleaner shrimp,1 peppermint shrimp, 3 small Mithrax crabs,& 40 or so snails. The Sebaes and bispinosus just went in after a 4 week QT and Meth Blue dip, so we are looking for the next occupants of the QT. <Ok> I've read quite a few posts about Tangs bullying butterfly's if the Tangs were there first so... <Yes, the tang would be established and likely bully some... I'd add last> Would it be a good idea to get a pair of C. ephippiums before getting a Kole Tang? In Scott Michaels " Butterfly's and Angelfishes" he states they are okay with soft corals (none yet but we want some) and like to eat hair algae (got plenty, want less) plus they like amphipods, too. <*Pulls out the soapbox* Anemones and corals aren't really behaviorally compatible, can lead to detrimental effects to all tank inhabitants if and when the anemones decide to go on a walkabout. *Puts soapbox back away* My theory here is the same as with the tang above. If the corals are already established, there may be less chance of the butterflies going after them.> Thanks again for this site. It really is awesome. <Thank you for the kind words, Ed. Is certainly a labor of love. -JustinN> Ed
Re: Chaetodon ephippium   1/4/07 <Hello again, Ed. JustinN here once again> We don't want any anemones, just some soft coral. <Ah, I took the "stocked Sebaes" to mean Sebae anemones... I now assume they're Sebae clownfish?> Given what you said about establishing the soft coral before adding the butterfly's would the Kole Tang be a better choice to add at this point? <Mmm, no, I'd continue to plan for the tang to be the final addition. I more meant to add and establish the corals now, then have the next aquatic addition after coral acclimation be the butterflies. If you're really itching to add some more fish, why not consider some of the many gobies available? Most of these will be very little impact on the tank's bioload, and can be quite interesting additions in their own right.> I'm in the process of building a new hood for the display. When finished it will have 6 54 watt T-5's with ice cap reflectors. Currently the lighting we have is only 96 watts of t-8 in the plastic hood that came with the tank. For that reason, I'm reluctant to start adding soft corals right now. <I feel you are wise to wait here. When your new T5 hood is in place, I would proceed ahead with the soft corals.> Thanks Ed <Anytime, Ed! -JustinN>

Chaetodon ulietensis. A Butterfly With Gourmet Taste!  9/29/06 Hi, <Hi There! Scott F. here today!> I am trying to find out more info on the Chaetodon ulietensis.  I have heard that they devour Majano Anemones but would like to know if they will eat more than that if placed in a reef aquarium?   <Very likely, yes. Although they may favor a particular type of anemone, the likelihood of them picking on other similar items is too great to ignore, IMO.> Will they eat or pick at clams, SPS polyps, LPS polyps, mushrooms, etc.?  Thanks for any help you can give me.  Jeff <Unfortunately, these fishes have developed a sort of "high end cleanup crew" reputation, but the fact is they are Butterflyfishes, and certainly will munch on the gamut of typical reef inhabitants (soft corals, Zoanthids, hard corals, etc.). I would only keep this animal if you are prepared for the collateral damage that they can cause to your reef system. As aquarium fish, however, they are attractive, active, and relatively adaptable. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.> Jeff Reed

Butterfly Chomping On Corals   8/21/06 Bob, <Scott F. with you today.> Quick question for you - I have a Chaetodon xanthurus in a 110 gallon with about 20 large SPS Staghorn colonies. He picks on them quite a few times per day - I imagine eating a coral polyp with every nibble. This causes several of the corals to withdraw their polyps (at least during the day when I can watch). <I can imagine the picking he/she is doing when you aren't watching! LOL.> Will SPS still grow under this condition - i.e. inability to extend their polyps? Will the butterfly eat the entire coral down to the skeleton typically? Best, Kris BerlinMethod.com <Well, Chris, in the closed system with its finite coral population and limited space, it's going to be a serious issue. Sure, the corals can continue to grow if some of them can extend their polyps, but it is not very likely. The constant picking will also cause some other possible problems for the corals, such as disease, and in the event of dead sections on the coral, nuisance algae growing over these sections. Typically, the Butterflies will pick at the coral itself, and maybe pull off some surrounding tissue in the process. Disease and/or secondary predators can complete the job started by the Butterfly. In the end, it's probably better to pull out the corals or the fish if you intend for them to thrive indefinitely. Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Semilarvatus Butterfly... Reef Compatibility    8/7/06 I just wanted to ensure that this e-mail was received.  I sent it about a week ago and I would assume it's floating around somewhere trying to find somebody with a sufficient answer - but my email is flakey so I didn't know if it got lost in cyberspace and just wanted to double check. <Believe this was replied to.> Friends at WWM, <Scott> Just one brief question - does anybody have any idea what corals in particular might be threatened by Semilarvatus Butterflies?  I am considering a pair for my 1300g reef, but would like to know exactly what kind of risk I would be running.  The tank has around 1500lbs of rock, two refugiums, and they will be kept very well fed. <Some folks say with caution, others, not reef safe.  They do feed on sessile inverts in the wild which includes many of the ornamental varieties we keep.  If it were my call, I would not chance it. James (Salty Dog)> Scott
Re: Semilarvatus Butterfly...Reef Compatibility    8/7/06
James, Thanks for the reply - was lost in cyberspace apparently. I was more curious what type of sessile inverts in particular they delight in consuming. <Anything that can't get away.:)  In particular tube worms, small crustaceans, soft and hard corals, may nip at clam mantles, etc.> It's fine if nobody knows, at the very least, I will try them out in a couple of smaller reef tanks and see what they go for and what they don't. <May want to read here and related links above for more info.    http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BFsBestWrst.htm  James (Salty Dog)> Scott

Butterflies in A Reef.. Worth The Gamble?  - 05/23/2006 Hello WWMCrew! <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I have an easy question today!  I have a 250gallon coral tank that  has a good 250lbs of live rock, and lots of LPS corals (Bubble Corals, Trachyphyllia, Wellsophyllia, Torch, and Trumpet Coral) scattered throughout the tank.  As well as a few Crocea clams.  As far as fish go, I have a few gobies, 5 small (1 inch) Hippo Tangs, and a 4 inch Powder Blue Tang.  My question is, can I introduce the Longnose Butterfly into this system? <Although I have seen it done before with this fish, it's really a role of the dice, as far as Butterflies in a reef are concerned. Some individuals will be all to happy to help themselves to an abundant supply of corals, LPS or otherwise. Others will ignore the corals completely. Perhaps you could introduce some of the corals into the quarantine tank to see if the Butterflies show any interest. I'd be really cautious about introducing the fish into a tank filled with active fishes like Tangs already in residence. In my experience, the best time to put Butterflies into a tank is when it's newly set up. They tend to be rather easily intimidated at first, and they may not do well.> I have read they can eat LPS's and I don't want to lose my beautiful corals. Also, if they can be introduced, is it possible to have a small school of 5 or so? <Well, if one is a gamble, then 5 would be a REALLY big gamble! Besides, think about the end game here. You have 5 Hippo Tangs that get huge. Adding a quantity of additional fish is potentially problematic, and could overload your system's capacity.> Thanks! Ramon E. Gonzalez IV <My pleasure, Ramon. Hope that you make the right call! Regards, Scott F.>

Heniochus Stocking Question - 03/31/06 Hi! <<Hello!>> A little over a month ago, I emailed you concerning adding 2 Heniochus Butterfly fish to a 72 gallon tank.  You said that it would be possible, depending on what else was going in.  The fish that I am referring to grow to b/w 9 and 10 inches <<Hmm...H. acuminatus then?>> <Won't grow this large here... RMF> and they are the only things that I planned on adding.  Now, I was thinking about transferring a Rainford goby from another tank into the 72 gallon as well.  I did not want him to be harassed by the strawberry Pseudochromis that I was thinking about adding (to my 46 gallon). Would that be okay, considering the fact that it hovers near the live rock most of the time?   <<Should be fine, yes.  Regards EricR>>

Pakistani Butterfly/Compatibility  - 03/25/2006 I've been researching butterfly fish options to add to my 70G SW tank and am intrigued by the possibility of a pair of Chaetodon collare or Pakistani butterflies.   My tank, which holds about 90 lbs of live rock, has been up and running for more than a year and currently is home to a dispar Anthias pair and a clarkii clown & green bubble tip anemone, along with a cleaner shrimp and assorted snails and crabs. All appear to be doing wonderfully well.   Due to the addition of the bubble tip, I've not added any corals.   My question lies with the relative Compatibility between the butterflies and the bubble tip, as I've read that some, but not all, Chaetodons like to munch on anemones of different sorts. I suspect the clown would honor its obligation to protect its host anemone, keeping it fairly safe from any nipping or picking.  Is this one of the safer butterflies to keep with an anemone?   Also, nearly everything I've read has suggested getting a pair of Pakistanis rather than just one.   Does simultaneous introduction generally lead to a fine result regardless of whether they were a previous "pair"?   Lastly, what, if any, other corals/inverts could I introduce safely with the Pakistanis? I recognize that butterflies in general are not reef safe but that there's a sliding "safety" scale with regard to this family.   Thanks for any additional insight you can offer. I'm happy to follow any advice you offer.   Wonderful web site.  <Eric, the BTA may very well become the first food for these guys as they do feed on SPS corals in nature, and with none available, the BTA may start looking good to them.  I do not know what your experience level is but the Pakistani's are not one of the easiest butterfly fish to maintain.  Do research more on this fish before buying.  Start here.   http://wetwebmedia.com/bfsysfaqs.htm James (Salty Dog)>
Re: Pakistani Butterfly/Compatibility  - 03/25/2006
Salty Dog et al,  <Eric> Thanks for your response. I've been keeping saltwater fish (successfully) going on 15 years and have experience with a variety of families--with the exception of butterflies. Only in the last year have I moved into reef keeping (I have multiple other LPS, SPS and softies tanks, and all have done well). <Nice>>  In lieu of the Pakistanis for the 70G, would you have something to suggest? I'd like to add a "signature" fish that would do well with the Anthias and not make a meal out of the bubble tip.  <A Copperband or Longnose would be my choice if you must have a butterfly with the BTA.> I've considered different tangs, especially the Paracanthurus hepatus (Blue Tang), though I've heard various peers talk about its Ich magnetism as much as they mention it's beauty.  <If acclimated properly and given a healthy diet, it shouldn't be that great a problem.> There's a cleaner shrimp in the tank, so that could help ward off the problem I guess.  <Don't ever think these guys will eliminate any disease as such.> I acknowledge the challenge of keeping most Acanthurus sp., not to mention, I don't think my tank is comfortably large enough for most tangs.  <Agree.  Long tanks are best for these types.>  I have a tried 'n' true Zebrasoma flavescens in another community tank...so would like to try something different.   Is there a hardy, anemone friendly butterfly you'd suggest? <As above, these two fish generally leave anemones alone, will wipe out any sessile worm population you might have though.  No guarantees.  James (Salty Dog)>

Marine Compatibility/Long Nose Butterflyfish  - 02/27/06 I have just setup a 90 gallon tank to be used as a fish only. I was researching compatibility. I wanted to keep a dogface puffer in with a snowflake moray and a long nosed butterfly. Is there a compatibility issue here?  <What did you come up with when searching compatibility?  Read here and related links shown in title bar.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/forcipig.htm> Thank you very much for your time. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Eddie V.

Butterflies & angels/Compatibility/McDonalds on the reef   2/14/06 I know that no fish can ever be considered reef safe, but which butterflies are least likely to pick at soft corals? Everything I read tends to lean more towards them munching on worms and LPS corals. <If I were to take the CHANCE, it would be with a Raccoon Butterfly if yellow is what you are after.  Second choice would be the Auriga Butterfly. I want a good bit of yellow for some reason and was also looking at a Lemonpeel angel as well. Do you foresee any great threat? <I have a false Lemonpeel in a reef tank causing no problems. They are easier to acclimate to prepared food than the Lemonpeel.  All you are giving up are the blue eyelids.  Compare to women...Two identical gals, one with blue eyes the other brown.  The brown is much easier on your wallet...choose. James (Salty Dog)>

Butterflyfish/Compatibility  - 2/11/2006 Hey <Hey to you also.> Please provide me with some names (not scientific names) of suitable butterfly fish which are hardy, stay small, and do not eat corals. <That information is already on the Wet Web Media, do Google search it.> Thank you very much! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Aureofasciatus Angel... Butterfly  02-05-06 Hello, It is Jonathan again, almost 17.  It has been a while since I have been to Wet-Web and I had a question for ya.  Is there anyway of being able to keep a Aureofasciatus Angel in a coral tank? <... do you mean the Butterflyfish? There is no such animal as an Aureofasciatus Angel as far as I'm aware>   I have 125 gallon tank about 1 1/2 years old with leather coral, cup coral, button polyps, big mushroom coral and an anemone.  The tank also has a lot of sponges and varieties of algae. Living in the tank now  is an Achilles Tang, an Angel, <What species?> a cleaner Shrimp and a Scarlet Lady Shrimp.   All are peaceful and will eat out of my hand, especially the Tang. <A testament to your good care> The Tang will swim around my hand whenever it is in the tank.. Right now, I have a Lawnmower Blenny ad a small Tomato Clown in quarantine.  The Tang reminds me more of dog than a fish.  I know most Butterflies are not suitable for coral tanks but I kind of like the fish And thought that he would like the  125 gal rock tank rather a 10 gal open. Thanks for all your help. Jonathan <... worth trying. Bob Fenner>

Heniochus intermedius    1/19/06 Hey crew and specifically to whoever's answering questions tonight. <James this AM> I'm planning a 10' long tank and was looking at the Heniochus Intermedius. I know opinions on whether or not Heni's are reef safe are not are varied even on the WWM staff (I know Mr. Fenner usually states them as reef-safe barring individual personalities), but this is usually stated about Diphreutes or about the genus in general. My question is how does the Intermedius fare on the reef-safe scale? Is it generally safe like Diphreutes or not traditionally so as with the Acuminatus? Any help you can give would be great. <As with all Heniochus/butterflies the Red Sea Banner Fish possess individual personalities and while one may not bother anything, another may wipe out your worm population.  The mouth is designed for poking in crevices and retrieving worms and such.> Also, if considered reef-safe for the most part, would I still be looking at losing all of my fan worms if I were to have 5 in a 10' long tank? <The chance you will have to take my friend, no guarantees.  James (Salty Dog)> <<If hungry, Banner Butterflyfishes will definitely consume tubiculous Polychaete worms. RMF>> Thanks. <You're welcome> Nick

Tang/Butterfly Dispute - 01/18/06 Hello, <<Howdy>> I am having a major problem and don't know what to do.  I have a 75 gallon FOWLR.  Last night I added a Copperband Butterfly.  I read everything I could find about the fish first before adding him and asked three of my LFS people before getting him but this still didn't prevent what has been happening. <<Don't ya just hate it when the fish don't read the same books, talk to the same people!>> My Powder Brown Tang has been chasing him all over the tank forcing him to hide in the top corners of the tank.  I turned off the lights and the aggression seemed to drop off a bit.  This morning I saw him chasing him around some more and back to the corner he retreated.  My question is will this subside? <<Hard to say...>> Should I just yank him now and put him back in QT?  Here are all the tankmates: 75 Gallons 80 pounds of LR 1 Tomato Clown 1 Powder Brown Tang 4 Green Chromis 1 Cleaner Shrimp Thanks, Jason <<I would leave the butterfly in the display, pull the tang and put it in the QT tank, rearrange the rockwork in the display, and reintroduce the tang in about a week's time...if all goes well the butterfly will be comfortable/familiar enough and the tang confused enough the aggression will be mitigated.  regards, EricR>>

Butterflies Are NOT Free! (If You Love Your Corals, That Is!)   1/13/06 Hail Wizards of The Wet Wonder World, <Yikes! What a title to live up to! You'll just have to settle for mere mortal Scott F. today! LOL> I come seeking council on the wisdom of adding a butterfly to a mixed reef system. <Ahh...a fun way to go!> My little slice of the ocean is 110 gallons and a mix of mostly LPS, softies and a handful of SPS. I am considering one of the following Butterflies for purchase: Yellow Long Nose, Raccoon or Copperband. I have read as much as I could find and know it's a crap shoot, as there are both success and horror stories to envy War and Peace for word count. <Absolutely. If you are aware of the risks and are willing to accept the potential consequences, it's a risk worth taking, IMO. Butterflies in an established reef tank are a spectacular sight!> Fully understanding this gamble, my question is to you what of my sensible invertebrates are most at risk. In a dream world the Button Polyps, Zoos, Star Polyps and Tubeworms that grow like weeds in my system would be first target, but your opinion would go a long way to aid my final decision. <Well, the aforementioned animals ARE likely targets, but your fish might take a liking to that rare Acropora or your prized colony of Montipora Capricornis! Hard to say, really. > Though fish can not be removed, any picked on corals can, and I can easily arrange new and healthy homes for them. To sum up, I'm just trying to envision which coral type will be the focus of further reef development with a Butterfly on board. SPS, LPS, or Softies? Thanks a bunch KRH <Great question; one for which (of course) there is no one guaranteed answer! If it were me, I'd be concerned about the softies with the Raccoon in particular. Anemones with all of them, and some SPS with the Raccoon and the Copperband. Of the three species that you mention, I've seen the greatest degree of success with the Longnose. I personally kept a Longnose for years in a mixed reef with no problems, save the odd peck at a coral now and then. Does this mean that you'll have great results? Nope! But if you are set upon having a Butterfly in your reef, the Longnose (Forcipiger flavissimus) and the "Big" Longnose (F. longirostris) are the ones to try, IMO. It's a tough call, really-if you value your corals. Me, I love fish more than corals, so I'm willing to accept some "collateral damage". Are you? Hope this helps! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Forcipiger flavissimus and Zebrasoma flavescens in the same tank 10/17/05 Greetings, Please excuse me if I have overlooked the answer. I've searched the site and have yet to find the answer to this question: Will F. flavissimus and Z. flavescens live peacefully in the same tank? Your B/F section indicates that the F. flavissimus should be introduced early in the life of a tank so that it may "stake a claim." Everything I've read about Z. flavescens says that it is a peaceful resident and warns that I should have only one to a tank. Since both of these fish reach approximately the same adult size, will the Z. flavescens be too aggressive for the B/F (another potentially large yellow fish competing for resources)?  <Mark, I would put the long nose in first, then a week or two later the tang. They should get along well. You may see the tang chase the long nose occasionally but no harm should be done. James (Salty Dog)> 
Re: For James (Salty Dog): Forcipiger/Zebrasoma compatibility 10/18/05
James,  <Dan> I read your answer to this question and have a closely related tale to tell. You gave me the same advice some months ago (no blame! all fish are different!) with unfortunate results.  We put a Forcipiger into our 120 gal FOWLR. A few weeks later, a purple tang was introduced (slightly but not hugely bigger than the BF), a transfer from another smaller (55 gal) reef tank that we have. The two fish got along great for a few weeks, and then the tang started "following around" the BF and occasionally nipping.  A few days later, we found the BF severely chewed (most fins gone) -- the poor thing died within a few hours. I am making the basic assumption, perhaps wrong, that Zebrasoma species all have about the same aggression levels. From what I read, the purple and yellow tangs are very similar in this respect. Was I mistaken? In any event, I would consider this combination risky in my (unfortunate) experience. We replaced the BF with a long-nosed Hawkfish, which the tang completely ignores. Mr. Fenner, if you're looking over James' shoulder (so to speak), do you have any experience with this combination?  <Yes, Mr. Fenner does review all/most answered queries. If need be, he will insert a comment here. All tangs are aggressive to conspecifics, but most, if not all do get along with other fish. I believe the purple tang is slightly nastier than the yellow tang. As you mentioned, all fish are different and an unexpected problem can arise. As I mentioned in the previous mail, put the Butterfly in first and get a foothold, then a week or two later, the tang. Being the Longnose does have some yellow color, there may be an occasional chase but no body damage should occur. You didn't reply to the original query, and now I'm thinking you mentioned these two fish were going into a 55 gallon. I know you mention a 120 above but this is related to a different event.  Anyway, if they are going in a 55, then I would choose one or the other as a 55 is too small to keep these fish together. My answer above is based on properly sized housing for these fish which gives them more room to roam resulting in less hostility. James (Salty Dog)> Just wanted to pass this on. Regards, Dan 
For James (Salty Dog): Forcipiger/Zebrasoma compatibility  10/19/05
James,<Dan> The two fish were introduced into a 120 gal tank, BF first, exactly as you describe.  The tang had been living in an established 55 gal reef tank, but was quickly running out of room.  We transferred the tang into the 120 gal FOWLR a few weeks after the BF was introduced, much as you suggested. I am not doubting your knowledge or firsthand experience regarding the compatibility of Forcipiger and Zebrasoma species when introduced in the order and fashion described.  I just know that in *my* case, the results were unfortunate, and I wanted to pass that on to the general WetWebMedia community.   I hope no feathers (fins?) have been ruffled, as it was not my intent.  Your site, and Crew, continue to be a much-prized resource. <Dan, no fins ruffled.  This is what is unique among fish, humans for that matter also, is that certain individuals do not behave as expected.  The pygmy angel is another example.  Most I have kept are good reef fish.  Then again, certain individuals will pick on corals and clams.  Most are not after the meat but feed on the slime they generate.  Nonetheless, it causes the corals/clams not to open which degrades the health of the species.  James (Salty Dog)> Warm regards, Dan

Semilarvatus Compatibility Question Hello WWM Crew! <Hey> Your web forums have been an invaluable source of information for my fianc?and me.  <Glad we can help>  We are currently adding livestock to a 100 gal tank with a 2" sand bed and 100lbs of live rock. The tank has been up and running since January. I have a hang-on back CPR refugium with built in protein skimmer, along with an additional CPR Back-Pak. <Sounds like you have more than adequate filtration for this aquarium>  For circulation I have constructed an in tank, closed loop manifold out of pvc running off an AquaClear 110 Powerhead.  Currently in our tank: 2 False Percula Clown Fish, 1 Yellow tail Damsel, 1 Sunrise Damsel, 1 Bi-Color Blenny, and a cleaner shrimp. We also have a few hermit crabs and a turbo snail.  We LOVE the golden butterflies and want to add one but we have two worries:  1) Will he eat our shrimp and other inverts and  2) even singularly, will 100 gal be enough space for a fish that can reach 9-10"? We couldn't find anything in the forums that discussed their taste for shrimp, and I know that a pair of goldens needs 250-300 gal, but saw no info for solo specimens. <I have kept these beauties in my aquarium since I was 15 years old. They are hardy specimens provided there are no bullies and the water quality is kept up, they should not eat any shrimp....at one point I had 15 blood shrimp in my aquarium (during last hurricane season) and they never once picked on the shrimp>  Would you recommend the Pakistani or Pyramid Butterfly instead?  <No the golden is much nicer>  And if we added a Flame Angel later on are we maxing out our bio-load?  <A small flame angel should be fine later on...but after that I would just keep your current mix of fish>  We appreciate any advice and thanks again...<your welcome...also make sure you get a very healthy Semilarvatus. I go to the wholesalers once a week and have seen some pretty awful looking ones lately...be picky very picky :) IanB> 

Butterflyfish compatibility 8/17/05 Hi, I would like to know if you can put a Threadfin butterfly fish and a   Pearlscale butterfly in the same tank. I have a 55 gallon tank with about 25lbs.  of live rock in it. <You may have a few minor spats, but don't see any problem.  A 55 is kind of small especially if the threadfin is rather large.  These fish need really good water quality and diet to maintain for any length of time.  James (Salty Dog)>

Auriga "Threadfin" Butterflyfish compatibility? 6/18/05 One quick question...Will an Auriga Butterflyfish (Chaetodon auriga) be compatible with cleaner shrimp and a pencil urchin?  I saw on several sites that this fish "can, but with caution" be kept with inverts. Thanks a bunch! mike <This fish is far and away one of the hardiest and most suitable butterflies for aquarium life. They will be safe with urchins and most other inverts. Shrimp may be at risk here... but no more than they already are from other common/popular reef fishes like tangs. A small risk indeed. Anthony>

Butterfly combination I currently have a cbb. The LFS has a nice Longnose that they have had for about a month. Is it possible to have him in with my cbb in a lightly stocked 180. <Their body shapes are so very similar I would be a worried about combining them. But if you have lots of pods and lots of hiding places it might work.  They are generally not schooling butterflies like some of the others are. MacL>

Urgent Question on Butterfly - Anemone Compatibility Just had a once in a long while opportunity to purchase a juvenile Chaetodon mitratus from the fine folks at Marine Center. Even though I have a couple of Acroporas in my tank, I've always loved the family Roa butterflies. <I too admire the chaetodonts of this subgenus. In fact, a friend is visiting (JasonC) who has a declivis tattoo on his calf! And is looking forward to perhaps buying a couple in LA tomorrow> After purchasing the butterfly, I started thinking about the lovely rose bulb anemone in my tank. It's doing exceptionally well due to lighting and supplemental feeding. I am now worried that the C. mitratus might eat my anemone since there are no clowns to protect it. Do you guys and gals know if Family Roa butterflies have been know to dine on anemones? <Not commonly, but have heard they will nip them at times.> I'm hoping not since they are typically deepwater fish, and I don't suppose there are many types of deepwater anemones due to lack of light, although I know there are some carnivorous species. Any thoughts on the danger to my rose bulb? Also, what types of corals would be safe with a Roa butterfly? Thanks in advance! <I give you very good odds that they will co-exist. Bob Flavocoronatus Fenner> Thank you for the quick response. Also Bob, if you wouldn't mind, ask Jason how the 5 bar mystery wrasse is doing that I sent him. <Will do> I believe it was Jason anyways. About a year or two ago I had a small 5 bar that was destroying all of my kids pet cleaner shrimp, and sent the little guy to Jason I believe for an autographed version of your book! It is now proudly displayed in my reef room, along with 'A Guide to Angelfishes and Butterflyfishes' signed by Rich Pyle, Jerry Allen, and none other than Jack Randall. Pretty good company your keeping Mr. Fenner! <Very fine folks indeed. Bob F> Reef Safe Butterflies? Hi Folks; <John> Wonderful web site, chock full of information, and yet...... Here's the question (and I have poured over the FAQs and am still not sure):  Like many, I can't help but view butterflies as perhaps one of THE quintessential reef fishes, and would like to have one in my 90.  I have tried a H. acuminatus and a Chaetodon unimaculatus (at different times) and both took an immediate and undesired liking to my open brain coral, (but not other corals including my Sebae anemone) so I quickly traded them in. Now I have spotted at my LFS a very nice Chaetodon miliaris, which by some accounts may be "reef safe". <Toward that end of a/the scale, yes... am diving with this species almost daily out in Hawai'i> Would it be worth a try, perhaps placing the brain in the quarantine tank with it as a test? <A good idea> Or should I perhaps look for a H. diphreutes as a better choice?  Or should I abandon the idea as folly? <Folly and reef aquarium keeping go hand in hand!> I of course realize that the term "Reef Safe" is somewhat subjective and some sources don't even consider tangs as reef safe, but an informed opinion would be helpful. Thanks JT <I say it's worth a go. Bob Fenner>

Butterfly eating a cucumber Hi guys. Let me quickly say first that I am a huge fan. Your website and published material are a magnificent resource - unparalleled, to my knowledge. Furthermore, individuals of your caliber are a credit to the species; your very existence is sublime. Now that I'm through gushing, on to my question. I recently inherited a well established 200 gal reef tank. It was my fathers before me and although I always had a hand in things, I've only recently gotten creative control. One of the first things I did was introduce a pair of Pink & Green Sea Cucumbers (Cucumaria sp., I believe). I'm well aware of the potential danger they pose, but I've loved Holothuroidea since childhood and I simply couldn't resist the chance to finally have some of my own. So far, they seem to be doing quite well. I did a fair amount of research before and after acquiring the pair and have every reason to believe they are quite happy. That is, accept for the following. Amongst others, the tank contains a Butterfly Tang that's been with us for quite some time. My father was very fond of this fish (despite the obvious) and I would hate to see anything happen to him, so I became a little worried when he took a chomp out of one of the cucumbers. Fortunately, nothing catastrophic happened. Having read your Cukes guide I assumed it was an isolated incident: "Only the very hungriest and naive fish will (re-)try chomping on a Sea Cucumber." However, he seems to have developed a taste for them! << Very odd. >> Whenever they expose their tentacles to filter for too long, he'll take a bite out of one! << Oh I gotcha ya'.  Yah I can see that happening. I wouldn't worry much about it, and would hope the Cuke learns. >> It goes without saying this has me quite concerned. I mean, sooner or later won't one of them simply get feed up and napalm the whole jungle? << Well that would be terrible, but honestly I've never known anyone who had that happen. >> Baring that, won't the Butterfly get sick? << I don't believe so.  Here is why.  If it is indeed toxic, logic would say he'll stop eating them.  I think that may just happen. >> I feed him plenty, so I doubt he's doing it out of hunger. In any event, what do you suggest? << Nothing really.  I think you leave them be and see what happens.  I don't know if there is anything you can do. >> I've been keeping the cucumbers alive by supplying them with plenty of liquid plankton whenever the Butterfly is busy feeding on his usual frozen favorites far from the Cukes corner. << Great idea. >> Speaking of which, is it possible to over feed them in this way?  << No, and live phyto is always good for the rest of the system as well. >> Not that I could ever distract Madam Butterfly long enough to do so, but I could happily watch them stuff themselves all day. Anyway, I sure could use some advice. I really don't want to get ride of either party, but is there anything else I can do? Thanks for your time. << Just let them work it out. >> <<  Blundell  >>

Chaetodon mitratus Compatibility Good day crew, <Good day! It's a nice day to be wireless!> I currently house a Copperband in my 240 reef loaded with LPS and SPS.  It took less than a week for the Copperband to eliminate all my Aiptasia and unfortunately tubeworms as well. <An unfortunate side-effect> I now literally have to pluck Aiptasia from my refugium to feed the Copperband!  Well, getting to the point, I love the butterfly in my reef, it makes it look complete, and I'm thinking of getting another reef-safer butterfly, Chaetodon mitratus.  Will they get along? <I'd say that you've got enough volume to handle both...although I'd monitor things closely for some time> Currently my fish load includes mystery wrasse, purple Firefish, ventralis, 2x Amblygobius rainfordi, 3x Amblygobius hectori, pair of Pseudanthias pulcherrimus, yasha hase, and Copperband.   <Sounds very nice.  Good luck! Ryan> Need your advice.  Thanks a bunch! Roy

Compatibility of Black & White Heniochus? Are the following completely compatible together? << Nothing is completely compatible, but we can generalize here. >> Heniochus Black & White Butterflyfish (Heniochus  acuminatus) Tiger Tail Sea Cucumber (Holothuria sp.) Red Sea Star (Fromia milleporella) Squamosa Clam (Tridacna squamosa) Blue Tuxedo Pincushion Urchin (Mespilia globulus) << Yes, I would say these items are fine in a reef tank together. >> Second question: Are there ANY corals that the Heniochus Butterflyfish   (Heniochus acuminatus) is compatible with? << Certainly.  They are known to pick at Zoanthids and small polyps, but I've seen many Heniochus in reef tanks living fine with large soft colt corals and mushroom anemone rocks.  Every fish has its own personality, but these fish are commonly seen in reef tanks. >> <<  Blundell  >>

Long Nose Butterfly & Reef Tank  7/19/04 WWM Crew, <Hi MacL here with you tonight> I have a 75 gallon reef setup and am considering getting another fish to liven it up. The Longnose butterfly (F. flavissimus), caught my eye, but I am concerned about its compatibility with the tank's current inhabitants (vertebrate and not). First off, are they compatible with corals. I've heard both ways on this, and wanted to know what you thought. <I think the reason for this is that they go both ways, they can be reef safe yet some of them definitely are not.> There's no tearing this tank down to capture a coral-eater, so It'd be good to know before it gets in there. I have mainly LPS with a few soft corals (mainly various leathers). I also have a clam (T. deresa) that is doing well. On the vertebrate side, I have a yellow tang, and I don't know if it would get along because of similar color/body shape. I also have a mandarin that's doing great, but I don't want it to starve because of excessive competition from the butterfly. <If you can't take it out and you think you might have to my advice is not to put it in.> Thanks in advance.  

Long-Nosed Butterflyfish Compatibility (7/12/04) Hi--I'm thinking about future livestock and one fish I was interested in was the yellow Longnose butterfly. <Forcipiger flavissimus. A beautiful, rather hardy, and generally peaceful fish.> Can you tell me if this fish would be safe with a Fromia star? <should not be a problem. Has been known to nip at tubeworms and the tube feet of sea urchins. Generally not a problem for corals either.> Are there any other inverts that would be at risk from it? <As above> thanks. <This fish is a nice choice with generally peaceful tankmates in at least 75 gallons. Do read and learn more from various sources. Steve Allen.>

REEF COMPATIBILITY OF BUTTERFLYFISHES Hi, I have a 230 gal tank with 230 lb. of Fiji rock.  The tank is 4 months old.  I would like to add one or two C. paucifasciatus to join a Klein's butterfly, coral beauty, algae blenny, two Percula clowns and several pulsing Xenia.  The Klein's doesn't touch the Xenia. How expensive are these fish in N. America?  << Not sure, but a closely related fish would be much easier to find, and a lot cheaper.  I would think a C. mertensii would be about $30. >> Would a random pair get along with each other and the Klein's (and the Xenia).  << Tough call.  I'll say that it is about a 50/50 chance.  I would think you are safer with one fish, but two fish in a tank that size may do okay.  Many butterflies will pair bond, so you may luck out. >> Are there any other soft corals that I could add with these Butterflyfishes? << Absolutely.  I think many soft corals would do well, but I would stay way from small polyps and Zoanthids. >> Thank you. Peter << Good luck, Adam B. >>

Butterfly Compatibility Hello, <Hi Kevin> I've been looking in to Butterfly's recently and found a few that caught my eye. Currently, I have a 100 gal FO and a 300 gal. FO in the works. I hope to have the 300 running a year from now, lots of equipment left to buy $$$$$$$$$. Anyway, I may have missed it, but is it possible to mix a threadfin,  C. xanthurus, C. falcula, C. rafflesi in one system? Or any combo of the 4? Would I be able to put any of these in the 100 gal? Thanks again for all of your help in the past. Advice has been put to use and is working perfectly. < Compatibility is not really going to be as much of an issue as size limitations, meaning that 4 fish of this size and their space requirements may not be effectively met within a 100 gallon aquarium.  Now if you were considering putting them in the 300 gallon, that would be absolutely justifiable and a perfect captive environment for them.  Aside from the somewhat small constraints of a 100 gallon, these 4 fish should have little to no problems being in the same environment.> Kevin

Bannerfish and Corals 5/26/04 Hi Crew, Hope you had a pleasant weekend! <Thanks! You too.> Have recently purchased Bannerfish; were labeled and sold as Heni. acuminatus but are actually diphreutes. My mushrooms have been safe so far should I say!!! The LFS says mushrooms are not bothered by diphreutes as well as leather coral. After looking through your FAQ on Bannerfish I still have a question. What if any polyps or other corals are not eaten by diphreutes. I was particularly interested in Zoanthus polyps group or could you suggest some other hardy corals safe with diphreutes. <Most if not all corals should be safe with most specimens of H. Diphreutes.> Could you also recommend an informative book on anemones? <Yes! "Anemone Fishes and Their Host Sea Anemones: A Guide for Aquarists and Divers" by Fautin and Allen. It is a bit out of date and not super complete, but remains the best aquarium reference on this specific topic.> Thanks once again for your much appreciated help and expertise and look forward to your reply. Regards Ceil Wagaman <Glad to help! Adam>

Featherduster Muncher? Hi Scott <Hello again!> One other question regarding the butterfly's Do they eat the Featherdusters? <Um, yep!> I had a few Featherdusters in my tank and now I don't see them anymore, all gone. Could the butterfly be eating them? Thanks Ziad <I'd state with almost total certainty that the butterfly was munching on your Featherdusters. These types of animals are a definite dietary component for these guys. Butterfly fish are generally about as "reef unsafe" as you can get, with a few exceptions....Regards, Scott F>

Butterfly stocking II Hi again.<Howdy!> Personally the raccoon isn't my favourite.  Would one be ok. <These guys are usually not considered to be reef safe anyway.  You might be able to get away with one.> If it's not what would be 2 other fish you would recommend rather the Butterflyfish.<How about a dwarf angel or a fox face. Cody> Scott. P.S.  I am looking into corals so I am picking fish that are either entirely reef safe or caution required.

2 Butterflies? Hi this is Jonathan just wondering if it would be alright to have a Copperband and Longnose butterfly fish together.<Depends on how large of tank you have, if you have less than a 180 I would not place them together.> Hope to be a sponsor of your website by summer.<Awesome!!  Cody> thanks for everything.

Mixing up the Butterflies..? >Hi gang, my current fascination seems to be with butterflies as I plan for a new (larger) f/o tank.  I now have a Copperband in the 110 ( nearly a year) and a Pearlscale in quarantine (he's doing quite well).  I keep coming across comments indicating that two conspecific can be kept together if a male/female pair, yet I can find no information on determining sex.  A tad frustrating.   >>Yeah.. I haven't found a darn thing regarding sexual dimorphism of butterfly FISH, though I'm finding plenty on other fish and actual butterflies.  In any event, I've seen butterflies mixed in rather large numbers in a 110 quarantine tank - raccoon, threadfin, Copperband, Pearlscale.. and now the last two species escape me.  We had some shy ones, but I saw not ONE instance of aggression between any fish. >In the event that I cannot mix the cb with the Pearlscale I could move him (the cbb) to my reef and add a "mate" for the pearl, IF I can determine sex.  Any help?  As always, TIA  -  D >>I would join at least three different saltwater boards.  I will suggest http://www.reefs.org (publishers of Advanced Aquarist online magazine), http://www.reefcentral.com (they publish their own online Mag, the name escapes me.  However, I've found that it is VERY easy to get completely lost in the traffic there.)  And last I would try http://www.wetwebfotos.com/talk (our sister board with forums).  There are many other sites, but I have no experience with them at all, so cannot speak for the quality, "flavor", etc.  Marina

Copperbanded Butterfly fish with a Regal Tang? Hi, Would a Copperbanded butterfly fish be compatible with a regal tang? <This duo should be fine...but please purchase an Australian Copperband b/f they do much better than their Indonesian counterparts!!!, IanB> Regards Aaron.

Preventing Butterfly Battles And Other Problems... Dear Mr. Fenner, <Scott F. pinch-hitting here today..> First of all, thank you for being there. <I'm sure I speak for all of us at WWM when I thank you for your kind words! We really enjoy being here for our fellow hobbyists!> I have a 50 gallon tank its been running now for 3 months. In total, I've had it for 4 years but, It had to be drained and shipped overseas. Now, I have 1 Auriga butterfly, 2 Ocellaris and 1 Yellow Wrasse. About 25 lbs. of live rocks. Tank is running well. Is it okay if I add a Pakistani butterfly? <To be honest- no...For one thing, the Auriga can hit a substantial size, and will require a considerably larger tank for long-term success and growth. Throwing another butterfly fish into the mix would be detrimental for both.> "I fell in love with this fish" It would be my last addition in the tank. But I couldn't find any information if my tank is big enough? Or, will these two butterflies co exist within this space? Thank you for your time. Kind regards, Mike. <As discussed, I don't think that this is a viable plan. Also, if you take into account the fact that many of these fishes don't adapt to captive diets, and you have what may be a less-than-optimal fish...It IS beautiful, but I think that it needs to have a situation where it is the only butterfly in the tank, or added at the same time as another butterfly (all in a tank larger than 100 gallons, IMO) to avoid conspecific aggression. All in all, I'd hang on to your plans for this fish until you can supply it more optimal conditions...You're going to be in the hobby a long time, and there will be plenty available in the future, when your ready. Regards, Scott F>

Copperbanded Butterflyfish...not "reef safe" Hi, Can the Copperbanded Butterflyfish be determined reef safe? <To be honest with you...I do not consider ANY butterfly fish "reef safe"., IanB> Regards Aaron.

Heniochus, Reef safe?  (9-5-03) Hi,<Howdy, sorry for the delayed reply.> I have a Heniochus Black & White Butterflyfish (Heniochus acuminatus) and I am interested in getting a Blue Mushroom Coral (Actinodiscus sp.) from my LFS.  I know Butterflyfish are always risky to mix with reefs, but I really don't what corals fall into their diet.  I also would like to get a Bulb Anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor) eventually.  Are there any concerns with this animal and the mushroom coral or any of the other livestock? Currently, that tank has a yellow tang, blue tang, a coral beauty and the Heniochus.  Finally, what kind of clown would you suggest, if any, to pair with the Bulb Anemone?  Any info would be great.<He should be fine , I would say go for it as long as you have the proper lighting and done your research.  As for clowns it would help if I new the size of your tank, but assuming you are not overstocked you could go with ocellaris or perculas as they stay smaller.  Cody> thanks! Chris

-Heniochus compatibility- Hi, I have a Heniochus Black & White Butterflyfish (Heniochus acuminatus) and I am interested in getting a Blue Mushroom Coral (Actinodiscus sp.) from my LFS.  I know Butterflyfish are always risky to mix with reefs, but I really don't what corals fall into their diet. <If you're sure that it's a H. acuminatus then it may be a problem. H. diphreutes is a completely reef safe Heniochus b'fly and is almost identical to the former. H. diphreutes can be distinguished (according to Scott Michael) by having "a more rounded breast, less-protruding snout, and the middle black band ends at the corner of the anal fin".> I also would like to get a Bulb Anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor) eventually.  Are there any concerns with this animal and the mushroom coral or any of the other livestock? <Only with the b'fly (potentially)>Currently, that tank has a yellow tang, blue tang, a coral beauty and the Heniochus.  Finally, what kind of clown would you suggest, if any, to pair with the Bulb Anemone? <Just about any of the common clowns will adopt BTA's, pick your favorite!> Any info would be great. thanks! <Good luck identifying the butterfly! -Kevin> Chris

Pyramid Butterfly I was wondering if Pyramid butterflies are reef-safe. Would they do fine in a SPS tank, or would they eat the polyps. would the lights be to bright. Would they pick at any LPS corals (Cyanaria, Blastomussa). Any info would be appreciated. <Hemitaurichthys polylepis... is likely to the far right side in its likelihood, tendency to "leave Scleractinians, Alcyonaceans alone"... The species, genus are principally zooplanktivores... do get quite big, live in areas of great water movement... Your lighting is probably fine, but procuring this BF in initially good condition (it ships poorly) is not easily done. Do seek out Hawaiian specimens if you're in the U.S.A.. Bob Fenner>

Butterfly question Hello Crew, question for Mr. Fenner is possible.  On an old FAQ response said the following in regards to a Chaetodon semilarvatus in reef tanks: <Not likely to eat your corals if otherwise well fed... as a percent/scale of risk, low... though not lowest... some 20-30% possibility of some coral polyp foraging...> My question is, which one would be considered lowest? Thank you Paul <Let's see... about tied for the genera Hemitaurichthys, Chelmon, Chelmonops and Forcipiger butterflies... and Chaetodon lunula... Bob Fenner>

Butterfly's with anemones Hi guys, How are we all this Monday?<Fine and you?> Quick question: Can we keep a Double Saddle Butterfly with a bubble tip anemone? <Personally I would not trust "any" butterfly with an anemone, IanB> Thanks
Have a great day!!!!!!

Butterflyfishes for  Marine Aquariums
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