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FAQs on Butterflyfishes Foods, Feeding, Nutrition

Related Articles: Butterflyfishes

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

Chaetodon lunulatus Quoy & Gaimard 1824, the Redfin Butterflyfish. Almost exclusively corallivorous...

Butterflyfishes for Marine

Diversity, Selection & Care
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Butterflyfish ID/Four Eye Butterflyfish/Poor Butterflyfish 1/31/11
<Hello Richard.>
I'm trying to identify a butterfly fish that I have purchased from local fish store.
It says assorted Atlantic butterfly but couldn't find out any more information on it.
I browsed your site but couldn't find anything on it either however did see the picture on your butterfly fish section.
Can someone help me identify this fish for me please?
<Is a Chaetodon capistratus (Four Eye Butterfly Fish) and very difficult to adapt to prepared foods. Wild foods include, but not limited to, are mainly cnidarians, Polychaete worms, gorgonians and tunicates. I'd try my best to return this fish. Always best to research before buying.>
Thank you so much.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Butterflyfish ID/Four Eye Butterflyfish/Poor Butterflyfish 1/31/11- 2/1/11
Hello James,
Thanks for the quick response.
<You're welcome.>
Yea, this was an impulse buy and I'm not too proud of it. However to justify for it, I couldn't figure it out on the store because they didn't know the name of the fish as well. (usually I'm tapping on my smart phone researching in the store haha) It has been there close to 3 weeks and was eating brine shrimps well when was fed and at the price tag of $7.99, I couldn't resist this beauty.
<Eating is a good sign.>
I knew that butterflies are hard to take care of but looking at the article in your site and your recommendation, it looks like it's REALLY difficult.
<The difficult part is getting it to eat nutritious foods.>
I minced up some squid, shrimp and scallops and prepared Nori and Mysis shrimps. Hopefully it will start to eat then I can wean on to Spectrum pellets and flakes as well...
There is no way I can take back the fish. Any personal recommendation that you can give me to take care of this finicky fish, I would appreciate it.
<Your above food recipe is good. Might want to paste this mixture on a Brain Coral (or similar) skeleton. Although Brine Shrimp isn't all that nutritious, soaking it
with a few drops of Selcon is advantageous as long as it still eats the Brine Shrimp. I also suggest feeding small amounts three or four times daily. Might want to look through our FAQs on Butterfly Fish feeding for more ideas/suggestions.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bffdsfdgfaqs.htm James (Salty Dog)>

Butterflyfish Success Story... Transitioning from live to dried/frozen foods 7/20/2010
<Hi Mike, Mich here.>
Promised Bob I would send this, hoping it might help others with these beautiful, but delicate, finicky creatures.
<Thank you for following through!>
I purchased three b/f fish mail-order, a Pakistan, a Saddleback and a Pearlscale. Tried every frozen and dry fish food known to man, but could not get the fish to eat anything except live, on the half-shell, clams and mussels.
<Is often the case in the beginning as these fish are accustom to foraging for live foods.>
The Pakistan did not eat for three weeks (I was worried to say the least!), then finally ate the clams and mussels. After a few more weeks I got the Saddleback and Pearlscale eating flake, with the Pearlscale also eating frozen Mysis and the Saddleback eating frozen bloodworms--only!
<Everybody has likes and dislikes...>
The Pakistan finally started eating something other than live food but only from my hand (spoiled, I know!)-- and that was freeze-dried Tubifex worms!
What a pain at feeding times but what a great sense of achievement.
<I would imagine!>
The Saddleback and Pearlscale now eat anything I throw into the tank and still LOVE their flake food (Spectrum products).
<I am a fan of Spectrum foods.>
They mostly eat frozen Mysis, Angelfish Formula and the occasional mussel or clam, although I noticed that they tend to quarrel whenever live food is offered (must bring out the territorial nature more than flakes do:)).
<Just as most would be more likely to fight over a steak than a hotdog, both beef, but just not quite the same.>
Unfortunately, the Pakistan died a mysterious death with the only visible symptom being labored breathing for several days,
<Sorry for your loss.>
fortunately neither of the other fish were troubled by the same illness.
<Or didn't show signs.>
I recently purchased a latticed b/f fish and upon seeing it asked the pet store employee what it had been eating and they replied live brine shrimp (what else?).
<Hopefully enriched as there is little nutritional value in brine.>
I asked them had they tried flake and they looked at me rather strangely because everyone knows b/f fish don't eat flake food!
<Poor assumption.>
They popped some flakes into the tank and the latticed b/f fish started eating.
When b/f fish pass the flake test they are a keeper as far as I am concerned.
<Makes them more likely to do well in captivity.>
It too now eats everything I throw into the tank.
The information at WWM helped me considerably through those difficult first few weeks with my picky eaters, especially information regarding feeding (the use of worms, mussels, clams, oysters to induce eating).
<Happy to hear!>
Hope this helps someone else in a tough situation with b/f fish.
<Thank you for sharing.>
In closing, don't be scared to try the flake foods too, it just might get them eating.
<Wise words. With a little time and dedication many picky eaters can be gradually transitioned to dried and frozen foods.

Re: Struggling To Get My Raccoon Butterfly To Eat  11/08/08 Thank you for the advice. <<My pleasure>> I picked up some clams at the grocery store and broke them up with a hammer so that I can feed the raccoon Butterflyfish small pieces at a time. <<Very good>> He really seems to love it. <<Ah!>> I thought that it would be a simple matter to eventually grate up the clams, feed him the grated clam, and then gradually mix in my regular mix of Mysis shrimp, etc. But unfortunately he won't eat the grated clam--he only eats the clam if it's on the shell! <<But at least it is eating>> What a picky eater. <<I have a Copperband that is almost as finicky>> He has even put the grated clam into his mouth and then spat it out. So I am kind of at a loss on how to proceed. <<Perseverance? or simply feed it the clam on-the half-shell>> Thanks to your advice he is no longer in any danger of starvation, but obviously at some point I would like to get him eating the prepared food. Should I continue to try feeding him the grated clam? <<Sure can't hurt>> Is it wise to "starve" him for a few days beforehand so that he is more likely to take the food? <<This too is worth a try from time to time>> Thanks again for the help. I was so relieved the first time I put a clam piece in the tank and he tore into it. I feel like your advice bought me the time to approach this problem patiently. <<Ah yes, much better for all. It's so good to know this fish is eating, thank you for the update>> Tom <<Eric Russell>>

Feeding Tinkers Butterfly   1/3/08 Hi Bob, maybe you can help me here. I recently purchased a Tinkers Butterfly about 4 days ago. He has been at the LFS for two months eating like a total pig every time I asked the LFS to feed him. Well right before I bought him he was eating. After I got him home after acclimation he was eating like a pig with PE Mysis soaked in Selcon and attacking my Spaghetti leather chomping that up. And for some reason two days after him eating he stopped feeding. <Not digestible...> No one is bullying him, He looks at the PE Mysis soaked in Selcon but doesn't eat it. You have any suggestions that I can get him feeding? <Time going by really... will likely resume eating the Mysis in a few days> He shares a 120 gallon with a Mitratus butterfly who is half of his size and a group of different fairy wrasses. I don't think its Flukes or internal worms but I am tempted to quarantine him with some Prazi pro just in case. Any suggestions would be helpful. Scott <I would leave this (expensivo) specimen in place... and try to be patient... All will very likely be well in time here. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Copperband Feeding - A recipe for Success - 12/13/07 Good evening Bob & Crew, <Miguel from the GWN> My thanks to you all for having built up a wealth of species specific information on your site. Brilliant stuff. I used many of the Crew's suggestions from the FAQ's in the development of my latest plan. I saw the beautiful Copperband in the LFS and actually managed to resist the "impulse purchase" temptation. I left this fish at the LFS while I read for hours about Butterflies / Copperbands on your site - prepared myself with an appropriate QT tank set-up for this particular fish and gathered up my arsenal of feeding tricks that I could use - and then went back and purchased this beautiful fish, but only after I saw him picking for food. I used an established thirty gallon tank with live rock and sand for QT in case he would prove to be tough to feed and have to stay in QT a while (I learned that on your site too). I purchased some cured rock with Aiptasia (yes people, I actually spent money on this) and placed it in the QT tank along with the Copperband. This fish was extremely shy and found a nice spot behind the LR to hide in. It took over two weeks of trying Mysis, Krill, Squid, Mega Marine (for the worms) and the Clam trick, back and forth with Garlic Guard, Zoe and Selcon before he finally started picking at some frozen Cyclops soaked in Selcon (my last prepared food trick prior to turning to live food which I was hoping to avoid). Throughout the two weeks of failed feeding attempts, this fish seemed to survive quite nicely by eating Aiptasia and picking at the live rock in the vitamin dosed tank water. He looked fine the whole time other than nicking the fatter part of his snout by, I suspect, sticking it too far into a hole in the rock. Because of the risk of uneaten food in the tank, I tested the water and did small water changes often during this time. <Good notes> Once he was eating the Cyclops, I tried the Clam trick again and he went for it. Then I started mixing in Mysis with the Cyclops, soaking in Selcon and he started eating this as well. After just a few days on prepared food this fish is eating with some enthusiasm, and both of us are looking good! One last point that I discovered quite by accident. For whatever reason, this shy fish seemed to respond to the presence of food better (noticeably, whether actually eating it or not) if the lights in the tank were ON while the lights in the room were OFF. Not being able to see outside the tank seemed to reduce the fish's stress level considerably. (Oh, and Bob, when I told you I'd even try soft music if I thought it would help, and you said that it might help ME during the QT period... I took your advice - you should post that one too!) <Will do> In all honesty, without the information available on this site I can't even imagine being able to pull something like this off, not to mention knowing enough to leave a Copperband in the LFS until I had a chance to read more, assess my chances of success and develop a feeding strategy. Still, not bad for a rookie, eh? (That's Canadian for "right"?) Hats off to the team and my fish thanks you. Mike from Canada <"What's it all aboot... algae....?" Couldn't help myself. Cheers and thanks for sharing, BobF>

A few questions... Chelmon, fdg.  - 11/20/07 Hello Bob, First things first. I hope that this email finds you're doing well. I have a few questions if I may. <Okay> 1. I have a das ex1. Great skimmer. I'm just crossed between if I'm better off with a slower water rate and more bubbles inside the skimmer or a higher output water and less bubbles inside. <Mmm, yes... there is an optimum mix/proportion of "right sized" air bubbles... likely the most you can get here> 2. My next question is for a Copperband butterfly fish. I've done a lot of research over the past few week and day 4 I still can't get him to eat. I know its a bit early and maybe I'm rushing him but so far I tired everything. - wide asst of frozen food. Recently I've been adding garlic. Hmm..... - shoving food in the rocks. - I also tried live brine shrimp. - frozen clams - blood worms <... please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/chelmonfdgfaq.htm and the linked files above> What's in my tank? - large Sailfin tang - chrmos damsel - domino damsel <Could be a/the trouble here with the Chelmon> - sand sifter - cinnamon clown fish - spotted cardinal - 2 orange Fiji damsels New additions recently added. Last tune I added fish was 6 months ago. Stable tank. 5 years old. - Copperband butterfly (not eating) - Auriga butterfly. - he's not eating what I put in the tank but he's picking at the rocks all day. Swims around happily. Good sign?? <Likely> - long nose hawk. Also not eating yet, but he gets very interested every time I feed them. He gets more aggressive every meal. - Emperor angel fish. Seems to be doing good. Started eating a bit but he grazes all day. <See WWM re... size of tank, etc.> I'm not to worried about the other fish yet. I'm more worried about the CB butterfly. Am I doing all I can? Is there anything I'm missing? <Likely interspecies aggression> I still haven't tried the half open clam idea. I will end one this note. When I acclimated them. They were on a nice slow drip for about 2.5 hours. Slowly increasing the drip rate. Dark room. No lights. I would like to thank you in advance for reading my email. Warmest wishes, David <Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: A few questions... Chelmon fdg, Fiji?  - 11/20/07
Thanks bob. A quick update. All other fish are now eating. The CB butterfly started to puck on some algae but the Fiji damsels bothered him. I noticed the aggression between them. I was Hoping it would get better. I can move the two Fiji damsels into my sons tank. Which is really my qt tank. Good idea??? <... I would remove the Fiji Damsels. BobF>

Newly Acquired Auriga Butterfly Won't Eat - 09/22/07 Greetings, <<Hello>> I have a 120 gallon, 100 pound live rock, Fish Only tank that was seeded from LR and sand from my former 55 gallon tank (upgraded). <<Neat>> I added a Euro-Reef RS135 PS and a Turbo Twist UV filter to the new setup. My new tank has been setup for a month now with no mentionable problems with NH4, NO3, and NO2 (PH is 8.3). <<Mentionable? If these readings are not zero…you have problems if you are introducing fish>> I purchased the first fish for the system, an Auriga Butterfly a couple of days ago (4 days ago). <<After only a month the system is still quite new/raw, seeded or not>> I can't seem to figure out what to feed the critter, as he does not have any interest in the flake or frozen food I offer. I have tried Clams, Shrimp, Flake, Squid and clip-on algae. <<I suggest you try some smaller frozen fare like Glass Worms and Mysis Shrimp…and try adding a vitamin enhancement product to this like Selcon as it also seems to stimulate the fish's interest. You can also try "fresh" Mussels or Clams (served in the shell) from the supermarket>> In fact he stays in hiding most of the time in the same spot in the tank. <<Mmm, this may be a result of its "newness to the system"…or a result of the "newness of the system">> When he does venture out, I find him grazing on the LR and once on the glass (could be eating Aiptasia). <<Possibly>> I have heard that this Butterfly is hardy, however, I fear the worst if mine does not eat soon. <<This species is quite appropriate for captive care…though there's the odd chance you have purchased a specimen that has been damaged during collection/transport. It's not all that unusual for newly acquired fishes to take a while to acclimate/begin feeding. If the newness of the system is not malaffecting the fish (do check those water parameters again as things may have changed with the addition of the fish to this young system), then give my feeding suggestions a try, to include adding a few "new" pieces of live rock for the fish to browse upon until it acclimates to the prepared foods>> I also have halted purchasing further fish until I feel comfortable with my current situation. <<Wise>> Any suggestions? <<As stated>> Best Regards, Scott B. <<Good luck with your Butterfly. EricR>>
Re: Newly Acquired Auriga Butterfly Won't Eat - 09/24/07
EricR, <<Scott>> Thank you for your advice. <<My pleasure>> I immediately purchased the Selcon additive and added it to frozen brine shrimp. <<And…?>> He became more interested and today pursued and ate the offering. <<Excellent…but do get the fish switched over to something nutritious soon, like the Mysis Shrimp and Glass Worms mentioned in our previous exchange>> I continue to look into my water parameters and nothing has spiked. NH4 reads 0, NO2 and NO3 read zero. <<Very good>> I will continue to hold off on more fish. <<Is best for now>> However, since I have your attention I have one more question. <<Okay>> Long term with this Butterfly fish which species makes sense to introduce next: Trigger, Angel (love the Regal, but my LFS says absolutely NO), Puffer, Hawkfish, Wrasse, Tang (love the Powder Blue but hear it is hard to keep). Suggestions? <<Hmm, were this me…maybe a Christmas Wrasse (Halichoeres ornatissimus or another Halichoeres species…assuming a suitably deep and fine substrate is available), a Longnose Hawkfish (Oxycirrhites typus), a Gold-Rimmed Tang (Acanthurus japonicus…and not to be confused with the much less aquarium hardy Acanthurus nigricans), and finally, a Picasso Triggerfish (Rhinecanthus aculeatus, or one of the other Rhinecanthus species)…introduced in the order listed…and leaving the Angel and the Puffer to a larger system elsewhere>> Thank you again for your continued advice, Scott B. <<Happy to share. Eric Russell>>

Copperband Butterfly and Bloodworms -   2/27/07 I am attempting to feed a Copperband. <<Can be finicky feeders>> I may have made an error. <<...?>> I thought I was prepared for this picky eater, I have about every kind of frozen food available and am trying them all, including live brine I hatched about 3 weeks ago along with baby brine hatched this week. <<Hmm...>> Then I realized the best luck people were reporting was with "Live Bloodworms", not frozen. <<My Copperband Butterfly doesn't pay much attention to the frozen bloodworms either, but it does go nuts for frozen "glass" worms (both blood and glass worms are variants of mosquito larvae).  I've had good luck with more than one species of finicky feeder using the frozen glass worms>> I did some searching on the internet for live bloodworms and am now confused.  It seems there are two types of bloodworms.  One being mosquito larvae, the other being some sort of ocean slug.  Which is it I should be trying to get and use??? <<The mosquito larvae>> The Butterfly is about 5" long in a tank with 160lbs of live rock which I put 2 bottles of Ocean pods and 2 bottles of Tiger pods in about a month ago. <<The Copperband feeds mainly on worms (even small bristle worms) and small crustaceans like amphipods and mysids, but these are usually quickly reduced in a closed system to the point of not being able to sustain the butterfly on their own, and supplemental feeding is required>> I never see him eat.  I drilled some holes in a piece of rock and stuck Mysis in one hole, some 3/4" long krill in another and some frozen bloodworms in another.  I have no access to clams here in po-dunk, but I did get some fresh oysters and drilled a couple holes just a little larger than the Copperbands mouth in it. <<This is a strategy worth trying, though I would simply pry the shells apart and place them in the tank>> After a day I took it out and opened it, and it appears some of the oyster is gone, but I couldn't tell you if it is because the fish ate it or not. <<Try just opening the oyster and placing in the tank>> Mostly though, what type of bloodworm, and do you know anywhere on the web I can purchase live ones and have them over-nighted? <<Hmm, a quick search of the net does not produce a ready supplier...your best option may be to have a fish store special order them for you.  EricR>> DanH

Butterfly eating issues  1/29/07 I just bought a Copper Band Butterfly 4 days ago, but it's not eating. <Very common with this species...historically speaking it's not a long loved captive animal. However, four days is nothing to panic about yet.> We have tried frozen brine shrimp. <Not a great food...doesn't have enough "substance" to it, do try some other foods of a marine origin, Mysis, krill, etc. ...do search WWM re: similar experiences> I have a FOWLR 90 gallon tank. What should I do? <Is this animal already in the display, with other mates?...Adam J.>

Baby Spotfin Butterfly's off of Joisee~! Fdg.   12/16/06 Bob, <Hi Eric, Michelle with you today.> Hope you can steer me in the right direction as you always do! <Hope I can help.> In August while scuba diving off the coast of Belmar, NJ I caught 2 Spotfin Butterfly Fish.   <Yes, I was there!> I brought them home, acclimated them, and let them go in my 55 gallon Caribbean style Isotope.  These 2 little guys share a home with 2 purple Chromis and a neon goby.  For the last 4 months the fish were doing great.  They grew from the size of a dime to about the size of a half dollar.   <Great to hear!  Not an easy fish to keep.> I got them feeding on mussels as they will not eat Mysis or anything that floats in the water column.  These guys just like to pick and I mean pick on anything haha. (brain corals, Gorgonia polyps, Zoanthids)   <Mmmm...appetizer, possible appetite stimulant?> However I don't mind though as these 2 fish's are my pride and joy.   <A proud Papa!> Here is the bad news now though.  In a attempt to give my fish a healthy diet I decided for the first time to soak a mussel in garlic and Selcon.   <Good intentions.> The butterfly's ate it but will not look at another one again. <Hopefully a temporary aversion.> This has been going on for almost 2 days now.  I am very nervous. <Understandably>   They do not even seem to be as active as they were before and I am very worried.   <Understandably> I don't really see any aggression with my other fish but I am not home most of the day.  Is it possible that the garlic created some type of taste aversion to these fish.   <Theoretically, possible, garlic has a lasting capacity.> It is the only thing I can tie this into.   <Seems like a reasonable assumption.> I also did a small water change last night think this may help out a bit. <I think another water change could be helpful, maybe several small one over the next few days.> Any ideas on what else I can do?   <Can you offer something else from the inlet where they were living, i.e. different type of mussel, clam, barnacles?> Is it possible that the fish are just full and not hungry? <Did they generally eat daily until this point?>     Water Test:   Ammonia - 0   Nitrite- 0   Nitrate- 10 <This is a higher than desired>   SG 1.025   PH 8.3   Thanks, <You are welcome, keep us updated. -Michelle>
Re: Baby Spotfin Butterfly's   12/16/06 Michelle, That is awesome that you were there as well.   <AKA Poconofishy> Did you dive at all?   <Not then, was just certified in November in Hawaii.> Great News!  They are eating black worms.   <Yay!  Polychaetes such as feather dusters (Sabellid tentacles) and spaghetti worms (Terebellid tentacles) are a natural part of their diet.> Its better than nothing though right?   <Absolutely, keeping them eating is far better than the alternative!> Do you know what makes these fish difficult to keep?   <Sensitivity to stress and challenging diet, I believe are the biggest issues.> I did come to realize that no one sells this fish online or locally.  For such a nice looking well behaved fish I was shocked.   <This is quite a difficult fish to keep.> Do you know if this fish is capable of breeding in the aquaria?   <Theoretically is obviously possible, but I am unaware of any success in this area.> I believe I have a mated pair!   <Likely so.> They follow each other around everywhere, never separated by more than a few inches.  Is this possible at such a young age?   <Yes.> Or is this normal behavior for this species?   <Yes.> I thought I read somewhere that these fish form mated pairs very early in life and will stay like that for the remainder? <Yes, it has been reported that Spotfin Butterflies (Chaetodon ocellatus) mate for life. BTW-  just installed a remote fuge with a DSB to combat the nitrates.  Should get these down pretty quick. <Excellent, seed is with some spaghetti worms, to provide additional food items for your Spotfin Butterflies.> Thanks,

Getting Double Saddle Butterfly to eat  - 3/1/2006 Hi Bob and Crew....hope you're all keeping well. <I am, thanks> I acquired a Double Saddle Butterfly last weekend for my 55 Gall FOWLR. <... a small world for this species> I made sure I acclimated him properly and added him to the tank on Saturday afternoon. Only other inhabitants are a couple of Green Chromis. <Can be bullies in such a sized system, tankmate> I was told by my LFS that he would eat pretty much anything..... <Mmm, when in good health, adjusted... yes> I'd done some research on your site first and found out that he is one of the easier to keep butterflies. Anyways after he'd been in the tank for around 5 hours, I added some Mysis for my Chromis and he seemed to have a bit of a go at it as well (I'm not sure if he actually ate any of it because the lights were out). <Not likely to feed the first day or two> Day 2 I gave more Mysis and as soon as it hit the water he was up looking for it, but turned his nose up at it when he saw what it was. Next day I tried again, but added some Garlic Extreme before feeding. He went into a frenzy but again never took any (I also added some very finely chopped Mussel). Day 3 (today) and same...he was actually at the front of the tank looking for food when I came home from work. <Mmm, might have damaged mouth... very common... from capture, transport, bagging...> I'm not overly concerned, because he looks a really healthy specimen. He's about 3 inches and acting fine. I'm off to my LFS tomorrow to pick up some live Brine Shrimp (does this sound OK?) <For periodic use, yes> ....can you suggest anything else to get him eating? <Posted... on WWM...> I've noticed he has a pick at the LR so hopefully he's getting some goodness out of that for now. Thanks in advance Phil P <I do hope/trust you have healthy live rock in abundance as well. Bob Fenner>
Re: Getting Double Saddle Butterfly to eat - Part II    3/2/06
Bob, thanks for the quick reply.... <Welcome> I got the Live Brine shrimp on my way home and added it to the tank. He takes the food in his mouth but then spits it back out. It's as if he wants something else instead (but I don't know what!!). His mouth looks perfectly healthy (no signs of any reddening at all, or obvious damage). <Good> There's plenty of Live Rock in there (about 60lbs, I'm adding another few pounds of cured at the weekend) <Also good> I'm a bit confused over your comment re the bullying in the tank. Do you mean the Chromis might be a bully, or the Butterfly? <The Chromis... though rare for the genus in general (in comparison to many other Pomacentrids), in such a small volume (four feet long is not much running room), even relatively "peaceful" damsels can pester easily-disturbed fishes like most all Butterflies to the point of non-feeding. This being said, it is not uncommon for new Chaetodonts to not feed for a few days after arrival. I would just keep offering an assortment of small meaty foods and observing this specimen. Bob Fenner>
Re: Getting Double Saddle Butterfly to eat - Part III  - 03/05/06
Bob, <Phil> Thought I'd give you an update. The DSB has been eating happily for the last two days now. I concocted a finely chopped mix of Mysis, Cockle and Lancefish tails and added two drops of extreme garlic per teaspoonful. I feed about 1/4 teaspoon in one go. He takes some of it in the water column and then picks the rest off the LR for a while later. The Chromis seems to like it too. Hope this helps anyone else who is looking for advice. Many Thanks Phil P <Ah, outstanding. Congratulations on your success... will post. Bob Fenner>

Fish eggs as a Staple food  11/21/05 Hello, I was wondering if frozen fish eggs are suitable as a staple food.  <Mmm, can be> About 9 months ago, I bought a tiny (less than 1") Mitratus butterfly. The fish ate live brine and frozen Mysis in the store with gusto. I thought he would learn to accept other foods i.e.: flake, pellets, Lifeline 'green' or 'red', but no. I hate to feed Mysis everyday, so I bought some frozen fish eggs.  They are pin-head sized and orange in color. There is no identification on the jar. Well anyway he loves them, and they aren't as messy as the Mysis.  Are they a suitable staple food? <Not exclusively, no> A couple of times a week I soak them in Selcon or VitaChem. It has grown to about 2" and shares his 125 FOWLR tank with a flame angel, Goldflake angel, solar wrasse, and magnificent Foxface.  Nitrates run about 10ppm, NH3 0ppm, Nitrite 0ppm. Thank you <I would be on a bit of a crusade to find, mix in other small, meaty foods here, in an effort to expand this fish's diet. Bob Fenner> 

Pearlscale feeding  8/30/05 Hi Mr. Fenner,     I added a Pearlscale butterfly (Chaetodon  xanthurus) to my 55gal. tank 4 days ago and can't get it to eat. I have tried  flake food, brine flakes, frozen brine shrimp, frozen, algae mix, frozen squid,  frozen marine blend (it contains brine shrimp Mysid shrimp Spirulina etc.),  frozen shrimp ( the kind people eat), dried algae and freeze dried Tubifex  worms. He showed mild interest in the brine shrimp and the marine blend. Water  quality is perfect temperature is about 75 degrees F. He appears to have a  little clump of fungus on his left pectoral fin. Kent Marine's RxP is in the  tank to prevent Ich or any other parasites. <This product is not worth using IMO> My yellow tang has been bothering  him. <Trouble> The tang has given him a minor cut. The butterfly stays out in the open  most of the day instead of hiding behind the live rock. But he stays in one spot  for most of the day rarely venturing to the other side of the tank. He appears  to be healthy. Thanks for your help <This tank is likely too small for this species, it might have been damaged ahead of your purchasing, the Tang's aggression all add up to trouble. I would move this fish to larger, more-established quarters if at all possible. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pearlscale feeding  8/30/05
Dear Mr. Fenner; Thank you for the quick response. Sadly my parents  have forbidden me to have any more aquariums (There are 6 in the  house) not all saltwater. The 55gal. is the largest I have. Today I noticed some  red on the inside of the butterfly's mouth. It is urgent that I get him to eat.  Is there any way to get him started? <Not likely unfortunately... once a Butterflyfish's mouth becomes damaged...> Can you give any suggestions for dealing  with the yellow tang? (he is one the family favorites so getting rid of him  is not an option) I am not sure rearranging the tank will work. (It hasn't worked  in the past) Please respond ASAP. Thanks for the advice, MDM <These fishes must be separated... I would return the BF post haste, or give it away to someone who can care for it. Bob Fenner, who had a bunch of tanks crammed in his bedroom when he was your age... drawers in his closet, bed on the floor to make room... for more tanks, stands.>
Re: Pearlscale feeding  9/1/05
Hi Bob, Thank you for your advice. I took the Pearlscale back to the pet store. They gave me store credit for it, but they  didn't have any fish that I wanted. <Ah, very good of them... Patience...> They said that they would get in a shipment  of fish from Hawaii. I was wondering if you could give me any suggestions on  what to get. I need a fish that won't eat my damsels, green Chromis or baby hippo tang. The smallest of the damsels is 1.5" the hippo tang is 1.5". The fish  also must be able to live peacefully with my yellow tang, my coral beauty angelfish and my 2.5" falco Hawkfish. I have a 55gal. tank. I would prefer to  get a fish that is under $40.(I was thinking of possibly getting a dwarf  lionfish.) The tank has ~20lbs. of live rock in it. thanks, MDM <If it were me, mine, I would not add more fish/es to this size, shape tank... you are about "topped-off"... Perhaps a cleaner shrimp would add spice, help in keeping your fish livestock healthy... Bob Fenner>

Gourmet Foods For Butterflies... 6-28-05 Hi, <Hey there! Scott F. with you today!> I've always heard people first feeding Butterflies or other fish with clams or mussels and then slowly change its diet to frozen food by attaching it to an empty shell. <I've never tried it, but it can be done, I guess.> My question is- how do you attach the food to the shell?? Won't, for example, frozen brine shrimp fall apart to individual little shrimp and float away from the shell?? <Quite possibly.> How do I keep the frozen in the shell?? By the way, when I go buy some clams or mussel in the market later, is there anything I should be aware of? Or is any clams or mussel is fine?? <I think that you might be confusing the technique/concept a bit. The practice of using a fresh clam in the shell to help stimulate a finicky Butterfly into eating has been used for some time with varying degrees of success. I've tried it with Manila Clams, which you can get at a fish market or grocery store. You simply split the clam and place it in the bottom of the tank or on a rock...> Also, before putting it in the tank, do I need to do any preparation with the clam or mussel?? Thanks!! <I simply rinse 'em off before using...Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Butterfly and Filter Question Hi guys, <J.D.> I purchased a wonderful little Auriga butterfly. In retrospect, I guess I purchased him a bit too small (about 2?). He did great in quarantine, but since I introduced him into the main tank there's traces of blood around his mouth. <A sensitive area> It doesn't appear that any of the other fish bother him (4 blue/green Chromis, a 6-line wrasse, cleaner shrimp). 175 gallon tank with perfect water conditions. Any ideas? Is there a softer food I should try feeding him? <Try an assortment of crustaceans, small worms... live or frozen/defrosted... 'gooshed' in front near the Butterfly with a turkey baster> In quarantine, I mostly fed him brine shrimp soaked in Zoe and either Zoecon or Selcon. Since I've added him to the big tank, I mostly feed frozen cubes of Mysid shrimp, angel/butterfly cubes, plankton, etc. <Try breaking these up, or just the small organisms themselves> I have a twin pump Euro-reef skimmer in my sump. I was thinking about using silicone to glue neoprene pads to the bottom of the skimmer chamber and the pumps to knock out the vibration noise. Will the neoprene degrade over time or have any adverse chemical effect on the water? <Use Polyester or Dacron... not the neoprene. Bob Fenner> THANKS!! -- J.D. Hill

Hemitaurichthys polylepis a detritus eater Hello WWM crew! I haven't written in quite a while (although I am a daily visitor to your website) and I would greatly appreciate your insight on the eating habits of the Pyramid B/F compared to my observations. First the story: I saw some of these at a new LFS in my area and my first thought that was that they were probably a doomed aquarium species. I liked them though and was curious enough to visit your website and see what you had to say about them. Based on the articles I read like http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Hemitaurichthys.htm  I was happy to learn that they actually seemed to be a pretty good aquarium candidate.  I returned to the LFS and bought the last one they had. Everything is going great with the specimen (had it for about 2 weeks), but I am surprised to observe that he actively eats the feces of other fish! I also have an area in my tank that tends to collect detritus, and this area is now completely clean. I haven't added anything other than this b/f, and although I haven't actually caught him eating detritus off the bottom of the tank, I have to suspect that it's him doing it.  Currently this tank gets fed a combination of frozen blood worms, live black worms, spectrum and Nori 3 times a day. The pyramid b/f eats it all except the Nori, which is to be expected (haven't personally seem too many b/f eat it, but I have tangs in there).  My question is: have you ever heard of pyramid b/f's eating detritus? I am just curious because if he continues this behavior it would actually be a nice bonus for being a steward to such a beautiful fish!  Thanks for all you do and have a great holiday weekend.  <To my knowledge, these butterflies are zooplankton eaters on the reefs. He may be stirring up the detritus/feces looking for worms to eat. James (Salty Dog)> 

Ornate Butterfly Fish Hello!  <Hello Suzanne> I just acquired an Ornatissimus Butterfly and while he is just gorgeous!!! I have found that he will not take anything from me. I have tried frozen foods (Angel & Butterfly food from San Francisco Bay Brand, squid, brine shrimp, veggies, bloodworms, and even lobster) but to no avail has he eaten.  <This particular butterfly is a strict coral eater, rarely taking anything else as food.>  Everyone else in the tank are eating perfectly fine! After I purchased this gorgeous creature I realized that they are not easy to keep and rarely accept food in captivity. <Yes>  I do have some recently brought back sponges from Florida. They have been dried and I think bleached. If they haven't been bleached, would it be wise to let him try the sponge? Otherwise, could I supplement with a Condylactis anemone? <Suzanne, you would need live coral to give it a chance, and then, only the coral(s) they prefer. Fish like this should definitely not be taken from the reefs. Your dealer needs to be told not to order fish that are impossible to keep. Here is some info on butterflies and which ones to stay away from. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bstbfshi.htm James (Salty Dog)> Thanks!  <You're welcome>

Butterflies that won't eat.. Marina offers a Tip to Induce Feeding Hi Bob, <Mar> You and James answered the same query re: Copperband not eating in qt (Marine Roulette?). When working at the LBAOP (coral lab, acclimation and tropical quarantine for said lab) there were several "special" q/t setups. One was for the butterflies. On their regular q/t menu was bloodworms. I saw many, many difficult species being induced to feed *while* being treated with copper (though, they have an actual LAB there) on these things. When they hit the saltwater they *really* start wriggling, and I swear, if you had a hook and line attached to them you'd be fishing out butterflies. They would eventually be weaned onto krill, minced clam, and a few other meaty foods before going into display.  Marina - missing the smell of the skimmers.. <Thank you for this... Please do post. BobF>

- Another Copperband Butterfly Question, More Follow-up - My Copperband is eating frozen Mysis shrimp, Spirulina and vitamin enriched brine shrimp and freeze dried brine shrimp. Can it survive on this diet?  <I'd like to see you ditch the brine shrimp... doesn't matter what's it's enriched with, it still is the dietary equivalent of a diet potato chip with olestra. If you could, try to get some meaty seafoods in there... some krill, mussel, shrimp, squid... would all do well by this fish.> Thanks again, Larry <Cheers, J -- >

More on the Roa, Chaetodon mitratus Hi guys, <Brandon> I'm still working with my cute as a button 2" specimen of C. mitratus. As mentioned in the previous question, my attempts at feeding him have still failed. <Though the members of this subgenus are remarkably aquarium "tough", a 2" individual is too small... 3-4 inches overall is ideal to start> A brief recap, purchased from Marine Center about 2 weeks ago, shipped excellent. Within 10 minutes of acclimation was exhibiting natural behavior of picking at rocks in full view. I have tried meaty pellet food soaked in Selcon, no interest at all. I've tried frozen Mysis shrimp, to which he swims directly up to, almost examining it, then leaves it alone to start picking at liverock again. <May well be deriving sufficient nutrition from the rock> The only thing I've gotten him to eat are live brine on two occasions. Even that was a weird experience. Instead of absolutely gorging itself like all other fish I've seen, it ate a couple will little gusto. It is constantly picking at the rock, showing me a desire to feed. I have a fairly high amphipod population, but should that be enough that it wouldn't care about easy handouts at the trough? Seems to be in great health, not terribly shy. Only housed with a similarly sized P. hepatus. <Does the specimen appear very thin?> An off the record question: do you guys, if you aren't sure, or for further advice, have access to Scott Michael's email? I'm sure he is probably a friend of Bob's, and I know he has much expertise with Roa butterfly's. I'm not asking for the email address myself, but maybe a forward if you wish. Please do not get me wrong, I am in no way implying that this staff isn't capable, I'm just worried and varied opinions often produce results as someone may have had a similar situation. <I have BCC'd Scott here. Bob Fenner> Thanks gang, I'm just worried about this precious fish.

What do you feed a Copperbanded Butterflyfish? hey what's up> I am typing to talk to  you about a Copperbanded Butterflyfish. I am getting one tomorrow. I would like  to know the things I need to do to acclimatize it.
<< Okay, well first, don't get set on buying one tomorrow.  It is better to ask these questions well before hand.  To acclimate the fish, I would recommend floating the bag for 20 minutes, then gently scooping him out of his bag, and putting him in your tank. >> and what is its feeding  habits. and one more thing what is it sensitive to.
<<  That was the question I was waiting for.  They are finicky eaters, and the key to their success is live rock.  So I only recommend buying one if you have a thriving reef tank, and I would also feed them mixed seafoods. >>
thanks so  much. << You're welcome, and be careful, Blundell >>

Serving A Butterfly Buffet (A WWM Reader Shares His Technique) Hi gang: <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I'm a big fan of copper banded butterflies. . . but lost one several years ago when first setting up my system due to its 'shy' nature at feeding time. <An all to common occurrence, unfortunately> Essentially, it got out-competed for food by pretty much everything in my tank. A few months back I acquired another one. . . determined to find a way to see this one through. While he was in quarantine, I bought one of those plastic 'worm feeder' cones with a suction cup mount commonly used to feed Blackworms to discus. Since the as-acquired-from LFS form has tiny slits allowing the tips of the worms to poke through (allowing any fish to feed and giving no particular advantage to a butterfly) I cut/opened a small 'vertical' slot big enough for him to get his 'nose' through just above the bottom of the cone. . . and no more than 1/4" high. By feeding him only in this feeding station, he was trained to it by the time I put him into my community tank. . . and now I can feed him worms, Mysis. . . whatever. . . in a way that doesn't allow the other fish to muscle him away from his dinner plate. Over time, he's even become (constructively) territorial about his feeding rights with respect to this setup. A final do-it-yourself note: If your tank (like my acrylic 60 gal.) has wide internal top-braces that ring the top and preclude suction-cupping the ring to the tank's side walls. . .then cement the top edge of the ring-the-cone-gets-suspended-from to the underside of the acrylic lip/top of the tank (allowing room to insert/extract the feeding cone for cleaning) along the edge of the top brace. With the hood in place, the whole rig is barely visible. Chuck <Well, Chuck, on behalf of WWM readers everywhere, I  thank you for sharing your innovative solution! I'm sure that other Butterfly enthusiasts will benefit from this tip! Your unselfish sharing is what this site is all about! Regards, Scott F.>

Imagine This: A Picky Copperband Butterfly!  I have a Copperband BF in a 20g QT tank. It is clear bottom w/1 ornament for cover. It's been in QT for almost 4 weeks. I have been treating w/CopperSafe from day one. The slight case of Ick has cleared up and has shown no signs of reinfestation for the past four days. The fish seems to be in very good health and looks very clean.  <Glad to hear that!>  The only thing that this fish will eat are live black worms. I have tried live clams, Mysis shrimp, formula 1, flakes & red worms. It does not want anything to do with any of it. The funny thing is, I had it in a 10g QT for the first two weeks and was able to get it to eat the Mysis and red worms after one day. After putting it the 20g,(I wanted this fish to have more room for QT), I have not been able to get it to eat anything but live worms for the past two weeks. Your suggestions for getting this fish to eat something else would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks again, Dennis  <As you are discovering, these guys can be a bit finicky, in regard to their dietary preferences and eating habits. In my experience, one of foods that seems to work as an "interim" menu item to wean the fish off of live stuff is frozen blood worms. Although not of marine origin, they seem to have a flavor that attracts many butterfly fishes. Another fine frozen food that I have used for this purpose is Hikari "Mega Marine Angel", which, although targeted for angelfish, has ingredients such as tubeworms, etc., and is extruded into little "worm like" pieces. Still another idea is to add a small piece of fresh live rock into his tank, to see if he will start "grazing" a bit. Other people have thrown in an Aiptasia-infested rock in the hope of "training" the fish to acquire a taste for these nasties...and it does work! Whatever you do, don't stop trying...keep utilizing different foods until you provoke this fish into eating something different! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Feeding the Butterflies  >Hello!  >>Hello.  >How are you today?  >>Fair to middling'.  >I really enjoy your site and use it all the time! I have a two-fold question for you (sorry, I searched site for a while and couldn't find the answers).  I recently purchased 2 butterfly fish from my LFS. One is a Pakistan (roughly 2 1/2") and the other is a Raccoon ( roughly 3 1/2"). Both had been in the store for at least a week and appeared healthy. I asked to see them feed and the store guy gave them some blood worms. The Pakistan went after them feverishly and the Raccoon took a minute, but then proceeded to eat quite a few of them. >>I bet, for some reason they go nuts for the blood worms (probably resemble some good stuff they get in the wild). But, he fed them no prepared foods?  >Brought them home and put them in my QT for a couple of weeks. Neither would eat anything I put in the tank (pellets; flakes; frozen preps: Mysis, formula 1, formula 2, brine shrimp plus). Went back to the LFS and bought some of those blood worms and both fish went to town (and continue to)!  >>They're probably hungry, but for their overall health need to be weaned to a better variety/diet.  >Now they are in my main tank. My other fish (Tangs, Emp Angel, even my Marine Betta) will eat everything I put in: Formulas 1&2 (both flake and frozen), pellets, and the aforementioned frozen preps. The Raccoon Butterfly still will not touch anything but the blood worms. The Pakistan will lightly nibble on the Mysis, maybe take a small taste of the brine plus, but not much of either.  >>Interesting, I'd expect the Pakistani to be more difficult, but here it is.  >My questions are:  1.) Can these guys live on Blood Worms alone?  >>No.  2.) How can I get them to eat like the other fish?!  >>That's going to be tough, and it may be being helped OR hindered by the fact that they're now in with the general population. I would have preferred to keep them in quarantine until POSITIVE that they're taking prepared foods. Sometimes smearing it into live rock and other areas with crannies suitable to their mouth-size helps, but the other fish will find this. If they're in good weight, then I say let them tough it out, and hopefully they'll get the idea by watching the other fishes eat (as long as they don't feel intimidated by them).  >Thanks! Michael  >>Hope this is of some help to you. Marina
Feeding the Butterflies - II 
>Hi Marina!  >>Hello!  >Thanks for getting back to me! Okay, so you mentioned "weaning them to a better diet" and letting them "tough it out", but you didn't really elaborate. Are you suggesting that I go back to starving them until they eat the other types of food?  >>Sounds harsh, but what I'm saying is to offer what you normally offer, with additions of other live foods occasionally (once or twice a week). What would have been the best course of action, and, if you can catch them relatively easily it's what I would do, is to remove them back to q/t where you have much more control of what they can compete for.  >I'm not sure what action you meant to take.  Thanks! Michael  P.S. I did forget to mention in the previous letter that both butterflies do pick from the live rock quite a bit, so perhaps they are also solving their hunger problems that way.  >>Hard to say, but this is their normal feeding habit, and one reason why I made the suggestion I did. If you have a healthy "pod" population, then it very well may be the case that they are solving their own problems, but my experience is that, with Pakistani b/f's in particular, they'll have a lot of trouble adjusting. This is even worse if they're large (fully adult) specimens. Young fish are easier to retrain this way. I hope this helps. Marina
Feeding the Butterflies - III
>Hello again and thanks for getting back to me so quickly! >>You're quite welcome. >The thing that worries me about putting them back into the QT is that after the last transfer (i.e. initial transfer from the QT to the main), the b/fs sustained a pretty good amount of harassment from the powder blue tang, the yellow tang, the imperator angel.  >>I see, and now the pecking order's established, yes? >In fact, the raccoon got REALLY scratched up on the dead coral and/or live rock. Now they hardly get any more harassment and the tank is pretty peaceful. >>Yes, I see your reasoning. >I felt so bad about the abuse they got, that I dread going through that again! >>That makes sense, so, work from the standpoint of no removal. >What other kind of live food(s) do you suggest for the b/f's? >>Mysis shrimp are good, but can be hard to come by. However, lots of frozen brands are available once they're acclimated to them. If at all possible, I would skip the live entirely at this point unless they're really losing weight. Better to get them on prepared foods ASAP. >I am pretty good at distracting the other fish with their dried stuff (which is a lot less messy than the frozen preps, I might add)!  >>It is, yes, but nowhere nearly as nutritious. And, if you don't already, I will suggest giving sheets of Nori for the fishes to munch on throughout the day. The tangs especially will do well with this (but so would the angel). >As far as the "pod" population, I believe it exists in substantial quantity. >>Excellent. >(You may be entertained by this short story) I say this because recently I discovered a lot of these little white/pinkish mini-shrimp looking things crawling at the bottom of my sump. I freaked out thinking they were some kind of parasite and proceeded to clean out the sump using a pump], a turkey baster, etc. (this took hours)!  >>Oh no! All that precious food! >It was the middle of the night, otherwise I would have called someone. The next day, I brought in a sample to the LFS, and the guy there laughed and said, "oh those are just (some kind of pod- I forget the name he used). You must have live rock. They have a very short lifespan and your fish eat them- which is why you don't see them in your tank." Anyway, I was relieved and somewhat amused that I had almost lost a whole night's sleep. So those "pods" do apparently exist. >>They are your BEST friends, then.  >Now that you have this info, are the pods and the live blood worms substantial enough for the b/f's? >>Only you will be able to tell by watching them for weight loss closely. I would wean them off the blood worms, less and less each week. I'm wondering if they might take chopped krill, too, though at this point I doubt it. The other fish, however, will love it. >Sorry to "talk" your ear off! >>No worries. But next time, don't baste off your pods. :P >Thanks again! Michael >>If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask (it's what we're here for, Michael). Keep an eye on weight, if they look sunken in any areas at all, then you'll know they're just not getting enough to eat. Marina

Getting Copperband butterfly to feed - clam trick 3/28/04 I have a Copperband Butterflyfish in a 10g QT tank w/LRLS.  I've had him for two days.  I cannot get him to eat food that I offer, however he is eating off the LR - many critters on the LR.  I have offered Mysis & Brine shrimp, Formula 1 and Blood Worms.   <please resist using brine shrimp for most any purpose... a barren/hollow food. The Mysis are very good though... Pacifica plankton too. Most any other meaty food of marine origin if minced small enough> Not interested.  Is the LR sustaining him?   <helpful but not fully (too little)> What else can I try to offer? It still has a few weeks to go before going into the main tank. Thanks, Dennis Nolan <one of the best tricks for getting these fishes to feed is to get a live freshwater clam from the pet store (or food/grocery store). Rinse it well and drop it into your marine aquarium (you may want to notch the back hinge to get it to open faster). It will begin to die and open within 1-3 days. As the clam purses open, the butterfly is irresistibly tempted to stick its nose in there. After it has eaten all of the clam out... stuff the clam in future days with the frozen meaty foods of your choice. The association/habit will have been made with the clam shell. It will wean off of/ignore the clam shell in time. Anthony>

FW clam to feed SW Butterflies 3/29/04  I can't find a live fresh water calm - will a live saltwater clam work? Dennis Nolan  <Hmmm... do continue to look... they are extremely common in local fish stores that sell FW fishes... and do look at the local grocery stores that sell fresh seafood (surely you have at least one grocery store that sell fresh seafood). The concern with a saltwater clam is the transmission of disease. To want to use them on a continued basis, you would need to keep this food (like all new fishes, corals, snails, etc) in a proper QT for 4 weeks ideally (like with all live prey offered as food, really). Its a calculated risk here to offer it. You'll likely be OK... but perhaps not. If you do use a SW clam, you must kill it in advance (notch the byssus/hinge at back). Anthony>

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>

- Getting a Butterfly to Eat - Hi Bob, <Not Bob today, but JasonC...> Love your site too bad just found it after 6 years in the passion. Well I came from Los Angeles and now I am residing down under closest I could get to GB : ) . Quick one: my tank is 50 gallon which I packed and shipped first before my clothes : ). It's been running again now for 5 months. I purchased a Blackback Butterfly, couple of weeks in quarantine I still couldn't get it to eat anything than Brine Shrimp. Tried everything Mussels, Scallops, Mysis, Flakes, Pellets, and Seaweed Select which I brought w/me. I just hate to think that even I'm soaking the brine with vitamins and feeding him as much as he can till he stops. <Much better than eating nothing.> I feel that he is not getting enough, for me the only way is for them to eat variety. <Agree here, but you must also travel sometimes in small steps. The B/F will get the hang of things in time... would try to upgrade to Mysis shrimp, perhaps mixed in with the brine.> I thought my 2 Ocellaris clowns will be able to trained this guy. <Sometimes fish just don't take the cues we would expect they should.> What should I do next... He's in excellent health. but in time it my slowly degrade from poor nutrition. <I'd feed three times a day, continue to try and sneak some of this other stuff in with the brine shrimp, as I mentioned Mysis shrimp would be the best and most simple first item to sneak in.> I had him for about 3 months now. Other tanks inhabitants are Yellow Coris Wrasse (Banana Wrasse as they call it), 2 Clowns & CBS. I am upgrading the tank after the Commander's approval (Wife). Any suggestions on good fishes here in Australia? <Tons... but upgrade that tank first, then we'll talk.> Don't know for me it seems fish are more expensive here than corals. <Could be.> Well for what I heard from LFS that government only allows certain species for import. One more I found this pygmy angelfish it looks like a Cherub but instead of yellow (face) it has a very dark orange and a bit yellowish transparent more or like cream color tail. Not like the cherub's purple coated tail, I checked everywhere Fishbase.org couldn't find anything. <Probably still a cherub, but just a small differentiation in color due to the locale.>  Ask the guy at LFS he said it's a cherub angel, Other LFS says it's a purple pygmy. DON'T KNOW anymore I like it but I need more info... could you help? Thank you and Thank you again!! For being There!! G'day! Regards,
<Cheers, J -- >

Bulimic Butterfly? >Hi Crew, >>Hello Greg. >I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.   >>Around here, there are many things that make me wonder.. so yes, it was indeed "wonder-ful".  ;) >Amongst many other things, I am certainly thankful for the wonderful service you provide at WetWebMedia! >>You're welcome. >My question of the day is about my Longnose Butterfly.  It seems to be wasting away.   >>Indeed, by the pics it doesn't look entirely healthy (from what I can see, anyway). >Although it did eat a bit during the first few days in my QT, it then developed what appeared to be Cryptocaryon.  After receiving a freshwater dip, it developed a severe case of fin and tail rot.  I have been treating with CopperSafe and, beginning six days ago, I began treating with Maracyn 2.  The Ich and find rot both appear to be well under control now but, prior to beginning antibiotic treatment, I no longer noticed this fish eating.  I can now see the fish's ribs and, although this is my first butterfly fish, it appears to be emaciated to me.  I though I had lost the fish after the freshwater dip since its eyes had clouded and appeared to have a large bubble in each pupil.  It had also lost all sense of direction and coordination.   >>This behavior is often seen during freshwater dips. >It would float listlessly on its side, sometimes turning upside down.  This fish's strength, balance and overall appearance have since recovered remarkably well.  It is now an aggressive swimmer with clear eyes and it is regrowing its fins.   >>That's good to see, they do appear raggedy, now I know they're on the mend. >On the downside, I am beginning to see red through its gill covers as it gets thinner daily. >>I noticed that immediately. >I have attached two pictures, trying to show this redness of the gill covers but the pictures do not capture this appearance well. >>They seem to have captured that bit fairly well, but I seem to see what appears to be whitish areas over the eyes.  Eyes, clear, fins, appear to be clear (and on the mend), mouth appears undamaged. >Please give me you opinion of the fish's appearance in the photos and provide any suggestions for getting this fish to eat again.  I have tried Formula 1, flake food, Spectrum Thera A+, brine shrimp, zooplankton, Nori and now a fresh clam.  Although the fish points its nose at the food as if there might be some initial interest, I have not noticed it taking a bite of any food and it does continue to appear extremely thin. >>I strongly suggest bloodworms and live mysids (if you can get them).  Other than that, water changes to keep quality up, watch for white(ish), stringy feces (sign of internal bacterial infection).  If you can find a source of fresh micro-crustaceans (think "pods", those that you would find crawling all over live rock and the like), these might entice the fish to start eating as well.  See here for typical wild diet: http://www.fishbase.org/TrophicEco/DietCompoSummary.cfmautoctr=2202&GenusName=Forcipiger&SpeciesName=flavissimus (Which is why I think bloodworms may entice him.  Also, observed most butterflies being fed b-worms at LBAOP.)  Another, more grim, consideration, concerns where and how the butterfly was collected.  It is well-known that certain regions have a tendency to offer fish collected and/or exposed to cyanide.  If this is the case with this fish, the gut lining will have been destroyed, thus making absorption of nutrients impossible, even if the fish were eating.  Let's keep our fingers crossed, as Forcipiger flavissimus is found in a huge area around the Pacific. >Water parameters: Salinity: 1.0235 S.G., Temp = 78 Degrees F, Ammonia = 0, Nitrite = 0, Nitrate = 15 PPM, Cu++ = 2.0 PPM, <Trouble. RMF>  20% water changes every 3-4 days. >>Unless the fish is showing signs of virulent C. irritans infection, I would stop the copper treatments, hyposalinity should be sufficient at this point (I saw no latent/obvious signs of Ich in pics).  Your water quality is good, but hyposalinity is in the range of 1.007-1.010-you would likely need a refractometer to measure this low range.  If the Maracyn II doesn't give you the desired results after a week to ten days, then consider changing over to Spectrogram. >Thank you for the help! --Greg >>You're welcome, I do hope this is helpful.  Marina

Bulimic Butterfly >Thank you for the help Marina.   >>You're welcome. >I bought some Mysid shrimp today and tried to get the Forcipiger longirostris to eat these.   >>Are you sure it's F. longirostris?  By your pics (as I recollect), I was fairly certain you have F. flavissimus.. in any event... >Although all the other tank mates loved the mysids, the butterfly still did not eat.  Each day, this fish's fins continue to improve dramatically but it's gills continue to redden and it continues to grow thinner from this hunger strike.  I do have dried bloodworms I occasionally use to feed my freshwater fish.  Would these work to feed the butterfly?   >>I honestly don't think they'll stimulate him the way live would. >I assume the bloodworms you recommended are either frozen or live. >>Live. >Regarding hyposalinity, you recommended removing the copper if there are currently no signs of virulent C. irritans.  There are no apparent white specks on any of the fishes now (after 1 week of freshwater dips and Cu treatment) but, due to the lifecycle of Cryptocaryon, I thought it is necessary to maintain Cu in the system for a minimum of two weeks (preferably four weeks) to eradicate the Cryptocaryon theronts as they become free-swimming.   >>This is indeed normal protocol.  But I wasn't positive of timing. >Are you saying hyposalinity will serve this purpose instead of using copper treatments? >>Hyposalinity is often the first choice for many hobbyists, instead of copper or formalin treatments.  That is not to say that Ich cannot withstand it, you'll be MUCH more certain of eradicating it with copper than with hypo.  However, if you ascertain that it may be the copper that's causing this butterfly distress, then you might consider using the hypo instead of copper.  One reason I say this is from my observations in the quarantine and treatment area I worked in at the Long Beach Aquarium--they NEVER used copper on their butterflies, though they regularly coppered their tangs and Pufferfishes.  They preferred to use formalin on the butterflies, and I never observed hyposalinity being used (though, in my opinion, it is quite useful).  This is also where I observed the butterflies being fed the bloodworms. >If this is the case, at what rate to I need to drop the salinity to 1.007-1.010?   >>It should be done over two to three days. >I assume this would need to be a very gradual change to prevent further stress.   >>Yes. >How long should the tank remain at 1.007-1.010 S.G.?   >>A 4 week regimen is perfectly acceptable, permanent status is not. >Based upon the apparent stress I have noticed from fish while giving them a freshwater bath, I assume this minimal level of salinity would be stressful to the fish as well.   >>Not as stressful for most marine fishes as you might think.  Notable exceptions would be Mandarin gobies. >I assume, when moving the fish to the main tank, I would need to increase the salinity at the same rate it was reduced -- correct?   >>Quite correct. >I also have several other fishes in this 55 gal QT as well (3 ocellaris clowns, porcupine puffer, powder blue tang, purple tang, flame angel, lawnmower blenny).   >>Holy cow!  I must say, you seem to be planning on introducing QUITE a few fish into the main at the same time, I don't know that I could recommend that.  Have you established your nitrifiers fishless?  And are you certain that you have sufficient colonies?  And last, but not least, I'm hoping that these animals are going into something the size of, say, 180 gallons, or larger. >Are any of these fish more sensitive to hyposalinity than the butterfly? >>None are more sensitive (the flame is actually listed in fishbase.org as a brackish fish!), but the puffer would be more sensitive to copper. >Thank you again for all the terrific advice! --Greg >>You're quite welcome.  Marina

Bulimic Butterfly, III >Hi Marina, >>Hello Greg. >Just to answer your questions and update you on my GOOD NEWS... My Longnose Butterfly is now eating very well!!!   >>Ah, excellent! >Interestingly, it appears to prefer my home-made fish food to the mysids (possibly because the home-made food is easier to fit into its tiny mouth).   >>Actually, I heard it through the grapevine that you're a VERY good cook.  How's your quiche? >As it turns out, I think high ammonia levels were causing the problems.   >>Oh? >Although my ammonia tests read 0 PPM, I was concerned by the slight cloudiness of the water so I bought another test kit.  This test measured 2.0 PPM!   >>HOLY VERYBADWORDFORPOO!!!  Sweet Christ on a crutch, man.. what was the first test kit so we can tell others to watch out?  And what kit did you buy? >I performed a 50% water change and added Amquel at double strength for the remaining 25 gallons of water.  Two hours later the butterfly was back to eating. >>Oh my gawd, that's amazing how fast the poor fish recovered, and thank GOODNESS you thought to check with another kit. >I feel terrible for putting these fish through such conditions but at least now I have an accurate test kit.   >>Yes, now a spanking is in order.  }:-D >Unfortunately, now my Powder Blue Tang has stopped eating for the past three days (since giving it a freshwater bath). >>Oi, now this fish, this is expected.  They're quite picky, as well as rather delicate, given to attacks of "the vapors".  Nori, anyone?  This is one instance where I will suggest garlic, many, many folks believe that it works well as an appetite stimulant.  Even if it's not, I don't believe it will hurt to give it a try.  Of course, a few days to recover from that high ammonia (not so surprising in such a small q/t) may be all that's needed for him. >Regarding the exact type of Longnose butterfly, mine is a solid bright yellow on the entire body except for the face, which is black on the top 1/2 and silver on the bottom 1/2.  According to the captions at fishbase.org, this is listed as F. longirostris, whereas F. flavissimus' body was silver with orange stripes.   >>I have never seen F. flavissimus silver with orange stripes, Greg.  The reason these fish are often so easily confused is that the only significant, easily observable difference is the length of the snout.  I feel that yours is clearly F. flavissimus.  Here are the two links from Fishbase, open up each in their own window then click back and forth between them and you'll see, they're IDENTICAL except for that (body structure is slightly different between them as well, with F. flavissimus being someone less oblong). http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=5585&genusname=Forcipiger&speciesname=longirostris http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=5584&genusname=Forcipiger&speciesname=flavissimus Of course, if you REALLY want to nail this down, count the dorsal rays.  <insert another evil grin here>  Other shots I have in my own library of these fish show ONLY the length of the snout being different. >Maybe I misinterpreted the pictures... >>Hhmm.. I'm not sure what pictures you saw, as you'll see by the links.  Neither fish is striped, though your description matches Copperband butterflies. >Yes, my 55 gal QT is a bit crowded now with all these fish but, after 4 weeks, they will be moving to a 180 gal tank that has been setup for nearly nine months now.  The live sand in this main tank is crawling with 'pods and the wet/dry filter has contains about 5 gallons of bio-balls that are teaming with nitrifying bacteria so (at least I hope) these additional fish will not be seen as a significant increase in bio-load to my main tank. >>A word of advice here, do NOT add them all at the same time.  If you feel you must do this, then I strongly suggest you get some raw shrimp in there ASAP, as you do NOT have sufficient numbers of nitrifiers to handle the fish load.  You must add enough to cause good peaks of ammonia and nitrite. >Now, if I can only get my Powder Blue to eat I would be in great shape! >>Indeed. >Thank you for all the great advice! --Greg >>You're welcome, again.  Have fun clicking the links back and forth.. I sure did!  Marina

Bulimic Butterfly, IV >Hi Marina, >>Hello Greg. >Just getting back to you...  The "BAD" ammonia test kit was a Red Sea (BAD Kit -- BAAAAADD KIT!)  The new kit is a Salifert ammonia test kit.  I have used this Red Sea kit in the past and it did detect ammonia so my guess is that the reagents might have expired.  I have only owned the kit for about 9 months but I guess it could have been on a shelf for quite some time before I received it.  In any case, it is a Flakey test at best. >>Agreed. >My quiche?  It is good as well -- with a few pinches of garlic, just like my fish food :o)  I think my Powder Blue Tang might be beginning to nibble at food again.   >>Good. >Although it is not eating as aggressively as previously, I do think I saw it nip at a few tiny specks of "food residue" that was floating in the water after the other fish attacked the food.  I have been keeping Nori in the QT as well but it has shown no interest in this (although the Purple Tang tears this stuff up in a wild frenzy!).  I will just keep my fingers crossed for now and hope those tiny specks of food being eaten turn into larger pieces tomorrow.   >>Yeah, and hopefully seeing the Purple tang go to town on this stuff might "inspire" him to eat. >I will throw-in some Selcon-soaked mysids as well in another attempt to entice the Powder Blue to eat.  I might add some vitamin B12/Cravex as well.  After looking at the links you sent (many Attars later), I agree with you (oh guru of Forcipiger :-)) -- I have a F. flavissimus.  I was comparing the two links for "Longnose Butterflyfish" for USA on this page: http://www.fishbase.org/ComNames/CommonNameSearchList.cfm.  Although the common name is listed as Longnose Butterflyfish for the bottom USA link, the species is listed as Chelmon rostratus (yes, a Copperband indeed).   >>No sheet!  Huh.. well, common nomenclature will bugger ya every time. >Of course I am typing with one finger now after trying to count those dorsal rays on my fish <:0) >>LOL!! >Regarding my 180 gal main tank, I failed to mention that it has contained about 200 snails, 100 blue-leg hermits, 3 brittle stars, diamond watchman goby, 3 yellow-tail damsels, yellow tang, maroon clown pair and a hippo tang for the past eight months.  It also has about 100 lbs of live rock and 3" of live sand in addition to the 5 gallons of well broken-in bio-balls. Although I realize these new fish will add to the bio-load, the Nitrobacter population would increase fairly quickly since the relative % increase in bio-load is not as great as if I were adding to a nearly-empty tank.  Do you agree? >>Yes and no, I would still be careful adding that many fish at once, and be prepared FIRST to do sufficiently large water changes (on the order of 50% for two changes). >In any case, I do plan to take your advice and add only two fish at a time to the main tank.  I suppose now I am owed a spanking for putting too many tangs in a 180 gal aquarium :-D   >>Heh, and you're talking to the right woman.  ;) >So far all these fish have played very well together so I am hoping for a continued happy family.  If a bully or two begins to develop... well then I guess I have an excuse to start-up another tank!   >>HOO YEAH! Now you're talkin'! >I have been struggling with whether to go with a reef or triggers, angels and puffers in my current tank.  A new tank would allow me to have both!  I don't suppose you loan money in addition to advice ;-) >>Oh my, if only <rolling eyes>. >Thanks again for all the great advice, I'm sure I will be back! --Greg >>You're welcome, and thanks for the notice on the test kit. I think it may have been old, more than likely.  Good to know all is well!  Marina

Copperbanded Butterfly Fish (Chelmon rostratus) Hi, I have currently purchased a healthy clean 3inch Copperband butterfly, and introduced him with 1 regal tang, 1 ocellaris clown, 1 potters angelfish, 2 crabs and 2 cleaner shrimps. My tank has excellent water quality, and some live rock.<sounds good> I attempted to feed him using some of the Kent marine garlic treatment on the brine shrimp, but he didn't take a nimble. Can you give me any information about this species, and any tips when it comes around to feeding? <well I would try different methods...don't feed brine shrimp, instead try feeding with Mysis shrimp, krill, maybe even silversides (my semilarvatus used to love them) and flake food. Also you can try Life Line green or red (herbivore and carnivore food). I would just try every food type possible in order to get this some what difficult species of fish to begin eating. This is what it took for my golden moray to start eating.. persistence is the key my friend. Good luck and if you have any other questions/problems just email me back. IanB> Thanks a lot, regards Darrell

Copperbanded Butterfly Fish 11/3/03 I have a 3inch Copperbanded butterfly fish, and curious of the amount of muscle chops I feed him, which are about 5mm/5mm. Could you recommend a certain daily amount of which I can feed him, <hmm... hard to say. But 2-3 small feedings (1/8th teaspoon?) daily are needed for most such passive species Much more than just muscle meat too... it will die of a deficiency if you limit yourself so. Add Mysid shrimp, minced krill and Pacifica plankton for example> as I don't want to loose him though underfeeding, but please bear in mind my other fish do eat these as well as flakes and brine shrimp. Thanks Regards Aaron. <some experimentation is indeed in order here. Do review Bob's feeding protocol and excellent homemade fish food recipes in the classic title, "Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Fenner. Anthony>

Copperbanded Butterfly Fish (Chelmon rostratus)  Hi,  I would just like to say that my Copperbanded butterfly is eating.<good> I thought, because he loves to nip and tear at the feather duster I'll put the muscle strands from the whole muscles in the tube. At first he didn't seem interested,  but after a while he came up and sniffed it, and once the dwarf angelfish began to nip at it a pull it out, he shot for it a eat the whole thing which is about 2 inches long!<nice> And the butterfly fish is only 3inch. And now when I feed  him the muscles, he's straight for them. I am very pleased with this, and I hope it helps other owners of this fish <thanks for the information and good luck with this fish, IanB>  Regards Aaron. 

Raccoon Butterfly fish not eating, and new tank setup - 02/24/03 <Ananda here today...> Hi there your website is awesome and I have just been into salt water fish since Sept. <Thanks for the kinds words, and welcome to the hobby!> I originally bought a 125g and shortly there after bought a 35g and 25g (25g for quarantine). <Good move.> I have a fish and reef system in the 125g with lots of corals about 30 LPS. I have gained lots of knowledge from your website as my wife and I grow to love our little piece of your world. <Make that "our" world -- hopefully you both live on the same planet we do... :-) > Yesterday we had a 330g built (long two weeks for cure time) which we are going to have for our reef system and only move a few fish. <Very nice.> We have had a raccoon butterfly fish home for two and a half weeks now. I moved it from the 25 to the 35 until the 330g is ready. Once that is ready it is going to go into the 125g. The 35 has good water quality and a skimmer. The first week we had it home he didn't eat that much even though we offered all kinds of food but he was picking off the rock and eating a few Aiptasia. After a few days we opened a fresh clam for him which he devoured. After three clams over the course of about a week I decided to move him to a tank with a skimmer because I read on your site that they need a tank with a skimmer and I thought with a few other fish seeing them eat might help. He has been in there for about three days and no sign of eating anything. Do you have any suggestions on getting him to eat anything other than clams? If he will only eat clams will this be enough for him to live healthily? Any tips would be greatly appreciated. <According to my research, these fish eat anemones, Nudibranchs, tubeworms, and other bottom-dwelling invertebrates, plus some algae and coral polyps. You might try a sponge-containing angelfish preparation, or perhaps some live Tubifex worms or brine shrimp to get him started. You might also get some clam juice and soak the other food in that. Also try putting other foods in a clam shell. Another option might be to make your own fish food -- there are several recipes kicking around on the web, including in the WetWebFotos chat forums. Many of these use added water and gelatin as a binder; I would substitute clam juice for the water and use agar agar powder, which is made from seaweed, instead of the gelatin.> Another question I have is what kind of sand would you recommend in the 330g. <Standard aragonite sand, topped off with live sand.> My LFS store suggests using bio-active sand. <Likely because they can make a bigger profit on it... seriously, this sand is only marginally more useful than dead sand. It may contain some bacteria if the sand is still relatively fresh. But if it's been sitting on the shelf for a while, the bacteria may be dead.> When I first set up the 330 I am going to put half of the water from the 125 into the 330. I have 230lbs of Fiji live rock in the 125 and am going to move about a half of it to the 330 as well as new rock from Fiji. Does this sound like a good way to get it started? <I don't think you need to move that much of the water from the 125. I would mix the majority of the water your tank will need in the tank. After a couple of days, you could add the water you take out from a typical water change to fresh saltwater mixed in the tank. Then add the aragonite sand. When the sand settles -- and this could take a week -- add the live sand. Then add all of your new live rock and (re-)cure it in the 330. That will prevent any die-off from causing an ammonia spike in your established tank. Also, put a piece of shrimp in the tank -- on the sand, out where you can see it. If it disappears suddenly, start looking for hitchhiking inverts! (Try using a blue-tinted light to look for them at night; some of those inverts can see red light very easily.) Those critters are the reason I like to quarantine my live rock. Additionally, if there was any Ich in the system the live rock came from, quarantining the new rock for a month in a fishless system should get rid of it.> My LFS is going to be getting in some new live rock from Tonga and another place that started with a "K". The person I talked to was sure where it was but you might know. <I just saw the name a couple of days ago, but don't remember it right now.> They said this rock is lighter and more porous and comes in much larger pieces. What do you think of rock from these other places? Should I just stick to Fiji rock? <The Tonga rock is often shaped differently than Fiji rock: Tonga rock is often branch-shaped and sometimes slab-shaped. It also has different critters living in the rock. I've read arguments for and against sticking with live rock from one geographic area. Most people I know who have mixed rock from different regions have not had any difficulties because of it.> I appreciate your time in helping my wife and I be more successful in maintaining this wonderful hobby of ours. <You're quite welcome. Do check out the articles and FAQs on butterfly fishes, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/raccoon.htm ....   --Ananda>

Weaning Longnose Butterfly Hello, <Hello!> I recently purchased a Longnose Butterfly and put him in a 15 gal. QT tank with about 15 lbs of live rock.  It will eventually be moved to my 75 gal. with about 100 lbs of rock.  It was being fed live brine shrimp at the LFS, <Fish love it...Aquarist hate it! Little to no nutritional value even when enhanced with vitamins> but I want to feed more nutritional foods such as frozen clams, enriched brine, etc.   <Skip the brine completely> So far the Longnose has ignored all of my offerings, but it has been picking things off of the live rock.  I worry that the little rock in the QT tank will not sustain him for long.  Do you have any suggestions for weaning him onto the frozen foods?   <Try some Mysis shrimp. This worked perfectly with my butterfly. Also try a fresh open clam or oyster. Take a look at the fish's snout...see how small it is? Food must be able to fit in this little mouth. Be sure to feed small pieces> How long can he go without eating before it becomes critical?   <Depending when he was last fed, two to several weeks at least... if there is ample LR in the tank> I have seen him mouth the frozen clams, but apparently not eat.  He appears very healthy - robust body, with clear skin and fins. Perhaps I should move him to the 75 with more rock? <You don't say how long you've had the fish. If it's only been a few days, I wouldn't worry. Keep trying different things> Thanks for your advice, <The pleasure is mine. Try lots of different small food items. He's been spoiled with those silly brine shrimp. David Dowless> John.H
Weaning Longnose Butterfly: Mysis shrimp worked!
Thanks for your response.   <You're more than welcome!> I'm happy to report that my Longnose Butterfly has taken a liking to Mysis shrimp.   <Yippee! I'm glad to see that I was able to help!> First he tried just one, then about 10 at the next feeding! <Give it a few days and try some other meaty things. Just remember, a small mouth can only eat small pieces of food> Thanks again, <You're welcome! Take care! David Dowless> John.H

Re: butterfly question I'd love to add a tank-raised saddleback butterfly. Would it be OK with these tank mates?
<<Not in this size tank - your tank is full.>> Thanks, I thought I was at/near max. Prob going to move damsel, it's getting too big.
<<They usually turn into bullies too...>>  <<You should try to get away from the brine shrimp and use frozen Mysis shrimp instead - brine shrimp, even when soaked and enhanced are still nutritionally hollow - much like potato chips. Mysis are much better.>> Thanks, I never knew that. Pickings are slim around here food-wise, but I'll start looking for Mysis. <<If there is a Petco in the area, you might do well to find the Hikari frozen fish foods there. They have a food labeled "Shrimp" which is actually Mysis shrimp. Will work just fine.>> If I solve the crowding and food problems, would a butterfly bother the anemone? <<A very distinct possibility... and hard to predict either way.>> Thanks Jason, Linda <<You are quite welcome. Cheers, J -- >>

Butterfly with mushrooms and star polyps Hi WetWebMedia [....dunno who :-)], I am considering changing my tank in a few ways, get a load of LR, and clean up crew type inverts (stars, shrimps, hermits and snails) and I would like to add some star polyps and mushrooms. The thing is, I'd also like to add a butterfly fish - not exactly sure, but either Chaetodon semilarvatus OR the yellow Longnose. Do these fish eat these types of invert, generally? <Yes> Which would be the better choice? <The Semilarvatus is a slightly hardier choice.> Cheers, Matt <Have a nice night. -Steven Pro>
Re: Butterfly with mushrooms and star polyps
Thanks Steven. Thought as much. Would the shrimps, hermits, stars be ok? <Yes> or are they likely to become grub too ? <Only for Triggers, Puffers, large Wrasses...> Cheers, Matt <Good day to you! -Steven Pro>

BF with parasites? I have a pearl scaled butterfly in quarantine. He started to develop what I thought was Ich. I treated him with quick-cure and the spots are gone. Now he twitches frequently, and swims on his side. He is still eating and has no other obvious signs of distress. Any ideas why he is demonstrating this behavior.  <quite possibly still parasites in the gills or maybe the gills have been damaged if the parasites went unnoticed for a while> Is it an effect of the formalin?  <not an effect, and if you didn't exceed the mfg dose by much or at all... then no worries here. Do add a strong airstone to the tank to insure optimal aeration and also keep the temp steady... not too high (78-80F ideal)> Thanks, Rich. <best regards, Anthony>

B/F maybe in trouble Mr. Fenner, <<Greetings, it's actually JasonC today,>> I just ordered 3 fish from FFExpress and they seemed healthy at first. But after a few days I have noticed that the raccoon has not eaten much of anything and sometimes will just hover above a rock and not swim anywhere, then will swim normal. I tried a b/f from FFExpress about 5 months ago and it most likely was collected with cyanide as it seemed healthy and ate, but was kind of spacey, just hanging around, not swimming too much, and then one day, just freaked out and died. <<Hmmm...>> I don't think the new one has this, but it is acting somewhat like the raccoon that died from cyanide. He just hovers above this one rock and stares down, kind of tilted head down, and he will only swim away if the emperor chases him away. He will do this for an hour or so, then return to normal scavenging and playing around, then do it again a few hours later. It's very strange. <<Or not... it is next to impossible to know the motivations of fish besides something simple like food. This activity could be/mean any number of things.>> Then the threadfin is eating and eating like a piggy as far as b/f's go, but the last two days has been occasionally scratching his right side against the rocks. Not a lot, but at least a handful of times a day, enough that it worries me. Then today I noticed that right behind his right gill there is a little red patch of skin and it looks like it might be open. <<That is from too much scratching.>> Does he have some internal bacteria/parasite, or is this something he can get over with good eating and a healthy tank (cause I can provide that for him)? <<It's a safe bet that this butterfly has some form of parasite.>> Even though the threadfin has the apparent injury or problem, he eats great and other than the occasional scratching and the red patch, he is doing very well. But the raccoon isn't as out going as the threadfin and only samples foods I give him, never really eating them. He has already picked at the LR for days and is getting small feather dusters and polyps from the LR, but that won't last very long. What to do, what to do. <<Two things come to mind. First, I am gleaning here that you did not quarantine these new fish, which is a mistake. Second, you didn't mention the size of this tank or the amount of cover, but this could present a problem for you too.>> I have tried the following foods with little to no success for the raccoon: formula 2, pygmy formula, Nori (which all my other fish eat like it was crack or something, they LOVE it), angel sponge formula, frozen Tubifex worms, frozen Spirulina formula, and frozen brine shrimp (which gets the most reaction out of him, but he just picks at them, and then spits them out). The only thing that is making me think he might eventually eat is that he does seem like he wants to eat, but that what I am giving him isn't what he wants or something, it's very strange. <<I don't think so. These fish are used to picking their food off the source in the wild. Eating food out of the water column is not "natural" although they can learn. This is one of the practicalities of quarantine.>> The fish I have either like something right off the bat or never like it. And the raccoon looks like he wants to eat what I am feeding the other fish, but just samples it, then spits most of it out. Any help or guesses at what is wrong with the b/f's in terms of health would be much appreciated. <<My guess would be stress. Most fish that we purchase are in a stressful condition from the moment they are captured right up until we bring them home. The trick at that point is to eliminate the stress. If you just dropped these fish into your main system, then the stress is continuing... you really need to consider individual quarantine for each and every fish you plan to place in the main system. Here is a WWM URL on the subject: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm >> Ryan <<Cheers, J -- >>

Stocking 55g FOWLR Dear Mr. Fenner et alia, <<Greetings, JasonC here...>> How do you do? First and foremost, I would like to commend you on a great job on WetWebMedia ! <<Well thank you, but I can't bask in all the credit. It is the result of work by many people.>> I am in the process of building a 55G FOWLR. I am going to specifically rare the following Butterflies: 1)Forcipiger longirostris 2)Chaetodon declivis 3)Chaetodon ephippium 4)Chelmon rostratus <<Oh my... a 55 is really rather small for these fish, even though there are only four. You really need 100+ gallons.>> Succinctly, I believe that it will require a skimmer and a UV filter besides the usual suspects. However, I do not have the exact specs on the equipment I am going to purchase. <<Everything except the UV... you can avoid this purchase and instead put the money in a quarantine system for the incoming fish. You can avoid most all parasitic disease issues with careful quarantine practices.>> 1) Best skimmer for a 55G? <<I'm a fan of the various AquaC models>> 2) Heater wattage? <<Depends on the manufacturer - check the back of the box.>> 3) Power-head GPH? (I will go with two) <<As much as possible. More is better. A good range to shoot for is 10x the system volume circulated every hour. This would include your re-circulation pump.>> 4) Lights wattage/Kelvin/Lumens? <<Matters not at all - fish could care less about Kelvin and wattage. These are really only important for keeping corals and other photosynthetic organisms.>> 5) Best UV filter for a 55G? <<None.>> Other questions include: 1) The tank will come out of the box with a hang-over-the-back filter. Do I need this since there is already a skimmer and U.V. filtration? <<Well... I didn't see you mention the live rock... [the LR part of FOWLR]. First and foremost you need a biological filter, which the live rock will provide. You will also need some form of mechanical filtration, which the hang on unit will provide.>> 2) Would I need a clean-up crew to augment the mechanical and biological filtration? <<Time will tell, it probably won't hurt.>> 3) Will a 2-inch sand bed suffice? <<No, this is a problematic depth. One inch or less, or five inches or more will keep you out of trouble.>> 4) Would you recommend a larger tank for the fantastic four? <<Already did.>> Please advice and thank you in advance. Best, Mimie <<Cheers, J -- >>

butterflies/tangs Here is a question. I know that tangs either are in a singularly or more than 2 (3 or more).  <In many cases much more than 3 to be successful> Presumably so one dominant species won't attack the one single other one.  <essentially, yes> On a 200 gallon 7 foot tang, does this also hold true for butterflies ? Can you put 3 (or more) golden butterflies together (they are found in groups in the wild). Will this remove some of the territorial issues that are found when only two are present ? <as beautiful as the tank is... it is still too small for schooling or shoaling mid sized fishes. Think of it this way... you are snorkeling in the tropics and you spot the same 3-4 fish pacing within the same 7 foot of reef...bizarre and not going to happen. The quarters are too close for most. There are some Heniochus, however, that might satisfy your desire to keep larger schooling fishes. Do review Bob's work in his Conscientious Marine Aquarist and here in the archives on these fishes> And, another, does this also carry over to angels ?  <mucho aggression with most angels. Only the Genicanthus species are even remotely tolerant of each other (most being quite peaceful and better off in pairs)> Not planning on putting three imperators together, but just curious.  <heehee... no harm in asking. Anthony> Thanks Jim

Copperband Butterflyfishes, Chelmon Feeding Stimulation, Success Hi, <Hello> Really great website and very helpful. I have read you are very weary of introducing Chelmon rostratus because of its poor survival rate. I thought I might add a positive note by saying that I have purchased a specimen 6 months ago to put in my reef tank. At first I was worried sick that he wasn't eating anything, but it appeared healthy, if a little thin. That's why I got tempted to buy it... you know how it is. Well, I read somewhere that it might be tempted by whole mussels. <Yes. Among other places: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BFsBestWrst.htm> I went to the local market and got some fresh ones and I put them in. He was eating like a pig as well as my Chaetodon rafflesi that I purchased a week earlier and that only rarely took a bite at live brine shrimps. I couldn't believe my eyes. Now I only pop a couple of mussels in in the morning and evening enriched with vitamins for about 20 min.s and they have a feast. They are completely healthy, and nicely plump. The rafflesi is slightly less sociable and he hides a little when I go near the tank with food (only for about 10 seconds), but the Chelmon looks at me and gets to the usual place where I drop the food. I couldn't believe how simple it would be! Hope this information helps other 'compulsive' buyers like myself. <Me too> Nothing could be more simple. Massimo Redaelli, Brighton, England UK <Thank you for relating your success. It will save innumerable losses and heartache. Bob Fenner>

Butterflyfishes for Marine

Diversity, Selection & Care
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