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FAQs on Longnose, Genus Forcipiger Butterflyfish Stocking/Selection

Related Articles: Longnose Butterflyfishes,

Related FAQs:  Longnose Butterflyfishes in General, Forcipiger Identification, Forcipiger Behavior, Forcipiger Compatibility, Forcipiger Systems, Forcipiger Feeding, Forcipiger Disease, Forcipiger Reproduction, Chaetodonts: Butterflyfish Identification, Butterflyfish Foods/Feeding/NutritionButterflyfish Compatibility, Butterflyfish Behavior, Butterflyfish Systems, Butterflyfish Selection, Butterflyfish Disease, Butterflyfish Reproduction,


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

Hawaiian Forcipiger longirostris Collected / Not eating     11/26/18
I recently collected a YLN Butterflyfish.
<Hey Sky! Thought Forcipigers... oh, I see your comment below>
Yes, the Long, Long Nosed. No easy feat with he aquarium ban here in Hawaii, free diving and free-netting, on a single breath, approx 2 min breath holds. It took me a couple hours but I finally got one. I treated him as gently as possible and he has been in my tank for about three weeks now. Originally he was getting picked on by a Yellow Tang in my outdoor sump, so I transferred him to my display, where he’s been for about a week. Still he hasn’t eaten. I’ve afforded all the usual suspects and everything suggested here, like Mysis shrimp and my own food pasted onto a rock. He also hasn’t touched my Aiptasia, one of the reasons I got him.
<A Raccoon BF would be much better for eating Glass Anemones>
I haven’t however offered anything live because I don’t know where I can get any live shrimp her on Hilo side of the Big Island. I did begin hatching some Brine shrimp out of desperation. They are still too small to feed. The only thing I can think is the very small, almost unnoticeable tuft (possibly fungal) on the top end of his snout. Otherwise he seems perfectly healthy. If he doesn't eat soon I feel I should take him back. ;-(
Any hail Mary ideas?
<Mmm, three weeks.... I'd return the fish, look for a Raccoon>
Oh Aquarium parameters are near perfect ;-) MAHALOZ!
In Gratitude,
<A hu'i hou mate. Bob Fenner>
Re: Hawaiian Forcipiger longirostris Collected / Not eating    11/28/18

Okay, I’ll prob take him back.
<I've done this; in Hawaii and elsewhere, a few times... whole wholesale set ups where the livestock wasn't fit to sell; better to return it to the sea>
I guess some YLN Butterflies, if too big when captured just don’t start eating?
<Yes; this is so. BFs in particular get bumped on their mouths easily... and olde ones are set in their ways>
Perhaps I shall try again with a smaller specimen and have better luck. I had a couple Raccoons but worried about them eating my corals and Shrooms a friend gave me frags of.
<Mmm; maybe another smaller Forcipiger of either species; but am a big fan of the two species of raccoons for the job.>
In Gratitude,
Sky Kubby
<Cheers Sky, BobF>

Juvenile Butterflyfish. BF sel. f'     7/2/12
Hi, Do any of you guys and girls know why in the trade you never see small, say 3 or 4 cm.s Yellow Longnose or Copperband Butterflyfish?
<These are not collected, used in the trade... Butterflyfishes period "die easily"... Small ones almost always>

 I have never seen them diving also? Regards, Adam.
<I have; though they're usually "hidden" deeply w/in branching types of hard corals. BobF> 

Forcipiger flavissimus Selection'¦Parted Lips? -- 01/22/11
<<Hiya Rachel>>
Been diligently reading about F. flavissimus and sizing them up at the LFS where there are 10+ specimens all collected locally and seemingly in good shape.
<<Nice to have such a selection to choose from'¦and 'locally collected' too! (Hawaii I wonder?)>>
Some of them swim around with their lips (do they have lips? what do you call them?)
<<I think 'lips' is descriptive enough here>>
slightly open, while others swim around with their lips closed. Do open vs. closed lips mean anything about fish health when selecting one of these?
<<If the condition is a result of injury or illness, sure'¦but such behavior is not necessarily indicative of a damaged individual. I have a Chelmon rostratus that spends much of its time with its mouth slightly open (I also often see pictures posted on the Net of Chelmon and Forcipiger species that capture such poses) and have observed many 'healthy' specimens doing same. If the fish of your choice shows no obvious physical damage to its mouth, and is eating and behaving normally, I don't think you have much to fear re its 'parted lips'>>
Sorry if that question's a bit off-the-wall, but just wondering...not sure about normal behaviour.
<<No worries'¦glad you are taking the time to do some research beforehand>>
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>> 

Aiptasia.. giving up the ghost.. not quite!   3/17/10
<Hi Jerry>
I've finally decided to surrender to the plague. But before I junk the whole 180 gal. tank, I'm considering one last hurrah. I've tried direct injections, Butterfly fish, Nudibranchs, Peppermint Shrimp... Nothing works.
But this I know. They are Anemones and they probably won't like a steady diet of copper.
<They won't..>
The fish shouldn't mind
<They will..>
but I guess I'll lose the inverts.
<You will, assuming that your substrate does not absorb the copper rendering it useless. I would not go this route>
If I don't get rid of the Aiptasia though, eventually they'll be the only inverts left, anyway.
<My fave control for this is the Forcipiger flavissimus Butterfly>
So my question is, will this extreme measure also wipe out the basic biology in my live rock?
<Yes, mostly>
I can re-introduce Xenia, etc. once the copper is cleared,
<Most likely, yes. After a while, with carbon added>
But will I lose the biologic filter in the meantime?
<Yes you will, if you add enough to kill the Aiptasia, which might be quite a lot with a substrate present>
And by the way, can the copper eventually be removed with huge water changes & carbon filtering?
<Yes it can. There is some evidence that a certain amount remains in the system, but after a while (weeks, months) you should be ok>
Does all this sound like the ravings of a beaten aquarist?
<It does Jerry.. I don't know enough about your system and it's inhabitants, but if you really do want to 'go nuclear' then you could consider dropping the salinity over using copper, gradually over a period of weeks so as not to disturb the biological filter too much.. you might have more/ better success this way. This is not something I would do personally as I have battled these with success myself, and do think that with some perseverance you can do the same.. try the Forcipiger.. a great, hardy fish to have.. and peaceful. Reduce feeding, increase skimming.. do you have many, and messy fishes? Reduce these>
<No problem>
Re: Aiptasia.. giving up the ghost.. not quite! -- 03/18/10

<Hi Jerry>
Yet again the WWM crew brings hope to a wet, weary warrior!
<As someone said to me very recently, 'fellow pet-fish sufferer'!>
Thank you very much for your prompt and encouraging reply!
<No problem>
I hate to bang on about it any more than necessary, but is the Longnose Yellow more durable than the Copperband?
<By a long way, yes>
I'm afraid the only Butterfly I've tried was a Copperband and for a while he was doing great, but then started to show signs of stress; (I suspect harassment from a Cinnamon Clown).
<I do have a strong opinion on this subject -- I cannot understand why the Copperband is so often recommended for Aiptasia control when it's survival probabilities are so low. Yes, it is reasonably 'reef safe', but so are a couple of other, more hardy species, the best IMO the Forcipiger. No Butterfly can be guaranteed 'reef safe' though.>
He lasted about 6 or 7 weeks, not long enough to develop an appetite for Aiptasia.
<Actually, this should easily be long enough. More likely it was being harassed, and was just not comfortable.>
I don't have many fish, anymore. Probably not enough, as a matter of fact:
1 Yellow Tang - 2 Cinnamon Clowns
<These could be a problem still, but the Longnose will have a MUCH better chance than the Copperband, as it is able to stick up for itself just fine...get one at about 4 inches (body length) if you can, bigger than the Clowns. Don't forget to quarantine.>
- 1 Royal Gramma - 1 Pyjama Cardinal - that's all I've got left.
The tank is 180 gallons with about 220 # of live
rock and a 3" deep medium grain live sand substrate.
<Six foot 180? You should be ok here>
I've had the system running for about 8 years, so I know there's no guarantees in this hobby, but do you think I should try again with a tougher Butterfly?
<I do, and if you are successful and it eats the anemones, this will quickly become your favourite fish! Trust me, it's a great looker with it's 'Punk hairdo'. I do think, though, that this should also be your last fish here. One of the factors that can encourage more Aiptasia growth is lots of fishes>
It's pretty tough to net anything in there, though I've tried to "harpoon" those Clowns on more than one tipsy evening.
<? I'm not quite with you.. maybe it's too late in the day, maybe I'm getting too old..>
I do appreciate your taking the time to help.
<No problem>
Happy splashing,
<Splish splosh!>

Copperband BF collection origins... 06/02/09
Hey guys. Quick one for you. I am considering a Copperband BF for my peaceful (Naso tang, hippo tang, Juvi imperator angel, six line wrasse,
<Mmm, not these last two...>
percula clown) 125 gallon FOWLR tank.
<Too small for the Naso, Angel in time>
(Actually I have one anemone and a colt coral).
<Likely to be chewed on by the Pomacanthus>
I have been doing research on them and learned that between them and the Longnose BF that they are about the most reef safe BF fish out there. (Is that true??)
<Mmm, yes... along with some others of about the same "rank"... genus Hemitaurichthys, Chelmonops, some Chaetodons>
Of the 2 which do you think are the hardiest and easiest to start eating??
Also what is the difference in where they are collected.
<Ahh! A very good question>
I am looking online (Liveaquaria.com) and the Copperband comes from Australia (Most expensive by far, How come??),
<Further away, higher cost of living of the folks in the process...>
Indo Pacific, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, and Philippines, and the long nose from Hawaii, Indo Pacific, and Maldives. Longnose all being the same price. Are ones hardier that others, or collected in different ways, (I heard that Indo Pacific fish have more of a chance of being collected by cyanide.
<Neither of these fishes are intentionally collected via cyanide, other poisoning. Almost all Chaetodontids are collected using mist/barrier nets, chaser poles...>
Not sure why but I read that in one of your FAQ's.) Also do you think it would be better to get a smaller specimen or larger of either kind. This will be my first attempt at a BF and want to try to be successful by
getting as much info as possible. I have been reading your BF FAQ's and got a lot of info from that, but just trying to get the rest of my questions answered. Thank you for all your past and future help. You people are wonderful
<Welcome... but I would hold off on either BF for the described size/volume system and tankmates you list. Your system is headed for overload as it is.
I'd be looking into another or larger tank. Bob Fenner>

Longnose Butterfly... reef safe, Aiptasia pred.  -- 09/17/08 Hello, <<Greetings Mike>> I have been doing some research and have found several references to the Long nose Butterfly being as reef safe as the Copperband and it being just as likely to eat Aiptasia. <<This is so'¦as long as you understand that 'reef safe' is a very relative term and differs as much among individual specimens as it does among differing species>> Also understand that they are hardier and easier to get to eat. <<Perhaps easier to get to eat, but not necessarily hardier than Chelmon species in my opinion. Selection of healthy individuals and careful acclimation are key to success with both genera and C. rostratus has proven very hardy in my experience once settled in and if feeding well. But generally speaking, yes, Forcipiger species are thought to be easier to get to this point>> Any truth to this, would like to get one to help control Aiptasia and I have wanted a butterfly for a long time. <<My experience with the so-called 'Aiptasia predators''¦whether piscine or otherwise'¦is not to expect too much re. As with so much else, this too varies between individuals. And even when a fish starts out feeding on the Aiptasia, more often than not this soon diminishes as the fish learns there are other (tastier?) morsels about. But even so, this fish is very worthy of keeping if you can provide an adequate environment (please do read here and among the associated links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/forcipig.htm )>> Thanks, Mike Winston <<Happy to share. Eric Russell>>

Long Nose Butterflyfish Hardy? Dear Mr. Fenner: <You reached Steven Pro working his shift answering the daily questions to WWM. Anthony Calfo and I are helping out for a while.> I mainly want to know if Longnose Butterflyfishes were hardy. My dad and I are still stocking our 125 tank. I'm the one who mainly likes the Longnose B/F. <Definitely not considered hardy. You can read more about these fish on the following WebPages http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BFsBestWrst.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/forcipig.htm. Do be sure to educate yourself about any fish you intend to purchase before the purchase. There is a lot of good information to be had for free on the WetWebMedia website. One just has to look. -Steven Pro>

Re: need fish suggestions By help I mean giving me ideas to help narrow down what I want. I like the Longnose butterfly, so I'll probably go with that. I just wanted to know if you have or know of them being friendly to owners. I might have gone with a hippo tang but it wouldn't be happy in a tank this small, and I want the best for my little friends. <Think you should go with what you like. Bob Fenner>
Re: need fish suggestions
Ok so a Longnose will do fine in a tank of 55g? Some people said no. So I am unsure. <Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/forcipig.htm Bob Fenner>

Copperband later on One more thing, if I got the Longnose now, would it fight a Copperband if I wanted to get one later on? <Read, think, act. Bob Fenner>

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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