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FAQs on Longnose, Genus Forcipiger Butterflyfishes

Related Articles: Longnose Butterflyfishes,

Related FAQs:  Forcipiger Identification, Forcipiger Behavior, Forcipiger Compatibility, Forcipiger Selection, 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>

Sick Longnose BF?   03/07/06 Hi all!  I have another question for you fine folks. I just got my Longnose Butterfly and he has done great so far.  He eats very well, and he loves to swim around like he's strutting his stuff. <Is then> But i noticed today that he has a little red spots , at the base of his beak at both sides.  I attached a picture for you. <Unfortunately these didn't "come through"> I researched other pictures on the net and none of them had his little spots.  Is this something i should be worried about or is something that varies from fish to fish. <Some reddening does occur in Forcipigers... due to? Stress? From? In general this is not a sign to treat their system... unless it is affecting feeding behavior> His skin is clear right there and the red is underneath the skin.  Thanks for the help!! Nick
<I would not "panic" here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Longnose?   03/07/06 Sorry for the picture not going through.  I will try to attach it as a file this time. <No worries. And do see it here> Today it seem to be not as red as it was yesterday so maybe it was a "stress situation, upon arrival, into his new home.  He eats very well so i guess it is not a problem. <I hope not as well> I the picture can help. Or maybe it could help someone else since a popular fish.  Thank you very much for my newfound peace of mind. <Welcome. Do see the "blood mark"... appears to be well-defined... likely from a "bump" into something and likely will heal of its own accord. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Longnose butterfly with corals/compatibility/feeding   1/31/06 Dear James. Thank you for the really quick response to my skimmer question. <You're welcome.> For my new 180 gallon reef I would like to keep a long nose butterfly (Forcipiger flavissimus) and a copper band butterfly (Chelmon rostratus). I have heard a lot of various opinions of whether they are reef safe or not. I don't want to get a fish that would eat my corals and clams. Also I heard that copper bands eat Aiptasia, but then wouldn't they eat other cnidarians? Any help would be appreciated. Sorry if I keep asking you more and more questions, but I can't help it. <Do read info on these before sending a query.  Read FAQ's on these subjects.  Answers can be found there.  http://www.google.com/custom?q=copper+band+butterfly&sa=Google+Search&sitesearch=wetwebmedia.com http://www.google.com/custom?q=long+nose+butterfly&sa=Google+Search&sitesearch=wetwebmedia.com Thanks. <You're welcome.  In future replies, do include original query.  James (Salty Dog)> Marcus     

Forcipiger flavissimus and Zebrasoma flavescens in the same tank 10/17/05 Greetings, Please excuse me if I have overlooked the answer. I've searched the site and have yet to find the answer to this question: Will F. flavissimus and Z. flavescens live peacefully in the same tank? Your B/F section indicates that the F. flavissimus should be introduced early in the life of a tank so that it may "stake a claim." Everything I've read about Z. flavescens says that it is a peaceful resident and warns that I should have only one to a tank. Since both of these fish reach approximately the same adult size, will the Z. flavescens be too aggressive for the B/F (another potentially large yellow fish competing for resources)?  <Mark, I would put the long nose in first, then a week or two later the tang. They should get along well. You may see the tang chase the long nose occasionally but no harm should be done. James (Salty Dog)> 

Re: For James (Salty Dog): Forcipiger/Zebrasoma compatibility 10/18/05 James,  <Dan> I read your answer to this question and have a closely related tale to tell. You gave me the same advice some months ago (no blame! all fish are different!) with unfortunate results.  We put a Forcipiger into our 120 gal FOWLR. A few weeks later, a purple tang was introduced (slightly but not hugely bigger than the BF), a transfer from another smaller (55 gal) reef tank that we have. The two fish got along great for a few weeks, and then the tang started "following around" the BF and occasionally nipping.  A few days later, we found the BF severely chewed (most fins gone) -- the poor thing died within a few hours. I am making the basic assumption, perhaps wrong, that Zebrasoma species all have about the same aggression levels. From what I read, the purple and yellow tangs are very similar in this respect. Was I mistaken? In any event, I would consider this combination risky in my (unfortunate) experience. We replaced the BF with a long-nosed Hawkfish, which the tang completely ignores. Mr. Fenner, if you're looking over James' shoulder (so to speak), do you have any experience with this combination?  <Yes, Mr. Fenner does review all/most answered queries. If need be, he will insert a comment here. All tangs are aggressive to conspecifics, but most, if not all do get along with other fish. I believe the purple tang is slightly nastier than the yellow tang. As you mentioned, all fish are different and an unexpected problem can arise. As I mentioned in the previous mail, put the Butterfly in first and get a foothold, then a week or two later, the tang. Being the longnose does have some yellow color, there may be an occasional chase but no body damage should occur. You didn't reply to the original query, and now I'm thinking you mentioned these two fish were going into a 55 gallon. I know you mention a 120 above but this is related to a different event.  Anyway, if they are going in a 55, then I would choose one or the other as a 55 is too small to keep these fish together. My answer above is based on properly sized housing for these fish which gives them more room to roam resulting in less hostility. James (Salty Dog)> Just wanted to pass this on. Regards, Dan 

For James (Salty Dog): Forcipiger/Zebrasoma compatibility  10/19/05 James,<Dan> The two fish were introduced into a 120 gal tank, BF first, exactly as you describe.  The tang had been living in an established 55 gal reef tank, but was quickly running out of room.  We transferred the tang into the 120 gal FOWLR a few weeks after the BF was introduced, much as you suggested. I am not doubting your knowledge or firsthand experience regarding the compatibility of Forcipiger and Zebrasoma species when introduced in the order and fashion described.  I just know that in *my* case, the results were unfortunate, and I wanted to pass that on to the general WetWebMedia community.   I hope no feathers (fins?) have been ruffled, as it was not my intent.  Your site, and Crew, continue to be a much-prized resource. <Dan, no fins ruffled.  This is what is unique among fish, humans for that matter also, is that certain individuals do not behave as expected.  The pygmy angel is another example.  Most I have kept are good reef fish.  Then again, certain individuals will pick on corals and clams.  Most are not after the meat but feed on the slime they generate.  Nonetheless, it causes the corals/clams not to open which degrades the health of the species.  James (Salty Dog)> Warm regards, Dan

Butterfly/tang compatibility 8/23/05 Hi there. <Hello Dan> I'm in the process of stocking a new 120 gal FOWLR.  I have about 200 lbs live sand w/plenum, 70 lbs live rock, EuroReef skimmer, 30 gal sump, fluidized bed filter, 1250 gal/min pump.  Light is 4x65 PC (2 actinic, 2 daylight).  Water parameters are "perfect" except for a slightly elevated phosphorus that is decreasing rapidly via PhosGuard. Current residents are a cute little (3") dwarf zebra lion, three small damsels (four-stripe and yellow-tail blue -- will likely be "fed to the lions", as it were), and a long-nosed butterfly.  All appear happy, especially the B/F, who has tons of personality. I'd like to introduce a tang, for algae-eating and just because they are cool.  Ideally a yellow tang, but I fear that he will attack the similar shaped/colored B/F.  A Naso would be great but I don't think I have enough room.  Would one of the other sailfin tangs fit?  The only other likely residents would be a Halichoeres ornatissimus (or something else from the same genus) and a flame angel (once the tank matures a bit). <Even though the butterfly has some yellow, it's not of the same family.  No aggression should take place outside of the usual "this is my tank" action that is short lived.  I personally would go with a sailfin than a yellow tang.  I think they are a little less prone to disease.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks much, Dan Long Nose Butterfly 7/28/05 Hey guys, just checking in with a quick question I didn't see in the FAQ's. The common long nose butterfly: Forcipiger flavissimus, is it considered safe around Tridacna clams? Just another potential stocking scenario. I understand that they will eat frozen clam in small enough bites for them, but haven't been able to find any cases or experiences of whether they'll rip the pieces themselves off the live version. Thanks! <Personally, I wouldn't trust any butterflies with clams.  Some people have gotten away with it but the percentage is low.  James (Salty Dog)> Nick

Longnose Butterfly 30 Jun 2005 I've had my yellow longnose butterfly (Forcipiger flavissimus) for about 3 months.  Initially the only foods he would eat were live black worms and frozen Mysis shrimp.  He started eating other foods pretty quickly, and eats anything I feed the tank except for Cyclop-eeze.  He's always been very active, cruising the tank and picking through the rocks. I noticed a few days ago that he was staying in the back of the tank more, and swimming around less.  He has been eating less also.  I recently changed my lights from 2 actinic and 2 white to 2 white and 2 50/5o's so the tank is a little brighter.  The only other change in the tank has been the addition of a 2 inch long blue tang.  She doesn't seem to bother the butterfly at all, and neither do any of the other fish.  The butterfly still comes to the front of the tank at feeding time but then doesn't seem very interested in the food. His color is good, he doesn't look thin, and he looks normal in every way except this change in behavior.  Any ideas on what could be going on with him?  I don't want to lose my favorite fish! <Do a google search on the WWM, keyword "butterflies" and/or "longnose butterfly".  Read the info along with the FAQ's on these fish.  I think you will find the help you are looking for here.  James (Salty Dog)>

Re: ailing butterfly thanks -- 6/31/05 have done so and didn't find anything similar to what I'm seeing.  My biggest concern is that he's gone from being a greedy eater to barely picking at the food.  any thoughts?  I was wondering if perhaps he could have a blockage? <I really can't answer the question on the blockage, I'd be guessing.  Being you've read the info and FAQ's on butterflies, you are aware that they are not the easiest fish to keep to start with.  Pristine water quality and a healthy diet are a must.  Live copepods would be a good start in triggering an eating response.  There are places on the web that do sell them.  James (Salty Dog)>

New longnose butterfly with spots


Hello, <Howdy> Some background: 55 gal saltwater reef tank approx 14 years old. Wet/dry filter, protein skimmer. Lots of live rock, Sailfin tang, Regal angel... <Pygoplites?> ...Squarespot Anthias, flame angel, blue devil damsel, cleaner shrimp, leather coral, fluorescent green carpet anemone, some plants. <All in a 55?> Regular water changes, addition of trace elements and calcium. Today we (my wife and I) purchased a longnose butterfly from a shop we have done business with for years. In the store the only thing noticeable was a small bump on one side that an aggressive damsel was picking at. Feeling sorry for the poor guy we bought him and he is now in our reef tank. Here's the catch. When we got him home we went thru an acclamation period of about 3 hours, floating the bag, mixing tank water with the bag water, lights out in the tank, etc.  When we finally did put him into the tank, and later turned on the lights, we noticed small (very, very small) white spots on his head, and fins. His body looks clean, and the spots don't appear to be raised. These were not at all evident in the store's lighting, but seem to be enhanced by the blue actinic lighting in our tank (my guess).  Not sure if this is early stage of ich or what, so here we are.  Please look at the attached photos and give us your opinion.   Thanks very much in advance. Look forward to your reply.  Michael & Gulnar - Bethel, CT <Mmm, looks like Cryptocaryon rather than "normal" stress coloration markings to me... I would (have) quarantined this and other new specimens if you had a larger system... as it is, with such a tiny tank, so much life already, I would NOT have added any more... possibly upsetting whatever magic dynamic you had... What will you do now? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm  Bob Fenner> 

Longnose butterfly My longnose butterfly has developed a dull red streak along its spine. <Not good> It is internal (not a surface scratch) as it is only visible when viewed from the side when the fish is swimming at the front of the tank i.e.. with light from behind.   I added a piece of artificial coral the day before, which I have since removed after noticing the redness on the butterfly. <Do you think the coral affected your water chemistry?>   I have fifteen other fish in my 200 gal, all look fine.  The butterfly is active and eating well.   <Ah, good> Could it be a toxic reaction from picking at the artificial coral? <Maybe, but doubtful... if the coral was made for aquarium use... and your other livestock show no symptoms> Are there any diseases that produce this symptom?  Please advise. Thanks, Peter <A few diseases are associated with this symptom, mainly infectious (septicemic, bacterial, internal). Boosting the animal's immune system by food supplementation, improving water quality are important steps here. Bob Fenner>

Longnose butterfly I feed it frozen Mysis, Nori seaweed and reef carnivore pellets.  Nitrate, pH, alkalinity are all fine.  It is still very active and eating well.  I was looking through Nick Dakin's book 'Complete Encyclopedia of the Saltwater Aquarium' and found a picture of a longnose on p. 196 which has a similar appearance.   Hope you have that book.  I will pay close attention to feeding and monitoring the water.  Thanks. Peter <Peter, I would also include "Mega Marine Angel" or some other type of vegetable for the fish.  Good Luck MikeB.>

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

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

Long-Nosed Butterfly Tankmates (7/15/04) Thank you so much! <You're welcome.> Do you foresee any of the following being too aggressive for it?  Bartlett's Anthias, blue tang, flame angel or pygmy angel?  Tank is 125 gal. <In that size tank, None of these are really likely to be a problem. If you were to put one of the angels in, it should go in last. What else do you have in there now? Which of the blue tangs are you referring to? Paracanthurus hepatus? They can be a bit delicate and prone to ich and HLLE. Still, a popular and cool fish. Bartlett's Anthias are beautiful, but are not among the hardiest fish. I have 3 (2 female, 1 male) that have been thriving for a year. They eat several times per day, so it's nice to have a lot of good live rock (same goes for angels). Bicolor Anthias may be a better choice. It's worth reading more about these fishes on various sources before proceeding. Have you ever seen "Marine Fishes" by Scott W. Michael? Very helpful. In any case, I'd let the butterfly get well-settled before adding some of these others. Hope this helps, Steve Allen.>


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.cfm?autoctr=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, 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... >>Hhhmm.. 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

Long, longnose butterfly fish ? Hi, I have just discovered your site, so please forgive me if this question is answered within the site.  I have just bought a yellow longnose butterfly, the one with the longer snout I believe.  Which of the 2 is the more common?   <The "regular", Forcipiger flavissimus> In the store, I saw him eat flake; so far (2 or 3 days) he hasn't for me, so I am considering frozen Mysis shrimp.  I have a coral banded shrimp in the tank, as well as some mushroom corals.  Are these is danger? <No, should get along>   If I keep him extra well fed, does the danger decrease?  How much Mysis should I give daily if he doesn't accept the flake? <As much, many as the fish seems interested in. Please see here re these species: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/forcipig.htm>   Thanks for considering my questions.        Mike <Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner>

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...Aquarists 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

Long-Nose Butterfly Hi WWM crew, <cheers, my friend> I am looking to add a longnose butterfly if possible. <a wonderful and graceful fish. Hardy if kept with passive tankmates> I have 4 feather dusters in my tank and am not sure if he is safe with them. <he is... they just aren't safe with him <G>. You'll find that most "reef-safe" butterflies still cannot help but nibble on worms> I am also listing my other fish below and would appreciate if you could advise if this is something I should even consider doing. 1 Pyramid butterfly, 1 Red Sea Sailfin tang, 1 Fathead Anthias, 2 yellow coris, 2 damsels, 1 Redfin fairy wrasse, 1 purple firefish, 1 false percula clown, 3 green Chromis, 2 peppermint shrimp, 1 cucumber, a lot of snails and critters, 4 Hawaiian feather dusters and a lot of corals (popular ones). <overall it is good and peaceful mix. However, there is almost no chance that the sailfin tang will work here. They are extremely aggressive and territorial at times and even when not, their size and activity is quite intimidating to other passive fishes that simply get outcompeted for food. No compromise here. Also know that the Pyramid butterfly may not be compatible (hardiness or safety with invertebrates). All else is likely quite fine> This is a 150G reef with 30 G sump volume and 29G refugium. <a nice sized marine display for those listed> Total water volume is approximately 180G. All water conditions are kept within guidelines. Many thanks for your advise and help. Regards, Razi Burney <with kind regards, Anthony>

Long-Nose Butterfly Hello, I was reading your review and suggestions on this species and one question that I have is are they reef compatible? I have some Acroporas, colt coral, mushrooms, Xenia, Euphyllia and the likes. Will the Long Nose eat/destroy these? <It will likely nip/sample several of these. Not the best choice for a reef tank.> I plan on getting a Clam soon. Thanks in advance. Stig Larsson <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Long-Nose Butterfly eating Snails? Hello! <cheers, Anthony Calfo in your service while Mr. Fenner gets ready for Bobapalooza: a 20 state tour of aquarium societies and Mexican restaurants (sponsored by Imodium AD)> Yesterday I introduced a long-nose butterfly into my 75 gallon FOWLR.  <after a 4 week quarantine period? or have you not read enough FAQ's to know that I/we go out of out our way to get the message out (with sound aquarium science principles, occasional verbal harassments and rare literary wedgies) that QT tanks are crucial. Else... putting new fish without quarantine into an established display is literally playing Russian roulette with their very lives. Please do read more about proper QT in the archives. Do ask any questions about it afterwards if you like... very important stuff!> He seems to be doing fine; he's very active, curious and has been grazing on the live rock. However, I've seen him nip at my turbo snails several times (I think he even killed one).  <indeed uncommon/unusual> I cannot find anything on WWM or elsewhere saying that the long-nose will eat snails. Have I made a big mistake? <I think your butterfly simply didn't read the same books we have <wink>> Should I separate them? <if you confirm for certain that he is attacking... yes, please> Your advice would be much appreciated! Thanks! Jes <with kind regards, Anthony>

LONG NOSE BUTTERFLY G-day gentlemen, <Cheerio old sport...Anthony Calfo here... not fired yet, but working on it> Since I last wrote you I followed Anthony's advice and got rid of my yellow tang. It was constantly battling with my purple tang (obviously),  <yes, common... but a pity you couldn't enjoy them together as some do> and he was even starting to challenge my much larger centerpiece, favorite, Emperor. It hurt to let go of a gorgeous fish that was doing SO well, but it was in the best interest of all involved. <agreed> So I'm looking for a replacement now. I really love angels the most but I think my Emperor would not take kindly to that since he already chases my little Levi whenever he gets the chance.  <indeed, same interspecific aggression as the surgeonfish with angels> Anthony recommended a Fairy Wrasse (Flame), but my LFS guy said they're not that hardy.  <true about most, but flames are a noteworthy exception. Still... your emperor and purple tang are very tough fish... even "Levi" (Eibli/Red Stripe angel correct?) is a truly inappropriate mix. Shouldn't have been sold to you for this tank> I'll take your word, but I just wanted to run another option by you and see which you prefer. What about a long nosed butterfly?  <a big problem... could easily be the victim of the angel AND tang as butterflies are related. And while it is a reasonably hardy butterfly, it is comparatively made out of glass when it comes to feeding, assertiveness and aggression compared to the Emperor and Purple tang. You must realize that the are aggressive fish in a reef community. Any new tankmate must be dissimilar in shape and size (and especially feeding habit) to not incite aggression from the above mentioned bullies. I do not think that a Flame wrasse is the very best choice for a new mate... but is indeed much better than a butterfly. There are few butterfly species that should be kept by few people. If you still want a butterfly, consider a Raccoon that is eating well. They can be sturdy and aggressive fish. But again, with the aggressive tendencies of the Purple Tang and Emperor angel... all bets are off on any new fish> Conflict with the tang/angel? Those are the two that I'm pondering right now. Any preferences/ideas? Any other suggestions? <yes, alas...one other: none. The angel and tang get quite large and need a lot of space...even a 300 gall will not be big enough in the 10 year plan. And to not plan for these fish to live that long (which they can indeed double!) would be disappointing. Sorry to be the heavy <smile> With kind regards, Anthony> Thanks guys. Rick

Longnose Butterfly (Thalassoma Wrasse) Thanks Anthony, <very welcome, good sir> I kind of knew that would be your take on things.  <I have had a reputation as a bit of a marine Nazi...hehe> However I must VERY respectfully disagree with you on the compatibility of my Levi (Eibli) angel and my Emperor, and tangs. The tangs totally ignore the small angel and the Emperor only occasionally chases him as if he was a pesky fly or something....nothing ever malicious or sustained. The Levi merely gets out of his way and the confrontation is over. <I respect and appreciate the difference of opinion> Anyway, point taken on the butterfly and tank size. Trust me my friend, I know I will need to upgrade and I look forward to doing so.  <I believe it to be try... a wonderfully addictive hobby! I'm still thinking about sealing up the basement with glass doors and windows and just filling it with seawater...perhaps I'll cut a whole in the ceiling and view/service the tank via a PVC fireman's pole from upstairs...hehe> I'm going to avoid the flame wrasse and all butterflies as per your advice. However I "may" still add one more fish. Perhaps you would be willing to help me ID this fish. I'm looking at a smallish wrasse that they're calling a Paddlefin Wrasse? I can't find it on WWM, but it had the body of a Lunare (perhaps a slightly rounder face). It's white with about 3 navy blue-black horizontal strips. There is some red on the dorsal fin.  <Hmmmm... the Paddlefin wrasse as it is commonly known in the trade sounds nothing like what you describe. The LFS may have a mis-ID fish. Also known as the Cortez Rainbow wrasse or Mexican Rock wrasse...only the males of the species (Thalassoma lucasanum) are called Paddlefin. Do look up this species to see if we can rule it out. If your fish looks similar enough in type that you still suspect it to be a Thalassoma sp like T. lunare and T. lucasanum...then I would agree that it is not even close to being reef safe> My LFS guy says it's reef compatible but I'm not buying that just yet as it is certainly not a fairy wrasse. I don't have a reef but I do have a couple of cleaner shrimp. Do you know what this wrasse is and if so is it a threat to my shrimp?  <the shrimp are fair game for the Thalassoma and all larger wrasse genera> Thanks Anthony. Rick <quite welcome! kindly, Anthony> PS. My LFS would have had me keep the yellow tang AND add the wrasse and then some.  <yes.. they think they will make more money by selling more fish to folks in the short run, but the truth is that they will sell more fish to successful aquarists that don't struggle and stay in the hobby> I truly feel I can add another fish with no problem. I'm upgrading next winter. <I will trust your intuition and good husbandry>

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>

Sick fish Thank you for your help. I'm lowering my salinity, that was 1.020, and I am keeping the copper at a therapeutic level. I'm going to start feeding them garlic soaked foods. The hippo tang was scratching almost without stopping today, and I also see few, if any spots on him. Do you think he could be scratching from scrapes? <Not as much as you state> Also, beside the point, What do you think my chances are of keeping a longnose Butterflyfish successfully? <Good. Forcipiger are hardy species> Any suggestions?  <Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/forcipig.htm> My main tank is a 55 gallon with 50 lbs. of live rock inside. I have soft corals, mushrooms, and peaceful fish in it.( I will hopefully be adding the tangs later.) <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Longnose B/F Comp. Bob, I'm at my one year anniversary this weekend of setting up my reef tank. I read CMA three or four times before starting and received a lot of advice from you on FFE. So I would say my tank has your name all over it. I am very pleased with it. <Ahh, so gratifying to read that ones work is accepted, of use to others> Do you have another book I can purchase? I would like to have some new reading material when I go on vacation in June. <Yes... "A Fishwatcher's Guide to the Tropical Marine Fishes..." listed on the www.WetWebMedia.com site... and on Amazon.com... and a few others coming out... no time soon though> My other question is about a yellow long nose butterfly. Do you still consider these reef safe?  <Relatively, yes... If hungry they might sample polyped animals...> My tank has softs, hards, stonies and clams in it. Other fish include two clowns, six-line wrasse, Red Sea Sailfin, long nose hawk and a Potter's angel. The tank is 127 gallons with 150 lbs Fiji. What is your opinion of added one of the small long noses? <In this size, type tank, I give you very good odds of keeping and enjoying a Forcipiger Butterfly> Thanks as always, Steve <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

New Forcipiger not eating Hi Bob, I was just wondering , I have just bought a yellow long nose butterfly and he just doesn't want to eat . I have tried every thing except frozen foods . I have heard that I can feed them clams but I am just not sure of what to do , please help. PS: I was also thinking of what an "undulated triggerfish" would might eat. He is about 3 inches long and a green color. Thank you, Adam P. >> Concerning the Longnose Butterflyfish (Forcipiger spp.), not to worry too much. As you state, you've just gotten the specimen. Have patience. Though these two species seem delicate, they're not. And as long as the individuals mouth is not damaged, it should start eating within a few days. Most all types of foods will do... Having some live rock around for it to nibble on is great. The Trigger will eat most everything... including other, more docile tankmates... Think hard and long before getting one of these. It may well attack the Longnose when it gets bigger. Bob Fenner

Butterflyfishes for  Marine Aquariums
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