Copperband Butterfly - FOTM August 2009

Discussion in 'Fish of the Month' started by PackLeader, Jul 30, 2009.

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  1. PackLeader

    PackLeader Giant Squid

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    Common Names: Copperband Butterfly, Beaked Butterfly, Orange Stripe Butterfly, Beaked Coralfish
    Latin Name: Chelmon rostratus

    Natural Range:
    Widespread in the Indo-Pacific, from the Great Barrier Reef, as far west as the eastern shores of India, and as far North as the southern tip of Japan. Prefers the reef environment, and is found at depths ranging from 3-85 feet.

    Difficulty:
    Expert/difficult. These fish can be difficult to get eating, do not fair well against disease, and are sensitive to water quality and parameter changes. Collection is thought to make a huge difference in survivability, and some suggest going with a more expensive Australian specimen for this reason alone.

    Size:
    Can reach to 8-9", though most captive adults range from 7" or smaller.

    Reef Safe:
    "With Caution". In my experience, mine has never touched a coral, and coral is not a part of their natural diet. They will, however, eat feather dusters/fan worms, so if you keep ornamental worms, this might not be the best fish. Mine also nipped at the "snorkels" of my nassarius snails shortly after introduction, thinking they were worms. This stopped after about 4 days once the copperband figured it out.

    Care Requirements:
    General reef parameters (1.023-1.027 SG, 77-81 degrees Fahrenheit, PH of 8.0-8.4) will do fine. I would suggest a minimum of a 75 gallon aquarium, as they are very active swimmers and are a larger fish. Peaceful tank mates are best, as the copperband is a slow and deliberate feeder. Should only be kept singularly. The copperband is a carnivorous fish that should be fed a wide variety of meaty foods. Mine is eating brine, mysis, krill, scallop, blood worms, and tubifex worms. While being a carnivore, I also have personally observed mine visiting the veggie clip from time to time.

    Behavioral, Captivity, and General Experience Notes:
    This is a very active, personable, front and center fish that has quickly become one of my favorites.
    While not being any easy fish, there are a few things you can do to really help your chances. First off, ask your LFS to NOT net the fish, and do NOT expose the fish to air either at the LFS or while acclimating at home. They can be finicky eaters, so be prepared to offer a wide variety of meaty items, or even better yet, ask to see the fish eating if possible before the purchase. Mine would not take prepared for about 5 days after introduction. To help, I drilled a series of 3/8" holes in a large rock, and packed a mixture of meaty items into the holes for a more natural grazing situation, and it did the trick.
    As for reef safe, I would say yes as long as you are not concerned about feather dusters or other ornamental worms. Also, the copperband does eat aiptasia, which can be a useful addition. But with that being said, there may be a chance of it going after other anemones as well. I personally do not keep anemones, so I have no personal knowledge of the risk in those regards.
    After introduction, mine hid out for about 1-2 weeks. After feeling more comfortable, the butterfly became highly active, and spends 90% of its time cruising the tank right in front. It is even occasionally grabbing meals right from my hands now. I have also noticed mine seems to be fairly active at night as well as the day, and seems to prefer to take periodic "naps" throughout a 24 hour cycle.


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  3. Av8Bluewater

    Av8Bluewater Giant Squid

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    Good write up Pack. Funny cuz I just bought one about 2 hours ago. Thanks for the input. He was picking feather dusters within 15 minutes. I hope he gets on my pesky vermetid snails.
     
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  4. PackLeader

    PackLeader Giant Squid

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    Nice one Av8! Lets see some pics! ;)
     
  5. JBL

    JBL Sea Dragon

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    Thanks! I was thinking of getting one, but I don't want to loose my dusters plus I have anenome's. Thanks for the great info!
     
  6. divott

    divott Giant Squid

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    very informative first hand knowledge pack, bravo
     
  7. steve wright

    steve wright Super Moderator Staff Member

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    great write up Pack
    good looking fish also

    Steve
     
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  9. markgm87

    markgm87 Spanish Shawl Nudibranch

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    nice article. and a great fish to have. I had one for about 2 months it was doing great, eating and swimming all over the place and then the carpet anenome got him last week :(. that is the 3rd fish that i have lost to the nem and have been trying to get him out for about a week.
     
  10. scenario1313

    scenario1313 Tassled File Fish

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    Excellent write up Pack. Love the fish and yours is beautiful. K to you. :thumb_up:
     
  11. Av8Bluewater

    Av8Bluewater Giant Squid

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    IMG_0373.jpg

    IMG_0372.jpg

    IMG_0374.jpg Ok.. Hard to get a good pic tonight. Took me 20 minutes to get these.
    Karma for the FOTM.
     
  12. PackLeader

    PackLeader Giant Squid

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    Nice! Looks very plump and happy. How big is it? Try feeding yet?