Copperband Behavior


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Jan 29, 2017
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I just got a CBB 10 days ago to take care of an aiptasia problem, but he seems to have little interest in them. He picks at the rock, close to the aiptasia, and other hard surfaces in the tank but I don’t see of the aiptasia disappearing. I have not seen him eat and food. the tank has been fed: Mysis, LRS, and thawed frozen black worms; however, he seems to be thicker than when I bought him. He appears healthy a strong swimmer and active throughout the tank.
Is this behavior normal? How do I get him to eat aiptasia?
I also have an aiptasia eating file fish as well who won’t eat aiptasia, any ideas on him would be great.
Top Shelf Aquatics


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Feb 10, 2010
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La Canada, CA
It is very likely your CBB is actually eating aiptasia but you just haven't noticed yet.

But in my experience probably less than half of CBBs will eat aiptasia from the wild. Good news is I've had a lot of success training them to eat aiptasia. It usually takes between 2-6 weeks to get them to do this reliably.

I personally have only done this in separate quarantine tanks (10-20 gallons). There is just too much going on in display tanks.

I like to first get the CBB reliably eating frozen mysis or if they're very picky eaters I feed live California blackworms. After a few days I start to introduce aiptasia that were scraped from the display tank. It's usually easiest to use a plastic syringe and scrape them off glass while sucking them into the syringe. When you feed the CBB the mysis or live blackworms include a few scraped aiptasia. The CBB usually do not like the aiptasia at first, you just need to be persistent.

After the CBB eat the scraped aiptasia consistently you can start putting aiptasia infested rock into the CBB tank. Try to add the mysis/live blackworms directly into the aiptasia so the CBB is forced to peck at the aiptasia to get to the food. Usually after just a few days the CBB will be cleaning all aiptaisa of any rock added to the quarantine. At this point the CBB can be added to the display tank.

This is definitely a lot of work but well worth it once you have an aiptasia devouring copperband butterflyfish in your display. If you just don't want to go through this trouble then a kleini butterflyfish is usually a better aiptasia eater. The other benefit to the kleini is they will happily eat pellets once done with the aiptasia. The bad thing aout kleinis is they're more likely to bother your coral though not all do this.


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Jul 28, 2013
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Corpus Christi, TX
It will takes months before he start to pick at the aptasia. Often when he first start to eat them he would shake his snout a lot after each bite. Like it cause discomfort to him. after a while, he seem to get use to it and would eat more. They don't eat the whole aptasia at one sitting (or swimming), rather he will peck at the aptasia every time he swim by and the aptasia just get smaller and smaller and disappear.
I don't train them like @sonnus, rather once they do OK in my QT system, which is full of worms and fauna, feather duster, I release him into my DT, much bigger but the density of fauna is less. He have to really hunt around, or eat food I feed the tank. He eventually eat aptasia. I have never have one not eat aptasia given a few months (6)

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