How to be successful with a copperband butterflyfish

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Discussion' started by Jmas4, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. Jmas4

    Jmas4 Well-Known Member

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    Copperbands are notorious as a difficult fish to keep. They often come in skinny and refuse to eat prepared foods leading to their demise.
    I would like to detail how I was successful with my copperband and hope to spread the knowledge.
    Here is a link to my copperband butterfly story: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/james-copperband-butterfly-log.475736/

    First of all, you need a qt ready. 20 gallons would do; I used my old biocube 29. Preferably it would be bare bottom with a piece of live rock full of small animals and pods for the butterfly to peck on while you wean him into frozen food. If available, adding chaeto will help too. This means the qt is cycled so there will be no ammonia build up and the nutrients from he fish would be quickly used up by the chaeto, reducing work and stress. The salinity should also be the same as the lfs so all you have to do is float and release.

    Now, to the fish. Look for a healthy fish with no disease or deformities. If the fish is eating in the lfs, that's even better. But the bare minimum is disease free. The disease and the stress that comes with treating it will kill the fish much faster than starvation will.

    After adding him to the qt he will most likely peck on the rock. This will give you time to try new foods with him. Try live foods first like brine, blackworms, and clam. Hopefully he will like one of these three. At the same time get a small piece of rock that has a hole in it and stuff it with frozen mysis, brine shrimp, and what ever frozen food you have and freeze it. The next day, drop it in the tank. It will thaw and perhaps the butterfly will peck on it mimicking its natural behavior. After it starts accepting a type of food, slowly mix in other types.

    Now, this is where finding a disease free fish comes into play. It may take days or weeks until the butterfly eat something and treating him for a disease will most likely kill the small pods in the rock and eliminate any chance of him eating frozen.

    After he accepts frozen and is eating regularly, I would treat with prazi for 2 weeks and feed food soaked in metro. This will kill any internal parasites that may inhibit his weight gain. Then treat for any disease that may show up.

    During this time, top off your water with saltwater to match your dt salinity. When adding him to the dt, an acclimation box is recommended so the existing fish get used to the butterfly.

    Good Luck to you all and Happy Reefing!
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
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  2. declanisadog

    declanisadog Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Nice write up. Very helpful. I have never kept one, but I am considering it. I have a couple of bullies in my tank that may get relinquished to the refugium for a bit if I decide to pull the trigger.
     
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  3. jcdeng

    jcdeng Valuable Member

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    start them on half clams and when put into display, feed frozen mysid in addition to the clam, soon it will learn from other fish to feed on the frozen and wean off the clam. Mine eats frozen, pellets, dry seaweed and of course, nasty aiptasia (when one appears).

    need to mention mine is the aussie strain, Margined Coralfish/Chelmon marginalis, thoses are said to be hardier than the copperband from indo.
     
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  4. cracker

    cracker Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    Good write up !
     
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  5. Paul B

    Paul B Valuable Member R2R Supporter Reef Spotlight Award Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    I don't know why many people think copperbands are a delicate fish but I think it has to do with quarantine. I have been keeping copperbands since the early 70s and although I used to have a problem keeping them much longer than a year, I learned that copperbands hate quarantine like so many fish do.
    If they feel comfortable and are fed things like you mentioned, worms and clams, they should have no problems as long as they are in a natural, not to new reef.
    I think this one is about 8 or 9 but I got him when he was as big as a quarter, maybe a nickel, I forget but he should live at least 7 or 8 more years. I am not sure how long they live but I think about 14 or so years.
    Good luck with yours. They are a beautiful fish

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Dylan Fredrick Ely

    Dylan Fredrick Ely Member

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    For me the biggest thing was making sure it was eating frozen before ever taking it home. It seems that lots of people have issues getting them to eat no matter what they are offered, which is what happened with my first attempt at one. I also had issues with Ammonia in the QT since I was trying to offer so many different meaty foods and trying to give him time to check it out.

    After that I passed on quite a few until my LFS had one in a frag tank for a while that finally started taking frozen. Now he’s the most aggressive feeder in the tank.
     
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  7. tehmadreefer

    tehmadreefer Active Member

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    Sorry, but why would someone new to the hobby do a write up on a fish that people have been keeping since the 1970’s?
     
  8. Jmas4

    Jmas4 Well-Known Member

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    Because like Paul B said, in the 70s his fish died within a year. Most likely due to cyanide which was used more often back then. Even now people are having a tough time keeping this fish alive and I would like to help these people. I was in the hobby for 5 years now. And keeping freshwater much longer. I wouldnt call that new to the hobby.
     
  9. Dylan Fredrick Ely

    Dylan Fredrick Ely Member

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    Because people generally prefer posts about experiences and tips rather than needlessly prickish comments.
     
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  10. lagatbezan

    lagatbezan Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    This is a great idea that can work with a lot of other picky eaters as well! great write up. :)
     
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  11. tehmadreefer

    tehmadreefer Active Member

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    Ya in the 70’s sure but in the last 15 years they are no harder than any other pickier fish in the hobby not too mention there’s been many many “write ups” that are far more detailed on how to successfully keep one. This write just gives a very generic overview.
     
  12. Paul B

    Paul B Valuable Member R2R Supporter Reef Spotlight Award Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    Calm down kids. It's only a fish site we are not curing knock knees. :cool:
     
  13. Jmas4

    Jmas4 Well-Known Member

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    Well I didnt come across many write ups. Only some tips and other peoples experinces. I combined them all along with my different approach to help spread information. And i think im the only one who added chaeto to facilitate pod growth and nutrient removal. Well it seems you are quite experienced in keeping picky fish and considering you are new to the hobby you must have gained that experience pretty fast. It's a shame I never came across your write up.
     
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  14. ndrwater

    ndrwater Valuable Member R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    Gonna chime in here... CBB are still notoriously difficult.. interesting thing is, 30 years ago, they were much easier to keep. I think it has to do with handling during shipping and poor QT procedures on the supply end. Having 1st hand current info goes a long way towards helping people new to this beautiful fish and is a benefit to the community at large...
    But maybe we shouldn't share info since people have been keeping saltwater fish since the 50's.. we know everything already right??
     
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  15. Captain Quint

    Captain Quint Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    I honestly believe I got lucky with the one I bought 7 years ago and still going strong. I have heard some pure sad horror stories on so many of the critters.

    It came from Australia and did pick at the rock but quickly fell in love eating frozen foods.
     
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  16. Jmas4

    Jmas4 Well-Known Member

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    That's great! I heard australian butterflys are much hardier. (And more$$$)
     
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  17. Captain Quint

    Captain Quint Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    I believe your write up could greatly help some intimidated about keeping one. I value this thread with the great info imparted and agree for the most part in its entirety. Outstanding thread and thank you for imparting this good info.
     
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  18. Captain Quint

    Captain Quint Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    Lol. yeah in my studies about 100 years ago I recall that which lead to the purchase of mine. :)
     
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  19. Captain Quint

    Captain Quint Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    +1 for sure jcdeng
     
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  20. Captain Quint

    Captain Quint Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    +1 one good sir. Nothing wrong with a respectful, healthy debate with good input. But crass comments should be taken elsewhere such as a message.

    ~cheers~ fellow members
     
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