Why are copperband butterflies SO DIFFICULT?

BRS

Miami Reef

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I never knew this. I thought copperbands were one of the easiest fish until I read about them. It seems like most people cannot get them to eat.

Why? This is so strange to me. What do copperband butterflyfish eat in the wild?

Is it so difficult to feed them their natural diet?

Edit: I am under the impression that these fish aren’t eating because they aren’t enticed by the frozen foods/pellets.

Unless there is an actual medical reason like cyanide poisoning.

In an ideal world: what do copperband butterflies eat in the wild?
 
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vetteguy53081

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Not sure what year the book was written but the success rate has gotten better.
At the LFS, do ask to see it eat and it should at least show interest in food and not be thin
 

Gtinnel

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Never seen a CBB turn down raw oyster of the shell from the seafood deli counter. Good way to get their appetite kickstarted
I have. The CBB that I had turned down everything including oyster and clam from the seafood counter from the grocery store. He did eventually get hungry enough that he started eating a hammer and a duncan coral. I was able to finally get him to eat live white worms but it was too late.

I did find out that my melanurus wrasse goes absolutely nuts for the fresh shellfish.
 
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DrZoidburg

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Oceans are non stop food supply for them vs a tank where they could clean it out. Especially in newer tanks with competition. Worms, clams, small inverts, anemones, and corals. Some say they have trouble in really high flow, and get harassed by others because of their attitude. I tried one years ago. Only thing I could get it to eat was freshwater mussels, and mosquito larvae. Maybe it was collected from an estuary I don't know. It ended up killing some blastomussa colonies, and started on other lps so I traded it for lfs credit.
 

Whirly

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CBB is one of my favorite fish. so from my understanding the primary issue that we have as Aquarist with these fish is the gathering methodology, storing at the collection facility, time in transport, and overall just large life altering stressful events also whilst going with very little to no feeding.
Many of these fish can get damage to their mouths while in transit etc, and that can be considered a death sentence for them.
They tend to do better when you offer them a wide variety of food. If they will eat at all.
Some times by the time you purchase them. They have been starved so greatly that they just refuse to accept any food and simply whither away.
I hear they like the blood worms.
As well as oyster on a half shell.
If in a tank with aggressive or established fish, try to make a feeding apparatus that allows them to insert their long pointy mouth inside while helping keep other feeders out of. That way they can eat when they please when new to the tank
 

Glenner’sreef

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I agree with Vetteguy. Seeing my CBB eat mysis in my lfs was as important as not seeing white spots on it’s tail before purchase. I’ve had it since April 2020. It only eats mysis, brine shrimp and any live pods etc. it finds in and around the LR. Also I try to keep the flow moderate as CBBs capture about 1/2 the food as tangs, wrasses etc.
 
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Whirly

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They are awesome fish, especially once established and feeding well.
But it would probably be wise to avoid adding them with a bunch of tangs, especially if they are aggressive.
I had a CBB with a blonde naso and Kole tang, but they both were pretty friendly and I fed enough to where there wasn't really any food aggression.
 

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I’m thinking of not adding a copperband butterfly in the end. I have strong flow and I’m going to have a lot of tangs. Doesn’t seem like a good fit.
Thats a good idea. Many people have trouble with them because they don't always eat out of the water column and aggressive eaters like tangs don't leave anything to fall. My copperband also eats more than any other fish I've ever had and doesn't seem to ever get full. I think many people underestimate how much they eat and sometimes think they are getting enough food. Mine wouldn't touch clams btw, but did, as I've heard most do, love black worms. Also eats even the largest of aiptasia. I QT'd mine in an established tank with lR, aiptasia and pods by itself and got it eating mysis out of the water column before it went into display with the others. Once feeding they are very bold fish and easy to get to hand feed. Hands down my favorite fish. Also I pour some food into flow and let others chase , and then turn it off and feed the copperband in a corner. It knows the spot too and as soon as the flow goes off it heads to that corner.
 
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Paul B

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I’m thinking of not adding a copperband butterfly in the end. I have strong flow and I’m going to have a lot of tangs. Doesn’t seem like a good fit.
I don't find copperbands to be a hard fish but they can be a little more difficult than most fish. In the sea they eat mostly worms that they pullout of holes. They will also eat any small crustacean and love shellfish although I doubt they can open a clam in the wild. :oops:

I always feed them thin strips of clams and whiteworms. They can take care of themselves and the strong current won't bother them.

Look at the flow in my tank from 2 days ago. The copperband is the biggest eater.


And here. This one lived about 10 years, then got a weird neurological thing where he couldn't get the food into his mouth. But 10 years isn't to bad for a copperband.

 
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