YES or NO: The Beautiful Copperband Butterfly Fish for Your Reef Tank?

BRS

Should the Copperband Butterfly Fish be attempted in our home aquariums?

  • Yes for every level of hobbyists

    Votes: 39 5.8%
  • Yes but for the more expert level of hobbyists

    Votes: 512 76.4%
  • No they should not

    Votes: 97 14.5%
  • Other (please explain in the thread)

    Votes: 22 3.3%

  • Total voters
    670

zatch

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A LFS hustled me into a Copperband 20 years ago when I first started out and had a 20gal long tank... Fortunately I re-homed him before he would've inevitably died :oops: Think they were about 25$ back then...
 

sghera64

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After an aiptasia break-out in my system, I started looking around locally for filefish and a CBB.

I found an ill / recovering CBB in a LFS. I asked the store to put a hold on it and let me know when it started to accept any type of food. After a week, the fish was still not eating but look a little healthier to me. I bought it in fear that it might not last in the LFS system. In my tank (135 Gal mixed reef), he did not eat initially. He was also harassed a bit by the sole yellow tang in the tank. He was added after a 60 minute drip acclimation - - no QT.

Long story made short: Tang bully was arrested with a mirror and the CBB and Tang are now best buddies. CBB looks healthy (not yet fat), but cleared out all aiptasia in less than a week and now eats an assortment of frozen foods - but refuses processed or dry foods.

Full story: Taping a 4"x4" mirror to the front pane of the tank kept the Tang occupied for over two weeks (man they are dumb). This allowed the CBB to swim freely. After 3 days in the tank, the CBB discovered the aiptasia and began to mow them all down (big, small, all). He depleted the tank in less than a week. Now what!?! I discovered frozen Mysis shrimp is like candy to this guy. He literally got fat on them. Worried his diet was too narrow, I explored and found he eats minced salmon, minced gulf shrimp, beef heart, and reconstituted krill. So, I now make 2-3 weeks of a mix of this and freeze it up. I get most of this protein from the local grocer fish counter.

Believe it or not, I now raise aiptasia in my frag tank to feed to the CBB - - which does not last more than a few hours. I've even gone back to the LFS to ask if they'd give up some of their aiptasia riddled rubble to feed my CBB.

The CBB and Tang get along. If the Tang looks like it wants to spare, the CBB will pitch his dorsal spines towards the Tang which causes the Tang to immediately shriek away.

I have no worries about the long-term health of this CBB in my system. I hope others struggling to get their CBB acclimated and fed find this write-up helpful.



System: 135 Gal DT connected via sump to a 50 Gal frag tank. DIY Skimmer, chaeto refugium with loads of pods; Ca/CO2 reactor; Kalkwasser reactor; mixed reef with SPS, LPS (including Goniopora, frogspawn), mushrooms, xenia, paly and zoas; deep sand bed, DT volume is about 40% live rock and 60% negative space; water movement @ 50-75 tank volumes per hour. Sump: 2 x 20 Gal aquariums beneath the DT connected by siphons.
 

Quicklynx

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Skill level doesn't even matter. All levels of experienced fish keepers can and do lose this fish.

I'm confident 99.999% of the specimens harvested don't make it past a year in captivity.

Even the most dedicated of owners still lose them.

If you REALLY want this fish it truly needs a dedicated tank, or a very lightly stocked tank where it is the most dominant.

This fish is a perfect example of the level of negligence and selfishness we have in this hobby. For years I've heard and been told by irresponsible LFS Owners/Associates about how easy the CB or Moorish Idol, etc. are to keep alive of you just do XYZ.

I know there are a lot of responsible aquarists and LFS around, but this fish really doesn't belong in our tanks.
 

Rtaylor

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Those who tried feeding live blackworms and clams on a half shell--have you ever had any cases of a CBB NOT eating live blackworms/clams on a half shell?

I picked one up a couple weeks ago. I put him in QT so that he can quietly eat and proceeded to feed live blackworms and clams on a half shell. No luck. After 3 days, I didn't want to see him starve, so I put him in my DT. still not eating, no matter WHAT i'm feeding--continue worms, clams, started adding LRS, mysis, NOTHING. Sucks :(
Mine wouldn’t eat black worms right away. It took probably offering them 15-20 times before he would. Now he loves them.
 

OrionN

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I acclimated my CBB in a 40 gal reef with DSB full of fauna, worms and aptasia. The fauna really help in keepign my CBB heathy and eating until I can get him use to eating frozen food. Now he eat everything including pellets.
CBB2016052301.jpg
CBB2020030401.jpg
CBB2021010901.jpg
 

MnFish1

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1. Should the Copperband Butterfly Fish be attempted in our home aquariums?
Yes.
2. What are your personal experiences with the CBB? Also any tips for those of you who have been successful?
The Copperband is no different (IMO) than any other butterfly. Buy from a quality source. Buy from a source that has kept it for a while. There is no magic IMHO, I have had damsels that have never eaten. yet they are considered 'easy'. I am surprised how much they can actually eat - and actually fight other fish for food. Their little mouth fits a lot of frozen food into it. They do not need 'little pieces' of food. Mine literally ate a 1/4 inch cube of LRS food today - and was fighting the purple tang for more. BUY FROM TRUSTED SOURCES. They to me - are not 'expert level fish'.
 

OrionN

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Skill level doesn't even matter. All levels of experienced fish keepers can and do lose this fish.

I'm confident 99.999% of the specimens harvested don't make it past a year in captivity.

Even the most dedicated of owners still lose them.

If you REALLY want this fish it truly needs a dedicated tank, or a very lightly stocked tank where it is the most dominant.

This fish is a perfect example of the level of negligence and selfishness we have in this hobby. For years I've heard and been told by irresponsible LFS Owners/Associates about how easy the CB or Moorish Idol, etc. are to keep alive of you just do XYZ.

I know there are a lot of responsible aquarists and LFS around, but this fish really doesn't belong in our tanks.
Each of my CBB have long live. My current one I had since hurricane Harvey. The one before that I had for 7 years until he was kill when my tank crash during the aftermath of Harvey.
 

EakTheFreak

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I rolled the dice and bought a CBB @ LFS on the 2nd day that had it. It did not eat for the LFS when I purchased it but appeared healthy and was hiding plus picking at rocks which mad me think it was smart.

I ended up treating him like a king in QT. Hit him with huge established Liverock with tons of Aptasia. Started with live brine shrimp and then transitioned to frozen mixed with live and also live Clams at same time. Eventually worked in frozen brine & frozen clams plus LRS Reef Renzy. I also culture white worms as all the fish love them. I will feed the white worms normally 3 to 4 days of the week. The CBB will literally eat 20 worms within one minute.

It’s one of my favorite fish in the tank and I’ve had it for around 7 months and he is growing and filling in nice. He competes for food and does quite well.

Completely cleared all APTASIA and that was a huge WIN.
 

ssunthar

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The Copperband butterfly fish is one of the most beautiful fish that is readily available in our hobby and is in the "more affordable" range. People love the CBB fish for many reasons with one of those being that they can use that slender "snout" to get deep into crevices and eat aiptasia anemones! They like to snack on those! But the problem is widely known that they are not very hardy when it comes to being acclimated into our home aquariums because of how finicky and deliberate they are at eating. So let's talk about them today!

1. Should the Copperband Butterfly Fish be attempted in our home aquariums?

2. What are your personal experiences with the CBB? Also any tips for those of you who have been successful?


bigstock-The-Copperband-Butterfly-Fish--385345244.jpg
CBB is my son's favourite.. we attempted a few times but failed miserably... the longest we had it in the tank was for slightly over a month :(
 

Paul B

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OrionN. That is a beautiful copperband. I also don't see the problem with copperbands. Like other slightly picky fish they should not be put in a new tank with white, new rocks. That is a fish that likes to hunt and it won't find anything in a new tank.

Many people also try to feed it flakes or pellets, "almost" none of them will eat that and it is not a normal food for them.
They are little harder than many fish but if we want to pick a fish that never lives for more than a few years it is a moorish Idol.

Many people keep them as I have but I have never heard of one dying of old age in a home tank.
5 or 6 years is pretty good for them but I would imagine they live much longer.

Copperbands routinely live to ten years old or slightly longer in a healthy tank that is acceptable to them, which as I said, is not a new tank.
 

EakTheFreak

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One are that I’m proud of and standby for the success of a Copperband butterfly is training it to eat by itself and than without the conversion of some freshwater mollies to saltwater.

Here is my QT thread that took place this past October. My CBB is one of my most aggressive eaters in the tank!

 

reef pirate

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Other was my reply because LM not sure what constitutes an expert, and I'm not one. I have tried in the past w no luck, but in the last 3 to 4 years have been successful. I think the time put into research and care is the difference. They are not just another fish. They are delicate creatures w specific dietary needs. I got my last 2 to eat and get a good start by information given from a breeder. Their advice was to buy some clams on the half shell from grocery store, freeze, then shave. They love it. Another was live blk worms. If a person isn't ready or able to dedicate the time to their needs, I suggest another fish until they can.
Yes...I agree same with me....my CB wouldn't eat after acclimating and I did the same thing...then I started freezing the clams with bloodworms and brine shrimp stuffed in them and dropping them in the tank....after a month or so I was able to feed blood worms and brine shrimp successfully by just adding to the tank...have not seen any aiptasia since I added the CB in November ...
 

Gup

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I had one for over a year that ate great, however, after my tangs started growing more and eating more I could not get the cbb food. He died after 1.5 years from lack of food, very sad but he just couldnt compete.

I think they are good for certain tanks but not all.
I too had a CBB in my FO tank 40+ years ago. Simply a beautiful fish and I would love to have one again, at some point. He too lived better than a year for me. I don't recall him being difficult to feed, I just thought it was something else that caused his demise
 

Quicklynx

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Each of my CBB have long live. My current one I had since hurricane Harvey. The one before that I had for 7 years until he was kill when my tank crash during the aftermath of Harvey.
I'm not saying they don't make it. The odds of them living a long and successful life in captivity does require a dedicated hobbyist, which you absolutely are, and not the average keeper that only wants to deal with the tank a few hours a month. You have much better odds at keeping them alive than me!

My statement was mainly in regards to the fact that while these fish can be kept successfully in captivity, is the cost worth it?

How many of us have had difficult and expert fish thrive in our hands, and then thinking about it, realize that we lost a few of the difficult ones along the way before we got it right? I've definitely lost my fair share of expensive and expert level fish. I would say my success rates on keeping hard to keep fish is higher than most, but by far from perfect.

The hobby has come a very long way when it comes to difficult fish to keep, such as the Moorish Idol, but at the cost of millions of them dying in, not just the average Fishkeeper's Tank, but the Expert's Home Aquariums and even in National Aquariums.

Was it worth is to have a slightly better success rate in captivity? We learn a lot about the fish, but mainly how it lives in captivity. We, the hobbyists, don't learn much more about the particular fish being in our tanks than if we left them in their natural home.

I love my tanks and my fish, but we can't deny the amount of loss in this industry, and it's definitely debatable on whether or not it's worth killing millions of a particular species so we can maybe have a slightly better success rate at keeping them for our own personal wants.

I get it though. As the years tick by I've been starting to research and invest more of my time and money into the captive breeding of fish that thrive in our tanks so we, hopefully, don't need to take them from the wild anymore. However, I still have trouble resisting a beautiful Achilles Tang, Moorish Idol, Crosshatch Trigger, or even the Copperband Butterfly.
 

Arabyps

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They are spectacular fish but in my research it is clear they may not thrive or at worst survive. I decided on a similar looking butterfly fish - Marginalis. They are much more likely to accept food and compete. In my tank, he goes up against 2 tangs, a trigger and Magnificent Foxface. He eats virtually anything I put in the tank. I purchased him from TSM which had acclimated to eating a "normal" common diet and fully quarantined.

Marginalis.jpg
 

WallyB

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FOLKS ( Let's Cheer this GUY ON) *** COPPERBAND VERY WEAK [ Just Today] **

What Timing for this Topic. I'm sad this is happening.

I've had this COpperband for just about a year. Always an eager eatter.

Darn!!!! The Copperband Butterfly didn't come out to eat today.
I found him hovering in a rock area.

He was so weak I litterly caught him by hand and scooped him into a container.

I moved him to a my Frag Tank to see if I can get him to recover.



I've had a few copperbands over the years. I do my best to feed them properly. Including Clam on Half Shell.

However I did notice this FAT GUY get thinner and thinner over the last few months, so I ramped up target feeding him.

The problem with this one, is he never got a taste for Aptasia, like my other Copperband.


Let's hope for the best since they are such beautiful and Gentle fish.
 
BRS

Have you ever had a Angelfish in your reef tank?

  • Yes and it was a model citizen (tell us which one)

    Votes: 170 33.7%
  • Yes but it did nip from time to time

    Votes: 70 13.9%
  • Yes but I had to remove it because it went rogue

    Votes: 33 6.5%
  • No but I would like to try one

    Votes: 142 28.2%
  • No and not interested

    Votes: 71 14.1%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 18 3.6%
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