FAQs on Chelmon
Butterflyfishes Health/Disease 2
FAQs on Chelmon Disease:
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Related Articles: Chelmon Butterflyfishes, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition,
Chelmon Butterflies 1, Chelmon Butterflies 2, Chelmon Identification, Chelmon Behavior, Chelmon Compatibility, Chelmon Selection, Chelmon Systems, Chelmon Feeding, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition,
Using Chelmons as Aiptasia Controls, Butterflyfish Identification, Butterflyfish
Butterflyfish Systems, Butterflyfish Selection, Butterflyfish Disease,
Butterflyfishes for Marine Aquariums
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Chelmon Muelleri with likely infection
I have a well established 120 gal reef system, in Aug I introduced flukes
via snails and had an epidemic. My Chelmon Muelleri survived and has
been the only fish in the tank (was reintroduced Oct 26th) since the others
weren't as fortunate.
After the fluke infestation was treated I've been battling secondary
infections with this fish, all were healed when suddenly he's developed a
rather large bump (~3/8") behind and above his eye. There is slight
underlying redness and seems slightly irritated. My question is does
this warrant erythromycin in food for 10 days or would it be wise to simply
<I think so. Unfortunately "what it takes" to actually sample, culture and
test for resistance/efficacy in the way of anti-microbials isn't "worth the
damage" here (in my perception, experience of course)>
I've attached two pictures from when the lights are out, strangely that's
when I get the best pictures-you can see the redness and the bulge.
<I would instead seek to boost immunity, recovery via optimized, stable
conditions and improved nutrition (HUFA, vitamin soaking of foods). Bob
|Re: Chelmon Muelleri with likely infection
Basically he said treat with optimal water conditions, fatty acid and immune
<Ah yes. BobF>
Current wisdom for treatment of Copperband with Crypt?
I have poured through the available resources on your site looking to
find the current recommended treatment for Crypt with a Copperband
Butterfly. I could not find a definitive answer, so I am asking here.
I took delivery of the Copperband, a Kole tang and a Firefish one week
ago yesterday. They were all placed into a 20 gallon QT tank with
subdued lighting, PVC pieces for comfort, heater and sponge filter.
After two days, the Copperband readily accepted frozen Mysis. The Kole
and Firefish eat this as well, and I supplement their diets with other
items (which the Copperband doesn't touch, but since it is on Mysis in
the QT, I don't believe it is anything to worried about).
<Not yet... but would wean onto something more fully nutritious... my
choice NLS Spectrum pellets (small size)>
This morning, I noticed the Copperband has a few small white spots, like
salt crystals, on the front fins and rear fin. Looking at photos of
it looks identical. It doesn't look like lymphocites (sp?)
<Lymphocystis> to me.
What would the recommended treatment be, considering I also have a tang
and Firefish in the same tank (and should treat them as well since they
have been exposed, according to your site)?
<Mmm, yes... either a quinine compound (CP) or copper-based med...>
If the recommendation is quinine based, is there a second recommendation
(it will take me some time to procure the quinine, and I would rather
start treatment now if at all possible rather than wait for shipping to
arrive, especially with the weekend coming up)?
<Freshwater dips might "get you by" in the meanwhile... knocking off
surface parasites, along with some vacuuming of the bottom to remove
encysted intermediate forms>
If hyposalinity is called for, I have done it successfully in the past
with a purple tang. I have an accurate hydrometer and have an RO/DI
filter at home ready to go.
<Am not a fan of hypo... as stated on WWM under my name/responses>
In the meantime, I have raised the temp to 80* since it appears to be a
recommendation for all possible crypt treatments to raise the
Thank you for your assistance.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner
Re: Current wisdom for treatment of Copperband with Crypt?
To the esteemed Mr. Fenner (never a bad idea to compliment those you are
Following up on my suspected crypt infection on the Copperband
I opted for CopperSafe from Mardel. I did find copper test kit.
I administered the recommended amount of copper. 6 days ago.
I did a partial (4 gallon) water change two days ago, and added in the
appropriate amount of copper back with the fill water. Copper test
But the white spots are still there, and there are a couple march large
white 'blotches' on the fins. Looking at photos of Lymphocystis,
it looks like a strong possibility (especially since the copper didn't
knock anything noticeable off the fins). The larger spots are
much, much larger than the smaller salt like spots - probably 2-3mm.
<Mmm, not Crypt, not Protozoan>
The Copperband continues to eat Mysis with gusto (as well as live brine,
but they lack any significant nutritional assistance unless they are gut
loaded, which is kind of hard to do), but isn't paying much attention to
scallop, clam, spectrum pellets or Spirulina. I have tried to soak
the Mysis in garlic and feed the same time as the spectrum A pellets to
get it to move over to the pellets, but so far, it isn't budging.
But I digress...
<Shades of J. Alfred Prufrock>
So should I continue to keep in copper,
or begin to dilute out (or use chemical stripper) the copper. I
also have a Kole tang in there (since it was in the QT with the
butterfly, and suspected exposure dictated all fish in that QT go
through treatment). I don't want the Kole in the copper much more
than 10-14 days.
Kind of confused now....do I continue copper? Discontinue?
Put Kole in display? Put Copperband in display? Medicate
with something else?
<... I'd discontinue the Cu... move all through a dip/bath... Try
purposeful cleaner/s in the main/display, perhaps the medicated food
As always, much thanks and appreciation.
butterfly / Praziquantel and Metronidazole usage.
<And some of the tender gender Eric.>
I recently introduced a copper-band butterfly fish in my quarantine.
After two days of eating well I decided to start medicated her for
internal parasites. The only med with Praziquantel that I found
available was combined with Metronidazole. 37.5 mgs of Prazi and 135
mgrs of Metro.
<A good combo. for such application>
The recommended dosage that I new was safe is 100-150 mgs/40 lts
of Prazi and some 125 mgs /40 lts of Metro.
Both meds in the web mention that there little chance of overdose.
I medicated my quarantine with 60 mgrs of Prazi and 250 mgrs of Metro
simultaneously. I now realize that the Metro was twice as high as I
should have dose the Quarantine water.
After 12 hours of treatment the fish was heavily breathing and gasping
for air. I then did a 100 % water change but the fish did not improve.
Until today the fish lies down heavily breathing. Its been 24 hrs now.
She is stable but not improving as I would hope. Can you please comment
on my dosage. Is it a bad idea to medicate both Prazi & Metro
<That stated as "safe" s/b fine>
What would be your recommend sequence medication and dosage for the two
<Likely just the one dose... three day, week's exposure. Better by far
to get these compounds inside the fish/es (via foods). See WWM re>
As per the info I have described is the reaction normal or her condition
( recent capture ) could of caused a liver damage or
and at last in your opinion is there hope?
Thanks in advance.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Copperband Butterfly fish, QT, med.s
Hello WWM crew once again,
<Good Evening Giancarlo, Bobby here>
So i have purchased a Copperband butterfly fish, it is currently in the
q/t tank which it will stay for roughly 3 weeks or so.
<Do not limit yourself to a time frame, complete the process in
Great job on practicing quarantine though!>
It is eating great, so far eats Spirulina brine shrimp, and mosquito
larvae, i plan on varying the diet, but for now i believe this is a good
start. I am starting PraziPro treatment tonight, along with
Cupramine treatment in about a weeks time. I am aware its
dangerous to mix chemicals but reliable sources have stated these 2
treatments work fine with each other. Anyway on to the issue at
hand, the fish acts/eats normally but the sides of it have some sort of
scratches, miscolouration and possibly even a missing scale or two.
Attached are some pictures they are the best i could get, i hope this is
just physical damage due to it being captured, or in some fight, and
will heal with time?
<Based on the pictures it does appear to be physical damage. If
so, your main concern will be secondary infection. If it is
superficial, it will heal rapidly. Pay close attention for any red
streaking on the body that may indicate a bacterial infection, internal
or otherwise. If you do not see improvement pretty quickly, then I
would consider an antibiotic treatment.>
Or should i be implementing some sort of treatment? I have read
that Maracyn two heals fin damage, but i am thinking jumping into
another medication might be a little drastic right now.
<Maracyn 2 can be useful, although I find Furan a good product also>
My plan is to stick with my q/t procedures and hopefully get the fish on
a good quality flake/pellet food if possible? And during the
process treat with PraziPro and Cupramine as mentioned before.
<Hold off on any copper treatment until this is resolved and the fish is
I have plenty of fresh salt water already mixed so i will be doing
diligent water changes during the whole q/t period. If there is
anything else i can do please advise.
<In the future, I would suggest you allow the fish a week or two minimum
in QT before adding any medication for just this scenario. You
want to make sure you are able to respond to any immediate concerns
prior to prophylactic measures. In this case again, monitor
closely over the next 48 hours. You will know whether it is minor
or not by then. Keep us posted!>
Thanks again! Giancarlo
Re Copperband Butterfly fish
Hey Bobby, thanks again for the help. The fish is doing great, fully
healed in about 2 days time.
<Glad to hear it is doing well!!>
I'll wait about a week and then go ahead with the copper treatment.
I have started to feed the butterfly with scallops and shrimp, this guy
eats like a pig, but I will start looking for a good commercial food to
feed. Anyway I just thought id fill you in. G
<Thank you. Bobby>
Copper Band Butterfly looking dirty
Hello, this is my first time asking a question on WWM. I looked
everywhere to find some information about my new copper band butterfly’s
symptom but couldn’t find any so I’m asking for help. My CBB is
eating only frozen blood worms right now,
<Very important to widen this diet... Read here:
and, why not? The linked files above>
was eating reef caviar and Mysis when I first brought him home but I
guess he’s favoring bloodworms.
<... please search on WWM re these sewer worm larvae... implicated in
Anyways, I started noticing some discoloration on his body, they
are patches of them and his overall color looks dirty, like black dust
have covered him up or something. I can still see his white and
yellow bands but somewhat faded. His fins look clean and eating
really well. For the most part, I think he’s acting normal,
picking at rocks occasionally. I have a small yellow tang and a
blue hippo tang that pick on him occasionally but he’s getting used to
it. I was wondering what this dirty looking Copperband
might be dealing with.
<... could be just nutritional, social... some aspect of water quality.
Not normal or healthy though>
I just started soaking the blood worms on Zoecon to help with his immune
system but it’s been only a few days. Thank you in advance!
<Keep reading. Bob Fenner>
Butterflyfish Disease 11/27/11
Greetings WWM Crew,
I have a Copperbanded Butterfly, in the same tank with
the same fish for 2 years. Water quality is very good, except recent
testing indicated the ph was a little low but I brought that back up. No
ammonia or nitrites, 5ppm nitrates. Great appetite. Mostly bloodworms,
<I'd cut back on these FW insect larvae, add Spectrum (small pellet) as a
staple. See WWM or just trust me>
some my sis and an occasional oyster that she devours and tears into
before it hits the bottom. Recently, looking into one gill is very red,
inflamed and swollen. It looks painful, but she moves, eats and acts
normal and doesn't seem to complain. When swimming towards you the right
side is definitely swollen.
<Mmm, not good... what other livestock present? Am looking for clues on
tolerance, perhaps inter-species aggression, toxicity>
I don't have the slightest idea what to do and would certainly appreciate
some advice. This fish and I have been through a lot together and I
don't want to lose her now. Her name is Dottie because of the black dot.
<Mmm, and for background, please read here:
and the linked files re this species... Above. Bob Fenner>
I forgot to mention, she has rapid breathing too.
<Another dire sign... Please see my prev. email resp.. BobF>
Re: Butterflyfish Disease 11/28/11
Thanks. Tank mates are 2 clowns, lawnmower blenny, diamond goby, Randall
goby, cleaner Wrasse, snails and crabs. All have been together for 2
70 gallon tank with 21 gallon refugium.
<Mmm... well, the volume isn't overly large... but the other life would
have suffered about as readily were there a general environmental issue.
I think there may be more of a nutritional aspect here still; hence
urging you to use Spectrum. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Butterflyfish Disease 11/28/11
I have Spectrum Thera +A 1mm sinking pellets and give it to the clowns now
and then. The butterfly never touches these. How can I switch foods if
she won't eat the Spectrum, or do you think when she gets hungry enough
she will eat anything?
<Mmm, the best technique is to mix some pellets in with favored foods...
Mysis is esp. good... with more percentage pellets over time. B>
CBB Quarantine 10/07/11
I really appreciate what you all do!
I love copper banded butterflies but my first did not make it past my QT.
This time I decided to try a new approach. My friend gave me her reef (40
gallons, medium lighting, lost of live rock with tons of Aiptasia and
Bristol worms). <Like the famous Bristol chicken!?> I pulled its two fish
inhabitants, got rid of the sand and threw the rocks up on shelves and
started the (still not compete) task of coaxing as many of the Bristol
worms out as possible <Show them holiday brochures of Surrey and
(no plans for fish inhabitants for now). I found a healthy looking CBB and
put him in the tank in hopes that I could get him eating and otherwise
adjusted to life in the aquarium before throwing him in the medicated QT.
He started picking at the Aiptasia right away and showed interest in
frozen shrimp. On day three, though, I noticed 4 or 5 spots of Ich and
decided to throw him a QT (15 gallons, sponge filter, heater) with
copper (I don't know the brand but I use every time I set up the QT).
What do you think about throwing a piece of the live rock with the
Aiptasia in the medicated tank as an added source of food while the CBB
deals with the stress of the medicine?
<Mmm, will complicate the use of copper here>
I am not worried about losing some rock if it helps the CBB make it.
This morning I noticed that he is breathing rapidly (seems typical with
advanced Ich). Do you think a fresh water dip help him at this point or
should I keep the stress as low as possible and just wait it out with
<Mmm, up to you...>
Finally, if you know of a better treatment for CBBs than copper, I am all
<Am a bigger fan of Quinine compounds nowayears for most cases. Please
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Copperband Butterfly with Bacterial
Hello WWM Crew,
After many years of reading through your wonderful website, I now
have a question that I think needs a more direct answer.
<Am answering this immediately due to the critical nature of this
I obtained a healthy Copperband Butterfly (Chelmon rostratus) about
4 months ago. Wednesday night I noticed a small spot on his side
where it looked like the scales were protruding with a slightly red
tint. I wasn't overly concerned as the fish was acting normal, but I
thought it best to get another opinion. I posted a picture up on my
local reef club forum and was told by a knowledgeable fish store
owner that it was likely a bacterial infection.
It was too late to go to any stores so I started mixing up some
saltwater in case I had to get my QT set up. Thursday morning I
drove to the fish store and picked up Seachem NeoPlex and Seachem
Focus, which was recommended to me by the owner. Since my fish was
still eating I decided to try treating orally and leave it in the
display tank. I mixed the NeoPlex and Focus in with my usual mix of
frozen and fresh foods, fed my fish, and froze the rest. I have been
feeding this medicated food to my fish about 3 times a day starting
<Mmm... the first not likely to be of use; the second... Furan cpd.s
can be efficacious... depending on the source of (stress) as
causative agents here... Was this Chelmon exposed to copper? What
other tankmates are there?>
Yesterday, it looked like the fish's scales were peeling away, but
there didn't appear to be much redness and the fish was acting
normal (still eating and foraging through the rocks). This morning,
the spot looks even worse and the redness is back. I have attached
some photos. Sorry about the quality, I had to use my cell phone
camera. I know antibiotics take a little time to get into the
system, but I am thinking at this point the medicine should be
<These are worthy products, but this condition is almost impossible
The fish is still eating and swimming around but seems a little less
responsive and hides in the rocks more often. Should I continue with
my current treatment or try something else?
<Well... I do suspect this is Vibriosis...
Oxytetracycline can be tried (in foods best) or potentiated
Sulfonamides... Unfortunately, this fish will very likely succumb
My tank is a standard 6' 150 gallon tank with plenty of live rock
and a deep live sand bed, a sump with more live rock, carbon, and
skimmer. Last water test was performed on Friday and results were:
no detectable ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate and pH of 8.3.
Temperature has been a little high but stable at 82-83 degrees.
Other inhabitants include: 5 Blue/Green Chromis (Chromis viridis), 1
Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris), 1 Coral Banded Shrimp
(Stenopus hispidus), and a mix of soft, LPS, and mushroom corals.
All other fish appear healthy. A 29g QT is setup and ready to go
should it be necessary.
<I would not move this fish>
Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. Any help you
can provide is greatly appreciated.
<Please do inform us as to your actions, the disposition of this
fish. Bob Fenner>
Re: Copperband Butterfly with Bacterial Infection 8/1/11
Thank you for the quick response. The Copperband has not been
exposed to any copper, at least not in the 4 months that I have had
it. The Chromis follow the Copperband around but I have never seen
them pick on him. My tank has a low bioload and I am very diligent
with water changes so my water is fairly stable. I am willing to try
one of the medicines you recommended. Would these only be available
through a vet?
<Mmm, depending on what country you're in; possibly>
If the fish continues to decline I will euthanize it but I would
like to try everything possible before giving up. This is a
beautiful fish and quickly became my favorite and I hate to see this
<I am of the "don't give up" habit... Have seen fishes recover from
these bacterial "break down" syndromes; but it's rare>
Thank you again for all your help.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Copperband Butterfly with Bacterial
Thank you for all the help. Sadly the Butterfly did not make it.
<Ahh, as suspected/mentioned. One last but important statement I
should have made: DO thoroughly wash your hands, arms after they've
been in this system, or after handling this dead fish>
He was eating and swimming around last night, although a bit
lethargic. I woke up this morning to find him dead.
I did find a source for tetracycline
so hopefully I can someday use what I have learnt and aid other
fellow hobbyists. I am blessed to have a wonderful local reef club
(Atlanta Reef Club)
<Ah, yes. Have met w/, spoken to them a few times>
with great people always willing to help out. In fact, if you ever
find yourself in the area I am sure we would love to have you as a
guest speaker for one of our meetings. The Georgia Aquarium is
definitely worth a visit if you haven't been. :)
<Have done both, would do again>
Thanks again for everything you contribute to this hobby and for
taking the time to help others.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
I would need some help finding out what's wrong with this
he eats well, have a comportment normal it's been 10 days
that he has these white spots, it don't get worst... but
don't seem to heal either :(
Thank you for your help
<These appear to be "sores" from some sort of
chemical sting... Likely the Zoanthids so frequently in the
background. Nothing to do here really than maintain good
conditions, assure this animal is getting sufficient food/s. Bob
Re Copperband disease
Thank you very much for this fast reply :)
<Welcome Marie. BobF>
Copperband butterfly - Ich?
<Hi Steve, Misty here>
I was hoping to ask you all a couple questions about a new
2.5" Copperband butterfly (Chelmon rostratus). I bought it
from a respectable LFS about 4 weeks ago, and asked to see it eat
before I took it. It was eating well on frozen brine and Mysis.
Once home, it was placed in a 20gal QT (bare bottom, one piece of
LR, water was from DT) and was eating frozen just fine. I saw no
signs of disease, and did not feel there was a need to medicate
or dip this fish (which I now regret). I was worried about
stressing it out, since I read it is a sensitive and finicky
butterfly. 3 weeks in QT (should have been 4) and I moved it over
to my DT.
<Good job on the QT>
My system: 90gal with 20gal sump, 130lbs LR, 120lbs LS, system
has been up for 1 year. I see tons of amphipods running around
the rock at night, I assume I have ample copepods as well. Water
parameters look good - nitrates, nitrites, phosphates, and
ammonia are all 0; pH is 8.2; dKH is 8; I am using the API
reefmaster and saltwater test kits, and I also took a water
sample to the LFS who got the same results.
Current residents include: 2.5" purple tang, 5"
lawnmower blenny, 3" orange ocellaris clown, 2" black
ocellaris clown, and 3" royal gramma.
I have 1 cleaner shrimp and 4 peppermint shrimp, blue leg
hermits, 6 huge Nassarius snails, and a few leftover turbo snails
that haven't been captured by the hermits. As far as coral, I
have a handful of
small frags (Pocillopora, Duncanopsamia, Montipora capricornis
and Montipora digitata, various Zoanthus colonies, Euphyllia
parancora and Euphyllia paradivisa) and 2 larger Turbinaria
"pagoda cups". I
also have a new 2.5" blue maxima clam (that was purchased at
the same time and place as the butterfly). I hope this is an
appropriately thorough description of my setup.
Now for the problem...
I moved the Copperband and, as expected, the purple tang was
quite aggressive. Within a few hours, it was getting better;
today, after 5 days, they seem fine. Upon moving him, the
butterfly stopped eating
frozen foods and began grazing my amphipod population
<seems normal...would you rather have steak or frozen
He also would do this funny "twitch" every once in
awhile (but no flashing... yet).
Last night, I supplemented my feeding with garlic, and all my
fish (including the Copperband) were frantically feeding on the
Mysis and brine (soaked in Selcon). I thought this was a great
<Yes, it is a good sign>
However, I noticed the Copperband was flashing during this time,
and I've discovered about 4-5 white spots on one pectoral fin
(looks like Ich).
<Likely...not unexpected, even after the QT period. Moving
into a new space with fish (esp. a mean purple tang) is
I'm assuming he has a parasitic infection for sure. My
dilemma is this: he may be difficult to catch with all of the
live rock, and I'm afraid I may stress him worse by removing
him and putting him back in a QT <Agreed...as long as he
continues eating and the torture from the purple tang subsides,
I'd let him ride this out...assuming that the Ich spots
don't become absurd>.
Also, I might add that my 20g QT was dropped while being dumped
outside and broke into a million pieces... my only remaining
empty tank is a 10 gallon. He's not breathing heavy, and I
don't notice any
other abnormal behavior besides the flashing/twitching. I'm
not sure what to do: catch him, dip/medicate and QT again and
risk stressing him worse (this would be the second move in 5
days); or leave him in
the tank and hope that feeding garlic and limiting stress as much
as possible may solve the problem. <Yep...have had a couple of
CBB's that have gone through this as well...and have been
fine. Had you not QT'd to start, would be more of an issue.
Your cleaner shrimp may come into play to help as well. I had one
CBB with the same issues that kept going to my peppermint shrimp
for a cleaning, which didn't work. Got him a cleaner shrimp
and it was great.> I will also add that he only flashes on one
rock that has green hair algae on it (must be soft?) and the sand
bed - so he doesn't have any open wounds that I have seen.
I've also noticed that when he does flash, he always goes
back to the same place to pick at the rock or sand for
"critters"... smart and beautiful fish. (Wonderful fish
once acclimated. But they will decimate the live critters (worms,
feather dusters, pods, etc.) before resorting to your paltry
frozen food :)>. I want to do everything I can to help him
All other fish seem unaffected at this time.
After reading some more articles on WWM, I'm also concerned
<hmmm...different issue...not a species that I've heard to
Do you think the Ich is probably the primary problem, or could he
have a "super infestation" with flatworms as well
(because of the twitching)? <not sure about the
twitching...keep an eye on it...I know
about the other stuff...but twitching is new!>
Thank you for any help possible, I really appreciate your
<Please keep us updated with any changes!>
Re: Copperband butterfly - Ich?
Thank you for your reply! <You're welcome :)> As I was
reading, I realized that I said "flatworms" and
actually meant "flukes". I've never had a fish with
flukes <me neither, actually...been lucky, I guess!> and
not really sure what to look for with it. <As I've got no
experience with them first-hand, me neither, unfortunately> As
I was reading about flukes, there was a comment about
caught my attention and I'm afraid I mistyped! Do you think
the twitching could be indicative of a possible fluke
infestation? <Not sure, but according to this article, more
common symptoms are rapid breathing,
hiding and discoloration...
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm >. He seemed to twitch
and flash less this evening, but has gained a spot or two on the
same pectoral fin (and the fin is now split in one spot).
Still no spots anywhere else that I can see, and he ate frozen
Mysis again today.
<A very good sign...I'd keep a close eye on him. Continue
the use of garlic/Selcon to help his immune system (as well as
the other tank inhabitants until the spots are gone). Ich will
always be in your system unless you allow it to go fallow for
long enough to starve the Ich.
So it would do you no good to QT him again for a couple of spots
and then put him back into a tank with Ich. Obviously, if he
can't develop a natural resistance to the parasite and gets
worse, then you will need to
remove him for treatment...and think about getting a big QT for
all of the fish to allow the tank to go fallow. In my experience
with a couple of butterflies, they have developed their own
natural resistance and were fine after about a week.>
Thanks again for your help!
<You're welcome, again...hope the CBB does well...I'm
sure he will under your care.>
Bump on my Copperband Butterfly
I have a 2 year old 135g reef, 50g sump, 10g refugium
filled with macro algae. Water parameters are currently: SG
1.025, pH 8.2, kH 8dkh, Ca 415ppm, Mg 1245ppm, T 82degF,
Nitrate 0mg/L, Phosphate also 0mg/L.
<Mmm, "reef" photosynthetic life requires some
NO3 and HPO4>
I purchased a ~3.25inch Copperband butterfly 5 days back
both because they are beautiful, and because of the
uncontrollable Aiptasia population in my display. I've
done my reading about these fish and did my best when
selecting him. He had been in the store for about 1 week,
he was quite alert and an active swimmer, and I watched him
eat frozen Mysis, brine, and bloodworms before making my
I brought him home and put him in a 10g aquarium which is
not quite a QT because its "in the loop" with my
refugium. I knew the 200g system as a whole would be much
more stable than the 10g alone if it were isolated.
<Yes... and considering what you state re the appearance
of this specimen, its care at the LFS, and your excellent
photo, I would summarily place this fish in your
The "QT" could be isolated for
medication/treatments if necessary, however my main
objective was to keep him in a place where I could easily
watch his behavior/appetite.
<Understood... and/but this animal is quite thin... I
would move it (high confidence limit)>
He's currently picking lightly at frozen bloodworms,
but will eat live bloodworms (maybe Blackworms) as long as
I am willing to dish them out. He does not yet appear to be
eating the Aiptasia on the small pieces of LR I
placed in his tank... but I have high hopes for him.
Yesterday I noticed a "bump" on his back, which
reminds me of a bump from getting hit in the forehead. I
have circled the bump in red in the attached picture.
<I see this>
This morning I noticed a small bit of white cloudiness
(haze) on one of his eyes. After reading about the
cloudiness, it sounds like this is likely due to stress
(likely of his recent transport and into his small 10g
<I do agree>
The bump seems high enough up on his back that it is likely
from a physical trauma, though I see no damage to his
flesh. I see no white material on the bump, or external
signs of infection.
If it is signs of stress he is exhibiting, should I move
him into the display tank?
<Yes I would>
Or does the bump indicated something I should treat him
<Not in a place from a "needle stick" from
decompression... Most likely resultant from a physical blow
of some sort>
Thanks for all of the help! I've been reading WWM
regularly for almost 5 years now, and it has helped me
design and run my first system.
<Thank you for your kind words, participation. Bob
Re: Bump on my Copperband Butterfly
Sorry to send another so quickly, but I have noticed his
condition getting worse in the last 24 hours. My main dilemma
is whether I should be treating him, leaving him where he is
until he heals, or putting him in the main
display to reduce stress.
<I'd move this fish pronto. There is a very small
likelihood of it having anything "catching">
This morning I noticed his fin looking discolored behind the
bump, radiating away from the body. It looks almost like a
bruise. Also, the fin on the opposite side of his body
(opposite of the bump) is increasing in redness, and is not
smooth. I wouldn't call it an open wound exactly.. but it
doesn't look right.
His cloudy eye SEEMS to be popping out slightly more than his
good eye, though maybe I'm just being paranoid.
His breathing is definitely quicker this morning as well.
Again, I don't know if I should treat, give up, or move
him to the display to reduce stress. I am new to keeping
species that are this delicate, but I REALLY want to make all
efforts do right by him. I really expected the
challenge with this guy to lie in his feeding rather than
disease. This is really my first experience with possible
disease- I want to learn from the experience in the very
Any insight the crew can offer is greatly appreciated. Thanks
again for your help.
<Sorry for the delay in my responses. I was out/away from
the Net this wknd. BobF>
Copperband Butterfly death. Compatibility.
This is a great website and a wonderful source of information,
thank you all!
I purchased a Copperband Butterfly on Apr. 26th which looked
healthy when I bought him. I did ask the LFS to feed him and he
ate well there.
<Good protocol, but did you quarantine the fish as
I understand the Copperbands poor track record in captivity.
I also understand Brine Shrimp is virtually useless as far as
nutrition goes, but that's all he would eat. He did eat Mysis
when I offered it about a week ago.
<This is a much better food>
He also would pick on the live rock often.
<Sounds ok so far>
Tank is 75 gallons, about 45 pd.s. of live rock with skimmer.
Ammonia, nitrites and nitrates are zero. Salinity 1.023 <A bit
low> and PH 8.2. He was doing well until last Friday when I
introduced a Yellow Belly Regal Tang, about 4 inches,
<75 gallons is far too small for this fish,
and again no quarantine?>
roughly the same size as the Copperband. The Regal would harass
him a bit but not too aggressively.
<Most of this aggression is subliminal messages betwixt the
fishes that we cannot see>
The Copperband started breathing rapidly and so did the Tang
actually. I assumed it was due to stress. There were no signs of
parasites at all.
<Heavy breathing can be a sign of both stress and
Copperband ate well up until the day before it died, his
breathing quickened even more and I had a feeling it wouldn't
be long. My question is, what do you think could of caused his
death? I'm guessing its either due to stress from the
<This, yes. The tang needed/ needs more space. The Copperband
should have been the largest fish in this volume. It is no
coincidence that as soon as you added the Tang, the problems with
the Butterfly began.>
poor nutrition from eating only brine shrimp
<Unless you saw some thinning of the Butterfly, particularly
around the head, this is not likely the cause in such a short
space of time. You state he has been picking on the live rocks
and eating Mysis also>
and essentially starving even though it was eating a lot of it or
maybe it caught something internal from the Tang.
<If he has caught anything it is more likely to be external
parasites, crypt et. Al. External parasites will infest the gills
first, where you cant see them, making breathing difficult for
the fish. Since you make no mention of quarantine anywhere here I
am assuming that it has not been done>
The Tang still breathes very rapidly, albeit with no signs of
<As stated, this is a potential sign>
Could the breathing be due to his activity?
<Either, and/ or both. He is stressed from being in such a
small setting. This will not change, only get worse. The delicate
Copperband probably could not stand being in the same small pen
as this horse of a fish>.
He has boundless energy and eats like a horse. The whole ordeal
has been quite discouraging to say the least. Any advice or
suggestions are greatly appreciated!
<I think you need to get a bigger tank (six foot at least), or
return the Tang for credit. And quarantine all your fishes in
future. Have a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm
Thanks in advance.
Re: Copperband Butterfly death.
Thanks for the advice.
I'll be taking the Tang back to my LFS. I've read and
heard so much conflicting information regarding tank size for
<Yes, these and many others as well>
I did read over WWM for hours on end and I feel I'm getting a
better understanding of the hobby overall. And I will be setting
up a quarantine tank soon.
Are there any Tangs that are suitable to a 75 gallon tank or is
it just too small?
<At an uncrowded push you might be ok with one of the smaller
Ctenochaetus tangs, such as the Kole, but really I do think this
is too small a setting for any Tang.>
Help needed in the UK! Chelmon reading
Hi all on the WWM crew tonight (it is 10pm over here!)
Firstly I send early apologies for using any 'common' or
fish shop terms, my matter is v. urgent and it would take me
forever to Google all the correct terms.
I have a problem with my 50-55gallon (we work in litres over
<No worries... oh, and WWM has some of your countrymen that
are regulars here>
Fluval Venezia 190L marine aquarium.
I have returned from work this evening to find my one-eyed
Copperband Butterfly gasping at the bottom of the tank. He is
moving very little and not hunting at all (extremely strange for
him) I put a little food in the tank (frozen brine shrimp-his
favourite at the moment) and he did react.
I therefore did my tests asap. These read:
Ammonia-0 (I did this first thought with symptoms this was most
Last week (08 th Mar 2010) they were exactly the same but for
Nitrate which was 10 and salinity-1.024
I immediately did a 20% water change tonight. He has got worse
and now 2 hours later is on his side on the bottom of tank.
We recently (13th February) upgraded our 6 year old 40 gallon
tank to a slightly bigger 50 gallon (due to the old tank getting
<This volume is borderline small for keeping Chelmon
We have kept our Eheim eco filter running from the 40 gallon
which we have never had issues with, and kept 90% of the water
and all 25kg of live rock.
We rinsed the new Fluval sump style filter that came with the
tank in our tank water and put some of the bio balls from Eheim
in. Our fish ( 2 clowns largest 1.5inch, blue damsel <1inch,
CB Butterfly 2inch)
<Mmm, a very small BF, and the damsels are too feisty for it
in this small world>
and 2 Hermit Crabs, small cluster of tiny Liverock hitchhiker
polyps, a Pulsing Xenia, cleaner shrimp and 3 tiny starfish went
in after a days cycle.
Oh he is dying as I'm writing...
I introduced a leather toadstool 2 weeks ago and he is still
<This might be a factor here... poisoning the Chelmon>
(it seems) he shriveled up straight away and hasn't fully
come out yet but has been showing a little movement.
Everything else is fine in the tank.
Please Help, I will be heartbroken if he dies!
<Well... first off, I would NOT buy such a small specimen of
any Butterflyfish, particularly the at times super touchy genus
Chelmon... Do read here:
and the linked files above. And search/read re the items ticked
above on WWM... NO3, Spg, Pomacentrid Compatibility. Bob
Re: Help needed in the UK!
Thank you for your help. We will not be getting another one of
<? the Chelmon rostrata you wrote about
previously I take it>
We had been given him for free as he had lost an eye but I now
wish I had looked into it more before, as we have done with all
our other tank mates.
This is only our second fish to die in 6 years so it was quite
emotional-especially as he was a real little character.
Would the Leather Coral be affecting the other Fish also?
<Could be, yes>
It is still shedding,
<Some shedding is natural, to be expected...>
this has been going on now for around 3 and a half weeks
<Mmm, this is way too long>
and it is still to open back up. It looks very shriveled and
wrinkly at the moment-could this be a sign along with the death
of our CBButterfly that something else is wrong in the tank?
<Could be, yes>
I took a sample of our water to the LFS and they have tested
<Uh, no... Perhaps they tested for everything they have tests
for... assuredly they do NOT have tests for the various Terpenoid
compounds and more that Alcyoniids produce>
to be all fine. We have raised the salt to 1.024 and it is
staying at this now. I think the drop must have been due to us
changing to a stronger lighting system about three weeks ago (T5)
Do you think this could have affected the coral/butterfly
Apologies for all the questions it is driving me mad that we have
had a death! I check water parameters weekly and do 25% water
changes and do half cleans of the tank on a regular basis.
Everyone else in the tank is looking very happy still so
hopefully we won't loose <lose> another.
Once again thank you for your help,
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/alcyoncompfaqs.htm
and elsewhere on WWM re Allelopathy of Cnidarians... the search
Re: Randall's Goby and a Neon Goby, Now
Chelmon exp. -- 11/09/2009
Just a quick note to let you know how I got on with the
As you know I got him on 17th October and he had a bad case of
I was going to get a Neon Goby to help him out. However, I never
did. I ended up getting 2 cleaner shrimps and kept on top of my
I upped from a 20ltr to a 40ltr per week change, and changed
carbon etc etc
I am glad to report that his Lymphocystis has completely
disappeared and there are no signs on any of my other fish of
catching it from him.
He eats a combination of a little flake, all of my Aiptasia and
Mysis and garlic brine shrimp (frozen alternated every 2 days or
so) and seems to have really settled into his new home. He is
approaching me, in the corner of the tank, whenever I walk into
My only other concern, is how much to feed, I feed seaweed on a
clip every 2 days, flake a couple of times per day, algae pellets
every other day, and frozen brine / Mysis every other day. Is
this too much, or too little for my current stocking levels, as
per original (below) email.
<Not too much>
Thanks for your time taken to reply to me, and your website is
invaluable, with plenty of help and advice for someone like me
who is new to the hobby!
<Thank you for this update, input. BobF>
Butterflyfishes for Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
New eBook on Amazon: Available
New Print Book on Create Space: Available
by Robert (Bob) Fenner