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FAQs on Chelmon Butterflyfishes Environmental Disease  

FAQs on Chelmon Disease: Chelmon Disease 1, Chelmon Disease 2, Chelmon Disease 3, Chelmon Disease 4,
FAQs on Chelmon Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Trauma, Infectious, Parasitic, Social, Treatments
FAQs on Butterflyfish Disease:
Butterflyfish Disease 1,
Butterflyfish Disease 2, Angels and Butterflyfishes & Crypt,
FAQs on Butterflyfish Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Nutritional, Social, Trauma, Infectious, Parasitic, Treatments

Related Articles: Chelmon ButterflyfishesFoods/Feeding/Nutrition

Related FAQs: 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 Foods/Feeding/NutritionButterflyfish Compatibility, Butterflyfish Behavior, Butterflyfish Systems, Butterflyfish Selection, Butterflyfish Disease, Butterflyfish Reproduction,


Butterflyfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Copper Banded Butterfly changing appearance...     4/20/20
Hi gang,
<Hey Chuck>
I have kept a copper banded butterfly for 3+ years in my macroalgae display tank (connected via common sump with my reef tank)
<Chelmon rostratus is not one of the easiest BF species to keep; it requires top water quality and a varied diet.>
... it's a low intensity tank, with just a juvenile scopas tang for company.
<What are your water parameters?>
He feeds almost exclusively on frozen Mysis, and whatever else he gleans from the seaweed.
<This diet is not varied enough.>
Recently, the gold vertical stripe underneath the 'false eye' near the tail has started going dark... almost black. It's symmetrical on both sides of the fish. No signs of trauma... appears to be a pigmentation issue. Is this a sign of stress... or advancing age... or anything else you can think of?
<Not because of advanced age, no... these fish can live up to 20 years. I think this is more environmentally stress related.>
Thanks in advance for any help on this...
<Cheers. Wil.>

Help needed in the UK! Chelmon reading  03/18/10
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 here, apologies)
<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 likely.)
Nitrate -20-40


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. (Dying now)
We recently (13th February) upgraded our 6 year old 40 gallon tank to a slightly bigger 50 gallon (due to the old tank getting aged)
<This volume is borderline small for keeping Chelmon spp.>
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 shedding
<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: http://wetwebmedia.com/chelmonselfaq.htm
and the linked files above. And search/read re the items ticked above on WWM... NO3, Spg, Pomacentrid Compatibility. Bob Fenner>
Re: Help needed in the UK!   3/22/10

Thank you for your help. We will not be getting another one of this breed.
<? 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 everything
<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 fish?
<... perhaps>
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 tool...

Copperband Butterfly acting lethargic  - 2/11/2006 Hello WWM Crew!  First, let me thank you for your site and great information.  I have been reading for the last 2 hours or so (not for the first time!) but haven't been able to spot the answer I'm looking for.  So if I've overlooked it somewhere please do not think ill of me. <Mmm, no. And if you have ideas on how to arrange the content here, to make it more readily accessible, assimilable, please do speak up> I have a 75g tank w/a 30g sump that has been up for about 2.5 months with LR, and fish and inverts for about 6 weeks.  I let the LR cure for two months prior to putting it into the tank, and it seemed to cycle during that period.  Since setting up the tank, I had my original cycle and my NH3, NO2 and NO3 have all been staying pretty much at 0.  Ca was low at about 320 ppm but I managed to increase it to 450 over the last 10 days.  I add a small amount of Iodine (<5 ml) once a week.  Same with Kent essential elements.  I change out about 10 gallons per week with fresh saltwater.  My SG=1.025, Ph=8.2, KH=11.  I have about 75-80 # LR in the main tank, maybe another 15# in the sump, and am running UV and a protein skimmer.  I run a 1200 gph pump from the tank through the sump and have a 2nd closed loop system w/a Squid and an 850 Eheim pump. total flow in the tank seems pretty good.  I have one pearly Jawfish, one Sailfin blenny, 2 clowns, 1 blue tang, 1 Copperband butterfly, 2 Turbos, several Astreas, several Trochus, and about a dozen total hermits (blue, red and scarlet).  I overfed a bit when starting out and have some algae growth and a little Cyano started in the areas out of the main current.  I am getting these under control now but still am working on cleaning it up a little.  Last week 2 emeralds died within a day of each other, and two Turbos mysteriously bit the dust.  All the inverts and fish seem healthy with the exception of the butterfly.  So I guess I have two questions.  Any idea why the emeralds and snails would have died? <Mmm, possibly from some sort of "imbalance" from the addition of the supplements... though these should be discounted due to your water changes... or a biological agent/poisoning in situ> And now for the big question!  My Copperband, who I love dearly, went from being perfectly normal and eating well one day, to laying on the bottom, gasping and not eating the next. <... am gravitating more to the latter stated cause> He was eating Mysis and then decided one day he would only eat live brine shrimp.  (I guess even fish love McDonalds, eh?) <Don't supersize!> Anyway, I tried a variety of things to get him back on Mysis but he just wouldn't eat.  Eventually he showed what I was told by my LFS is a Lymphocystis growth on his lower lip. <Environmental/stress related/direct> I was told to not worry about it as it would go away on its own in a month or so, <Yes, good advice> and it never seemed to bother him eating.  So in an effort to keep him well fed while getting rid of his wart, I kept giving him brine shrimp though I added Zoe and Zoecon vitamins and a garlic elixir to the shrimp as well as feeding them to gut load then before feeding.  Unfortunately he seems to now be in bad shape - drifting around the tank, wont eat, and even looks somewhat emaciated even though he ate as recently as last night.  I haven't noticed any cysts on him and his color is good.  He looks normal with the exception of his laying on the bottom on his side and slight pumping of his gills.  Is it possible for him to starve to death eating brine shrimp? <Yes... not uncommon> Could he have some sort of parasite? <Yes> Would a freshwater dip help him? <Not likely> Also, it seems that I noticed the tang scratch the LR a couple of times when I first added him to the tank about 3 weeks ago but he is fine now, and he was fine at the LFS for the week they had him. <They do this...> Did I introduce a parasite to my tank with the tang? <Possibly... am sure you're aware of the benefits of quarantine> I know - I should have isolated him first but it seemed sort of foolish since I had just bought all the other fish from the same LFS the in the previous couple of weeks before.  Sorry for the long note but I wanted to make sure you had as much info as I could remember to type! Thanks in advance - Rob <Mmm, I would add a unit/pad of Polyfilter in your filter flow path here... allow the calcium concentration to drift down into the upper 300 ppms... and suspend the addition of supplements for a while. Bob Fenner>

My Copperband Butterfly Hi again Bob; Rick your reefing friend here. I acquired a Copperband about 10 days ago. He is currently residing in my 20 gallon quarantine tank. He is doing extremely well. He is eating and looks healthy except he has white cotton like growths on his fins.  <Likely the viral bits termed Lymphocystis... brought on by "stress"... and likely not infectious... would place this fish, use a biological cleaner... the white gunk will "disappear" in time> I have been treating the tank with CopperSafe to eliminate an ick outbreak on a flame angel acquired at the same time. The ick seems to be gone but I am worried about the white growths on the Copperband. I read on your site that these growths may be due to excessive copper treatment so I have completed two 5 gallon water changes in two days. I will complete another water change tomorrow. Can you tell from my layman's description what this butterfly may have? <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/lymphfaqs.htm> Please help as I have never had much success with this species and actually this is the first Copperband I have ever seen eating. Please help me to save this poor fellow. <We will do what we can. As stated, I would "just" place this fish. Bob Fenner> Thank you Rick Johnston

QT Emergency I have had a Chelmon rostratus  in QT for 36 hours. Tank is 20G with Whisper 3000 power filter, 200gph power head, heater. Initially, it did stay close to the pvc tee I have in the tank, but would come out and 'cruise' the tank until I came into the room and it saw me. Ammonia, nitrite 0ppm, nitrate <10ppm, SG 1.0243. (honestly the ammonia is a best guess, as I CANNOT read these @#$%!#$ color charts very well. The chart says clear for no ammonia, but the water 'fogs' and it is very hard to see color. I have checked the fresh RO/DI water and it is clear) But the pH this morning is 7.88! (Lights on about 3 hours) The fish is obviously stressed, mouth open, hiding, occasional head spasms (side to side shake). <Sounds like some kind of osmotic shock or other form of shock. Don't rule out disease or collection traumas as well. Continue to observe him carefully.> Can I bring the pH back up with water changes, and if so, how fast? <I'd do some medium sized water changes here-no more than say, 20% at a time. Did the pH drop suddenly, or was this a gradual downward trend? The solution could simply be to change water more often or to make sure that when you feed, nothing goes uneaten. Unfortunately, in a bare aquarium, buffering can sometimes be a challenge. Yes, there are products to assist in buffering, but you need to test for anything that you add, ok?> Or, do I need more drastic measures, i.e. baking soda? BTW it did eat fairly well the am (The mix from CMA, shrimp clams, Nori, Zoe) Thanks. <Keep a close eye on the fish and the water chemistry. If any of your readings are amiss, or if the pH fluctuate wildly, you will need to take more drastic measures, such as more massive water changes, etc. Keep on top of things, and your fish should be okay. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>
Copper Band Butterfly Problem
Thanks Scott! <My pleasure> (Did the pH drop suddenly, or was this a gradual downward trend?) On Friday pm the pH was 8.11 On Saturday am the pH was 8.03 (I wrote this off to overnight swing) The next time I check was right before I wrote you on Sunday am. I have the pH back up to 8.02 before lights out last night. (did about 30% water change) Will follow with more today. The fish appears much more relaxed, cruising, hovering, picking at the substrate. Eating well. <Good to hear that!> But, I am still seeing a spasm of some sort on occasion. Sometimes it is the belly fins, sometimes  it is the head shake, sometimes it ripples through the entire body. I assume this is an abnormal behavior? I see no evidence of parasites, and there seems to be no damage that I can view. <Definitely abnormal...Hard to say- could be anything from an internal parasite to possible poisoning from the collection process...Tough call here> And I have seen it very well when it comes out. I am planning to offer small amounts of food several times a day, as long as it eats. <Good idea!> Since I am off work the next 3 weeks so I will be able to keep a tight eye on it. Don <That's what I'd do at this point, Don- just keep an eye on him and be ready for intervention if it becomes necessary. Good luck! Scott F.>

Butterflyfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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