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FAQs on Chelmon Butterflyfishes Trauma

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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
New eBook on Amazon: Available here
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Copperband Butterfly fish, QT, med.s    4/25/12
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 entirety. 
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 otherwise healthy.>   
 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    5/1/12
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>

Copperband With A Squashed Snout? 09/09/08 Evening crew :D <<Hi there Carolyn!...morning now>> After about 18 months of waiting and researching, I have finally brought home a Copperband Butterflyfish. <<Beautiful fish (have one myself!), but can be quite the finicky feeder>> The animal in question has been merrily eating in the LFS <<Ah, great!>> and on getting him home was tempted out of hiding with a bit of brine shrimp and garlic (purely to confirm he would eat in my QT). As of tomorrow I aim to start feeding him Mysis and other meaty treats <<Excellent>> - would he appreciate lobster eggs (I've used them with great success with mandarin fish previously to wean them onto prepared food)? <<Mmm, maybe but I doubt it. My experience with these fish is they tend to prefer small worm and shrimp-like organisms (Mysids, amphipods, bristle worms, feather duster worms most ANY worm) and tend to ignore things like prepared foods (e.g. flakes, pellets). But do give the lobster eggs a try I've also found glass worms (white mosquito larvae) to be readily accepted by these fishes well as by other finicky feeders>> I've also noticed that on getting the little fella home, his snout appears to be slightly misshapen - the lower half seems to be bent forward, as if he's pouting. I didn't notice this in the LFS; could he have bumped his nose in transit?! <<Yes>> He ate the shrimp merrily, so it doesn't appear to be causing him any problems feeding (he's in QT with 4 Nemanthias carberryi (1 male, 3 females)). <<Ah good, then hopefully the Butterfly will be fine and the condition will heal or at the least, not become any worse>> Many thanks in advance and for all the time you take answering the inane ramblings of folk like me!! Carolyn <<No worries is a pleasure to share. EricR>>
Re: Copperband With A Squashed Snout? 09/10/08
Hi Eric, <<Hey Carolyn!>> Thanks for the reply that's a relief! <<Ahh, quite welcome>> The Copperband is giving me some cause for concern today as he spends a lot of time swimming at the surface (not gasping at the surface although his dorsal fin comes out of the water), and swims at an angle. <<Hmm, I've not observed such behavior from this species (though I have seen them come to the surface to pluck floating morsels of food). This may be an environmental stress indicator (do you have pieces of PVC pipe or other such inert structure large enough for the fishes to take refuge in the QT?), or an indication of more serious problems that were present/manifesting before you bought the fish>> The Anthias he's in QT with seem fine, so am hoping this is a stress issue due to being transported? <<This is a possibility, yes or an indication of less than gentle handling during capture>> He was moved from a 10g tank to a 20g tank with a small skimmer and powerhead, specific gravity is 1.025, temperature is 77 Fahrenheit. <<Much better/a good move to the larger tank (it is cycled yes?)do be sure to provide a place to hide as well>> Have however got hold of some white mosquito larvae (frozen) so am trying him on those. <<Very good>> He does have a few spots where it looks like he's bashed into the rock in the display at the LFS, so am hoping he'll settle in soon, it has only been 2 days so not going to panic just yet... Carolyn <<Mmm I expect this fish has been mishandled/suffered injury during capture and/or transport to the LFS. I am hopeful that your continued good care will provide a speedy recovery (the fact it is [still?] eating is a good sign). Do let me know how things progress. Regards, Eric Russell>>
R2: Copperband With A Squashed Snout? 09/11/08
Hi Eric, <<Hello Carolyn>> Bad news I'm afraid, looks like we might lose him tonight - got home from work to find him looking in a bad way, rapid breathing/lying on the bottom, no interest in food at all. <<Mmm, I was afraid of this didn't want to voice earlier and cause extra worry not much you could have/can do>> Did an emergency water change (again) after matching temp/SG/pH to try and help in case its a water issue (ammonia and nitrite 0, nitrate 5-10ppm, but so many other factors we can't test for), <<I doubt its your water quality>> but on close inspection he's got red/blood marks on his flanks and his dorsal fin is closed up. <<Sounds like a bacterial infection and likely secondary to what I suspect is physical trauma as the original complaint causing this fishs demise>> I doubt he'll survive till the morning, I moved the four Anthias into a separate QT this evening (they're all fine thank goodness, feeding like a right load of pigs!), so I've turned the lights off so he won't be bothered by them. <<Very good>> Thanks for all your help - I'd like to get a better idea of whats affected this poor fish so if it can be avoided in the future. <<Short of a necropsy of the fish I don't think there's any way to really tell and even then, not for sure in this case I think. I do believe whatever ails this fish came about before you acquired it (I still think some sort of physical trauma during capture). The stress of bringing it to your home may have expedited things but on that same note, more than likely it would already be dead if left at the LFS>> Copperbands are a great love of mine and would like to try again with one, but only if I know I can care for it properly. Carolyn <<These fish are one of my favorites as well I think your care of the fish up to this point was fine (maybe a bigger QT). Like some others, obtaining a healthy and undamaged specimen is more than half the battle with these fish and once acclimated and feeding well I have found them to be surprisingly hardy. You don't mention whether your LFS quarantines their fish (many don't)even so, depending on your relationship with the store perhaps you can arrange for the store to hold a specimen for a few weeks just to see that it is going to live. Placing a deposit on the fish may help with this In the interim, keep reading up on/researching this fish and design/redesign your system around the Copperband as the centerpiece making the needs and requirements of this fish the first priority re. Do keep me posted if you wish and feel free to come back to discuss and conspire on your Copperband system. Cheers my friend, Eric Russell>>

Copperband Butterfly Broken Beak?  7/18/08 Hi Guys: <Blaine> Love your site and have gotten a lot of really great advise <advice> from it. I just added a Copperband butterfly to my display aquarium. WE got his a few weeks ago and he's been doing very well. Today I noticed that the bottom of his beak is turned down, so I'm wondering if I have a big problem. I don't know if he's bashed himself on the glass or something, <Very likely so> and I'm wondering if this damage is something that will heal on it's own, or if there is something I can do for it. Blaine LeRoy <Really only the former, and hope. Have seen much worse-damaged Chelmons leading normal lives. Bob Fenner>

Abrasion? Dear WWM Crew: I had the irresistible opportunity to purchase an ostensibly healthy 5" Chelmon rostratus that had been returned to my LFS after well over a year in another customer's tank (he moved). It is a beautiful specimen that eats just about any frozen food.   I've never handled a fish this big before and had some trouble getting him into my 10G QT. Now I see what appears to be a slightly bloody abrasion on it's left side. (see attached photos). <I see> I have been adding Kent Marine Pro-Tech Coat daily since I notice this. Should I treat with an antibiotic? If so, what? Am I mistaking something more ominous for a "simple" abrasion? It continues to behave normally and eat well. <I would place this fish in your main/display system without much worry. It is very likely pathogen free... and will only suffer from being quarantined much longer. Bob Fenner> Your input will be highly valued. Thanks, Steve Allen

Cyanided Copperband? - 03/31/2005 Hello, <Ahoy, thar, Rob! Sabrina here, this fine evening.> A couple of months ago I emailed you about my success with a Copperband butterfly in my 90 gallon reef tank. In fact you guys posted on your website, very cool.  <We do try to post everything! Thank you for sharing your experience with us before; I hope we can be of service now....> I have a question though. How do I determine if a fish has been caught by cyanide? <This can be extremely difficult to determine with any certainty.... Location of collection may shed some insight; I believe a fish can be necropsied after death to discover if cyanide poisoning did it in or not....> <<Editor's note: In general, not always, Indo-Pacific fishes may be suspect.  If not collected with cyanide, may have been exposed via run-off, downstream of mining operations.>> For the last two months this same Copperband has been eating everything in sight, Mysis, bloodworms, squid, clam - pretty much whatever I put in the tank but for the last 2 weeks he seems to be getting thinner by the day.  <So, he's eating heartily, but he's losing weight? A few possibilities here, including cyanide poisoning.> I feed my fish 2-3 times a day and I vary their diet. I have quite a variety of fish in there. My water parameters are pretty much where they need to be, ammonia - 0, nitrites - 0, nitrates - 0, ph - 8.3.  <Salinity? Alkalinity? Tank size? Other fish? Most recent addition? Were all additions quarantined?> I have been observing the tank for several days and nights to see if other fish are harassing the Copperband causing it stress but none seem to be. There are no signs of parasites, fungus or bacterial infection.  <Mm, actually, the fact that the fish is losing weight despite an obviously hearty appetite is a strong sign of internal parasites. Can't see 'em when they're on the inside, after all. It might also be an indication of mycobacteriosis, an essentially incurable internal bacterial complaint. Other signs of mycobacteriosis are deformations of the spine, possibly clouded/frayed fins, small lumps/granulomas, or bloating. Let's hope, for now, that it's not mycobacteriosis, and not cyanide poisoning, as there's not a whole heck of a lot you can do about those. Let's turn to the possibility of internal parasites, and explore that a bit.> I have many years experience with saltwater fish and inverts but I have not seen this before. This Copperband seems to be wasting away no matter how much he eats and he eats a lot. What should I be looking for?  <At this point, let's hope for the best. If you have access to a high-powered microscope, collect a fecal sample from the fish and take a look. You will probably need help from a university biology professor, or a veterinarian, with this, unless you have a lot of confidence in making a diagnosis. If you don't seek the help of someone of that nature, then try to get a hold of "Handbook of Fish Diseases" by Untergasser, "Fish Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment" by Noga, or other book with good, accurate microscopic photographs of what to look for in the way of internal nasties. Mostly, you'll want to determine first if there IS anything in those guts, and secondly whether it's protozoan or a nematode, trematode, or cestode taking residence in the fish. If it seems that you're dealing with a protozoan, I would suggest treating with Metronidazole in food, as the fish is still eating. If you find signs of nematodes, Trematodes, or Cestodes, I would try treating with Piperazine or Levamisole in food. Now, if you DON'T have access to a good microscope, or vet, or good book, or you simply don't feel confidant with your findings, you could treat with Praziquantel in food, which should handle any of the above nasties - but you'll probably need a vet's help in obtaining this. Metronidazole, Piperazine and Levamisole are easily available in the aquarium trade, and can even be purchased already in foods. You might take a look at http://www.flguppiesplus.com ; I know they have some medicated foods available.> I have to admit I am getting ticked off at the thought that he may have been caught with cyanide.  <I would be, as well. I'd be infuriated.> The fish store that got him in for me guaranteed he was not but you never really know do you?  <Unless you feel you can trust the fish store, and they the wholesaler, and they the transshipper, in collection location, and you know that location does not permit collection via cyanide, then no, you really can't know. And even when the stars ARE in alignment, and you DO know the entire history of the fish, well, I'm sure it's just not possible to be absolutely 100% certain. Sadly, it is entirely possible that this IS the problem with your fish. I've still got my fingers crossed that it's a perfectly fixable situation, though.> I would appreciate any thoughts on the matter.  <And there you've got 'em. If you need further treatment information, the two books that I mentioned have great suggestions for treatment and dosages. Do try to look the books up, if you have the opportunity.> Thanks, Rob Mancabelli Syracuse, NY <Wishing you and your Copperband well, -Sabrina>
Re: cyanided Copperband? 4/5/05 - Response 4/14/05
Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately my Copperband did not survive. I dissected him (I am a biology teacher) and found his liver was pitted and mushy. Cyanide?  <<Hello, Marina today. I received an email from Sabrina a couple of weeks ago regarding this issue, and I "sent" her to speak with one Peter Rubec. He can be found under the username "PeterIMA" on http://www.reefs.org/ - here you can find more information regarding the use, presence, and effects of cyanide (in the Industry Forum).  Know that it is not necessary for an animal to have been *collected* with cyanide. In many countries there are also mining operations, and cyanide seems to be associated with gold extraction. All that needs happen is for an animal to be in the area of such run-off.  I can tell you that fishes exposed to cyanide do seem to experience problems with their livers (do Google this, I sent out links re) as well as the gut linings. What seems to happen is that a fish may/can eat, but is unable to absorb nutrients, thus gaining no nutrition from what is consumed. The fish can (and do) essentially starve, like King Midas, eating all the while starving to death. This process can (and often does) take months to occur. This is much more commonly seen in fishes found/collected in the Indo-Pacific regions, though it is NOT a rule.>> I feel bad that this fish has died, I truly have not lost a fish in over 3 years. I may try another Copperband but I hate the thought of having the same thing happen again. I usually only buy fish I believe I can maintain for long-term so maybe a Copperband is not for me. Again thanks for your help. <<I have not found this particular butterfly to be a difficult fish to keep ASSUMING it has been collected AND held/shipped properly. Easily as many fish are lost during the holding process as are through cyanide fishing practices. I understand your reluctance, but I will wager a guess that you keep other Indo-Pacific specimens. What is more important is to ensure that whomever you purchase the specimens from is purchasing from a reliable wholesaler. In the meantime, I will let Sabrina know that I've responded directly to you, will be keeping this correspondence in case she has anything more she'd like to add.

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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