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FAQs on Hemitaurichthys Butterflyfishes

Related Articles: Hemitaurichthys Butterflyfishes

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

Hemitaurichthys polylepis in Mabul, Malaysia.

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

Yellow Pyramid Butterflyfish... 5 in a 150?  - 4/17/12
Hey Bob (or whoever I am talking to)!
<Good Evening Jane, Bobby here>
I am setting up a new 150g SPS reef with a 50 gallon sump.  I am planning on having a few small fish (gobies, blennies, etc.) but was looking for a "showcase" fish.  I love butterfly fish and have heard a bit about the yellow pyramid butterfly fish.
<Hemitaurichthys polylepis>  I saw a bunch of them in Hawaii and was wondering what your thoughts are on them.
<Beautiful fish, research here please, http://wetwebmedia.com/Hemitaurichthys.htm>
  I know they are generally safe with coral, but I am wondering about if my tank is big enough and if I could keep a group.  If they were to be the only fish (and assuming the tank is large enough), do you think 5 would be able to get along?
<I would say that 5 would be to many for a 150g tank.  They are very sociable fish and as a result it would be best to not have them alone.  To that point then, I would suggest no more than 2.  Read more about this in the link provided>
<You are welcome>

Yellow Pyramid Butterfly/Health/Feeding 12/15/09
I purchased 3 Yellow Pyramid Butterflies from a LFS on Dec 11 2009. These fish are from Hawaii
<I'm sure Bob has seen plenty of these in the wild.><<Indeed I have. RMF>>
and were in the store for 2.5 months. they were kept in a tank with a small level of copper.
I noticed that the smallest butterfly was breathing heavily today.
There are no signs of disease or redness on the gills. He stays with the pack, but I have not seen it eat today.
Should I be concern??
<I would not be at this time. Allow a little more time for the fish to acclimate and continue to observe.>
If so, what treatment (if any) should I take and is this condition contagious to the other fish in my tank??
<If no disease is detectable, not eating is not alarming in butterfly fish acclimation. Have you tried different
foods and/or fed foods the dealer used?>
FWIW, Tank size 375 gallon, pH 8.15, Salinity 1.025, Ca 400, Temp 78 Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrates <5, PO4-0
The other fish in my tank are: Blueface, Majestic Angel, Yellow Eye Tang, Orange Diamond Goby, pair of Percs that spend all day in a RBTA.
If there is any additional information you need, please let me know.
I have included a link to a pic of the fish in question:
<Nice girth to the fish and obviously eating beforehand. This fish is a plankton feeder in the wild, you
may want to try similar type foods.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Yellow Pyramid Butterfly/Health/Feeding 12/16/09
Thank you. I will continue to watch and feed Cyclo-peeze with my daily feedings.
I am worried that my two prize angelfish which have been eating for 3 months would be affected and catch whatever the butterfly has. But from your reply, it sounds like the angelfish are OK (right?).
<The angels are eating, correct? I am assuming you have pristine water quality, incorporate the use of an efficient protein skimmer, and perform regular water changes. To aid you in keeping your prized specimens in tip top
condition, you may want to read here.
James (Salty Dog)>

Re Yellow Pyramid Butterfly 12/17/09
Yes, everyone is eating like pigs including the angels.
<Sounds good, and I'm sure the butterfly will soon adapt.>
I have pristine water and a H&S 250 skimmer rated for 700 gallons. I dump the collection cup with good smelly gunk every 7-10 days.
<Do clean the reaction chamber walls of the slime also. Will increase skimmer efficiency.>
I do a 40-45 gallon water change every two weeks.
Here is a pic of my Blueface:
Here is a pic of my majestic:
<I have viewed all your photos on Flicker and you are definitely on the right path. It is obvious that much thought/planning went into your system.>
Have you belong to either RASOC (CLT,NC) or Reef Frontiers (Puget Sound WA) before?
<I may have viewed in the past, but my time doesn't allow me to be an active member of other sites, and I'm very partial to Wet Web Media and do not want to get involved with other sites.>
The alias Salty Dog rings a bell with me.
<Well, I have been here a few years and hope to continue with Bob's blessing.>
Thanks again for the info.
<You're very welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Yellow Pyramid Butterfly 12/18/09
Yes, I do a thorough cleaning of the entire collection cup and chamber wall.
Part of my routine when I clean the skimmer. I also change my filter media when I clean the skimmer.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Pyramid Butterfly compatibility 10/14/09
There are a couple of online stores selling the Pyramid Butterfly fish as "reef safe". I had always heard the butterfly fish don't fit well in reef aquariums. The fish is quite nice looking and I would love to add one to my
tank, but I don't want it to end up eating my corals or invertebrates. What are your thoughts on this fish.
<I think that what you heard is often correct, they often will pick on invertebrates including coral, sometimes to a minor degree, sometimes badly enough to kill them. Overall I recommend passing on this fish for now and saving it for a fish only tank.>
Thank you.
<You're welcome,
Josh Solomon.>

Hemitaurichthys polylepis (Pyramid Butterflyfish)
Question/Butterflyfish/Compatibility, fdg.  9/15/09

<Hi Cassidy>
I recently purchased two Hemitaurichthys polylepis about 2 months ago. I made the decision to purchased based off it being a plankton eater and faring well in the home aquarium. I researched prior to purchasing to make sure they would work well in a reef tank.
<Many dealers advertise as reef safe, but known to pick on nearly every invertebrate present. I consider them unsafe for reef systems.>
They have been nipping at a plate coral very slowly - but it's to the point where it will not survive if they are left in the tank. I have tried to offer them 4 feedings per day to curb this behavior but it makes no difference. I have not seen or noticed any damage elsewhere in my tank. I have 6 plate corals and they only prefer one that is Fungia cycloseris even though I have several specimens of that specific species.
I have noticed they will eat just about anything offered including my hands! I was under the impression they would eat plankton for the majority of their diet. They will eat smashed peanuts, carrots, love seaweed (they
are up to 4 5x5 sheets daily that they refuse to share with the tangs whom are twice their size), lobster eggs, DT's, Cyclops, mysis, brine, baby brine, etc. . So I was a little curious - took out some Chaeto from the fuge since I've never seen a fish that will eat it - they eat that too. Is it normal for them to act like Billy goats?
<Although fairly easy to keep, this feeding behavior seems a little unusual.>
They are completely fearless - when I put a net in the tank all my fish scatter and hide and they swim right into it.
<Very unusual here, normally a skittish fish that shoots into caves/crevices at the slightest sign of danger.>
Is it time for them to find a new home?
<That decision will be entirely up to your preferences....butterflies or corals.
May want to read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Hemitaurichthys.htm>
Thank you for your advice,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Question/Butterflyfish/Compatibility 9/19/09

Thanks for your input.
<You're welcome.>
One more question! I went to trap these two fish. I caught the fist one - put him in a bucket while I attempted to trap the second. After about ten minutes I noticed he was laying on his side appearing to be dead. So I panicked put him back into the main tank. He continued to act this way for another 5 minutes. Came back into the room and he was swimming around like normal again.
Do these fish play dead or what? Need to remove them but really don't want to put them in danger.
<I'll assume that the bucket is made of a non-ferrous material and that the water came from the display tank.
With that being said, and the fishes nature, It's remotely possible that the fish may show this behavior with no where to run.
A more likely scenario is going into shock from the stress of capture.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Hemitaurichthys polylepis a detritus eater Hello WWM crew! I haven't written in quite a while (although I am a daily visitor to your website) and I would greatly appreciate your insight on the eating habits of the Pyramid B/F compared to my observations. First the story: I saw some of these at a new LFS in my area and my first thought that was that they were probably a doomed aquarium species. I liked them though and was curious enough to visit your website and see what you had to say about them. Based on the articles I read like http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Hemitaurichthys.htm  I was happy to learn that they actually seemed to be a pretty good aquarium candidate.  I returned to the LFS and bought the last one they had. Everything is going great with the specimen (had it for about 2 weeks), but I am surprised to observe that he actively eats the feces of other fish! I also have an area in my tank that tends to collect detritus, and this area is now completely clean. I haven't added anything other than this b/f, and although I haven't actually caught him eating detritus off the bottom of the tank, I have to suspect that it's him doing it.  Currently this tank gets fed a combination of frozen blood worms, live black worms, spectrum and Nori 3 times a day. The pyramid b/f eats it all except the Nori, which is to be expected (haven't personally seem too many b/f eat it, but I have tangs in there).  My question is: have you ever heard of pyramid b/f's eating detritus? I am just curious because if he continues this behavior it would actually be a nice bonus for being a steward to such a beautiful fish!  Thanks for all you do and have a great holiday weekend.  <To my knowledge, these butterflies are zooplankton eaters on the reefs. He may be stirring up the detritus/feces looking for worms to eat. James (Salty Dog)> 

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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