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FAQs on Genus Chaetodon Butterflyfishes 1

Related Articles: Chaetodon Butterflyfishes

Related FAQs:  FAQs 2, Chaetodon Identification, Chaetodon Behavior, Chaetodon Compatibility, Chaetodon Selection, Chaetodon Systems, Chaetodon Feeding, Chaetodon Disease, Chaetodon Reproduction, Butterflyfish Identification, Butterflyfish Foods/Feeding/NutritionButterflyfish Compatibility, Butterflyfish Behavior, Butterflyfish Systems, Butterflyfish Selection, Butterflyfish Disease, Butterflyfish Reproduction,

Butterflyfishes for Marine

Diversity, Selection & Care
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Chaetodon punctatofasciatus. Poor choice, impulse purchase,  what to do?   12/17/06 Hi Crew, <John> I have a problem and am wondering if I am in a jam or not. I recently was in one of the local chain pet stores and made an impulse purchase.  The fish in question was sold to me as a dot-dash butterfly. He is currently about 3.5 inches and in perfect condition. I researched and found that I have a Chaetodon punctatofasciatus. <A moderately "good" aquarium species: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Goodchaetodon.htm> I bought it on an impulse because the store was running a special and the price was awesome. I have been looking for a fish to add to my FOWLR because since last month, when  I upgraded my tank from a 29 gallon to a 37 gallon. Here is the problem: My current tank is a FOWLR, 37gallon show tank (30Lx22H). The "expert" at the pet shop, who seemed to know what he was talking about, said that this fish should be fine in my tank. Anyway, I have the Butterfly in quarantine now and was hoping to add him to the main tank in around 2 weeks. Now that I have researched, I see that this fish is better in a larger tank (50 gal). <Or larger...> The pet store said they will NOT take a SW fish back. (First and last time I buy there). Can this fish be kept in the tank I have? <Mmm, not likely well or for long... Is it intimidated... by appearances, behavior... by its tankmates? Plans for getting a larger system? Perhaps a trade-in elsewhere... or a local marine aquarium club...> Thanks for everything you guys (and gals) do, it has helped a lot. John
<Bob Fenner>

Baby Spotfin Butterfly's off of Joisee~! Fdg.   12/16/06 Bob, <Hi Eric, Michelle with you today.> Hope you can steer me in the right direction as you always do! <Hope I can help.> In August while scuba diving off the coast of Belmar, NJ I caught 2 Spotfin Butterfly Fish.   <Yes, I was there!> I brought them home, acclimated them, and let them go in my 55 gallon Caribbean style Isotope.  These 2 little guys share a home with 2 purple Chromis and a neon goby.  For the last 4 months the fish were doing great.  They grew from the size of a dime to about the size of a half dollar.   <Great to hear!  Not an easy fish to keep.> I got them feeding on mussels as they will not eat Mysis or anything that floats in the water column.  These guys just like to pick and I mean pick on anything haha. (brain corals, Gorgonia polyps, Zoanthids)   <Mmmm...appetizer, possible appetite stimulant?> However I don't mind though as these 2 fish's are my pride and joy.   <A proud Papa!> Here is the bad news now though.  In a attempt to give my fish a healthy diet I decided for the first time to soak a mussel in garlic and Selcon.   <Good intentions.> The butterfly's ate it but will not look at another one again. <Hopefully a temporary aversion.> This has been going on for almost 2 days now.  I am very nervous. <Understandably>   They do not even seem to be as active as they were before and I am very worried.   <Understandably> I don't really see any aggression with my other fish but I am not home most of the day.  Is it possible that the garlic created some type of taste aversion to these fish.   <Theoretically, possible, garlic has a lasting capacity.> It is the only thing I can tie this into.   <Seems like a reasonable assumption.> I also did a small water change last night think this may help out a bit. <I think another water change could be helpful, maybe several small one over the next few days.> Any ideas on what else I can do?   <Can you offer something else from the inlet where they were living, i.e. different type of mussel, clam, barnacles?> Is it possible that the fish are just full and not hungry? <Did they generally eat daily until this point?>     Water Test:   Ammonia - 0   Nitrite- 0   Nitrate- 10 <This is a higher than desired>   SG 1.025   PH 8.3   Thanks, <You are welcome, keep us updated. -Michelle>
Re: Baby Spotfin Butterfly's   12/16/06 Michelle, That is awesome that you were there as well.   <AKA Poconofishy> Did you dive at all?   <Not then, was just certified in November in Hawaii.> Great News!  They are eating black worms.   <Yay!  Polychaetes such as feather dusters (Sabellid tentacles) and spaghetti worms (Terebellid tentacles) are a natural part of their diet.> Its better than nothing though right?   <Absolutely, keeping them eating is far better than the alternative!> Do you know what makes these fish difficult to keep?   <Sensitivity to stress and challenging diet, I believe are the biggest issues.> I did come to realize that no one sells this fish online or locally.  For such a nice looking well behaved fish I was shocked.   <This is quite a difficult fish to keep.> Do you know if this fish is capable of breeding in the aquaria?   <Theoretically is obviously possible, but I am unaware of any success in this area.> I believe I have a mated pair!   <Likely so.> They follow each other around everywhere, never separated by more than a few inches.  Is this possible at such a young age?   <Yes.> Or is this normal behavior for this species?   <Yes.> I thought I read somewhere that these fish form mated pairs very early in life and will stay like that for the remainder? <Yes, it has been reported that Spotfin Butterflies (Chaetodon ocellatus) mate for life. BTW-  just installed a remote fuge with a DSB to combat the nitrates.  Should get these down pretty quick. <Excellent, seed is with some spaghetti worms, to provide additional food items for your Spotfin Butterflies.> Thanks,

Chaetodon ulietensis. A Butterfly With Gourmet Taste!  9/29/06 Hi, <Hi There! Scott F. here today!> I am trying to find out more info on the Chaetodon ulietensis.  I have heard that they devour Majano Anemones but would like to know if they will eat more than that if placed in a reef aquarium?   <Very likely, yes. Although they may favor a particular type of anemone, the likelihood of them picking on other similar items is too great to ignore, IMO.> Will they eat or pick at clams, SPS polyps, LPS polyps, mushrooms, etc.?  Thanks for any help you can give me.  Jeff <Unfortunately, these fishes have developed a sort of "high end cleanup crew" reputation, but the fact is they are Butterflyfishes, and certainly will munch on the gamut of typical reef inhabitants (soft corals, Zoanthids, hard corals, etc.). I would only keep this animal if you are prepared for the collateral damage that they can cause to your reef system. As aquarium fish, however, they are attractive, active, and relatively adaptable. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.> Jeff Reed

Milletseed butterfly   8/24/06 Hi < Howdy! > Had a question about adding one last fish to my 75 gal w/: prism skimmer magnum 350 50 pd.s live rock and base Seio 620 3 Hagen 270 gph pw's 1 yellow tang 1 clarkii clown 1 purple pseudo 1 bi color blenny 1 coral beauty dwarf angel various mushrooms and polyps ph 8.2 nitrates 20-40 nitrites 0 ammonia 0 I bought a millet seed/lemon butterfly that can get up to 5 inches. < This is not a wise choice for the average reef tank. > This fish is in my qt for 2 weeks now. < I love to read/hear about people practicing this. Brilliant! > Should I add it to my tank or take it back to the LFS, b/c my tank will be overstocked with it? < Regardless of the probability of already being somewhat well stocked before the addition of the butterfly, there is a more serious question at hand: Do you have strong enough feelings for the fish to look past his affinity for your corals? There are some fish I would gladly place in a tank of corals and let them eat to their heart's content. Is this that fish for you? Invariably the butterfly will pick on some of your corals, and for some inexplicable reason, it will choose your favorite Cnidarian to snack on first! So, I again ask, is your love for this fish greater than that of your coral? >   Also are my nitrates too high for this hardy butterfly fish. < The nitrates are not too high, but they do point to either an inadequacy in filtration or maintenance. Good luck in your decision making. RichardB > Thank you very much!!

Raccoon Butterfly problems, too small at purchase  8/23/06 Hi,   I have read through all your articles I could find on getting a raccoon b/f to eat, but I am not having any luck. My new arrival is small (1 to 1 1/2 inches) <... too small> and I was very leery about buying such a small specimen. <You should be... I would take it back, pronto> I visited this fish four times over the course of so many weeks though, and he appeared healthy and was eating flakes like a pig. <Can't, won't live for long on flake food... try it> When I got him home, he ate for the first day, and then quit. I have to mention that when he met my cleaner shrimp, the shrimp went wild on him and exposed (?) a white patch behind his gills (not near them). <Could be a factor> It has not spread and neither the shrimp or the patch have bothered him since that first day, so I am not sure what it is. As far as eating, he will pick off the live rock occasionally, <Good> but will not eat anything else I put in the tank (flakes, Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, Nori, krill, marine cuisine, oysters). So, I followed your advice and bought two different types of clams, pried them open and put them in the tank, so far- no interest. <Mmm, I'd be adding more, fresh live rock...> He is falling fast, I think, starting to lay on his side <A very bad sign> occasionally, swimming around fairly well otherwise. I know I am running out of time. There are no noticeable marks/redness around his mouth or gills. So, finally, for my question, we are thinking if he refuses to eat the clam, should we try transferring him to the refugium for a little while, so he has plenty of access to the copepods with no competition? <An excellent idea> I have to get him to eat something soon -this is about day 5 that I have had him. I am worried though that moving him again may just stress him out so much that he wouldn't make it. Do you think the move would be worth the risk? <Yes... about the only thing that might save this too-small specimen> Also, if I do put him in the refugium, should I put a clam or any other food down there with him? <No, I would not> I would appreciate any help you can give me! Thanks so much for your time. -Take care, Jennifer <Next time... please read re the species, genus (if they're available), family information on WWM re "Selection" for input on ideal size range for first purchasing specimens... like Goldilocks and the tres ursids and pudding temp... Not too big, or small... Bob Fenner>

Butterfly Chomping On Corals   8/21/06 Bob, <Scott F. with you today.> Quick question for you - I have a Chaetodon xanthurus in a 110 gallon with about 20 large SPS Staghorn colonies. He picks on them quite a few times per day - I imagine eating a coral polyp with every nibble. This causes several of the corals to withdraw their polyps (at least during the day when I can watch). <I can imagine the picking he/she is doing when you aren't watching! LOL.> Will SPS still grow under this condition - i.e. inability to extend their polyps? Will the butterfly eat the entire coral down to the skeleton typically? Best, Kris BerlinMethod.com <Well, Chris, in the closed system with its finite coral population and limited space, it's going to be a serious issue. Sure, the corals can continue to grow if some of them can extend their polyps, but it is not very likely. The constant picking will also cause some other possible problems for the corals, such as disease, and in the event of dead sections on the coral, nuisance algae growing over these sections. Typically, the Butterflies will pick at the coral itself, and maybe pull off some surrounding tissue in the process. Disease and/or secondary predators can complete the job started by the Butterfly. In the end, it's probably better to pull out the corals or the fish if you intend for them to thrive indefinitely. Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Semilarvatus Butterfly... Reef Compatibility    8/7/06 I just wanted to ensure that this e-mail was received.  I sent it about a week ago and I would assume it's floating around somewhere trying to find somebody with a sufficient answer - but my email is flakey so I didn't know if it got lost in cyberspace and just wanted to double check. <Believe this was replied to.> Friends at WWM, <Scott> Just one brief question - does anybody have any idea what corals in particular might be threatened by Semilarvatus Butterflies?  I am considering a pair for my 1300g reef, but would like to know exactly what kind of risk I would be running.  The tank has around 1500lbs of rock, two refugiums, and they will be kept very well fed. <Some folks say with caution, others, not reef safe.  They do feed on sessile inverts in the wild which includes many of the ornamental varieties we keep.  If it were my call, I would not chance it. James (Salty Dog)> Scott
Re: Semilarvatus Butterfly...Reef Compatibility    8/7/06
James, Thanks for the reply - was lost in cyberspace apparently. I was more curious what type of sessile inverts in particular they delight in consuming. <Anything that can't get away.:)  In particular tube worms, small crustaceans, soft and hard corals, may nip at clam mantles, etc.> It's fine if nobody knows, at the very least, I will try them out in a couple of smaller reef tanks and see what they go for and what they don't. <May want to read here and related links above for more info.    http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BFsBestWrst.htm  James (Salty Dog)> Scott

Addis Pair  5/31/06 Hi, I have emailed previously and found your (Bob's) answer, along with the other articles on the site very helpful indeed so thank you. I am 16 yrs old and still at school in England, so as you can guess, money is quite tight, so as much as I can I have resorted to DIY. I am moving on to my third marine tank, and my final one until I have my own house and no restraints :) <Forward looking. I like this immensely> It is 150 gallons, I realize this is not the largest, but the most I could house and afford. I will run all my old equipment and sump on it, including Deltec APF600, TMC UV Unit etc and 40 gallon sump. I hope to create a Red Sea biotope, I wish to create almost a mini reef containing all the major zones. This way I can save on lighting costs by having my halide over the highest part on one side - "Reef Flat" for SPS etc, my T5's over the "Reef Slope" in the middle for the softies, and my original tubes on the "Sand Flat's" for mushrooms and open swimming space. <And I really like biotopes and the "uneven" approach (lighting more/less intense) you mention. The contrast is of utility and beauty> Does this sounds ok, it just seems a neat way to save money on buying Halides for the whole tank etc whilst creating an acceptable, interesting and diverse environment. <Sounds fine to me> I have a school of 5 small (3") Pseudanthias squamipinnis (1 male and 4 females) that are living very happily in my 60 gallon that are to be swapped over along with all the live rock, corals etc and a further 25kg of live rock is on order. <Good> I will also use my 60kgs+ of Ocean Rock as a base and structure builder. After much persuasion, my parents have allowed me to install my "modified" Carlson surge box in the attic (as I live in a bungalow with concrete floors, weight for the tank is fine, also the attic is only 2 feet from the top of the tank cabinet), because I have heard great results and once again cannot afford ?300 for a "Wavemaker". Do you think this is a good idea and is this type of flow good for coral, fish and detritus suspension?? <Is indeed> I have sealed braces at the ends of the tank so the surface wave deflects back (worked in testing), reducing splash and salt creep. Also should the wave hit into the higher "reef flat" side of the tank or start from this side, i.e. which direction would benefit the corals the most, especially the SPS? <Mmm, direct is best... the "front"> Finally, the burning question, I would love to keep a pair of Addis Butterfly's as they are often observed in the wild. I have done quite a lot of research, and most places seem to recommend a minimum size of 50 gallons so logically 2 would need 100 gallons and more. They are very expensive so I am seeking as much info as I can before committing. Would I be able to keep a pair for several years and maybe forced to give them away but it would still be worth it for me as they have been my most admired fish ever since I entered the hobby?! <Mmm, well this species, most often termed the "Blue Mask", "Golden" or "Semilarvatus" BF in the West is best in even larger systems, but should do fine here with what you list if not further crowded> They would not be crowded as I have always preferred to have less fish - minimalistic, and the Anthias could be removed if necessary if they would be classed as to boisterous. Maybe the 2 Addis as showpieces and then blennies/gobies etc - i.e. no other large fish?! Sorry for all the questions and I eagerly await your answer, and keep up the unrivalled good work :) Many Thanks Oliver. P.S I would never have go this far in the hobby without your help, as unfortunately, my age often dismisses peoples opinion that I can succeed in this hobby, financially but your last email made me realize that I can succeed, so thank you again <You might not be surprised to find how young some of WWM are... or started... myself, considerably younger than your current age. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Blue cheeked Butterfly - 05/07/2006 Hi Bob, <Justin with you today> Kudos to you, Anthony C., and the crew at Wet Web.  Your dedication to education and generosity with your time are greatly appreciated. <Thank you, will pass that along to Bob> Researching the beautiful C. semilarvatus and wonder if you'd care to opine on the conflicting information about keeping them singly or in pairs. <Mmmm one of the beautiful butterfly fish, this fish seems to do well either way, though a male and female pair does do better than a single of either.  They DO NOT ship well, being very prone to hurting their mouths by rubbing them on bags.  Be VERY careful about buying one, as a mouth injury is usually fatal in the home aquaria, the fish just stop eating.  If you can find a pair that is eating, and have the space, they make a great addition, a good hardy single specimen as well, but do be very picky about buying one.> Many thanks. Peggy <Justin (Jager)>

Re: Cyano Bacteria Stumper  4/09/06 Bob, <John> As always thank you for the response. <Welcome> And yes, the Chaetodon miliaris does deserve more attention because in my experience it has been a majestic peaceful fish causing no harm to my modest reef.  They are also beautiful and this one has been easy to care for. <Ah, yes> Thanks again Bob and to the whole WWM crew for their dedication to this great hobby. Regards John <Welcome my friend. Bob Fenner>

Reef butterfly (Chaetodon sedentarius) for Aiptasia control, use period   2/14/06 Hello.  I unfortunately imported some Aiptasia into my system and it is spreading.  Grrrr! <Happens> I have had two sad experiences with Copperband butterflies.  They ate the Aiptasia but still starved to death, as neither would take any of the varied foods I offered. I hate to try one again. I was in a very good LFS here that has a great reputation.  One of the staff there who has not led me astray in the past recommended the Caribbean Reef Butterfly (sedentarius) as a voracious consumer of Aiptasia (he showed me this in the store, putting a rock covered in it in the holding tank with several of these fish in there. <Do eat them> Also claimed they leave corals alone if fed even reasonably well, <Variable... by individual... and changeable...> that they readily take frozen and even flake foods, that they get along with other fish and are among the heartiest of the butterflies. <I don't agree with this. Unfortunately it has been... Let me start again: It has been my unfortunate experience that all species of TWA, tropical West Atlantic chaetodonts do poorly in "hobbyist settings"> The only thing he didn't say was that the fish would also increase my salary by 40%. <Heeeee!> How reliable is this information?  For some reason I'm hesitant and can find next to nothing in Google on this fish. Thanks. Joel <See the works of Allen and Steene as well here... sedentarius does not historically do well in captivity. There are other means of Glass Anemone control... Please see WWM re... that I would utilize before this B/F. Bob Fenner>
Re: Reef butterfly (Chaetodon sedentarius)  - 2/15/2006
Thanks.  Is as I expected.  I've had no luck with the Caribbean Tangs either. <Ahh, thank you for this (unfortunate) data point. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Chaetodon pelewensis and Prayer - Why do People Insist on Impulse-buying Animals??? 10/25/05 First of all OH MY JESUS I LOVE THIS SITE, <Yeeikes!> second of all I went and bought a Chaetodon pelewensis, although it was sold it under the name "sunset Butterflyfish".  Now I didn't know it was on your hate list but I bought it because it looked stunning, in fact seeing as it's a Butterflyfish I cleared out my whole tank for it so that it's the only fish in the tank. I have no idea what the gallon conversion system is in America (so sorry I live in England by the way, and I'm a deliciously ignorant 15 year old) <<Apparently it isn't just Americans who suffer poor punctuation, grammar, etc.  Can't accuse you of being a non-native English-speaker, can we?  MH>> <You'll be just as delicious, but far more satisfied with more knowledge... there's a bit less than four liters/litres per U.S. gallon...> but my tank's dimensions in inches are 30 x 12 x 15 so if you could be kind enough as to tell me what its capacity is, I'd be very grateful. <... there are about 231 cubic inches in a U.S. gallon... multiply those three numbers together, divide by 231...> <<As well as MANY conversion programs/sites available online!  We Yanks can even convert to liters using them.  MH>> Anyway my main concern now is that I've got it, so I need to know how do I care for it, feed it etc. <...> Also the concept of live rock isn't huge here in England due to the related problems of disease. Anyway please help me, also is my tank too small? <Yes> I really don't want to get rid of it as I love it and it cost me ?120 which I think is nearly $300 and so you can imagine my father was mortified and there is no refund policy.  <<Well, how did you get the money/credit card?>> Also if my tank isn't too small do you think I could add any other fishes, if so which ones? <I would beg the stockist to allow you to exchange this fish for more suitable life... Please start reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/smmarsysstkgfaqs.htm and the linked files above... Bob Fenner> 

Semilarvatus Compatibility Question Hello WWM Crew! <Hey> Your web forums have been an invaluable source of information for my fiancĂ©? and me.  <Glad we can help>  We are currently adding livestock to a 100 gal tank with a 2" sand bed and 100lbs of live rock. The tank has been up and running since January. I have a hang-on back CPR refugium with built in protein skimmer, along with an additional CPR Back-Pak. <Sounds like you have more than adequate filtration for this aquarium>  For circulation I have constructed an in tank, closed loop manifold out of pvc running off an AquaClear 110 Powerhead.  Currently in our tank: 2 False Percula Clown Fish, 1 Yellow tail Damsel, 1 Sunrise Damsel, 1 Bi-Color Blenny, and a cleaner shrimp. We also have a few hermit crabs and a turbo snail.  We LOVE the golden butterflies and want to add one but we have two worries:  1) Will he eat our shrimp and other inverts and 2) even singularly, will 100 gal be enough space for a fish that can reach 9-10"? We couldn't find anything in the forums that discussed their taste for shrimp, and I know that a pair of goldens needs 250-300 gal, but saw no info for solo specimens. <I have kept these beauties in my aquarium since I was 15 years old. They are hardy specimens provided there are no bullies and the water quality is kept up, they should not eat any shrimp....at one point I had 15 blood shrimp in my aquarium (during last hurricane season) and they never once picked on the shrimp>  Would you recommend the Pakistani or Pyramid Butterfly instead?  <No the golden is much nicer>  And if we added a Flame Angel later on are we maxing out our bio-load?  <A small flame angel should be fine later on...but after that I would just keep your current mix of fish>  We appreciate any advice and thanks again...<your welcome...also make sure you get a very healthy Semilarvatus. I go to the wholesalers once a week and have seen some pretty awful looking ones lately...be picky very picky :) IanB> 

New Tinker BF processing Hi Guys or Gals, <Matt>     I have a quick FOWLR questions.  I am purchasing a Tinker's Butterfly for my 250 FOWLR and Mr. Fenner once recommended to me NOT to Quarantine my Pakistani B'flies.  Should I take the same steps with the Tinker's or should I quarantine? I always quarantine my fish for a period of two months.  But my Q tank has no live rock which seems to be essential to the Tinker.  What should I do?   <I would NOT quarantine a Tinker's... WOULD treat as stated for the Pakistan> By the way,  What do you folks think of the hardiness of the Tinker? <It is about as solid a species of Chaetodont (as are all subgenus Roa) as there exists> Thanks a ton and Happy Holidays, Matt <Bob Fenner, out in HI, saw two Tinkers in pretty shallow... about 120 feet, yesterday>

Question on Roa Butterfly Compatibility I have two questions on butterflies of the family Roa. I just purchased a small mitratus that is about 1.5" to 2" long <This is a dangerously small specimen> and cute as a button. I've had him for about a week and a half, and I'm trying to get him to take prepared foods. He seems however to be disinterested while the hepatus tang and watanabei are having their feeding frenzy. He actually is quite content picking at the live rock, which he does all day long. I know he is getting food from it, but it never seems that he is picking at anything visible. He is in great health, and is not skittish, but rather wary. I fed live brine to start the hunger reaction which he ate, although oddly unenthusiastically. Any tips for food items to get it excited to eat? <Soaking most any live food available (even Artemia) in Selcon or such...> Next, being a lover of all things Roa, what are the chances of a small tinker getting along with the mitratus in a 125G reef system? It was a true coral reef until the mitratus came along and I couldn't resist, but oddly enough it hasn't bothered a single coral that I've noticed. Any compatibility concerns, especially considering the price tag of these fish? Thanks In Advance, Roa Lover <The members of this subgenus are for the most part compatible with each other as long as not crowded. Most live below where the cnidarians kept by hobbyists are to be found. Bob Fenner>

More on the Roa, Chaetodon mitratus Hi guys, <Brandon> I'm still working with my cute as a button 2" specimen of C. mitratus. As mentioned in the previous question, my attempts at feeding him have still failed. <Though the members of this subgenus are remarkably aquarium "tough", a 2" individual is too small... 3-4 inches overall is ideal to start> A brief recap, purchased from Marine Center about 2 weeks ago, shipped excellent. Within 10 minutes of acclimation was exhibiting natural behavior of picking at rocks in full view. I have tried meaty pellet food soaked in Selcon, no interest at all. I've tried frozen Mysis shrimp, to which he swims directly up to, almost examining it, then leaves it alone to start picking at liverock again. <May well be deriving sufficient nutrition from the rock> The only thing I've gotten him to eat are live brine on two occasions. Even that was a weird experience. Instead of absolutely gorging itself like all other fish I've seen, it ate a couple will little gusto. It is constantly picking at the rock, showing me a desire to feed. I have a fairly high amphipod population, but should that be enough that it wouldn't care about easy handouts at the trough? Seems to be in great health, not terribly shy. Only housed with a similarly sized P. hepatus. <Does the specimen appear very thin?> An off the record question: do you guys, if you aren't sure, or for further advice, have access to Scott Michael's email? I'm sure he is probably a friend of Bob's, and I know he has much expertise with Roa butterfly's. I'm not asking for the email address myself, but maybe a forward if you wish. Please do not get me wrong, I am in no way implying that this staff isn't capable, I'm just worried and varied opinions often produce results as someone may have had a similar situation. <I have Bcc'd Scott here. Bob Fenner> Thanks gang, I'm just worried about this precious fish.

Response didn't go through (7/10/04) Mr. Fenner, <Steve Allen tonight, trying to sort out your e-mail's text from a bunch of HTML code. I hope I got it all. Try text-only next time. Our server doesn't seem to handle HTML well at all. Thanks.> The only response I get from the email and if you look at the email posted it only says by one of the workers. "hi Mike D here." That is not a response and I am getting rather frustrated. <Sorry, probably an e-mail glitch, perhaps related to all of this gobbledygook the server put in. I noted that the posted response does not contain Mike D's words, so I cleaned this up so you can read what he said:>

Butterfly Pairs <HI, Mike D here> A while back I was told by in of the crew members that I might be able to get away with one Golden Butterflyfish in my 75 with my other stock. Here is the stocking list Fish. 1- Moorish Idol 3 inches. (yes it eats) <You're lucky, as most don't last> 2- Kole Tang 3 inches 1- Six Line Wrasse 2 inches 1- Gold Headed Sleeper Goby 3 inches Inverts. Assorted mix of snail and cucumbers etc Rock / Sand Right now I only have 20 pounds of rock but I plan to get 20 more because in this somewhat small tank I just want to create a side of the reef image (so far with the little rock it looks good). The edge of the reef design also gives my fishes more space to swim.  I have about 80 pounds of live sand in my tank <In my opinion, you're at or over capacity now. Don't forget, the fish you have will grow!> Equipment. Protein Skimmer UV Sterilizer Aquafuge Refugium Now my question is, when I went to my LFS I was going to purchase 1 Golden BF.  But they insisted that I buy 2 of them.  I told them that I had a 75 gallon tank and they said that the size would be ok. <They are referring to the size they are now and not considering them actually surviving.>  The BF they have are only 2 inches. Is this true and will I be actually able to keep these 2 fish?<They are trying to sell both fish because they can and do live in pairs, but these are juveniles. Use care, as this shop seems much more concerned with the contents of your wallet than of your aquarium.>  I wanted to make sure before I bought these expensive $$$$$$$ fish. Scott MCkeown <To add my 2-cent's worth, perhaps there would be a better, smaller, less expensive choice that could be added singly. FWIW, I also would be hesitant to buy such juvenile (2") Butterflyfish in any circumstance. I'd be worried about them surviving. A bit bigger fish that is demonstrably eating well at the dealer would be a better bet. Steve Allen>

Klein's Butterfly Hello, <Hi there> I have a 230 gal. tank with 230 lb. of live rock, two pulsing Xenia, two clowns, one coral beauty, one algae blenny and a Klein's butterfly (all yellow except for face - 4 in. long). I would like to have a small school of Klein's butterfly fishes - 3 or 4.   The one that I have doesn't eat the Xenia.  Here are my questions. Will they swim in a school? <This is one of my favorite Butterflyfishes, and have observed, photographed it many times throughout its range... it is almost always encountered as individuals (though I have seen them in groups occasionally... teaming up to eat Damselfish eggs/nests in Sulawesi most recently)... unlike the bulk of Butterflyfishes that occur in pairs... and the few that aggregate on a regular basis. I don't know that the species would associate with others of its own kind in your setting>   Will they be peaceful towards each other?  Can I add one at a time and do they have to be adult size? <Good questions... you might try sending your query out to a wider audience, perhaps ReefCentral or reefs.org in the hopes that someone might have more experience with this BF>   At what age do they get the full yellow colour (lose the brown band)?  Are they all Xenia safe or am I just lucky with this one.  If a school would work what number would be best for my tank?  The only other fish I intend to add is a Royal Gramma. Thanks, Peter <Most lose the darker banding at about four inches total length. I would try adding whatever number you intend to ultimately have all at once. If it were me, a total of three in this system. Good luck, life. Bob Fenner>

Chaetodon larvatus Hello, I saw the photo you took of a Chaetodon larvatus, and it said it was taken in a public aquarium. I was wondering if you remember where. I was under the impression these couldn't be kept in captivity due to their specialized diet... if you know anything about this please enlighten me as they are my favorite fish. =) Thanks, -Misty <I have a few pix of this species in retail settings around the US and in a few public aquariums in Europe... not easily kept as you note, principally due to restricted corallivorous diets. Can be special ordered from Marine Center I believe. Bob Fenner>

The Impulse Buy - Saddleback Butterfly I'm pretty new at this marine aquarium thing, having only dealt with fresh water aquariums for 30 plus years. >>Acquiring knowledge is, in my opinion, the most difficult aspect of keeping marine. >Been taking it slow, usually researching as I go, but recently couldn't resist buying on impulse a saddleback butterfly. >>Ouch.. my friend, these fish are so easily found... >Water quality is all good, and all other inhabitants are doing well. Just wondering if I made a mistake adding the butterfly. >>WithOUT quarantine?  In my very honest opinion, YES.  Everything, especially vertebrate life, must be quarantined for a minimum of 30 days.  Also, this animal will need swimming space, 4' isn't exactly the kind of space a fish that hits about 6" in length.  See these links to decide what animal you actually have - http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Chaetodon&speciesname=ulietensis http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Chaetodon&speciesname=falcula http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Chaetodon&speciesname=ephippium (the pic in this last link doesn't work, so see the following) http://www.fishbase.org/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.cfm?ID=5562 >>As you will see perusing these, there is a rather LARGE disparity in ultimate sizes of these animals, some hitting 6", others 12"!  (all measurements are given in metric units on this site.  So, range of 15cm-30cm) >It's a community tank, no live coral or live rock. >>No live rock leaves any butterfly at a decided disadvantage, actually, many marines, as there is GREAT benefit to having at least some live rock.  Do consider replacing some decorations with good quality live rock if you can. >The other inhabitants are a diamond goby, a small clown, 2 blue damsels and a blue velvet damsel, a green Chromis with one small hermit crab. Tank size is 55 gallon. >>Decidedly small for the butterfly itself, and definitely getting crowded, especially once ultimate adult sizes for these animals are calculated.  The clown species is important here, too. >The butterfly is about 3 inches and is the largest fish in the tank at this point.  Am I overcrowding at this point? >>You are very, very close right now.  Do be prepared with water changes, and consider either quickly upscaling the tank to something more like a 75 gallon, or consider returning the butterfly and waiting to get it till you have more suitable housing and a bit more experience with marines under your belt.  Not that these fish cannot be hardy, but for beginners they can be touchy. >Also, I keep reading about how butterflies are so delicate and hard to feed. What do you think? >>There are many variables at work here, not the least of which are the husbandry practices of the owner and the actual species we're talking about.  There are many marine fish, including butterfly species, that are obligate feeders.  If it's a species that requires, say, a particular sponge or group of corals, then we've got a problem, yes?  Please research and reconsider this purchase.  Marina

Triangular butterfly Hello wise and kind Wet Web Crew, <Howdy> My LFS recently sold me a fish that turns out to be a Triangular Butterflyfish ( Chaetodon triangulum ). This was not what I was told I was buying. Yes, I know I should not have bought it on the spot!!!!!!  So after I get it into quarantine I of course look up what this person told me and it turns out to be a triangular. Both you and all the other references I could find claim this fish will most likely die in a month. The fish is a juvenile (less than 2 inches long) and ate both at the store and in my tank.  My thought is that I should take it back and get a refund. I don't want this fish to die simply because I can't feed it properly. My system is a sparsely populated FOWLR 75 gal. I fed it angelfish frozen food. Any thoughts? Thank you again for your wonderful site. Warm Regards,    Joe <Mmm, sounds like you have a good grasp on the situation... Your choices you've elucidated clearly... I would return this specimen unless you want to "take the challenge"... the vast likelihood is that this specimen will not live for more than a week or two. Bob Fenner>
Re: triangular butterfly
Dear Bob, <Joseph> As always thanks for your help. I think I'll return this fellow. Maybe someone more advanced than me would want to give it a try. Sad because he is sooooooo pretty:( <Some day, some way> Happy Holidays, Joe <Thank you my friend. To you and yours as well. Bob Fenner>

Chaetodon semilarvatus Hey Bob and Anthony and Crew, <Hello Peggy> Researching the Masked Butterfly (Chaetodon semilarvatus) as a possible addition to a 72-gallon bow front tank.  I'm getting conflicting information as to whether or not these fish should be housed singly or in pairs. <Singly if in such a small system, in pairs if hundreds of gallons>   Some say absolutely no pairs, just aggregations or singles, others say usually found in pairs.  I've see them in pairs more often than not but figured I'd come to the masters and ask you to opine. <In the wild (Red Sea) almost always encountered in pairs... unless quite small or rarely in "spawning" (?) aggregations>   Also conflicting info on minimum tank size, diet, etc.  The most believable info I've gotten so far is from "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, but it is limited due to the intended scope of the book. <Yes> It appears as thought this fish needs very peaceful tankmates.  Does this hold true if this fish when introduced is larger than an existing tank inhabitant who may be known to be a bit "pugnacious" as they say, i.e., a small Purple Tang? <Should be fine. This Butterflyfish, more than most, can "hold its own"> The only other fish in this system are 2 Blue/Green Chromis who are obviously no threat.  There will be about 125 pounds of Marshall Island rock (presently have about 75 but will be adding another 50--cured of course). I would be grateful for your opinions and any specific info you may wish to share on this beautiful fish.  Also, any recommendations on high quality online stores from which to purchase this fish? <Look on the various aquarium chatforums, bulletin boards. The folks at Marine Center (.com) have a very good reputation>   Local retailers sometimes carry them but they never appear healthy.  What's your opinion of Aquacon? <Only know them indirectly. Have heard good things about their practices> Only looking for top notch dealers.  I do have wholesale status for with a couple wholesalers for my small aquaculturing business, but these fish are not common on their inventory lists.  Unfortunate because one Florida wholesaler is excellent and provides only healthy, excellent stock.  Sorry for blathering. <No worries> Can't wait for the new book to arrive. <Us neither! 'Twill be soon.> Many thanks for your kind assistance. Peggy <And you for your participation. Bob Fenner>

Melon Butterflies belong in the Ocean, bub 5/14/03 Hello I was wondering if I added my two melon butterflies about 1.5 to 2" to my main tank that has a clean up crew of snails and blue legs crabs and a sand sifting sea star would I have to worry about them eating the clean up crew and last but not least I have some stag horn and Stylophora and a few pieces of Acropora plus a few mushrooms in my system mostly SPS would they possibly attack these corals or do they just eat coral polyps, anemone, and other soft meaty corals? THANKS! <this Butterflyfish should not be imported into captivity... they are obligate feeders on coral polyps... specifically Pocillopora. If is impractical, if not unethical to import or purchase this fish unless you are farming Pocillopora coral to feed it. More information see here: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Chaetodon&speciesname=trifasciatus best regards, Anthony>

Chaetodon ephippium- reef safe butterfly? 3/14/03 just a quick question:   any experience with the Saddleback butterfly (Chaetodon ephippium) and  hammer corals?  I already have several hammers and would love to get a butterfly. If not the saddleback, any suggestions? thanks for your help, Tom L <as you know, almost all butterflies are a calculated risk with corals. There are very few that are reasonably safe. The safer species (less inclined to eat Cnidarian tissue) are the longer nosed varieties. Copperband butterflies are one of the safest if your tank is peaceful enough (no tangs, few damsels/clowns, etc). Any chance with a Saddle is best taken in a  very large aquarium (over 300 gallons) as this is how many public aquaria get away with it. The sheer volume of live rock affords more grazing opportunities on bryozoans, tunicates, and sponges growing naturally and satisfies/tempers the borderline species. Anthony>

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, Tinker's BF, NMA RI Book, Deutschen visits DIANE & BOB, Happy 10251 Thanksgiving ln. Do they have a big party on your street on Thanksgiving? I know they have a Big Turkey on the street. The Tinkeri came yesterday. Arrived in water that was 61 d, pH 7.7, sal. 1.018. Spent several hours acclamation the fish. The G. melatremus eel was very happy to get out of its bag and tried to get out of the bucket it was in. It impressed me with its ability to tie itself into knots. Caught both with my hands in the bucket and placed them in a 150 g Rubbermaid tube with live rock ( 4 large rocks, 78lbs total) that has some very interesting shapes from Harbor Aquatics. Joy meet me halfway for the delivery. Talk about service.... and the rock was cured, I had it for 5 days and no ammonia at all. There is only one problem with the Tinkeri, its a eating machine.................taking food off the surface, in the water and out of my fingers............... I knew they would eat anything, just like you and me. Too bad they cost so much and are not a common fish. They make a great addition to the aquarium. I did take your advice and only bought one, and of course the small one for $350. But it is a real nice one and healthy. That does make it worth it. <Okay> Is the new book really going to be ready in March? Anthony thinks so. <I, we are hopeful... At this point I am concerned with Zo being able to edit, layout, get all to printers in time... but these lads are driven... and I'm resilient...> Zo said he can lay it out as fast as you 3 can write it.............I told Anthony and Steve, if it is ready for our Midwest Marine Conference on 3/29/03, maybe they can do a book promo............. <Sounds great> Any idea of how often Dan Knop visits the US?  <About once a year or two> Or how much it cost to fly from Germany to the US? <Mmm, he'll come for costs I think. Will cc Di re the possibility, current airfares... likely under a grand> You mentions that I should contact him as a speaker some time. <Yes> Time to get back to work, people still need drugs on the holiday, John Dawe <Am drinking mine as we key. Bob Fenner>

Hmmm... I need a saltwater crime scene PROFILER here... <Detective Dave on the scene> I have a 90 gallon saltwater tank with 90lbs of liverock and plenty of hiding places. The inhabitants: Shrimp Goby ~ "Moby" Pistol Shrimp ~ "Trigger" Coral Banded Shrimp ~ "Ali" 3 Auriga Butterflies ~ "Larry, Curly II, and Mo" 1 Small Boxfish ~ "Rubix" Mandarin Goby ~ "Gonzo" 1 Peppermint Cleaner Shrimp medium sized Emerald Crab - "Hercules" small Emerald Crab - "Newton" 1 Black Spiny Brittle Star about 35 small hermit crabs and about 30 snails. Yup, I am keeping a Cleaner with my Coral Banded as an experiment, so far they seem to get along... so far. <Give it time my friend. There may very well be a shrimp "scampi" in your in the near future.> All 3 butterflies were happy and doing fine.  "Curly (the second)" had a few small pink markings underneath his gills before and often scraped himself against the rocks as if he had a skin irritation.  I introduced my Cleaner Shrimp 3 days ago and the Butterflies were arguing over who got cleaned first.  This morning, no sign of Curly II... no dead fish (no live fish either).  Is there anything in my tank that would or could attack a Butterfly and kill it? <Nope>   I read that a green brittle star could ambush a fish and eat it... <very unlikely unless the brittle is huge...and I mean huge.> mine is black <doesn't matter>. Big Al's said that the starfish would be fine in my tank.  The 3 butterflies have gotten along fine with my CBS and have been cleaned by him too. I did notice what very well could be some flesh, possibly a few small pinkish bones in my tank in between two rocks.  This is the same place where I found my Pistol Shrimp's molted off skin last week.  As well, this is the same place my starfish hung out the first two days.  My CBS also hangs out back there. a) Do you think my Butterfly passed away on his own - even though he was swimming around just fine - and the scavengers just naturally did there job to consume all of him within 16 hours. <He may have died on his own or he may be hiding from a harassing tank mate. Scavengers would not have cleaned him up in 16 hours. I would grab an ammonia test and test immediately.> b) Could my CBS have turned on him and attacked him <No. I suspect the spots you saw in Curlie's gills. Parasites can kill fast.> c) Could my starfish ~ basically, my newest addition 3 days ago~ have trapped him and consumed him? <IME, no. Unless he's massively huge.> d) Did Curly II lift my tank lid, hop out, and run away for Hollywood or Las Vegas <I live in Las Vegas. If I see him I'll send him home!> in search of fame and fortune? <He might be looking for lint on the carpet of your home. I personally think he's in a watery grave under your rocks. Lift some rocks and look. I had a Tuskfish that got trapped under some rocks and died there. I had to take all of the rocks out of the tank in order to get him out! I would start searching if he's been missing for more than two days.> Something is fishy... what's your thoughts on my missing Butterfly? <Something may be polluting your water in the very near future. Start looking for the missing body and keep a test kit handy if you don't find him soon. Detective David signing off.>
Re: The New Starfish... the Missing Butterfly
Referring to my original email below.  There is no way he coulda jumped outta the tank...Glass cover is sealed pretty tight overtop and I looked behind the tank. I looked under every rock.  Took the small rocks out and moved the big rocks over to one side of the tank... So I am pretty darn sure I have covered the tank. <Okay>   I sifted through a little bit of the sand and nothing.  As mentioned earlier, I am not sure if it was from my Pistol Shrimp molting last week or if it is the very minimal remains of a fish that I checked out.  Appeared to be a few bones perhaps, or maybe it was part of the shrimps' old outer shell.  Not really enough to distinguish. Are you sure up to 35 hermit crabs, two emerald crabs, a spiny starfish, a CBS, and a Pistol Shrimp couldn't have finished Curly II (my missing Butterfly) off in about 16 hours?   <Personally, I never say never in this hobby. Anything is possible. IMO, less the crabs are very big and the fish is very small, it's very unlikely, nearly impossible they ate this guy in 16 hours.> I am stumped because I am pretty sure that body ain't in the tank... or at least there sure isn't much left of 'em. <Only pretty sure? He may be stuck to the bottom of one of those big rocks or caught in a large crevice.> Let's say there IS a fish body in my tank somewhere under the sand... would my scavengers clean it up real good? <I sort of doubt he's under the sand...> Isn't my starfish suppose to be a good scavenger for decomposing bodies? <Yes they are scavengers but an isolated small body of water (the aquarium) often can't handle the ammonia produced by one dead fish.> Or do you think it would pollute my tank badly??    <The size of the dead fish will determine how polluted the tank will get.> I would test for ammonia every day, once in the morning and once at night for a couple of weeks. At the slightest hint of ammonia, I would do whatever was necessary to find the fish. Again, I think it's unlikely the fish is under the sand unless you have lots of critters that throw the sand around.> I'd have to take every rock outta the tank and start sifting heavily through all the live sand with all my creatures in there to try and find that body otherwise. <I wouldn't do this for any reason. Gently move your hand through the top layer only. Feel for lumps.> It was stressful enough making sure I didn't crush any creatures with the rocks moving, etc...    <Been there...done that.> What do I do?  Just keep an eye on my fish and let it be? <test every day as suggested above.> Dave <David D. playing detective...>

Tinkeri butterfly's Hey Bob, <Hi John> Just got back from a fun weekend in Chicago. Went to hear Eric Borneman speak. Lorenzo (aka Zo) was going to go with us, but had to cancel at the last minute. He missed a good time Stopped at OLD TOWN AQUARIUM, They had a LARGE and a small to medium Tinkeri that I am interested in. So the question is, do you think I could put both of them together in a 4ft (long) X 3ft (wide) 2ft (deep) With a few other fish of course. I really don't know much about butterflies in the same tank, except how to kill them. I do know that Tinker's are plankton pickers and I can handle the feeding part. It just the compatibility I am worried about. Any help would be welcome. <You could... this species is very different than most chaetodonts... quite passive (have seen them caught with bare hands, approaching divers off of Hawai'i), but I encourage you to just keep one... if for no other reason to leave one for someone else's enjoyment, experience. One is fine on its own. Bob Fenner> John Dawe 'a fool and his money are soon parted, especially if he's into aquariums' PS they also had a 'Hawaiian dwarf eel' that looked like a big (12in?) G. melatremus, which I have had in the past. Hey, its only money...................... <Were the Tinker's not a couple hundred dollars or more each? Bob Fenner>
Re: Tinkeri butterfly's
Bob, the small-medium, 3inch+(?) was $349, the large one was on sale for $119, they want to get rid of him they said (?) he was holding his own, not taking any lip form another large fish. <! Diver pay for this species is not-size dependent... and last time I was around, about $75 per, FOB the Big Island... the low price IS low> $349 is a bit high, but I don't mind paying for a health fish that lives. Should be closer to $200 - $250. I have seen pairs of Tinker's in Ann Arbor for $175 each or the pair for $400. (they must have skipped math class once too often) Too much money for the locals and ended up coming down with something after several months They were both bigger than I wanted. I go for the small fish so they better adapt to captivity. Every fish I have bought there has come down with ICK, even if I put it in a tank by itself and died or I killed it trying to treat it. Or spread the ICK to any other fish in with it......... <Likely their system has a very entrenched infestation... At some point... best to nuke (use a biocide like bleach (some like formalin/formaldehyde... not me) to wipe all clean, start again). Bob Fenner>

C. semilarvatus Hi Bob, I wrote you not so long back, enquiring about establishing pair of golden (semilarvatus) butterflies. Normally, I store replies to such emails for future reference, but cannot find the first one I sent. I also checked your FAQ's under 'best butterflies', 'red sea butterflies', 'Fishwatcher's guide to red sea', 'red sea biotopes', and although the follow up replies are there, the actually first email is not, which is what I am looking for. <Mmm, should at least be archived under "Chaetodon FAQs": http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chaetofaqs.htm There are other people's queries re the species...but I don't see yours there... Please go to either the homepage or an index, locate the Google Search Tool and put in either the common or scientific name.> Anyway, I am sure you would agree that it would be quicker to just ask the question again, except in abbreviated form. In my 72"x18"x18" tank, containing only a 3" juv. P. maculosus, and a 3" red sea 4 line cleaner wrasse, could I keep a pair of C. semilarvatus? <It's a bit crowded, even for just the Maculosus eventually... but you could likely stock them for a while (a year or so, depending on... initial size, feeding, maintenance.> Second question, TMC have informed me that these are naturally shoaling fish, and are collected in groups, not pairs, so a pair cannot be obtained directly.  <Actually... I disagree re the schooling. Except in rare occasions these fish are almost always found in pairs... they can/will school in captivity and do occasionally associate in a group in the wild... but not really a "shoaling species" per se> Given the fish come from the same group initially, if I purchase two medium (about 3-4") sized fish and place them in my tank, will they coexist peacefully, or would a single specimen be a much better choice? <A couple is better, behaviorally and aesthetically> My dealer assures me that he has done this before, got two fish, acclimatized them, and put them together, and they co-existed for years with the occasional minor scuffle. He has offered to acclimatize them for me. <They rarely fight amongst themselves; I agree with your dealer> Would I be mad to try this? Thanks for reading, Regards, Matt <Not mad... do keep planning on a larger system though... something in the 1000-1200 liter size. Bob Fenner>
Re: C. semilarvatus.....too expensive (BF Selection)
Thanks Bob, Things are extremely expensive here in the Rep. of Ireland, even compared to the UK....... unfortunately, even equipment!!! <Take heart... the yank dollar is on a downward spiral against most all world currencies... Can you imagine G.W. Bush debating with Tony Blair? Me neither, sigh.> Yes I agree, Paucifasciatus are absolutely gorgeous. In two's, well that would be just something - and being smaller than the semilarvatus, are some what more manageable too. I do not know, but have a feeling they'll be cheaper than semilarvatus.... <Yes... should be 1/3 to 2/5 the price> 100 Euro I can handle, 180 each I cannot!!! Would it be possible to get just two Paucifasciatus and put them together, as we discussed Re. semilarvatus. i.e. not a pre-established pair. <Yes, should be fine> I keep your general comments in the back of my head "skip buying pairs and trios, or groups of a given species unless they appear in close association in the dealer's tank". The thing is, if I want two, I'll have to order two - in this part of the world I won't just happen upon a pair...... they'll have to be ordered, and I do not think TMC supply "pairs" of any butterfly - so will it be ok to just order two and put them in my tank and hope for the best, or is that utter madness??? <I would go ahead as planned. This species is found in duos or singles over its range... will likely learn to associate with another in your system> As I mentioned before, my dealer told me with reference to semilarvatus that he "got two fish, acclimatized them, and put them together, and they co-existed for years with the occasional minor scuffle"....... could the same be expected from Paucifasciatus ??? <Yes, but not to the same degree... associate about half as strongly> Thanks for your time Bob, I just want to make sure I do it right this time.... don't want to take some silly risks, and figure if anyone has tried this undertaking, you have. Kind Regards, Matt <Bob F, just back from the USVI>
Re: C. semilarvatus
Hi Bob, As always I am humbled and grateful that you have taken the time to respond, and feel far more confident and in both myself, and my local dealer when I hear my idea's confirmed by folk such as yourself, that have forgotten more than we can hope to learn. <The last I don't believe> I ain't one for "brown-nosing" but I just want you to know how truly grateful and appreciative I am - my only thanks to you is the purchase of your publications, and taking every opportunity I am given to quote you, and hope others will fall into the more conscientious way of thinking that you promote. Little thanks that is for the money you have saved me in the past through advice, and the heartbreak and frustration you have helped me avoid for the future. <It is a pleasure to share with you... and in turn urge you to share. Bob Fenner> Again, thanks, Kind regards, Matthew Silvester, Co. Cork, Ireland.
Re: C. semilarvatus.....too expensive
Dear Bob, Many thanks for the reply, as I already mentioned, I am most grateful. All happy with myself, and confident, I phoned my retailer to enquire about the cost of a pair of semilarvatus...360 Euro...that's US$300-400!!! I was shocked!!! I knew they weren't cheap, but at that price.... maybe that is why I have never seen hem in my dealers tanks! <Yes... they're a bit cheaper in the U.S.... but still pricey... a long travel from the Red Sea... generally through Germany...> Anyway, there is no way I can afford these beautiful fish at this time. Can you suggest any other butterfly fish from the red sea, similar in behavior that they will co-exist in the manner I described. Two species that I like are C. fasciatus, and C. paucifasciatus. Same question as before, if I purchase two medium sized fish and place them in my tank, will they coexist peacefully? i.e. not a pre-established pair. <The Red Sea Raccoon is better displayed solitarily... Paucifasciatus are gorgeous, nice in two's> Again, thanks for your replies, and your help. Kind regards, Matthew Silvester <The Heniochus found in the Red Sea are good choices as well... and perhaps less costly. Bob Fenner>

Tinker's Butterflyfish Thanks so much for your help. <<No problem.>> The tank I plan to put him in (after quarantining) is a 120 gallon. It has two black percula's, a purple tang, a scooter blenny, and a pygmy angel. Other than that it has a lot of live rock a few corals and lots of invertebrates. Fire shrimp, cleaners, peppermints, etc. I know they are from deep water so If you don't mind me asking. . .I was planning on changing over to metal halides but now I'm worried that they might be too much light for this fish. <<Two things come to mind there... one, this will be too bright, and two, this Butterfly will likely make mince-meat out of your corals, which means you don't really need that much light.>> My quarantine tank is a 20 plus gallon tank, green on three sides and stays dark so the initial quarantine I think he'll be fine in. But do you think the metal halides will be too much light for him when he's in the tank? <<I think you can probably acclimate the Tinker to this lighting, but it will take a while... and again, will probably be overkill.>> The lights are 175 each and the plan was to hang two of them as pendants above the tank. The tank is fed by a refugium so I think there's plenty of planktonic foods from that source. <<Make 100% sure - this fish will require regular feedings, and perhaps as much as two-three times a day in the beginning, perhaps later, but do make sure this fish is getting enough to eat.>> Its really funny I never thought I'd be able to find a Tinker's butterfly that I could afford so its always been my "dream" fish and now that the dream is becoming a reality I'm worried that I'm going to give him the proper care. <<Is wise to be concerned about this.>> For instance, I'm worried that my tank might have too much current or perhaps not enough current. <<Which one is it? In a practical sense, it's very hard to have too much current.>> Its powered by a Mag 1200. The refugium is powered by a Fluval 404 canister. The tank tests out great in everything I test for. <<What don't you test for?>> I just started adding Kalkwasser. I don't mind loosing the corals to keep this wonderful fish alive if that's what it takes. Ideally I'd love to have them all alive and well. <<Well, you'd better consult with the Tinker first.>> Do you think it would be better to get a pair of Tinkers if I can? <<Better? I'm not sure... I would probably avoid it.>> On a side note, Jason I wish you'd come back to the forum. Your input was well thought out and well respected by all of us. <<While I appreciate the invite, I've just been incredibly busy as of late trying to get Conscientious Aquarist published and that absorbs much of my free time these days. Let's see what happens after I get the first copy out the door.>> Thanks again Mac <<Cheers, J -- >>

Re: establishing a pair of Addis butterflies? (Red Sea Fishes) Back to butterflies.... Been reading also about the Falcula butterfly (true, C. Falcula). Was considering maybe a trio of those, and a single Addis specimen, <hmmm... some concern if there is enough room for four adult butterflies in the long term even if the two species are compatible. I'd strongly advise against mixing Chaetodon species... why tempt fate/aggression when there are so many other beautiful fishes in the sea?> and then a red sea goby and a the red sea (4-line) wrasse. Good or bad idea in my tank, do you think, or is my tank just a bit too small - my feeling on this one is that it might be a bit small, but my butterfly experience is zero ! <you are correct my friend. Add much live rock and a well varied diet too with hope of supporting their strict nutritive demands> Thanks, Regards, Matthew <best regards, Anthony>
Re: establishing a pair of Addis butterflies?
Jason, <<Howdy.>> Thanks for the reply. I am very possibly gonna give it a skip. <<Fair enough.>> First things first.... the wrasse I am on about is the one that Bob recommends ... i.e.. red sea cleaner wrasse = 4 line wrasse. <<Ahh, those damn common names always vary from place to place. Not sure that the four-line wrasse is really known for cleaning.>> I cannot find the Latin name, but it is not of the Labrid family. <<Nope, it's not... it's Pseudocheilinus tetrataenia if we are in fact talking about the same fish - more on these wrasses here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pseudocheilinus.htm >><Is yet another species... RMF> I have had him for a year or two now, and he's thriving :-) .....a red sea endemic I think. Back to butterflies.... Been reading also about the Falcula butterfly (true, C. falcula). Was considering maybe a trio of those, and a single Addis specimen, and then a red sea goby and a the red sea (4-line) wrasse. Good or bad idea in my tank, do you think, or is my tank just a bit too small - my feeling on this one is that it might be a bit small, but my butterfly experience is zero ! <<I'd agree that the tank is a bit small for this grouping. How about just the one Addis Butterfly... this would be fine.>> Thanks, Regards, Matthew <<Cheers, J -- >>

Mitratus butterfly Hi Bob... <Hello> I have a fully stocked 300g reef.....maybe 50 medium-large Acros, as well as sponges, leathers, brains, polyps, etc. actually, just about everything is included. as for fish, I have several pygmy angels, Anthias, wrasses, Chromis to name a few. I am interested in adding a mitratus butterfly (I've wanted one ever since I saw them while diving in the Maldives). <A gorgeous species, complex of Butterflyfishes> there are some available, and flying fish has them listed as 'planktivores', but I am very leery of adding a butterfly to my reef. the last thing I need to do is add a 'reef mower' to my system. I can't seem to find any info on the net, and was wondering if you have an opinion on this. <This is about as close to "reef safe" as the chaetodonts get. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BFsBestWrst.htm, the many linked files beyond... or use the search tool on the homepage, indices re. Bob Fenner> thanks for any help you can offer, Doug

Question about redness in Chaetodon auriga Butterfly Mr. Fenner, <Hello> Thanks again for the great advise on purchasing the Iwaki circulation pumps and oscillator/wavemaker for great water circulation!  <Glad the folks here could be of assistance> All of my fish are very healthy since I bumped up the circulation in my tank. I have a 5 month matured 180 FOWLR system, current inhabitants, 1 bi-color angel, 1 tomato clown, 1 velvet damsel, 2 Chromis, 1 Xmas wrasse and I just purchased today a large Chaetodon auriga Butterfly. I have a question... the Auriga is about 7 inches large in size and before I left the store he was perfect in color, fins exceptional condition...  <Seven inches? Shame on the collector... such large specimens should be left in the sea... they don't adapt well to captive conditions or ship well generally> no external problems whatsoever. I arrive at home 10 minutes later , proceed to drip him for about 45 minutes with a .019 salinity, same as what 's in my hospital tank, then placed him in.  <Mmm, then why the dip?> I now see what appears to be a subtle redness, not too much, around the mouth and fin bases. Can this be some internal damage due to the trauma inflicted during the bagging and trip? <Yes, or residual, partially healed damage from previous holding and shipping> When the store salesperson scooped him in the plastic container I noticed the fish flapped around quite hard against the glass and he may have injured himself. I am very concerned about the redness ... is it internal bleeding? <Possibly> Will he recover from this with good treatment , good water quality and vitamins? <Again...> I don't want to lose him. Should I place him in my main tank since the environment there is much better... no nitrates, temperature perfect? Please help! <I might do so> This is a section that I read from Wet Web Media on Auriga's Appearance.... Appearance: Reddening of the mouth or fin bases disqualifies a prospective purchase. Due to their sharp pointed snouts, threadfins, indeed all B/Fs need to be packed in large bags and laid on their sides in transit. This provision reduces the chance of damage from slamming during handling and shipping. <Not surprisingly, I totally agree... with myself. Bob Fenner>
Re: Question about redness in Chaetodon auriga Butterfly
Robert, Will this fish recover from this with good treatment, good water quality and vitamins? I can return him today if there's little hope. <For such a large specimen, being caught at this size (seven inches if memory serves), there is "little hope". Moving it will not likely serve to save it... unless perhaps we were in Hawai'i. Then, there I would replace it to the sea (which wholesale collectors due sometimes when a number of organisms "breaks down" in an attempt to return them to health, redeem themselves. Bob Fenner>

Picts of Chaetodon nippon and Centropyge interruptus (Note: post FishBase links) Hello Bob, I've referred to your WetWebMedia site so frequently that I felt compelled to contribute and give something back. I see that you have been missing some images for a while so after a quick search, I was able to locate some. I hope you will be able to get their permission to use them. Chaetodon nippon: http://www.FishBase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Chaetodon&speciesname=nippon Centropyge interruptus : http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Centropyge&speciesname=interruptus .. Toby <Thanks for this effort, offer. Am a collaborator with FishBase, but will settle here with adding your, their links where these images could/should be on WWM for now. Let's go out there and make our own! Bob Fenner>

Chaetodon flavocoronatus Bob, I was checking out your "Good Butterflyfishes of the Genus Chaetodon" website (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Goodchaetodon.htm) and I was impressed by the listing. I was prompted to write to you based on your comments about Chaetodon flavocoronatus [No pic?! Richard (Pyle), get your rebreather out and let's go!]. <Sounds reasonable> Following Rich's directions I was able to catch a pair which are now on display at Underwater World Guam. If you stop by you can get your photo without even getting wet (Guam is not too far out of the way :^) Keep up the good work on the websites. <Wowzah, congrats. Hope to make it by while they're still about. Bob Fenner> Jeff Jeffrey Mahon, Ph.D. General Curator Underwater World Guam 1245 San Vitores Rd., Suite 400 Tumon, Guam 96913 jmahon@aquariumteam.com Office (671)649-9191 x509 Cell (671) 687-5216 Fax (671) 647-1689 www.aquariumteam.com Same Planet, Different World "The most perverted thing seen in the raunchiest 'Hustler' magazine can't hold a candle to what fish do" - An Ichthyology Professor

Corrections, Comments, Fishbase.org Dear Dr. Fenner, <<JasonC here, helping out while Bob is away diving>> We will add Fiji in the country range for Chaetodon lineolatus according to the book of R.F. Myers. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes: a comprehensive guide to the coral reef fishes of Micronesia. Sincerely, Grace T. Pablico <<sounds good, will make sure Bob sees this. Cheers, J -- >>

Butterfly in the reef tank, Blueface Hi Steven, The snippet below from one of your recent replies to me (different account) suggested a C. semilarvatus. It's a very pretty butterfly and I have been reading widely looking for reef tank safe butterflies. Your WWM listing for this species suggests it eats polyps and corals, though. I don't mind a little Zoanthid nibbling and I don't keep LPS except for Euphyllias but is this one really a possibility for the reef tank? If the risk isn't too high I think I'd try it but I haven't previously seen it mentioned as a reef tank candidate. <Sorry, I did not pay real close attention to the subject line. The Semilarvatus is not a good choice. I made that suggestion to go with the rest of your Red Sea biotope fish.> As for the ones generally indicated as reef say, the Heniochus don't do anything for me but the long nose are pretty. <The two species of Longnose BF's and the Copperband BF are better choices.> Thanks! Marc <You are welcome. -Steven Pro> A Longnose yellow butterfly or 3-4 yellow "Coris" wrasses for some yellow. (I prefer the butterfly though). Would love a pair but I've yet to see one advertised anywhere or in the LFS. <Get the butterfly. Maybe a Semilarvatus?>

Got the jacket..., acclimating Declivis B/F, being Jason.C And some other things... looks like I'm in the digital camera age now. Picked up a used Nikon Coolpix 950 which seems to take some pretty good shots. I quickly snapped one of the new Declivis this evening but was in a rush so didn't grab the tripod, etc. etc. Will take a better photo in the AM. Lorenzo said the photo I shot made him dizzy so I'm not sending it around - I warned him, oh well. <You'll, it will get better with practice> Anyway, I apologize for not being a little more since my arrival back in the EST. <A little more what?> The time change threw me a bit and it's taken me a while to catch up not only physically, but also around the house and the tanks and etc... oh, and of course had to hook up that calcium reactor and start taking notes and the whole bit. So... my apologies, I'm trying even as we speak to do with just a little less sleep - seems to be the only place to shave time in the day. <No worries> I'll have to check my notes, I think it will be Thursday the reactor will have been running a week, so I should have some local/personal data from which to gather up an article/faq/methodology for Di's sites. I'm a little behind but have stolen enough time to get together all the Legos I need to do a facelift on the Knop site. I'm still working on the Miva stuff as the back-end interface is proving to be a bit like a 500lb gorilla who doesn't take to being tamed with a horse-whip. Anyway, enough lame excuses, I'm on it... should continue have stuff to show in little dribs and drabs. <Ah, she will be excited to hear> I would love to help Custom Aquatic, as like Zo, I'm in a position to help - knowledge, experience, etc. But, I also love to tell my employees, "I'd rather have you tell me you can't get a thing done, than tell me you can do it, and then not get it done." So... I really have to take my own advice and not sign up for anything else, as much as I'd like to help, it's just be another helping on an already full plate. I'd be lying if I said I could get it done within a week or two. <I understand> So... thanks for shipping back the jacket so quickly - didn't need to come FedEx for certain, but I can't say I'm not grateful: it's easily between 10 and 20 outside, and there's a stiff wind about, which is really drilling it home. On the other hand, the sky is clear black - can see the Milky Way - beautiful night, if you can keep warm. Thanks for sending back the jacket. <You're welcome> Now, the fish - always the fish. Would you have a Guerilla Acclimation Technique card on the Declivis Butterfly for a good dip time?  <Generally a hardy, ready to go aquarium species... little acclimation necessary> I would have to say, based on this one, I just got a bad one last time, and it was already having issues when I got it. This one is thick, very active, eager eater/picker/investigator - also a little larger all around than the last one - not starved thin. Not even remotely the same fish as the previous Declivis. So... same as last time I'm thinking (?), quick quarantine, pH-adjusted freshwater dip and in he/she goes... yea/nay? <Yes> Cheers to you, hello to Di, and "a quick shout out" those three silly dogs. J -- <Will relate all. Any further ideas on shared border sets for FP? Bob F>

Raccoon butterfly <Hello, Steven Pro "speaking". Anthony Calfo and I are helping Bob answer some of his daily questions.> I just added a palm size raccoon butterfly to my 54gal all glass bowed front corner aquarium. His current tankmates are 1 purple tang medium size, 1 Luna wrasse approx. 4 inches long, 1 saddleback clown about 2" long and 1 humbug damsel real small. Tank is reef ready with overflow in corner filled with bio-balls and 1 unit of dick Boyd Chemipure. filter system is life-gard mechanical, then chemical, then heater module with final pass thru 25watt star-tronics U.V unit, water is turned over approx 10 times per hour, lighting is 175 watt 55k metal halide pendant by Hamilton with 24" blue actinic in fluorescent hood. Is this the max load this tank can handle <I would probably not add any more fish as most that you have will grow fairly large.> and are there any special things I have to do to keep butterfly in good shape. I have heard they are hard to keep and especially hard to keep eating. <You can/should read up more on the care of Butterflyfish here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/raccoon.htm> thanks in advance for the help tom Gillis <Best of luck,> <Steven Pro>

Semilarvatus butterfly Hi...I have a quick question for you...I have a 75 gal fish only salt water tank...it is a community tank and I am getting a semilarvatus butterfly....the person I am getting it from has 2 and he wants to sell me both of them....my question is can 2 of these butterflies be kept together in this size tank? <This is one of my favorite species of fishes period... very hardy, especially as Butterflyfishes go... Does better not kept solitarily... but does get quite large... if these are only 3-4 inches in length, they can be kept (if the system is otherwise uncrowded) in a seventy five gallon system for a period of time... but will need/deserve larger quarters within the next year> the retailer tells me they swim together and wont be a problem...I am just looking for another opinion....I appreciate your feedback...thank you... <Thank you for writing. Please use the search feature on WetWebMedia.com for more input, reports on the husbandry of this species. Bob Fenner>

Butterfly food Didn't have any luck on the forum on this one yet... I've got this new Declivis downstairs in quarantine... I guess five days so far. Obviously we've got some time to go but I'm trying very hard to stick to the "often and varied" thing, although the work week keeps "often" down a bit Mon-Fri. Not really having any luck with the "varied" thing [have tried at least 10 different foods]... am really trying everything I have and only get nibbles and then disfavor. Very excited to eat, but then less psyched about the fare... the one thing that does work with any consistency is Formula One frozen which is a mix food, but it still doesn't eat much at any particular sitting. <Mmmm> Am working on the worm thing... so far know that frozen blood worms are out, but perhaps will be successful finding some grindals or (?) - night crawlers perhaps? Any other food suggestions to try? <Small enough to not have to tear> Also a side chance that there is copepod supplementation that I don't see, but I know they live in the quarantine tank [never been dosed with anything toxic] so perhaps... is a skinny fish. <Maybe> Anyway - my main workstation is out of commission for the moment for a long overdue rebuild. Once done I'll get on to the numerous writing items on the plate. Talk to you soon. <Ah, good... if push comes to shove, I would pH-adjusted freshwater dip and simply place this B/F... they're relatively parasite free... Bob Fenner> Cheers. J --
Re: butterfly food
Hmmm... this guy has always been a fast breather, especially in comparison to the neon goby that is in there with him. <This is so, general for the species, family of chaetodonts> Tank conditions are all good, with small weekly water changes the norm... anyway, this morning the Declivis is wigging, and decidedly not interested in food and breathing a little faster. Again, not seen in the neon goby. So... am I to understand that the early placement would be better for overall psyche? <Yes, absolutely> - he's already been dipped once and would be again before introduction. Was prepared to quarantine for a month, so a week would be early, but the main tank is certainly larger and more varied. <Yes> Am somewhat concerned, but should probably head to work, and deal later [as opposed to the opposite]; gotta finish fixing my broken computer. This guy has bugged out like this before, and it's been quite temporary each time so this could also be one of those moments. <Hopefully this is just another temporary situation> Thanks again as always. Were you going to need help over the holidays? <Likely... am a bit sick with a cold, but probably out to NJ and a land line connection... for the holidays (22-27 I think). Will be begging if so... interested? Bob Fenner> Cheers, J --
Re: butterfly food
I was thinking, maybe you need a pH adjusted freshwater dip... might fix that cold ;-) <Perhaps> Report back on the Declivis - dip and move done, man, if I thought Spike was wigging before, there's nothing like floating around like a zombie in a bucket to get your heart going. He's doing better now and making the adjustment to the tank. All is as well as could be expected. Will be downstairs watching. <Very well. Bob Fenner> Cheers. J --
Re: butterfly food
Uh oh... not too good - dead this AM. Sadness. <Yikes. Sorry to hear of your loss. Bob Fenner>

Chaetodon semilarvatus Hi Bob, Does the semilarvatus butterfly eat mushroom corals? I would like to put one in my tank and I've gotten rid of all the coral except the mushrooms. My imperator angel does not bother the mushrooms and I just want to make sure the butterfly won't either. <"Won't" cannot be guaranteed... Chaetodon semilarvatus can, do ingest some stinging-celled animals in the wild... hard and soft corals... Are unlikely to eat Corallimorphs in captivity though. Bob Fenner> Holly

Pearlscale Butterfly Hi Bob. I Loved your book! I have 2 questions... I have had some fair success so far in keeping a fairly new Pearlscale butterfly, (4 weeks thus far) in a 72 gallon bowfront tank with a 12" refugium miracle mud sump growing plenty of Caulerpa and about 80 pounds of live rock. The Pearlscale has been eating plenty of Formula One and frozen Plankton treated with 2 drops of Garlic Elixir w/vitamins since day 1. Is this adequate enough of a food source? <Maybe... along with what it gets from live rock, your refugium should be fine> I was told that the Pearlscale's diet should consist of polyps or other invertebrates in order to stay healthy to keep. Is what I am feeding him enough? <Probably so... one of the hardier/aquarium chaetodonts. Please see my review of the families members: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BFsBestWrst.htm > I should also mention that I have plenty of Copepods coming into the main tank from the sump (which I guess is a good breeding ground for Copepods). Will he eat the Copepods too? <Yes> Also, I was planning on getting a beautiful small Blueface Angel to be his tankmate in a few weeks as a xmas gift. Is the Blueface ok with this butterfly or will he intimidate the butterfly? <A seventy two gallon system will be too small for this species of Angel... it may disturb the other fishes... depending on its individual temperament, starting size.> My other fish are...1 med. ocellaris clown and 2 - 4 stripe damsels. Thanks! <Bob Fenner>

Klein's butterfly fish Hello Bob Didn't expect to be asking you another question so soon, but I just got finished reading your latest article in FAMA, so here goes. Are Klein's butterfly fish considered fairly reef-safe?  <IMO/E yes> I have never heard them mentioned with the reef-safe butterflies.  <A rare B/F in the hobby... Only found in Hawai'i, and only in limited numbers> You mentioned that will eat Aiptasia anemones in reef systems. While I don't have a problem with the anemones, I can think of no other fish to make a captive coral system look more realistic than a REAL butterfly. It would be going into a fully loaded [with coral] 180 gal. reef. Do you think it would work?  <Yes, worth trying in this setting> By the way I really enjoy your articles & FAMA magazine. Keep up the good work, and thanks a million <Ah. Do read over the mass of Butterfly articles, FAQs accumulated here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BFsBestWrst.htm and beyond. Bob Fenner> Joe

Butterflyfish Just one question, which of these Butterflyfishes are more hardier? The True Falcula or Declivis butterfly? <Both on the "Better to good list"... but the Declivis by a handful of percentage points. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Ron

Chaetodon semilarvatus in reef tanks? Hi! Mr. Fenner, I did read through your web site regarding semi-larvatus butterflies. I have also read through many other sources that warn not to put these fish in reef tanks. But I have also read quite a few sources stating they will do best in a large reef tank. <Yes, have seen the same statements... and seen this species in large and not so big systems around the planet.> I know from experience not to put a raccoon in one. What is your experience with the golden butterfly. The tank is over one thousand gallons. I want to put a trio in. Will they eat my corals? <Not likely to eat your corals if otherwise well fed... as a percent/scale of risk, low... though not lowest... some 20-30% possibility of some coral polyp foraging...> Thanks again for everything. I am slowly trying to build up a general idea of what fish I will put in the tank. Chaska. <Bob Fenner>

Re: Photos... Hi Mr. Fenner, Thank you very much for your offer. First of all, I need some pictures of some butterflies. The list is: Chaetodon auriga Chaetodon citrinellus Chaetodon collare Chaetodon ephippium Chaetodon falcula Chaetodon guttatissimus Chaetodon kleinii Chaetodon lineolatus Chaetodon lunula Chaetodon madagaskariensis Chaetodon melannotus Chaetodon meyeri Chaetodon miliaris Chaetodon octofasciatus Chaetodon ornatissimus Chaetodon plebeius Chaetodon rafflesi Chaetodon triangulum Chaetodon trifasciatus Chaetodon unimaculatus Chaetodon vagabundus Chaetodon xanthocephalus <The ones on our site presently are useful? Bob Fenner> Thank you very much... Yildirim Okte

Chaetodon flavirostris Saw a Chaetodon flavirostris (black or dusky butterfly) the other day in the LFS. Liked his unique look but resisted buying until I could do additional research. (LFS wasn't even sure what it was but said it had been eating). My research produced everything from unable to keep in captivity to fairly easy. I understand this is not a common fish in the trade. To make a long story short it did nibble slightly at the LFS and I decided to take a chance. He has adapted to the 300 gal tank and the other butterflies after only 24 hours and is very spunky always looking around. As of yet he has not obviously eaten anything but appears very interested while the other fish are eating. He does not appear interested in anything floating in the water column. Do you have any first or second hand experience with this fish and his/her chances of making it? Thanks <http://wetwebmedia.com/poorchaetodons.htm Sorry to state, very few Butterflyfishes of this species live for long in captivity. Have seen two in European Public Aquariums in good health... but their historic survivability in the trade is dismal. Good luck. Bob Fenner>
Re: Black Butterfly-C. flavirostris
No need to respond to this as I know you a are a busy guy. I wrote you about eight weeks ago about the viability of the Black Butter fly (C. flavirostris) You indicated it would be a tough go as these rarely fare well in captivity and wished me luck. Other sources indicated this also. It is still too soon to breath a sigh of relief but, I am happy to report that this fish at least has been eating like a little pig. It took him almost three weeks to start and frankly I had given up. There were several (six) other butterflies in the tank eating very well and his curiosity (and hunger I suppose) must have gotten the best of him/her. This fish started on brine (probably not a diet that would sustain it). It now eats brine, Mysis, regular shrimp, plankton, brown leaf algae, green leaf algae, some Formula VHP and Angel (sponge) and the all time favorite white worms (mosquito larvae). His feeding behavior is now so aggressive he/she has began to irritate some of the other butterflies who chase him half heartedly only to see him make a bat turn and cruise in for another bite. <Thank you for this valuable input... on the behavior, your success at feeding this species.> Time will tell I guess but he/she appears to be putting on a little weight and looks good. Thanks for all your previous help. Randy C. <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: Golden Butterflyfishes Hi, A few days ago I emailed you about adding some Golden Butterflies to my 800 gallon Angelfish tank. After reading your comments and doing more research I went out and purchased 3 Golden Butterflies to be place in my 500 gallon reef tank. All three specimens are 4-5 inches in length. In the reef tank right now I have 400 lbs of live rock setup up in two large pillars that reach the water surface almost with swimming room in the middle of the tank (I kind of wanted it to look more like the outskirts of the reef with a collection of tangs ). I have various hard and soft corals, along with a few clams and so forth. The tank like my 800 was built on site and is glass not acrylic. It runs on two 90 gallon tubs/sumps and various other equipment that I have rigged up mostly. My reef keeping goes back about 5 years now so the tank itself is doing great. The Semilarvatus' were quarantined in a 75 holding tank in the filter room for about a day and a half. <Hmm, w/o reading further below, I would have left them there for a couple of weeks...> After they started eating I moved them to the 500 which contains the following for fish: Gold Rimmed Tang (Nigerians a year old and doing well!) 4 in, Achilles 5 in, 3 Red Sea Purple Sailfins all 3.5 in, Black Longnose 6in, 5 Chromis, 9 Sunburst Anthias, various gobies and blennies, and the reason I came into saltwater my 9" Red Sea Sohal Tang. It was a nightmare getting these fish to coexist for the first 3 months but now everything goes well especially since I stumbled across such a docile Sohal and he kind of intimidates them but never shows aggression. I'll have to check my readings but I think my bioload is good right now. The 3 Golden's settled in and were accepted except by the Nigerians but his nipping soon diminished. My question is how big should I expect them to grow?  <Ultimately plate size (yes, several inches)... but quite slowly... an inch or so per year> Also should I worry about my corals?  <Not much. Chaetodon semilarvatus are omnivorous, can/will eat SPS polyps at times, but generally prefer other foodstuffs> The fish get tons of food because my system is so efficient but will they still possibly graze? <To a large extent yes... though these are quite hefty, active fishes> Is there anything else I should expect/worry about? I never realized how awesome these fish were until I had them in the luxury of my own home! Thanks again, I love your site! <Thank you, and no, not much to worry re... this is a fabulous aquarium species for folks with adequate space. Bob Fenner>

Fish stocking questions (Angels, Semilarvatus B/Fs) Hi! Your site is superb! I just wanted to ask about compatibility of some fish for my tank. Right now I have a 500 gallon reef and a 800 gallon fish only/angelfish tank. <Wowzah, nice, big tanks to work with> In my fish only right now I have the following (mostly adults): Annularis angel 6 in, Imperator 6 in, Asfur 6 in, 7 in Blueface, 5 in Queen, 6 in Goldflake, 4 in Scribbled, 5 in Conspiculatus, 5 in Griffis, 4 in Regal. They all get along pretty well with the occasional quarrel over food and sometimes nipping done by my Asfur but nothing to get in a huff over.  <Good, and this is about the pecking order I'd suspect> I was wondering if I could add a pair of Golden Butterflies or would they have problems with all those angels. The angels have been in the tank depending on the specimen about 2-8 years.  <A tough call... it would have been better if the butterflies could have started first... and there is a worry that they won't be able to get enough food around the Pomacanthids... if you were to try this it would be better if there were three specimens... I would more likely place these in the Reef system> It has reef quality lighting just in case I ever wanted to switch but that was before I got my 500 gallon. There is roughly 700-900 lbs of live rock using the spur and grove design. <Yow, a term used in coral biogeography...> The tank and its holdings were built on site and I use a type of Ecosystem filter with some other misc. items. All the fish get their fair share of food 2-3 times a day. Also for future reference, can more than a pair of Golden's go in one tank? <Yes... for very fortunate and/or wealthy individuals, several, as in many individuals can be kept in a tank... some huge exhibits I have seen have had dozens> I may have been seeing things but I visited a show tank last month and I thought I saw about 7 or 8 of them but I was a good 25 feet away so maybe not. Just wondering, thanks a lot! <Well, then we both must be "seeing things". Bob Fenner>

Stocking and thanks Hello Mr. Fenner, First, I would like to thank you for taking the time to address my questions as well as those of other hobbyists.  <You're welcome> I have a 100 gallon aquarium with 45 pounds of very high grade live rock (abundance of life). I have five Chromis which have been in the tank for three months. The live rock has been in the tank for four months. I am looking to add a few fish in the near future and would like your opinion on the choices I have in mind. In addition to the five Chromis, I would like to add two young Pakistani Butterfly fish (Chaetodon collare) and two Percula Clowns and that would be the total community. I read that clowns don't need to have an anemone present for their health/happiness--is this true?  <Yes, this is so> I welcome alternate suggestions. Again, thank you. Geoff Reynolds <These are good choices that should do fine in your system... I would go forward with your stocking plan. Bob Fenner>

Pakistani Butterflyfish Hi Bob, I wonder whether the above fish is a shoaling lot? Can keep in a small group? I read you rate it a good one. Interested to keep. Hope to hear your advice soon. David. <Yes, possibly... take a read about the species in the Butterflyfishes reviews posted on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner> 

Butterflyfishes for Marine

Diversity, Selection & Care
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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