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FAQs on Prognathodes Butterflyfishes

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Prognathodes aculeatus in the Bahamas

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

Stocking a 55 gallon      8/3/14
Hola WWM crew, thanks for the hours of reading offered by all the Q&A and articles. So, to hopefully be quick and to the point, I have researched on your sight as well as others pretty extensively and have not been able to discern if my stocking plan meets the needs of my planned inhabitants.
First, it is 4 ft long 55 gallon and is currently home to two bangghai cardinals and 5 snails. We also have a 20 gallon sump/refugium with all the goodies (skimmer, ATO, etc.). The current plan is for the tank to be a FOWLR, as I have satiated my softie and LPS wants in my 20 gal nano reef.
Finally, to my questions, would a Cherub Angel and Longnose Atlantic Butterfly be a good addition to the 55 gal,
<The cherub is a good choice; the BF not so much. Historically this species doesn't do well in captivity>

these will be the only fish I would add but I am concerned with similar diet and the angel's possible aggression towards the butterfly. Also, how long would you let the tank age before adding the butterfly.
<A few months>
One other non-stocking question is that I've read mixed views on the need for a skimmer on a nano, especially when doing 10% weekly changes.
<Better to have one than not. See WWM re>
What do you recommend as I was thinking a hang on back refugium would be more beneficial and would help with the build up on the waters surface.
Thanks so much for the advice and expertise. It's appreciated significantly as I've only been in the marine aquarist hobby for about 2 years.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Stocking a 55 gallon
Thanks so much Bob for the reply. I feel, and I'm sure you can agree, that asking is always a safer bet. Looking forward to getting my angel and certainly want to keep a species that will do well in captivity.
Cheers right back at ya
<Oh! Do take a look/see on WWM, the Net re other tropical West Atlantic fishes... many other good choices available.

Prognathodes aculeatus with Chaetodon kleini - 5/8/2012
wwm: Good Evening Amanda, Bobby here
I have a 220l tank (L100xW40xH70cm) and have been researching suitable species of butterflyfish, unfortunately I have fallen in love with both the Prognathodes aculeatus and the Cheatodon kleini, do you think it would be possible to house both together in this size tank?
wwm: I think you are pushing it as the kleini can get to 5.5" in captivity and I have seen many reach at least 5". The aculeatus, once settled in, can be a bold fish and hold its on, so it is not an issue of aggression, rather tank size for the kleini
Other tank mates would be 1x Wetmorella, 2x Elacatinus multifasciatum, 1x Assessor macneilli, 1x Ecsenius stigmatura, Small school (3-5) Cardinals - Probably Sphaeramia nematoptera, 1xRed Mandarin, 1x Centropyge ferrugata. So far I have only added the Elactinus, the Wetmorella and the Assessor, so changes could be made to the planned stock if required. If you feel it would be possible to keep both then should they be added together?
wwm: A nice selection of peaceful fish. The aculeatus is such a unusual fish in the trade and unique, that I would consider keeping it as the single butterfly. That being said, if you do choose to have both, add them at the same time
Many Thanks Amanda
wwm: Bobby

Caribbean Longnose Butterfly. Prognathodes aculeatus, Care and Compatibility  7/10/07 I am considering buying a Caribbean Longnose Butterflyfish (Prognathodes aculeatus) <Delicate but not impossible.> it is small just under 2" inches long and eating well. <A little smaller than I prefer, how long has he/she been in captivity?> I have read many differing reports on how reef safe these are some say it eats soft coral polyps other saying Hard corals. <Is a generalized omnivore, so there is some risk present.> I only have 2 Hard corals (candy cane & frogspawn) but have Toadstool and Pussy and other common soft coral Could you please give me your opinion on how safe you think this fish would be with these corals. <The noxious soft corals are likely safe, I would keep an eye on the others.> Many thanks Graham <Adam J.>

Anthony's Query to Aquarist at Scripps re: Scythe/falcifer BF keeping  I'm a friend of Bobs and think I've had the pleasure of meeting you at Scripps while visiting a couple of years back.  If you have the time, I'm looking for a bit of  guidance on the keeping of Scythe (falcifer) butterfly fishes on the chance that I acquire one in the future for a Cortez biotope display.  Do you have any tips or observations/quirks about the keeping of this species you might be able to share. Or perhaps any favorite papers or references to pertaining info?  Thanks kindly for you time.   Anthony Calfo <Hi Anthony, It was good meeting you when you stopped by in San Diego.  The Falcifer B'fly is one of the easier b'flys I've worked with. The only drawback is that they seem to do best in cooler water (65 F). We maintain ours between 58-64 all year round. We have some on display now for about 9 years. I don't know how well they would do in warmer, tropical water. I know they are found as far down as the tip of Baja, Mex. but at about 150-300 ft deep where, of course, the water is cooler.  Other than this they acclimate to aquarium life beautifully. We usually quarantine them with 3 formalin baths spread 3 days apart. We treat at 1ml/gal and then we have them on copper for 2-3 more weeks. They handle all of this really well. They eat everything we offer them. They love Mysis shrimp, live black worms, squid tentacles. We also offer them chopped clams and krill.  We've had good luck keeping two in one tank (2,000 gal). I believe we have a pair. They like caves to retreat to but will stay out in open most of the time. They become tame pretty quick.  I hope this helps and please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions. Best Regards, Fernando P.S. Hi Bob!>

Marine World Magazine (and BF pic) Hi Bob <Hello Vincent> I am glad that you are on the team of writers for Marine World Magazine. I have just finished checking your article through on the Harlequin Tuskfish.  It is very good! Professionals, such as Bob Goemans and yourself, make my job of correcting submitted articles a lot easier. <Am glad to provide decent content. Please do make known your suggestions for improvement> Some time ago I noted that you did not have a photo of Prognathodes aya on your web site.  Did you manage to get one?  If not, I have an image that you can use.   <Thank you, yes. Have just checked my files, and do not have a pic of this animal. Will gratefully acknowledge you as photographer/provider> Regards and best wishes Vincent B. Hargreaves <Again, thank you. Bob Fenner>

Re: Prognathodes aya Hi Bob <Vincent> Attached is an image (81kb) of Prognathodes aya for you to use on your web site. <Thank you. Will post on the morrow> I have about 20,000 other images some of which might be of species that you need for your web site.  A small part of these are on my web site: <A HREF=" http://www.livingreefimages.com"> www.livingreefimages.com</A> that you may be familiar with, since it has been on the Internet for over 5 years.   <Very nice. I do like your format> I wanted to send you a signed copy of my latest book, but unfortunately it is sold out at the moment (after only 8 months) and I will have to wait for the reprint, which should be finished at the end of this month.  I would need your address though to send it. Regards, Vincent <Outstanding. Our address: 8586 Menkar Rd., San Diego, CA 92126. Do you have a copy of Anthony Calfo and I's latest effort, "Natural Marine Aquariums, Reef Invertebrates"? Will send one along if you're interested. Bob Fenner>

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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