We don’t often feature full blown FOWLR tanks but when we do, you know it’s going to be awesome. Peter Martis’ butterflyfish dominated FOWLR tank features a myriad of butterflyfish species in the absolute pink of health. Butterflyfish are almost iconic in the marine scene, but are in general, an expert level group that require stringent quarantine, conditioning and maintaining.
Peter’s 240g FOWLR tank displays profound mastery of maintaing these colorful yet challenging species. While butterflyfish species run the gamut of being easy to feed to near impossible to keep, one thing that they all share are their proneness to disease. All butterflies are sensitive and are magnets for disease, especially toward Cryptocaryon and Amyloodinium. A stringent quarantine is often necessary to get them feeding as well as ridding them of possible pathogen infection. Peter’s collection of butterflies are in immaculate health, and are well built with clear fins.
A mixture of difficult and easy to keep species play host to his large FOWLR tank. Species in the xanthurus complex such as his Chaetodon paucifasciatus and C. mertensii are generally less demanding to care for. Roaps butterflies such as C. declivis and C. mitratus are also great beginner level butterflyfish that readily accept all aquarium fare. C. ephippium, C. fasciatus and C. falcula are moderately easy to care for but are not good choices for the coral aquarium. These species are non specialist feeders in the wild and are adapted to eating a wide array of food, and thus will accept most aquarium fare with time.
All three members of the Chelmon butterflies are present in this tank. C. rostratus, C. marginalis and C. muelleri may be difficult at first, but are hardy once acclimated to aquarium life and weaned onto prepared foods. Their narrow beaks are more suited for frozen foods and worms compared to dry pelleted food products. A handful of expert level butterflies can be seen in Peter’s collection. C. rainfordi is an Australian species that is notoriously difficult to maintain, and adopts a coralivorous diet in the wild. This one has been trained to take dry food, and is seen greedily eating off the aquarium floor alongside C. flavirostris, C. semilarvatus, Parachaetodon ocellatus as well as a chunky Moorish Idol.
The angels and butterflies in this FOWLR tank benefit from a regular serving of fresh clams on the shell. White clams are irresistible to many species of fish, and can entice even the finickiest to sample a morsel. The clams also provide nutrient packed grazing opportunities for the slower feeders. The fish only set up capitalises on its ability to withstand higher nutrient loads compared to reef tanks, and this is a great and forgiving way to feed fish in such systems.
A video showing Peter’s butterflies and angels gorging on fresh clams on the shell.
Butterflyfish are indeed gorgeous but are more suited to well maintained FOWLR tanks or carefully stocked reef aquariums. A big thanks to Peter Martis for sharing with us his collection. We love all the butterflies in this tank but if i’d have to choose one, my vote definitely goes to that stunning pellet eating Rainford’s butterflyfish.