Marine/Saltwater Fish

You Can Succeed with the Copperband Butterflyfish

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  1. Tohni Stelts says:

    Set up my first saltwater tank about 3 weeks ago. 150 gal, water tested perfect (I have well water with softener) 1 of the first fish I purchased was a copperband butterfly. I have added some other fish since then. I was shocked to find out the CBB was supposed to be hard to feed, since I never had that problem. He has been fine and healthy this whole time. I did 20% water change over weekend and water still tested great. Woke up this am and CBB is laying on his side at bottom of tank. I have removed him and put him in 10 gal QT tank still the same. He appears to have a few red bruising mark’s or broken blood vessels on him. His white appears gray except on face and tail. Other he looks healthy, no bumps, white spots etc… could he have been injured by another fish or sea urchin? I did test water this am and its still good.

  2. Paul Baldassano says:

    Sorry about your copperband problem but a 3 week old tank would not house anyone’s copperband as it takes at least three months for a tank to cycle enough to add most fish, but a copperband is more sensitive than most fish. You should start that tank with hardier fish such as clowns and gobies. Without seeing your copperband I can’t tell what is wrong with it but I am sure that whatever is affecting it, the newness of the tank will most likely kill it. No matter what your test kits read, your tank needs to have a sharp rise in ammonia, then a sharp rise in nitrate, two things a copperband will not live through. I am sorry about your fish but I can’t think of anything that will help it at this point. A copperband is a fish that is commonly collected with cyanide even though that is now illegal.
    Cyanide collected fish appear healthier, have brighter colors and may eat better, but unfortunately, they are doomed. I am not saying that is what is wrong with yours as I am pretty sure your tank is just to new.
    I doubt it was injured by another fish or urchin as they live in close association with urchins and a fish bite would be localized and usually only a fin is torn.
    The red blood vessels are a common symptom of ammonia poisoning and I am fairly sure that is what is killing your fish. The good news is that is what is supposed to be happening in your tank. Not the fish dying, but your tank is probably cycling normally.
    I would buy some smaller, cheaper fish “after” the tank is cycled using either some dead shrimp or store bought ammonia sold for aquarium purposes.

  3. Tohni Stelts says:

    Thank you very much for information. I wish fish dealer had told me this when I bought him, since he knew I had just bought the tank. I will heed your warning and stick with hardier fish. I’ve never heard of the cyanide problem and will read up on it. Thank you again.

  4. Joshua says:

    I just recently bought a Copperbend a butterfly fish. At the store I watched the owner feed it with frozen blood worms. It readily eight, I give it two days in my aquarium before he attempted feeding. I put in the Thawed frozen blood worms, 88 a few but left the rest alone. Is it eating enough? I also put some thawed frozen adult brine shrimp in, But it ignored that. Is this acceptable peek? And can I assume that it is eating healthy?

  5. Joshua says:

    I am sorry for my spelling and grammar. I am not very good at language arts. I hope you can understand what my original question is.

  6. Paul B says:

    Joshua, those two foods you are feeding is not a good diet for any fish, even if it eats it. Bloodworms are not really worms, but insect larvae not suitable for salt water fish. Brine shrimp are also not a good food for anything. If you can’t get blackworms, use clams. The same type that humans eat like I showed in that article.

  7. Joshua says:

    Is there a recommended source for black worms as my local fish store and pet supply store does not sell them.

  8. Mark says:

    I bought a CCB about 10 days ago. She’s eating well and foraging through the rocks.
    It’s hard to feed her, because my Scopas Tang (the pig), Dwarf Coral Beauty (a piglet), and the Yellow Wrasse. I chop up fresh clam, stuff it into holes in a reef rock, and put it in the same place every time. She will saunter by drop down and swim away. A few minutes later (after trying to keep the pigs away), she will come back and eat some, then swim away. Then the pigs move in to finish the rock o’ clam off. And what they can’t reach the crabs get it.

    Help!!!

  9. Darren says:

    I have purchased a Copperband and pick it up later this week. Thanks for the article it has helped a lot.

  10. paul b says:

    Mark, I just saw this. Yes, I know a year late. To feed a copperband when faster fish are around you can put some food, preferably clams in a see through plastic container that has some 3/8″ holes at the bottom, hang it in the tank off the bottom. The copperband will stick his snout in there to get the food but the other fish will not be able to reach it. You can also take a plastic tube about an inch in diameter and 3″ long. Glue some small “barriers” in there maybe 1/4″ high so the food will stay in the center inch of the tube. Lay the tube on the bottom, The barriers can be any scrap pieces of plastic that rise up a little from the bottom of the tube just enough to keep the food in there. The copperband should be the only fish to reach it. I have a picture of that in my book where I am using it to feed a mandarin

  11. Rob says:

    Hi, Paul
    I am trying to get rid of aiptasia’s I have a lot in my sand bed how do I get rid of them
    I have heard people have used lemon juice. Some have used vinegar . What do you
    Recommend.
    Thanks Rob.

  12. Garrett says:

    This is a great article on a fantastic fish. I’ve had mine for about 3 years with very few problems.. You have to train them to eat out of the water colloum as it’s Not natural to them, but mine was a very fast learner. Now he almost eats out of my hand. He’s gotten clams and worms a few times but I mostly feel music enriched with plankton and brine enriched with siprilnella. I also keep my overflow and sump full of apasiata do he must get some of those when they try to spread. I haven’t seen a trace of one in the main tank since he showed up. Beautiful, intelligent and idle of personality, he’s easily my favourite fish.

  13. Neptune says:

    Hi Paul,

    I am investigating adding a CBB to my 180 reef. Yep I feed live clams and black worms to my tank after finding your articles a few years ago. My question is that in my 180 I also am adding a male / female mandarin (tank raised.) Does the Copperband also eat copapods? As in will my CBB compete with my mandarins for pods on the rock? I am nervous that my tank will not sustain all three fish. I was going to keep a refugium for pods and also hatch brine shrimp weekly. Will the CBB eat the baby brine shrimp? I remember reading a post from you where you shared that you used to collect food for the CBB at the docks? That they actually eat sponges? Can you provide more detail and a photo?

    More feeding questions bc I do think proper feeding equals healthy fish! You never mention feeding fish oysters only clams? Why is this? I am trying to keep their diet varied for health so I give clams / steamer clams / oysters / mussels / shrimp / scallops. Why no mention of oysters? Also since I have been feeding more live food it has been hard to keep my nitrates low… They are going up.. and currently I am at 20/40 nitrates? What do you think is acceptable nitrate level and how do you manage this? My tank looks good and corals are growing…

    thanks!!
    Neptune.

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