Today’s Awesome Fish Spotlight features a lesser seen member of the butterflyfish clad that hails only from Australia – the only country that’s also a continent. Australia is so awesome it can call itself whatever it wants, and because of its unique geography and fauna, is home to some pretty exclusive animals. The genus Chelmonops is endemic to Australian waters and closely resembles Chelmon both in form and behaviour. Chelmonops holds two species, with C. curiosus replacing C. truncatus in the south-western parts of Australia.
As the genus suggests, Chelmonops is closely related to, and resembles Chelmon in appearance and behavior. This is especially so in the juvenile stages, where both look like black versions of the copperband butterflyfish (Chelmon rostratus). Like Chelmon, the Talmas are often found living near coastal bay areas, harbours, estuaries and are not usually found living in full blown Acropora rich coral reefs.
Juvenile specimens are often found swimming in very shallow water amongst algae and rocks, and are caught easily by tide pool waders. Chelmonops has long been regarded by literature as a fish that does best at sub-tropical type water temperatures between 68-71 F. The specimen we have shown above lives at a minimum temperature of 77 F and is thriving on frozen mysis and flake foods. We’re not exactly sure how crucial a cooler water requirement is for this species, and whether or not it can adapt to standard reef parameters. Since juveniles are very often found in a few feet of water in tide pools, we think that it may be able to adapt pretty well. Ours is doing great at 77 F.
How many of you have kept one before, or are currently keeping one? What are your experiences on the temperature requirements of these butterflyfishes? If you would like something unusual for a cool water display, give the talmas a try. They’re available year round, and we got ours from Cairns Marine.