View Full Version : DD Copperband only grazing, how to feed.

03/03/2011, 10:31 AM
Hi folks,

So I've had my copperband butterfly from the Diver's Den listed as Eating Mysis and Brine Very Well for a little over 2 wks. For the first week or so he paced the tank and did not show any interest in food. I wasn't worried but I called DD customer service to ensure they were aware he wasn't eating, just in case.

Since then he is constantly picking at the LR and substrate, occasionally he seems to find something but I don't believe enough. Currently I feed w/garlic Spirulina Brine, Hikari Mysis, Cyclops, Nori (by clip), and a flake/pellet combination. Around feeding time if some of the mysis makes it to the substrate he will eat it.

What I'd like is for ideas on a way to affix some sort of food, like the mysis, to a crevice in the rock so he can graze on it like you might do with something more like nori. Does anybody have any methods for setting meaty foods up in a grazing station like this?

Do you think one of those freshwater feeder pyramids might work at least until I can get him to eat out of the water column with the rest of the fish?

03/03/2011, 10:38 AM
hmmm... I just had a multibar angel from divers den do the same thing, they stated that it was also eating hikari mysis and brine well before leaving the facility. I gave it everything I could think of but it perished after 3 weeks. DD credited me for 1/2 the fish because it was after the 2 week period but this was the first fish out of many purchased from the den that didn't eat almost immediately.... I wonder if they are starting to rush fish out lately???

03/03/2011, 10:45 AM
Your best bet would be to take a gel-based food and smear it into the pores of a coral skeleton, let it "set up" in the fridge and place it into the tank for the CBB to graze on. I've also had success with live blackworms with CBB's. Just feed them out a bit at a time, as they die quickly in SW.

You can see the "red stuff" on the coral skeleton in this pic from when were were weaning our OSFF pair:


03/03/2011, 10:47 AM
I have heard that live black worms are like candy for the copperbands, if you can get some locally that would be my first try to at least no he is eating something.

03/03/2011, 11:13 AM
I've had success with frozen blood worms and small mysis, a bit easier to find than live black worms. I've had him going on four years now.

03/03/2011, 11:24 AM
Your best bet would be to take a gel-based food and smear it into the pores of a coral skeleton, let it "set up" in the fridge and place it into the tank for the CBB to graze on. I've also had success with live blackworms with CBB's. Just feed them out a bit at a time, as they die quickly in SW.[/IMG]

Thanks guys.

Namxas, placing food on corals skeletons didn't serve to train your fish to eat corals? I'd be worried they'd start associating corals with food if I fed like that.

03/03/2011, 11:27 AM
I wonder if they are starting to rush fish out lately???

I seriously doubt they would risk reputation for money. Some fish just don't handle shipping and change of environment very well. I ordered my Moorish Idol from them a couple weeks ago and it didn't eat for a few days but grazed. Now it eats like a pig, everything I put in the tank.

I truly believe DD cares about the well being of their livestock and wouldn't sell you a fish unless it was healthy and eating.

03/03/2011, 11:33 AM
FWIW, ours was afraid of live black worms. Couldn't figure that out! But he eats everything else, like a pig (except pellets). Picks at the nori clip, too.

Do you have any sort of fine mesh that could trap some mysis on a rock? he could pick it through the mesh? I've seen folks drill holes in a pvc cap and make a little feeding station, too. But it sounds like if he knows it's food when it's on the substrate, he'll figure out to come get it from the baster (or what ever) pretty soon. (fingers crossed for you!)

03/03/2011, 11:36 AM
The fish probably eats very well in a small tank of its own, as it was probably held that way at DD. All the time in the world to lazily eat any mysis sitting on the floor of the tank. Things are diffeernmt in a display.

Copperband butterflies aren't like regular butterflies, so smearing gel food on a coral skeleton won't do much, IMO. Check out the copperband primer. This is a good idea, IMO:

Also, get some blackworms, he should like them. Minced strips of scallop and shrimp from the grocery store may work too..

03/03/2011, 07:09 PM
What peter said is true.

also, copperbands, multibar etc are very sensitive fish and stress easily. long transportation could very well re-set their feeding mentality and bring them back to the beginning and training have to be done all over again.

this goes the same for copper treatments. sometimes after copper, the fish "forgets" how to eat and you have to re-train it from the beginning.

Dakota Reef
03/04/2011, 02:07 AM

Good luck with your copperband. I got mine from DD a little over a year ago and ran into the same feeding issue initially. I started him out by himself so i could see what he'd eat without competition. For a few days he only picked at the live rock but ignored blackworms, mysis and Rod's food. On my second try with a cracked frozen clam from the gocer he started picking and after a week I was able to move him into my display tank.

This is right after adding him to the display tank. Notice how thin he'd become.


The cracked clams worked for a few days but they're very messy and my brittle stars, shrimp and other fish were always stealing the food, so I started putting mysis and Rod's Food between two pieces of clam shell. Here's my Longnose showing him how its done.


After that it was easy to get him to eat out of a butterfly feeder I had made many years before for my Longnose Butterfly.

That was a year ago and happily he's flourished and suprisingly has grown noticeably larger than my Longnose. Here's a bad video from my wife's cellphone but you get the idea.


In my experience you're absolutely on the right track with trying to feed him so he can pick at foods like he would naturally. My CB loves thin slivers of frozen scallops and mysis but with the feeder I prefer to give them "chunkier" food like chunks of shrimp from the grocer, Rogger's Food or ON cubes because the other fish can't get it out of the feeder.

So keep at it and good luck!!

03/04/2011, 05:22 AM
Thanks very much guys, Dakota what size bit did you use to drill the feeding holes?

03/04/2011, 08:46 AM
I got a juvenile Achilles yang from DD and he is fat and sassy. Didn't eat for the first day. Ate a little the second and now eats like a pig. Very happy with DD and the fish quality. Good luck with the CB

03/04/2011, 09:22 AM
Namxas, placing food on corals skeletons didn't serve to train your fish to eat corals? I'd be worried they'd start associating corals with food if I fed like that.

We weren't concerned with that since we no longer keep a reef. We were simply getting the OSFF to eat and gain some weight. The fish are completely weaned and feed from the water column (have been for well over a year).

Besides live blackworms, my CBB ate Hikari mysis, enriched live Artemia, and a few other foods. I was lucky because I had an Aussie fish, which tend to feed well, but unfortunately, don't care for appies.

Dakota Reef
03/04/2011, 09:37 AM
Thanks very much guys, Dakota what size bit did you use to drill the feeding holes?

The last time I made one I used a 3/16" bit and that worked fine. Bigger than 1/4" and finer foods get blown away too quickly in my tank.

If you make one out of pvc or clear plastic you should take care to smooth over the edges of the holes you've drilled as they can be very sharp....(think of deburring the cut ends of pvc before glueing it up). I use a small file from Lowes to knock down both the inside and outside edges of the holes.

Alex T.
03/04/2011, 12:59 PM
+1 on the Bloodworms. That's how mine started eating and loved them. Then eventually took to mysis. Many finicky eaters will take to bloodworms first before mysis. The problem with the CBB is that they are very slow and shy eaters. If you have aggressive feeders at feeding time the CBB is likely to not get enough to sustein it. Most tanks you see them in long term appear to have very docile tankmates that feed slowly and where the CBB is the show fish.

03/04/2011, 01:12 PM
My tank is very peaceful. The most aggressive eaters are the cleaner shrimp, there is nothing else even half as large as the CBB and he isn't slightly shy. He spends a lot of time picking the rocks and the substrate so I plan to try shredding clam on a half shell and start with that and then follow the steps Dakota laid out. Seems very good. Maybe I'll even get a longnose butterfly as well. That's an attractive and interesting duo.

03/05/2011, 05:43 PM
Just wanted to thank you again Dakota Reef.

I put a broken-up clam into the tank ~2 hours ago, just checked in and my CBB is picking at it. Ripped one piece so large off I thought sure he was going to choke on it. He didn't, of course, so alls good news!

Do you think I should go straight to the butterfly feeder after a few days of cracked clam or should I try sticking the frozen between the clam shells? I don't have another butterfly to teach him so I'm a bit nervous. I was thinking maybe I'd take some mysis and wedge it under the clam meat to try and get him interested in that.

03/05/2011, 07:18 PM
My butterfly fish love to feed (rogger's food) from plastic mesh which makes it available for a couple of hours. Also clams on the half shell are popular with both angels and butterfly fish.

Dakota Reef
03/05/2011, 08:16 PM
Hey Nick, thats really good news.

That sounds like a good plan. After a few days he may well follow the smell of the clam directly to the feeder. To start with it may help to put it near where he was feeding on the cracked clam.

Once my CB associated the feeder with food he started to eat just about anything I put in it. Actually, he's gotten to the point where I can scatter mysis in the tank and he's oblivious to it as he races to inspect the empty feeder. I may have overtrained him!!

Good luck!

04/08/2011, 05:36 PM
Just a final update. My CBB continues to love the clams which I feed once a week or so now, ended up skipping the feeder idea. ~2 weeks ago I noticed he was eating the brine and cyclops out of the water when I didn't feed a clam. Just tonight I noticed he now eats the mysis as well, and voraciously too, really the piggiest fish in the entire display at this time.

So kudos to DD and everyone here for your help! I expect a healthy and happy fish for a long time to come.

As an aside, the CBB is currently the largest and one of the boldest fish in my (very peaceful) display. I'm still fond of the idea of adding a Longnose Butterfly so I just wanted to check in and find out whether I should expect contention or a change in feeding behavior by adding another butterfly. I don't want to risk the CBB so if you all feel it may be a risk, I'll look into something different.

Dakota Reef
04/08/2011, 11:56 PM
Thanks for the update....its good to hear you're still having success.

I was a little concerned about potential aggression before adding the CBB with an already established YLN. But, happily its been a total non-issue. Most of the time both fish are so busy hunting for food they are oblivious to each other....and all other fish in the tank for that matter.

The most aggression I've ever seen between the two has been a rare display of impatience at the feeder and thats only amounted to a few seconds of fin flaring and head lowering before everything seems to be forgotten.

It has been interesting to see how much faster the CBB has grown than the YLN even though the YLN is definitely the more aggressive eater.