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Old 10/17/2008, 04:41 PM   #1
BrianD
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Copperband Butterfly Primer

Please offer your suggestions and advice for keeping these wonderful fish.

Possible items to cover:
  • Waterflow and tank dimensions
  • Acclimation and quarantine
  • Tank mates (good and bad)
  • Suggested feeding techniques
  • Recommended size at purchase
  • Preferred collection areas


Please improve the usefulness to the reader by stating opinions as such and actual experiences as such.

Thank in advance to all who participate.


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Old 10/17/2008, 05:26 PM   #2
Zaita
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These fish have notorious reputations for short lives in captivity, so firstly I strongly discourage the purchase of this fish unless you have a suitable environment to sustain it. .

CBBs feed on zooplankton in much the same way as a Mandarin. They will spend many hours of the day cruising around the rock-work hunting for food. Without a sufficient population of zooplankton a CBB will usually die of starvation or malnutrition.

I believe a minimum tank size of about 75g with 100lb of live rock is ideal. More live rock and a refugium is definitely going to be more beneficial. The tank should be seeded with zooplankton and a sufficient amount of time should pass to allow the population to grow and stabilize.

CBB are partially reef-safe, and are known to pick corals on occasion. This comes down to the individual fish. Some will also eat aipstasia, but this is far from guaranteed. However, All CBBs will wipe out any feather dusters, tube anemones or tube worms your tank may have in a matter of days/weeks. I have also seen mine attack small bristleworms.

CBB's are very prone to the Lymphocytis virus. There is no known cure, but it's seldom fatal. They should be treated to prevent onset of a secondary infection causing mortality. When in QT try to provide zooplankton and enriched frozens to ensure the health of the fish. I'd advise against using copper, as it makes it very difficult to provide zooplankton that won't immediately die.

Before purchasing a CBB, please do some research on existing and future tank mates. It's important to reduce the chance of aggression or voracious zooplankton predation by tank mates as CBBs can be quite delicate and easily intimidated. Zebrasoma (Yellow, Scopas, Black and Purple) tangs are not an ideal tank-mate as they will more than likely be aggressive towards a CBB because of the similar body shape. Mandarins and 6-line wrasse are also non-ideal tank mates because of their voracious zooplankton eating.

Once in your tank, you should try to supplement the feeding of the CBB with enriched frozen meat. The CBB will likely be picky and only take a few kinds of frozens so test a few different ones (mine only eats blood worm and brine, not mysis). Once they become familiar with your feeding they will happily accept food directly from your fingers or a device you may have employed.

My experience now? I am keeping a CBB in a 125g tank with 200lbs of live rock. The only other sufficient zooplankton predators in my tank are a pair of Bangaii Cardinal. I have a sump/refuge with 30-40lb of live rock. I have 2 Zebrasoma Scopas tangs in the tank also, who occassionally have issues with the CBB. Fortunately the CBB is bigger and doesn't seem to be too concerned by this. If I re-did this again I wouldn't have any Zebrasoma tangs.

I believe it's important to mimic the natural habitat of all our fish, so I do not strive for a spic-n-span SPS dominated reef that has become so popular. I refuse to keep SPS in my tank and have gone for a softies/lps dominated reef. This has allowed me a bit more lee-way when feeding and keeping a high nutrient environment for macro-algae and zooplankton to thrive. The large amounts of zooplankton provide the majority of my CBB's diet, and I merely supplement this with feedings once a day.

My CBB also has an odd habbit of racing back and forward across the front of the tank in the evenings. No ideal why it does this but it doesn't seem to have any negative effects on the fishes health. Perhaps it's just doing some exercise. They are a fairly intelligent, and highly interactive fish. A real treat to have if you can keep them healthy for sure.


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Old 10/17/2008, 09:14 PM   #3
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First, my failures. The original tank I attempted a copperband butterfly was a 180 reef. It was stocked with a hepatus tang, fox face, and various smaller species (wrasses, etc). I attempted copperbands a couple of times. One time via online purchase and one time via LFS. In each case, the fish died within a short time of being added to the tank. Both fish were probably about half-dollar size.

I did not try again until I had my 550 set up and well established. This time, I purchased an Australian copperband since I had heard they were more hardy. I obtained this fish online and it was easily twice the size of my previous attempts. That fish was a very active feeder and accepted frozen mysid and plankton. It also eliminated all my aiptasia (ignored the aiptasia for the first few months, but once it started eating the aiptasia it cleaned up the tank).

After about 2 years in my tank, I donated the copperband to Inland Aquatics because I was tearing down my tank to rearrange the rockwork, and was afraid the copperband wouldn't do well with the stress.

Other inhabitants of the tank were a hepatus tang, purple tang, and various smaller fish. No aggression or any other issues with tankmates.


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Old 10/17/2008, 09:53 PM   #4
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I have a question for all who keep these fish. Do you QT as normal or just move to the display with the abundance of pods? In all the threads about these fish, and similar hard to keep fish no one ever answers this question.

Thanks in advance.


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Old 10/17/2008, 10:22 PM   #5
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I did not quarantine. I am not saying that is good or bad.


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Old 10/18/2008, 02:31 PM   #6
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I also did not QT mine, but this was because in NZL we have strict biosecurity rules for fish importers. I was fortunate enough to purchase it directly from an importer without the fish being put into an LFS tank.

I would highly recommend QT'ing the fish with a broad spectrum antibiotic, or anti-fungal but not copper. This will allow you to add some live rock with zooplankton and change it reguarly with pieces from your sump so the CBB can have some natural food. Feed enriched frozens while doing this.

It would also pay to do some research on the symptoms and treatment of the Lymphocytis virus. It may require some manual intervention to remove this from the fish and you will need to treat the fish to prevent a fatal secondary infection/illness.

Again though. If you are unsure about getting this fish and being able to QT/care for it properly. I would suggest picking either another butterfly, or a different fish. CBB's can be very delicate and easily intimidated.

Hope that helps


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Old 10/18/2008, 05:35 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the great info. Very timely for me. I am considering one. I have heard of the difficulties of keeping so I am hesitant. The reason why I am even considering is that my LFS has had one for a few weeks now and it is eating mysis. Looks very healthy.

Questions:
- If it has already accepted mysis, does that greatly increase the chance for success?

- The only fish in my tank that I am concerned about compatibility with is a Kole Tang. Any thoughts on compatibility?

I have a 90 gal with about 100-120lbs live rock with a 30 gal refugium. SPS, LPS, Zoa's. The tank has been up for about 6 months but was transferred from another tank that was up for about 4-5months.

Any suggestions/input would be appreciated.

Thanks.


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Old 10/18/2008, 05:38 PM   #8
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My display is a 390 that has been running for 14 months. Three Darts create the flow.
My QT is a 50 that uses a skimmer, uv, dual bio-wheel, heater, MJ1200.
Second QT is a 55 with same equiqment.
Current tank mates are Male 9 inch Vlamingi Tang,5 inch Thompson's Tang, Female G. bellus, Female G. melanospilus, Female Yellow Wrasse, Royal Gramma.
In 50 QT, Male Blonde Naso, 4 Ocellaris Clownfish.
In 55 QT, from a friends tank that he took down, 4 inch Purple Tang, 4 Chromis, Pair of Yellow Wrasses, 3 Anthias.
The 50 QT fish will go into the display in one week.
The 55 QT fish will go into the display in 3 weeks.

I bought my first and only Copperband from FAOIS in Oldsmar Florida. John has a reputation of bringing in quality livestock from quality collectors. My CBB was collected in the Phillipines by a MAC certified collector. It is huge by CBB standards. I placed it in my 50 QT with Mardel Coppersafe and Nitrofurazone. The CBB stayed in the QT for 33 days. While in the QT he started out eating just mysis, but soon started eating Rod's Food and Bloodworms. I tried soaking small pellets in the thawing mysis, and that got him eating pellets. I placed a rock from my sump with aptasia into the QT and he cleaned it up. He's been in the 390 display for 6 weeks now, and started eating flakes in the display. He prowls around all the time eating whatever he can find, and competes for food at each feeding time.

Obviously, I'm a CBB rookie, but I did my homework and bought a fish from a known quality LFS. I QT for medicating and for food training. It's only been about 3 months, but so far, so good.


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Old 10/19/2008, 02:13 PM   #9
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I have my CBB in a 3 year old reef. It is a standard dimension 210 gallon tank with 300+ lbs of live rock and 40X water turnover rate. Tank is full of fish and is LPS dominated with a little bit of stony coral and a crocea clam.

I have only tried one CBB and he is still with me. I bought my CBB 2 years ago from the Foster's and Smith retail outlet. He was not eating yet. I don't know where he was collected from but it was before they opened up Australia I believe. I didn't quarantine and added him directly to the display. He went to work on the aiptasia and feather dusters. I started by offering him live adult brine shrimp, which he loves. After a few days I mixed frozen Hikari mysis with the live brine. He began eating the mysis in a few days. At that point I discontinued the live brine and replaced it with a mix of frozen brine and mysis. I did not want to try putting food in any type of shell resembling a clam because I intended to get a clam and I didn't want to teach him to pick at it. I don't feed any frozen clam at all to any of my fish for this reason. I feed a very wide variety of foods but the CBB only eats mysis, brine, and squid as far I can tell. He completely ignores flakes and pellets. I feed the tank 3 times per day, but I only feed frozen once in the evening. I make sure I always feed plenty of mysis at that time so that he gets enough to eat.

Having a large quantity of live rock and amphipods seems to be very important for maintaining a CBB. He hunts and eats from the rock all day long and into the night. He doesn't eat coral or pick at the clam. I also have 4 anenomes in the tank which he leaves alone. I supplement his diet by adding aiptasia from the sump which he eats with gusto.

He showed a lot aggression to my convict tang when I added him. I think he doesn't care for other fish with vertical stripes.

Over the 3 years the tank has been up I have added fish to the point that it is packed and I had to stop. I was hard to do but when you see my fish list you will see that I am completely maxed out on fish. I will be forced to get a larger tank soon, DARN, LOL!!! There is Zero conflict between the CBB and the other fish.

1 Copper Band Butterfly
3 Ocellaris Clowns
2 Pink Skunk Clowns
4 Lyretail Anthias
1 Coral Beauty
1 African Flameback Angel
1 Potters Angel
1 Achilles Tang
1 Orange Shoulder Tang
1 Convict Tang
1 Regal Tang
1 Naso Tang
1 Midas Blenny
2 Chromis
1 Blue Throat Trigger
1 Whipfin Wrasse
1 Neon Goby

Here are a couple of pictures of my CBB. The first one was taken a couple weeks ago and the second was taken sometime in 2007.






Lisa



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Old 10/19/2008, 03:41 PM   #10
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That's a beautiful CBB.

Here's a pic of mine when he was in QT.



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Old 10/21/2008, 05:33 AM   #11
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Reluctant eaters may be stimulated with chopped local clam, oysters, or mussel on the half-shell. Place the meal near the tanks return so that the meat moves slightly in the flow. Obviously, this is best done in a QT tank so greedy and established tankmates don't gobble the food before the CB ventures out for a look. Do not leave the food out any longer than 15 minutes at a time. If the fish doesn't 'bite' in that time, remove it and try again that evening.

If the CB DOES seem interested but never picks and its belly seems pinched, it might have been a cyanide capture and will probably starve to death no matter what you offer it. The CBs from Australia supposedly come in much healthier and are never caught with cyanide.


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Old 10/26/2008, 08:29 PM   #12
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i have recently picked up a cbb a few days ago. he seems to be stimulated by food and really only picks at mysis. he picks at some and actually eats a few pieces during feeding twice a day. i picked up some clams and he doesnt seem to be too interested in it. he'll eat a piece or 2 of brine but most of the time he mouthes the food then spits it out. his belly doesnt seem like its pinched or tell me if iim wrong?




any ideas?


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Old 10/29/2008, 07:51 AM   #13
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mine only eat mysis too so make sure you have decent supply of it


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Old 10/31/2008, 04:10 PM   #14
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well he is eating very well now gobbles up mysis like its nobodys business


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Old 10/31/2008, 05:37 PM   #15
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at work we frequently get cbs and all but 2 were eating


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Old 11/07/2008, 10:24 PM   #16
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Today I picked up my CBB from my LFS today. The shipment came in last night and I let him rest overnight before taking it home this afternoon. He was in a tank with other fish that would have eaten any food if I tried to feed him in the store. In selecting the ones in the store all were in equal shape but this one was the most active, all were in very plump shape. I took it home and offered some food, but wasn't interested, left the lights off most of the day to give him some rest. The store owner made me aware that his SG ran lower after adding so many fish, and to make sure to acclimate slowly. He was drip acclimated for 60 to 90 mins before being moved to the QT.

I turned on the lights later and again offered a bit of food, passed again at that time. He is still very shy but after a few hours was out exploring the QT tank. I have some LR with Aptasia and feather dusters as well as PVC pipes in it. He is very active and poking around in one side of the tank, and swimming thru the PVC T pipe but stops before moving in to the open water.

I will try again tomorrow after he has a chance to rest and wake up. I have Mysis, Brine, bloodworms, and mega marine (all Hikari). I will soak in Selcon, and try Garlic. If no luck by Monday I will go shopping for live clams, etc.

Once he is eating well and eagerly and shows no signs of illness I will move him to the display.

I plan to test the QT daily for water parameters and have always fought ammonia in the past, I have Kordon's Amquel that will help deal with that. There is a skimmer on my QT.

Wish me luck, I will post pic tomorrow, too busy watching to take a picture


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Old 11/08/2008, 03:53 PM   #17
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This is a crummy picture, I have to take at an angle thru the glass and it distorts the pic. But it is a picture. This guy has great eyesight, anyone within 8 feet of the tank and he is right back into hiding. He actually is moving all around the tank, but seems to distrust us humans - wonder why? I fed some Mysis and he ate a few, spit it out at first then ate it again. But he went for a few more mysis. Tried some bloodworms - not interested at all. Two of the three aptasia on the live rock are gone now, one big one left for him. Can't see the feather duster for the angle, but assume it is a goner as well.
If I can get a better picture I will post.

At least it is eating something.



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Old 11/09/2008, 07:11 PM   #18
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mine did the same thing for about the first week after i got him. darted away whenever i came up to the tank and would mouth food and spit out. its been 2 or so weeks now and everytime he sees me he is up near the top of the tank waiting for me to drop in more brine or mysis. and all my featherdusters were gone within about a day and a half


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Old 11/09/2008, 09:21 PM   #19
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He is eating the mysis, and cleaned a huge aptasia on the live rock. He is peaking out of the pvc cave more and more, and venturing farther and farther to eat the mysis. Thanks for the timeframe Mutateddogbone.


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Old 11/09/2008, 09:24 PM   #20
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yea no problem. i was just excited that mine did alright i used to work at a fish store and these guys just never seemed to make it. good luck with yours they are very beautiful fish


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Current Tank Info: 75g braceless SPS dominated w/ 50g Frag Tank
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Old 11/10/2008, 11:52 AM   #21
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I have a 225 MD with a 100 sump. I'm not sure how many pounds of LR, as I've added over time. This tank is 2 years old, though some of the rock I've had since 2004. In Feb of 08 I had an uncontrollable explosion of aipstasia. I tried everything out there and every home remedy to no avail. I was losing SPS & Lps and couldn't seem to stop them. At my wits end and stressed out I went to one of my LFS to see again what other options was out there. On this day they had 7 CBB. They was offered and right away I refused, due to they die. However, I was asked to feed the 7 CBB with a food call PE mysid shrimp ( new to us). To my amazement 6 of the 7 CBB ate it right away as I placed it into the tanks. Still I was unsure. After a few hours of looking them all over I was talked into giving one a try. If I thought it wasn't going to make it, and I brought it back alive, I'd get a full refund.
I bought him and a large pack of the frozen PE brand. Due to them not eating normally, I did not QT, dripped for 3 hours and place into the MD. At that time I had these fish in the tank:

1 Maroon Clown @ 2 inches

1 Christmas Wrasse # 3 inches

and numorous Inverts.

Within 1 month I couldn't find 1 aipstasia. I watched this fish eat them everyday. He also eat's the PE Mysid shrimp. I've tried other brands of Mysid and he just picks at them and then spits them back out. The only foods I've been able to get him to eat is the PE mysid & once I hatched baby brine shrimp just for him. He did eat some of them but did not go crazy for them. I still have him today plus a about 5 other fish. Every once in a while I'll bring home from other reefer's homes some aipstasia and drop them in. He goes right after them sometimes before they hit the sand. He also picks at the rocks and around corals. I'm assuming he's eating pods.

Against all odds, I've had a few issue's where things went wrong ATO messed up and topped off 55g of fresh water bringing SG down to 1.021
A new fish brought in ICK
I over measured and over doses ALK
Heater stuck on and raise tank to 87*

I've lost a few fish due to these issues, But my CBB has remained. I call him one of the 3 strong holds of my tank. The Maroon Clown, Christmas Wrasse and my CBB have been the strongest through out. When asked why he's survived by other's in my club I can only give out the answer's I think might be right.

This tanks has been up for two years. Most things in it I had since 2004 from my first 90 tank, LR and some LS. And it's somewhat big 225 gallons.

It was up for 2 years before I bought him and had only had 2 fish in it. Maybe it was loaded with pods??

And the fact that he eat's the PE mysid shrimp.

Other's in my club have tried CBB and lost them even when feeding the PE brand Mysid shrimp and other's like me have had success. My CBB is about 3 inches long and is by far my prized fish. Of all the screw up's I done I'd like to think this CBB is a reward for sticking it out in this hobby. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying hey go get one, But I can't tell you it would be wrong to do that either. It was 4 years before I did, and I didn't want to even then.


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Old 11/10/2008, 04:16 PM   #22
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Mine doesn't like PE Mysis. It is too big and he spits it out. I have to feed the smaller Hikarii Mysis. Could be he is just spoiled and finiky, LOL. When you get a new CBB make sure you try all brands of mysis just in case yours has a preference of one over the other like mine does.

Lisa


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Old 11/14/2008, 01:43 PM   #23
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Mine doesn't like the bigger mysis shrimp only likes the smaller ones.


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Old 11/15/2008, 07:25 PM   #24
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Interesting how everyone is feeding Hikari Mysis. Mine is eating mysis well, in fact it is waiting out for more all the time, as opposed to hiding. It has been a week so far. I have tried flakes - not interested. Tried Spectrum pellets - It wonders what the heck they are, but doesn't try them. Tried Hikari's mega marine - it has krill and other apparent yummy's in it. Didn't like the larger shrimps in that. Still going to keep trying to "fool" it into taking mysis flavored pellets.

So Hikari Mysis in selcon it is so far. What brands of other foods are people getting them to eat for variety?


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Old 11/17/2008, 10:54 PM   #25
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I have been fighting the s.g., ammonia & PH battle with my QT - and I am tossing in the towel and moving my CBB to the display, he is an active mysis feeder now and will benefit from the better not to mention stable water conditions. I dripped for two hours to adjust between my QT and the display and transferred him in a container (ice cream pail) and it worked way better then the net - less stressful on the fish as well. I At least I got a good picture, after lights out it was cruising around under the moonlights it looks like a zebra! I did find out that my tang ate Mysis soaked pellets !


Thanks for your advice everyone, it helped me out! Good luck to all who follow.


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