Auriga Butterflyfish discoloration/growth?
Hi folks, long time reader but first time poster. I very recently introduced an Auriga Butterfly to my tank, and I've noticed some sort of growth on his mouth. The fish was quarantined, and I didn't notice any problems. At first I thought he was just carrying something around, but as I write this post, it's still there. Notice the discoloration around the mouth?
The specifics of my tank:
75 Gallon 4-footer
Tank has been set up for approx. 2 months
Cycled for approximately 2-3 weeks, using live rock
Current Stock: 2 Ocellaris Clowns, 2 Yellow-tail Damsels, and the Butterfly in question
Water temp: 75.6
Filter is an Eschopps 125 Gal. wet-dry
Tank gets no direct sunlight
Water changes are once weekly, 10pct
Fish are fed Omega Flakes, Butterfly will get mysis shrimp as well
Lighting is notthing crazy, Coralife dual 120W Flourescents
Ph is between 8.0 and 8.5, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrates less than 20 ppm, KH 240ppm, GH 180 ppm, Salinity 1.245
Test Kit is API Strips
Last purchase before the Butterfly was about 5 weeks ago.
Have you guys seen anything like this before? I'm not sure how to proceed from here. Perhaps he picked at the wrong piece of live rock, but I'd much rather be safe than sorry. I'm very meticulous by nature, and I've kept him under pretty diligent observation since introducing him to the tank yesterday. No idea what could have caused this, or what it is in the first place. Thanks in advance!
By the looks of the rest of his mouth, I'd say he poked it into something. These things heal pretty quick also. As long as he doesn't keep doing it.
How did this pan out?
I had a tang with lymphocystis once. It develops around the mouth and kind of resembles cauliflower. It is a type of virus similiar to Herpes Simplex A in humans (strictly as a comparison). It can either slough itself off, or grow to such a size that it inhibits feeding and would need to be surgically removed (but might grow back).
I am not saying this looks like lymphocystis, but keep a close eye on it.
Unfortunately, he didn't make it through that night. I still don't know for sure what got him, but I examined him when I fished him out of the tank. It looked like a piece of his mouth had literally broken off; I think he wedged it in just right to a piece of live rock. I'm chalking it up to "one of those things," b/c Lord knows I don't have any other ideas.
I am sorry about your butterfly. I had a similar thing happen to a Pakistani: lymphocystis grew in such a way that it temporarily occluded the mouth of the fish. In this case, the growth did fall off, but the fish never seemed able to recover and stopped growing (I had two identical small paki's, so it was apparent by looking at the other fish how badly affected he was).
BFs are notoriously prone to damage to the mouth during shipment, and this is a key place to inspect when considering a purchase.
I adore butterflies, but have a mediocre track record with some, a horrible track record with others, and some great successes with a few more durable species.
I have never kept Aurigas, but I know they are recommended as a very hardy fish. My experience is that even hardy butterflies are not always easy.
For what it's worth, my best successes have been with Chaetodon Xanthurus, C. Vagabundus, Forcipiger Longirostrus, Heniochus Acuminatus, Diphreutes and Chrysostomus.
I have found Raccoons to be difficult when purchased smaller than 3-4". Medium specimens are tough, wonderful fish, though, and I have a three year old in my 210 that is a pig at mealtimes.
I have attemped Pakistani's a few times. I have one now that is something of a miracle in that it was purchased online and arrived at a ridiculously small size (size of a nickle). It has tripled in size since last November and is now downright feisty and pudgy. Contrary to the literature, I ws not successful with larger specimens. Good sized medium specimens I acquired lived and ate well for a couple months, but then mysteriously became apathetic and died. I do not have the answers on this species, but I am grateful for the healthy specimen I have.
I will not attempt C. Ephippium again unless I find a great specimen that is eating piggishly. I have taken over-the-top measures to acclimate these fish on the two occasions that I tried them, but have not succeeded. To be fair, the Saddlebacks I bought from LiveAquaria did not arrive in great shape. But I did obtain a nice sized fish locally, and used every trick in the book to get it to eat. This included buying cheap corals and anemones for it to peck at. It ate, but never with enthusiasm and lasted six weeks. This is probably my favorite Chaetodon species, so I am especially pained that I could not keep this fish alive.
I lost a Copperband due to my error in placing the fish in a tank with too much competition. Many BFs are sort of slow, methodical feeders, and this is particularly the case with copperbands. Even target feeding (which I recommend) is not always successful.
I hope your next butterfly is a success! These are wonderful fish when they acclimate, and worth the work.
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