What's your Butterfly Batting Average?
A thread regarding an ailing Auriga BF started me thinking about successes and failures I have had with Butterflyfish. I mentioned to the OP that, much as it pains me, I have never succeeded with THE ONE CHAETODON that is a favorite. I have done well with some species that aren't usually regarded as "good" BFs, I have done poorly with a couple that are supposedly "easy", utterly lucked out with some and completely whiffed on others.
Here are my stats on some of them:
C. Lunula: 2 out of 5. 40% success. Crappy, for what is generally regarded as one of the most rugged members of the genus. But I have had 100% success with specimens 4 inches and up and 100% failure with those 2.5" and smaller. Maybe bigger is better if you're a Raccoon.
C. Xanthurus: 5 for 6. 83% success. So cooperative, I am surprised it gets only a middling rating as a hardy BF by most authorities. They eat what you put in front of them, spectrum pellets, Algae sheets, Frozen foods, whatever. They get along with each other and everybody else. What's not to like?
C. Vagabundus: 3 for 3. 100% success. Bob Fenner refers to these as "C Decussatus' congener loser" but I do not understand his assessment, valid as I am sure it is based on his observations. All of mine ate immediately and without hesitation. Winning!
C. Collare: 1 for 5. Ouch. 20%. Experts advise acquisition of medium size fish. The one I own now came to me at the riduculous small size of a nickel. I wrote LIveAquaria a letter of complaint that a BF this size should not be collected. I got all high and righteous and indignant! Naturally, this one has tripled in size in the last eleven months and spent last week hassling my Powder Blue Tang. Collares I bought at medium size ate well for a couple months, then checked out. I wish I had more Paki's, but I hate "killing" them.
C Ephippium. 0 for 3. Goose-egg. 0%. Nada. Zippo. Bupkis. Utter and complete frikkin failure. My favorite Chaetodon is my Waterloo. I coaxed them with fresh seafood and bought them live anemones and corals to munch. I bought ultra-developed live rock rife with life and aiptasia, which they ate with gusto. Then they pushed away the plate and said, "No More!" I cannot abide in a glass box. And they died.
To me, there is hardly a more heartbreaking sight than a butterfly losing ground, and as a consequence, I am extremely torn with regard to these fish. I love having them when they do well but I grieve when none of my efforts makes any difference. . .
What are your experiences with BFs? More importantly, what are your tips for acclimation and ongoing care? Would you nominate any species to the list of "Good Butterflies" that aren't currently on that list?
Talk to me.
Oh boy. This is a toughy for me here.
I've had 1 Copper Band survive out of 5. I had him for 2 years, he ate everything thrown in the tank. The 4 after him never made it past 72 hours. I drip acclimated everyone of them for 3-4 hours, at a rate of 3-4 drips per second. Got me what the issues are with them, but man they are hard to acclimate to a tank. The surviving Copper Band at Aiptasia and I mean everyone one of em, I would flip the rocks over for him to pick at, Mysis Shrimp and Squid Chunks. And he got really, really BIG. Loved that fish.
Your candid response has made me so happy! It's horrible to think I am alone wreaking havoc in the lives of these beautiful fish.
I had a Copperband that did great for a couple months. I interpret his demise as a failure on my part to get him enough food. I think the competition in the tank was too much for a fish that largely picks methodically all day long in the wild. The three or four feedings per day were probably frustrating for CB who likely got a mere morsel each time. My fault. Inexperienced fish keeper. Had this fish been a lone specimen in a medium size reef tank, he'd probably still be alive.
ive tried 2 copperbands, one making it a few months, the other dying in a few days. they usually will go crazy for live blackworms, but try to use other foods too or they will be hooked.
ive had my long nose yellow butterfly since 08
I just acquired a longnose about a month ago. What a stunning fish. Eats like a champ. They look really delicate, but they are supposed to be pretty tough. I hope mine does as well as yours.
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