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.