Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chelmon rostratus

Image: © Luc Viatour (
Please click here to view original image.
Scientific Name: Chelmon rostratus
Species Authority: Linnaeus, 1758
Family: Chaetodontidae
Common Name: Copperband Butterflyfish, Beaked Coralfish, Beaked Butterflyfish, Orange Stripe Butterflies, Kupferbinden-Pinzettfisch (DE)
Distribution: Western Pacific and Northeastern Indian Oceans: Andaman Sea to Ryukyu Islands and Australia, Southeast Asia to the Great Barrier Reef, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
Environment: Reef-associated; non-migratory; brackish; marine; depth range 1 to 25 meters. A common species found singly and in pairs along rocky shores and coral reefs; also in estuaries and silty inner reefs. Adults are normally seen swimming in the open near the sea bottom. Juveniles are solitary, more secretive and found in shallower water.
Reef Safe: With caution - Although Copperband Butterflyfish have been thought to be relatively safe with most soft corals and small polyped stony corals, they may pick on invertebrates, especially anemones and feather dusters, zoanthids and other corals that are similar to Aiptasia.
Minimum Tank Size: 1000 liters or larger.
Tank Set-up: Marine aquarium with corals, plenty of live rocks / rocks and live sand. Provide a generous supply of hiding places for retreat where it may hide or keep motionless, lots of live rock to graze on, as well as open areas where they can swim freely, as they spend a good deal of their time in the open water.
Water Region: Middle to Bottom. They are quite active and will swim freely in the open water.
Lighting: Moderately strong to strong. They are best kept under the normal lighting conditions, but can also be kept under very bright light as long as some dimly lit spaces are provided. They are known to be more active during the day, but those seen at night were quite frisky.
Water Flow: Moderate to strong flow. They can tolerate a rather strong flow but slow-moving water will be more favorable. This factor is good to keep in mind when setting up the tank especially if they will be housed with corals and other fish species that may require very strong water flow.
Size: Up to 20 cm
Lifespan: 4 or more years - Maximum longevity: 10 years (in the wild)
Diet: Carnivore - Though the diet of the Copperband Butterflyfish is not currently documented, they are believed to feed heavily on tubeworms, polychaete worms, small crustaceans and other invertebrates, including parasitic forms such as Calliactis parasitica and common glass anemone (Aiptasia). Many aquarists report that when kept well fed, their Copperband Butterflyfish doesn't bother any of their reef species.

Copperband Butterflyfish are very delicate and can be very difficult to feed, especially with prepared aquarium food. You may need to train them and experiment with various live foods, including brine and mysis shrimp. Some hobbyists have reported success using fresh clams on the half shell placed in the bottom of the tank, or feeding tubes with multiple holes where they can "poke" into with their beaks to get them to start eating. As soon as they are adjusted, they can be as quick and active as your Zebrasoma flavescens during feeding time and may even try to get your attention when you pass by their tank.

Offer a variety of meaty foods such as krill, mysis, shaved clams and oysters, dried flakes, prepared frozen foods, frozen carnivore preparations, and tablets. Japanese Nori (Asakusa-nori) may also be favored. Feed them at least twice a day. For juveniles, food should be provided frequently in small quantities, three or four times everyday. As stated earlier, once it is successfully acclimated it can become a fairly hardy fish, but for how long is unknown.
Temperament: Semi-aggressive. Copperband Butterflyfish are not overly aggressive, but are very territorial and will be aggressive towards other members of their own kind, and sometimes other butterflyfish in the same genus, Chelmon. They are best housed in peaceful community tanks. They can sometimes be so passive that a small (young specimen) and curious A. ocellaris may bully them a little bit.

It is recommended to keep one specimen per aquarium and stress-inducing fish should be avoided. Among the ideal tankmates are the not-so-aggressive angelfish like members of Centropyge, Apolemichthys, Genicanthus, Chaetodontoplus and Pygoplites, and the smaller, non-aggressive fish like cardinalfish, gobies, dragonets, tilefish, sometimes other species butterflyfish, fairy basslets, fairy and flasher wrasses, etc. The large and rather territorial angelfish, Pomacanthus and Holacanthus should be avoided as should most damselfish species, and the small, territorial and aggressive dottybacks.

Seeing it dart into hiding is a good indication that it is feeling threatened and the situation may need to be remedied with one of the fish being removed.
Care Level: Difficult.
Resilience: High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months
Reproduction: Egg Scatterer / Oviparous - Copperband Butterflyfish are known to form monogamous pairs during breeding. There are no reliable data available that they have been bred in captivity. If at all, they are known to be very difficult to breed in a captive environment. There are, however, reports of some success in rearing wild collected larvae of some of the corallivorous butterflyfish. It is hoped these captive reared fish will be adapted to accept aquarium foods, and thus broaden the species selections that can be sustained in captivity.
Gender: It is very difficult to determine the difference/s between males and females. Butterflyfish species studied up to this time indicate that these fish are gonochoristic, meaning that each fish is either a male or a female and the sex of an individual, once determined, does not change during its lifetime.
Special Requirement/s: The Copperband Butterflyfish are very difficult to keep and are not recommended for beginners. They are one of the most difficult marine fish to feed. A commitment to observe and train them during quarantine period is a must. This will also give them time to recuperate from transport and it may be easier to get them to eat without competition from other tank mates. Some aquarists suggest that it is better to acquire young specimens, as they seem to be easier to train to feed in captivity.

Success in keeping Copperband Butterflyfish depends on each individual species. Some will quickly accept fresh and frozen foods in captivity and will be easy to maintain. Others will refuse to eat initially, but may be enticed to eat live foods offered in a way that simulates their natural feeding environment. Unfortunately, there are others who will refuse foods entirely and ultimately perish.

There is also a note on Meerwasser-Lexikon that out of around 100 specimens, less than 10 will reach maturity in captivity. They say that, it is a very sad finding, but unfortunately, it is the truth.

On a lighter side, Blue Zoo Aquatics provides a possible training method to get them to eat:

"If you obtain a specimen that is slow to accept a captive diet, there are some methods you can try to encourage it to eat. One approach is to feed live enriched brine shrimp and slowly add more frozen food over time with each feeding and less live food. You can also try applying a home made mix of crustacean flesh that is pressed into a brain coral skeleton, frozen, then placed into the aquarium will also usually work. Feed (live only) enriched brine shrimp, live clams or black mussels (break the shells), mysis shrimp and any frozen carnivore preparations."
Red List Status: Least Concern (LC)
  click here for more information
Specific Gravity: 1.020 to 1.025
Temperature: 24°C to 26°C
pH: 8.1 to 8.4
Angelfish (Dwarf)Groupers
Angelfish (Large)Grunts / Sweetlips
BlennyLionfish / Scorpionfish
CardinalsPuffers / Porcupines
ChromisSeahorse / Pipefish
ClownfishSharks / Rays
DartfishTangs / Surgeons
EelsWrasse (Reef Safe)
Filefish Wrasse (FO/FOWLR)
Foxface / RabbitfishCorals
With Caution
Not Compatible
Luc Viatour (
Animal World (
Encyclopedia of Life (
Blue Zoo Aquatics - (
Fresh Marine (
Meerwasser-Lexikon (
FishLore - (
Live Aquaria (
Wild Singapore ( (
Wikipedia (
Baensch Marine Atlas
The New Marine Aquarium (Michael S. Paletta)
World Atlas of Marine Fishes (Helmut Debelius & Rudie H. Kuiter)

No comments:

Post a Comment