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Chelmon rostratus
Copperband Butterflyfish

 Age of Aquariums > Saltwater Fish > Copperband Butterflyfish - Chelmon rostratus

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chelmon1.jpg (18kb)
Photo Credit: Keith & Lisa

Name: Chelmon rostratus
Origin: Indo-Pacific Oceans

Size Behavior Reef
20 cm Peaceful Low Risk


Copperband Butterflies are one of the more difficult to keep fish which are commonly available. They do not respond well to shipping and can be difficult to feed. Proper quarantine procedures are essential for success.

Contributed by (no name given)

There have also been reports of these fish being used in reef tanks to eat aiptasia which they do a good job on, though your reef is still at risk. Butterfly fish like to pick at things. To get them to start eating black worms, put in rock crevices or a clam on the half shells. Also brine shrimp fortied with sera can stop a hunger strike. When transferring these fish donīt net them, use a container, it is best not to expose them to air.

Contributed by Ashley Bond

The Copper-banded Butterflyfish (Chelmon Rostratus) is a very fragile fish, and it's lack of hardiness makes it less resistant to disease. They are quite difficult and aggressive - very territorial. Only one male per tank is reccommended. They are best in a species tank, a community only if it is very large and spacious. Small live foods are best, but they are picky eaters. Sexing: Males may have a steeper head profile.

Contributed by a visitor

I've had much success with the copperband, and I think it's a relatively easy fish to keep. Mine doesn't eat anything other than brine shrimp. I wouldn't say they are picky eaters as most butterflies only eat brine or mysis shrimp. Regarding corals, my copperband has never touched any of my corals, but I would still say that there is a risk of it starting to pick on coral when it's hungry.

Contributed by a visitor

While it looks like a great fish, it should only be attempted after extensive research. They are very hard to get to eat.

Contributed by Dan

I've owned a Copperfish for about 1 1/2 years now and its fine, not hard to keep at all. I'm not an expert, in fact I just started my 450 liter about 4 weeks ago and had the copper band fish in a 1 month old tank (220 liters). I do have a reef with corals and anenomes (in the 450 liter) and the butterfly doesn't bother them at all, I even have a feather duster, I just keep my fish well fed and they don't bother anything in the tank. I got mine to eat with brine shrimp (frozen). Fairly easy fish to keep.

Contributed by Adolfo Santos

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