Copperbanded Butterflyfish refusing to eat - Tricks to get it eating

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Hi, Guys.

So the Copperbanded butterflyfish I bought a month or so ago now is still proving troublesome and while it is  eating Garlic Brineshrimp, that's all it's eating. Also, as they're shy feeders, he does pick at the odd brineshrimp, but most get stolen from in front of it's eyes by the other fish, and I'm finding myself overfeeding massively to get enough food into the copperband.

Here's mine.


There's lots of tricks to get notoriously tricky feeders to feed, and I've explored lots of them with my Mandarinfish, although that's not a feeding worry at all, it's doing fine picking off copepods all day, not thin or emaciated whatsoever.

And another...


So, tricks to get copperbanded butterflyfish to eat, I've seen lots, here's the ones I've heard of;

The main one is prevention is better than cure, and buying one that you've seen eating in the LFS is best, which it is, but the problem is, most will eat in the LFS, as they're in tanks by themselves or other slow eaters. As soon as you get it home it'll be outdone for food by the rest of your fish...

Feeding an opened mussel, tied, with an elastic band to a rock to hold it still. The copperband should nip at the tissue. My copperband doesn't touch the mussel. I tried putting garlic onto the mussel first, but it still didn't show any interest, a sniff at most. Lastly, I tried putting a cube of frozen garlic brineshrimp inside a shrimp, and cable tieing it closed, only open wide enough for the copperband's beak. It worked a little, in that as the brine shrimp escaped, the copperband ate some, but that's no different than feeding the brineshrimp normally, the fish won't get enough of them to sustain it.

Feeding Garlic Brineshrimp. This works for me, but brineshrimp isn't that nutritious, and I can't get enough into it to sustain it.

I tried target feeding the copperband with my turkey baster, using the garlic brineshrimp it loves. That worked a bit, in that it'd stick it's beak up the tube to get the shrimp, but then it'd spit them out to get them at a different angle, and they're gone, either in the current or by otherfish.

Right now, I'm at my last resort, I've bought a large breeding net. You know, the white mesh on a frame that goes inside the tank? The fish is now living in that for the forseeable future. The idea is that I can feed the Butterfly back up again before it dies, or gets too thin, too far gone to save. By feeding in the net, the fish can slowly browse and eat the brine shrimp at it's leasure, getting a bellyfull of them. I can then train it onto other foods, so hopefully it'll be big and strong again, and willing to accept other, better foods for when it's returned to the rest of the tank.. I've already tried feeding it in the net, and it's working great, it's picking off the brineshrimp slowly and casually, but the shrimp can't escape, and the flow keeps them bobbing around, so eventually they all end up in the fish.

I'm really hoping this works, I knew Copperbanded Butterflyfish are fussy eaters, but I've also seen some kept successfully for many years, and eat just as aggressively as the other fish.

So I think I just need to build it up again and build it's confidence.

Does anyone else know of any other tricks to get copperbanded butterflyfish to eat?

HK_Fuey

  • Graeme
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Reply #1

Read this elsewhere...
Quote
I feed mine on mysis soaked in garlic, I didnt see mine feed at all for the first 2 weeks but now he eats all the time and has aslo eaten all the aiptasia in my tank, The thing you have to remember about copperbands is genrally they feed and are more active during the night time so if i was you i would try a bit of food after the lights have gone off and step back from the tank and see if he eats it
Also saw a lot of comments saying live black worms were good.  Not seen those in the uk though.
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Reply #2

I haven't heard of any.
I think I suggested this the other day.  The fish will eat brine wiyh garlic but not when you add garlic,  you could try defrosting a garlic brine and something else like granules or other frozen or broken up flake, leave it soak for a lil while. Could be worth a go.
I should really sort this out!!

Mike

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Reply #3

Well the bad news, is that the Copperband hasn't touched any food at all today. Garlic brine shrimp just float past it's face.

Maybe the net was a bad idea, depressing it maybe?  :cry:

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mav469

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Reply #4

I feel your pain... I'm having the same problem with my coral beauty. my last resort is new era grazing block which sticks to the tank glass. if no luck sadly he will be going back to the LFS as i don't want to see it die. :(

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Reply #5

Has anyone tried reef paste?
I should really sort this out!!

Mike

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Reply #6

Yeah, horrible feeling isn't it.

I don't know if to release it back into the tank, as if death by starvation is inevitable for my copperband, I'd rather it have the freedom of the tank for its final few weeks rather than the confines of a breeder net.

I'll keep trying to tempt it with garlic brine shrimp today...

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Mike

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Reply #7

Not tried reef paste no, is it supposed to tempt tricky feeders?
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Reply #8

Not tried reef paste no, is it supposed to tempt tricky feeders?

Simply Yup, I remember reading on dragnet dens, when they were developing their "feeder box" for manderins they would start with live food being pumped\syringed into the box, the manderin would come and eat, after a week or so they would have small amounts of reef past in there too, and they kept repeating this from paste through to frozen food and pellets.

http://www.dragonetsden.co.uk/

http://reefcentral.co.uk/forums/showthread.php/26651-Mandarin-Spawn-and-Hatch?highlight=manderin

the second one is a lil heart breaking.

Rob
I should really sort this out!!

T-Bone Tyrone

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Reply #9

REEF BUGS, completely forgot about these! think they are hard to get hold of tho.
I should really sort this out!!

Mike

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Reply #10

Reef bugs?

I got some reef paste, gets everyone into a feeding frenzy but when they try to eat any they just get a mouthful of smoke. The copperband sniffed it but hasn't eaten any. :(
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HK_Fuey

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Reply #11

Have you tried feeding it at night when the lights are down yet?
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Reply #12

Yep, no luck. :( Although I'll try again with these new foods...

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mav469

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Reply #13

Hope he starts to eat soon chap. My coral beuthy ate one tiny small piece of mysis today. I've just left him to settle in and destress not really tried anything other than various foods. i'm hoping he starts to take off soon as all he keeps doing is grazing the tank. Tha copperband really does look gorgeous as well. fingers crossed :grin:

Mike

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Reply #14

Well the only two fish I've ever lost to starvation were a copperband and a coral beauty. They were already badly emaciated when I was offered them for free when I was at TMC. Neither ate and I lost them both. :( They'd have died there anyway, as no LFS was going to buy them...

My coral beauty is no problem, she's a fat bossy girl who'll eat anything, and even bosses the tangs out of the way of some food.

All you can do is all I'm doing, just try more and more foods until it either eats or dies. Just try to eliminate barriers to it feeding, such as any bullying, etc. Have you tried garlic brineshrimp?

Across today, the Copperband has shown more interest in food and has eaten bits... Maybe it was triggered by the packet of live brine shrimp I mixed in with it's garlic frozen brine shrimp... Tonight I tried another cube, I don't rinse (for this CB situation) and just put it straight into the Copperband's net, as it melts, the fish eats the ones falling. I've found if I rinse the garlic brine, I rinse away the garlic smell, and it shows less interest. It ate more tonight than it has the past few nights, and the lights have been out about 20 minutes now, everyone is settling down but the CB is alert as usual. So I'm going to try another cube a little later on...
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