There are lots of fish that could be kept in the marine aquarium, some of them for advanced aquarists, some not suitable for reef systems, some over aggressive with care needed in selecting tank mates and others of course suitable for beginners. The fish being considered here is not considered suitable for the complete beginner but for the aquarist who has successfully kept an aquarium, fish only or reef for a year or more. The fish is the Long-nosed Butterfly fish, Forcipiger flavissimus. The appearance is lovely and different.
Any aquarist looking for a fish will be put off by the similar appearance (to an extent anyway) that the Longnose butterfly has to the Copperband butterfly Chelmon rostratus. Having done the initial research before any purchase, as should be done, the aquarist could well be put off by the reputation of the Copperband butterfly. Difficult to feed the usual marine aquarium food to the Chelmon rostratus the aquarist will no doubt wonder if this similar looking fish is the same. It isn’t, basically as simple as that. There is always the ‘odd one out’ of course and this could apply to any fish, absolute guarantees don’t exist. However, the Longnose is a reasonably good bet. It is necessary to check the fish over (as with any fish) before purchase. The fish is generally hardy and should adapt well to a life in an aquarium with the usual requirements: a good diet, high quality seawater and reasonable unaggressive tankmates. Very important to the aquarist, they are usually good eaters and should adapt well to their new diet, which should be varied though they seem to prefer live foods and frozen food suitable for marine life.
The longnosed butterflyfish is suitable for the fish only and reef system, though the fish will probably eat featherduster and tube worms and maybe investigate without damage a coral or two. When confronted by a potential aggressor the fish will probably face on to the other fish, tip forward a little and raise its dorsal fin making it more unnattractive to aggression. The fish is from the Indo-pacific and could grow to 6ins (circa 15cm). The fish is sensitive to seawater quality and high quality must be maintained by regular partial seawater changes and regular check measurements. As usual it is important that there aren’t any overly aggressive fish in the aquarium that could cause problems.
This beautiful fish is not, as said, like the Copperband, but is reasonably hardy and reasonably easy to feed. In a reef system the only danger is it is likely to prey on mobile and sessile invertebrates.
Again the fish is not recommended for the new inexperienced aquarist but those with some experience of success through proper maintenance and care. Once acclimatized and settled the fish will be a super addition to the aquarist’s miniature marine world.