Tim's Tropical Fish - Saltwater

Saltwater Home

SW Galleries

SW Care

Our Site


Copperband Butterly


Copperband Butterflyfish, Chelmon rostratus

The Copperband Butterflyfish is also known as the Beaked Coralfish and the Orange Stripe Butterfly. It comes from the Indo-Pacific region. Copperbands are not a beginner's fish, as they are difficult to care for and have poor survival rates after purchase. The mouth and fins are often damaged in transport and recovery rates are low. They are also among the first fish to shown signs from poor water quality. A protein skimmer is esstential. They also adapt poorly if the tank is not well established.

Copperband Butterflyfish, Chelmon rostratus

Copperband Butterflyfish have several vertical orange bars, one of which runs directly through their eye. The base color is silver and there is an eye spot on the dorsal fin. The dorsal and anal fins expand to produce a boxed effect at the back. The caudal fin is almost transparent, enhancing the boxed effect. The pointed snout is typical of butterflyfish. Their name refers to the effect created by undulating their thin, flattened colorful bodies as they nagivate through the reefs. Butterflyfish are closely related to Angelfish, but lack the sharp spine over the gill cover. 

A 100 gallon tank with nooks and crannies containing food sources is recommended. Water flow should be tubulent. The Copperband is omnivorous and will eat live or frozen brine shrimp, fan worms, squid, clams, algae and vegetable greens. They also like large polyp stony coral. In the wild Aiptasia Anemones are a staple. The long nose helps in extracting food from among coral reefs. Needless to say, Copperband Butterflyfish are not reef safe.

There is no visible difference between males and females. Copperbands are egg-scatterers and have not been bred in captivity. Juveniles do not have the long snout that adults do.

Copperband Butterflyfish, Chelmon rostratus     Copperband Butterflyfish, Chelmon rostratus

Scientific Name: Chelmon rostratus
Family: Chaetodontidae
Care: Difficult
Temperature: 24 - 29 C; 75 - 84 F
pH: 8.2 - 8.3
dH: 8 - 12
Specific Gravity: 1.020 - 1.025
Size: 20 cm; 8 inches
Breeding: Egg Layer
Life Span: years
Crustacean Safe: No
Coral Safe: No


Only one butterflyfish per tank.  It is suitable for smaller tank mates such as Blennies, Clowns, Gobies and Hawkfish.  No Triggers, Tangs, large basses or Lionfish.