flavissimus (Long-nosed Butterflyfish)
of fishes can indeed be deceiving. To take one look at the
longnose butterflyfishes, you'd expect them to be in the same
hardiness category as the pinnatus batfish. Such is definitely
not the case. If you are careful to select an individual that
has not been beaten up physically and/or emotionally through
collection and transport, these yellow beauties do
exceptionally well in marine systems.
(Jordan & McGregor 1898), also known as Yellow Longnose
Butterflyfish, Forcepsfish. Wide variety of foods taken,
rarely corals. Widest distribution of B/Fs, from east coast of
Africa to west coast of Central America. To eight inches
Introduced Range F.
flavissimus is found in most of the Pacific, Indo-Pacific
and Red Sea; F. longirostris overlaps the shorter nose sympatriate over much of
Most offered are four to
six inches in overall length, tail to rostrum. A truly
gargantuan specimen will be about ten inches.
parameters are a pH of 8.0 to
8.4, temperatures in the high seventies, low eighties, and an
artificially low specific gravity of 1.020. The latter to
allow higher gas diffusion, concentration, and aid in reducing
parasite loads. Keep the pH high and make frequent partial
should be mentioned that these fishes display some unusual
behavior. Don't be unduly surprised should you catch yours
swimming or hanging upside down; or that it might
"spit" water in your direction at the surface. Also,
let me mention their blanched whitish appearance on being
exposed to light from dark conditions; like sleep or removal
from a shipping box. A loss of yellow during the day is a fast
sign that you need to be looking for a cause; probably fright
from bullying, or diminished water quality.
last color note (I promise); check out the disruptive black
bar over the fish's eyes and prominent 'eye-spot' at the tail
for prospecting predators to bite at. Okay, I feel better.
Longnoses are stout fishes but do require clean, well-filtered
water. Circulation cannot be too strong to suit them either;
keep the water moving.
these marine organisms open areas and rocks, coral where they
can seek refuge in a hex or show type aquarium, results in
better adjusted, longer lived specimens. The system should be
no smaller than forty gallons, ideally with twenty or more
gallons set aside per butterfly.
be problematical. These fishes are best kept one to a system.
The best wholesalers keep their specimens in seperate
cubicles. Overcrowding is stressful, but does temporarily cut
down on squabbling.
enough. One suggestion: put your longnose in as one of the
first fishes, maybe right after the damsels. They need to feel
at home so as to get their share of offered foods.
of quarreling with other longnoses, these fishes are
peaceable. Be wary of placing them with larger predatory
fishes however. I have seen them used as bait by island
fisherfolk, and can recount more than one tearful aquarium
Despite their looks, these B/F's accept all types of foods,
frozen, fresh and prepared, with gusto. You'd think that their
long "beaks" and priser-like teeth would be only
suited for snipping out invertebrates from tiny crevices, but
these fishes will try almost any size and shape of foods
offered. It's best to defrost frozen items.
do include some meaty foods daily; bloodworms, shrimps, clams.
These fishes are active, seeking food all day on the reef and
in aquaria, and do well only when offered sufficient
nutrition. Be wary of relying solely on one type of dry or
frozen prepared food type.
Infectious, Parasitic, Nutritional, Genetic, Social
fishes tend to be very infectious- and environmental disease
resistant. They are more susceptible than "average"
to marine "ich" (cryptocaryoniasis); this is easily
cured with copper remedies and specific gravity manipulation
other all-too-often fatal complaints are so-called secondary
bacterial infections most-often resultant from bad handling.
The genus Vibrio is
often cited as implicated, following a mouth, body
"incident" due to user-failure. After a reddish area
forms at the mouth, fin-ray base or body flank, there is
almost no chance of recovery.
really like to do my bit here for vastly reducing these
losses; they result from beatings in the wild, the tank,
shipping bags, and in-between. What To Do: Be Careful,
don't wallop the fish; it's that simple. If/when you use a
mesh-type net (some collectors use clear-bottom varieties),
make sure it is one composed of soft, fine material.
Longnoses have a real problem with getting their snouts and
fin rays, principally the hard dorsal, anal and pelvics,
snagged in coarse netting; resulting in tearing and infection.
Real professional fish handlers gently cradle the fish in fine
nets with their hand behind, when lifting from and to water to
providing the right size, shape, orientation with an adequate
amount of water in a shipping bag is important. Allow me to
elucidate. The worst, though typical arrangement is to plop a
specimen into a bag just large enough to accommodate the
animal head to tail. No wonder it ends up with a broken,
fungused snout, torn fins, and you with a punctured bag. What
to do: grant the organism enough bag space to turn around, and
either double-bag and ship in the dark, or provide a dark
'spacer' (even newspaper works) between bag layers.
Wholesalers and transshippers who can scarce afford the space
and weight that retailers and hobbyists can would do well to
ship these fishes on their sides. Yes, I'm very
serious. By placing the same (albeit too small) size bag on
it's side, the butterfly will lay down, struggle far less; and
therefore use less oxygen, produce less wastes, pierced
bags... you know, less mortality. This is not pie-in-the-sky
theory. I've done it; try it, it works.
is a reason why these butterflies are ever-popular. They're
gorgeous and they live in captivity. Don't let their frilly
looks throw you. Learn what a good specimen looks like and you
will be successful with these species. If ever there was a
"first-timers" butterflyfish, these would be them.
the permission of Robert (Bob) Fenner webmaster of WetWebMedia