Copperband Butterflyfish Diet | What do Copperbands eat?

Feeding is a critical part of achieving the successful care of a Copperbanded Butterflyfish. Known in the hobby as one of the most tricky fish to feed and maintain a healthy and balanced diet it’s no wonder people ask the question ‘ What makes a good Copperband Butterflyfish diet?‘ constantly if fish forums and in our Facebook group.

Why diet is so important when housing Copperband Butterflyfish in a home saltwater aquarium or Reef Tank.

  • Your fish will grow. A Copperbanded butterflyfish can be emaciated when first acquired, especially if it has had to endure multiple transfers, so it is important to set it on the right growth trajectory quickly by establishing regular feeds.
  • Staves off disease.  Larger fish are better able to withstand parasites and other infections that may be introduced to your tank if they are larger and better nourished.
  • Curbs predation of other reef dwellers. Though Copperbanded Butterflyfish are reef safe, as omnivores, they are known to nip the invertebrates that they share the tank with. This can be reduced by ensuring that there is a good supply of forage available and regularly offering live and frozen foods.
  • Helps keep your community of fish peaceful. A well-fed Copperband is a happy Copperband and minimizing stress will promote more settled behaviors.
copperband butterflyfish diet and feeding guide

Correct Copperband Butterflyfish Diet

Getting it right is not as easy as it seems, and it is well worth investing the effort in establishing your Copperband Butterflyfish on as many foods as possible. These butterflyfish are omnivorous and should have a range of live, frozen and flaked foods offered to maintain a good appetite.

Foods for a Copperbanded Butterflyfish include live foods such as:

  • Bloodworms
  • Glassworms
  • Black worms
  • Mysis Shrimp
  • Brine Shrimp
  • Aiptasia (which is helpful to limit its spread in your tank, though this should not become the majority of the Copperband’s diet)
  • Clams
  • Mussels
  • Insect larvae

It is helpful to start feeding your Copperband with live foods before transitioning them to frozen foods such as:

  • Frozen clams
  • White worms
  • Frozen shrimp

Rocks can be filled with these foods and then frozen to give the butterflyfish something to forage with its long nose.

In addition, a Copperbanded Butterflyfish with a good appetite may also eat flaked foods and seaweeds such as Japanese Nori, though these should only comprise part of their diet.

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copperband butterfly fish

Typical feeding regimen for a Copperbanded Butterflyfish

To ensure that your Copperband feeds well, you will need to keep their appetite up with regular feedings. Aim to undertake multiple feeding daily. If you have a juvenile Copperband, offer food 4 times per day; more mature fish need only be fed twice per day.  Avoid underfeeding as much as possible.

Feeding Timetable

FoodHow OftenHow Much
Flake Food3 Times a dayEnough to consume in 90 Seconds
Pellets3 Times a week1-2 Mini Pellets Per Fish
Bloodworms - live2 Times a week1/4 Teaspoon of worms per fish
Bloodworm - Freeze Dried2 Times a weekSmall Pinch
Algae Wafers / tablets2 Times a week1 Tablet or wafer per 10 fish
Brine Shrimp - LiveOnce a week1-2 Brine shrimp per fish
Other supplement foods or Vegatables2 Times per weekEnough to consume in 90 Seconds

Key supplements for your Copperband

As you become more confident in caring for your Copperband, you may want to include dietary supplements to improve the health of your fish and strengthen it if it is fighting disease.

  • Liquid vitamins can be offered with feeds for a nutritional boost.
  • Omega fatty acids are also a popular supplement for these fish.
  • Antibiotics such as metronidazole may be offered with foods.
  • Garlic can stimulate the appetite of Copperbanded Butterflyfish and can be offered in flaked or powdered form.

In conclusion: Copperband Diet

For the best success with feeding, put the work in on providing a varied menu of foods with an emphasis on live feeds, which reflect their natural ocean diet.

Feeding should always bee regular with a range of rock based options to encourage foraging. Getting the diet of a Copperband Butterflyfish right will pay off in increased longevity, less stress and a more favorable disposition.

Carl Broadbent