Tips on caring for yellow long-nosed butterflyfish
Long-nosed yellow butterflyfish or Forcipiger flavissimus belong to the family Chaetodontidae. This family is made up of 120 species in 10 genera and includes all buttefly fish, as well as flag fish and coral fish. The habitat of this species extends from the Red Sea along the Indo-Pacific and east to the Hawaiian Islands. They are not as common in Hawaii, but there is a significant population near the island of Maui. This fish has one of the longest names in the Hawaiian language: La-u wi-li-wi-li nu-ku-nu-ku ‘oi’ oi. The translation breaks down into; (lau) leaf, wili-wili (tree), (nu-ku nu-ku) nose, (‘oi-‘oi) long and sharp.
The name itself, long-nosed butterflyfish, implies a fish of unique proportions. And so is the case. From the tip of its long snout to the base of its tail fin, the body and fin structure of this fish form the general shape of a triangle. Its dorsal fins are divided into a series of feathery projections that closely resemble a Mohawk. This fish is bright yellow with a white triangle from the snout to the bottom of the head and a silver triangle from the eyes to the top of the head. There is a white patch directly under the pectoral fins. The color palette is further accentuated in black. They have markings around the eyes and just behind the silver triangle with a black “false eye” on top of the anal fin. Their tail fins are typically transparent.
These fish have moderate levels of attention and benign attitudes. They are an excellent choice for amateur to moderately experienced aquarists. These exotic beauties are a longtime favorite among saltwater aquarium owners. They will blend in well with other peace-loving fish in a multi-species environment. In nature, they are most often found in pairs. Long-nosed pairs will vigorously defend their territories in the confines of an aquarium. This species is not suitable for marine reef installation. They will grow to an adult length of up to 9 inches. An aquarium with a minimum capacity of 75 gallons is recommended. You should also provide them with plenty of hiding places, as well as wide, open areas for swimming. These fish have a funny habit of swimming upside down near the surface of the water when they are comfortable with their surroundings.
This is a carnivorous species that looks for food. In the wild, they use their elongated snouts to peek into the nooks and crannies of rocks and reef formations in search of small invertebrates. Their diet consists mainly of tubeworms which include; feather dusters, fan, coconut and spaghetti worms.
In an aquarium setting, you will want to provide them with a large amount of live rock as snacks between meals. They have been known to nibble on corals and urchins in the absence of an adequate food supply. A well-fed long snout will usually leave them alone.
This species can show reluctance to eat when first introduced to an aquarium. If this is the case, try tempting them with mysis or brine shrimp. Tubiflex and bloodworms can also prompt them to start feeding. A good trick to make them accept non-living food is to fit it into the cracks and crevices of the rocks so that they will drill them. Once properly acclimated to life in captivity, they will readily accept most food preparations formulated for carnivorous marine species. To maintain body weight and overall shape and vigor, you’ll want to feed your long nose two to three times a day.