Target Feeding our Auriga Butterflyfish Aiptasia

by Justin Hester

Some of you might have seen our aiptasia anemones free swimming on our other video here.  Every few days, we actually grab a handful of them and toss them into our main display for our butterfly fish to eat.  Our 2 Auriga Butterfly fish just LOVE to mow these little nuisance anemones down as fast as we can put them into the tank!  Usually these come with a large handful of chaeto which is what they live on in our refugium.  The tangs attack the chaeto and then that usually knocks loose the aiptasia anemones. They then either settle on the glass or rock work where the butterfly fish hunt them down.  every once in a while they will even take them right out of the water as they float by.  So far our Copperband Butterfly just eats clams and pods, but lately he seems to be eyeing what the Auriga’s are getting all excited about.  I’m hoping soon given the commotion, she will also start to partake in the aiptasia buffet!

Here is a shot of one of the Auriga’s taking down an aiptasia that settled on the glass after being introduced.  Notice how the fish has to actually come back to it 2-3 times before consuming it fully.  Not sure if this was since we just started to feed them anemones or whether they just didn’t like me sitting there with the camera in their faces!

Has anyone else tried feeding these to butterfly fish?