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FAQs on Leopard Wrasses, Genus Macropharyngodon, Behavior

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Related FAQs: Wrasses, Wrasse Selection, Wrasse Behavior, Wrasse Compatibility, Wrasse Feeding, Wrasse Diseases,  

Leopard Wrasse. Flashing beh. concern      12/14/13
Hi there,
Long time reader of your site, couldn't find an answer to my specific question.
<Let's see>
I've had a leopard wrasse for several months now. I did my research and I believe I provided him with a suitable home and sand bed. My tank is a 55 gallon reef stocked with a mandarin (eats pellets had him for over a year), two clownfish and sebae anemone, and a yasha goby and shrimp pair. The tank is long and shallow with plenty of swimming space. My parameters are stable with nitrates kept below 5 ppm with regular water changes and a refugium. I also have numerous LPS corals, and plenty of live rock for hiding.
<Sounds very nice>
The Leopard Wrasse is a voracious eater, and in most respects very active and healthy. Occasionally though, I find he flashes against the rock or sand bed. By flashing, I mean he quickly scrapes a portion of his body against the rock or the sand.
<Some flashing is "natural"; to be expected>
 He doesn't do it all the time, and still seems very healthy. In my research, I understand flashing can be a sign of parasites, and that the appropriate treatment is Piperazine.
<Mmm, I wouldn't treat this fish, system>
My issue is that it would be exceedingly difficult to quarantine this fish both in terms of setting up a quarantine tank, and actually catching him.
Likewise, I am leery of medicating when the fish seems so healthy, is actively eating, and displays normal behavior other than these occasional bouts of flashing.
<Not to worry>
Could you please advise as to whether I should be concerned and if I should undergo a course of treatment?
<I would not be concerned/worried, and would NOT treat>
If so, in there a medication I could safely add to his food while leaving him in my display tank.
Your help is greatly appreciated,
-          Kamil
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
RE: Leopard Wrasse.     12/16/13

Thanks, very much Bob. Your advice is a huge resource.
<Am happy to share it Kamil. B>

Leopard Wrasse- Maintaining Established Circadian Rhythm 1/30/2010
<And salutations!>
I have an Indian Ocean ornate leopard wrasse, and right after acclimation, it dove into the sand bed,
and I haven't seen it for a whole week.
<Not atypical.>
Is there anything I can do for this fish, or just hope it doesn't starve to death?
<Just let it be. You might want to try keeping your lights off for a day or so and see if you might see this fish appear when it might feel more comfortable.>
Could it's biological clock be stuck in the wrong time zone and keep waking up at night?
<Well I wouldn't say this fish's biological clock is stuck in the wrong time zone as I suspect it is not native to your time zone. I don't think the fish saved some money, bought a ticket, checked seatguru.com to make sure the seat wasn't next to the lavatory and hopped a plane to come visit you. But what I can tell you is I have seen instances of fish maintaining their active and rest patterns. I had a blue-sided fairy wrasse who went to bed the same time every night, well before the tank lights went out. My fish had a well established circadian rhythm and never adjusted to the
photo period I established. Good luck and I hope you have a sighting soon!

Macropharyngodon Acclimation (Where did it go?) -- 04/08/09
Loves the site, you guys are always supplying the best information.
<<Ah! High praise indeed'¦thank you>>
I just recently purchased a Leopard Wrasse, the common Macropharyngodon meleagris.
<<Ah yes, a beautiful fish (I have a mated/spawning pair)'¦but often very difficult to acclimate to captive care>>
I did a lot of research on this animal before purchasing so I decided to have him special ordered from my LFS. I know they do not purchase Trans shipped animals and are one of the area's best LFS.
I discovered this due to my own testing of water parameters at other local store and questioning owners about purchasing of fish.
<<I see>>
As soon as the fish came in I had them hand the little bag right over to me. I didn't want the Leopard to go through any more stress than needed acclimating to their tanks then to mine.
<<Likely smart'¦as I'm doubtful they had a system prepared just to receive this fish (e.g. -- deep fine sand bed, lots of macroalgae and associated fauna/prey food items)>>
I did a hour drip acclimation on him and placed him in my tank.
<<And just to clarify'¦this is one species I 'would not' place in the typical quarantine tank. Most often it is best to get these fish in to the display'¦assuming it too meets their requirements>>
He was doing great for the first 10 minutes, then bam right into the sand bed.
<<Not atypical'¦in fact I'm surprised it took it that long>>
The tank is a 75g that host 100 pounds of live rock.
<<Mmm, okay'¦ Marginal in size for this fish; in my opinion, but can suffice>>
The tank has been up for over a year and the live rock has been a transfer from a number of smaller reef tanks that have been running for 3 years.
<<I would consider changing out some of this rock for 'new' rock to provide a boost in bio-minerals as well as associated biota>>
I have had wrasses in the past but none this sensitive.
<<Actually these fish are quite hardy'¦if they survive the capture/transport processes'¦and if they will feed on prepared foods. And on the subject of foods'¦ Like many of the Dragonets, just getting them to eat is not always enough. You need to provide healthy and nutritious foods; with one of the VERY BEST being New Life Spectrum pellets (1mm). Yes'¦aside from the usual frozen offerings (Mysids, glass worms, etc.), getting these (any) fish to accept this superb pelleted food can'¦nay, will'¦make all the difference>>
The current inhabitants of the 75g are:
2" Blue Tang
<<Needs a bigger tank my friend>>
2" Kole Tang
<<Another 'marginal' inhabitant>>
(2) 1.5" Percs
(3) green chromis
3" Algae Blenny
1.5" purple Pseudochromis
<<The Pseudochromis could prove problematic to getting the Leopard Wrasse 'settled' in this size tank>>
Peppermint Shrimp Large
Large Cleaner Shrimp
50 small blue legged hermits and a whole fleet of snails
The tank is mostly LPS and Sps coral and I am meticulous about my water changes and parameters (given the nature of having SPS).
<<Not to badger you here'¦but I always wonder why hobbyists seem to take water quality more serious when keeping 'SPS' corals... Pristine water quality should be our goal no matter what we keep'¦eh?>>
I have never lost an animal in this system to disease (one just jumped out one day).
<<This too (the jumping) is a hazard re the Wrasse >>
I feed multiply types of food.
<<Get some New Life Spectrum pellets to add to this>>
I purchase three different types of Algae for the tangs and other vegi munchers from my LFS (Chaetomorpha, Caulerpa, green sea lettuce). I also feed Nori three times a week. For the meats, I soak Mysis in Selcon, as well as my Cyclops. Everyone has beautiful color and no abnormal color changes at any giving time in the day. My concern is that the Leopard has not emerged from the sand bed since I placed him in the tank on the 5th of April. It's been two days.
<<No need to worry yet'¦I have seen these fish stay buried for as many as seven days>>
I know that these animals can be hidden for several days (I read that on your site), how long can several days be?
<<As long as a week for sure'¦maybe longer>>
Also is there a chance because this fish is from the other side of the world, could he be coming out at night and I don't know because I am praying the gods of sleep?
<<'¦? Mmm, no'¦this is a decidedly diurnal species>>
I have been feeding the tank a cube of Cyclops at night just in case he has been coming out.
<<The Wrasse won't be eating it'¦but I'm sure your nocturnal critters appreciate it all the same>>
I know these animals are very delicate creatures at first acclimation and hard to get to eat frozen food.
<<Yes'¦this is a critical time>>
I don't want to lose this guy for many reasons (one being his life is just as valuable as mine and he was plucked from the ocean). Is there any light you can shed on me, maybe a glimpse of hope that all is well and normal?
<<While these fish are best acclimated in a 'special acclimation tank' set up just for them with no other fish species present, a virtual jungle of 'leafy' macroalgae, a sugar-fine deep sand bed, and a 'bounty of natural prey food items' available to munch on until they can be acclimated to prepared foods (and even then, 50% mortality or more is the often the norm), the burying/hiding behavior is normal'¦and yes, often for days at a time. At this stage there is not much for you to do but wait for the Wrasse to reappear'¦if it is going to>>
Thanks for your time.
Spencer Hall
<<Happy to share'¦ Eric Russell>>

One fish that's barely alive!!!!! Help!   Leopard wrasses, beh., fdg.    02/27/2008 Last month we bought a Macropharyngodon meleagris wrasse. It then disappeared for I don't know how long. Presuming that it had swum into an anemone, we went out on Sunday and bought two Macropharyngodon geoffroy. When they were introduced to the main aquarium, the pair swam about. When I put my hand in to clean the tank they bolted into the sand. No one saw them at all on Monday, that is until I tore the take apart. <<Yes, I can understand this, its their self defense mechanism which is to bury themselves in the substrate. What size of tank is this and how long has it been running?>> I was cleaning the gravel under the larger anemone's rock, when the supposedly dead wrasse flew out of the sand like it was being chased by the devil. It was barley thicker than three pieces of paper. Then it dove behind the largest rocks and into the sand. I frantically drained half of the tank, put the corals and coral covered rocks into the other aquarium. I got all of the fish out, and began my search for the three leopards. Once everything was back to normal, I tried to feed the starved leopard. It ate one Mysis shrimp. I then resorted to a trick that always works. To weak to swim away, I used my gloved hand to hold the fish. Using a needleless injector, I placed the wrasse's mouth to the injector, and fed it daphnia. It ate, it was almost like feeding a baby dolphin. But I have no idea what it does want to eat. The guy at the store fed the fish flakes. But how can I feed them, if they never come out? <<With this fish, its a case of do whatever it takes to feed until it has generated enough strength to do this for itself. These fish should only be introduced into a "very" well established full reef which has a refugium. These feed on natural foods from the sandbed like pods etc etc..If you can get this to readily accept prepared foods, then all the better, however, I would not solely rely on this as its food source>> <<Thanks for the questions and good luck with these "very" delicate species. A Nixon>>

Re: Leopard Wrasse in Sand Bed for Extended Period - 12/17/07 I was very happy, I saw him swimming around this morning and he even ate. <<Very good to know>> By the way I got it from the pet shop I work at so I observed him for over two weeks to make sure he ate and was healthy <<Excellent>> Thanks for the tips though. Thomas <<Thank you for the update. Regards, EricR>>

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