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FAQs on Leopard Wrasses, Genus Macropharyngodon, Disease/Health

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Leopard Wrasses Identification, Leopard Wrasses Behavior, Leopard Wrasses Compatibility, Leopard Wrasses Stocking/Selection, Leopard Wrasses Systems, Leopard Wrasses Feeding, Leopard Wrasses Reproduction,

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

Problem with Leopard Wrasse. Poisoned with antibio./Algicide use     6/6/18
Hello Bob, how are you?
<Middlin' Armando; thanks>
I have a problem here, let´s see if you can help me.
<Let's see>
I own a Blue Star Leopard Wrasse for almost 9 months now. He was very healthy, eating everything, flakes, pellets, live foods and would constantly look for pods on the rocks. Every day he digs on the sand a few moments before the lights go out and leave the sand as soon as the lights
start to go on.
So, one day I decided to do a treatment on my DT for cyanos dosing azithromycin.
<Ohh, am not a fan of such antibiotic administrations; posted over and over on WWM
I have read and been told that it was a relatively safe procedure to the tank and gave it a shot.
<Not safe... even if killing the BGA were, the results, chemical manifestations are not>
Almost everything went well, with one exception, the leopard wrasse. On the second day after I dosed the azithromycin, before the lights went on, I found the leopard wrasse lying on the sand, not moving and breathing heavily. I immediately started with the GAC and did and emergency water change.
After a few hours the fish started to show signs of improvement, started to move and swim in circles (a typical behavior of a stressed leopard wrasse). By the end of the day he was swimming at the front of the tank but with an odd behavior, hitting everything, as if he was blind or drunk.
After this day for about a month now the fish does no swim and stays all the day laying on the sand, at a corner of the tank. He still digs in the sand every night to sleep, and when the lights come on he goes out and stays at the corner. No other fish bothers him, but if bothered he just moves a little to the side. He hasn't eaten for almost a month now, neither has gone chasing pods, and oddly he doesn't look to be skinnier. I thought it could be parasites, so I dosed PraziPro
<? Why? For what reason/s?>
on the DT (also claimed to be a reef safe treatment) but nothing has changed, neither during the
treatment nor after it. He doesn't look to be blind either as he reacts to movements around him with his eyes and head. If he were a person I would say he is depressed.
I don't know what else I can do. I see him every day laying on the corner and I wonder if I should take him to a hospital tank and risk stressing him even more.
By the way, along all this time the tank parameters were good, SG 1.025, pH 8.2-8.3, NH3 0, NO3 < 2 ppm, temp 79,5 F.
I would be very grateful if you could take a moment to analyze my case and I thank you in advance.
Best Regards,
<At this point, junction, just your good care... water quality and nutrition; and time going by. Bob Fenner>

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>

Macropharyngodon geoffroy with Mysis head stuck in mouth/throat. – 5/26/12
I believe that I must have some of the worst and strangest things happen to my fish. (Literally, PERIOD.)
Well, good morning and a happy Memorial Day Weekend to Bob and Friends at WWM!
I've had two leopard wrasses in their 20 gallon reef "Quarantine" for the past two months. They have both been eating very well (brine, Mysis, and Frozen Formula One). One is a M. bipartitus who I've had for three months, aptly named "Sleeping Beauty", and the other, M. geoffroy who had been a voracious eater - I've seen her eat huge pieces of Mysis,
<The genus doesn't come very "giant">
and believe me, these fish know the concept of size and the geoffroy is the one who goes after the huge pieces of food that gets placed in there. Well, I'm thinking that this may be the reason for her current condition. For the past couple of days, I've noticed that her mouth is stuck in a strange open position and she appears stressed by this but otherwise no obvious signs of injury or infection. As I sat there repeating to myself, "why is her mouth stuck open" phrase over and over, I remembered years ago when I kept fancy goldfish, one inadvertently tried to eat an Albino Corydoras, and ended up with the Cory's skull stuck in his throat. All that was needed was getting a pair of small forceps to remove the skull. Okay, I thought, go get me some forceps and get to work, but hey! The Geoffrey's mouth is SMALL!
I remember that my mom used to tell me to gargle with vinegar if you get a fish bone stuck in your mouth. I remember learning the Heimlich maneuver in med school. But you don't do that to a little leopard wrasse!
What should I do?
<Leave all as is... the Leopard Wrasse will work out this bit of stuck material and/or it will fall off>
On a side note, my 220 display is getting fresh water baths to rinse out the chlorine as I type. I poured 2 cups of bleach in whilst the tank is half full as I agitated the sand and scrubbed/moved rocks around - Whew! I think I got my respiratory tract cleaned out!
<Do leave your windows open! This should have been mentioned in the article I referred you to>
Thanks as always, I think at the end of this hobby, I may be able to pen a book named, "All the strange things that occurred whilst I tried to be a Conscientious Marine Aquarist"!
Sincerely Yours,
<Cheers! BobF, twixt three cook-a-thons... this one after seven biking stops at local breweries.>
Re: Macropharyngodon geoffroy with Mysis head stuck in mouth/throat. – 5/26/12

Bob, have a safe and wonderful weekend!
<Thank you. B>
Re: Macropharyngodon geoffroy with Mysis head stuck in mouth/throat.    5/31/12

Good news, Bob!
The wrasse has made a turn for the better. A few days ago I was sure that she wasn't going to make it because I believed that the stress of having a big Mysis head stuck in her throat caused her to have something like dropsy that you see in freshwater fish...the illness where the fish's scales look puffed up.
<Mmm, likely injury due to abrading side... trying to dislodge the shrimp>
 Now thinking back, I'm wondering if she was stressed and produced a thicker slime coat which gave the strange appearance of puffy scales. You couldn't imagine all the thoughts going through my head in my panic! She continued to eat with the mouth issue, mind you, literally sucking in much smaller pieces of food. Two days ago, I noticed that she was able to move her mouth some. Today, I was happy to see her with her normal mouth and the puffiness gone! She is happily swimming around and comes up to the glass, wagging her tail, wanting me to feed her. The funniest thing is that in the past, she would rush to get the biggest piece of food and swallow it and now, she will take a look and if the piece is on the larger size, pass it up for her friend, Sleeping Beauty, who is most princess like when it comes to eating!
<Ah good>
Lesson learned - sometimes, you must give the fish's immune system some credit and let nature take its course.
<Yes; almost always best... better than "treatments". Providing good habitat, suitable foods, congenial tankmates... is really all we can and should do as aquarists>
 I know that I adore my little fishy friends, and likely caused harm in the past by trying to do something to help them. I realize that with the couple of recent situations (remember the story of the Bicolor Blenny who grew a beard? Or killing my Powder Blue Tang who survived "Crypt" for three years with medicine?) Slowing down and taking note, not to panic and react, but to reflect and think logically, then take action. These things I am capable of doing daily in my life, but I seem to think that the fishes are so "helpless". I need to change that concept and realize that fishes are strong too!
<Indeed they (almost all) are>
I am learning with your help and guidance to be a better "mother" for them!
I will keep on reading and try to share brighter and happier stories with you and friends at WWM!
Thank you!
<Thank you for your upbeat update. BobF>

Wrasses losing balance, dying - Ichthyophonus?    4/2/12
First of all, thank you for the awesome site you have been running, the information available on WWM recently helped me a lot in setting up a QT and treating successfully for Crypt.  We (my brother and I) have been keeping marines for around five years, and we learnt numerous lessons in those years (most importantly I suppose the use of a QT).  We have a bit of a problem at the moment with new fish we bought over the weekend.  We use the metric system and measure temperature in Celsius, so apologies upfront for the cm's, liters and C's I am going to use.
<No worries>
The fish are going into two separate tanks, one a 80cm cube and the other a 45cm nano (hence the duplication in fish bought).  We stay in Johannesburg, South Africa, and there are only a handful of reputable fish stores around.
 We went to one this weekend and bought the following:  2x Yellow tail Tamarin wrasses (Anampses meleagrides, around 3cm),
<Wow, small>

2x Midas Blennies (Ecsenius Midas, around 6cm) and a
Leopard Wrasse (Macropharyngodon bipartitus bipartitus, around 4cm).
<This too>

 We do realize that the wrasses are not the easiest to keep/feed, but all 3 of them ate frozen food in the shop tanks and  have kept a Leopard wrasse successfully in the past on frozen Mysis until he decided to jump out of the tank a few months down the line.
We set up a 45 liter (12 Gallon) quarantine tank at home the night before we went to buy the fish with freshly made up (with Seachem Reefsalt) seawater with salinity at 1.023 (measured with refractometer) and temperature at 24C.  Once the salt was fully dissolved and salinity/temperature correct, we added a HOB filter with bioballs and sponge.  This HOB filter has been running continuously for the last 3 months as is (bar addition/removal of Cuprisorb) in a different 3ft tank that we used (successfully without any losses) as a quarantine for all my fish from the DT that developed Crypt due to a careless new addition (it was treated with Cupramine). The decorations are 3 coffee cups and 2 pieces of 1 inch PVC pipe (all of which was used before in a different QT).  It is also bare bottom.  I added a Seio M820 for extra flow.  I also added (and I am still adding) Seachem Stability.
Now that the background has been given, back to the problem.  We acclimatized the fish for an hour on Saturday morning before putting them into the QT (no water from the LFS was transferred to QT).  We did this by throwing a quarter cup of aquarium water or so into the bags with the fish every 5 minutes or so until the hour was up (we moved house a week or two ago, and couldn't find the airline tubing to drip the fish in).  We stay about 20 minutes from the LFS where we purchased the fish.  Saturday early evening I added a small amount of flakes and a quarter block of frozen Mysis (as the filter has been cycled and ran with about 12 biggish fish for the last 3 months, I didn't think it would give any water quality issues).
The Tamarin's both went for the flakes as well as the Mysis, and the Leopard wrasse ate a few frozen Mysis bits.  A good sign I would think.
Sunday morning I got up to find the one Tamarin (bigger one of the two) hiding in the PVC pipe, all the other fish seeming fine and swimming around (Midas blennies' heads poking out of the other PVC pipes, normal behaviour).  The Tamarin eventually came out, but he seemed to have a problem with his balance, and kept on falling over and staying on the bottom of the tank.  His breathing was also accelerated.  Sunday afternoon I got to the tank at around 17h00, and the one Tamarin was dead. I fed the fish later that evening, the other fish all ate at least frozen Mysis (the Midas Blennies at pellets quite feverishly).  This morning I got to the tank at around 7h00, and found the leopard wrasse also not able to stay upright and also breathing heavily.  The other Tamarin and Midas Blennies still seemed ok.   When I look closely, I can see white/frayed patches on the pectoral fins of the Leopard Wrasse.  Not Crypt spots, more uneven patches.
Now I have searched on the internet for the problem, and the only thing I can find that matches the symptoms is Ichthyophonus internal fungus.
 When I think of it I remember all the wrasses having open mouths that does not seem to close (another early sign for Ichthyophonus from what I have read).  Apparently no known cure from what I can read.  Any idea how common this disease is in marine fish?
<Not very common...>
  Or is there something else that I am missing?
<Likely "just" capture, handling damage/stress w/ these small, touchy wrasses>

 Any cure that I might not have found on the internet?  Also, if it is this disease, and let's say the Midas Blennies show now <? no?> symptoms after a month in the qt, how can I prevent this from going into the main tank when I eventually transfer them? 
<I would not be concerned>
The lfs in question apparently treats all their fish with Metronidazole and a low-ish dose of Cupramine (0.25 ppm).  I have a number of wrasses in the main tank (2 locally caught Indian Ocean bird wrasses, locally caught Cut Ribbon wrasse and a Cleaner Wrasse (I've had him for over a year and eats anything before someone asks)), so don't want the disease spreading to the main tank.
<Again, I would not worry re... the likelihood of transference, given the stated circumstances, is very low>
Thank you for the help.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Wrasses losing balance, dying - Ichthyophonus?    4/3/12

Hi Bob,
Thank you very much!  Unfortunately the Leopard wrasse didn't survive the night.  The Tamarin and Midas Blennies still seem healthy and all 3 of them ate this morning.
Thanks for the quick response!
<Certainly welcome. BobF>

Re: Addended. Quinine dosing, Leopard Wrasse wrangling   10/23/11
Thanks, I will touch base with National Fish Pharmaceutical regarding the directions and dosage. On a separate note, I think I already know the answer to this question but I figured I would ask anyway, as you are aware, I drained my entire display and frag tank to catch all the fish so they would remain fallow for 8 - 12 weeks.
<Ahh, a pain, but the best route to go>
Unfortunately I was unable to catch my Guinea fowl leopard wrasse as he had buried himself somewhere in the sand while the tank was emptied and I had coral exposed to the air for over an hour while I tried to hunt him down.
I was forced to refill the tanks to avoid losing coral. Technically my display is not fallow with him in there but I understand they are extremely resistant to Ich not to mention that they don't QT well to begin with.
<Do track that Macropharyngodon, and scoop up where it dives into the sand w/ a large/r mesh net... shake the sand out...>
Am I making a mistake leaving him in the tank while the other fish are being treated?
<Yes. Macropharyngodon's are very resistant to death by external parasites... being very slimy... but are great carriers>
I have had him over three years; he is about 5" long and a gorgeous shade of teal with blue and reddish black stripes. I purchased one of the fish traps by Aqua medics two weeks ago but he laughs at it as he swims past and I'm afraid he won't be caught. Am I setting myself up for failure by reintroducing clean qt'd fish in another 3 - 6 weeks if he has been in tank all this time or is it imperative I find a way to catch him and start the fallow period countdown from that time.
<See above... move the sand about w/ a stiff dowel... till you can scoop this fish out. BobF>
Re: Addended. QS dosing, Macropharyngodon capture   10/27/11

Quinine Sulfate arrived yesterday but I held off treating the QT tub because I was intent on catching that D@*# Guinea fowl leopard wrasse and getting him into that QT tub along with a new Male/female pair of KJ Rhomboid wrasses and a new Male/female pair of Lineatus wrasses both of which arrived yesterday and have been in separate 20-gallon QT tanks since their acclimation.
All weekend long I tried one of the Aqua medic fish traps, came very close but he never went into the trap as far as needed to close the door. I tried the large nets and dowel trick after he retired for the night, found his bedtime spot and thought I would have a good shot at getting him that way but to no avail.
This afternoon on my way home from work I passed a bait & tackle shop and said what do I have to lose? I purchased some #24 and #26 trout hooks and after baiting the hook with a semi large piece of plankton, much to my surprise he took the food and seconds later was out of the tank, wrapped in a towel while I gently removed the barb less hook from his mouth and placed him in my sump while I prepare a Tupperware container filled with Silica sand to put in the QT tub.
I contacted National Fish Pharmaceutical regarding the dosing and they said since I have a large enough QT tub, I can use 1/4 teaspoon per every ten gallons but I am able to treat for seven days straight (no water change) until after the seventh day has eclipsed, perform a water change then wait another week if I want and can treat again for another full seven days just to be safe.
Just figured I would update you on the successful capture of a VERY elusive leopard wrasse and I can now start the fallow display countdown.
Thanks again for your help
Thanks for the update Tom. B

Black Spotted Leopard Wrasse, dis. trtmt. blitzkrieg   3/9/11
What would be a good treatment for intestinal parasites in Black Spotted Leopard Wrasses?
<Depends on the "type"/classification of the determined parasites... Protozoans, worms of some type... These issues are covered on WWM>
An ichthyologist at a large wholesale supplier said to use Ivermectin at .20 grams per 50 grams of food and to gut load the fish.
<... for roundworms... What leads you to believe there are Nematodes at play here?>
It is an extremely touchy drug to get the proper dose rate. Is there anything better? The fish are eating well, but one of four is much slimmer than the others.
<... Where to go w/ this conversation? Unfortunately, w/o "pretty sophisticated" tools, flushing the tract of this animal, or sacrificing/dissecting it... it's not possible to determine what, if anything may be present. You could/can add a more general vermifuge/Anthelminthic and an anti-protozoal to foods... if they're still being taken in. Do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/fshwrmidcuref.htm and the linked files above, and: http://wetwebmedia.com/metranidazole.htm
Bob Fenner>

Leopard wrasse, Hlth.    9/23/10
Hi crew,
My LFS has 2 bipartitus leopard wrasses on hold for me.
<Beautiful, though sensitive/touchy fish, even for the genus...>
They have been in their display for 3 months and are doing great. Recently, the LFS introduced a clownfish with Ich into that tank. I recently dealt with an out break of Ich and had my tank fallow for 2 months and have earned my lesson on QTing new arrivals. I've heard that leopard wrasses don't do well in QT.
<Agreed... very stressful>
What would you advise?
<A summary pH adjusted freshwater bath and direct placement>
If I did QT, I could fill a Tupperware container with sand for them to dive into. I would treat the QT with Cupramine. What are your thoughts?
<I'd take the risk... or leave at the store another month. I would not expose this species, genus to Copper if it can/could be avoided. The fact that these two have been living in captive conditions for such a while
bodes well... and the further pertinent fact of the matter is that likely most all tropical reef fishes harbour some Protozoan parasites... Bob
Re: Leopard wrasse   9/24/10

Thanks so much Bob. I will probably do a 10 min freshwater bath before putting it in the display.
<I see; and agree w/ this protocol>
I actually have another question. I noticed that I've lost a few fish in QT unexpectedly. They have all died the same way, scales look pale and have torn fins. Some have also had a slight film on their body. Is this marine velvet?
<Mmm, not likely>
What causes it?
<Can't tell w/ the information presented... but am leaning toward "something" environmental. Do you have a microscope?>
I saw that a small cherub angel had it last night (early stage) and dipped it in formalin for 10 min.s. I plan to do a water change in the QT today and dip him again.
<Mmm... okay... but returning to an infested system... BobF>

Leopard Wrasse Success, hlth. f'   8/3/09
Hello Crew,
I've chosen to add a Leopard Wrasse to my established reef aquarium of 125 gallons. This aquarium has an as yet untapped pod resource and a deep sand bed of 6 inches with about 100 pounds of live rock. The best conditions for this fish are in this tank but I always quarantine new arrivals for at least two weeks. My fish only quarantine tank is bare bottom which is not suitable for a Leopard Wrasse so I'm thinking of putting it in my invert Q tank which has a sand bed of about 2 inches. The conditions in this tank are ok but are not equal to the 125. What are the chances of introducing Crypto or Oodinium to the reef by adding this fish directly?
<Small... but perhaps a cursory dip/bath...>
Also, I've read that this species is likely to carry internal parasites.
Can I assume that these parasites will infect fish in the reef?
<Mmm, a small possibility. Many such "internal parasites" are rather species, genus specific>
I understand that Praziquantel will eliminate these parasites but I have to think it would be best to administer it in the Q tank. I appreciate any advice you can offer.
Thanks much,
<Depending on the apparent health of Macropharyngodon specimens I advise little quarantining, handling... They're much more apt to suffer from delays, being moved about. Bob Fenner>

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>>

Leopard Wrasse…Bare-Bottom Quarantine? (Absolutely Not!) - 08/21/08 Hey Guys! <<Hey Jenna!>> I am planning on getting a leopard wrasse from a trans-shipper. <<Mmm, a difficult fish to keep. A very poor shipper…but admittedly, is quite hardy once acclimated/feeding in my experience. Though this is not to be taken as an endorsement for the inexperienced and those unwilling to take special measures to try to keep this fish>> I know these guys are hard to get onto frozen but I am up for the challenge! <<Feeding is certainly a challenge…but so many of these fish simply do not survive the collection and transport process, period. I've seen entire shipments (retail facility) perish within a day or two. And those shipments that didn't totally perish usually suffered at least 50% mortality. I would discourage all but the most advanced hobbyist from attempting this fish…and even then, much is in the hands of the collector/shipper re this fish's chances for survival>> My question is I have a 10 gallon QT tank, which is bare. <<Totally unsuitable here/for this fish. If you do go through with attempting this fish, I strongly suggest you place it straight away in the display…which is hopefully a mature system of some size with a deep bed of fine substrate and a good population of small crustaceans supported by an in-line refugium>> I know the wrasse like to bury itself in the sand, would adding PVC pipes and a maybe a cave of some sort help? <<Nope>> I do not want to add sand to the QT tank but I want this fish to survive as well. <<Read all you can re this genus of fish (Macropharyngodon)…here's a place to start (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/macropharyngodon.htm), continuing among the associated links in blue. Do also search other sites for info on this genus. If you have time/resources/the discipline to prepare, the most successful "receiving" system I've seen for these fish was a 60g tank (you could get by with a 20g-30g for a single specimen for the short-term) in the back room of a retail facility that had been set up with a 5" deep bed of sugar-fine sand and a VERY DENSE growth of Caulerpa macro-algae (C. Mexicana). The tank had initially been left to run fishless for a couple months before the first fish was introduced, and fed daily to foster large populations of food organisms. The Leopard Wrasse would dive immediately in to the sand upon introduction and wouldn't reemerge for up to several days (assuming any survived the shipping process). Upon reappearing, the wrasse would have plenty to feed upon, initially, from the available biota in/on the sand bed and macro-algae. The dense growth of Caulerpa also allowed the fish to "hide out" from onlookers and each other. After a few more days of settling in, the wrasse would be offered New Life Spectrum pellets a couple times a day. Most all the fish that took to the pellets survived and even thrived…those that did not take to the pellets usually perished in short order. Take what you want from that, but based on what I already know and have seen and/or experienced first-hand re this food…I encourage you to use the Spectrum food as well>> Thanks in advance! Jenna Adams <<Happy to share. Eric Russell>>

Wrasse Problem… Internal Parasites? - 04/01/08 Hi, <<Hello>> I have a 190 litre tank and my wrasse I think is ill, so could you please help before I go to my reputable aquatic shop. <<I shall try>> The water quality is fine except a nitrate problem which has been here for ages and we're slowly getting to the bottom of it. <<Mmm, depending on how much of a "nitrate problem" you have…this may well be what is malaffecting the wrasse>> Right my wrasse is fully grown, sorry I forgot what type it is!, <<From the photos I can tell this is an exquisite supermale-phase of Macropharyngodon meleagris (Leopard Wrasse)>> and he usually comes out of the sand in the morning and goes back to the sand at about 6pm, however for the past week I haven't noticed him as he only feeds in the morning. A day ago I noticed he was just sitting on top of the sand as usually he is swimming about. <<Indeed…a very active species>> He stays there for about 10 minutes and then will swim slowly about on top of the sand to a new place to sit. And he has only swam about an inch off the sand at the most. But as he sits he kind of flops onto his side. <<A very bad sign>> He looks normal to me, and if food floats by him he just moves away. Please can you give me some help as I know that this could be the start of a major problem with him. Alex <<It's more than a start of a major problem, Alex. I've seen this kind of behavior before and it usually does not end well. The fact the fish has stopped feeding bodes very badly, in my opinion. I suspect internal parasites as the problem…very difficult to treat, considering the fish is not eating…and even then is "iffy." You can try segregating this fish and providing dips/baths with a product like Seachem's ParaGuard or the like…but sadly, I hold little hope for this fish at this stage. Regards, EricR>>

Re: Wrasse Problem…Internal Parasites? - 04/04/08 Hi, sorry again EricR! <<No worries>> I have been to my local fish shop (who is very good) and says that there isn't much to lead on in the way of a diagnosis and he said it could be his swim bladder if he goes onto his side, I will ask him about parasites. Yet I thought internal parasites could cause the swim bladder to go? <<Hmm, I suppose so…would think they could/would cause many issues with internal organs>> + how could the parasites get there? <<Likely "came with." Do read here and among the links at the top of the page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm >> None of the other fish are showing any signs of problems hovercraft boxfish, flame angel, 2x black ocellaris clown fish and a solandri puffer, all fully grown except the hovercraft as he is young and I know he will out grow the tank in a few years but we have plans 2 move him. And they are all eating. <<This is not uncommon/is often the case. Internal parasitic issues are often isolated cases…in "my" experience>> If it is parasites can it spread? <<Internal parasites seem less likely to do this than external types…due to a lack of intermediaries or due to being species specific>> Will I be able to see the parasites? <<Not without a necropsy of the fish>> If it is parasites? Would the purchasing of a UV sterilizer remove them? <<No>> Sorry for kind of wasting your time however I want the problem to be fixed. <<As stated in my previous reply…if my diagnosis is correct, I do not think this is "fixable" at this stage of the progression>> Alex <<EricR>>

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