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FAQs on Leopard Wrasses, Genus Macropharyngodon 1

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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 Disease, Leopard Wrasses Reproduction,

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

Macropharyngodon geoffroy

Leopard wrasse, Hlth.    9/23/10
Hi crew,
<Don>
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
Fenner>
Thanks,
Don

Leopard Wrasse- Maintaining Established Circadian Rhythm 1/30/2010
Greetings,
<And salutations!>
I have an Indian Ocean ornate leopard wrasse, and right after acclimation, it dove into the sand bed,
<Typical.>
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!
Cheers,
Mich>

Leopard Wrasse Success, hlth. f'   8/3/09
Hello Crew,
<Kim>
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,
KDP
<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>

Leopard Wrasse, Pseudocheilinus incomp.  -- 04/12/09
We have an established reef tank, approximately 2 years old. We have a small six line wrasse in there... he is about 1.5 inches. He picks on nothing. Today we put a leopard wrasse in and he couldn't leave the poor
thing alone.
<Not atypical behavior... Unless you have a large system... more than a hundred gallons... you may have to separate them>
The leopard has now buried itself. Should we put the six line wrasse in another tank before the leopard decides to come back out or do you think the six line will just leave him be? I don't want the leopard
wrasse to get hurt. Thanks!
<See above... and WWM re Lined Wrasse Compatibility. 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.
<<Okay>>
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>>

Female Percula vs. Female Leopard Wrasse...help! 3/27/2009
Hello. I have an adult female leopard wrasse that is usually near my female Perc. The Perc doesn't like this and will appear to be swimming against the wrasse in an aggressive manner. Do you suppose that my pair of Percs are going to spawn soon?
<Mmm, maybe... but the Macropharyngodon's behavior is likely entirely unrelated... If you have room for a male, or even another female (the larger will convert to become a male), I would add it here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Female Percula vs. Female Leopard Wrasse...help!
3/27/2009
Oh...I see now what you said. The female Percula is already paired with a male Percula. I think I will move them to the broodstock tank today...
<Mmm, I would read a bit more... and leave the Clowns where they are. B>
Re: Female Percula vs. Female Leopard Wrasse...help!
3/27/2009
Wait a minute...now I am confused. Were you telling me to get another wrasse or clown?
<... the former>
Also, why was the last email that you sent me blank?
<See below. B>

Leopard Wrasse Compatibility, ScottF 11/29/08 Hi, <Hey there! Scott F. in this evening/morning!> I have two beautiful Macropharyngodon bipartitus, both are eating well. <Wow- Quite an accomplishment. Many folks are not as successful in getting these beautiful fishes to eat> One resides in my 75g reef tank, and the other in my refugium because they refuse to coexist. I bought two because they didn't have three at the store. I have about 125 lbs. of live rock with plenty of places to hide, and a three to six inch deep sand bed. I have read that Leopard Wrasses do better in groups, and I want to keep them as such. <They can do well in groups, but typically, you'd want a group of one male to several females. Most of the time, males will fight when housed together. I'd hazard a guess that you have two males, based on their inability to co-exist peacefully.> I just wanted to see what you guys think before I take the plunge and get another one. It's hard enough catching one, and I don't want to have to catch two. It seems like the only corals that I knock over, or break, are my favorites. <Boy, can I relate to that issue!> Should I risk it and get another, or should I trade one off due to the fragile nature of this fish? <Well, if it were me, I'd be inclined to keep just the one that you already have in the display. If you must get more, I would purchase at least two more. However, I believe that your aquarium is too small to effectively house a larger population of these fishes. They would need more physical space and the foraging opportunities that a larger system can provide.> Thanks, Jeff <My pleasure, Jeff. Enjoy the beautiful specimens that you have! Regards, Scott F.>

Macropharyngodon bipartitus, RMF go  11/29/08 Hi, <Jeff> I have two beautiful Macropharyngodon bipartitus, both are eating well. One resides in my 75g reef tank, and the other in my refugium because they refuse to coexist. <Mmm, happens... perhaps both are too close to being male...> I bought two because they didn't have three at the store. I have about 125 lbs. of live rock with plenty of places to hide, and a three to six inch deep sand bed. I have read that Leopard Wrasses do better in groups, <Mmm, no... not expressly... sub-adults, initial phase individuals are sometimes encountered as such in the wild, but never terminal phase/males... and if a male is present, female/s "lag" behind quite a distance (larger than any hobbyist system)... Leopard wrasses can be kept as a "pair" with one determinant terminal phase individual IF there is sufficient room... but generally with only one initial phase specimen...> and I want to keep them as such. I just wanted to see what you guys think before I take the plunge and get another one. <I would not do this... unless it were a very young initial/juvenile phase indiv. AND you had a much larger system (at least six feet long, 150 gal.s or so... or bigger)> It's hard enough catching one, and I don't want to have to catch two. It seems like the only corals that I knock over, or break, are my favorites. Should I risk it and get another, or should I trade one off due to the fragile nature of this fish? <I'd do the latter> Thanks, Jeff <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Leopard Wrasse Compatibility   2/23/09 Hello Crew, I asked you guys a question about Leopard Wrasse compatibility a few months ago. I had two Macropharyngodon bipartitus that refused to coexist. <How big a tank? Two males?> One was in the display, the other was in the refugium. I neglected to mention they were both about 2 inches, both female. <Oh!> I was getting ready to upgrade to a 180g to maintain multiple specimens. I installed an AquaC EV-180 on my 75g "Sps" reef. I purchased more rock. I ordered a bunch of frags to grow out. I stumbled on a Macropharyngodon geoffroyi that was eating, at my LFS too. I decided to introduce it to my display along with the wrasse from my sump. It worked! There was very little aggression at first, now there is none. Sorry if it sounds like I disregarded your advice, I would have upgraded that week if I had to. I value your opinions. Back when I first put in the two M. bipartitus, I put the most aggressive one in the sump. They were separated about a month, and the one in the display doubled in size. The one in the fuge didn't grow at all. I guess it was the small space, because there was plenty of food. I am still going to upgrade. Maybe next week, maybe next year, whenever I find a deal that I can't pass up. In the meantime, I want to keep stocking my current tank. I currently have a Paracentropyge multifasciata, and the 3 Leopard Wrasses. Would it be risky to add a Siganus unimaculatus to my current tank? <Mmm the 75? If it's small...> I'm worried my angel might get too close to the spines when it tries to show the new guy that he's the boss. If something happened to it I would die. I also want to add a Pseudochromis fridmani, but I can wait until I get a bigger tank if I must. I don't want to mess up my equilibrium. The stock list for the big tank is: Paracentropyge multifasciata Macropharyngodon bipartitus x 2 Macropharyngodon geoffroyi Chelmon rostratus Pseudochromis fridmani Pseudanthias bartlettorum x 5 I want more than that in there, that's just the must haves. <This is about "all full up" psychologically/behaviorally> I will probably add some Fairy Wrasses to the list. I may substitute a Forcipiger flavissimus for the C. rostratus, depends on availability when I take the plunge. Do you have any suggestions on anything I could add now? <Yes. Nothing> I don't like Tangs. I have read pretty much every book I can read on the hobby, and researched until I felt like I had sand in my eyes. I just want some opinions from outside of Memphis, there isn't much variety here. Thanks for all of your help. Jeff Crowder <Keep saving, planning for that larger system. Bob Fenner>

Blue Star Leopard Wrasse... misplaced    10/3/08 I purchased a Blue Star Leopard Wrasse yesterday afternoon from my LFS. <Mmmm, Macropharyngodon bipartitus... not a species, genus easily kept...> They had just gotten the shipment in that morning. <Ah, and not a good practice to buy such touchy animals on their arrival> I acclimated it slowly, and once added to the main tank it immediately hid behind some rocks. <Natural behavior> A few hours later I dropped in a frozen brine shrimp cube, <Mmm, not a food I would use regularly> which enticed him to come out for a few moments and eat one lonely shrimp before burying himself in the sand where he has been ever since. <Again, typical> When it was swimming about, however, I noticed that it's top fin had a split in it, like it was torn from the top of the fin all the way to it's body. It didn't seem to be having trouble swimming, but it was only visible for a minute or two. Should I be worried? <Re?> I have had my 38 gallon tank <Too small for this genus> running for around 6 weeks <And too new> and I have 2 Ocellaris Clowns, 1 Sally Lightfoot Crab, <Predaceous> 2 what I believe to be turbo snails, and several Blue Leg Hermits. I purchased the tank that had just been broken down about a week earlier with established live sand and a couple pieces of live rock. I used RO water to fill the tank and lots of fully cured Fiji live rock which has some beautiful mushrooms on it that I didn't know about! I checked my nitrate levels often and slowly began adding inhabitants once they leveled off (only took about 3 weeks). The Ocellaris clowns have been healthy and eating fine, as well as the inverts. I plan to stock copepods and feed live shrimp. Hope this is enough info! =) <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/macropharyngodonfaqs.htm and the linked files above. I do hope this wrasse "surfaces"... but its chances of living in this setting are vanishingly small. I strongly encourage you to read (quickly), and return this fish to the store. Bob Fenner>

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>>

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>>

Thinking Of Getting A Splendid Leopard Wrasse Macropharyngodon bipartitus) - 02/02/08 Dear Bob and Crew, <<Hello Dane…EricR here>> I am thinking of purchasing a Splendid Leopard Wrasse from Kenya from a local seller. <<Exquisite fish…rarely seen in the trade around my parts; and for the best really, considering their dismal survival rate…and quite "pricey" when they do show up>> However, I have researched and have found out they have very specialized feeding requirements i.e. copepods. <<Indeed…these fish require a dense and self-sustaining population of live natural prey>> My tank is 55g with 80 lbs live rock. <<Needs to be twice this size…with a "mature" in-line plankton-generating refugium of at least 30 gallons in size…along with a dearth of same-food-type competitors in the display>> Inhabitants currently are 2 Ocellaris clowns and 1 coral banded shrimp. <<Not the best tank mates, especially in this size tank>> While the tank has only been set up in my apartment for 2 months it was actually running continuously for 4 years prior to my purchasing it. I moved this tank with all substrate intact under a few inches of water and moved all live rock with the original water. I would say I used about 60% of the original water in the tank when it arrived it my apartment. <<Even all considered…this tank just doesn't have enough "real estate" to generate/sustain enough prey food organisms for the wrasse>> My question is, do you think the micro crustacean population will be sufficient for this wrasse? <<I do not>> Can it be supplemented with live brine shrimp and frozen brine and Mysis? <<Some individuals may take to frozen foods (Mysis preferred over brine shrimp)…and I would stress that anyone purchasing any wrasse from this genus ensure that/witness the fish eating in the store, first>> Lastly, re: quarantine, is it possible to do this for this fish as there would be no copepods in my quarantine tank. <<I do not recommend quarantine for these fish>> Thanks in advance for you help, Dane <<I do hope that you will reconsider purchasing this fish, Dane. One of the smaller Halichoeres species would be much more likely to do well/survive in a system the size of yours. In my experience the Halichoeres genus of wrasse will more readily take to prepared foods (frozen Mysis and glass worms are good fare…and do also look in to new Life Spectrum pelleted food for these/all your fishes). There are also some spectacular specimens among this genus…perhaps H. ornatissimus or H. iridis would suit your fancy. One special requirement I need mention for these fishes, and which also pertains to Macropharyngodon species, is a soft and fine substrate of suitable depth. These fishes "bury" in the substrate to sleep and when startled or harassed. A substrate that is too coarse or too sharp, or even too shallow, will ultimately result in the fish's demise...either through physical damage and subsequent infection, or through psychological stress. A sugar-fine Aragonite of 4-inches or more in depth works nicely. Regards, Eric Russell>>

Thinking Of Getting A Splendid Leopard Wrasse Macropharyngodon bipartitus)…One Other Thing… - 02/02/08 One other thing I forgot to mention: I have a rocky substrate. Will this affect this wrasse adversely? <<Indeed…is totally unsuitable as explained in the previous reply>> Best, Dane <<Regards, EricR>>

Re: Thinking Of Getting A Splendid Leopard Wrasse Macropharyngodon bipartitus) - 02/02/08 Thanks for your advice Eric. <<Quite welcome…sorry it's not more in your favor>> I love all these wrasses, they are beautiful, it's such a shame that my substrate is rocky. <<Indeed>> Is there some way to remedy this, such as a patch of finer sand or even a tray of sand? <<I have heard of using a "tray of sand" as you mention. If it is large and deep enough, the fish will find and use it>> Thanks, Dane <<Happy to assist. EricR>>

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>>

Macropharyngodon bipartitus (Blue Star Leopard Wrasse) Leopard Wrasse- In A Refugium?  11/26/07 Hi Everyone, <Hiya! Scott F. in today!> I've been reading through your site for a long time and found it to be a great help. I have a 90 gallon SPS/LPS display tank with a 30 gallon sump and a 36 gallon refugium. As of right now, the refugium has 20 lbs of live rock, a deep sand bed, and assortment of various macroalgae. I've been looking into adding a fish into the refugium. I was wondering how a Blue Star Leopard wrasse would work in the fuge. I have searched many sites regarding this wrasse, half of the sites state that this fish cannot live in a tank smaller than a 50 gallon and others say no less than a 30 gallon. Is it the total volume of water in the system or the overall swimming space? Being the system has more than enough volume of water for this in particular fish, Will this work out ok or am I better off looking into some other fish? Thank you very much! Erika <Well, Erika, it's not so much a function of physical space with this species. Yes, it needs ample room- but "space", in this example, is more of a measure of the ability of a system to support the fish's nutritional needs. Larger systems typically generate larger populations of natural food supplies (i.e.; copepods, amphipods, Mysis, etc.). The real challenge with the Leopard Wrasses is supplying them with the quantity and type of foods that they need. You might be able to get them to take prepared foods, which is a plus. However, if they need to depend on natural food sources, at least at the start, an established system of decent size is a plus. Another thought that I had: The function of a refugium is to provide a source of nutrient export/processing for the display aquarium, and to supplement the display with natural foods. As such, you want to maximize this potential productivity by eliminating predators form the refugium! Why would you want to diminish this process by placing a (predatory) fish in there? A healthy foraging Leopard Wrasse can have a significant impact on the refugium's total productivity. Better to see if the fish can be accommodated in your display aquarium. If you're up for the challenge, this fish can be a spectacular addition to your system. Select a healthy specimen, acclimate and quarantine carefully, and you may enjoy great success! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Macropharyngodon kuiteri-- anyone?   9/9/07 Hi Bob and Co., <Art> What do you know about Macropharyngodon kuiteri, one of the Leopard Wrasses? <Mmm, nada... looks like it was named in honor of Rudie... Likely similar in care, lack of hardiness as the other Leopard Wrasses> The only information I can find is that it seems to be smaller than other members of the family (10cm, about 4" if I did my conversion correctly), which is good, and that it comes from deeper waters than other members of the family, so it may have different feeding habits. <Mmm, again, doubtful> Of course, I'm hoping that you know all about this fish, and that 'different' means 'easier to keep' (but I think I know better!) Thanks in advance, Art <Have never seen this fish... above or below water: http://fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=13141&genusname=Macropharyngodon&speciesname=kuiteri Our brief coverage of the genus here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/macropharyngodon.htm and the linked Related FAQs file above. Bob Fenner>

Blenny questions--oh, and a wrasse/mandarin question!  Comp. Ecsenius, Macropharyngodon,  4/10/07 Good morning and thank you for your wonderful site. I have just spent a couple of hours reading but I am a little anxious still, so thought I would ask you directly. I ordered a Tailspot blenny(  Ecsenius stigmatura) and was sent a bicolor blenny instead. <The most common species...> They will send me the Tailspot soon, but in the meantime, I have to decide what to do with the bicolor. It is currently in my little 14 gallon Nano with two pearly Jawfish and a hi-fin banded goby. <Mmm... not compatible here> I know he can't stay there. I would like to put him in my 7 year old 150 gallon reef, but I have a large Midas blenny in there and I have had him several years. <Might go in this sized volume...> He swims with my Lyretail Anthias school <Neat! What this species does in the wild...> and ignores everyone else, (except very occasionally my flame Hawkfish, not fond of him) but this is another blenny. <Yes... of the same genus> Once the bicolor goes in, I can't retrieve him. The midas has one little hole that is his special favorite (to the point that he deliberately knocked a coral   fragment off--I watched him do --that I placed near his cave) so as long as the bicolor avoids that...... Is it worth a try? <A tough question... I would likely give this fish away ahead of risking real aggression in your 150... And I want to mention I would not place the other Ecsenius in the small tank either...> Secondly, I lost my green mandarin after 5 years and so I bought another very large female mandarin recently. I have a spotted female already (this is in the 150 gallon)  and I had read that females get along. (My previous green was a male. ) Well, it turned out I didn't have to worry about the spotted mandarin, because my ornate wrasse just attacked the new mandarin mercilessly, buffeting her and feinting at her, as though biting--it was constant. The strange thing is that the mandarin acted as though nothing was happening <A strategy of the species... plus their slime is unpalatable...> and yet the harassment was so vicious and so consistent that I knew she couldn't eat or settle at all. (The wrasse wouldn't even come away from her to eat!   and he is a pig.) I also know that although he didn't appear to be actually biting her, no obvious wounds)  he does have some teeth and it did seem that the blows from his body would evidently do damage.   This shocked me because the wrasse has never been a issue with anything, even all the shrimp and snails.  I couldn't catch the wrasse but I did manage somehow to catch the mandarin and I threw her in my 29 gallon Nano. I know you will say she can't stay there, but  is there some way I could feed her from the rotifers in the 150 's refugium? <Yes> I feed very well, and very diversely and there is plenty of live rock and corals in there. (The Nano  is a 3 year old established tank with a small fairy wrasse, a six-line wrasse and a orange spotted shrimp goby with his pistol shrimp ) Patiently awaiting your scolding on the mandarin/Nano issue and your advice on the blenny. :) <Heeee! I wish you were in our neighborhood, so we could visit, I could see your systems> Thank you very much, Jeanne <Bob Fenner> APOLOGY AND CLARIFICATION Hello there, I just sent an e-mail about blennies (and a second question about my mandarin) and I need to clarify. I apparently do NOT have a bicolor blenny that I need to place but a "flametail" listed on their site as Atrosalarias sp. (Does NOT look at all like a lawnmower blenny. Has a small Ecsenius head and body and is dark, almost black with a yellow tail. ) Should be less of a problem since it is not an Ecsenius? Or is this a more aggressive fish? Jeanne Brown <Actually, the chances of avoiding WWIII are greatly diminished with this change... This is the species I take it: http://www.vividaquariums.com/10Expand.asp?ProductCode=01-1629-10 I give you good odds that the current Ecsenius will leave this fish alone... now, about that offending Labrid... Bob Fenner>

Leopard and Fairy Wrasse Together? - 03/10/07 comp., sel. Hope all is well crew. <<Doing fine, thank you>> My question for today is would a leopard wrasse get along with my yellow sided fairy wrasse. <<Is likely, yes>> The tank is a 90 gallon reef. <<Too small really...do you have a large and mature in-line refugium to help provide a ready supply of foodstuffs for these little understood and often quite difficult to feed fishes?>> I really like the potters leopard wrasse. <<A beautiful fish>> But all are Beautiful. <<Indeed>> What Leopard would you suggest? <<None are easy...all are delicate shippers and fussy to get to feed.  The majority (80%?...maybe more?) don't survive more than a week or so after capture.  If you can find one that is already feeding on Mysis and/or New Life Spectrum pellets (the latter is important for long-term health in my experience) then you may have a chance of keeping one of these amazing fishes alive.  But if you have any doubts...either in the health/vitality of the fish or your ability to provide for its long-term well-being...do please pass it up for a more suitable species.  Regards, EricR>>
Re: Leopard and Fairy Wrasse Together? - 03/11/07
Thank you for your quick response. <<Quite welcome>> Unfortunately at this point I don't have a refuge but I have about 30 pounds of LR just randomly thrown in the sump. <<Ah...then is a refugium "of sorts">> The live rock is definitely loaded with pods, and I've seen live Mysis shrimp swimming through the rocks too. <<Good>> It's the second time that I've seen my LFS bring in a leopard wrasse and each one has been eating well. <<Good again>> But I was concerned more about putting two wrasses in the same tank. <<Mmm...more concerned than whether the species is suitable for your tank to begin with?...unfortunate>> Which I've found out the hard way is not a good idea (or at least 2 aggressive species). <<Indeed, some species are more suitable for mixing in a small tank than others.  It would be wise to avoid species from the genus Pseudocheilinus here.  EricR>>
R2: Leopard and Fairy Wrasse Together? - 03/11/07
The two wrasses I attempted were in my aggressive tank.  FYI species from the genera Coris and Choerodon. <<I see>> My Harlequin didn't want any thing to do with a Red Coris I attempted. <<Hmm, perhaps in a larger system...>> But once again thank you for your very quick responses.  I might actually try a leopard wrasse. Josh <<Can be kept...but is rare.  Something from the genus Halichoeres would be much hardier, as peaceful, and some are just as amazingly colored (e.g. - Halichoeres ornatissimus).  Regards, EricR>>

Splendid Leopard Wrasse   10/27/06 Hi there <Hello> I am thinking of getting a bigger tank and was just wondering how hard splendid leopard wrasses are to obtain, look after and feed. <Toward the ends of the scale for marine fishes... not easy> I have been reading about them but have not found much concrete info. <... please see WWM re the genus Macropharyngodon> I really want one of these spectacular fish. Could it be housed in a 80 gallon tank if I provide it with three inches of sand bed and plenty of live rock, live sand, an abundance of copepods and other peaceful tankmates. <Mmmm, maybe> Also I was wondering whether tangs in general are aggressive or would harass other fish such as the splendid leopard wrasse. <... see WWM re...> Thank you for all of your help from Viv <BobF>

Goby and wrasse questions... Champagne livestock tastes, Bud tank   8/23/06 Hi. <Hey there!>     I have a 45 gallon tank with the following critters - a clownfish (currently residing in an anemone), firefish goby, pajama cardinal, diamond sand goby, scarlet cleaner shrimp, some Christmas tree rocks, some coral frags, some snails and a scarlet legged cleaner crab.      I saw a beautiful fish the other day, the store rep said it was an African Aurora Goby which I think is called Amblyeleotris aurora?) <Maybe> and he priced it at $80. <Man! I got out of the fish collection biz much too soon!> I looked on an internet site and saw something very similar but it was called a Pinkbar goby (for $30), and it was listed as originating from either Indo Pacific or Maldives, aka Cryptocentrus aurora. They look so similar to me, is there any difference? <Mmm, nope... try putting both names into fishbase.org...: http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=12694&genusname=Amblyeleotris&speciesname=aurora is the same species... is an Amblyeleotris> And is there a difference between the Indo Pacific one and the Maldives one? <Mmm, maybe slight geographic variation in color, markings... and likely cost... the further away... the higher> Also, are they hard to keep, and will there be any compatibility problems with my current fish?    <Your 45 may be too small to provide sufficient habitat for this shy species to "feel comfortable"... Do you intend to supply an appropriate Alpheid symbiont?   I also saw a lovely leopard wrasse; again, would there be any compatibility or feeding problems with this fish?      Thanks for your time,      Ak <I would not encourage someone to try a genus Macropharyngodon Labrid in such a setting. Bob Fenner>

Reclusive Leopard Wrasse... I just purchased a leopard wrasse.  Everything seemed to be going well for the first hour or so then I noticed my red spotted Hawkfish starting to get a little territorial and chase a little. <Unfortunately, this is not uncommon behavior for the Hawkfish...These guys share common niches, and there will be some initial squabbling. Is this after you quarantined the fish? Please do quarantine all new acquisitions in the future, for the health of your new and existing inhabitants...Quarantine is especially useful for finicky eaters like Leopard Wrasses, which are often malnourished from the rigors of capture and shipping. If nothing else, quarantine serves as a "hardening" period for them.> I proceeded to try to remove the Hawkfish for a short period until the wrasse could get acclimated but I could not catch the fish.  I returned a few hours later and have not seen the wrasse in about 8 hours.  I checked behind the tank and no luck.  I have a glass top that covers all but about an inch and a half of the back where the return exits the tank.  Any recommendations?  Do they have a tendency to bury for a period before getting acclimated enough to come out or do you think the Hawkfish has driven it crazy? Thanks, Chris <Actually, Chris, these wrasses are known for literally burying themselves in the sand for extended periods of time while acclimating to a new situation. They are notoriously reclusive at first, but will "come around" over time, once they feel comfortable and are aware of no threats. Do keep an eye peeled. Again, because of the relatively delicate nature of these fish, quarantine really helps. Not everyone is successful with them. For more information, do read up on the WWM site about these fish. I also recall an excellent article about them in a past issue (like 2-3 years ago) of Advanced Aquarist online magazine that had some great insight into their care. If you can meet their special needs, these are wonderful, unique fishes! Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Doomed leopard wrasses? hi everybody, I think the leopard wrasses, especially the guinea fowl wrasse is  super beautiful.  however, after reading your description it sounds kind of like they are similar to mandarins: very difficult to keep. I have a 125 gallon reef.  I don't have a mandarin because I just don't like keeping anything I can't feed.  I just don't want to rely on my reef to supply all their food.  do leopards eat frozen food, etc? if they do, do you think they would mix well with a solar fairy wrasse and a tricolor fairy wrasse? ps. tell Anthony I am eagerly awaiting his next book thanks, john Kim ***Hi John, Some people have success with this fish, but not enough for me to feel comfortable recommending one for your tank. Sounds like you have a pretty good handle on the reasons why. There are so many beautiful, hardy fishes that do well in our tanks, no reason to take chances on a fish that in all probability will not adapt. Regards Jim***

Macropharyngodon ornatus - Telling male from female Hi, Can you tell me if there is a way to differentiate male from female Ornate Leopard Wrasses, Macropharyngodon ornatus?  I checked the WWM FAQs and found a great picture of my wrasse in Bob Fenner's article "Leopard Wrasses, the Genus Macropharyngodon".  It looks exactly like the lower of the 2 pictures of the M. ornatus.  I've also found information on how to tell the difference between male and female M. meleagris, but can't seem to find the same information for M. ornatus. Thanks for your help. Joe Jankauskis <Dr. Randall's got a pic ob both sexes on Fishbase.org: http://www.fishbase.org/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.cfm?ID=12724  Males are decidedly a bit more drab here.  Bob Fenner>

Mixing Leopards Hello! <Hi there> First, a thanks to Bob for speaking to SCMAS last Friday night.  I'm the guy with the Multibar angel that shared a table briefly before the talk, which was very informative by the way. <And very enjoyable for me> Anyway, I have recently become enamored with the idea of keeping several different Macropharyngodon species together, specifically M. ornatus, M. geoffroy, M. negrosensis and M. meleagris.  Some preliminary research indicates that this is possible provided that there is only one male in the tank. So I have a couple of questions that some of you may be able to help answer: <Okay> Is it best to get several smaller fishes and place them in the tank together at the same time? Basically juveniles? <I would think so... though you are likely very aware that the wrasses of this genus are hard to ship, restore to health from collection, keep period... smaller ones even harder> What is the approximate size limit of a juvenile Macropharyngodon? <Anything under about three inches total length in my estimation.> Assuming that the tank will have a productive refugium, what size tank would you recommend for 4 or 5 leopards in this arrangement? <At least eighty gallons> Also, there are a couple of wrasses that look similar Macropharyngodon, but aren't. I think Halichoeres such as ornate/Christmas and dusky wrasses. How would these guys do in there with the Macropharyngodon? Or would it be the same, there could be only one male? <I would skip on similar appearing fishes> Finally, would they be OK with a small harem (1 male and 2-3 females) of fairy wrasses in the same tank? Would there be aggression issues between the male Macropharyngodon and male Cirrhilabrus? <Not directly, except for food usage, but much better to look outside the Labrids is my guess> Thanks for you time, I appreciate it. Mike <Thank you for writing in with your interesting speculations, plans. Bob Fenner>

Macropharyngodon ornatus wrasse Hi, guys, <Hello> Curious about your thoughts on a Macropharyngodon ornatus. I know this genus is very temperamental. My LFS has one in their main show tank and is willing to trap it for me. It has been in their reef show tank several weeks and came from a hobbyist's tank where it had been established for some time (about one year I believe, maybe more). It was out and about, no damage, no signs of starvation. These are a beautiful wrasse as you know but they have such an abysmal track record from what I can tell. My tank is a 55G reef with my H. crispa, soft corals, modest fish load. The one likely problem fish is a Halichoeres melanurus which is a very peaceable fish but as it is about the same size and type coloration of the M. ornatus, it would seem risky. <Yes> I guess this is an elaborate way for you to confirm I shouldn't get this fish :-( but these are one of my favorites and I always told myself I'd consider it if an established one came out of someone's tank. What do you think? Pass on it? I've had the H melanurus for some time so I'm not going to trap him to swap him out (seems kind of heartless ;-) Thanks, Marc <Only way to find out... wish the tank were larger, absent the Halichoeres wrasse, but the Leopard does sound like a winning specimen. Bob Fenner>

Blue Linckia, leopard wrasses and angels Good evening Bob! <cheers, bub... Anthony Calfo in your service> Well, I know you've probably heard this a hundred times now.... I bought something for once without doing any research, a blue Linckia~ I was at a wholesalers and it was $5 and I've always wanted one.  <impulse and cheap price... a recipe for death> Don't shoot me!  <oops...sorry. I jumped the gun on the harassment> As soon as I put it in the tank it promptly disappeared into the woodwork, "Great! I just bought a lovely blue star that I'll never see!" hehe.  <or worse... it will starve, dwindle and die back in the rockwork and wipe out the while tank when you go on vacation. Have a nice Holiday! <G>> He's being more social nowadays and hanging around the clams. (Been in the tank about 2 weeks now) I read the FAQs and he's relatively healthy, he was kind of a grey/blue when I bought him, but he's not "cob webbing" or anything. Ok, my question is do they have any food requirements other than detritus and micro creatures?  <wow... these starfish like most sea stars need a lot of food. If you do not/cannot target feed them weekly if not daily, then they need very large aquariums (over 100 gallons) and very mature displays (well over 1 year old with a lot of live rock). Else they will slowly starve over a period of months like most. Surely not to live beyond one year, I am truly sorry to say> Currently he's in one of the most beautiful/healthy 58gal tanks in Miami that has been established for over 5 years. ;] It has a 3"+ fine sand bed, tons of little benthic critters, etc.  <awesome... the maturity of the tank is a tremendous help. Still... spatially... it is a bit small in surface area to sustain this deposit feeder. Especially if you have any blennies, gobies, tangs, etc that graze the rock competitively> Other than fish food (Spirulina flakes and pellets) I feed the tank Dt's concentrated plankton every other night, which the brittle stars seem to love. Also, are Linckias nocturnal?  <yes> It doesn't seem to move around during the day at all, like the brittle stars. Is it normal for Linckias to stay in the same position for a day and a half or more?  <common for imported ones...duress> Do they feed on diatoms that accumulate on the glass as well as feeding on stuff in the sand?  <not only diatom algae per se> His suckers seem to be in good shape, nothing looks irregular.  <good to hear... a good sign> Just they move really slowly, so a person tends to worry.  <understood> And he doesn't seem to get all excited like the brittle stars when I add plankton. ;]  <true... he is a strict detritivore... no suspension feeding at all> On another note, (thanks for reading all this, I have a special skill at rambling!) would a leopard wrasse and a yellow Coris wrasse be compatible?  <likely not... and you truly must avoid putting a leopard wrasse in a tank this small. They are categorically very difficult to sustain for more than a year or two. Best success is in huge aquaria (over 200 gall) with few other fishes> And would they be compatible with a bicolor blenny?  <stick with the yellow Coris and you will likely be fine... although there is always a chance of territorial aggression from the blenny> (My bi-color is currently in my 10gal Nano, where he is king, I can't wait to see his expression when I put him in the 58g that I'll be moving to once my boyfriend has the 75g setup, Heehee Two reefers living under the same roof is a dangerous combination. ;]). Also, are Rusty Angels reef safe, hardy, okay for keeping w/ above mentioned fish?  <now that's a hardy choice :) Seriously... a fine angel. Reasonably hardy and easy to feed... tends to be long-lived in captivity. As far as reef safe... eh... as reef safe as dwarf angels get (nibbler)> If so, should I keep a pair or single? Okay, that's it I swear!!  <oh... you are headed for a smack <G>. You do recall that you have a 58 gallon aquarium, don't you :) > Oh, can you sex bicolors?  <is this a trick question... Ok, I'll bite: yes... the male is the one wearing the smoking jacket and the female wears a silk Kimono> The males are so pretty during mating time.  <OK> Thanks so much for everything, I think you guys are awesome and I hope to know as much as you do someday. Sweet dreams~ Morgan Moore <ha! Thank you for putting up with the wise guy in your luck if the draw. Best regards, my friend>



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