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FAQs on Pencil Wrasses, Genus Pseudojuloides

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

A female Pseudojuloides cerasinus in Hawai'i.

Pseudojuloides kaleidos  11/28/10
Hello crew,
I purchased a pencil wrasse today from my LFS on an impulse buy... It has a hot pink stripe on its back, greenish body, blue lined face, and yellow tail - never seen anything like it. The employee at the store informed me that it was a pencil wrasse and that it was reef safe.
<And also very hard to keep in captivity>
The fish seemed very healthy and I fell in love with its coloration. He's in a container now drip acclimating. I've done an extensive search online and have come up with little to nothing besides the fact that I have identified him as Pseudojuloides Kaleidos. Here is the link -
I have also attached additional photos to help you.
<These images were lifted>
The coloration is a little off but you will get the general idea. From your knowledge base are you able to tell me anything more on this species in regards to behavior?
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/pencilwrasfaqs.htm
This is about all I know... Have seen a few species of this genus in the wild... Constantly on the move, large territories>
Is it a peaceful species that gets along with other wrasses (mystery wrasse)?
The manager at the LFS informed me that it was peaceful and would get along with a mystery wrasse. And, most importantly, is it reef safe?
<Much so>
He will be placed into a 150 gallon matured reef consisting of a deep sand bed, a lot of live rock, peaceful fish, clams, shrimp, snails, sps, and lps. Thank you for your expertise in advance!
<I do hope this one lives... very skittish... jumpy. Bob Fenner>

Pencil wrasse (Pseudojuloides severnsi )  3/28/10
Good evening,
I was trying not to bother you all but I can find so little on the web, I thought I would check with you. I have 3 reef tanks. This concerns my 75 gallon reef tank, kept predominantly for corals, although my interest first and foremost is fish. For the past year or so the tank has had 2 tuka Anthias, a Dispar Anthias , a whip fin fairy wrasse that has bonded with the Dispar (another story but it is sort of interesting) , a leopard wrasse, along with a few gobies and
their respective shrimp, a purple Firefish, a geometric perchlet and a Jawfish. I placed a pencil wrasse in the tank 4 days ago after a somewhat shortened quarantine and was prepared for the difficulty in feeding him (this is a tank of finicky eaters) but he immediately disappeared into the substrate and I have not seen him since. I am hesitant to disturb him and I am have been feeding a variety of tempting food to no avail. None of my text mention remaining buried for so long. Thank you for any information or advice you can give me.
Jeanne Brown
<At this point you are faced with two choices... to continue waiting, hoping the fish will show, begin feeding, or stirring the substrate, slowly... with a net, a wooden or plastic dowel, dragged through the substrate, hoping to find this fish. The genus is not easily kept... and can be very shy when moved, amongst other fishes... Bob Fenner>

Re: pencil wrasse (Pseudojuloides severnsi ) 3/29/2010
Thank you for your prompt response, I haven't been able to find him but I will keep looking.
Jeanne Brown
<Thank you for this update... Sometimes this genus, other Labrids do go "MIA" for several days... emerging fine. Let's hope yours does. BobF>

55-gal FOWLER / Pencil Wrasse Compatibility, Conditions Questions Rising to The Challenge (The Husbandry of Pencil Wrasses) - 12/06/08 Hi Crew, <Scott F. in today!> Writing with a few stocking questions for my 55-gallon FOWLR + Inverts, specifically a species I've been able to find little information pertaining to. <OK> Current parameters: SG-1.025, pH-8.2, Nitrate-20, Nitrite-0, Temp steady at 78-79F. I have about 30 lbs LS, and 52 lbs LR. Tank as been up and running 3.5 months. 5-gallon water changes done every other week. <Good to hear> Current livestock(in order of introduction) 1 Maroon Clown Premnas biaculeatus (2.5") 1 Canary Wrasse Halichoeres chrysus (4") 1 Long-Spined/Hatpin Urchin Diadema setosum I believe (probably 7"-8" across from tips of opposite spines) 6 Nassarius Snails 1 Green Pencil Wrasse Pseudojuloides cerasinus (4") - I know and have considered your advice on these; though I came upon this fish via a friend's tank which he could no longer give the attention or finances to keeping. This fish was quite established in his tank and showed all the characteristics of a healthy fish. In transfer to my tank I gave a 2-3 minute Blue Meth dip, and introduced directly to the display per your previous advice on this Family. It did bury itself in the sand for 5 days upon introduction to my tank - I saw its mouth poking through the sand on day 5 and assumed it had regrettably become another bit of evidence backing your deterrence from keeping this species out of its habitat. I determined it only right to remove it, and on my attempt to do so it swan from beneath the sand and has been an active and healthy specimen since (approx 1 month ago) except when, like my Canary Wrasse, he burrows at night to sleep. Given your posted advice on this species, I've become even more tuned in to the nuances of my tank and keep orthodox to water changes and parameters. Again, it is alive and well, takes no aggression from its tankmates, eats a varied diet and has provided a vibrant, colorful addition to my tank. <Glad to hear of your success with this typically challenging fish.> With all this said, I'd like to add one other fish or a few other inverts to my tank. I feel I've set myself up well to go in either of my two desired directions based on my current stocking. Option A would be to add a small Rhinecanthus Trigger (until I upgrade to a 100-150 gallon over the next few months) which has long been my favorite Family - either a Picasso, Bursa or Rectangular - or a small dog-faced puffer. Either of these additions would conclude my stocking (barring any unfortunate losses, of course) <Well, I appreciate that you intend to upgrade systems. A couple of thoughts here. First, either of these fishes become rather aggressive, quite large, and give off significant amounts of metabolic waste. Taking this into account, you'd really want an even larger aquarium (like 200 plus gallons, IMO) to keep one of these species comfortably for anything close to a natural life span. My other thought is that, despite our best intentions to upgrade, there always seems to be something that either delays or eliminates the chances of getting a larger aquarium. Your luck may be different (I sure hope it is), but I really like to discourage fellow hobbyists from stocking their present aquarium based on the possibility of acquiring a larger one in the future.> My other option (B) would be to take a reefier (?) direction and add a few mushrooms (Ricordeas) and LPS (especially drawn to frogspawn, torch, bubble, et al). And perhaps something for my Maroon Clown to take host in. <I think a better approach. However, if you intend to keep an anemone for your Clownfish, do consider the challenges and responsibilities of keeping anemones in captivity. They are not an easily renewable natural resource, and do require careful husbandry practices to assure their captive survival. There is also the possibility that the Anemonefish that you have may not even associate with the anemone (the fish could have been captive-bred, and may never have even encountered one before!). Not trying to be negative, but you do need to be made aware of the facts surrounding anemone husbandry.>  My questions are mainly specific to my options and how they are likely to affect the environment for my Pencil Wrasse. I've really found very little information on this species, which makes determining and pursuing the best conditions for it pretty difficult. A self-fulfilling prophecy. <I'll say> 1 - If taking the mushroom/LPS route, would the Pencil likely be a nibbler or would he likely leave them alone? His small mouth is very similar to that of the Halichoeres genus which leads me to believe it'd be fine. <You are correct. They typically hunt down small crustaceans, and will show no real interest in corals. They might "poke" around in them looking for food, but they will not be nibbling on the coral tissue directly.> 2- If taking the Trigger/Puffer route, I know these can become bruisers and are notorious for nipping tankmates; is the Pencil Wrasse likely too sensitive to such behavior? If so, what might be some better options to look into? <Umm..just don't do it! LOL> 3- While I'm on the subject, is there any specific advice you might offer on the keeping of the Pseudojuloides that might help in providing proper conditions? I'm not asking for you to go into any great depth, but if you can foresee any problems, I'll gladly take any advice you might offer. Much appreciation in advance, Joe V. <Well, Joel, for those intrepid hobbyists that feel like they're up to the challenge of these species, I'd suggest the following: 1) Only attempt keeping these fishes in well-established aquariums with lots of live rock and sand, which will encourage the growth of small crustaceans. 2) "Stock" the aquarium prior to adding the fish with potential live food items, such as copepods, amphipods, small worms, and other fauna. You can obtain cultures of these creatures from suppliers on line, or from fellow hobbyists with long-established populations. Let the aquarium go a month (or better yet- several months) before adding the fish, which will allow them to multiply in a relatively predator-free environment 3) Utilize a refugium in the design of your system, which will support the display with a consistent growth of potential food items 4) Try as many different (frozen) food items as you can in an attempt to get them to eat captive fare. There are some amazing foods out there now from companies like Hikari, Gamma, and others. Frozen Cyclop-eeze is another excellent food for potentially difficult feeders I hope this gives you some help, Joe! Best of luck to you with your efforts! Regards, Scott F.>

Collecting Pseudojuloides in Seychelles  - 11/02/06 Bob, do you have any useful links or contacts re: fish collection/export in this area? <Mmm, no. Have been to this multi-island nation, but did not see any evidence of the ornamental trade there... There are dive operators, oxygen however> Planning a dive trip, wouldn't mind bringing back a couple of unattainable Pseudojuloides erythrops if it's feasible. thanks, Joe Russo <A difficult genus to collect (due to scarcity, quickness, wariness, fusiform shape slipping through mesh of barrier/mist nets, and skittish, poor shipping nature). But quite beautiful. Bob Fenner> Pseudojuloides cerasinus (Halichoeres) Bob- Attached please fine a picture of what I believe is a female Pseudojuloides cerasinus. I was unable to find a photo on your site of the female, so wanted to submit this to you. This is the best shot out of about 20. :) <Thank you for sending the image along... but am almost sure this is a Halichoeres garnoti (initial phase)... a wrasse from the tropical West Atlantic... Please see here re: http://www.fishbase.org/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.cfm?ID=4851 For Pseudojuloides cerasina http://www.fishbase.org/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.cfm?ID=3663 and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/halichoeres.htm For Halichoeres garnoti> I'll be working on getting some better shots, if you have any interest at all, please let me know your preferred sizes. <Most anything in focus, colored, balanced... suitable for Net presentation (up to a few hundred kilobytes) is fine... you might want to place your pix on our sister server/site: WetWebFotos.com > Thanks for the great web site- <A pleasure to share. Bob Fenner> Brent Barr

Genus Pseudojuloides Dear Mr. Fenner, The species on third photo is Pseudojuloides severnsi Bellwood & Randall, 2000. <Where is this photograph placed? The URL please. Bob Fenner> Best Wishes,

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