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FAQs on Harlequin Tuskfish, Choerodon fasciata, Compatibility

Related Articles: Harlequin Tuskfish, Tuskfishes, Genus Choerodon,

Related FAQs: Harlequin Tuskfish 1, Harlequin Tuskfish 2, Tuskfish, Tuskfish Identification, Tuskfish Selection, Tuskfish Behavior, Tuskfish Systems, Tuskfish Feeding, Tuskfish Disease, Tuskfish Reproduction, Wrasses, Wrasse Selection, Wrasse Behavior, Wrasse Compatibility, Wrasse Feeding, Wrasse Diseases,

Most Tuskfish get along with all but shrimps, crabs, snails... Or very slow, unaware fishes if hungry. Hemitaurichthys polylepis.

Bennett's Sharpnose Puffer and Harlequin Tusk; comp.
Would these two specifies get along in a 125 gallon tank?
<Likely so... Canthigastrines are nippy, but Choerodon are smart and fast.
Bob Fenner>
The Puffer is about 3 inches and the Harlequin Tusk (currently in the tank) is about 6 inches?
Thank you

Tusk fish and bird wrasse compatibility        4/4/16
Hey guys
Hope you are all well, my question is in regards to the aggressiveness of both the bird wrasse and harlequin tusk fish, both these fish will be (hopefully) the finishing touches to my 187 gallon Fowlr tank (depending on your response of course), but I have a few small inhabitants such as 2 Picasso clowns 2 Chromis a Valentini puffer and 4 Anthias all are around 3 inches max and I was wondering how compatible these two bigger fish would be with these smaller fish that I have and of course each other considering they are both in the wrasse family, I've done my reading and I'm still not 100% so I was wondering could u give me a bit of advice on whether or not to go ahead with these fish or maybe look at something else. I'd really appreciate the help guys.
<In a system this size, shape the two larger Labrids will likely get along w/ each other... However the Clowns and Anthias may be consumed in time if they're hungry. Bob Fenner>
Re: Tusk fish and bird wrasse compatibility

Thanks for the reply Bob
Do you think keeping them well fed maybe a few good feedings a day of large krill, prawns and other meaty foods would maybe dissuade them for eating the smaller fish?
<Likely (more than 50... 70 some percent so>
<Welcome. BobF>

Harlequin Tusk; hlth., comp.     10/14/14
Hi Crew. I his email finds you well.
<Yes; thank you Michael>
I picked up a nice Australian Harlequin Tusk four days ago. Around 5 inches. I have him in a 55 gallon QT. Very active fish. Eating from day one. Eats everything to include Mysis, silversides, prawns, clams, and NLS pellets. This is actually my second tusk I am trying. First one I had for around six weeks and laid on its side for two weeks, then final go straight up and swam a little. I thought it was just a timid fish. Only got him to eat Mysis at night when lights were off. After 5 weeks in QT, I put in the display but within 2 days the other fish got to him since all he did was lay in the open and he eventually died last a week ago. I assume something was wrong. I never saw signs of disease but did treat with PraziPro and Quinine Sulfate.
<Mmm; sorry for your loss>
Now my questions on the new tusk. If I see no signs of disease should I treat with PraziPro and Quinine Sulfate as a precautionary measure?
<I would not. Australian specimens are generally very tough, and clean. No sense impugning its health with medications if not necessary>
I would do the treatments at separate times. I was planning to do two back to back five day treatments of PraziPro, wait a week, and then do a single 7 day treatment of Quinine Sulfate. I just wanted to get your
thoughts on this.
<You have them. By and large am not a fan of prophylactic treatment by hobbyists. Most all "easily knocked off" pathogens should be dealt with by "dealers" (wholesalers mostly, perhaps collectors, transhippers to lesser degrees). Internal complaints... Need to be addressed on a scenario to circumstances basis>
I plan on putting the tusk in a 150 gallon FOWLR. I do have a 8" Red Breasted Wrasse in there that did show aggression towards my last Tusk.
<Yes... not a good tankmate for each other... Cheilinus, Oxycheilinus and Choerodons routinely don't get along>
I also have a 7" porc puffer and a 7" V. Lionfish in there. From what I saw, the puffer and lion fish left the tusk alone. I was thinking of taking the Red Breasted Wrasse out and put in QT for a week when I go to
put the tusk in there.
<Worth trying>
Or I can just put the tusk in and if I see aggression from the wrasse, then try and net the wrasse and put in QT.
<Up to you. I would separate them somehow for a week or two>
This tusk is so active and the way he eats, I think he would put up a fight and deter any aggression unlike the last one. Please let me know your thoughts on this too. The tusk has another 5 to 6 weeks in QT so I am not un any rush.
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Harlequin tusk problems, Gymnomuraena incomp.    7/6/13
My 4 inch tusk is eating the tail of a 3 foot zebra moray eel.
<Mmm, not surprising>
 They have resided in a 265 gallon tank for nearly two years with no problems and get fed regularly.  I currently separated the tank with eggcrate but my question is if the tail heals will the tusk leave it alone or will the tusk need to be removed?
<Moved; separated permanently>
  Thank you for all your knowledge through the years.
<Glad to share. Bob Fenner>

Harlequin Tusk with Lionfish and Powder Blue Tang (and maybe an eel too!) – 04/13/13
Hello WWM team.
<<Greetings mystery writer>>
Great site!
<<A collaborative effort…thanks much!>>
I have done the best I can to figure out if these fish are compatible with each other at specific sizes in a 125 gallon tank.  I have a fish only setup with many large hiding places.  I have an 8-9 inch Aussie tusk and would like to add a 4-5 inch Volitans Lionfish and a 5 inch Powder Blue tang.  Will these fish get along?
<<Likely so, though the size/volume of your tank is at the low end of the scale here for this mix…in my humble opinion>>
Is the tank large enough for all three?
I really want the Lionfish.  Is there a better choice of tang?
<<Mmm, something a bit less rambunctious/mean and doesn’t require as much “space”…perhaps a Ctenochaetus species>>
Would the tank be maxed out?
<<Pretty close>>
If not, is a small species of moray eel just too much?
<<I’ve not a lot of experience with eels, to be honest…but a “Snowflake” does not seem out of order here…Perhaps if Bob sees this he can render an opinion as well>><Getting crowded... B>
Thanks for your help.
<<Quite welcome…and good luck!  EricR>>
Re: Harlequin Tusk with Lionfish and Powder Blue Tang (and maybe an eel too!) – 04/14/13

Thank you for the quick response.
<<Quite welcome, Mark>>
Would the Tusk, Lion, and Ctenochaetus like Yellow Eyed tang be the max due to bioload, territory, or both?
<<With this mix; mostly a bioload issue I think.  You do have a small bit of wiggle room yet, but you must also consider the Tusk may grow a bit more and the Lion will very likely continue to grow>>
I did forget to mention that I also have a 3.5" Dragon Wrasse
<<Mmm, Novaculichthys taeniourus has the potential to get as big as the Tusk…and are you aware one of their common names is ‘Rock Mover?’>>
that was in the tank before adding the Harlequin Tusk and I could tell he was very shy of his new tankmate.
<<9” Tusk versus a 3.5” Dragon…shy indeed>>
I can move him to a 70 gal tank if needed.
<<Likely best for a number of reasons>>
He has been hiding in the sand for the past few days.  In my research, it appears these 2 fish are likely compatible and some sites suggest the Dragon Wrasse might harass the Tusk.
<<I would be inclined to “choose one or the other” for the 125>>
I assume that may be the case if they were of equal size.
<<More so, yes>>
My question, is the Dragon Wrasse wise to hide?
<<Caution is not a bad thing>>
Is he in danger of being attacked by the larger Tusk?
<<If viewed as a tasty morsel by the Tusk…indeed so>>
The Tusk did not seem overly interested in the Dragon Wrasse but he didn't really see him out in open water.
<<Risk of being eaten aside, real or imagined…I think the long-term health of the system will benefit by these two being relegated to separate tanks>>
Thanks again,
<<Happy to share…  EricR>>

Helping a friend; stocking     11/6/12
Hey guys, I recommended your site to a friend who started up a marine tank a few months ago but he was unable to get in touch because of computer troubles so he has asked me to get in touch, his query is could he put a harlequin tusk fish and a porcupine puffer in a 155 UK gallon tank?
<Should be compatible, fine in this volume>
His tank dimensions are 60x30x24, he has read through some of the FAQ's but would like to know before he went ahead and added them, do you think this tank have enough space for these fish, I read the tusk gets to 10 inches max and the puffer will get to 12 inches,
<About half this length in this sized system in captivity>
but I wasn't to sure if they would be ok or not, our tanks are the same size and I had said I would like to add a tusk so I think I've put him in the mood and he really wants one now but I get a lot of my info from your site so since you guys are the experts he would like to know what you think and would be glad of any info.
<You're welcome Steven. Bob Fenner>
Re: Helping a friend    11/6/12

Thanks for the reply Bob, I think my friend is happy enough with the news, the LFS told him they could fit in his tank but I've been down that road before and been sold fish that are way to <too> big for my tank and fish that I had no business keeping, bit you learn from your mistakes, I think that's why he decided to ask me as I'm always reading up on these things and I don't really go by what the LFS says regarding which fish to put in my tank, one thing I forgot to ask Bob was is his system big enough and have enough space for these fish to live a long healthy life with his other fish which are green Chromis, Anthias, yellow tang and fox face Rabbitfish and a radiant wrasse or will they be cramped?
<Not too cramped>
Sorry for not asking this in my last email I was in a bit of a rush when I was sending it but I'd kick myself if I didn't ask and I'd rather he knew what he was doing and have a healthy system with fish that will be happy, thanks again Bob.
<Was in the UK this AM, now Paris... BobF>
Re: Helping a friend    11/7/12

Thanks again for your help Bob, he'll be happy to know he can keep these fish no problem then, 
<Well, not likely a problem I hope we can settle on>
 Again sorry for emailing you especially when your on holiday, hope you got to visit Ireland on your travels when in the UK, the weather's not the best <Had been up in York the last week... quite cold!>
but it's a nice place to visit as is Paris, but thanks again Bob, enjoy your holiday.
<Thank you Steve. Tara, BobF>

Harlequin Tusk concerns, beaten by tankmate
I purchased a Harlequin Tusk on 9/7/12. The past two days it has been swimming in circles with head bobbing out of water.
<Yikes; not good behavior... Is this system cycled, suitable? Likely the specimen was damaged in collection; I'd be contacting whomever sold it to you to hopefully secure credit/replacement>
It is still eating but I am concerned about this behavior. It has also jumped into the overflow box twice today. Could he just be stressed from move and new tank mates (dog face puffer, Huma Huma trigger, and blue spot grouper)?
The grouper has been chasing and biting at tail even though tusk is bigger.
<?! This is the issue here. Separate these fishes, now>
Could this be a disease? Curable?
<? Not a disease, unless you count their unsuitability as a social one. Bob Fenner>
Any advice would be appreciated.
Thank You
Re: Harlequin Tusk concerns

Thanks Bob I will be separating today.
Thank You
<Ah good. BobF>

Introducing a 3 inch lunare wrasse....with a 6 inch Aussie Tuskfish     7/12/12
Hello WWM crew, I hope you are all having a wonderful day! So awhile back I acquired a juvenile lunare wrasse (LFS gave it to me because it was not looking so good) I've had it quarantined for a little over a month now.
Well yesterday as I was at work, my nephew thought it would be a good idea to feed him, as he was doing so he dropped the entire jar of NLS pellets into the tank.
 This happened in the morning, I got home at 9 pm and all the pellets had starting breaking apart.  Anyway I had to take him out prematurely I am currently cycling a tank for him, because of the crisis, the only other tank I have is my 200 gallon Fowlr.  The 200 gal is stocked with fish that compared to him are GIGANTIC, including a 6 to 7 inch Aussie tusk.  My question is will a tusk this size try and eat my little lunare.
<Not likely, no... this Thalassoma sp. is sharp and there's room here to maneuver>
I floated the bag he was in to see what the reaction was with the current residents and they all seemed fine. After I actually acclimated him and put him in the tank, the tusk started chasing him around, so I don't know if its to tell him the tusk is the boss, or if he was trying to eat him. I thank you in advance.
<As long as it doesn't damage it...>
P.S. The tank has been up and running 7 years, with all the inhabitants it has currently. Never have I seen the tusk act in this manner.
With Regards,
Jacob D.
<Likely mistakes it for a food item. Should abate the chasing shortly. Bob Fenner>
Re: Introducing a 3 inch lunare wrasse....with a 6 inch Aussie Tuskfish   7/12/12

Thank you Mr. Fenner!! Your site always has the answers I need to put my mind at ease. After the long month nursing my Lunare back to health ( his green was grey and pink areas were opaque!!!!) I don't want him to become food. I've gotten attached to the little guy. Very pretty fish, very scary as he eats but pretty none the less.  Thank you for your help.
<Welcome Jacob>
  Also any ideas on how to get my juvenile Pakistan Butterflyfish to eat??
<Mmm, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bffdsfdgfaqs.htm
This BF is almost always found in groups in the wild... Not easily kept in captivity>
Sorry for all the noob questions, but everyone I know, gives me fish they buy without researching first.  Their reason, because I've had the same fish for seven years!!
Thanks again!!
Jacob D.
<Cheers, BobF>

About Harlequin Tuskfish, comp.     4/12/12
<Hello Maggie, Bobby here>
  I was curious about (Australian) Harlequin Tuskfish.
<A beautiful fish>  I am researching them for my 100g SPS tank.  Currently I just have a pair of 1 1/2 inch Ocellaris Clownfish, but I was looking for a relatively large "showpiece" fish eventually.  My questions are:
How aggressive are they really?  I have honestly read that they can be extremely aggressive, but have also heard they're peaceful despite their scary looks.
<Not overly aggressive to other fish.  They want to be left alone and they leave others alone>
I know they eat inverts...but what about my young clownfish?
<Not likely that they would attack them>
Would they feel comfortable with strong light, strong flow, and only 100g - or do they really just need a larger tank?
<This is where you are going to run into a problem.  A 100g tank is really too small, especially once you consider the space the rock and coral will take up. There is not much room left for a fish that can easily reach 6" in captivity>
Thanks! :)
<You are welcome>

Wrasse troubles...../Hogfish Compatibility 4/6/12
Good morning crew! I am having an issue with a brand new Spanish hogfish 3.25" and a Harlequin Tuskfish 4". Upon release of the Spanish hog on Wed, my Tusk will not let him out of the rock and when he does, he bull rushes him. He bit part of his tail off and some scales are missing but he eats well and comes out to swim without fail every time I feed. In the past 2 years my Tusk has never acted aggressive toward any fish unless provoked....strange this happens all of a sudden. Based upon your book, if my reading/research serves me correctly, they are a different enough genus to keep together in the same tank (I have a 90g Fowlr). Will this stop after the Hog gets adjusted, or will this be a permanent ongoing battle?
Would like to hear your feedback.
<Generally the Hogfish is more aggressive than the Tuskfish. Both of these fish will get too large for your 90 gallon tank. The Hogfish is likely competing for territory. If this does not subside, I would remove one of the two from this system and plan on looking for larger quarters in the near future.>
Thanks and have a great Holiday!
Wrasse troubles...../Hogfish Compatibility 4/8/12

Thanks for replying.
<You're welcome.>
Nahhh, the tank isn't too small, 90g is plenty for a 3 and 4 inch Harli and Hog.
<Maybe for now.>
The growth rate of the Tusk is incredibly slow....I have pleeennty of time. And Bob's book states these fish don't go over 6" in captivity and even then the tank is still big enough for the two.
<I disagree.>
Have a nice Easter folks!
<Ditto. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Wrasse troubles...../Hogfish Compatibility 4/9/12
<<See WWM, Fishbase.org... both can grow much larger. RMF>>
Well-done James. B
Re: Wrasse troubles..... 4/9/12

Thank you Bob. The querior stated that "And Bob's book states these fish don't go over 6" in captivity and even then the tank is still big enough for the two."
<Yes my friend; saw this... and agree w/ your input, resp. BobF>
Re: Wrasse troubles..... 4/9/12

You contradict yourself often Bob.
<I don't find this to be the case... the fact of the matter is that these two species rarely grow to more than half a foot under "most" captive conditions... They are still not likely compatible in a ninety gallon volume>
I am surprised, you should fix that so it doesn't lead your viewers the wrong way. It is very misleading.
<I do find it hard to accurately AND succinctly state what is "necessary" and complete to relate at times... The intended "audience" is much too large, it takes too much time, space to make known what it feels like/needs to be made known. There are simply too many "if this", "then that" possibilities. Sorry for the lack of clarity. BobF>
Re: Wrasse troubles..... ongoing re comp. Bodianus and Tusk   4/9/12

I understand, but based upon what you just clarified in the last email leaves a very broad range of "rights" and "wrongs".  Therefore, there is much gray in the matter and that should be acknowledged before stating that our "situations" are wrong.  Its ok though, I think I have a good enough idea after 9 years being in the saltwater hobby.
Thanks again Bob :-)
<Welcome. B>
Re: Wrasse troubles..... James further input and LED Orphek product review   4/9/12
I whole heartedly agree with your statement Bob.  There are too many factors that come into play in this hobby.  What might work for one may not work for another.
<Ah yes>

harlequin tusk not eating, except tankmates 3/12/12
Hi Crew, Jim again. I Hope you all had a great weekend! I have a 8" Australia Harlequin tusk.
<Collected at too large a size>

I have had him for about three months now. I was really having a hard time with him killing my smaller fish and now he has stopped eating.
I caught him swimming with my Longnose Hawkfish in his mouth last week. I chased him with a net and he dropped him. So far the Hawkfish is fine. I never realized how aggressive they can be. He has killed several Chromis, damsels, and took a chunk out of my flame angel. Everything I read was that they don't attack other fish.
<Not so>
I changed his diet thinking maybe he was not getting enough food. I started feeding him one silverside in the morning and Mysis at night. It seemed to help, but he still wants to eat my smaller fish. He stopped eating about a week ago today. I don't know what is going with him.
<Put this fish in a larger system (hundreds of gallons) w/ larger specimens>

All my Chromis have been accounted for, and the Hawkfish is alive too. Is this something they normally do? My salinity is 1.23,
<... no>
nitrate 0, nitrite 0, Amm, ph 8.17, and temp is 77 Thanks, Jim
<... Bob Fenner>
Re: harlequin tusk not eating
Hi Bob, This was the first time that he has not been eating. I was kind of wondering if the silversides bones might of upset him.
<Mmm, doubtful>
He had a pretty hard time swallowing those things down. It seemed like he was choking sometimes. I think you were getting the emperor mixed up with the tusk from not eating. The emperor is a pig now. Before I even bought the tusk I emailed James and talked to him and ask if he thought the tusk would eat my Dartfish, and Chromis. He told me he would not eat the Dartfish, but they could starve. He said he was semi-aggressive and they would not get enough food. He never said anything about eating my fish. So when I bought the fish I was thinking he would be fine. As far as know he seems stress free. The emperor and Naso don't like him, but he stays away from them. The tank he is in, is a 180 6' long. Is that not plenty long enough for him?
<Not really, no>
As you know I have my tank over stocked. I just upgraded to a 180 and I am shooting for something over 300 in the next couple of years. All my fish I bought as juveniles. I wanted them to grow up and be one happy family. I hope all is well for you Bob in your many adventures in the sea. Jim
<Thank you Jim. BobF>

Re Was Stars and Stripes Puffer/Puffer Compatibility, now 12/26/11
Thanks for the update James,
<You're welcome.>
I was on Live Aquaria looking at the Divers Den. I have been thinking of getting a Harlequin Tusk fish for a very long time. I just read all the info on WWM. I have Green Chromis, and a lot of dart fish. It sounds like Bones (Skunk Shrimp) will be turned into a meal, but will the Chromis and dart fish become a meal too?
<The Tusk Fish does not belong with this group, it is semi-aggressive and your Dart Fish may have a hard time getting their share of food. There are many other more compatible choices.>
I love the school of small fish, with the big fish. It makes the ultimate Fowlr tank. I sent you picture of this beast. I am hoping to get one about 4" not 8" to start. Have a Merry Christmas,
<And you as well. James (Salty Dog)>
Stars and Stripes Puffer/Puffer NOT, Harlequin Tusk Compatibility 12/26/11
Hi there James, (great name by the way) I have the dart fish with a blue face angel, yellow tang, Naso tang, and a blue jaw trigger. They seem to get plenty to eat. My biggest worry is that the tusk might eat them. Do you think they will be fine when it comes to that?
<Likely not. James (Salty Dog)>

Harlequin tusks OK in acrylic tanks? 3/23/11
OK, I've been reading up on Harlequin tusks and reef aquariums. I have an 180 gallon acrylic reef aquarium. The possibility of losing snails and crabs (and maybe a cleaner shrimp) doesn't bother me. I do have 2 maxima clams and I've read that they would probably be OK since they're large. I also have a couple of large tropical abalone (will they be OK?).
<About the same risk as the Tridacnids. No guarantees>
Now for the deal breaker, I've read that they can scratch acrylic tanks with their tusks?
<Not often, no>
I'd really like to get one since I've read such great things about their personality, but if they're not OK and will damage my acrylic tank, then I may have to reluctantly turn away :(.
<If you're not concerned for your mollusks, I wouldn't worry re the tank. Bob Fenner>

Harlequin Tusk compatibility - 8/17/10
Hello crew.
<Hi John>
I have ordered a 6" Australian tusk from the LFS. He has been there over a month, eats greedily and looks superb! I currently have a 5x2x2 FOWLR setup which contains a 3" Lawnmower Blenny, 5" Foxface and a 3" Picasso.
All doing fine and have lived together for 2 years. My issue is; any fish I have tried to add afterwards has been initially harassed by the Trigger, including a smaller Tusk I added a while back.
<Though they do look fierce, they are not especially tough>
Will the new addition be able to look after himself initially considering his size, or should I partition off the Picasso?
<I give you good odds that this will work out at these sizes, with the Tuskfish as your very last addition>
If so, for how long? Or will rearranging the rockwork be enough? Thanks for your previous help and advice. John

Harlequin Tusk/Compatibility 2/18/10
Just wanted to get your opinions on adding an Aussie tusk to my system.
I have a standard 120g (4x2) thriving mixed reef (SPS, LPS, BTA) reef which is well established and mature. Current fish are Regal Tang (4"), Copperband Butterfly (4"), pair of Ocellaris clowns, and Yellow Watchman Goby (3"). I also have some enormous turbo snails (2-3"), a few hermits, emerald crabs, and a cleaner shrimp. I realize the shrimp and snails might become expensive snacks, but my main concern is compatibility with the Copperband ( a thriving specimen who consumes PE Mysis with gusto, and my favorite fish).
<The Harlequin Tuskfish (Choerodon fasciatus) is moderately aggressive and would not be a good choice mixing with some of your fish inhabitants. As an aside, your tank size is a little on the small side for keeping this fish long term as they can grow near 10" in length.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Harlequin Tuskfish/Compatibility 2/18/10

That is kind of what I was worried about as well. How about a Mystery Wrasse? Think that could fit in with my current crew.
<Should not be a problem keeping in mind that mature Mystery Wrasses may take a liking to ornamental shrimp, and not to be pals with. I might add a rather pricey fish also.
James (Salty Dog)>

Cheilinus fasciatus and Choerodon fasciatus 2/11/09 Hallo, <And you> I found some very useful information from both the Cheilinus fasciatus as well as the Choerodon fasciatus, but I still have one question found unanswered. Is it possible to keep both species in one aquarium? <Mmm, I give one good odds if there's sufficient room> Do people have experience with a Cheilinus fasciatus and a Choerodon fasciatus in the same tank? <I have never encountered this> Or are there problems to be expected when you put them together? <Again... if hundreds of gallons, likely not> I hope you can give me an answer and sorry for my poor English. Marjan Hofmans The Netherlands <Bob Fenner, California>

Fairy Wrasse & Harlequin Tusk Fish/Compatibility 1/29/09 Good evening, <Good morning, Dave.> Wow, it's been over a year since I emailed you... guess things are going pretty good with my tanks. <Great.> In any event, I noticed over the past few months that my fairy wrasse was getting a bit nippy with his tank mates (two false percula clowns and a yellow headed Jawfish in particular). About a week ago, I was spared the frustration of trying to catch this speedy wrasse as he was in my overflow tank. I scooped him out and put him in my quarantine tank to rest/recover. A little over a week is up now and I figured my much larger fish system would be a more suitable place for him. <OK> My 200g tank inhabitants are as follows: Harlequin Tusk fish Magnificent Foxface Snowflake Moray Eel Juvenile Yellow Tang Juvenile Emperor Angel 5 small yellow-tailed blue damsels 225lbs of liverock with a deep sand bed. The fairy wrasse was introduced two days ago and stayed hidden. Tonight I found him on top of some egg-crating that covers my center overflow. I have a high flow rate pump that keeps the water level a good inch above the overflow. The wrasse was breathing and looking around quite content laying on his side on the eggcrating. I turned the pumps off and when the water lowered he simply flipped his way back into the water and casually swam only to be aggressively chased by the Tusk fish for a few seconds. The wrasse is now back in hiding. The fairy wrasse can clearly out maneuver and hide from the Tusk fish. <Oh yes.> Do you figure the fairy wrasse is in real danger here? Or do you figure this is simply an initiation of sorts? I've never seen my Tusk fish aggressive towards anything else before. <Thinking the Tusk Fish is just showing his muscle, they are rather peaceful but I wouldn't trust them with small gobies or blennies. Peace should be restored, give it a few days. You may want to read here on the Tusk Fish. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/wrasses/choerodon/faciata.htm James (Salty Dog)> Dave

Re: Fairy Wrasse & Tuskfish/Compatibility 1/31/09 Hmm, it didn't work out so well for the wrasse. I found the wrasse laying on the sandbed at the front of the tank. Most of his dorsal fin shredded and his scales ripped from the side of his body. I scooped him up and put him in my quarantine tank. He was pretty docile/not moving yesterday. Today, he's swimming around and feeding. His wounds look BAD... REAL BAD, but I'm giving him greater than 50% success rate. I once nursed a Royal Dottyback to health after a large yellow tang sliced him from head to tail. <Hopefully you will have the same luck with the wrasse.> Bad Tuskfish! <Yep, and thank you for sharing with us. James (Salty Dog)>

Harlequin Tusk... comp. -- 10/13/07 Hello, I have a 120cm (length) x 47.5cm (wide) x 55cm (height) reef tank <<Mmm, okay 'about 120-gallons US>> with a 3 inches Mystery Wrasse and a 3.5 inches Laboutei Fairy wrasse. <<Exquisite fishes>> I would like to add a Harlequin Tusk into my tank. <<A healthy specimen would be a wonderful addition here I think>> Do you think it will be suitable for my tank size to have this magnificent fish? <<I do>> And will it be a suitable tankmates for my other fishes? <<Yes 'Their name/appearance belies a quite gentle demeanor 'as long as you're not a tasty shrimp/snail/small crab/etc... Do be sure to provide plenty of structure/caves for this shy species. And do please read here! (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/wrasses/choerodon/faciata.htm)>> Thank you. Sincerely, Ferdinand <<Happy to assist. EricR>>

Frogfish tank, Harlequin comp. mostly 6/20/07 Dear Wet Web Media <Part of it> After following your advice in regards to upgrading a frogfish tank, I have selected some candidates, however i have a question about one. I would like to stock a 450 litre tank with a Calloplesiops altivelis, my Antennarius hispidus and the other fish i would like to stock is Lienardella fasciata the Harlequin Tusk. I intend to have a stack of live rock on the left hand side of the tank with coral such as Sinularia, Ricordea, Goniopora, <... needs to be "on the bottom", and this genus is not easily kept... all polyps need to be fed... I'd be reading re> xenia and have the right hand side just sand with a open brain and Fungia plate corals on the substrate. My question is would the tusk given this large amount of space still knock over the corals stacked on the other side of the tank. <Mmm, not likely if these were placed securely> I have read many contradicting articles on reef suitability in regards to knocking things but as my tank would be fairly open would this be such an issue. <Mmm, no... but will need more room in time> The other question is that i feed my frogfish sprats or silversides with an acrylic feeding pole, Is the Harlequin likely to steel the fish on the pole before i can feed the frogfish, again reading many confusing articles describing the harlequin as shy compared to most of the wrasses and selective in feeding ranging to greedy. <This is a possibility... but likely of small concern... you can/should feed the Tusk first...> Best Regards and thanks fo the help Ben <And to you, Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tang vs. Tusk Fish 5/24/07 Morning all, I realize I probably write longer and longer emails the more and more I learn... so maybe I should summarize my latest book for you :) <Please do> 200gallon tank with plenty of circulation and 210lbs of caves, tunnels, hiding spots in my Tonga rock with a 3" fine sandbed. Snowflake Eel ~ about 18" ~ first fish added, he doesn't mess with anyone and no one messes with him Yellow Tang and Foxface ~ both about 4"~ the best of friends with the Foxface the second fish added and the Tang the 3rd fish added. <Likely "believe" they're the same species> Royal Dottyback ~ about 3" ~ had him for years but got moved to this tank from my 90gallon tank because he became too territorial for it He is more or less the longer, he might try to exert some attitude no and then but it is quickly put in check by anything he bothers. Nobody seems to initiate aggression towards him 2 Bannerfish ~ about 4 & 5" ~ introduced two weeks ago after 2 week quarantine... as retailer had both of them for 2 - 5 weeks prior. Hangout together and leave everything in the tank alone, but are often chased by the Tang. <Not likely a problem in this sized system> Harlequin Tuskfish ~ about 4" ~ quarantined for 4 weeks and just added to my tank on Saturday. He's pretty peaceful and leaves everything alone... seems to hangout with the Bannerfish mostly. Anyhow, the Tang seems to exert some aggression towards the Tusk. <Habitat/resource partitioning... would have been better for the Zebrasoma to go in after...> I've watched pretty closely, and it seems mostly like charges and turning away at the last moment. However, I saw for the first time the tang trying to back into the Tusk in a corner with it's white barbs sticking out. <Mmmm> Of note, I have increased my feeding sizes and frequencies so there is definitely no shortage of food. I also keep two feeder clips daily to which the Foxface, Tang, and Bannerfish will feed at leisure in what appears to be harmony. It seems like the Tang only gets the attitude when he's cruising around the tank. <Yes... typical> I was thinking if anything, the Bannerfish of a similar size and shape would be of concern... <Mmm, no... they don't "compete" with the Tang for the rocks... unlike the Choerodon> but it seems like over the past two weeks the Tang is certainly more accepting of them. <Also as usual> On a scale of 1-10, I'd say the aggression seemed to be about a 6 on introduction... and about a 2 now. With respect to the Tuskfish, about a 6 now... however perhaps the Tuskfish seems a little more afraid as he stays to one end of the tank mostly. The Tuskfish does have his own set of weaponry that he will use if the Tang becomes to aggressive, correct???? <Oh yes> In short, should I be concerned about them? <Concerned? Yes... but not overly so... I give you good odds all that you list will settle in fine here> I'd figure that it would take a few weeks and then all should be well... but the Tang cornering the Tuskfish and trying to back into him with the barbs out had me concerned. Oh look, one page... a new record for me. David Brynlund <Heeeee! You and I should NOT go shopping at CostCo together... Unless we bring the truck or van to haul our buys away! Bob Fenner>

Re: Yellow Tang vs. Tusk Fish 5/24/07 I'm not a shopper unless you turn me loose in an Aquarium Retailer or Best Buy! <Heeeee!> On another note, in this 200g system I have 3 sand stars. One of your staff warned me about the inappropriateness of sand stars in my setup. Realistically, I have 8sqft of open sand at a depth of 3". The rest is rock covered... <Mmm, "so many foxes, so many hens..."> The comment posed to me was that a single sand star should have 9sqft of sand at a depth of at least 8". Therefore my system would hardly even sustain one sand star, and I have 3. Is it that I am harming my sand stars? Or are the sand stars harming my tankbio? <More the latter here> Meaning, consuming all the nutrients that would normally increase the micro life? <More like consuming the micro-life, the in-fauna itself> Ok, I'm no science guy here.... <Mmm, yes you are...> So my terminology is probably way off. Do you understand my question? <I think so... ergo I am! Said Popeye the Sailorman, toot toot!> I'm wondering if I should simply keep them? Or if I should take them back to the store. <Up to you...> I've had them for a few years. I'm thinking if they go back to the store they will likely end up in an even smaller tank with someone who knew less than what I did? Thoughts? David Brynlund <Always keep beer in a cool, dark place. Be chatting... and drinking! BobF>

Tusk Vs. Tang -- 05/08/07 Hi, <Hello.> I have just introduced a 6" Australian harlequin Tuskfish into my 400 litre Juwel aquarium, and my slightly larger regal tang has gone crazy, I have noticed a few scratches on the side of the Tuskfish which i <I> am sure the tang has caused with his spines. Should I remove the tang?, or will he calm down eventually? <If you can remove he tang, I would consider putting him your QT tank for a week or two while the tusk adjusts. Maybe rearrange the rock-work a little too.> The Tuskfish has the best colouring, of any Tuskfish I have ever seen, and I would rather take my tang back to my LFS than put it at risk. <If the aggression warrants removal then do so.> Thanks <Welcome, Adam J.>

Re: Tusk eating sea stars -- 5/4/07 I just happen to be reading through your web pages as I do when something arises....(Thanks for the great advice) when I read this : Q. Will harlequin tusk eat starfish and serpent stars? if no, Any chances of HT hurting the stars and serpents? <The chances are very low to non-existent that a tusk would harm a sea star.> <Cheers, J -- > I thought I would add some of my experience here. I have had a Harlequin tusk for around 4 years (and still do). He started out in my reef along with a snowflake eel, these two had a love/hate relationship from the start. The tusk would try to block the eel from moving out of the rock work often locking himself upside-down between two rocks. They really had a funny relationship. Anyway, I am writing because I also had two serpent Seastars which after a short while were ripped out from under the rock work and eaten by the tusk. This was a mature tusk around 7" in length. I guess anything is possible, but I haven't put another one in his home again. I eventually removed the eel from the reef due to nutrient issues. He now has his own home among the tong branch. Thanks again for the great website. Mike <Thank you for this Mike. BobF, looking through all else's in-folders>

Harlequin Tusk and Pencil Urchin 3/26/07 Hi Crew! I'd be lost without you! Long before making any purchase for my tanks I always research it on your site, and trust me, its saved many a fish, etc. <A pleasure to realize how we've helped you help your livestock> I've been searching for several days now, and can't find the answer to my question. I'm interested in getting a Harlequin Tuskfish. I understand he will likely eat my hermits (although they're pretty big) and will probably leave my Chocolate Chip Stars alone. <Mmm, yes... though it might sample these barely motile invertebrates as well> What I can't find out is if he'll sample my pencil urchins (Eucidaris tribuloides)? <Possibly as well, yes... Though if started as a small specimen, fed on a regular mix of foods, much less likelihood> I have a male/female pair (they spawned once--freaked me out, until I realized they weren't having fits) and have become rather attached to them. <Ahh!> And while I have your attention--would a serpent star or a brittle star just be an expensive treat for my Lionfish and/or Snowflake Moray? <Not likely... a very small possibility> They both gobble up squid tentacles like candy and I'm afraid they might mistake a serpent star in particular for this? What do you think? The lionfish was sold as a "Black Volitans" but he better resembles a Pterois russelli, if that makes a difference. Thanks so much, BC. <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Cleanup crew and triggers/tusk 3/20/07 Hello crew and thanks again for all of the great information. <Greetings, to you! Thank you and you're welcome.> I have a 125 gallon FOWLR that contains 90lbs live rock with an assasi trigger, niger trigger, Tuskfish, flame angel and a Kole tang. <I'm hoping these are all small specimens? This will likely result in elevated stress levels in the future...> I would like to place a few crabs (emerald & hermits) and maybe a shrimp or two that I expect will be consumed eventually, <Yup, but sometimes not. Have to wait and see.> but I am OK with that although I am not sure of the consequences in terms of fish aggression. I have read a few FAQs and other information that indicates this could elevate the aggression in the tank. <Anytime your fish are eating food that they catch & kill, you can expect them to have a slightly higher than otherwise "mean-streak" due to the stimulation of their predator drive. This is less common with the chance ingestion of a crab or shrimp as say, if you were to regularly supplement their diet with live foods. That is not to say, however, that you shouldn't expect that once one has eaten one of your crustaceans, they won't have acquired a taste for it.> Is there any merit to this or something else I should be considering. <You chose some fish that have a natural tendency for live foods, especially of the variety you have in mind. Crabs are little snacks for triggers, and the Tuskfish is no stranger to investigating if something soft lies within the shell of the nearest crustacean either. This is something you are no doubt aware of, and hopefully were before you decided to keep these species together. If you know this going in, then plan as best you can to keep the little shelled-buddies alive as long as possible by introducing them after feeding and lights-out. Good luck with that (Personality is always the determining factor here). -GrahamT> Thanks again.

Compatibility for Harlequin Tusk Hello <Hey Paul, JustinN with you on this fine day.> I am presently setting up a 120 gallon FOWLR tank. <Ok> When the tank is ready I intend to add ; One Harlequin Tusk and three Heniochus <Heniochus>. <Sounds like you've got a game plan, very good.> Understanding that the least aggressive enters first which one of the fish mentioned would that be, seeing as they are both pretty calm? <I would allow the Heniochus sp. to establish first, and add the wrasse last.> Secondly: I understand that it takes several hours to acclimatize a Harlequin, would you tell me 'specifically' how this is done? <Outlined and posted on WWM already, see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm > Third (and last) I also understand that a Harlequin will not eat crustaceans that are already in the tank, but will eat those that are added (thinking they are food) is this correct? <No, the wrasse will likely make meals out of any crustaceans it can lay its cool blue teeth on!> Kindest Regards Paul <Any time, Paul. Hope I've helped you! -JustinN>

Harlequin Tuskfish Tankmates 7/10/06 Hi guys, <One of the gals here'¦..Leslie with you this afternoon> My question is about an Aussie tusk. <One of my favorite fish!> I have a 125g, 55g sump, 140lb LR,ev400 skimmer. Livestock includes a 5" Map puffer, and a 2" dragon wrasse. Will the tusk be threatened by either of these fish? <Should be fine.> Will the tusk be ok in the long run? <Yes, I would think so.> A larger tank is in the works (300G) as I am prepared to give these fish a healthy environment as they grow and mature. <That is very good to hear!> Thanx, extremely helpful site! Marc, Folsom, Ca <Glad to be of service, Leslie.>

Compatibility...Tusk Fish And Red Coris Wrasse 7/3/06 Dear WWM crew I hope all is going well! <Not bad.> I have a few dilemmas I am trying to solve and would like your opinion. I really enjoy your website by the way. <Thank you.> First question, I have a 90 gallon saltwater aggressive tank. The inhabitants at the current moment are a Volitans Lionfish and a Australian Harlequin Tusk fish (Choerodon (Lienardella) fasciata) I was wondering if my favorite Red Coris (Coris gaimard). I am not real worried about the harlequin being a bully because he is easily bullied by others (I'd be willing to bet any fish that has a need to bully another fish would be capable of bullying my harlequin (Haven't discovered a good bite with those big blue teeth would stop bullying immediately) But I was wandering if the harlequin would be OK with a wrasse in his tank? <Should be fine.> Question number two, I have been debating putting corals in the tank. I love the reef but I love the angels. What do you think is a better fit? <This choice is yours to make. The Red Coris is not reef compatible. Your inhabitants will outgrow the 90 gallon tank and I would not be thinking of adding more fish such as the angels you mention. The Red Coris, under aquarium conditions can grow 6 to 8". Specimens in nature can exceed one foot. Lionfish can attain a length of one foot with the Tuskfish reaching 10 inches.> Thank you for you time and opinions <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Your enthused saltwater hobbyist Josh Schiff

Harlequin Tuskfish/Feeding/Compatibility 6/5/06 Hello Crew! <Hello Wayne> Thanks for the great site! I don't know what I'd do without you folks! <You're welcome> I have a few feeding questions. I am currently feeding my Volitans Lion (8 in), and my snowflake eel (10 in), raw/thawed shrimp, scallops, and occasional flounder. They are soaked in Kent Zoe for 1.5 hrs prior to being frozen. I feed them both every other day. We've had the Lion for about 8 months now. He's grown about 10% (maybe an inch) during that time. My questions: Is this growth rate normal? <Hard to say, much depends on nutrition, water quality, tank size, etc> (we're hoping he'd grow faster) Is it ok to feed him daily, instead of every other day? <I think every other day is a little much for the lionfish. Twice weekly would suffice.> and will he grow faster if we feed him daily? <More than likely, I do, but I'm not getting any taller, just wider.> I have a Harlequin Tuskfish on the way. I plan to feed him the same foods as the Eel and Lionfish. <Would be fine.> I plan to feed him 2 times per day. Does this sound ok? Is there anything else I should be feeding the Tuskfish? <What you mentioned is fine. Keep in mind, the Tuskfish will eat any small crustaceans present in your tank. They use those tusks very efficiently. Do search for info on the Wet Web before writing. The information you requested is easily found on our site.> Thanks for everything! You guys/gals are great! <You're welcome, again. James (Salty Dog)> Wayne

Cat Shark...Other Stocking Question - 03/16/06 Crew, <<Eric>> I appreciate your input. <<My pleasure>> I am going to leave the shark out of the mix. <<You will both likely be happier for this.>> It will get a little too big for my tank I think. <<Me too>> Now I think I will plan on a few tangs, a queen angel (my wife loves this fish), a couple of pygmy angels, 5 to 7 green Chromis, and a harlequin tusk. My new question is on the harlequin tusk. I am not very familiar with this fish and I have read differing opinions on compatibility, with some material indicating the tusk will eat small fish and others saying it's safe. Can green Chromis and other small fish (clowns) be safely kept with a tusk? <<In my experience/estimation, yes.>> Thanks again!!! Eric Skikiewicz <<Quite welcome, EricR>>

Tusk Fish + Crustaceans (Shrimp) = Lunch for the Tusk 12/7/05 Hi guys, you have been a tremendous help to me in the past and I credit the long living fish in my (FOWLER) tank partially to your guidance. I'm looking to add a Tuskfish to my community (2 true perculas, bi color angel, 4 small engineer gobies). <The tusk fish is in a different 'class' than these potential tankmates. While the tusk is generally docile is does possess the armory to put these guys through some stress.> I have a prized 4 year old bull's-eye pistol shrimp who is about 5 inches long. I had previously put a flame angel into my tank and he proceeded to gobble up a king's ransom in cleaner shrimp. He was however unable to get to the pistol because of his subterranean refuge and snapping appendage. I'm wondering if this shrimp has what it takes to fend off the predators more so than other shrimps do. Currently my pistol shrimp has taken residence inside a huge piece of live rock in the tank. What do you guys think? Is the pistol shrimp more apt to survive with such a predator? <I have seen a Harlequin Tusk crack through the shell of a Tridacnid Clam, if it's large enough and able to catch the shrimp 'it will. Crustaceans and bivalve are the natural dies to of this specimen. If your attached to the shrimp I would not add the tusk fish.> Thanks in advance. <Welcome, Adam J.>

Cleanup Crew or Snack Item? 10/17/05 Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> What can I use for a "cleaning crew" in a tank that houses a Harlequin Tusk? I know all crustaceans are out, but how about snails? Thanks! <As a wrasse fan, I can empathize with you! Snails are a potential snack, as well. I'd recommend the old siphon and a little bit of elbow grease...Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Harlequin Tuskfish... charging behavior 8/23/05 Hi Bob, I just bought my first Harlequin. No problems. but sometimes he will open his mouth like a lion and swim like crazy to the top of the tank. He will do it over and over in the same spot. It looks very strange. What do you think? Thanks Rod. <Mmm, could be a few things... best guess, that this fish is "acting out"... challenging real or imagined (even you) other organisms, establishing its "place"... But could be resultant from an injury (most Choerodon are caught hook and line), that hopefully will heal. Bob Fenner>
Re: Harlequin Tuskfish
Thanks Bob, He is settling down more ever day. <Ah, good. BobF>

Compatibility Issues, 5/16/05 I am looking to get a Harlequin tusk and miniatus grouper. Are these two fish able to be kept in the same system without fighting? Tank is only 100G <No, a grouper is a bad choice for this size tank. You'd need to cram the tank full of live rock just to filter water behind this eating machine- But then where would the fish swim?> Also question about groupers Which one would be the best to get with a harlequin tusk: Miniatus Grouper Red V-Tail Grouper Which one is better for hardiness, adult size, and disease? Getting the tusk for sure but can't decided between these 2 groupers. <The tusk will need to be small, and he'll get more aggressive as he matures. I would suggest a Kole Tang as a tankmate, or a small school of something innocuous. Good luck, Ryan>

Copperband butterfly, tusk & pinecone. Hi Bob/Jason C, <<And hello to you.>> All is going excellent with my tank and the tusk. Pinecone still does not want to eat, at least I never saw him eating but the live feeder shrimp and fish and being reduced everyday. I am assuming that the pinecone is eating them. The only other fish in that 55qt tank is a female maroon clown and should not be able to eat 8 feeder shrimp and 10 feeder live fish. Right ? <<I wouldn't think so.>> Pinecone is not going to be placed in the main tank (reef) for at least another 2 weeks per your advise in other posts and mine that I read always. Main tank (150G with 150lb LR) has 4 damsels, a lot of corals and tusk. I saw a nice copperband butterfly and am interested in this beauty. Is he reef safe. <<They "can be" but are also known to perish for lack of proper food.>> I have brains, polyps, mushrooms, elegance, gorgonians, leathers, flowerpot, torch, feather dusters, finger corals, red chili coral, pink carnation and others like colt in the tank. <<You do know that the carnation and flowerpot corals are almost impossible to keep in captivity? Some people have limited success, and none without a specific regimen dedicated to those particular species.>> I know he is difficult to feed and needs proper acclimation and quarantine. Can he be placed in a reef tank like mine with an Aussie tusk and pinecone? Tusk and pinecone should not bother him but to what extent will be cause coral destruction if any. Do you think it is safe to put him in a reef tank? <<There is no way to guarantee something like this, but of all the Butterflies available, the Copperband is one of the few that has a decent "reef-safe" success rate.>> Will not proceed unless advised by you. Many thanks, Razi Burney <<Cheers, J -- >>

Harlequin Tuskfish Aloha <<And aloha to you.>> I am interested in the Harlequin Tuskfish but am getting some very diverse opinions about tankmates/size of tank. <<Ok.>> I am about to purchase a 90 gal and will have it as a Fish Only tank without live rock. I would to buy some but Hawaii cant do it. Any ways I want to put some of my other fish in with him (niger trigger, Picasso trigger, Singapore angel, flame hawk, flame angel, blue spot Toby). <<That would be a very full tank - more loaded than I would prefer.>> Just was wondering who would be the best to put in with him or should I just skip the Tusk and put the other fish in the 90? <<Well, Harlequin Tuskfish can grow up to about a foot or so, so a 90 isn't really going to make it in the long term. These are pretty tough fish, but won't do well if over-crowded.>> thanks and I love the CMA. Darren <<Cheers, J -- >>

Harlequin Tusk & Pinecone Fish Hi, Many thanks for as always quick & professional advise. You guys are great and are helping me and others a great deal. I am sure that several fish must be thankful too. <<Glad to hear...>> I am thinking about adding a Pineapple/Pinecone fish to my tank that already has tusk. I was unable to get the fish family for pinecone/pineapple <<I think there are two that get imported with any regularity, Monocentrus japonicus and Cleidopus gloriamaris.>> and its compatibility on the web and from your database. Can you please provide some info on this and advise if this is a good fish to have. <<Bob rates these as a 3 on the 1 to 3 scale, 3 being 'poor to non-survivor'.>> I have been told that he is a peaceful fish and is easy to care for. <<Is true that these are peaceful, not so true about their captive care... many problems with rough handling in capture, transport to your LFS.>> Not sure about him till I hear from the tusk expert as my tusk is the most important in my tank. Will not put the pinecone in the tank if he is not a good choice. <<Well, certainly this would be a fine tankmate for the tusk... but, you may find yourself well challenged to keep the pinecone fish.>> Looking for some colorful, tusk compatible reef-safe fish. Having a difficult time making the correct choice. Please help if possible. <<Really, just about anything can live with a tusk except another tusk. I would avoid puffers, triggers, and the like, but there are many, many other choices.>> I will not be getting another cleaner ever per your advise. Will get a goby instead. Thanks for letting me know about that and it does make sense to leave them in the natural reef systems. <<Fair enough.>> Regards, Razi Burney <<Cheers, J -- >>

Harlequin Tusk ,Thalassoma Lunare, Butterfly and Emperor/Queen Angel Hi again Anthony, Thanks for your reply even if it wasn't what I wanted to hear! The reason I picked the Harlequin was because I read at WWM that to quote "most everything leaves a harlequin tusk alone and vice versa" so I thought I was reasonably safe with this <generally true... but beyond tank size issues, mixing two wrasse species (tusk and lunare) is quite risky just like mixing tangs or angels. More often than not there is serious compatibility issues> and they had a lovely one at the LFS! <a gorgeous fish indeed> They also said it would be fine with my existing wrasse and as I hadn't heard back from you then (I think you were lecturing) I bought it and it is now in my QT! <wow... bummer. Hmm... what to do. Since you do have a QT, you can chance the mix after QT, and be prepared to pull them if they scrap. This may mean tearing the rockscape down. No guarantee that the victim will service the stress of it all either. I'm also thinking in the long run.. lunare wrasses have a well deserved reputation for turning out to be satanic once sexually mature. Now I must decide what to do with him! Also I find that the "pearl" butterfly I was asking about is actually a Redback butterfly >according to Bob's book ,what can you tell me about this, is it timid like the pearl or could I get that ? <too timid indeed. In fact, there are very few butterflies that have a prayer with this crowd of active feeders even if they are not aggressive. A Raccoon butterfly may be one of the few with a chance> regarding the Emperor or Queen are you saying never OR just never with this tank size? <I hate to say it... but they are all really dreadful mixes for the long run. These angels are as aggressive or more so than the lunare wrasse after a year or two. And we need to plan for the long run since these fishes live well over 10 years. Its like planning for space with a puppy: no great Danes when living in an apartment. I see this fish dominating a 300 or 400 gallon aquarium in the 5 year plan. Indeed... I have seen quite a few in my lifetime do this very thing. For aggression and your present tank size... no angels in my opinion> I didn't strike very lucky with this list did I? Thanks again - Jenny <alas, no my friend. You have picked many wonderfully hardy fishes... but too many attitudes and too great a size even for the new tank. Best regards, Anthony>

Adding A Tuskfish To The Mix Hi there!! <Helloooo! Scott F. on the late-night shift with you!> I currently have a 75 gallon tank and will be upgrading to a 260 gallon DIY tank.. tank and components are built .. I was using a wet/dry and skimmer.. going to DSB, live rock and skimmer(s) I currently have a Juvenile Emperor angel, a Long Longnose butterfly, a volitans lion (all in the 3.5 -4" range) and my newest addition (and great find) a blue ribbon eel (yes he eats and is thriving after 2 weeks. although I had to devise an isolation method for his food.. an acrylic tube with a "trap" at the end that contains his food.. crawls right in and grabs his food, and is protected from all the other aggressive feeders in the tank.. took him 3 days to figure it out). <Ingenious idea! Glad that he's eating well...That's half the battle, IMO!> I am moving everything to the larger aquarium. I would like to add a harlequin Tuskfish to my little family if possible.. what are your thoughts? <I think that the Harlequin Tuskfish is an amazing fish, if given the proper tank conditions. It can be a rather aggressive fish, once it settles in. However, in a reasonably competitive environment, such as yours, this fish can settle in nicely and do very well. Keep in mind that the Tuskfish can get a bit feisty once it establishes itself, and will harass new fishes for a while...In the long run, it should be fine in this sized tank, but I don't think you'd be able to add any more fishes at that point-the tank is going to be pretty well stocked at this point...> I would be using hermits and brittle stars as scavengers, thought of a spiny lobster.. but afraid of the havoc he could cause with the eel. <I'm thinking that you'd want to avoid the lobster. The snails- and the hermit crabs will become expensive snacks for the Tuskfish.. Would the Tuskfish max out the capacity of a tank this size? If not, what other fish would you recommend as compatible with my particular mix? A Radiata lion maybe? I am super excited about this new step.. but also want the fish to be healthy and happy. <I think that the Tuskfish can work fine in this tank, as would other larger wrasses, such as the Coris family..> Frank <Enjoy the tank, Frank- I'm sure that it will be fine! Regards, Scott F>

- Tuskfish - Our local fish dealer has a beautiful harlequin tusk fish about 3 inch. long I have a 135 gallon tank with live rock and some soft coral (2 fingers and 1 hammer) Is this fish compatible the books I have don't say. <Should be fine - they are known to flip things over looking for food, but they don't 'eat' corals if that is your concern. Cheers, J -- >

- Harlequin Tusk and Seastars - I have a harlequin tusk and I would like to replace my crushed coral with live sand. The only thing is that the sand needs to be shifted. Can I put sand shifting stars and or other stars in with the harlequin? <I think the harlequin tusk would be fine with these Seastars, but I'm not really a fan of them as they can deplete the live part of a live sand bed - the sand-sifting stars that is.> I have put hermit crab in with him before but one by one he picks them off. <Different case - these are easy food-prey for a Tuskfish. Seastars don't really make for good eating unless you're a harlequin shrimp.> What could I put in the tank that would shift the sand and not get eaten? <How about a goatfish?> The harlequin is a wrasse so will he shift the sand enough himself? <Uhh... probably not at all. Harlequin Tuskfish aren't really buriers - they might flip over large pieces of substrate looking for food but that's about it. > Thank you very much, Andy <Cheers, J -- >

Wrasse Compatibility Hello helpers of fish lovers. <Hey there! Fellow fish-lover Scott F. here tonight> I am setting up a 150 gallon FOWLR tank and wanted to make it an aggressive species tank. I was wondering if it was possible to put a Green Bird Wrasse (or any other Wrasse like a Thalassoma or Halichoeres) with a Harlequin Tusk fish in my tank? <Possible, yes, but not recommended. Both of these wrasses have somewhat "strong" personalities, and there would be a certain amount of battling at any given time. Also, they both reach impressive sizes, and a 150 would be too small to accommodate both for anything close to a natural life span, IMO.> I have read a few things about only one Wrasse per tank, but with a 150, is there a way to do 2? <Well, you could go with multiple Fairy Wrasses, Halichoeres species, Macropharyngodon (Leopard) species, etc. But I would avoid mixing the species that you are contemplating> Which would be the best combo of these, which would be least likely to work out? <One or the other, IMO. Start with a small one, and you'll have a beautiful specimen of either in a couple of years> If possible, which would you introduce first? Thank you Brendgol Majewski <Well, Brendgol- I'd choose the one you like best. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Tankmate Tuskfish Hi Bob, Surfing through your site on wrasses I came across this beautiful animal. In fact I saw one at the LFS not too long ago I hope it is still available. I never thought it is a good fish for the aquarium and after learning from you I like to get my hand on it since it is compatible with my clown trigger. Can you share some ideas how to introduce the fish into the tank with a clown trigger? <I would try buying, introducing it on an early AM on a day when you could be there to watch... should be fine.> Is it expensive to own a Tuskfish in US? I'm not sure about the price here. <A good sized one (let's say 10 cm.) will run about one hundred US for a Philippine specimen, twice that maybe for an Australian of quality> At the moment, my clown is doing fine consuming live fresh water fishes, shrimps and tetra bit. How about some lettuces as fiber? <Nah, a mess, source of pollutants and unnecessary... plenty of fiber in other foods> Indeed it is a beautiful fish to admire beside its boldness display in the tank. In fact, it do not bother the mushroom and leather coral at all and some day I plan to get a chiller and add in more corals. How about the soft corals with clown trigger? <Worth trying> Nice chatting. David. > <Good day. Bob Fenner>

Harlequin tusk Hi! I have been reviewing a lot of articles on your web site because of the research I am doing on the fish that I am interested in and would like your advice before I do my purchasing. <Okay> I "currently" have a 75 gallon with only live rock and one gorgonian. I have 20 pounds each of live sand and crushed coral. I would love to have a harlequin tusk but also have others in mind. Please help me with my list and tell me out of this list which would be the best for me to keep, as far as compatibility goes and size and volume for the tank. Thanks for you help. Robin Harlequin Tusk Blue headed wrasse (2-3, one male, two females) Niger trigger coral beauty sand sifting starfish, (if at all possible) lunar wrasse Huma Huma trigger <Hmm> This would mean so much to me if you could tell me which way to go with this. I listed the most important first and so on. These are all fish that I am seriously interested in. I have kept seahorses for over a year now and am passing on that trade to a very good friend so that I can go this route. I love my seahorses and they have done extremely well but I would like to move on to more active fish. Thanks Robin <Seahorses take real discipline to keep... I'd leave off with the Seastar (Archaster)... and likely one of the Triggers... Bob Fenner>

Tuskfish tankmates Have a Huma trigger [3"] and a Holacanthus puffer [2"] - is the Harlequin Tuskfish a suitable tank mate provided the right size? <Yes, along with a large enough system... at least a hundred gallons> Am also planning a goat-fish per your suggestion. <You will enjoy this addition> Also, do puffers eat anemones? <Many can/do so. Bob Fenner> TIA.
Re: tank mates
Really, a 75 would be too tight? With plans to upgrade to a 100+ within 6 to 8 months? Tank is overflow type with a tidepool2 sump, bio-balls in the overflow and an AquaC EV 150 [per Jason Kim's suggestion]. 90+ lbs live sand and 15 lbs of live rock [more LR coming soon]. Can hold out if I have to. <I would. Bob Fenner> TIA J--

Harlequin Tusk... Angel and Aquarist behavior Gentlemen, Bob, <hmmm...since Bob was addressed separate from your greeting... I take it you've met him <wink> Anthony Calfo in your service> I read your Harlequin Tusk article several times and my question relates to the part that says that even the most incorrigible angels and triggers don't sustain their aggression or to damage. Well I hope that I'm not the exception but I fear I may be. I cleared out a few fish on Sat and added a gorgeous Aust Tusk that was eating (and is) like a champ. The problem is that my Emperor is pretty aggressive....he barks at everything in there. <Ahhh, yes. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes. Your Emperor is a nut> Well that was Sat and this morning I saw the angel still going after the tusk. So how do we define "sustained"? <the problem is that your Emperor needs to read Bob's article to know how it should behave...Ha!> And there has been some damage.......a few small split fins. Do I wait any longer? <my rule is three to five days of reasonable tolerance. Seven days on exception. If aggression hasn't abated or if has led to actual wounds, separate them. And a week is very generous... perhaps too stressful for some fish to endure. Some may need to be extracted sooner. I'll trust your judgment in observance of the actual fishes> Will this mix just never work? <very possible> Thanks for the input. Rick <best regards, Anthony>

Reef tank and Tuskfish I am at college right now in the Boston area studying marine biology and the LFS that I work at currently has a small Australian tusk fish, Lienardella fasciata (about 3 inch). <Now placed in the genus Choerodon. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/wrasses/Choerodon/faciata.htm and the FAQs beyond> in my dorm room I have a 20 gallon long reef tank with about 40 pounds of live rock and 30 pounds of live sand and run 2 55watt PowerCompact on it. At home (which I will be going back to in 3 weeks) I have a 75 reef with 125 pounds of live rock and 90 pounds of live sand and run 4 96w PowerCompact and a turbo hang on skimmer with 3 yellow tail damsels. In both my tanks I have 0 ammonia 0 nitrates and 0 nitrites. I have two questions. I only run a skimmer on both of my tanks along with a few power heads for water movement and rely on the live rock and the skimmer for my filtration. <Should be fine for low-stocked, low-fed, otherwise well-maintained systems> I was considering adding a bio-wheel Power filter to my 20 long to add some filtration by using Chemi-pure. would it be wise to remove the bio-wheels when adding them? <I would leave it with unless it presents noticeable problems later on (like excessive nitrates)> I heard it can increase your nitrites. <"ates", not "ites"> my second question is I can with my discount and because they are on sale get the tusk fish for around 50 dollars, which is considerably cheaper than usual. the fish is already eating in our dealer tanks and is doing fine. would it be ok to purchase him and put him in my 20 long (with only one convict goby right now) for just 3 weeks until I can movie him to my 75? <Mmm, yes... it might eat the Goby... raise metabolite concentrations> if it wouldn't be a good idea I understand its just I will never be able to purchase one at this price ever again. <I would not be so sure... But better than losing it> I am well aware of the risk of a harlequin tusk in a reef but am willing to take the chance I know plenty of people that have them in an established reef) if room would be a problem I can take out about 10 pounds of rock and put it in a holding tank back at the store. Any help would be great. ~Matt <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>
Re: Reef tank and Tuskfish
I cant believe how fast that response was, you guys are amazing!! By the way I have found you site to be an unbelievable help to me working at a LFS. People are always coming into the store and requesting fish such as the dragon wrasse and clown Sweetlips and are less than accepting to "take my word for it" on how well they fare in captivity. Your site has been a great help in backing up what I say about these fish to the customers who are only interested in purchasing a fish based on looks without any knowledge of the fish's actual needs and I readily give your web address to everyone who comes into the store, thank you so much! <Very glad to find the work of use> I did go ahead and purchase that tusk fish for my 20 long and he is doing great (already eating), but I think there might be a problem. I take great care in examining my fish before I purchase it but I noticed something I didn't see before I brought it home. There is a faint line (about the width of a piece of hair) that runs down the length of its body. There is no making of it around his head, it begins right at the very top tip of his gill slit and continues all the way down to his tail. I am familiar with lateral line but every case I have seen has been a much wider marking, this is unbelievably thin, almost unnoticeable (unnoticeable it was under the dimmer lights of our tanks at the store). Any help would be great on what you think this might be and indeed if it is lateral line any suggestions above and beyond supplemental feeding with iodine and vitamins? thanks again for all your help. ~Matt <I have seen this "line" myself. Don't think it is anything to worry about. Vitamin and HUFA enhancing foods is always a good idea. Bob Fenner>

Harlequin Tusk Wrasse Please advise the maximum size an Australian specimen of subject fish will attain in a 100 gallon tank. Thanks, Stephen Pace <You can find the info you wanted here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/wrasses/choerodon/index.htm -Steven Pro>
Re: Harlequin Tusk Wrasse
Many Thanks, Bob and how rapidly do they generally grow <adult size in 3-5 years> and is there a good way to reduce such maximum potential without harming the fish's health? <not without being cruel or risking stunting and premature death. The animal is what it is and cannot be made to overcome evolution so easily> Regards, Stephen Pace <best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Tusk Hey guys, Would a Harlequin Tusk make quick work of a cleaner shrimp? Thanks. PS....Hey Anthony! Rick <Please read over WetWebMedia.com re the specieshttp://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/wrasses/choerodon/faciata.htm. Bob Fenner>
Re: Tusk
I know I know. I've read every marine section at least 2x. I was just hoped that the cleaner would have been recognized for the service it provides and be left alone. <More likely an expensive meal... I would try other cleaner species... You know where to read about these I'll bet! Be chatting, Bob Fenner>
Re: Tusk
My cleaner is already in the tank. I'm going to use selective FAQ reading and use the one where you told some guy that he could try a cleaner with a puffer and an eel if he put the cleaner in first. I know the "general rule" is that eels will leave cleaner shrimp alone. I'm assuming that a Harlequin is about the same or less of a threat then a puffer........? <We'll, well at least you'll, soon see! Bob Fenner>
Re: Tusk
You won't tell me huh? If a neon goby would do better I'd take out my shrimp and put in a goby before the Tusk. My last response on this one.......sorry and thanks for your patience <No worries... am sending you to Mr. Tusk (he couldn't get over his admiration of Stevie Nicks) himself: Jason.C, for his further input. Jas? Bob F> Re: Tusk <Greetings, Richard - JasonC here...> My cleaner is already in the tank. I'm going to use selective FAQ reading and use the one where you told some guy that he could try a cleaner with a puffer and an eel if he put the cleaner in first. I know the "general rule" is that eels will leave cleaner shrimp alone. I'm assuming that a Harlequin is about the same or less of a threat then a puffer........? <Well, I'll tell you... I've got a tusk fish, and I've got a cleaner shrimp, and they're in the same tank. The tusk does idle-up for a cleaning every now and then, and sometimes the shrimp obliges. Now the question I can't answer is how long that will last. In the wild, shrimps are normal Choerodon fare so the trick is to keep the tusk well fed I suppose. It's an expensive meal on the day the tusk decides he is still hungry. Same would go for the puffer, and likely a similar threat. You'd have much better long term results with a neon goby - have seen a lot of tusk-cleaning this way. Good luck. Cheers, J -- >
Re: Tusk
Thanks for the help Jason. I figure as much. I guess nothing is guaranteed in a captive environment. Since I already have a very productive cleaner shrimp, I'll take my chances there. My Emperor loves that shrimp. Puffer's don't interest me.......I just want a Harlequin Tusk really bad. I'll take a shot, if he offs my shrimp I'll try to sneak a goby in there one night. You guys are the best. Rick <Real good. Keep us tuned in. Bob Fenner>

Harlequin Tuskfish Bob, I would like to get your advice on purchasing the Harlequin Tuskfish for my 125 gal. "Fish Only" tank. First, I want to know what to look for in a Quality fish? and if I could keep more than one in the same aquarium? <like most "wrasses", they can be very aggressive to like kind. A buddy is unlikely. The best (most colorful and hardy... read: not cheap drug caught Philippine product) come from Australia. Do pursue an Australian Tuskfish for your first choice. They are stunning!!! More red than orange> I have an 8" Snowflake Moray, 2.5" Longnose Hawkfish , two small Blue damsels and plan on adding a small Zebra Moray and Valentini puffer. What do you think? Thanks, Tom <A strange mix... the contrast between adult sizes is not good long term planning. The zebra and tusk are monsters while the puffer, damsels and Hawkfish are eventually going to be Tusk food (1-3 year picture). Worse still.. the puffer flesh is toxic and can kill the tusk if molested/eaten. Please reconsider... although as adults, the eel and tusk take up most all of the bio-load for a tank your size. Best regards, Anthony Calfo>
Re: Harlequin Tuskfish
Anthony, Thanks for your reply! I did give thought to your advice on the long term size difference between fishes. I have reconsidered the Tuskfish and Zebra Moray, and opted for a Lunar Wrasse instead. <Arghhhh! I hate to pick bones with you but I would be remiss if I didn't speak up. You haven't gained any ground at all with the T. lunare wrasse. If anything you have lost ground. The adult size of a Tuskfish is cited at 30 cm (12"). The adult size of a Lunar wrasse is cited at 25-30 cm (10-12") and I have personally seen them slightly larger! Plus, lunar wrasses become aggressive in aquaria... much more than Tuskfish. You need to at least reference these fish in an atlas first, my friend, before buying them> I now have in the tank a collection of an 8" Snowflake Eel, Longnose Hawkfish, a Valentini Puffer, 2 Yellowtail Blue Damsel fish, 4 Hermit crabs and the Lunar Wrasse. <everything listed after the snowflake eel can easily be eaten by the Lunar wrasse within 18 months. Starting with the hermits... they are a natural food for large wrasse species.> They all are doing really well, although the damsels can be somewhat aggressive at times. I've tried to include a variety of fish that occupy their own little niche in the aquarium and that would not eventually consume one another, what do you think of this combination? <I'm sorry to be the messenger... I know that you certainly mean well and want a successful tank> Also, the damsels appear to be two different shades of blue, one more lavender and the other more of an electric blue, could it be a sex difference? <actually... one already knows the wrasses long-term plan is scared...hehe> And lastly, what could you recommend that would add to what I have so far? <yes... a referee. Seriously, though... a smaller wrasse species would be great. There is a lot of information on this site in the archives and in Bob's book that describe ideal fish species including wrasses. take a look at some of these before you leap next> Thanks Again, Tom <I wish you the best, Anthony>

Harlequin Tuskfish and Lunare Wrasse Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> I'm currently moving some fish out of an 80 tall and realized that when I'm done all that will be left is a 4 inch Lunare Wrasse and a 2 inch blue spot puffer. <a bit odd as the Lunare wrasse will dwarf the "Toby" (blue spotted puffer) by nearly a foot as an adult. The Toby is also toxic and may kill the wrasse if it ever gets an inclination to eat it> I've read the FAQs and asked around on the web and I'm trying to find out if a Harlequin Tusk fish would get along in an 80 tall (4 foot by 18 inches by 24 inches tall) with a Lunare Wrasse. My assumption is that I'd have to get a similarly sized tusk fish to match the Wrasse. <as two members of the wrasse family, there is a good chance that they will fight. Even if they don't, both max out as adults at around a foot long and will be too big for the tank within 2 years if they are kept well> Of course the LFS says "Yeah sure" and I tend to trust her because she's never steered me yet but I just want to make sure that I'm not hearing yes because she sees a $150 sale. <I disagree for the long-term> What are the odds that the tusk fish will go after crabs, shrimp and snails? <very good... they are natural prey. I feed mine live crayfish in part> I realize the puffer does but I'm not overly attached to him and the LFS is amenable to a trade for credit on this little guy. <do consider trading him in for mid sized sturdy fishes for the wrasse in the long term. Best regards, Anthony> David Rencher
Re: Harlequin Tuskfish and Lunare Wrasse
I thank you. <very welcome!> Everyone else has been flat out "No way man, Tusk Fish get to like 3 feet" <really even 12" is large... 8" in three to five years would be expected...still a big fish though and one to be reckoned with (filtration, feeding, etc)> At least you've given me an informed answer and some food for thought. I like the Toby but I really dig start fish and my little Toby just chows down if he gets a chance... so I'm thinking he may be gone soon. <agreed> The only reason I'm keeping the Lunare is because he's a bit bigger than the reputable LFS will take on trade. <actually, I love this fish! Gorgeous as an adult and incredibly hardy!!!...just a bit large and aggressive for most tanks> She's afraid he might be TOO big and the LFS that will take him has no problem with putting him in a tank that's HORRIBLY infected with ich. <some people/LFS seem to make money in spite of themselves (sheesh)> So... I'll have to do some thinking here. The odds are I will upgrade to a larger tank in the next little while. Or at least a similar sized tank to the house (I'm single, nobody cares how many tanks I have) so it would be possible in a few years to move one of the wrasses... <excellent... and on the basis that you can find a home one way or another for certain (and have a small QT tank necessary in the meantime) I could agree with a cautious mix of the two creatures (sending one to QT/penalty box...heheh... if necessary> Thanks for the input... I'll continue the research. I'm 2 months away from being ready to add any fish anyway. (I've decided to go really slow on migrating the existing fish into the new tank in order of hardiest fish first.) <very wise... best of luck, Anthony>
Re: Harlequin Tuskfish
Anthony, Thanks so much again for your quick replies to my e-mail questions! I also want to thank you and this website for all the great information. It is very helpful and interesting! <Steven Pro answering a few emails on this holiday weekend. I am glad we could be of assistance and I am sure Anthony will see your thank you on the Daily page.> I have been doing more research on the fishes I plan on keeping in my FO aquarium before I stock it any more. <A very good idea. Always best to create a wish list of all intended fish first.> Previous to finding this website, I have been acquiring info on the fish from the Marine Fishes book by Scott W. Michael and from my LFS. <I like the book, too.> The book is great for quick reference but it does not go into much detail, and at the LFS, it seems like I talk to a new salesman every time I go in. So from now on I think I'll stick to your site for advice before I make any more mistakes!! Right now I am observing the activities of the fish very closely and they seem to be doing fine. The Lunar Wrasse is only about 2 1/4" long right now and is the same size or smaller than the rest of it's tankmates (besides the 2 damsels), which may give me some time to determine who will go and who will stay in the final set-up! I still would like to acquire the Tuskfish in the near future even if I have to set-up another FO tank, but for now I will keep on researching and studying! Thanks once again, Tom <You are quite welcome. -Steven Pro>

Tusk and Angel Thanks Anthony, I trust your judgment as your advice has proved time and time again to be the truth. <experience is the best teacher to my chagrin sometimes <smile> Well Yesterday was day 3 and when I came home from work at about 6:30, there was a pretty nice chunk taken from the tusks back fin and he seemed to be losing his resolve. <I would too...heehee> I killed the lights and covered the tank this morning so it will be pitch black all day. The violence seems significantly less in the dark. <maybe we should try that in the Middle east?> Bottom line is that this can't go till tomorrow. I'm milling a few options over now: 1) Return the Tusk tonight......use the credit to get something else this weekend......problem is I think at this point the Emperor just won't tolerate anyone new. <nope...too stressful on an already stressed fish. It may kill him and what a shame it would be to lose this living jewel> 2) Bring the Emperor in and have my LFS guy hold him for a week or two and then bring him back.....I noticed that fish that were in my tank before him were basically OK. <nope... the angel is what it is> 3) Bring the Emperor back and get a new smaller angel that has nice color as well (Majestic.....I can handle it)........ <not my vote either... rather pot luck to do so> Problem here is that this Emperor is SPECTACULAR, eats out of my hand, but is he just too big and mean for this tank now? <but magnificent I'm sure... I'd hate to part with him too> 4) Bring back the Tusk and don't add anything (this is the one you'll say I'm sure)...... <surprise... nope again. Moving this tusk would be my absolute last choice> just a bit depressing to think I can never add another fish until I get a bigger tank, <how about a smaller/mid sized tank that you can use as a larger QT for just such emergencies... perhaps a 30long? That's my vote for at least the 3 to six month picture to stabilize the tusk and give the poor fella a fighting chance to service having made it all this way from collection> not to mention the fact that I moved 2 fish out in preparing for the tusk so it'll be more empty. What do you think friend? Any of those options you like BESIDES #4? <yes... definitely a bigger QT/isolation tank for the angel or tusk (assuming they fit comfortably alone in say a 30long. A simply sponge filter and some live rock would be just fine with twice monthly small water changes most likely. Really a lot less expensive than watching either fish die or you getting hosed on a stressful trade in (for you and the fish <wink>)> Thanks. Rick Best of luck, my friend, Anthony>

Harlequin Tusk & Bird Wrasse Hi Bob, <JasonC here, greetings.> I've got a coral tank with clams in it. Beautifully decorated in a 4 feet tank. <Good deal> Now I've fallen in love with the Harlequin Tusk and Green Bird Wrasse. <understandable, both just absolute lookers... the Choerodon fasciata being one of my personal favorites.> Checked around and been getting contradictory views on whether I can put them in my coral tank. Some say YES and some say NO WAY. <'Could' and 'should' being two different answers.> Have a friend who has a HT in his coral tank for a year and he has not been biting off any of his precious corals. Well behaved indeed much like what you wrote in your site. <Well behaved for a fish who doesn't eat corals in the wild...> I'm confuse if I can have them in my tank or otherwise. Kindly advise and thanks. Steve <Well, the quick answer is no... it's not wise, mostly because the choice of tankmates in a "reef" system tend more towards the small scale and docile behavior. Even though either of these fish would be the passive member of a fish only system, they would be the most boisterous member of a reef system. Both grow to over a foot, and take up every bit of that space which means you would need to upgrade that tank sometime in the future if you wanted to keep the fish for any time. In addition, both are strong, fast swimmers and their darting can be disconcerting to less motile tank members. This same speed can make it hard to compete for food if you're not a Tusk or Bird Wrasse but instead living with one. Likewise, their taste for certain invertebrates is not good news for small bivalves, worms, copepods, and various shrimp that one might want to keep/encourage in a reef system. Would a tusk sample a Tridacnid? Probably not if well acclimated to daily feedings, but would that same tusk flip over a frag or two looking for food? For a certainty, it will happen. So are either of these fish a good choice for a coral and clam tank? No. Could you build a mixed system of photosynthetic gorgonians and a tusk fish? That could work well. Hope that helps... Cheers, J -- >

Harlequin Tusk & Bird Wrasse Hi Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> I've got a coral tank with clams in it. Beautifully decorated in a 4 feet tank. Now I've fallen in love with the Harlequin Tusk and Green Bird Wrasse. <both magnificent fishes... neither are remotely responsible to put in a reef tank> Checked around and been getting contradictory views on whether I can put them in my coral tank. Some say YES and some say NO WAY. <no way doesn't begin to describe how bad the choice is. They do not eat coral at all. But their endless search and curiosity for crustaceans (shrimp, crabs... desirable in the reef at times) amplified by their large adult size (both approaching a foot) lends them to wreak havoc by randomly flipping coral over and off of the rockscape. I would regard their addition as unlikely to succeed in most tanks and irresponsible especially if one has LPS corals (brain, bubble, torch, elegant, etc> Have a friend who has a HT in his coral tank for a year and he has not been biting off any of his precious corals. <that's because they don't ever eat coral... just crustacea in the wild... and his tusk is almost certainly still young/too small to toss larger heads of coral to look underneath yet (its under 6"... perhaps 4" or less?)> Well behaved indeed much like what you wrote in your site. <yep... with other fishes in general> I'm confuse if I can have them in my tank or otherwise. Kindly advise and thanks. Steve <best regards, Anthony>

Harlequin Tusk <Greetings, JasonC here.> Read your article of the harlequin tusk and cannot resist getting one in my tank. I have been shopping for an Australian since last week but just cannot get it. Do you know of some place where I can purchase this beauty for my tank ? <try both of our site sponsors, Flying Fish Express and Marine Center. If I recall they both have Australian Tusks on sale.> I am providing my setup below. Can you please see if this fish will is a fit for my tank. 1 lionfish - 4" 1 Blueface angel - 4" 3 sand sifting stars 2 brittle stars 2 red fire shrimp - 2" Inverts like crabs and snails (Will be tusk's snack eventually - per your article) Mushrooms Flowerpot Plate Toadstool Leather 3 Featherduster Brown Polyps 2 Brain Coral Colt Elegance 150 lb Liverock 4" sandbed 150 Gallon tank Skimmer Micron Filter Tank conditions within standard guidelines Will a tusk eat all corals ? <The tusk won't eat any corals. It might flip over a frag looking for something else to eat, but it won't eat corals.> What is a replacement of the inverts that he will eat up ? <Replace in what way?> Exactly what inverts will be go for ? <They like shrimp, crabs, and small bivalves.> Can he live with the lion and a Blueface angel ? <I think so, in a 150, yes.> I have a panther grouper but he stays in a smaller tank. These get too big and cause problems later down the road. <That won't last for long as these groupers get very large, as you know. As long as you don't add the grouper to the 150, all should be fine.> Can you recommend a fish that I can keep after the tusk as my fourth. I would like to have at least 4 fish in there if my tank can handle the bio-load. <I think your tank could handle it. Many, many choices... avail yourself to http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/ > Please advise. Just can't wait for this fish in my tank as I am looking for attractive/colorful fish. I am sure that this is the fish that will be my center piece (Only if I can find one). <And harlequin tusks are all that... one of my favorite fish.> My LFS is trying to talk me into a Philippine species but I am not going for it until you tell me to. <Both this season and last I have seen many good looking tusks hail from the Indo Pacific. You might want to consider it if the price for an Aussie tusk is too dear.> I read your opinion about them and am staying away from it. Will buy from internet if you know some trusted source. <Check the above ref. All and all the tusk is a very hardy fish. Do have a good quarantine tank set up in advance to hold this fish for a couple of weeks before releasing into the display system.> Many thanks in advance. Will wait for your response. Razi Burney <You are welcome. Cheers, J -- >

Room for a Tusk? Gentlemen: <Greetings to you.> I am debating about adding a Harlequin tusk to my 125G FO w/out LR tank. Current inhabitants are as follows: 1 Hippo tang (6") 1 Foxface (6") 1 Kole tang (4") 1 percula clown 1 Banggai cardinal 1 Arabian Pseudochromis The first 4 fish have been in the tank for almost 3 years, with the last two in about 1 year. <Gosh... in my view of the world, that's a full tank. Given the fact that tusks can grow to over a foot, as can your Foxface and hippo tang, I'd lean towards suggesting against it. As an aside, I'd be most concerned about a run-in with the venomous Foxface, which would end badly for the incoming tusk.> The LFS has a beautiful specimen which he says is from Australia. The stripes are very blue, I realize not totally indicative of being Aussie, but a perhaps a sign. The cost is $90. <That's a low price at LFS for an Aussie tusk, but... it could very well be. How's your tank for hiding spaces?> I would appreciate your assessment. <A 135 is not a small tank, but it may be too small for three fish who are still growing... tusks are fairly easy going, as are the fish you listed, but the tusk will be the newcomer to a well-established group. If you really want this fish, I'd make sure you have lots of live rock for swimming through, and hiding under. You may also want to rearrange the rock before you introduce the tusk so that the tusk doesn't snag someone else's spot, so to speak. Also, plan to quarantine the tusk for a month or more until you are positive it is familiar with you and your feeding habits. This will help ease the transition to the display which is pretty much guaranteed to not be hassle-free.> Thanks, Mitch <Cheers, J -- >

Re: Can I have 2 harlequin tusks ? Hi Bob, <Greetings, Razi - JasonC here.> I am still trying to find an Australian tusk. Checked with one distributor on internet and he is telling me that they have not seen one for about 4 months. Do they come only in a specific season ? <Not as far as I know, but they do seem more 'around/available' in the summer months. Did you check with Marine Center - they report to have a 4" Aussie tusk available.> Also, Can I have 2 harlequin tusks in a 150 gallon reef tank? <No, that's not really enough space.> Since they love crustaceans like crabs and snails, what would be one of the replacements for the lost inverts. Crabs and snails do good cleanup job but I am sure that there are other alternatives available in their absence. <Your own elbow grease, perhaps. But seriously, a tusk isn't going to eat a snail that is too large to fit in it's mouth. You should be able to keep some vestige of a clean-up crew and not fear retaliation from the tusk.> I would like to keep in Philippine and one Australian if you think that they can coexist. <No, I don't think they will co-exist.> They will be tankmates with a tang that I have yet to purchase. I am so much in love with this tusk that I will change my setup if needed. <Just change your plan for two to one, and all will be well.> Will keep corals as he does not graze on them. Will use coral glue as tusks can knock them down if needed. <it's not an issue of glue but the size of the things most people glue the corals to.> Please advise if this will be a mistake. <Again, with the exception of wanting to house two tusks, you are on the right track.> Regards, Razi Burney <Cheers, J -- >
Re: Will Harlequin Tusk eat starfish and serpent stars ?
Hi JasonC, <Good day!> Many thanks for so much information so fast. I will be keeping one Australian tusk only as advised by you. Forgot to ask a couple of other questions. Here they are: Q. Will harlequin tusk eat starfish and serpent stars? if no, Any chances of HT hurting the stars and serpents? <The chances are very low to non-existent that a tusk would harm a sea star.> Q. Should I feed him live gold fish or give him frozen shrimp ? Any preference or advise to keep him healthy and well fed will help. <Absolutely no live feeders. These fish are very open-minded when it comes to food, and you should do fine with frozen krill, shrimp, clams, squid, and Mysis. Perhaps throw in something green once in a while - like Formula Two. Just mix it up, keep the diet varied.> I have contacted "The Marine Center" and am placing the order Tuesday. Spoke with them and they do have Australians in stock. They priced it at $119 for a large. Do you think this is an Australian as you mention that price is the best guide for these species. <Well, they are also on 'special' and Marine Center has a solid reputation for the fish they ship/sell. I'm quite confident that you will get a healthy Aussie tusk.> Many thanks in advance. You guys are great. Regards, Razi Burney <Cheers, J -- >
Re: Tusk acting aggressive
Hi Bob, <Actually, it's JasonC... again.> Tusk has been doing very normal since last week in the tank and has been swimming around and eating great. Health looks great and I am keeping my water conditions excellent. He usually eats 2 times a day (Formula 1 - 2 cubes at one time). Total cubes he takes a day is 4 and sometimes misses 1 cube as they fall behind the rocks and are consumed by other inverts like stars and serpents. I have seen him aggressive against green serpent star but you mentioned that he will hardly go after sea stars. Can you please confirm. <I'm sure this is possible, but not a sign that the tusk will eat it. Just trying to show it who's boss, like the Seastar cares or something...> Added a Sohal tang (3") today. They both did not like each other in the first 10 minutes as tang wanted to take his home away. I see both fishes trying to take the space that was originally chosen by the tusk. Sohal Tang is not really going after him but does not like him close either. Since then the tusk has been swimming aggressively and is all over the tank. His swimming patterns are aggressive and is swimming at all levels. Occasionally swims very fast which I have never seen him doing this before the tang was introduced. I have shut down the lights to ease the tension. Is there something that needs to be addressed. <Perhaps you don't have enough hiding places? These things usually take a couple of weeks to a month to work themselves out. How large is this system? You could be on the small side with the addition of another power-swimmer.> Salinity and all other water conditions are fine. Tusk's aggressive swimming pattern has made other small fish like damsels hide behind the rocks. He slows down for a while and then goes again. In most of these cases Sohal tang is not even close but is in eye sight. Any advice will be helpful. What should I do next ? <Be patient... you haven't had either fish really that long, and you need to give these time to work themselves out. You could also rearrange the furniture in the tank, to break up existing territories.> Many thanks in advance.
<Cheers, J -- >

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