Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs on Wrasse Feeding

Related Articles: Wrasses, Wrasses of the Cooks

Related FAQs: Wrasses, Wrasses 2Wrasse Identification, Wrasse Selection, Wrasse Behavior, Wrasse Compatibility, Wrasse Systems, Wrasse Disease, Wrasse Reproduction

Most wrasses are eager eaters like this subadult Coris gaimard.

Carpenter's Wrasse: A "Pod" Predator?  5/22/08 I've got a question regarding Wrasse compatibility and WWM is who I always seem to turn to!! You guys are awesome! <Well, we're flattered that you feel that way! We have a great group of folks who love bringing the site to you each and every day! Scott F. in tonight!> I've got 2 reef tanks. One is a 75 mixed reef, including SPS, LPS, a few softies, clams and a Sebae anemone.( I know, anemone have no place in a tank with corals...lol) Fish consist of a 6 Lined Wrasse, 4 Green Chromis, a GSM Clown, a Purple Pseudochromis, a Starry Blenny and a Yellow Watchman Goby. <Yeah, you read my mind on the anemone, but I do like your stocking list of fishes!> The other tank is a 46 mixed reef with LPS, softies, a HUGE RTBA, fish consist of a mated pair of Black Occellaris, a Mandrain Dragonet and a small Spotted Rabbit Fish. The Rabbit Fish will be going into a 113 as soon as it's set up and cycled. <Glad to hear that. The Rabbitfish will need LOTS of space to live a long and healthy life.> Now to my question. I rescued a male Carpenter Flasher Wrasse from a friend the other day. It's currently in the refugium under my 75, while I decide where to put it. I'm concerned about it wiping out the pod population in the 46, which would be detrimental to the Mandarin. I'm even more concerned that, in the 75, it'd get beat up by either the 6 Lined Wrasse or the Purple Pseudochromis. <A valid concern. Both of these fishes could take a dislike to their new neighbor!> Currently the 6- Lined Wrasse and Purple Pseudochromis have been together for several months without any aggression. There's about 130# of live rock in there with plenty of hiding places and separate territories. <That's all good. You certainly need the hiding places.> If I were to put it in the 46, it wouldn't have to be there for more than a couple months, while waiting for the 113 to be ready. In that time, I could purchase and add pods of necessary. Any suggestions would be great!! Thanks in advance!! Sincerely, Michael <Well, Michael, I suppose the wrasse could munch on a few 'pods that get knocked up into the water column, but I would not worry all that much about the fish doing great damage to your pod population in the rocks and substrate. These fishes tend to pluck most of their food from the water column, as opposed to rooting it out from substrate. Of course, if you do observe the fish "foraging" through the rocks or substrate, you may very well have to supplement the pod population to keep your Mandarin fat and happy. I think that you're right on track! Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Wrasse diet...  12/20/06 <Hello, JustinN with you today> Is it ok for wrasses to eat guppies? <Feeder fish? No, I would not recommend this> And if is - is it ok for other fish - (tangs) - to eat them as well? <Tangs are herbivorous fish mostly -- I doubt they'd go after them> My wrasses sure seem to like them. <This may be so, but feeder fish are not a very good option for most any fish. Too many difficulties, too much chance for pathogen introduction, improper nutrition provision, and prepared foods are simply cheaper and more convenient.> Thank you for all your very helpful information! ML Jones <No problems, mate. Is what we're here for. Happy holidays! -JustinN>

Blue Cleaner Wrasse looking thin Dear crew, <Scott> I have a 55 gallon Marine Aquarium with the whole back wall made up of live rock. It has a bed of Coral sand and I have 1 Clark's Clown, 2 Reef Chromis, 1 Sand Sifting Star Fish, 1 Cleaner Wrasse, a Dot Dash Blenny, 8 red legged hermit crabs and 2 turbo snails. I have an External Eheim power filter, an Aqua-Medic external protein skimmer, two marine white tubes and a UV Sterilizer. All has been running really nice and has been running for 6 months now. PH = 8.0 Salinity = 1.023 Nitrite = 0 Ammonia = 0 Nitrate = 15 Calcium = 455 I feed the fish mainly Brine Shrimp and occasionally some fine cockles. I also have some red plankton that I use (not too often). I try Mysis but they are not too keen on it. I feed once a day in the evening and feed as much as they can eat in 2 minutes, all fish appear to eat and look very healthy with vibrant colours. However, the Blue Cleaner Wrasse (who appears happy and busy cleaning fish and rocks etc) has gotten much thinner than he/she was when we first bought them (looking almost gaunt). We have had the fish around 2 - 3 weeks now. <Yes... this species is an obligate cleaner... almost all individuals feed solely on the parasites, diseased skin of other fishes...> I am somewhat worried incase I am feeding the wrong food. It does appear to be feeding from the tank as we have a healthy bloom of algae. Any suggestions? Kind Regards, Scott. <Please read here re Labroides: http://wetwebmedia.com/labroide.htm Bob Fenner>

Nibbles the Wrasse Ate a What?? >Hi WWM Crew!   >>Hello person from Query Land! >I have recently added a six line wrasse to my well established 46 gal bow front with lots of live rock for him to nibble and play. And nibble he does. And nibble and nibble and nibble....all the time. He looks like he has swallowed a marble. >>That made me laugh, thank you.   >He has been in the tank now for about 4 weeks and has evidently found a buffet of bristleworms and copepods. It appears that the size of his stomach may be effecting his swimming ability. When he swims it is in a bobbing motion like he is bouncing. Slightly head down sometimes. Is this normal? Is he eating so much that this is effecting his ability to swim? He gets around fine and is extremely active.   As always thanks for your time and input. I have learned a lot from you guys!  Randy >>Wow... Well, there definitely *are* those fish that will eat till they practically bust, but wrasses usually aren't among those.  I'd watch him for the next few weeks, it may be that he was just one seriously HONGREH little guy and he's hit the chow line and isn't leaving.  Give him time to adjust, and he should find a balance there.  Marina

- Strange Wrasse Affliction? - We have a green bird wrasse that has been in our tank for about 9 months.  The wrasse has seemingly thrived up until recently.  He is still eating well and actively swimming but has come down with some sought of white, almost washed out look on the sides of its head.  Could this be the bird wrasse equivalent of HLLE? <Doubt that.> Any possible help and insight would be greatly appreciated. <Well... provided you haven't added anything new as of late, then I would guess this is probably a nutrition related blanching. Do you feed this fish the same thing for every meal - or is the diet more diverse. This fish should be getting a mix of meaty foods with the occasional green seaweed item thrown in.> Thanks Al <Cheers, J -- >

Exquisite Foods For An Exquisite Wrasse!     Hello WWM, <Scott F. with you today...> I've recently acquired a very pretty Exquisite Wrasse but could not find much on feeding on the site or FAQ. Currently he is getting good quality small pellet food with Selcon and frozen brine shrimp with Spirulina. Any additions needed to keep him fat and happy? As always thanks for your help and good humor. Peace, Joe <Well, Joe, my recommendation here is to utilize more nutritious marine-based foods, such as Mysis, chopped clams, or squid, which have a much higher nutritional value than brine shrimp. Your idea of fortifying foods with Selcon is a good one, and should be used with all frozen foods. Other good choices would be any of the fine Ocean Nutrition foods, such as "Prime Reef", "Brine Shrimp Plus", and-believe it or not- "Angel Formula", which, although intended for sponge-eating angelfishes, seems to be relished by a wide variety of fishes. You might have to mince it up a bit, though. Bon Apetit! Regards, Scott F>  

Bedtime for Bonzo-Sleepy Christmas Wrasse >I recently added a Christmas wrasse and he has been eating well in the quarantine tank but when I added him to the show tank he goes to bed (buries himself) before the time I feed them!!!!   >>Heh.. not at all unusual. >I guess he's loving the deep sand bed and literally went to bed around 4:45 and I don't  feed them until after 5:30 when I get home for work.   He also doesn't get up until 12:30 when the lights come on each day so I can't feed him in the morning either!  Will he eventually learn that if he wants to eat he'll have to stay up longer or do I need to get him up when it's feeding time?   >>Just make sure you've got a good population of "pods", be sure to offer a good variety of foods, and he'll either get the idea or keep himself fed. >Also, I would like to see him in the evenings!!!  Why does he only stay up for a few hours?   >>This is common for these wrasses, to the best of my knowledge.  Do check out our FAQs on wrasses. >Maybe because he's new in the tank?  However, when he's out he's very energetic and not shy at all.  Looks very healthy too.  Any advice would be appreciated!  Have a great weekend. >>Thank you, I plan on having a quiet weekend.  I wouldn't worry about him too much.  However, I can't predict whether or not he'll adjust to your schedule for better viewing and feeding arrangements.  Marina

- Harlequin Tusk Food Preferences - One more thing. . . I just read that they need live crustaceans for survival.  Is this true? <I hope not, otherwise mine is doomed.>   I really hesitate feeding anything live due to diseases. What are your thoughts? <There are other good reasons to not feed live foods, but most importantly in this case, you just don't need to. Tuskfish will greedily accept just about any meaty seafood - squid, clams, shrimp, crabs, Mysis shrimp, fish... all are fair game and really what you should be feeding these fish. Skip the brine shrimp. No worries.> Thanks. <Cheers, J -- >

Wrasse Impasse... Dear Bob, <Scott F. here for Bob today, who's busy with Anthony autographing the new books for immediate shipment!> I recently bought a wrasse 2 days ago. However it has gone into hiding for the past 2 days and I have no idea where it is hiding. Is this normal? What is the max. time period it can do w/o food? I have been feeding the rest of the fishes as per normal but the wrasse does not come out to eat. <Well, depending upon the species you have, it is generally quite normal for wrasses to hide upon introduction to a new tank. Many species will actually bury themselves in the sand at night, or wedge themselves deep into the rockwork for security. Some wrasses are quite good at capturing items of food from the rock and sand, so your concerns about possible starvation, although valid, may not be as urgent as you think. I have a Canary Wrasse in my large reef system that hid for almost 3 weeks before he finally emerged on a regular basis. He is not one of the most outgoing fishes you've ever seen. He must have been eating something during his "retreat", as he emerged non the worse for wear...Think positive!> Also, I have a blood shrimp, cleaner shrimp and a coral banded shrimp in my 500 l tank. However, none of them seem to exhibit the cleaning tendencies in the aquarium and hide behind the rockwork. Is there anyway to induce them to be more "outgoing" and get their job done as a cleaner? TQ. <Unfortunately, I am not aware of any way to do this. Just give them time and predator-free conditions. Again, these animals, although generally rather reclusive, will tend to emerge when they feel more comfortable...Hang in there! Regards, Scott F> Pygmy Arrowhead Wrasse Dear Bob: I am receiving the above fish sometime later today.  His formal name is Wetmorella fasciata, and I'm getting him from the Marine Center. <What a coincidence! A bunch of us were visiting friends in the trade in L.A. just yesterday and saw this species (they had it labeled as "Possum Wrasse" at SDC... they said they get all three species of the genus in...> I have check several sites such as fishbase and have come up with nothing.  He grows to about two inches and is supposed to be reef safe.  He's a cute little fella in his pic, and I want to give him what he needs.  Is a regular wrasse diet okay? <Mmm, yes... small, meaty foods (they have small mouths)> Thanks for your help Bob, and I'm sorry we aren't going on your dive with SeaBay this Spring, but still hope you will come and talk with us. Connie <Perhaps next time. Bob Fenner>

Wrasses? have 2 wrasse-related questions..... picked up a cleaner wrasse about a month ago; after purchasing, have since learned about the choice being a poor one and will not support their sale in the future....in any case, mine has been well, busy, darting about, picking away at everyone, eating brine shrimp, etc.. <resist the brine shrimp.. a very nutritively poor food. Fish can starve to death eating a lot of it (mostly water). Try Pacifica plankton, Mysid shrimp, etc> I noticed, however, that it retreats to a hole in a honeycomb rock every night and doesn't emerge for 10-12 hours at a time. I read that wrasses create some sort of sleeping cocoon and haven't been too worried about it until recently; the past 3 days the little dude hasn't emerged from his hole (though I can see his tail sticking out) and when I tried to shake the rock a bit yesterday to see if he was ok, he slid out, swam around for about 30 seconds, then flopped over a rock and looked drunk, <hmmm... sounds bad> draped over the rock, until about a minute later returning to his sleeping hole. wondering if I should leave him alone in there, (it has been 3 days) or take some action. <if there are no signs of disease... do leave it in peace. Unlikely an acclimating period (more likely it is on its way to becoming a statistic)... but we should not educate or treat without knowing what to treat for> 2nd question in regards to a 6-line wrasse that joined the aquarium about a week ago; has been great, beautiful, busy....however, I notice it swims with it's tail up, almost vertically much of the time...not swimming laboriously, however, just looks weird. (is that even a word..."laboriously?")....anyway, he seems healthy, strong, eating regularly, not sure if it's just the way he is or if it's an indication of upcoming trouble...  <strange yes.. but a quirky fish by nature. Keep observing and relax after continued good feeding and behavior otherwise> thanks for all of the Yoda-like fish wisdom. <quite welcome... but I don't have as much hair growing from my ears as Yoda...yet. Anthony>

Belted wrasse I noticed a photo of a belted wrasse in your excellent book I was given for Christmas. I have done as much research as I can and am now asking your excellent advice. Do you have any tricks for sustaining nutritional requirements in captivity or is this a fish better left in the Ocean? I am certainly willing to put in the effort but not if the fish will only waste away. Thanks! sally L?er  >> Must be the genus Stethojulis... And no to any real tricks to keeping them going in captivity... they evidently eat... all the time during light hours... all sorts, and large quantities of "bottom" (interstitial) fauna (crustaceans, worms, echinoderms...). Never seen even public aquariums "keep them full" over any real period of time. I would encourage the trade... and you, to leave them in the sea. Bob Fenner who wishes he had had more control over the photo inclusions in his books.

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: