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FAQs on Leopard Wrasses, Genus Macropharyngodon, Compatibility

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

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

Macropharyngodon bipartitus fighting…solutions? – 06/01/13
First I would like to thank you all for your wealth of information and a willingness to share it, this website is one of the first places I go when researching most anything aquatic.
<<A collaborative effort…thank you for the kind words>>
I write to ask you about the best course of action in dealing with an argument among leopard wrasses (Macropharyngodon bipartitus).  I have a 180g tank which has been up for a few days over a year and around a month ago introduced one leopard wrasse from an LFS known to be eating prepared foods (which it does quite readily).
<<Excellent…I kept a breeding pair of these for quite a few years…much credit going to the fact they readily accepted New Life Spectrum pellets>>
I wanted to add two other leopard wrasses,
so I ordered the two small females from an online retailer, and they arrived looking healthy and active.  The problems came when they were introduced;  the established fish, which is as far as markings and colorations go is a female, went after the two smaller fish very aggressively- they responded by immediately going under the sand, as one would expect.
I have caught the established fish, dripped it into my already-running QT tank, and was going to leave it there until the smaller fish seem more comfortable with their surroundings; does this sound like a good plan of action?
<<Maybe if this were a bigger tank…I have only seen success with more than two of these fish in the same tank when “all were introduced simultaneously as juveniles”…but that’s “my” experience>>
Anything you would add/change?
<<I might consider leaving the two in the display and finding a “new home” for the one in the QT>>
Thank you for your time!
<<Happy to share…  EricR>>

Wrasse Compatibility/Introduction -- 09/13/11
<<Greetings unsigned querior>>
I would like to add a leopard wrasse (meleagris)
<<Ah yes, Macropharyngodon meleagris'¦I've had a mated pair of these in my own 300+ reef system for about six years now>>
to an established 210 gallon tank which contains 3 yellow Coris wrasses (medium to large).
<<I'm thinking you are referring to 'Halichoeres chrysus' here? '¦a readily available and exceptional aquarium species'¦and much better commonly referred to as the yellow 'banana' wrasse as opposed to the misleading 'Coris' tag>>
My procedure when doing this is to put the new fish inside a 5 gallon tank in the DT. This allows me to see the reactions of the main tank inhabitants and to let them get accustomed to the new fish while allowing me the opportunity to remove it if necessary (I would put sand in the bottom for it to hide).
<<Indeed, a couple inches of sand (fine aragonite) is definitely a requirement>>
Your thoughts on this method and the compatibility of the wrasse would be appreciated... Inhabitants are Majestic Angelfish 6", Regal Blue Tang 6", Foxface 7", Sailfin Tang 5", Flame Angel 2", Bicolor Angel 2" (I successfully added this one with this method), 2 Clarkii Clownfish, one large one, 3 Blue Damsels 2", Six-lined Wrasse 2", Harlequin Sea Bass 5" all in a FOWLR plus everything but hard corals.
<<The Leopard Wrasse will tolerate most anything but conspecifics (large tanks and/or mated pairs the exception), but the Six-Lined Wrasse is not going to feel the same and will likely prove problematic. The rest of your fishes shouldn't be an issue long term, though the Angels and Damsels will probably let the newcomer know who was there first. I think your method of introduction is fine, and may well be the only way to get the Leopard in to the tank with the Six-Line if at all>>
Thanks for your help
<<Happy to share>>
-you do a great service to the hobby and industry.
<<A collaborative effort, thank you for the kind words

Picasso Trigger picking on Leopard Wrasse
Rhinecanthus vs. Macropharyngodon, 2 different weight classes - 4/20/11

Greetings to All!
<<Hello Amy.>>
I can't express how helpful this site has been through the years, as it is the first resource I use for any questions or troubleshooting. The one thing that made your site my favorite, is that you advocate for the fish, not the whims of men (and women), actually giving voice to the voiceless.
A big heartfelt thanks!
<<Glad to hear you appreciate it, will pass along thanks to the rest of the crew.>>
Now, onto the matter at hand.
I recently purchased a 4 inch female Leopard Wrasse. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of time she spends actually out of the sand bed! Good sign right?
<<Yes it's normal for Macropharyngodon to spend it's 'nights' buried or covered so to speak in the shallow layer of substrate or when spooked, seeking cover. However, healthy specimens should be swimming about the reef (rock work in captivity) curious, alert...and feeing on the microfauna and microcrustaceans.>>
She has been a picky eater (as expected)
<<Yes, easily, the biggest concern for this genus in captivity.>>
but is slowly coming around, nibbling on mysis and slowly starting to pick at the live rock. I'll be working hard to get her eating the New Life Spectrum pellets.
<<Would be quite the accomplishment if the animal does accept this but would still keep it on a varied diet including finely chopped meats of a marine origin - assuming it will accept them as most captive Macropharyngodons like you mentioned are quite picky, and some simply perish refusing to eat at all.>>
(keeping my fingers crossed) Our 90 gallon is a mixed reef with an in line 50 gallon, 3 chambered sump/refugium FULL of pods and "bugs", not to mention live Mysis. (I am a fanatic about restocking pods as I will explain in a bit) It also has a deep, live sand bed, about 100lbs of Marshall Island Rock (came with the tank, not doing anything illegal)
<<No worries, I wouldn't assume that considering the ban is as recent as 2008...and even then there have been exceptions and amendments to that law...and the refugium, live rock set-up sounds great in your attempt to be successful with this wrasse...assuming there aren't too many other competitors for this natural food source sharing the tank with it.>>
mixed with some newer rock we had in another tank. We also grow Caulerpa, sea lettuce, and Chaeto in our sump which is fed to our Tangs. The sump also has a small amount of live rock and a bottom of miracle mud. Parameters are great, with nitrates a tick over 5 (we feed heavily as I am lucky enough to have a thriving Gorgonian. Out tank is full of tunicates which is also very exciting to me . So, "what's the problem" you may ask. It is this. Our 3 1/2 inch Picasso Trigger is harassing the new Leopard Wrasse. Not a constant harassment, but just enough that I am worried that she will have a hard time settling in.
<<...And with Balistids it rarely gets better, usually worse, sometimes overnight. Not a great situation for an animal that has trouble adjusting to captive life even under optimal conditions.>>
The Trigger's "territory" is in the right corner of the tank (he has a nice hole he has claimed), but he will swim all the way over to the right corner(where the wrasse hangs out), take a run at the wrasse, then slink back through the rocks over to his side-like he is going out of his way to be a naughty neighbor!
<<...And he may yet become more intolerant of his already established neighbors as he/she ages.>>
The Picasso has never exhibited any signs of overt
aggression to any of our other fish (list to be included shortly, I promise.
<<It's for lack of a better phrase the status quo with Triggers in captivity. Juveniles or younger triggers can be model citizens for years in community and reef aquaria, and they can literally 'snap' so to speak over night. These are highly intelligent, highly evolved reef fish that are built to prey on smaller, lower reef denizens. While Rhinecanthus tend to have a more mellow disposition than say Balistoides or B. undulatus, they can still get nasty. Have had 9-10' specimens (1% of my weight maybe) challenge me while diving in their territory off of Hawaii.>>
So my question, is this just a temporary thing?
<<Possibly but not likely.>>
Do they just need to sort out who is "top dog"?
<<Yes, but at the expense of health, even death of the 'loser.'>>
Do I remove the Picasso? (quite frankly,
I would rather keep the Wrasse)
<<For long term success of a mixed community/invertebrate tank I would say removing the trigger would be optimal, yes.>>
mated pair of False Percs
<<Snacks for an adult trigger.>>
offending Picasso Trigger
big, fat Mandarin Goby (hence the need for pods)
<<I have some concern about this fishes well being with the introduction of the wrasse, they inhabit the same cryptic areas in search of microfauna for food. If the wrasse doesn't outright harass the mandarin, it will eventually outcompete it for food.>>
Copperband Butterfly (hence the need for pods)
Blonde Naso Tang
Tomini Tang
Powder Blue Tang (I know, I know ~I chastised my husband repeatedly for bringing this home!) I really want to thank you for all the great advice given over the years. At times, I've been ready to throw in the towel, but your site has always been able to coax me back from the brink :)
<<Good luck!>>
Warm Regards,
<<To you as well.>>
<<Adam J.>>

Potters Angel and Potters Wrasse compatibility help!   12/14/10
Hello Bob & Crew!
I have a quick compatibility question for you. I have a Potters Angel (what a beauty and a little spitfire!) and have acquired a Potters Wrasse which I'd love to put in the same tank.
<Not a good idea. These often fight when encountering each other in the wild>
Want to make sure this is ok in your eyes? If not I have another display tank which houses a Halichoeres ornatissimus aka Christmas Wrasse and is about 5".
<Better to place the Macropharyngodon OR Centropyge there>
I was lucky enough to get the Potters Wrasse healthy after shipping and would hate to mix him up in the wrong environment. When I acquired the angel I did read on your article about keeping them successfully and remember the mention of keeping Hawaii species with him and was thinking the same might imply for the wrasse?
You guys rock and hope to see you again here in the Mile High City!
<Ahh! Perhaps on a junket/visit out there with Jake Adams>
Best Regards,
Mike Snyder
Custom Aquaria llc.
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Potters Angel and Potters Wrasse compatibility help!   12/14/10
Hi Bob!
Not sure if my last reply made it to you..... Should have known better than to send from the "smart" phone! I was curious on how to tell the gender on the Macropharyngodon as the coloration is completely different?
<Mmm, likely this is an initial phase (female) individual. I have pix of this and a terminal one here: http://wetwebmedia.com/macropharyngodon.htm>
Please see attached photos, I'm curious to get your thoughts if keeping them together will/would help and possibly increase the chance for long term success and help them to adapt etc?
<I'd keep separately. I have only seen them solitary in the wild. BobF>
Custom Aquaria llc.
re: Potters Angel and Potters Wrasse compatibility help!   12/14/10
Lol! &nbsp;Should have known Jake would be involved! &nbsp;One more question if I may, I brought 2 of the potters wrasse and one has the blue stripes leading to the blue tail the other almost all orange with exquisite light blue markings. &nbsp;Is this the colorings of both genders? &nbsp;If so would survival rate be better introducing the pair?
Many thanks,
<I see what you mean! B>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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