Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs on Genus Labroides Cleaner Wrasses Behavior

Related Articles: Cleaner Wrasses

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

Yellow Tang Robert I just bought a cleaner Wrasse today - it started to work on the Tang immediately, and the Tang let him do his work without getting a fright, I was very impressed - attached is a picture I took - nice eh! <Very... made for each other> The anemone still looks fine as well. <Good> Everything is still well - checked the ammonia, nitrate, nitrite as well - all still acceptable. Any advice - the tank is going for 9 days now. <Advice re? The Labroides will likely perish soon... they almost always do... and you should see some results you can share (actual values) with your water testing. Good luck. Bob Fenner> Regards

Cleaner wrasse in nocturnal "cocoon" Bob, thanks for answering and publishing the daily Q&A. Hundreds of us can learn from your response to one Aquarist. tonight I came home and inspected my 54g reef/fish tank by illuminating a dimmed room light. To my alarm, a basic "pacific" cleaner wrasse was on its side, a bit twisted, at the rear bottom of the tank enclosed in a transparent sort of slime "cocoon". The slime substance appears not unlike what I have observed being shed from certain corals such as a scroll pagoda I keep. A Yellow Tang was exhibiting some behavior perhaps related to the enclosed Wrasse. He was hovering and backing into the "cocoon". Do you have any idea what I am observing? Does the wrasse exude some protective slime in which to sleep? Could some other predator critter excrete the slime to paralyze and later consume lethargic sleeping fish? I should tell you that I have lost several fish to "mysterious causes" whose carcasses are never found. I devour so much aquarist material - both on line and hard copy - but have never run into a description of what I am observing tonight in my tank! Perplexed, Richard Buonomo >> Interesting... don't know that I've ever heard of a Cleaner Wrasse (likely a Labroides) exuding a sleeping cocoon, though many wrasses and Parrotfishes do... And there are a bunch of organisms that might use such feeding techniques that might render your observation... And it does sound like there is a "mystery" culprit in your tank... but who? A sea cucumber? Large polychaete worm? Bob Fenner

Missing fish :( Hi Bob, Thanks so much for your time and help again. I have had a cleaner wrasse for over a month and this past week, it seems to have "disappeared". I don't see it swimming anywhere even at feeding time. I even tried directing a powerhead into the "caves" and holes in the live rocks. Everything else is fine. I am just concerned if it might be still alive. Do you have any suggestions as to how I might be able to find it? I have a 60G tank with 45lbs LR, 1 tang and 2 angels. Ammonia=0, Nitrate=0, ph=8.1, salinity=1.023, temp=78F. Thanks. Brian <Hmm, the genus Labroides wrasses don't hide this/that much... either the animal has perished and dissolved/been consumed (happens, completely and quick), or has made the big leap and become floor jerky or a cat happy meal (look around the back or for kitty's smile) Bob Fenner>

Cleaner Wrasses Mr. Fenner, I have just read your article on Cleaner Wrasses in WetWebMedia (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/labroide.htm) and I'm interested in specific and scientific references on the obligate cleaner status of Labroides dimidiatus and the effect to the reef on the removal of L. dimidiatus pairs from cleaning stations. <Mmm, well, took a look at the vers. of this piece on the WWM site, and do only have pet-fish references posted there under "bibliography/further information". The hobby magazine FAMA (Freshwater and Marine Aquarium) here in the U.S. ran the full-length copy in 7,8/90 issues, offering to send the entire "bibliography upon request"... don't know if they keyed, stored it, have it or not.... I do have some mimeograph copies of the original work (done for a college aquatic animal behavior course in 1976... and will gladly send you a copy of this, or if enough people request, key the four pages or so onto the WWM HTML piece...> I have been keeping L. dimidiatus (collected as juveniles locally around Sydney) for over 25 years and have never had difficulties in getting these fish feeding on standard prepared marine fish foods. In fact, a 10mm juvenile I caught yesterday was eating live brine shrimp nauplii within moments after leaving the bag. I currently have two individuals that were caught in February, 1999 that are now over 8cm long. When caught they were 1.5 and 3cm each. When I look over my records, I can say without hesitation that any deaths I have had with L. dimidiatus was not due to either starvation or poor nutrition. The most common cause of loss I can only put down to predation by stomatopods or snapping shrimp as all were fat and healthy and before disappearing. <Thank you for this report... as stated many places in my writings... the values offered for mortality/survivability are based on historical experience... I assure you that your results are due to careful collection, of juveniles, of careful handling on your part... The vast (more than 99% or Labroides of all species (though L. dimidiatus makes up 95-98% easily of all) are dead within a month of capture from the wild... and yes, mainly due to "stress", physical traumas...> I would contend that at least as juveniles, L. dimidiatus must be able to eat food other than parasites removed from other fish for them to survive to adulthood.  <Agreed... this fish is at most a facultative cleaner when young/small> I would also think that adult cleaner wrasses must also be facultative or all adults that do not set up cleaning stations would starve. If the latter is true, and they do starve, removal of adults may in fact increase the chances of survival of others. <Not to the experience of folks who have collected many, examined their stomach contents. At least for trials, locations reported these are "more" obligate cleaners> I would forward a different suggestion as to their poor survivability and that is one of shipment. A great number of species or marine fish do not ship well, and I believe cleaner wrasse may be in this category. If the time from ocean to dealer is particularly long, these fish may be already starved before they are even offered for sale and this may be the reason they are difficult to get feeding. This appears to be the case with mandarin fish, some angelfish and number of other species. For example, in Australia, the flame angelfish Centropyge loricula , does not do as well as those offered for sale in the US. I believe this is largely due to the extended shipping times for those imported to Australia versus those caught in Hawai'i and shipped to mainland US. Conversely, Blue Tangs Paracanthurus hepatus have a better survival rate in Australia than reported for the US. <I do strongly agree, concur on all these points, contentions> I'm not sure if you have read the article by Grutter, 1997 (http://link.springer-ny.com/link/service/journals/00442/bib s/7111001/71110137.htm) where in that study it was shown that the complete removal of L. dimidiatus from a number of small reefs for 6 months "had no detectable effect on the total abundance of fish on reefs and the total number of fish species at both times". This contradicts the proposal you put forward in your article, which is why I am interested in the references for the studies you quote. <Hmm, can't get this link to come up cutting and pasting... A query: were there other cleaner species identified in this same area?> At this point I cannot say that US aquarists should continue to purchase L. dimidiatus, but I think is important to get a better understanding of their reported poor survival. Perhaps a survey is in order. Andrew. <Do agree with you, have bags packed, camera gear in-ready... And thank you again for input (will post to general FAQs and to genus, and to Cleaners sections of the WWM site) and mental stimulation... In particular, always glad to receive reports of success, explanations/suggestions for improvement. Do let me know about your desires for the old bibliog.., send an address, and I'll forward a copy. Be seeing you, Bob Fenner>

Re: Cleaner Wrasses Bob, ><Hmm, can't get this link to come up cutting and pasting... A query: were >there other cleaner species identified in this same area?> It must have got truncated by my mailer program. Here it is again. http://link.springer-ny.com/link/service/journals/00442/bibs /7111001/71110137.htm Unfortunately, this is only the abstract so I don't have the full article, yet. There is no discussion in the abstract of the absence or presence of other cleaner species (wrasse or other). <See the work was done off of Townsville (have a friend from there who now lives in San Diego, and was just in Queensland (Heron Island) a couple months back... And do note the absence of mention of other cleaners (curious there were not Stenopid or Hippolytid Shrimps mentioned, even in the abstract... and don't have ready access to the pdf whole article... could add to list of to-dos at the UC library... Can recall from memory, work done on/with the labrid, Oxyjulis californica, ANOVA testing of data in the sixties on this (one of three Californian) species of wrasse. As you'll see through the bibliog..> >In particular, always >glad to receive reports of success, explanations/suggestions for >improvement. Do let me know about your desires for the old bibliog.., send an >address, and I'll forward a copy. I am hoping to get some more information from the Oz aquarists on Reefing The Australian Way UBB. This should include both successes and failures. I will forward you a summary if you are interested. <I do appreciate this, yes> I would like a copy of the list of references. Please send to PO Box 173 GLENBROOK, NSW, 2773 AUSTRALIA. Many thanks, Andrew. <On its way. Cheers. 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>

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: