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FAQs on Genus Labroides Cleaner Wrasses Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

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

Labroides may feel more comfortable, find summat to eat amongst a large selection of live rock, macroalgae. Lobophora variegata.

Blue Streak Cleaner Wrasse - For Dummies... Success! Feeding    8/5/09
G'day crew, Anthony from Oz here just to let you know how long your tentacles of knowledge extend!!
Recently, I gave in (again) to a very convincing fiancé who has a very "That's cute! I want that" kind of approach to stocking our tank with inhabitants. The set up is a year old now and successfully keeps a BTA
with a cinnamon clown host, a myriad of hardies & softies, 2 surgeons, a flame angel, a psychedelic mandarin, and a Firefish goby. All these guys were purchased with the "That's cute! I want that" decision process and the almighty question to the LFS, "Is it reef safe?" which for the greater part has served well once I get back home and Google them. The answer "yes" has been fairly accurate (was a bit worried about the angel, but i got a nice one). All but one "yes" that should have been a "yes, but.." As it turned out it was a fish that caught my eye, not hers, and I wanted it for ages, but it didn't appeal to little miss, so I lucked out. But one day after a gust of generosity, she chose what I wanted without me even asking. It was a Blue streak cleaner wrasse.
Now my almighty questionnaire includes the question, "is it gonna live in captivity?"
<Some do; most don't>
That's not to say that "Sneakers" hasn't made it, I'm glad to report he's going 3 months strong and has got pudgy. That's the good news. The even better news is that after reading that these guys are soooo NOT equipped for life in captivity, I thought well, I'm going to have to get more creative with feeding. After experimenting with different pellets and flakes I learnt that I have about a hundred dollars worth of not much at all. The answer was at the local fresh fish store. I'll spare experimental detail and get right to the best formula I've found so far.
<Please do>
You get a sliver of salmon about an inch by 1/4" or the same size in tuna.
Get the frozen brain of a baby octopus and cut a sliver about a 1/4" round.
Finely dice them together. Put the ingredients in a shot glass and add about 10mL of water from the tank. Suck them up through a syringe (so chop it fine). The food should look like greyish fluid. Inject the food directly onto the live rock, below corals and hard to reach places, about 4 to 5 places high in the tank. The wrasse will pick at the food and the other fish will follow and feed off the wake. This makes the feeding process take a couple of hours rather than a 30 second feeding frenzy. Not only that, it seems the entire tank enjoys the left overs - every coral comes out to play, even that really stubborn sun coral pops right out, feathers - even a couple of red barnacles I've been experimenting with after saving them when we had
some pretty heavy seas about 4 months ago - All thriving.
The drawback is that this process is an every day thing (if you want the wrasse to live), takes quite some time, requires a LOT of live rock (for the left overs) and makes vacations very dicey.
<Well stated, accounted>
My next experiment is with different kinds of scales and how I'm going to crush them into tiny bits. What do you think?
<Worth trying>
I guess my moral is that I'll never purchase another, but I'm glad Sneakers is spending his days with me rather than rot in some LFS, he helped me learn more. Also that just about all LFS's are not going to do themselves out of a sale for your sake, at least the ones around me are.
The Blue Streak Cleaner Wrasse is my favorite fish of all. The best swimming style, the best temperament, no fear - all round perfect! Which means they should be left in his perfect environment especially if we can't keep them.
Don't be a dummy. There are too many of us out there. I am.
<Thank you for writing, sharing. Bob Fenner>

Cleaner Wrasse feeding 01/21/09 Hi wet wise crew. I apologise if i keep asking you questions few times every week, i know you guys are very busy and i appreciate the time taken to answer my questions =) <No problem, but please help us out by putting a subject line in your email and doing grammar/spell checks before sending. Thanks :-)> On a happy note, i would like to share with you a success story... well depends on how you see it. You might frown upon it, but i really hope that you share my joy in this story. I know how you guys frown upon the keeping of Labroides dimidiatus, the blue streak cleaner wrasse. Well, before reading your article, i thought that this fish was as easy to keep as any other fish. However, after reading your article on how difficult this fish is to maintain in captivity, i felt bad and ashamed of myself for purchasing it. However, this is the happy part. My cleaner wrasse has been feeding like a pig since day one. I feed my fishes quite a variety of foods to keep them healthy and to make feeding time interesting for them. Fares include high quality pellet food, fresh table prawn, my own blend of seafood and seaweed, mysis shrimp and the occasional live brine shrimp. I am very happy to say my cleaner wrasse eats everything on the menu except for pellet. I do have quite a substantial amount of fish for my tank size, and i hope that this will supplement the cleaner wrasse with parasites and necrotic tissue to feed on. <I do hope your *luck* continues.> I'm not too worried about over crowding issues, as most of my fishes are small. <for now> Clownfish, royal Gramma, mated Banggai cardinals with mouth full of eggs, and like 3 bigger fishes. A wrasse, and a dwarf angel. And also a 3" niger trigger which im holding on for a friend until his tank stabilizes. I have heard of these cleaner wrasses still eventually perishing even though they are feeding well. I hope that with the current foods im feeding, that will not be the case. It still does not eat pellet food, even though it does show some interest, swimming around the sinking pellet as if trying to take a bite, but it seems like its too big? or hard? Anyway, i will never purchase anymore fishes which are deemed as expert level, and those that are best left in the ocean. It is thanks to you, the WetWebMedia crew that i fully understand the importance of the cleaner wrasse in the wild. <Ah good> And i think that even though i bought it, i think that it is much happier here in my tank than in the small holding tank in my LFS. Once again, thank you WWM, am a big fan (im sure u hear this everyday), would especially like to thank Mr. Bob. F, and Mr. Eric for helping me answer some questions regarding my tank for the past few weeks! Cheers, and happy reefing - Kai <Your thanks/message will be posted. Cheers, Sara M.>

Cleaner Wrasse/Feeding 8/21/07 Hi <Hello> The other day I went to my local fish store to collect a yellow goby but because I had had trouble with the damsel fish being very aggressive to other fish I also wanted to buy some other fish that would not be aggressive to any other fish I had but would stand up against the damsel. So I asked for some help choosing and I saw a Bi-color Blenny poking his head out the rock and I had researched this fish before hand and I decided to go for him, but then I also wanted something else so I asked, and not allot <allot?> of the other fish were suitable, but the boy in recommended a Cleaner Wrasse (normally I research my fish first but I did not this time and this shop always has these fish in stock so I did not think anything of it). <Reputable shops do/will not carry these fish. Difficult to keep alive.> When I got home all I found on every website was, don't buy them as pets , their going to die, they wont eat anything, 1 out of 1000 live, things like that, but because every site was saying this I have not been able to find any info on it . it seems to be eating brine shrimp ok and gave flakes a little go but is their anything that I could give him as well in the hope of keeping him alive and how often should he be feed. Also, will the blenny be ok on brine shrimp and the natural algae in the tank or should I be buying veggie sheets as well? <The Cleaner Wrasse was a poor recommendation by this dealer. Obviously they do not care whether the animal will live for the customer. The have specialized feeding habits that cannot be duplicated in the home aquarium. I have seen these fish eat brine and whatever, but still waste away within a couple of weeks. Just because a store carries the fish doesn't mean it is a good bet for life in captivity. As far as the blenny and all fish, a varied diet is most important and brine shrimp alone or with flakes is not a good diet but can be included as a portion of a good diet. Read here and linked files above for info on this subject. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i4/marine_nutrition/nutrition.htm> Hope u can help <Tried, James (Salty Dog)> Cleaner Wrasse 7/19/06 Thanks so much for your great site. <Thanks for the compliments.>  So much to learn and this is the by far the best website out there.  I have looked but hope I am not repeating a question that has already been answered but here goes.   Can you please explain what form of parasite does a cleaner wrasse eat? <Mostly parasitic Isopods, copepods, and fish scales according to fishbase.org.> I understand somewhat the cycle of ick that on the fish the wrasse will pick but what about when they drop off and into the substrate and again when they float in the water, do the wrasse 'eat' that form also or only when you see on the fish. <Really don't eat these often, but definitely only when on the fish.> Also, the LFS stated my cleaner shrimp doesn't 'clean' my fish because I feed him too well.  Could this be the case? <To some degree, but most won't in aquariums regardless of diet.> I am using medicated fish food now as well as Ick Attack and the Hippo tang (I know aka Ick Magnet) has definitely improved. Would the medicated food work internally and a UV sterilizer to break the floating stage break the cycle?? <Unlikely>  Logically I think this is an option but would like your perspective on the idea....Thanks so much. <Only reliable method is to remove all fish from the tank and treat in a separate hospital tank while allowing the tank to run fallow for 4 to 6 weeks.> Sandy <Please read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/labroide.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm for more info.> <Chris>

Blue cleaner wrasse on pyramidellid snails  Hi! I have a giant clam which has pyramidellid snails on it. I introduced some blue cleaner wrasse knowing that wrasses eat these parasites.  <wrasses do eat them but not cleaner wrasses. A six line or four line will do the trick>  Is blue cleaner wrasse good in eating pyrams?  <no>  When is wrasse more effective? day or night?  <depends on wrasse cleaner wrasses more active during day>  I am planning to do a little experiment on the feeding habits of the blue cleaner wrasse that I bought. Do you know the rate of feeding of this wrasse on pyrams?  <no feeding>  I want to know if the result of my experiment will be correct. Thanks a lot! I want to be a marine biologist someday...  <Thanks for the question Mike H> 

Feeding A Cleaner Wrasse... Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I'm sorry to say that I recently purchased a common cleaner wrasse and unfortunately I did not browse your website concerning this fish until afterwards. <Bummer...> I am currently doing the best I can to make sure that the wrasse eats, offering food several times each day.  I am currently feeding all the fish in my tank (blue velvet damsel, Kole yellow-eye tang, two percula clowns, and the wrasse) half a cube of ocean nutrition formula one and half a cube of brine shrimp plus soaked in Selcon and divided into three pieces over the day.  The wrasse seems to be picking at this food, but I was wondering if you could recommend anything else to help its survivability. Thanks, Rem <Well, Rem- there is not a whole lot more that you can do...Just try a variety of foods to see if he eats them. Keep the tank well stocked with fishes, and hopefully, he'll be able to "earn a living"...No guarantees, however. Hang in there! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Cleaner Wrasses... eating First of all I would like to start by saying how much I appreciate the work you guys have done putting this site together. I have found it to be an invaluable resource and contains some great information. I am writing this not as a question but more as an experience that I would like to share. I recently got 2 cleaner wrasses, a powder blue tang, and a yellow tang from liveaquaria.com I have had the fish for 2 days and they are all doing great. However, after doing research on your site about cleaner wrasses I felt terrible about the purchase that I had made. I read that people were saying to have only one per tank and here I have gone and bought two and that it is very difficult to get them to eat. I thought they would be in trouble for sure. The first time I tried to feed them I mixed frozen brine, Mysis, and Cyclop-eeze. The Mysis and the brine is much too large for the wrasses but they went crazy over the Cyclop-eeze. I know that it has only been two days but it looks good so far. Thank you for listening and I hope that this finds its way to others who are having trouble getting their cleaners to eat prepared foods. Thank you for your time. Sean Mathes <Thank you for your report. I do hope your Labroides prosper. Please do write back in a month or so re their progress. Bob Fenner>

Re: Cleaner Wrasses... eating I wanted to provide you with an update on my cleaner wrasses'. Both of them are doing great. I have had them for a week now and I wanted to add another food that they are eating now. They have begun to eat Nori out of my lettuce clips. I found this to be extremely unusual as I thought that they were strict carnivores. Hope this info proves to be useful. thank you Sean <Very unusual. Bob Fenner> Re: Cleaner Wrasse eating  Hi Folks,  <Hello there>  I am an avid reader of your site, and you have given me a lot of good advice in the past. I just read the thread from the guy who bought 2 cleaners, and that they are with 2 other fish. I wanted to share my experience with a common cleaner wrasse for the benefit of others. I've had this guy for over a year and a half! He's thinking of starting his own cleaning business! Knock on Plexiglas - I've never had an ick problem with him around. On the flip side, however, he is the only one in a 300 gallon tank, and he has a lot of friends to clean. In fact, he can be downright obnoxious about it. Size doesn't matter, either. He is fairly big, and he will even clean blennies. I've often thought that two cleaners is too many for any but the hugest tank. What do you think? Thanks for the airwaves! Dale M.  <Good points and data input. In the wild cleaning stations are often "manned" by pairs, sometimes a pair and a juvenile... but these territories are indeed huge. Congrats on yours health. Bob Fenner>

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>

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