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FAQs on Razorfish Wrasses

Related Articles: Dragon Wrasse, Razorfish Wrasses,

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

The most common Razorfish in the hobby, the Rock Mover or Dragon Wrasse, Novaculichthys taeniourus; an adult in Hawaii.

Balinese Seagrass wrasse compatibility, Razorfish       2/18/09 Hello WWM, <Hi Adam> I recently purchased a young rock mover/dragon wrasse form my tank which currently houses a pair of Gold bar maroon Clowns, a Mono and a young Picasso trigger. I am very happy with my new purchase. He is very active, feeds well and holds his own against his somewhat bossy tank mates despite his delicate appearance. <Ahh yes... Taeniourus are dragons in this dual sense> I would have like a pair of these fish but I have read that they may not get along well unless they are a mated pair. In addition to these species my LFS also stocks Balinese Seagrass wrasse (N. macrolepidotus). <Ahh! Unusual> On the dragon wrasse information page it is stated that this species is not seen in the hobby. <Only rarely as far as I'm aware> I have tried to find more information on it but have had no luck. They are a very interesting looking fish, emerald green and swimming vertically like a garden eel resembling a blade of seagrass. Is it possible to keep these species together? Or would their similarities result in territorial disputes? Regards, Adam <Given enough room... I think the two could co-habitate. The usual proviso of course, re being able to separate them if things don't work out. Bob Fenner>

Fish ID... Novaculichthys taeniourus (Dragon Wrasse) - 08/03/07 Hi, <<Hello Wikus, interesting name...het is Nederlands, ja?>> Could you please help with a positive ID? <<Yep...know this one>> I think the fish in the attached picture is a Dragon Wrasse, I'm not 100% sure though. <<Indeed it is Novaculichthys taeniourus, the Dragon or Rockmover Wrasse. Quite attractive/entertaining/even comical as a juvenile...less so and often quite destructive (called "Rockmover" for a reason) as an adult. Can attain about 13" at maturity and will need to be housed in a large tank with other robust fishes>> Thanks, Wikus <<Happy to help. Eric Russell>>

Re: Fish ID... Novaculichthys taeniourus (Dragon Wrasse) - 08/06/07 Thank you <<Quite welcome. EricR>> Backgrounds, Courtesies, And Maybe A Crew Member In The Making - 08/06/07 Hi, <<Hello Wikus>> My name is actually Afrikaans. I'm from South Africa. <<Ahh...I see>> It's really nice to get a response after a simple thank you. <<Indeed...a simple courtesy>> I appreciate the work you guys are doing and hope to be able to do the same someday. <<We're happy to be of service...perhaps you will join us one day>> All of the best, Wikus
<<And to you in kind. EricR>>

Sea Grass Wrasse - Novaculichthys macrolepidotus... sys., comp.   2/26/07 Hi. I had a few questions regarding the Sea Grass Wrasse - *Novaculichthys macrolepidotus. <A very rare fish in the trade... unlike its common congener> *I tried doing searches for some info, but there is not a lot available on WWM or many other sites that I could find. From what I have found, they are related to dragon wrasses, grow a maximum of 6", bury themselves in the sandbed, and need a 50+ gallon tank. Is this info accurate? <Mmm, yes... and live almost exclusively in sandgrass beds: http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=5609&genusname=Novaculichthys&speciesname=macrolepidotus> How aggressive are these fish? <Mmm, "medium"> From what I have read, they are supposed to be peaceful in general. I am in the process of planning a new tank and the vibrant green color of these fish caught my eye. Would it cause a problem with smaller fish? Would it take out my cleanup crew (crabs, snails, stars, shrimp)? Would this be a suitable inhabitant for a reef setup? Will it eat corals? I appreciate any help you can provide me with. Thanks. Brian <Would consume small fishes if hungry, will definitely "go after" "clean-up" animals... but not likely to chew Cnidarians. Bob Fenner>

Dragon wrasse hlth.  12/20/06 <Hey again, David, JustinN with you> May I ask you another question? <Absolutely, its what we're here for> I have a dragon wrasse whom is very sick and I think that there is nothing else I can do. I tried everything.  A while back I lost a lot of fish due to a defective heater. Anyways that has been fixed but my dragon wrasse (about 6 or 8 '') wont eat! <Mmm, not good> It has been a while since he last eat, but I am almost positive that he is in a irreversible decline. He has 2 clear spots over or around his gills. He is VERY thin and also he has cloudy eyes. <I agree that it doesn't sound good> Every time I see him (which is rare) I always try to feed (even target feeding) but he ALWAYS swims away. Anything I can do? Someone suggested a fresh water dip for 2 minutes. <I wouldn't> I didn't do it cause he does not have ich or anything like that. What would that do for him except cause any unnecessary stress? <Well, freshwater dips have more use than just for ich, though I don't believe this to be your problem here. How long exactly has it been since this wrasse was seen eating? Do you have an available quarantine tank for more direct observation? If so, my first suggestion would be to isolate this specimen in QT quarters, then observe and formulate a plan from there.> <Sorry for the delay in response, David. My wife has been quite sick the last week or so, so I've been a bit occupied. I was hoping someone would get to your query before I got back, but it appears someone moved it to my personal folder. Again, I'm sorry for being so remiss. Hope this helps! -JustinN> Re: Dragon wrasse hlth.  12/20/06 Hi There, <David>    First of all Justin, Please don't give it another thought. Family comes first at that is the bottom line. I do hope and take that your wife is feeling better. I send you and your wife my best wishes. <I thank you for this. She is, in fact, starting to feel better. Severe seasonal allergies and subsequent throat infections are fortunately very treatable.> In regards to your question. It has been at least a month or two! <Yeeikes! Yeah, I'd say its definitely past the red flag period...> I feel he is in a irreversible decline. Actually, I have not seem since I last sent this email 8 days ago. Again, please don't feel bad. It is no big deal. <Regardless, I am still sorry for your situation/potential loss. Don't worry, I don't place blame on myself for such, just empathetic feelings.> I do have a small 10 gallon saltwater tank in my sons room. I basically just put water from my fish tank in his. anyways, I think he perished but he is known to just pop out of the sand sometimes. If he does I will move him. How do you suggest I medicate him? If any? <I would not medicate him, unless when observed a specific condition showed itself. Simply the controlled environment and easier access to feeding would be my course of action.> Do you feel he's in a irreversible decline? <Unfortunately, I would tend to agree at this point.> Anyways, my BTA is not happy, but I think it is due to the 100+ pounds of rock I just added to my tank. <Yes, likely some die-off from the rock additions> Oh, what other affects do a fresh water dip have besides parasites? <Parasites are the central idea around freshwater dips, indeed, however there are many more parasites than Cryptocaryon irritans.> MY regards to your wife,    David <Thank you again, David. My regards to you and yours. -JustinN>

Novaculichthys taeniourus (Dragon/Rockmover Wrasse) - 04/23/06 Hi, <<Hello>> I bought a dragon wrasse a few months ago which I understood to be a dwarf wrasse. <<Hmm, guess that depends on your definition of "dwarf"...this fish grows to more than 12-inches in the wild>> It is fine and quite an entertaining little fish. <<Agreed...very cool little fish...while they are "little">> I had also read in the text book The Interpet Questions & Answers manual of the Marine Aquarium  by Nick Dakin that a dwarf dragon wrasse (Novaculichthys Taeniourus) exists and grows to be 2.5inches. <<Does exist...but grows to 12+ inches...please see here: http://filaman.ifm-geomar.de/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=5610 >> However, I have just been to one of my local marine stockists near Birmingham, UK and been told that it will actually grow to be approx 12 inches. <<Indeed>> Is this true? <<Yes>> I have a reef aquarium of 260litres.  I'd appreciate a reply and advice. <<This tank is too small for N. Taeniourus (in my opinion), and the fish is not truly suitable/safe for a reef tank.  Another common (and maybe more descriptive) name for this fish is the "Rockmover" wrasse.  These fish will turn/shift large pieces of rock rubble in search of prey...can be quite disruptive in a reef tank.  They also become very territorial as they mature.  I think you would be better off to return this fish to the store for a more appropriate specie>> Regards, Mandy <<Cheers, EricR>> New Creature In Tank Hello.  <Hello Michelle>  I am fairly new to the marine hobby, less than a year, and have found a new creature in my tank which I cannot ID. I was hoping that I could ask for your assistance in the identification. I have included a picture. I saw it yesterday for the first time attached to the front glass. I have two of them - the one in the photo and a smaller one. Any assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Also, I wanted to ask your opinion on obtaining a juvenile dragon wrasse as a means of control for bristle worms.  I have a 72 gallon reef tank and a 40 gallon FOWLR. My 72 gallon is plagued with bristle worms. We have tried trapping them but have only been moderately successful. I would like to place the dragon wrasse in the 40 gallon while he is young and transfer live rock from the 72 gallon in and out of that tank so he could eat the worms and then keep switching the live rock from each tank until the issue is better under control. I am hesitant to place him in the 72 gallon as I would be hard pressed to be able to capture him when it came time to transfer him into a large (110 gallon) tank that I am planning for the future (next year).  How long would it take him to grow beyond the limitations of the 40 gallon? I currently have a maroon clown, blue damsel and a red spotted hawk fish in the 40 gallon. I have always loved this wrasse and thought he would do well in a large aggressive FOWLR tank.  <Michelle, read here first before obtaining one. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rockmover.htm James (Salty Dog)> Thank you.  You're welcome> - Dragon Wrasse - Hi, <Hello, JasonC here...> My retailer of choice is in the middle of moving and I bought a new fish from them with no one to talk to.  Now I am afraid to put it into my tank without a little encouragement from someone who has a clue.  Can you tell me if a dragon wrasse will work out with a Yellow Tang, a Midas blenny, a couple of damsels and a brittle star? <Only while it is very small... these fish grow to about a foot, and have a huge appetite requiring meaty foods.> Oh, there are some shrimp in the tank as well (cleaner, fire and camel). Also one Sally lightfoot crab. <Both the shrimp and the crab would eventually become lunch.> Please help, the poor guy is floating in his bag with no place to call home. <Don't leave it in the bag too long, but do consider returning it when your fave store reopens, I don't think it will be a good long-term occupant for the mix you describe. More about Dragon Wrasses here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/razorfshs.htm > Thanks, Eve <Cheers, J -- >

Razorfish Information What's up? I initially wrote to you guys about a fish that was called a green leaf wrasse in a LFS that I went to and no info turned up on a fish with that name. I recently went to another store and it was called a green razor wrasse. Would you happen to know anything about these fish? Aggressive? Reef safe? How big?  Don't want to turn hobby into a death tank. Thanks in advance <Have found a link for you that will provide all of this information http://www.wetwebmedia.com/razorfshs.htm  IanB>

Dragon Wrasse Hi Bob <<Actually, it's JasonC this time - Bob has gone away diving again... imagine that.>> I am really sorry to have to bug you again, but something has happened in my tank today that is really haunting me and I have no idea who else to ask. 3 Days ago I introduced a Dragon Wrasse to my 135 Gallon aquarium, it is a juvenile and looks exactly like the picture you have WWM. I had him quarantined for 3 weeks and he was very healthy. The first 2 days he was very happy, didn't bother any of the other fish and nobody bothered him. This morning when I switched on the lights I was greeted with a horrifying sight. The dragon wrasse has a big pinkish "wound" in the middle of his dorsal fin, part of his dorsal fin is gone and it looks almost as if something has been biting him. The fish seemed to have lost his ability to swim properly and he was frantically darting around in circles, bumping with his face into rocks etc. He would crash into the sand and lie there breathing with his gills and mouth wide open and every now and again he would make spastic darting movements, it almost looks as if he has been poisoned or something. At the moment I have him in a small fish net breeder, but I have no hope and sadly I think he wont survive the night. I just cant figure out what has happened and I feel embarrassed of the fact that this specimen was happy and healthy at the my supplier for months and dead within days in my care. I don't have a clue what could have happened here and I'm hoping that something in here might sound familiar to somebody out there. <<Do at least try and place it back in quarantine - perhaps will at least get some peace and quiet there. Let's check out the list of suspects.>> This is what else I have in the tank: Fish: 1xPowder Brown Tang (Japonicus), 1 Dwarf Angel Centropyge flavipectoralis, 2 x Tomato Clowns, 5 x Chromis and 1 x Midas Goby. Inverts: 1 x Condylactis Anemone, 1 x small hermit grab, 4 x Turbo Snails, 1 x Sandsifting Starfish (about 5cm across), 1 x Cleaner Shrimp 3 Extraordinary things have happened since I have introduced the Dragon Wrasse: 1. On the first day he pulled some kind of hairy worm out of the live rock and ate it. <<No surprise there... this is what they do in the wild.>> 2. Yesterday he chased a piece of food towards the overflow and got stuck against the egg-crating there for a couple of second because of the suction, didn't look very harmful. <<And not used to it either - as long as it could get away under its own power, I wouldn't be too concerned about this.>> 3. I think my coral sand was maybe not deep enough, because for the past 2 nights he has been sleeping on top of the sand, instead of beneath it, lying there on his side. <<Or may not be fine enough - too rough perhaps.>> This morning I saw some of the other fish "picking" at his wound, but I'm not sure if any of them could have caused the wound in the first place. <<Oh sure - I would suspect that tang, actually.>> - Could the starfish have possibly caught him while he was sleeping on the substrate ? <<A sand-sifter? Doubtful.>> Or did something else maybe attack him in the night while he was sleeping, <<Or right before lights out/on.>> like the hermit crab ? <<Again, doubtful.>> (who have never come close to any of the other fishes) - Did he possibly get caught in the anemone or something? <<Possible, but if that was the case, we'd most likely be trying to solve the mystery of the vanishing wrasse.>>  - Could any of my other fish have hurt him this much ? (I would have thought it would be the other way around, and he was definitely not smaller than the other fish) <<Yes - that tang has two razor sharp scalpels at the start of the caudal fin...quite a formidable weapon that they can wield with expert precision.>> - A wild idea, but is it possible that this fish was somehow poisoned? Maybe by the strange worm he ate, the anemone or something. <<Doubtful.>> I can't think of anything else here. My water conditions have been excellent for weeks and all my other fish are healthy and peaceful. If any of this sounds familiar, or if you have any ideas whatsoever, I would appreciate it greatly. Kind regards, Chris Cronje PS. I'm sad to say that the Dragon Wrasse has died since I started typing this letter. <<Ohh... sorry to hear of your loss. Tangs can be quite territorial and I gotten rid of more than one that hassled other tank members to death. Especially because this fish was "the last one in" - territories are already established. Not really uncommon at all. Again, sorry to hear of your loss. Cheers, J -- >>

Re: Dragon Wrasse Hi Jason <<Hi.>> Thanks for the reply. As a matter of fact, it was the Tang that was picking at the wrasse's wound, and I have seen him "hitting" new tankmates with his tail before, but he's never done any damage before as far as I know. <<Sometimes those wounds can be hard to see... keep your eye on that tang.>> Thanks again for your reply, at least I have 1 suspect now :) Cheers, Chris <<Cheers, J -- >>

Dragon Wrasse I have a dragon wrasse which has always been extremely shy of people and foreign objects. I've always had to be careful feeding him. <Typical for this species> anyway I just had a net in the tank and it accidentally breezed by him. the fish FREAKED out. I quickly got the net out of the tank and shut the lid... after he cruised around the tank hitting himself on the glass he turned upside down with his gills fully extended... I turned out the lights all around him and in his tank.. he now retracted his gills and is breathing but laying on his side... any idea what happened or what to do? I checked water. it checks out. I did have some phosphate absorber in his filter for the past few weeks. but other than that. nothing out of the abnormal. had him for a few months now.... I don't know what to do... <Just try to be more directed, steady in doing anything in this tank... always wait till the lights have been on a while, the fish out and about from sleeping before moving anything in the tank... if possible, practical, do add some livestock (maybe an outgoing Damsel or two) to the system to help "train" this Wrasse to be more out and about, bold in turn. Bob Fenner>

Re: DRAGON WRASSE Sorry to say that he didn't make it overnight... now that I think about it. when I disturbed him he was asleep so to speak under a rock. I must have really frightened him thanks for the advice <Sorry to read of your loss. Bob Fenner>

Where did that fish go?!? Hello, <Anthony Calfo in your service while Bob is away> I purchased a dragon wrasse for an all Hawaii system today and think something terrible happened. I don't know where he is and have one small lionfish and one snowflake eel that may be the culprits. I have read that they like to bury. <absolutely do not give up yet... I have seen this species bury in the sand/ disappear on arrival and not show face for as much as two weeks!> This was a juvenile specimen and I may get a: lunar wrasse <aggressive and grows too large>  coris <many are delicate or passive>  or another yet bigger dragon wrasse <perhaps... but wait a little more>. It would be wonderful to get your opinion. Other tankmates include Chevron tang <magnificent fish!!!> 3 blue damsels, baby Picasso (with no back tail) and the previously mentioned eel and lion fish. <until you train your lion to feed on frozen food, but sure to enrich (Selcon soak/inject) or gut load prey Thanks for any advice you may give, Jake <Good luck, bud...let us know when <wink> your wrasse appears. Anthony>

Oops! Here he is! I LOVE YOU GUYS, <Jake...we love you too...in a manly "Go Steelers" sort of way. Anthony> My wrasse (the Hawaii tank) appeared this morning and he is fine. <excellent... you could have bet money on it. Those little devils love to get your blood pressure up. Hold on to that fish and grow it up well...they are magnificent as adults. Be sure to treat him regularly with feeder ghost/grass shrimp when it is old enough> Thanks, paranoid Jake. <you are welcome. catholic Anthony>

My dragon wrasse, stocking, scavengers... Dear Mr. Fenner: I hope you are off to a Happy New Year! I emailed you before about my spiny box puffer, maroon clown fish, and dragon wrasse. I feed them Formula One Brine Shrimp plus. I have an ammonia tester which is still in yellow so there must not be much uneaten food. <Don't rely on just one such "tester"... the best assay of what's going on in your system is your careful observation of your livestock's' behavior...> I noticed that for the past 2 days after eating my dragon wrasse will swim upside down as if he is full. His belly appears swollen and I wondered if I should put in only 1/2 a cube instead of the whole one. <A good idea... and I would vary this diet with other meaty foods, bite-size... even "human-intended" seafood like shrimps, clams...> It seems he greedily runs to snatch away food from the clown. <Yes... a good idea to train, feed "simultaneously" at opposite ends of the system...> My puffer eats Krill-e most of the time 2-4 pieces a day. I have been feeding 1 cube of frozen Formula one and then 1/2 a cube 6-12 hours later. Should I feed only once a day? <With this mix of fishes, probably fine> I feed the Puffer 2 Krill-e at a time twice daily. I have a friend that only feeds his fish every other day. Would that be better for the wrasse?  <Yes, if it is over four inches or so in length> I read that the clown and wrasse should eat at least 2 times a day but I certainly do not want to overfeed either. <Agreed> I added 2 snails to the tank to eat algae and then I read in your book that an urchin would possibly be a better choice. <I am surprised the puffer and wrasse haven't eaten them> The puffer hasn't eaten the snails and they usually stay away from the fish. (2 turbo snails in a 55 gallon) I wondered if the puffer or wrasse would harm an urchin.  <If hungry, yes> Do urchins usually live long? My local pet shop "The Bermuda Triangle" says they only get urchins in on live rock and would save me 2 back (hopefully purple ones) but that they don't live long. What would you recommend? <Please see the various parts of WetWebMedia.com here: under "urchins", "marine scavengers"...> OK... I apologize because I know there are about a million questions here but I promised my friend I would ask one more. :) He has the purple lobster that he will give me later when I establish a new tank. It is in a 37 gallon with a tomato clown and percula clown. He never really sees it. It hides under rocks and also doesn't seem to make tracks along the coral. He feeds it the same formula one and alternates with squid. He says the lobster has molted once and that by moving the rock, he sees it is still alive. Is there anything in particular he could do to make this world a happier place for the lobster to feel enough courage to come out and say hello? <Lower the lighting, increase water circulation, use activated carbon once a month, check the alkalinity, biomineral content of the water...> Thanks so very much for your time and patience in these matters. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Kelli <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

A 55 gallon tank Hiya! :) <Hello there> I have a 55 gallon tank with a spiny-box puffer, maroon clown fish, and I just added a dragon wrasse yesterday. I wanted to make sure that this is a good combination.  <Good, but feisty!> The wrasse tends to hide under the sand. I did see him eat, however, and I have seen him play at different intervals throughout the day. How long is too long for him to be under the sand? <Days. This species tends to hide less as time goes by> I have a friend who is keeping a purple lobster for me and I wondered if it would be okay to add the lobster to the fish I already have?  <Mmm, no... the Puffer and Dragon Wrasse will be racing to see who gets to eat it first... if not immediately, at some vulnerable, exposed point... like a molt> I know that the wrasse hides in the sand and I have enough rock to protect the lobster from the puffer, but will the wrasse and lobster live in harmony? <Not indefinitely> What is the appropriate length of time that I should wait to add the lobster to the system since I just added the wrasse yesterday? <...> Sorry so many questions! I love your site! <Me too! Thanks> Thanks for your time and patience in this matter. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Kelli <Perhaps Santa Claus will be bringing you another system... sounds like you're already ready for one! Bob Fenner>

Dragon Wrasse Hi Bob, I purchased your book in hardcover and it was long worth the wait!  <Very enjoyable to hear/read> I do have a question about a Dragon Wrasse that I recently purchased. In your book you have a remarkable picture of this specimen but little about it's behavior specifically. Understood if you went into depth about every species of fish you have written an encyclopedia! <Please read about this species on our site www.WetWebMedia.com under the family Labridae, species Novaculichthys... Out on holiday now or I'd specify the link> It is mentioned that some species do get along with invertebrates and corals and some do not. This fish is approx. 2 inches long and houses with 2 anenomes, bubble and Candycane coral. He doesn't seem to bother them, yet, but do you know if this is a specific characteristic? I have researched the internet and found quite a difference of opinions so am looking for you as final and deciding factor. <Is a rambunctious species with growth... okay with what you list> Also, please sometime in your lifetime consider writing a book just on invertebrates. The amount of material available to the average aquarist seems very limited and your influence has a great impact on hobbyists! <Thank you even more for this... will do so.> Thanks in advance for your assistance! Respectfully, Tamara Jorgensen <Amazingly a joining of names of a friend and folks I bought a home from in San Diego... Bob Fenner>

Re: Dragon Wrasse.  thank you As always, thank you for your prompt response and enjoy your deserved holiday! Respectfully, Tamara Jorgensen <Ah, hope to "get" some photos for future articles, bits on WWM. Wish you were here as the saying goes! Bob Fenner>

Sketches Dear Bob - Thanks for the suggestions. We did snorkel yesterday and saw all sorts of fishes, many of which were feeding, but not the wrasse. Hopefully we will try again later this week. <As I stated... look in shallow water over the sand/rubble areas... and be aware that this species generally avoids divers> I hope you don't mind that I sent you a rough scan of the sketch I did. Am I entirely off?  <Very nice... like how you've incorporated motion, behavior here. The caudal could be more truncate and showing large scales at least on the caudal peduncle would emphasize this characteristic... and perhaps more of the dentition...> Where should I make changes? Besides the one I did of the dragon wrasse, I also am attaching the sketch I did of the guinea fowl puffer in case you are also familiar with the feeding habits of this species. <Yes, "biter offers" as you show. Had an experience last month with a similar species (Arothron hispidus) in Malaysia. As I pondered making a shot of its largish head (about a two foot total length specimen) and it and I were swimming near each other, the Puffer tilted down ala the Goodyear blimp and cleanly bit off an arm of a Linckia laevigata star... I did end up photographing this event... impressive> I think that is how is supposedly eats coral but I am not entirely sure. <Yes, but not a common foodstuff of Ostracion meleagris.> Your help is really appreciate. Best regards, <Be chatting. Bob Fenner> Nancy

Wrasse feeding habits Dear Mr. Fenner - I am located in the Marshall Islands and am working on children's science books in connection with the Dept. of Education. One of the books is on how local fishes feed. In the course of researching topics, I came across your very interesting discussion on Hawaiian fishes, which made me hopeful you could help me with what should be a straightforward question. <Okay> How does the dragon wrasse or Rockmover wrasse actually move rocks? Does it pick them up with its mouth, or nudge them away with its head?  <Have actually observed both behaviors, in the wild and captivity.> After moving a rock, if it exposes a crustacean, worm, etc. to eat, does it immediately go for the prey or does it work in teams? <Have observed the species (Novaculichthys taeniourus) in pairs, and sometimes do appear to be "helping" each other discover food items> Any information you might have would be most helpful. If you could refer me to an image of any sort that I could refer to in doing the illustration, this would be exceptionally great. <The ones of a juvenile and an adult on our site can be found at: http://wetwebmedia.com/razorfshs.htm  If you would like to see others, let me know> Thank you very much, Nancy Vander Velde RMI Biodiversity Consultant <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: wrasse feeding habits Thanks for your quick response and the information. It is most helpful. I also checked out the website you suggested, which was likely quite good. Hopefully I will be able to also find this species in the wild when snorkeling and see some for myself as well. <Ah, good... and you assuredly will... seek them in the shallow, inner reef flat... over sand... Novaculichthys can often be attracted by knocking, scrubbing two stones together underwater... a useful technique for underwater photography of a few species. Bob Fenner> Thanks again, Nancy

Wrasses and supplements Bob, I've gotten a lot of tutelage from your website and the FAQ's over the past several months. Great job to you and all those involved.  <Outstanding. Thank you> I've read about various wrasses in the FAQ's and CMA and I still can't find much about the suitability of Dragon Wrasses in the reef aquarium. <Most folks in the know vote "no"... for Novaculichthys... get too big, rambunctious... do eat all sorts of snails, crabs, hermits, shrimps...> I saw the picture in CMA and wanted one from the time I began my latest reef in a 55 gallon several months ago. Now my LFS has a healthy Dragon Wrasse and I would like to have it as my own. I'm curious, though, if they nibble at corals and other fish. <Not so much these... unless the fish are very small, the wrasse very hungry> In my tank I have Green Star Polyps, a couple of Condylactis (which love and are loved by the two Clarkii's I have in there), masses of Caulerpa, sponges, a Bubble Coral and various SPS corals that came on the live rock. Aside from the Clowns and a Common Cleaner Shrimp, the other fish are one Yellow Coral Goby and a Yellow-Headed Jawfish. <The Jaw may not be too happy sharing the bottom... but will likely get along... the shrimp may well be consumed in the long haul.> I plan to get either a yellow or purple Tang as I round out my fish stock. Would the Dragon Wrasse, in your opinion, fit? <I give you about 50:50 odds... it will get larger than a fifty five will be able to keep happy.> Also, all of the above are looking healthy and growing slowly but steadily. In spite of this, my LFS suggests adding a two stage supplement like Restore and some iodine. I'm skeptical of sales pitches. <Me too...> I do 10% water changes religiously on a weekly basis and I figure that restores the trace elements. <For what you have... very likely yes> I've read over the FAQ's and what you have to say about supplementation in CMA. Still the question persists: With a fairly low bio-load and good skimming, do I need to add a supplement if I don't see any slow melt downs? <No, not necessary... and in many/most cases not advisable... more troubles are caused by mis- and over- supplementing than lack thereof> I use Instant Ocean now and I am thinking of switching to Reef Crystals because I understand it has more necessary trace elements. I very much appreciate your time. -Dan Evans <And I appreciate yours. I wouldn't switch unless the one was "more on sale". Bob Fenner>

Disregard ? about Dragon Wrasse Bob, You can disregard the former question about the Dragon Wrasse. I just found it on the WWM site under Razorfishes. I don't think I'll fitting one in my reef tank. Too big. Too mean.  <Yes my friend.> I knew I could find it if I just looked hard enough. But do please answer my latter question about the supplement game. Thank you. -Dan Evans <Have done so. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Dragon Wrasse Hi Robert, I just bought a Dragon Wrasse on last week Monday. After the first day I got it, it was doing fine. It would come out on it's own from the sand and swim around. When it was out I would feed it live brine, which it happily took. This behavior lasted all the way till Friday. But on Saturday and Sunday it never came out. So I went to look for it and I found it. I didn't look to good. It looked like it was going to die. It was strange. It's strange because all my other fish are doing fine. (Two Blue Damsels, Domino, and Tomato Clown). Do you know what might of caused this sudden death? <Was it dead? Did it actually perish? Perhaps it just looked bad from your "waking it up"... Please read over the materials on the genus Novaculichthys (the genus of this Wrasse) on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com. Bob Fenner> Tyler

Help Dragon Wrasse keeps dying Dear Mr. Fenner, First I would like to say what a great site you have, I have found your advise to be very helpful and life saving at times. <Very good to hear> Now for my question. I have run into a problem that is about to drive me absolutely crazy. I would like to keep a Dragon Wrasse and have had four over the last 12 months and they have all died within four to 8 days. I thought I knew why, but after my last one died this morning I'm not so sure anymore. Any ideas or thoughts you might have would be greatly appreciated. <Hmm> Now for a little background. My original tank was a 55 gallon quasi-reef tank. (i.e. I don't have any corals really and a small number of inverts). My original tank sprang a leak and I replaced it with a clear life 70 gallon acrylic. My tank is currently as follows: 70 Gallon Acrylic LifeReef LF-150 Trickle filter (separate pump 1050 GPH, 6 foot head) 3 filter cylinders 1 not used 1 filled with carbon, 1 filled with Phosguard LifeReef 36" Venturi Protein skimmer, (separate pump) Coralife grounding probe 4 48" standard fluorescent tubes 2 actinics and two whites with reflector submersible heater Additives used: Salifert Calcium Salifert Strontium Salifert Iodine Aquarium Systems Sea Buffer Weiss Coral Vital Foods: Silver sides - frozen Brine shrimp - frozen Krill - Frozen Formula One - Frozen Formula Two - Frozen Tubifex worms - Freeze dried Formula one - flakes Fish pellets Plankton - Freeze dried Phytoplankton - Liquid Roto-rich liquid invert food <Yum, what a selection> Animals 1 Yellow tang 2 True Percula Clowns 1 Diamond Goby 1 dwarf lionfish 1 3 strip damsel (small) 1 Blue Damsel (medium) 1 Royal Gramma 1 Pygmy Angel 1 Coral Banded Shrimp 2 emerald crabs 1 Deresa clam 3 bulb anemones (1 medium 2 small. 2 small are offspring of the medium one) 1 medium Chiton, (came on the live rock) Encrusting sponges, (came on the live rock) various small clams, (came on the live rock) small anemones (came on the live rock) 1 medium Hawaiian Feather duster 1 Flame scallop 14 Turbo Grazer snails 105 LBS. Fiji live rock Aragonite sand ? to 2 inches deep depending on location Water Quality Very little protein from skimmer, (empty cup once every two weeks about 1/4 full) Other unusual aspects of my tank. I have never been able to successfully grow any macro algae. I have bought a number of different types and it just dies back, (lighting is good as I have no problems with the bulb anemones or Deresa clam). Also, I have no visible copepods in my tank. Although I have a large variety of animals from the live rock that are doing fine, (Chiton, anemones, encrusting sponges, cone shell snails, Coralline algae, clams etc) PH 8.0 to 8.2 Alkalinity 4.0 Nitrate 0 Nitrite 0 Salinity 1.020 to 1.024 Ammonia 0 Calcium 400 PPM Phosphate .002 - .005 Iodine 0.06 Temperature 78-81 Lighting 12 hours per day The Phosphate is somewhat higher than normal right now as I am waiting for my new shipment of Phosguard to arrive. I have had 4 Dragon Wrasse since I setup my fish tank Wrasse # 1 - was harassed to death by a Yellow Tang which I since traded in Wrasse #2 - Just vanished, I never saw it again <Jumped or buried under sand, died, dissolved...> Wrasse # 3 - I had course gravel mixed in with the Aragonite before I changed tanks and the owner of the store where I bought it from speculated that it might have damaged itself on some of the large gravel that was buried in among the small stuff when it tried to bury itself in the sand. Found it laying dead on the bottom. <Possible Cause of death... do need soft, deep substrate to bury, sleep in.> Wrasse # 4 - It was put in the tank 6 months after the last Wrasse died. Since Wrasse # 3 died I have moved to a larger tank and sifted all the large gravel from the aragonite so there is just smooth gravel with nothing sharp to damage itself on. All the other animals are doing fine including the more delicate inverts, (i.e. flame scallop, feather duster, clam). My dealer had been holding this fish for me for 8 days as I was out of town and it was doing fine in the dealer's tank. I put it in the tank on Friday November 17th, 2000. Floated it for 60 minutes adding 1/4 cup of water to the bag after 15 minutes, another 1/4 cup 15 minutes later, then finally adding it to the tank. When I released it in the tank it seemed to be doing fine. 1 hour after introducing it into the tank I fed the fish with some frozen brine shrimp and it ate well. There was no noticeable harassment by any of the other fish. It took up residence on the left side of the tank near the rock the Diamond Goby lives under. Later that evening I could not find it anywhere in the tank and assumed it had buried itself for the night. The next day Saturday it was out and swimming around the tank and eating off the rocks. I found it at one point laying behind the large rock the goby lives under, it seemed to be gilling rather rapidly. When it saw me looking at it, it exited from behind the rock and resumed it's normal swimming pattern. Sunday I only saw it a couple of times swimming around and then it buried itself under the gravel. It was out I would estimate a maximum of 2 hours on Sunday. When I fed the fish early Monday morning it never came out. I never saw it at all on Monday despite frequent checking. Tuesday morning I found it dead laying on the gravel in the front of the tank. There was no apparent damage to the wrasse to indicate that it had been killed by one of the other animals. Everything I have read about this fish indicates that it is a very easy to keep, hardy and disease resistant. I really like this fish and would love to keep it in my tank, but I certainly don't want to kill anymore of them. My dealer is just as stumped as I am. He felt there were one of two possibilities 1) That the Goby killed it, viewing it as competition 2) that there is something in my water that is toxic to only that animal. I apologize for the length of this E-mail, but I felt it would be best to give you as much information as possible rather than too little. Any information, suggestions of ideas would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Gordon Owens <A bunch to say here, and sorry for the delay in responding... have been on an island "Down Under" w/o net access for a week... For one, I would discontinue or only intermittently use the PhosGuard, and get rid of the Weiss sugar product altogether... these are likely causing your system the lack of algae and other woes... The Razorfish/Rock Mover/Dragon Wrasse (Novaculichthys taeniourus) is generally a tough species/specimen as you list... but I would likely not be placing it in a system like yours... this is a very rough and tumble customer that would soon eat your Flame "Scallop", Feather Dusters... and more... but if you don't mind these eventualities... I would try and buy a specimen from Hawai'i... these are much better handled and very much less stressed-out than other sources. Do quarantine the specimen for a good two weeks (no copper necessary, but keep the lid on tight!) before placing it. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Green leaf Wrasse Dear Mr. Fenner, I was looking on your Wrasse FAQ's about a person that was looking for info on the Green leaf Wrasse.  I have been doing a lot of research on this species since I acquired one two weeks ago from a LFS that was selling it for 17 dollars.  I found that it looks just like the Grinch that stole Christmas.  Its scientific name is Novaculichthys macrolepidotus, and is obviously in the same family as the Dragon Wrasse. <Yes, even the same genus>   They supposedly get to 10 inches and will eat many inverts.  Just thought you might be interested.  Kim <Thank you for this input. Will post for others edification. Bob Fenner>

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