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FAQs on the Dragon Wrasse, Rock Mover

Related Articles: Dragon Wrasse, Razorfish Wrasses,

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

A gorgeous juvenile floating off of Kona.

Dragon wrasse painfully thin      9/22/16
Hi, I have had my Dragon Wrasse for 6 and a half years.
<A good long time... can likely discount lumenal parasites as a cause of thinness here>

He is in a 120 gallon FOWLR . Only other fish is a Regal Tang . They get on fine with no issues . I noticed in the last few weeks the wrasse has
stopped burying himself at night and looks really thin . Eating as normal , mainly ocean nutrition medium pellets
<What brand here? Am a huge fan of Hikari and Spectrum lines; there are some junk ones>
and frozen Mysis There has been no new additions to tank for years and everything is unchanged . Any ideas what the cause could be ? He's looking
very weak . What is the usual lifespan ?
<At least ten-twelve years. Our service co. had this species for this long.
I would try some other meaty foods... and soon! An opened bivalve (clam, oyster...) will likely be eaten with gusto. I'd try whole semi-peeled
shrimp pieces as well... not cooked. Do you use food supplements? DO read re their application on WWM. I would lace all foods w/ a Vitamin/HUFA/Probiotic one as well as dose the system water every week. Bob Fenner>
Thanks Gary
Re: Dragon wrasse painfully thin      9/26/16

Hi Bob Thanks for swift reply. I was going away when I wrote and have just arrived back . Struggling to find relevant information re food supplements but will try with some meaty food this week . The pellets are made by Ocean Nutrition and 2 different types .formula one and two . Regards Gary
<Ahh; a good product line as well. Get going w/ the meaty foods! Bob Fenner>

Dragon wrasse sick     11/23/14
Hi, Our dragon wrasse has been sick for over two months now.
<See your pic... looks about gone>
At first we thought he was just upset because we had introduced a Green bird wrasse into our tank which is 125 gallons, which was much smaller than him and a magnificent rabbit fish.
<Perhaps the Gomphosus harassed the Novaculichthys... perhaps worse, maybe it got poked by the Siganid>
We brought the rabbit fish to another tank because we suspected him to be the culprit, but he has been gone for five weeks and the wrasse is no better. His color has changed from khaki green and black to a rust orange color and he spends most of his time buried. When he comes up he seems lethargic. We don't see him eat and now he is having trouble swimming straight. He is just lying on the bottom on his side. His fins are a bit thready but I assumed it was because he spends so much time buried in the sand. Everyone else in the tank is very healthy, we thought maybe he had been stung by the rabbit fish perhaps?
<Ah yes; my guess as well>

But that would have been weeks ago. He is almost 4 inches long and we have had him for a couple of years and love him. Any ideas?
<This... or possibly it ate something... growing in the system... a too-spiny Polychaete, perhaps some toxic algae...?
Only time can/will tell here. Am hoping your Wrasse will rally. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dragon wrasse sick     11/23/14

Hi, I received a reply in my mailbox but there is no message with it. Are you able to resend it to me? Thank you so much
<Umm; I see it below in the original resp... B>
Re: Dragon wrasse sick     11/23/14

I'm blonde for real. Thank you for your reply. I just wasn't sure if there was anything we could treat him with. I appreciate your time!
<Mmm; I would not use anything... some days I might suggest a bit of Epsom/MgSO4... you can read re this on WWM... and decide if it's for you. Bob Fenner>

Dragon wrasse swollen jaw     6/14/14
Hello WWM Crew!
First off I want to say thank you for this awesome site! It has been a valuable resource from the very beginning. I have scoured your site and the internet with no luck. I am hoping you can help us diagnose the problem with our dragon wrasse. First off a little background on him. We have had him for about three years. According to all the information I could find on him he has been a happy healthy dragon wrasse. So basically eating any shrimp/snail/mollusk that we place in the tank. Creating a general mess in the tank with his sandstorms from his spinning and digging. This was all the norm until about two weeks ago. He became very lethargic and was not eating.
<Mmm; I see the apparent physical damage to this fish's lower jaw>

Correction, he was trying to eat but seemed unable to due to a swollen lower jaw. We did our normal 50 gallon water change and tank cleaning and he seemed to perk up for a few days, but still had difficulty eating. He his now lethargic again. I am assuming it is from the growth/swelling of his jaw. It is so swollen that the lip is split. I have attached a few pictures in hopes that you can help us identify the cause. Please let me know if the pictures are okay or if you need them sent in a different form.
All his tankmates are healthy and eating normally. All water parameters are within normal range.
Thank you in advance for your help.
<Mmm; well... not much to do actually here... I would not try treating the water... in an effort to forestall some possibly secondary infection. The fish will likely heal, recover on its own... I would try offering smaller, softer food items (like shellfish flesh) for now. Not to worry re starving if the fish does not eat for several more days. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Dragon wrasse, fish comp.
Hello WWM crew.  Love the info I find on your site and am looking for a little direction.  I read the WWM info on Dragon/Rockmover wrasse but it provided vague info on tankmates.
<These need to be of size, robust... Not crustaceans, mollusks or most worms>
  I have a fish only 125 gallon tank with a canister filter, DSB, and currently a single 3" Dragon wrasse.  I am trying to see past today and visualize the tank in 18 months.
<Ahh, a worthwhile exercise>
  I would like to have additional fish in this tank as when he dives under the sand, I then have what looks like an empty aquarium.  Knowing the size and nature of this wrasse can you point me to the types of fish I should be looking at as tankmates for this size aquarium? 
<Mmm, yes... one approach I would take is to use this fish's common and scientific names in searching on the Net, books, magazines... See where it lives, what other life is photographed in the same frames>
I am thinking of damsels, triggers, lions,
<Not Lions... too easily bullied, too hard to feed w/ a full size Novaculichthys present>
puffers, or tangs.  Not all of those!  I would like some colorful fish and maybe something what would bring a little busyness to the display like a school of Chromis but I am sure they would likely make a nice future snack for the wrasse. Thanks for your insight.
<Mmm, and/or we could head out for a little dive holiday in Hawaii.... Bob Fenner>

Dragon Wrasse and Jawfish, in/comp.     5/13/12
I've had a dragon wrasse that an LFS sold to me under the pretense that it was compatible and reef safe....Now, I want to get a Pearly Jawfish and I'm stuck thinking that two burrowing animals will be sure to cause trouble.
<You are for sure right here... the Novaculichthys/Rock Mover can be a terror to smaller fishes... I would not mix these>
The tank is a 120 gallon reef and the wrasse has staked his claim by piling sand up around a rock where he sleeps each night. Will the Jawfish have enough time to dig out his own burrow before the wrasse starts attacking him IF the wrasse attacks him?
<It will not>
 I was thinking I could change up the rock formations and more or less even out the sand bed when I add the PJF and
turn the lights off so as to simulate a new-ish environment. Will this work?
<Third time's a charm. I would NOT do this. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dragon Wrasse and Jawfish

Ok even thought the wrasse is still small?
<Mmm, yes; I would trade one or the other in>
 I guess it's best to get rid of him, and also I would prefer a fish that digs one tunnel than one that stirs up sand all over the place. Thanks!
<You may want to search, read on WWM re trapping such fishes. BobF>

Dragon Wrasse, comp.    2/7/12
Just one simple question ....I think.
On your site you say a Dragon Wrasse will eat smaller fish but should be ok with an anemone.
Would a pair of common clowns be safe if paired with an anemone or would they still be at a big risk?
<IF the Clowns are placed first, of good size, established w/ the anemone when the decidedly small Dragon was introduced, AND there's plenty of room (say a hundred gallons plus), I give good odds of all getting along.>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Dragon Wrasse with Huge Appetite, comp. f'   1/2/12
Dear Crew,
I want to start off by telling you how much I love your site. The site has been an indispensable tool while building our tank(s) over the last two years. I don't have a question but wanted to share our experience with our Dragon Wrasse. I did not see this information on your site, so I thought it might be useful information for anyone thinking of owning a Dragon Wrasse.
<I/we thank you for this telling>
We absolutely love our Dragon Wrasse and his quirky behavior. They are definitely amusing to watch. We like to move the shells around and watch him move them all back to his "den" He makes a huge mess in the tank while doing donuts in the sand, but again, a hoot to watch. He gets along great with his other tank mates, ( 1-Hippo Tang, 2- Clowns, 1-Yellow Headed Goby, 1-Red Sea Sail Fin and 1- Spotted Hawkfish) in our 100gal FOWLR.
When we purchased him we knew that he was a huge eater. We knew that he would eat snails, hermit crabs and any other invertebrate small enough. We do have a large Fighting Conch that he leaves alone. So last week we thought we would complete our tank with a Fire Shrimp.

It was a large specimen, about 3"(not including antennae), so we thought he would be large enough to survive the Wrasse (who is only 5"). Well, we were wrong. This morning my husband awoke to the Dragon Wrasse eating the Fire Shrimp. There was nothing left of him except a few legs laying around and a 3" antennae sticking out of his mouth. His belly was huge and we were a little worried he may have bitten off more than he could chew. Yet when my husband fed the other fish, he still wanted to eat the flake food.
So I guess I just wanted to let anyone that is thinking of owning a Dragon Wrasse know, that they are wonderful fish, but if you want to keep any type of invertebrate beware. Just because you think it may be too big to eat, it isn't.  They also will flip over and eat all snails. We have even witnessed him ripping them off the walls of the tank.
Thanks for listening.
P.S. It has now been about 8 hours and the Dragon Wrasse is doing fine. At first  he was a little lethargic, but now acting normal.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Dragon wrasse missing?     10/24/11
<Hi there>
I introduced a 3" long Dragon Wrasse into my reef tank about 2 months ago.
It seemed to take to the tank almost immediately, burying itself into the sand every night and coming out the next day about an hour after the daylights are on (note: he didn't come out if I only had the blue/actinic on). Anyway, the last time I saw him was on 10/17/11! He buried himself in the sand and disappeared. To this date, despite digging in my sugar-sand bed all around the LR, I have not been able to find him.
<Still likely in there... I wouldn't panic>
I learned from the web that what can happen sometimes is these fish will dig into the sand underneath LR. If they LR is heavy - and they make too large a cavity - the LR can actually pin them underneath it, crushing them to death. Is this a rare problem, or do you think I should lift up all my LR just to find his carcass?
<I would just wait>
On the other hand, I've heard anecdotal evidence that these things can bury themselves for a WEEK! Is that true?
<Yes; or two, three>
Wouldn't it just starve to death?
<Mmm, no>
Thanks for any info.
<The only at-all likely scenario is that this fish has left the tank...
Cheers, Bob Fenner>

A few questions on the Dragon Wrasse or Rock Mover Wrasse, Novaculichthys taeniourus   8/15/11
It is a pleasure to have found your site and all of the great information in it - very much appreciated :) I am in the process of building a 300 gallon predator FOWLR tank and could not pass up the deal I found on a 2 ½ inch juvenile Dragon Wrasse who has phenomenal personality and coloration. My LFS (Eddies Aquarium) fed him before I purchased him and he is more healthy than any other fish I have witnessed in captivity. He is currently eating (quite literally) everything they could find in the store to feed him including algae! The employee who was helping me yesterday scooped up a piece of Krill with the fish at which point the wrasse kept eating whilst in the holding container as he was being brought to the counter to be bagged! Very excited about this :)
<I can tell!>
I have been wanting a Dragon Wrasse since the initial plans for the 300 were developed about 9 months ago. He is currently in a 24 gal AquaPod quarantine tank and will be moved to a 150gal Rubbermaid sump until the 300 is completely ready. The 300 gallon FOWLR tank is part of a 1,500 gallon system that will hopefully be ready by next spring so I figured the 150 should hold him over until then. I plan to house the wrasse with an eel (still undecided on the exact species - need to do more research); a Blue Girdled Angelfish; a Dogface Puffer; a Dalmatian Dogface Puffer; a Fu Manchu Lionfish; two other dwarf varieties of lionfish and several very large green brittle stars. Do you think these animals could all live together in a 300 gal tank with 400 lbs of liverock?
<I do.>
Also, from what I have read and observed first hand, these wrasses eat just about anything.
<This is so>
I have some Fire Worms in one of my tanks. Do you think there is a chance that the Dragon Wrasse will eat Fire Worms?
<If not too large, other more easily caught foods about, yes>
Thank you very much for your time, it is invaluable to us hobbyists :)
ByronD from Hudson Falls, NY
<Bob Fenner in Biddeford Maine till 11:00>

Dragon Wrasse and Dogface Puffer. Comp. rdg.    6/15/11
Hi WWM crew,
I have the 2 above named fish in a FOWLR.
I know they will eat small inverts but was wondering if there was anything that neither fish would harm
<... in the way of? Please read re both species (Compatibility FAQs) on WWM. Please read here re:
I`ve done some research and was thinking maybe a few mushrooms to brighten up the rock.
<These would likely be left alone>
Also how would a large Tiger Cowry or Tuxedo Urchin fare ?
<Too likely poorly>
Any other suggestions appreciated ?
<For you to read what is archived on the site>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

green dragon fish id      4/3/11
Hi Guys,
We picked up this funny little guy last night. He is about an inch and a half long. He is green leaning toward olive. His eyes are surrounded by white and he has white oval spots and black vertical lines running down his body. His tailfin is practically clear, with green spots at the end. He looks like a piece of seaweed, particularly his fins. They are reddish at the ends. The fish store guys thought dragon goby of some sort. He swims almost as if he is drifting around in the current. He's not shy. Every once in a while he will swim down to the bottom of the tank where there is a small pile of sand, stick his face in, and wriggle like a dog shaking water off his fur. I hope you have an idea, he is so interesting I want to make sure I treat him right.
<Hello Deanna. This is a juvenile of what here in England we call "Reindeer Wrasse", but Bob, perhaps more accurately, refers to as the "Rock Mover". Either way, it's a young Novaculichthys taeniourus. I'd question whether they're suitable for home aquaria at all, but Bob outlines the basics here:
Cheers, Neale.>

Seagrass Wrasse compatibility?  12/27/10

<Hello Karen>
I'm very interested in adding a seagrass wrasse (N. macrolepidotus)
<Mmm, this species not often seen in the trade, esp. compared w/ its congener>
to my 225 gallon tank (with 90 gallon sump) and am concerned about its compatibility with some of my other inhabitants. Some say that the fish is reef safe, others say it is not, but all say it likes to bury in the sand at night.
<About middling "reef safe wise", and yes, a burrower>
My tank currently houses a niger trigger, Naso, Sailfin, and regal tangs (one each), a Foxface, a pair of maroon clowns and a pair of Percula clowns, a Bluespot Jawfish,
<Not really a tropical>
a convict blenny, and a huge pig of a mandarin.
My particular concerns are the Jawfish - would hate for the wrasse to destroy his burrows -
he's a happy little guy, and the mandarin due to competition for pods.
<And possibly consume your Clowns>
I know I've got an odd combination of fish, but it is the result of combining two tanks and I've been fortunate that everyone gets along well. I have a variety of soft corals. Would I be flirting with disaster to add the wrasse?
<A bit more than flirtatious... I'd look into easier-going Labrids myself>
Thanks so much!
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>
Re: Seagrass Wrasse compatibility?  12/27/10
Thanks so much for the quick reply! Beautiful fish, but more risk than I'm willing to take with my other inhabitants. I appreciate your input and no doubt my fish do as well!
Happy New Year!!
<And to you Kar! BobF>

Bulging dragon wrasse stomach 11/8/10
Hey Crew, as always thanks for all the helpful advice you give, I appreciate it.
My 4" dragon wrasse is having stomach problems, apparently. I've attached pictures of the swelling (I also attached some others, in case you want to use them on your site Bob, you're more than welcome to, I feel at least like maybe I'm giving a little back for the help you provide).
<Thank you>
For what it's worth, he still eats fine and he does still poop, but over the last 3-4 days his stomach has really swelled. I was afraid he wasn't pooping at all but I just saw him do it about 3-4 hours ago. It was a pretty large in circumference piece of poop, but it did come out. I was hoping he was just blocked up and once that cleared he would thin down but he is still swelled. Water parameters are pH 8.2 to 8.3. Nitrates are under 20, due to a lot of water changes. They normally sit around 40-60. Ammonia/nitrites are 0. Salinity is 1.010 and will finish getting lowered to 1.009 tonight.
<Mmm, this may be a/the causative factor>
I started hyposalinity treatment two days ago as I'm having Ich problems in the tank. Temp is 76 degrees, it doesn't fluctuate. Lights on from 11:30am until 10:30pm. The only thing I'm "dosing" is baking soda to keep the pH at 8.2 to 8.3 while at hyposalinity which I've noticed lowers pH which I assume is due to the hardness drop?
<You are very likely correct; and both due to lowering salt/specific gravity>
I feed Mysis and Formula 1 and 2 pellets, plus NLS pellets. So far I'm having a hard time getting the dragon wrasse onto pellets, I mix it in with the Mysis and he will eat them if it happens to go into his mouth but he doesn't try to pick them out of the water.
<Keep diminishing the percentage of Mysis>
I was feeding clams a lot and putting the pellets into it but he was actively avoiding the pellets, with the Mysis he just swallows them whole so its easier to trick him into getting a pellet into his mouth. Tankmates are a 3" queen trigger,
<Yikes! A bruiser in time>
2" scopas tang and 2 damsels. There is no aggression seen between species, everyone gets along happily from what I can observe and I do watch the tank a lot. The queen is actually very calm, which I assume is because she is a juvenile, I will move her to a different tank when she gets a little older, but for now she is just growing out nicely :) Grant
<Likely time going by, the restoration of normal salinity will solve this bulging issue. One could add Epsom salt, but I myself would not. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bulging dragon wrasse stomach 11/8/10
Thanks for the quick answers, Bob. I wonder what about hyposalinity would be causing the bulge... any clues?
<... osmotic imbalance... Too ready absorption of water into the fish's body, tissues. FW fishes don't drink...>
With my limited knowledge in biology nothing comes to mind that would cause this, if anything I would have thought it would be the opposite, as there would be to my knowledge more water included in the excretions of the fish since it isn't working so hard to excrete salt.
In other words, I would think low salinity would give fish diarrhea.
<"Makes them swell>
Anyway, I'm happy to note that the wrasse isn't getting any worse, I was afraid it would keep puffing and puffing until something ruptured but he seems to have hit a certain puff amount and is staying there. It will be interesting to see if over time his body adjusts to the decreased salinity and he begins processing waste normally.
<Hotay. BobF>
As far as getting him onto pellets goes, I'll start feeding less Mysis with the pellets. Currently I've just been feeding one cube of Mysis and then dropping in about 30-40 pellets. I think my plan of attack now is to only feed half a cube of Mysis with the same amount of pellets and see what happens. He is still pretty picky about not picking pellets out of the water column, he only eats them if they are stuck to the Mysis he grabs. Hopefully he will just eventually associate the little red sinking pellets with Mysis and one day when there aren't any Mysis in there, he will still be trying to nab at them :)


Dragon wrasse feeding question   10/12/10
Howdy Crew!
<Hi Grant>
I have a dragon wrasse that is right around 3.5", possibly 4". It eats mainly shrimp/scallop/crab pieces right now, occasionally I feed a clam on the half shell. All of these foods are purchased fresh from the local
Asian market and then stored in my freezer. I buy a month supply so that the food isn't staying frozen in my freezer for years, hopefully this is helping keep the food nice and fresh.
I am going to Hawaii for 18 days in January and I want my fish to be sustained by pellets while I'm gone. If I do that, I can use my autofeeder to keep him fat and happy. This already works for my other fish. So my question is this... do you know of any people who have or do you have any firsthand experience with getting a dragon wrasse to eat pellets?
I've tried Formula One and Two pellets and also New Life Spectrum pellets (1mm and 3mm) and no luck.
<Try larger size Spectrum pellets... mix a larger percentage in with other foods...>
I've mixed them down into the clam on the half shell and also soaked them with whatever food I'm thawing out and then he kind of eats them, but he doesn't like them. He doesn't quite spit them out but he tries not to eat them. If one actually goes in his mouth then he eats it.
I don't want to starve the thing to see if then he will start accepting pellets once he just gets really hungry, but I think I might have to try that unless you have a better option. I know he could go 3-4 days easily
without food without serious harm and hopefully at that point he will bite the bullet and start eating pellets.
Any suggestions would be appreciated, thanks for all the work you do.
<Am very sure your Novaculichthys will eat Spectrum... the originator/maker of this product line, friend Pablo Tepoot, fed his this food exclusively for years. Bob Fenner> 

Dragon wrasse... sys.? 3/4/10
Hi guys, recently we moved houses and along with us came our fish tanks. Well, when we finished putting everything back together again our Dragon Wrasse moved a piece of rock and a smaller piece came down on him.
<Yikes... are called "rock movers">
He still eats really well but the only problem is he has a hard time burying himself at night. Do you have any suggestions that could help us help him out! Thanks, Daphne
<? Don't know that I understand what you're looking for here. Please read:
and the linked Related FAQs files above... This fish needs a soft, rather deep sandbed... And you should stack the rock/decor with the larger pieces down first, placed directly on the bottom (not on the sand), in a way such that they can't/won't tumble. Bob Fenner>

Starving dragon wrasse  -- 1/21/10
Hi guys,
I'm worried about our Dragon Wrasse who's been listless and uninterested in eating. He spends much of the day laying around on the bottom and is being very un-wrasse like at feeding time. This behavior began a couple of months ago while he was in QT after a water quality meltdown in our main tank in which we lost several other fish (my earlier exchange with you all helped - the tank has recovered in part with the help of an Ozonizer). At first it almost seemed like he was "depressed" over the loss of the other fish. But over the past week he's becoming increasingly lethargic and I'm struggling to get him to eat. He makes half-hearted attempts to eat his favorite food (krill) but after chewing on them spits them out (almost as if he has trouble swallowing). He ignores all other foods include shrimp from the market, mysids, blood-worms, etc. I've managed to get him to eat small bits of krill by stashing them in shells, under rocks, etc to stimulate his hunting instincts. He still "hunts" - just not eating.
I don't see any overt signs of illness in him or any of the other fish in the tank (a clown and Banggai cardinal which are acting normally) and water param.s look good (ph 8.3, ORP 360, temp 77, salinity 1.022, nitrates 2ppm, ammonia/nitrite 0, copper 0, etc). The only recent change was to reactivate our noon lights which had been off for a month to help suppress algae growth. That seemed to have some effect on him being perkier later in the day (swimming about) but hard to say. I will say he hasn't been sleeping well either (half the time doesn't bury in the sand in the normal fashion).
The wrasse is about 5 years old and 6 inches in length. He's hanging on but unless we can turn this around I don't think he's going to make it. Any suggestions welcome. Thanks,
<I do. Try an opened shellfish (a clam, mussel... from the human food store or pet-fish). Leave on the bottom in the open. Few Novaculichthys can resist these. Bob Fenner>
Re: starving dragon wrasse   1/23/10

Thanks Bob.
<Welcome Riley>
Am still wondering if there might be a bacterial infection at work here. I coaxed him this evening into digging in the sand for some chopped up krill.
He tries eating them but seems to choke (like he can't get it down) then spits it out. Other than that other symptoms are laying around a lot and perhaps clamped fins (although he gets up and swims around when encouraged). The underside of his jaw is red - not sure if its from abrasion from digging or "red streaks" (never seen that before).
<Mmm... do add some "Iodine" treatment to the foods and water here (Lugol's is fine)... as this may we a nutrient deficiency syndrome... a type of goiter may be in play>
I consulted one of Mardel's "troubleshooting trees" which suggested a potential internal infection so bit the bullet tonight and applied a dose of Maracyn-2.
Realized after the fact the latter suppresses dissolved O2 (ORP dropped) so cranked the Ozonizer to compensate.
<Thank you for this input>
The clam trick is a good idea, will try that. Cheers, Riley
<And you, BobF>
Re: starving dragon wrasse  -- 01/29/10

Update. After 5 days following the Maracyn-2 regimen, dosing iodine, and offering clams we still have a sick dragon wrasse. He initially perked up (increased activity) following the first couple of days of Maracyn but continues to exhibit listlessness and the underside of his jaw is red (uncharacteristically abraded looking).
<Mmm, am doing more than starting to think the origin/real problem here might have been a mechanical injury...>
He wasn't interested in the clams. He still "hunts" in the sand when I put down small pieces of krill/mysids but struggles to swallow (will Hoover up a bunch of sand and shrimp bits, tries chewing on it then spits it out).
I'm not sure whether he's actually getting anything to eat. He's visibly thinner. I don't know how long a mature dragon wrasse can survive on reduced/no protein but it's been nearly a week since I could confirm seeing him keep something down. I started a second round of Maracyn-2 yesterday but this is a shot in the dark.
In the meantime, I'm concerned we have a residual systematic issue with the tank (water quality or other). Our maroon clown is starting to show signs of excess mucous again (broad areas on fins/tail/body). No overt signs of distress yet. The tank is covered in green algae despite very low measured NO3 (1-2ppm) and PO4 (near zero) using different test kits.
<Mmm, these may well be being "taken up" by the algae...>
And the BTAs
<? Plural? Are these clones?>
are still stressed (always shrunken). Other inverts (snails, hermits, and Aiptasia) seem fine. The latter condition has persisted for over a month now (after treating the water with carbon and poly filters). All other measured param.s look good (as reported below). The only "dynamics" have been the daily ORP fluctuations I reported earlier following dosing with Maracyn (drops as low as 220 before ramping back up to mid 300s).
<Much better>
I'm still mindful of your earlier comment about the potential for endogenous poisoning. No detectable copper in the water but maybe something else.
I have a fairly new RO/DI system so can't isolate the supply water completely but I did disconnect the auto top off system this morning to rule out the chance of something getting in via that plumbing.
I've struggled with whether to put the fish back into QT but it's a stressful activity (particularly for the wrasse)
<Yes. I would not do this>
and last time we tried this it didn't seem to help. That said, if we can't find and resolve the root cause for all this we may have no choice but to move the livestock and do a complete restart on the 180 gallon tank. Am not there yet but thinking about it.
Any thoughts welcome. Thanks,
<I urge even more patience (easy for me, eh?) at this juncture. BobF>
Re: starving dragon wrasse  -- 01/29/10
Thanks Bob.
Our clown is definitely showing broad areas of white/gray (mucous) on fins & tail. Eyes also look bulgier than usual. Not normal.
<Mmm, did you see any colour on the PolyFilters?>
What are your thoughts on combined Maracyn/Maracyn-II regimen as shotgun approach for potential infections for both of these guys? I gather from your responses this is rather a crapshoot but please comment on risks of trying.
<These are both fine products, but just not often efficacious in general saltwater use>
Yes, the BTAs are plural (clones from 2 original aquacultured originals some years ago - at one point we had 10 or so thriving - now there are maybe 6 or so surviving but they're all shrunken). No signs of recent cloning.
<I see... these should be okay... that is, not likely contributing to whatever is apparently toxifying your fish livestock here>
Agree with not trying QT at this point. Will keep you posted.
<Thank you. BobF>
Re: starving dragon wrasse   2/9/10

Hello again Bob. We are still struggling to save our dragon wrasse. To recap, he's exhibited reduced appetite and lethargy since we rescued him and the rest of the fish from a tank meltdown back in late October. At that time we treated him for a supposed Ich infestation with 2 wks hyposalinity in conjunction with Maracyn-I while the main tank lay fallow for 30 days. But he never really seemed to fully recover.
About 2.5 weeks ago I came home and couldn't find him until I moved some rocks in the back of the tank - found him laying there. I managed to get him to eat 1 krill (last time we saw him keep down a large piece of food).
Subsequently we tried feeding him smaller foods (and clams as you suggested). As I indicated to you in our last exchange it was if he couldn't swallow (kept spitting up things). We tried treating Maracyn-II in the main tank for 10 days but saw no improvement in his condition.
After concluding the Maracyn-II treatment we installed carbon and Polyfilter back in the sump to clean up the main tank (incidentally, our clown subsequently improved and we saw no color in the Polyfilter other than some yellow, apparently from the Maracyn).
<Thank you for this info.>
A few days later our wrasse had deteriorated to the point where he spent all day on the bottom and when he swam he ran into things. At that point (7 days ago) I decided to pull him out of the main tank and put him into the 20 gallon hospital tank. He had white stringy material coming from his vent so I assumed there was an internal bacterial
<More likely parasitic>
There we did another 5 day regimen of Maracyn-I and -II with daily 70% H20 changes. We also started feeding him mysids and frozen baby brine shrimp in a slurry using a turkey baster. He is very thin but does manage to eat
a bit every evening. His digestive system still appears to be working (from the pellets he's producing) and the white string stuff is gone. He still has red marks under his chin.
Nevertheless, he continues to spend 90% of his time laying on the bottom and is breathing rapidly. Today we concluded the Maracyn and after a water change install Polyfilter to clear the water of meds. I also deployed the
Ozonizer on the hospital take to drive the ORP up to 370.
The tank is well aerated yet he continues to struggle to breath.
<Fishes have real troubles (not often discussed or well-understood by hobbyists) w/ hemolysis (loss of RBCs, oxygen carrying capacity)... and the "causes" of same... in less-than ideal settings (< 7 ppm DO)>
His gills appear red/inflamed. And I noticed this morning his left eye is cloudy. There may be a spot/lesion there. He ate again this morning but this is very sick fish and am frankly amazed he's held on this long. I feel we have exhausted options
<Mmm, no>
with the antibiotic route. Am wondering if there's anything else we should try.
<Yes... If this fish is eating at all, I would try soaking its food/s in an anthelminthic. My choice? Praziquantel, due to its effectiveness, ready availability and low related-toxicity>
We've provided (hopefully) "pristine" water conditions for the past 3 weeks. Could the rapid breathing and cloudy eye be indicative of some kind of parasite?
<Much more likely cumulative degeneration period>
I don't see any overt visible signs of parasites.
<Might if you had the gear, background and did a fecal examination for eggs, Protozoans et al.>
I hesitate to try hyposalinity or copper treatment (am torn between further stressing him vs. recognition that whatever we're doing isn't helping).
<I would not do these either>
I have prepared for the worst (euthanasia via clove oil) but we're not ready to throw in the towel while he's still swimming around at night and able to feed.
<Thank you for this follow-up, and do consider the Prazi. Some background re here:
Re: starving dragon wrasse  2/9/10
Bob, this really helps. Will read the FAQ and try the Praziquantel. The fish is still eating, after a fashion. Last night I offered him a slurry of mysids soaked in concentrated Maracyn-II and he managed to gulp some down.
Should we continue the Maracyn-II in concert with the Prazi?
<I would discontinue the Antibiotics... and might... though this is borderline in terms of possibly benefit/harm ratio, include a one, two or three time addition/mixing of Metronidazole/Flagyl, along with the dewormer. You will doubtless find allusion to this in reading...>
Before you wrote I obtained a specimen of fecal matter last night (another white, pasty one). I put some on a microscope slide an examined it at low power (40X I believe) but didn't see any anything moving or egg-like. I
was looking for larger parasites and didn't try max magnification with our microscope (400X). I'm not sure what scale to look for Protozoans or eggs.
My father's a vet and many years ago I did lab work for him like this but have forgotten everything!
<Mmm, for completeness sake, I'll mention the Ed Noga title: Fish Disease, Diagnosis and Treatment. A worthwhile ref.... expensive, but maybe you can borrow a copy. BobF>
Re: starving dragon wrasse  2/10/10

Thanks for the suggestion on the Noga text. Looks like a great reference.
<It is indeed. I have a well-worn copy just three feet from where I'm sitting... and have met Dr. Noga, even pleaded w/ him to have a less expensive ed....>
I procured some PraziPro and administered the recommended 2.5 mg/l concentration in two parts. Soaked a cube of mysids using half the dose and tried feeding that to our wrasse (he appeared to swallow a few, the rest ended up in the tank water). The other half of the dose was added directly to the tank. I also got some Metronidazole (API's product) and will consider adding that to the mix after observing the wrasse overnight to see if there's any change in his condition.
<Ah, good>
Another question while we're trying this, I've noticed that when adding treatments to the hospital tank (first the antibiotics and now the Prazi) the ORP plummets to 200 ppm or less.
This makes me wonder about whether these compounds introduce a large DOC load into the system.
<Mmm, other chemical reaction series mostly>
I looked up the chemical formulas for Minocycline and Praziquantel (both are CxHxNxOx chains). Since our wrasse has shown trouble breathing in the past I've worried over low ORP and have dosed with ozone to compensate.
Most of the instructions on these meds call for shutting down all chemical filtration (carbon, etc), skimmers, and UV sterilizers during treatment but are silent on Ozonizers. I understand the prohibition on filters and skimmers but since they list UV sterilizers I wonder if the same concern doesn't apply to Ozonizers (after all, ionization is ionization - if I understand the physics of these devices). I.e., could ozone dosing neutralize the meds?
<It can w/ some...>
Any thoughts on the risks vs. benefits of letting the ORP drop vs. running ozone during these treatments?
<It is my stance that "some reasonable" ORP is of benefit at all times.
BobF, who is not trying to be sly, but is watchful re saying too much and too little on the Net>
Re: starving dragon wrasse -- 02/12/10

Hi Bob, progress report.
<Thank you for this Riley>
After 2 days on the Praziquantel regimen (at 2.5 mg/l concentration) we see no improvement.
In fact the fish has stopped responding to attempts to feed him via turkey baster. I also noted hard, rapid breathing seems to be more or less continuous. I hadn't done a water change in 2 days (per the PraziPro directions) - had instead relied on a pre-treatment of Ultimate. Was concerned during this period about ORP as discussed below (stayed around 150).
So this evening I decided to check the water param.s again and noticed that pH had dropped to 7.8 and there were significant levels of ammonia (1-2 ppm)
<Way too much here... Toxic and will subtend feeding response>
and nitrite (0.5 - 1ppm).
<This too>
So I executed a large (90% water change) which brought things back into a more acceptable range. In doing so I noticed the water I removed had almost an oily film on the surface which I suspect was interfering with O2
<Likely so>
Anyway, during this process I extracted another feces (mostly normal looking with some white stuff) and subjected it to another microscopic inspection at 40X - 100X. This time I saw something different. This sample is swarming with what appear to be Protozoans (swimming and in cysts). Noga's textbook arrived during this inspection (great timing) and I flipped around in the protozoan section and found an almost exact match in figure 11-20C on page 98. If this is correct I'm looking at young trophonts and tomonts of C. irritans.
<Are somewhat prominent with their macro (and if you can see it/them micro-) nuclei...>
I had ruled out Ich early on because we didn't see external signs but given the lack of response to dewormer and antibiotics I'm wondering if this explains the lethargy, heavy breathing, and refusal to eat.
<Could account for>
Am wondering again whether to try a freshwater dip and/or hyposalinity and/or copper. Or are we better served staying the course with Prazi and/or giving Metronidazole a shot.
<Not the copper... the pH adjusted FW dip is a good idea if you can move the specimen to clean quarters following. Please see here re my suggested protocol/s: http://wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm
and the linked files above for more fill-in... And do make it known if you find these sections deficient, unclear>
<Thank you my friend. BobF> 
Re: starving dragon wrasse -- 2/12/10

<Big R>
After my last missive (before you replied), I had examined more samples (10) from the bottom of the wrasses hospital tank (typically bits of uneaten mysids). Each of them were swarming with Protozoans (again, identical to the figure in Noga's book - with nuclei clearly visible) - but no cysts. I did an experiment by subjecting some samples to a hyposaline bath and noticed an immediate reduction in activity (and some shattered bodies - as you'd expect with osmotic shock). So I initiated a hyposalinity treatment last night (per Steven Pro's article on Marine Ich and Noga), dropping the specific gravity in the hospital tank from 1.022 to 1.010 over a half hour (taking care to match pH, etc). The wrasse seemed to handle the transition okay but condition is unchanged this morning. I just observed in 5 new samples that the number of swimming Protozoans is much reduced vs. yesterday - but they're still there. I have not yet attempted a freshwater dip of the wrasse (followed by returning him to a clean QT with 1.010 salinity) but preparing for it.
Another data point is the small QT tank next to the hospital tank contains a yellow assessor (a new acquisition undergoing QT) and a juvenile Banggai cardinal (last survivor of a brood that hatched during the main tank meltdown). They both show visible signs of Ich (small white spots on fins).
So they must have been contaminated by proximity to the hospital tank. I'm preparing to give them both a freshwater dip and return them to a clean tank with lowered salinity. So I think Ich is pretty conclusive. Near term
priority is stabilizing the fish showing symptoms (will deal with main tank later).
Final data point, in one of the samples from this morning from the hospital tank - while looking for protozoa I observed a live worm (on a Mysid). It's long, thin and wriggling around. It has the same shape as the worms in
figure 11-56E of Noga (p. 169) but is clear, not white. It's length covers about 75% of the field of my microscope at 100X. Am wondering if this is a round worm and whether I should attempt to resume anthelminthic treatment
in parallel with the hyposalinity for Ich. I suspended the PraziPro treatment after 2 days of no results as stated earlier. However, I have some API General Cure on hand which consists of a mix of 75 mg Praziquantel (2mg/L dose) and 250 mg Metronidazole.
There seem to be several things at work here but welcome input on treatment priorities. Again, balancing risks of stressing a very weak fish vs. risk of losing him without quickly resolving the primary issue (clock is ticking on
starvation now that he's quit accepting food).
Thanks again,
<Metronidazole/Flagyl can be used for many Protozoan complaints, including Cryptocaryon... I would stay away from metals, most dyes and formalin/formaldehyde. B> 

Reef safe animals?, hermits, dragon wrasse -- 01/18/10
okay ill try counting the stripes, by reef safe I meant just with the corals because I have the large crabs and things to deal with the other predators, in this sense the dragon wrasse is coral safe right?
<Should not eat corals'¦ but may carry small frags around and knock corals over.>
also my water parameters are almost perfect almost always the same as my other reef tank just a little bit of nitrates but under the amount for corals, probably due to the amount of algae in the sump. how do I determine the species of hermit crab?
<Books'¦ at a pinch the internet will do. Start here e.g. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm and in the FAQs on ID. Marco.> 

Dragon Wrasse/Behavior 9/21/09
Thank you for your time in advance,
<Hello Michael, and you're welcome.>
I just recently finished setting up and cycling 60 gallon tank. Well my first choice for the tank ended up being the Dragon Wrasse. As I started acclimating the fish I noticed the water was a little cold so I added a heater to the tank and finished acclimating added him he buried in the sand right away. He came out the next day say for a few minutes went to a movie and we was buried again when I came back and haven't seen since. I have feed him every other day (even though I haven't seen him). How long should I wait before giving up on him or go looking for him.
<First of all, this fish will grow much too large for a 60 gallon tank, and I would suggest returning/exchanging for something more suitable for your size tank, and in that regard it is best to research before buying.
These fish will eat most any motile invertebrate including crabs, shrimp, starfish, worms, snails, bivalves, sea urchins, etc. I do suggest reading here and linked files above.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rockmover.htm. Wrasses typically burrow in sand for safety and it may take some time to reappear, is not unusual.>
Thank you,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

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>

Dragon Wrasse: When to Purchase 1/26/09 Hope the entire crew is well, I have always wanted a Dragon wrasse as they are fascinating to watch among other positive qualities. So sure enough my LFS has two stock....They did not want to sell me one today because they are not eating consistently (which is fine with me I can wait a couple of days if need be) the problem is that both of these dragon wrasses are kept in aquariums with CC instead of sand (the tank the wrasse will be going into will have 4+ inches of sand. Both of these fish appear to be in good health, swimming normally, no torn fins, and very interactive with their environments. <Good> My question is should I be patient and allow the dragon wrasse to eat more consistently at the LFS or is the wrasse going to be more comfortable in my tank (making more consistent feeding) with my sand bed? Thanks for your time, Josh <Good question... If it were me, mine, I'd go ahead and purchase one w/o waiting... and perhaps only do a cursorial dip/bath (see WWM re) if you don't have a quarantine set-up. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dragon Wrasse: When to Purchase 1/26/09
Mr. Fenner, Thank You for your quick response as always. <Welcome Josh> I went back to check up on it today and it ate well again. I will be picking it up tomorrow if all goes well The tank with be a 29 gallon with a maroon clownfish to quarantine/allow it to grow so it can be big enough to play with the "monsters" that are in the 180 Thank You for your time and opinion Josh Schiff <I am quite sure you will enjoy your new Rockmover... A very neat animal appearance, behavior and intelligence-wise. BobF>

Fish Identification, Novaculichthys  12/28/08 Dear Wet Web Media Crew: <Robert> First of all, I regret troubling you for assistance considering you must receive thousands of inquiries on a regular basis. However, I have spent a number of hours on the Internet and at local libraries in an effort to discover the identity of a fish species occupying a photograph within my possession to no avail. I must confess that I am not the owner of the photograph. I inadvertently discovered the picture and was so enamored by the beauty of the fish specimen depicted that I could not resist the temptation to "right click" and save the image. In my defense, I have not and will not publish the image in question. <Nor will we...> The image also credits the publisher and/or photographer. With that being said, the identity of the fish species was not provided. Yet, I am under the impression that the fish in question is a wrasse, perhaps even a Tamarin wrasse. Maybe I have been unable to identify the mystery fish because of its rarity. However, in a more likely scenario my research methods were probably inept. With this in mind, I have attached the image and I am hoping you can do what I have been unable to accomplish: provide this most beautiful fish species with an identity! Thank You, Robert Perry <Yes... we have a whole article devoted to this Rockmover: http://wetwebmedia.com/rockmover.htm Bob Fenner>

Wrasse with clownfish disease? & Formalin toxicity/use   12/21/06 Hi, <G' morning> How many times can the same fish be treated with formalin ? <A rhetorical question? Until it's dead? Likely only a few times I guess... is harsh, toxic, and being netted, handled by itself is hard on this group of fishes>   I have a dragon wrasse that showed signs of clownfish disease, I treated him and he curled up and laid on the floor for a while, <Typical, general after-reaction> then appeared to get better and was swimming and eating. He still looked a bit wobbly, resting on rocks etc so I treated him again. After this second treatment <... you... did... or didn't return this fish to the same/infested system?> he looks worse than ever. He is on the floor curled over most of the time, although his breathing seems to have slowed. He came out this morning, swam round once, ate some food , then curled up again under a rock upside down. I am not sure if he is recovering or getting worse. I did the second treatment 2 days ago but don't know whether to do another or just leave him to rest ? The clowns had it too, before him, but are now right as rain. I am a novice at this , so all help is much appreciated ! <Mmm, please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/formalinart.htm and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/brooklynellosisart.htm and the principal linked files above. 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>

Dragon Wrasse (Novaculichthys taeniourus) Compatibility 10/17/05 Hello Everyone, <Hello Valerie.> George Bush once said "I know that the human being and fish can coexist peacefully."  <?>  Can you tell me if a Dragon Wrasse and Orange Spotted Goby can coexist peacefully.  <It's possible these two could live harmoniously but it is also possible that you could create "The Sand War." As in both utilize the substrate in one way or another.  Should they become psychologically crowded due to insufficient surface area on the substrate it could lead to turf wars. In which case with its armory of teeth and size I would give the edge to the wrasse.>  I have a 75 gallon coral reef tank and would like to introduce a Dragon Wrasse, <I would say you have 2 disqualification's here that make the dragon wrasse (Novaculichthys taeniourus) an inappropriate choice for your tank.  First off the size at 12" makes them unsuitable to a 75-gallon tank and their behavior is unsuited to a mixed reef/invertebrate tank. Not only will this wrasse eagerly hunt down any crustaceans or smaller fish in the tank but they are also celebrated rock movers. The chance that they will topple or damage a sessile invertebrate is to large a risk in my opinion.> however, I do not want to upset our Orange Spotted Goby who currently has domain over the substrate.  <I would advise against the addition of this particular species.>  Thank you for your time. Valerie <You are welcome, Adam J.> 

Dragon Wrasse.. umm Ooops 10/12/05 Hi Bob, I think I did something stupid.  <Yes you did Matthew> It looked really cute in the tank at the store ..... <Ahh, impulse buying, works every time. Need to research animals before you buy.> We have two clowns, 3 Chromis, 2 blue tangs, 1 bicolour blenny and a carpet blenny. All fish are around the same size except the bi-colour which is small. The dragon wrasse was the last added to the tank and isn't causing the fish any grief but has dealt with all the crabs which were living in my live rock. I have a mantis/pistol shrimp (can only hear him) that has alluded him but I'm sure it's only a matter of time. My problem is once he gets any left over crabs and shrimps I have a large feather star and some brittle stars. Will he begin snacking on these? I have read this is sometimes the case with various wrasse species. If I want a reef tank should I just be biting the bullet and return him to the shop? I want lots of small fish and information on your site suggests he may grow to a foot and then start eating my smaller fish. We have only had him a week and I do like him as a juvenile but I don't wish to set myself up for ongoing grief and expense.  <They are aggressive and not reef safe as you already know. When larger they are known to eat some species of starfish along with crabs/shrimp etc. So, if you want a reef tank, he's got to go or more losses will occur. James (Salty Dog)> 

Dragon Wrasse In A Tough Crowd! 8/17/05 Dear Bob, <Scott F. here for Bob tonight> I'm asking you the temperament of the Dragon Wrasse. It is the only "X" factor in this guy's tank, and we would like to know if they are very aggressive. So far, his stock list is Goldentail, Harlequin Tusk, Dragon Wrasse, Soapfish Grouper, Dwarf Lion. All in a 125 with a skimmer rated for 250 gallons. <Well, I think that you'll need to pare down this stocking list in a 125. The grouper and the Tusk are large, waste-producing fishes that need lots of space. I can only speak from personal experience with the Dragon Wrasse. I had one for years and it was a real hell-raiser! Not aggressive in that it chased down fishes, but it was always "in someone's face", challenging other fishes and generally acting like it owned the place. A real character. And these fishes do, of course, dig like mad when they settle in for the night. Something to think about!> I've found your FAQs very helpful in the past, and hope you can be a help again. <Hope that this information is useful to you...Remember, stock for the long term; consider the ultimate size, needs of all fishes that you consider. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Bristle Worms Dear Bob, My boyfriend and I set up a marine tank about 2 months ago. Everything is going fine, but we've found that we have bristle worms. We made traps and we are starting to get rid of them, yet we have found that we have a fire worm, it's huge! I just wanted to ask, we have been told that if we get a dragon wrasse that it will eat the fire worm, is this correct?  Thank you for taking the time to read this and I look forward to reading your reply.  Amanda Brown >>>Hey Amanda, Why are you so intent on getting rid of bristle worms? Did someone tell you they're harmful? Bristle worms are harmless and are beneficial to your system as they process uneaten foot items and other organic matter. As far as the Fireworm goes, you can never guarantee that one critter will eat another, it just doesn't work that way. A dragon wrasse is a large fish, and something of a commitment in a tank, not something to get just because it might eat a worm. You neglected to tell me how large your tank is, but dragon wrasses need a 100 gallon tank or so long term. In the short term you can get away with 72 gallons or so. Good luck Jim<<<

- 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 -- >

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 crab, 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 have 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>
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 anemones, 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>

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>

Dragon Wrasse Hi Robert, I just bought a Dragon Wrasse 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 advice 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 coarse 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>

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