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FAQs on Harlequin Tuskfish, Choerodon fasciata, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

Related Articles: Harlequin Tuskfish, Tuskfishes, Genus Choerodon,

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

Including the other life in the system... yes. Genus Herpetolitha Eschscholtz 1825. Irregularly elongate colonies (not just individual polyps) with an axial furrow containing many expansive mouths.

Harlequin tusk throwing up 3/21/11
Sorry to bother you as I'm sure you are busy, but I am concerned about my new Tuskfish and I was hoping you could help.
I just brought him home from the LFS, acclimated him, and placed him in a 55 gallon quarantine. After being in the 55 for about 10 minutes, he appeared to throw up.
The material appears to be shrimp shell. He is very active and curious and he does not appear to be panicking at all.
<Then I would not either>
At the LFS, he readily ate pellets and the owner did state that the fish had shrimp earlier. Could this be the result of the stress experienced during the move from the store to his new home?
<I do think so, yes>
Would this be common with the consumption of shrimp shell?
<Mmm, not really>
As a side question, I am having trouble deciding if he is Australian or not. He displays characteristics of both. Can I send you a picture and get your opinion?
Thanks in advance,
<Welcome now and then. Bob Fenner>
Re: Harlequin tusk throwing up 3/21/11

Thank you for your response. I was hoping he was just a little shocked from the move and not really sick. I will be sure to keep a close eye on him though. He has had 2 feedings of shrimp ( without the shell ) without any problems since I wrote you yesterday. He is eating well and seems very happy. He spends most of his time pacing the tank and exploring his new territory.
<Mmm, actually, seems to be reacting to its reflection in the side panel.
I'd cover one end with some sort of non-reflective material. Paper will do>
I have enclosed a couple of pictures for your review. They aren't the best, but I couldn't convince him to pose for me. I guess it's much better to have an active Tuskfish then to have him motionless and easy to photograph.
The more I look at him, the more unsure I am of his origin. He does have the blue on his teeth if that helps any. Any input you have would be greatly appreciated. In your opinion, between the markings and his active and curious behavior, does it sound and look like I have a healthy specimen?
I know only time will really answer this question, but your educated guess sure means a lot to me.
Thanks again,
<Mmm, you may well be able to "tell" the origin or at least that this fish does not hail from Australia by the price. Was it hundreds of U.S. dollars retail? Bob Fenner>

Re: Harlequin tusk throwing up 3/21/11
He was actually priced really well, $60.00 US, and this was my largest clue that he is not Australian.
<Ah yes; totally agreed>
My only concern is having a healthy and happy fish. From hours of reading on your site I have learned that the Australian variety seems to do better than the others.
<In general, yes>
With the combination of the good price and the activity and personality of this particular fish, I figured I would give him a shot. As long as you think he looks\sounds good, then I couldn't be happier with him. I will cover the tank with paper and see if it helps him settle in. Thanks again for all of your help.
Hope to talk again soon.
<Thank you, BobF>

Re: Harlequin tusk throwing up 4/15/11
Just wanted to give you an update. The Harlequin is doing absolutely wonderful<ly>. He is currently in his fourth week of quarantine and is sharing the tank with my male wolf eel. It's a long story if how the eel ended up in there, but he basically got aggressive when I introduced a female.
<Ah yes. Does happen... Like neotropical cichlids, need to be separated with a porous barrier... given room to "go to opposite corners" should there be trouble>
Anyway, the Harlequin is extremely active, very friendly when my son and I approach the tank, and comes right up to the surface when it's feeding time. He also eagerly eats everything we have offered. I just wanted to say thank you for all of the wonderful advice. I have only lost two fish (a cream angelfish we had for 3 months and a chocolate tang that only made it through 3 weeks of quarantine) since I started a saltwater tank a year and a half ago. If it weren't for your wonderful site and staff, Im sure I would have lost a lot more. Thanks again.
<Thank you for this report Scott. BobF>

Large Australian Harlequin Tuskfish Question 1/15/11
Hello Crew. I went through your sections on Harlequin Tuskfish and could not find the answer, so I will ask it here. I have owned 2 Indian Ocean Harlequin Tuskfish in the past and both did not fare well. Two days ago I sprung for a 7" long, 3 to 4" tall Australian Harlequin Tuskfish.
<Wow! A big boy (or girl likely)>
I freshwater and Formalin dipped him, and placed him in my 8ft x 3 ft x 3ft show tank. He has been actively swimming and is the largest fish in the tank by far. He is a magnificent looking specimen.! My only concern is, that I have had him in the tank about 40 hours now and he is not interested in food. I do not have much experience with a fish this size as I normally buy fish small and grow them. I soak all my food in a Selcon, Vitachem and garlic mixture. I have tried squid tentacle, clam, Mysis shrimp, and krill.
He sometimes looks at it, but that is all thus far. I also tried the same food items without soaking them and he ignored these as well. No one is bothering him, in fact the other fish wisely so, look scared of him. I
checked the parameters of the tank and they are spot on. Any advice you could give me, as always would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
<Mmm, well, this may seem strange (as in odd) but I strongly encourage you to try a larger diameter grade of Spectrum (brand) pelleted food. Very palatable, sinking... and completely nutritious. Do have a read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/SpectrumFoodsF.htm
Other foods might tempt this Choerodon into feeding... but... Bob Fenner>
Re: Large Australian Harlequin Tuskfish Question 1/15/11
I will head to my LFS and purchase some large pellets. I already feed all of my fish Spectrum pellets (small and medium).
<Ahh! Am glad to not have to make some sort of endorsement/promotion>
Thank you as always for the very quick response Mister Fenner. When should I start to worry as far as this fish not eating if the Spectrum pellets do not entice it?.
<I do not, though I do suggest adding vitamins occasionally to all foods and the system water>
Many Thanks,
<As many welcomes. BobF>
Harlequin Tusk Hiding 10/27/08
Bob, <Scott V. with you today.> I've written you before on my recently added Australian Harlequin Tusk, who has been in my tank for a month now, was eating very well, but just over the past few days has taken to hiding in one particular spot in the rocks for the entire day, coming out only for food and now even not much for food either. I noticed that he was chased once or twice by a Harlequin Sweet Lips that is in the tank, who has normally been docile to all other tankmates. <These two may get along in a very large system, but in most home aquariums some run ins are to be expected with these two very large fish.> I get particularly concerned when it comes to unusual behavior like this, compounded by the lack of eating like he had been..what do you suggest? Removal of the Sweet Lips? <I would, not an easy fish to keep anyhow. How does the Tusk look when it does come out?> Patience? Thank you so much. Charles <Welcome.>
Re: Large Australian Harlequin Tuskfish Question 1/17/11

Hello again Mister Fenner or whomever I get from the "Crew". I did purchase some of the 7mm Spectrum Pellets but the Tuskfish simply would not eat.
<Do keep offering a few pellets mixed in w/ other foods...>
I also went to the Chinese market for my seafood re-supply and found some fresh Octopus Tentacle, shrimp and scallop, she refused those as well.
Today she was hunkered deep in a live rock cave and breathing very rapidly.
<Mmm, not good>
Tonight as I was doing my evening maintenance I found her Dead in the corner of the aquarium. No visible sign of disease or anything to make me suspicious, and brilliant coloration.
<IF this animal was collected in Australia, of a certainty it was not cyanided. I suspect simple "stress" at most fault here... That this animal was so large... oh, I see your comments below re>
This is one of the most puzzling fish related episodes ever for me. I am going to replace her when I can find another specimen. Do you think the 7" size I received is good, or should I try a smaller one?.
<Definitely smaller... 4 inches, five overall maximum length. Too small and too large species of all species don't ship, adapt as well to captive conditions as some "happier" mid-range>
I do swear by Spectrum Pellet though, buy it bulk when I can, and freeze it. My fish have spectacular coloration, and are fat and healthy on this food. I have a 8" Hippo Tang
that is "solid" blue, no fading whatsoever, and his favorite food is Spectrum Pellet. I have another question for you concerning a different issue and will address it in a new message. Thank you again Mister Fenner for your attempt to aid me here. It is as always, greatly appreciated.!
Many Thanks.
<Welcome my friend. BobF>

Re: Harlequin Tusk Hiding 10/27/08 The Tusk has now stayed in his hiding place for two days straight. He looks fine and eats from a feeding stick, though not nearly as much as he used to. Sweetlips has been in there for 6 months. <Wow, you have done well with this fish.> Should I give the Tusk some time, or try to remove Sweetlips immediately? Charles <Assuming all else is indeed well with the Tusk, you will have to choose if the two are not getting along. Scott V.>

Harlequin Tusk, fdg. I have a 6.5" Australian Harlequin Tusk that has been in my tank for 9 days. He initially ate whole krill, but sparingly. Now he spits out more than he consumes, although he has always seemed to move the krill pieces around in his mouth, spitting out, then grabbing again with mouth and so on. There are many eager tankmates willing to quickly grab his spit outs. Is this normal for this species? <Not atypical, esp. with a newly caught/shipped, introduced specimen> What else might get him to be more aggressive in his eating? <Mmm, something smaller, live... glass shrimp are likely available to you> How much should he be eating in a day? <Meaty foods all told about the volume/size of the eye of the fish> What else to feed him? He is the most spectacular fish I've had and I will do anything to maintain him. Thank you so much. Charles <Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/tuskfdgfaqs.htm and the linked files above. There may be more going on here... Bob Fenner>

- Tuskfish Tusks 7/7/06 - Hello my name is Adrian and I have been reading up on your articles for some time now and they are very educating, thank you for your service to this wonderful hobby . I have had a Aussie Harlequin tusk for just about a year now and it is rather large 7 inches head to fin. I was wondering about his tusk?? <???> when will they decide to grow out? <Soon enough - these fish aren't quick growers and the tusks are even slower to show up in developing fish.> is there anything i can do to help him grow them? <Not really.> I also have a question on feeding. I usually feed him krill or large bait shrimp bought at the local fishing store.. i figure it to be a little cheaper and funner for him to eat. he also eats a lot of green algae when the tangs eat. so far he is healthy and has beautiful coloration but wanted to know what else he might like to eat or might help him grow his teeth? <Not really - this diet sounds quite adequate.> well thank you for your time and continue the great work on your site. Thanks again Adrian <Cheers, J -- > Re: Harlequin Tusk, fdg. 6/25/06 - Hi Crew <Hello Wayne> Just a quick question for you on my beautiful new 5" Harlequin Tusk! I just can't find an answer to my question on WWM or the web in general. As I wrote below, I am feeding my HT twice a day. I feed raw frozen foods, shrimp and scallops mostly. I feed him with a feeding stick. How big should the pieces be? <Bite size.> Currently I feed him 2 pea sized chunks everyday. 1 in the morning and 1 in the late afternoon. Can I feed him 1 large piece everyday, instead of doing it twice? <If you agree to eat once a day, should be fine. Otherwise, two or three small feedings per day are much better.> Thanks a ton! <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Wayne

Harlequin Tuskfish/Feeding/Compatibility 6/5/06 Hello Crew! <Hello Wayne> Thanks for the great site! I don't know what I'd do without you folks! <You're welcome> I have a few feeding questions. I am currently feeding my Volitans Lion (8 in), and my snowflake eel (10 in), raw/thawed shrimp, scallops, and occasional flounder. They are soaked in Kent Zoe for 1.5 hrs prior to being frozen. I feed them both every other day. We've had the Lion for about 8 months now. He's grown about 10% (maybe an inch) during that time. My questions: Is this growth rate normal? <Hard to say, much depends on nutrition, water quality, tank size, etc> (we're hoping he'd grow faster) Is it ok to feed him daily, instead of every other day? <I think every other day is a little much for the lionfish. Twice weekly would suffice.> and will he grow faster if we feed him daily? <More than likely, I do, but I'm not getting any taller, just wider.> I have a Harlequin Tuskfish on the way. I plan to feed him the same foods as the Eel and Lionfish. <Would be fine.> I plan to feed him 2 times per day. Does this sound ok? Is there anything else I should be feeding the Tuskfish? <What you mentioned is fine. Keep in mind, the Tuskfish will eat any small crustaceans present in your tank. They use those tusks very efficiently. Do search for info on the Wet Web before writing. The information you requested is easily found on our site.> Thanks for everything! You guys/gals are great! <You're welcome, again. James (Salty Dog)> Wayne

Re: Tuskfish <<Greetings, JasonC here...>> I recently purchased a harlequin tusk and was just wondering is it possible for their teeth to break on mussel shells and if so will the teeth grow back. <<Yes, they can and do break their teeth, and yes... providing no damage to the underlying jaw structure, the teeth do grow back.>> This is a very predominant feature with this fish and would be a great disappointment if the teeth did not grow. <<It would be, but surely it is not the only feature of these magnificent fish. Mine has only three tusks after smashing its face in during quarantine. It's still a handsome fish. Cheers, J -- >>

- Harlequin Tusk Food Preferences - One more thing. . . I just read that they need live crustaceans for survival. Is this true? <I hope not, otherwise mine is doomed.> I really hesitate feeding anything live due to diseases. What are your thoughts? <There are other good reasons to not feed live foods, but most importantly in this case, you just don't need to. Tuskfish will greedily accept just about any meaty seafood - squid, clams, shrimp, crabs, Mysis shrimp, fish... all are fair game and really what you should be feeding these fish. Skip the brine shrimp. No worries.> Thanks. <Cheers, J -- >

- Tusk Issues - Hey there again, <Hey.> I have a question about a harlequin tusk. I've had it about three weeks and I still haven't viewed it eating. <These fish can go quite a while without eating.> I have all my water parameters up to par and all, plus I always have a mussel, clam or squid in there for it to eat. I also feed Mysis and brine to my other fish but he never seems interested. The tusk swims around a lot and doesn't seem stressed or ill, and it was at the LFS for a month and was eating supposedly squid. Another part of my question I guess would be should I return it? <For the reasons you list? I wouldn't... the store will likely only give you half the original price, if that.> I'm having a slight ich problem, only one of my fish shows signs once in awhile, like two or three spots, but I'm about to treat with hyposalinity anyway. <In my opinion, hyposalinity in an of itself will cure little to nothing - it needs to be part of a system of treatment, quarantine, copper, etc.> Also the tusk isn't from Australia, which I prefer to have. But I have noticed that one of guys who replies to emails says he has a tusk that isn't from Australia (Ian I believe). <Could also be me, I have a non-Australian tusk.> And I'm wondering why he opted to get a specimen that wasn't if they are supposed to have better coloration and be more hardier? <Not necessarily less hardy, certainly different colorations, but for me it had to do with size. I wanted a smaller tusk to start with [less than four inches] and Australian tusks rarely come in that size. Since that time, I've seen them at the wholesalers, but now that I have the fish, I'm going to keep it. For me they are pets, and I can't just ditch them when they lose their appeal or I see something I'd rather have.> The reasons I would want to return the tusk is because 1.) he isn't eating 2.) I'm about to have to treat my fish anyway 3.) if the Australians are that much better, i guess the downside to this though would be about $30 extra and having to mail order it but all things considered what should i do? <I can't help you with this. I would keep the fish... you need to make your own decision.> Thanks once again Brandon <Cheers, J -- >

- Harlequin Tusk Hunger Strike - I have a 120 gallon tank with excellent filtration and with a banana wrasse, harlequin tusk, yellow tang, volitans lionfish, orange roughy, maroon clown, large spotted grouper. My fish seemed to be all happy together until I started to notice my banana wrasse chasing my tusk. I have had my harlequin tusk since October and he has been doing extremely well with all my fish but now for some reason he has completely stopped eating. I have tested my water and it test okay. I have tried to feed the tusk live food and it is not interested at all in anything. My banana wrasse just started to chase my tusk around recently but they seem to leave each other alone for the most part. What is wrong with my tusk? Why is it not eating? I don't understand, the fish does not show any apparent disease or infection. What should I do to get him to eat again.. Please respond soon. Thank you very much for your time. <It's difficult to say exactly why your tusk has chosen to stop eating, but it is possible the aggression from the other wrasse has something to do with it. The item I've found that tusks find irresistible is whole shell fish - the most convenient is the TMC whole cockle, which are easily opened and dropped in the tank. The only problem is getting past the other fish and to the tusk directly - especially if the banana wrasse decides he doesn't want the tusk to have that food. Do keep in mind that a tusk fish in good health can go several weeks without eating so you've got some time to work this out. Short of removing this fish to a separate tank where it can keep to itself, you might want to try rearranging the rock work to break up territories. I wish I had a concrete answer for you but unless all the fish you list are all small, your fish are actually socially crowded and it's not easy for these problems to sort themselves out without the loss of a fish or two. On the reef, the tusk would simply swim far enough away to the point where the banana wrasse gives up chase - in your tank, this is not an option. Cheers, J -- >

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