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FAQs on Harlequin Tuskfish, Choerodon fasciata, Systems

Related Articles: Harlequin Tuskfish, Tuskfishes, Genus Choerodon,

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

Nothing delicate or consumable that you want to keep. Hippocampus denise Lourie & Randall 2003. Denise's Seahorse.

Harlequin Tusk, sys.    6/9/11
Hi there Crew, I have been thinking of adding a tusk to my tank and was researching your web site that I love. I came across this article "Strange Harlequin Tusk Behavior? 8/24/08" I noticed the temp was at 83. I live up in North Idaho when it hits 83 I am rolling to the coolest part of my house. I am from Las Vegas and you would think I love the heat but no.
That's why I moved up to North Idaho. 83 seems hot for tusk though Australia probably gets hotter.
<Not underwater, no>
LOL I was just thinking maybe his tank was too hot and maybe he was trying to cool off. Thanks for thoughts. Jim from N. Idaho
<Doubtful, but can't be entirely ruled out! Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Harlequin tusks OK in acrylic tanks?   3/23/11
OK, I've been reading up on Harlequin tusks and reef aquariums. I have an 180 gallon acrylic reef aquarium. The possibility of losing snails and crabs (and maybe a cleaner shrimp) doesn't bother me. I do have 2 maxima clams and I've read that they would probably be OK since they're large. I also have a couple of large tropical abalone (will they be OK?).
<About the same risk as the Tridacnids. No guarantees>
Now for the deal breaker, I've read that they can scratch acrylic tanks with their tusks?
<Not often, no>
I'd really like to get one since I've read such great things about their personality, but if they're not OK and will damage my acrylic tank, then I may have to reluctantly turn away :(.
<If you're not concerned for your mollusks, I wouldn't worry re the tank. Bob Fenner>

Suitable Tank Size For Harlequin Tuskfish? -- 10/28/07 Hello, <<Howdy>> I have 120cm long, 47.5cm wide and 55cm tall reef aquarium. It's about 70 or 80 gallon. <<Hmm, closer to 120-gallons'¦by my calculation>> Do you think it will be suitable for my tank size to have Harlequin Tusk? <<Yes, this tank size is quite suitable for this fish. Please do read here and among the associated links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/wrasses/choerodon/faciata.htm >> I was thinking to have about 6 inches long of this fish. Thank you, Ferdinand <<Regards, EricR>>

Harlequin Tuskfish Tankmates  7/10/06 Hi guys, <One of the gals here'¦..Leslie with you this afternoon> My question is about an Aussie tusk. <One of my favorite fish!> I have a 125g, 55g sump, 140lb LR,ev400 skimmer. Livestock includes a 5" Map puffer, and a 2" dragon wrasse. Will the tusk be threatened by either of these fish? <Should be fine.> Will the tusk be ok in the long run? <Yes, I would think so.> A larger tank is in the works (300G) as I am prepared to give these fish a healthy environment as they grow and mature. <That is very good to hear!> Thanx, extremely helpful site! Marc, Folsom, Ca <Glad to be of service, Leslie.>

Could I keep a Harlequin Tuskfish in a 75 gallon tank 9/1/05 Hello again Thanks for the speedy response on the puffer. and if it helps any he has been laying on the bottom of the tank and has been breathing rapidly. Sorry for all the questions lately but I was wondering if I could keep a Harlequin Tuskfish in a 75 gallon tank, I think they get pretty big. His tankmates would be a snowflake eel and others I have not decided yet. And I will try feeding the puffer opened bivalves. Thanks Again Patrick Nikiel <Howdy Patrick, regarding the H.T. (one of my all time favorites) please avoid this particular fish for now. They not only get large, but they require lots of open water swimming space. They can take off like mini-missiles, knock things over and/or injure themselves in the process. When you see a full grown Australian H.T. in all its glory you will understand why these particular fish need the swimming room and why a 75 gallon tank for them is absolutely too small. - Ali>

Let's Play Squish the Tuskie  >I've had a Tusk in my tank for about 18 months that I bought as a 1 inch juvenile. for the majority of that time I've been fighting a losing battle with extremely bad Cyanobacteria outbreaks in my tank resulting in some pretty aggressive cleaning. At long last my battle seems finally over (I added a much more powerful skimmer, a couple of power heads, used different salt and a sifter goby). All this time the fish has been (some what happy) in the tank how its hasn't really grown a great deal (he's probably about 4-5 inches now). He also still seems to have juvenile markings (the 3 spots) and very faint adult colouring. He shares a 45 gallon (UK) tank with a 4 inch star/strips puffer and the goby. I use to have a Regal/Hippo tang as well however he spent most of his time bullying the tusk (not excessively). He's now gone!  >>Oh my goodness! No wonder it's not growing! I don't mean to yell, but you have a very badly overstocked tank for the ultimate adult sizes of all these fish. The Tuskie won't grow without good room to swim about.. Oh my, so much here. Please, reassess what animals you can have in such a small system. I can't offer you a method by which to gain adult coloration for this fish in a tank this size, I'm afraid.  >Will he remain like this for the rest of his life (I.e. its too late) or will he eventually colour change. I had been feeding him brine shrimp since I got him but have recently (over 2/3 months) changed his feed to be krill shrimps and mussel which does seem to have made a difference to his appearance.  >>Brine shrimp is incredibly nutritionally deficit, and unfortunately, while filling his belly, you've effectively been starving him. He MAY pull out with a big change in his living conditions (a system double that size would really be more in order here - but we can double check with Jason C on this, Tuskies are his "thing"). I'm very glad you've changed up his feed, but you will also need to add more variety AND nutrition. If you can find it there in the UK, get some Selcon supplement right quick, and begin soaking all the fishes' food in it. Again, however, I implore you to reassess the animals you have in that tank, or seriously consider getting the group into a system closer to 100+ gallons for their longevity, present health, and good mental status.  >Also is there anyway to tell his origin?  >>No, not without knowing the shippers and suppliers. If you're asking whether or not he may hail from Indonesia or thereabouts, my guess is that he's likely an Aussie fish or he wouldn't have lasted this long.  >thanks, Bobby B  >>You're welcome, Bobby. I'm sorry I haven't got better news for you, but I am very glad you're asking. Marina

Popping crustaceans, crowded Tuskfish Hi Was hoping you could help me out with a couple of questions. 1) I have been hearing a popping noise coming from my tank. Its a bit different to the clicking noise that I have experienced before. I have managed to get a look at part of it and I thought it may have looked like a shrimp. I am basing that on its little pinchers (not sure of the technical name) at the front. But it was also kind of spider looking. Perhaps there are a few things crawling around. <... likely either an alpheid or mantis shrimp> Last night I noticed something strange lying in the substrate. It looked like a brown cigarette butt. I thought that this could have been the shrimp shedding? <Could be> When I woke up this morning it had disappeared. So I assume it was eaten.  Does this sound like a pistol or mantis shrimp? <Either, neither...> I was told that a pistol shrimp can "stun" fish with its noises. <Mmm, not its noise... but its powerful claw> I have a harlequin tusk fish in a live rock only tank. Should I try to take this "shrimp" out or is it okay to leave it. I assume if it is a mantis then I should take it out? <Please read re these organisms... Linked here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marind5_5.htm> 2) As I mentioned before I have a Harlequin Tusk in a live rock only tank with a skimmer and sump (bio balls). The tank is around 50 gallons and the fish is probably around 6 inches. I would like to add some more fish - like something really small maybe a few Chromis  or something with very small bio load. What would u recommend? Obviously I don't want them to get eaten - although I have heard the harlequin isn't too aggressive despite its fangs ;) <Isn't aggressive, but this is a small, too small world for this species> 3) How much should I be feeding the Harlequin? At the moment he gets about 2/3 of a cube a day. About 1/3 in the morning and 1/3 at night. I mix it up a bit with brine shrimp and some marine frozen food which has vitamins and other stuff that is meant to be good. <Please look up and read re the species on WetWebMedia.com> Thanks for your help.. much appreciated!! Regards Simon <Help yourself. Bob Fenner>

Re: Harlequin Tusk Hi Bob, Thanks for the pointers. With regards to the Harlequin Tusk Fish - I was told by the store that it would be suitable for the tank which I had. I wasn't sure myself and so I got a second opinion from another store which agreed that it could be housed in my tank. Given your comment that my tank is too small (which coming from you, I'm sure would be more discerning) What do you think I should now do? <Mmm, plan on either trading the fish in when it is obviously mal-affected, or plan on getting a larger system> Is the stress (on the fish) of taking him out and transporting him back worth it? Or should I just leave him in there as the only fish in the tank ? <Up to you> I've had him in there for about a month and he appears to be quite settled. Thanks Simon <This is a great aquarium species... Have you seen this piece: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/wrasses/choerodon/faciata.htm and the Related FAQs? Bob Fenner>

- Should I Get a Harlequin Tusk? - I have a 120 gallon Oceanic tank, ~5 in. of live sand, ~100 lbs live rock with 30 gallon Oceanic sump, Aqua C 180 skimmer, and 36W UV sterilizer. I change ~20 gallons of water every two weeks using a Python. I presently have an 8 in. volitans lion, a 5 in. clown trigger, a 4 in. Fiji blue- dot puffer, a 3.5 in. tomato clown and a snowflake moray ~15 in. Is my tank maxed out?  <Very close to it... I like to keep things within balance rather than on the precipice of a cliff... so yes, you're about there.>  I have been thinking of adding a harlequin tusk to my tank-should I do this?  <Think given the fact that he'd be the last man in, and that the clown trigger will eventually become meaner, the tusk may have a hard time in this mix.>  If I did get a Harlequin-what size would be best to add to my tank?  <Larger than anyone else, which would certainly push your tank over the limit.>  I'm mostly worried about my trigger and have considered adding a new fish at night while at the same time rearranging my live rock to give them something to worry about besides the newcomer.  <Don't know that this would be enough... they're smart enough to notice the difference when they wake up.> Janine F. <Cheers, J -- >

- Harlequin Tusk Hey Bob, how are you?  <Well... I'm not Bob, but I'm doing well, thanks for asking.>  I just had sort of a stupid question about the Harlequin Tuskfish.  <Not a stupid question at all. The only stupid questions are the ones that remain un-asked.>  I am looking for a more outgoing wrasse with color and was wondering how this fish is in regards to having a good amount of personality after acclimated?  <Ok.>  I have read on WWM and in your book that your favorite wrasse is Coris gaimard because of high intelligence, swimming pattern, and tons of personality etc. Can the Harlequin be compared to this particular wrasse as far as personality?  <Probably not... the harlequin tusk does have a personality, but it's a little more retiring and wary, not an entirely outgoing fish.>  My tank is far to small to keep the Gaimard.  <Then it's too small for a Tuskfish.>  If not, which other wrasse or similar have like personalities that I could fit into a 75g FOWLR with sand bottom?  <How about one of the Pseudocheilinus wrasses? They are very interesting fish.>  Just to give an example of the type of fish I currently have in my tank with interesting behavior and great personality are: Humu Humu trigger and dogface puffer. I want to match these fish with a third with like personality or at least similar.  <Well... you're going to run out of room for even these personalities so you may want to consider a larger tank so that you could have a Coris... would be a good mix with these fish.> Thanks Bob <Cheers, J -- > 

- Harlequin Tusk, Follow-up - Ok thanks for replying. <My pleasure.> All other fish in saltwater don't do it for me and prefer interesting personality rather than color and average personality.  I've tried everything else in the last three years and realize triggers, wrasse, and puffers are my favorite and suit me the best.  Considering I'm only going to have a total of three fish in my 75gal, do you think I could get by with a Humu Humu trigger and Coris Gaimard, and get rid of the puffer? <Really... over the long haul, this tank is too small for any one of the above let alone two or three.> Then there will only be a total of two fish in the tank.  Lastly, I know some of the Coris wrasses need a substrate they can dig in, would a gravel bed instead of a sand bed be sufficient? <It's my observation that this behavior is exhibited mostly by juveniles, but if you want to promote it, you will most certainly need a proper sand bed.> Thanks again <Cheers, J -- >

Tusk, Angel and Pear Trees Yeah Anthony, I am working on the new tank still but the $$$ is a big issue you know.  <indeed for all of us> I'm not parting with the Emperor for months ....I'd miss him too much. The Tusk is about 6in. He's calmed down mucho from his frantic swimming patterns. I'm keeping the lights off for a few more days.  <agreed... be gradual waxing and waning light though> Just for you I'm going to look into a 55gall this weekend.  <if it's for me then lets talk about the 1000gallon saltwater pond in the basement.. heehee!> I'm also going to see how much my LFS guy would give me for all of my stuff (tank, stand, hood).....if I buy a bigger system from him maybe he'll give me a credit towards it. <very good idea> Peace Rick <and peace be with you, my friend. Anthony>

Tuskfish, shoe-horn, time, tolerance I think I hear you but perhaps you could clarify one thing Anthony: You're saying a 30gall tank for 3-6months correct?  <yep... and I apologize that I don't remember the Tusk's size exactly (third tusk ? in three days)... if the little bugger is under 8" then yes...3-6 months> Then would I try to reintroduce? <eh...I was really hoping that you would have a better pulse on that possible bigger tank you were planning. At this point the Tusk would be strong and stable and better able to handle a trade in or move to a bigger tank.> You don't think that giving the Emperor a 2 week timeout will change his attitude when he returns as this won't be his territory anymore? <very unlikely... but you can try pulling the angel instead for a couple of months to let the tusk get established and try the reintroduction. I wouldn't bet the kid's college fund on it though> I agree that the tusk should not have to endure a move. My angel can handle a little stress....the thing is the toughest fish I've ever had (including when I was into the biggest things I could find like Volitans and Tessalatas). <yes... largely agreed, my friend> Problem is I don't want to keep set up a 30 just so I can have another fish.  <well... you do need to always have a QT tank on hand for emergencies for the investment in fishes that you have if not their lives... and smaller tanks just will not work with your taste for big guns.> I don't even have a nice spot for it. Thanks again. Rick <Hmmm... How about alongside the display and just slightly above. In good health times it could be plumbed inline to make a very cool refugium for plants to grow to feed the angel and others (also natural plankton, etc)? Just a thought. Perhaps have the tank ready with one drilled overflow just in case <smile> Kindly, Anthony>

Jason "Tuskman" to the Rescue! <Greetings, Rick, JasonC the ersatz Tuskman here, although I'm not sure I want to know what my 'costume' would look like.> Well I had to do something yesterday and I kind of went against your advice. I didn't have time to set up another tank, and I don't even think a 30 long is big enough for my Emperor or the Tusk. So I brought my Emperor to my LFS and he put him in a brand new 110 reef (to be) set up that doesn't have any other fish in it yet. I'm going to keep him there for a few weeks so that my Tusk can settle in and the Emperor will no longer be king of the castle when he comes back. <if that tank at the LFS is brand, spanking new, we'll have to see if your P. imperator is still there in a couple of weeks. Very sensitive to new-tank syndrome. Likewise, a 7" specimen is likely to eat everything in site in a reef tank, or at the very least pick it to death. The LFS may regret this decision.> I do have another question about the tusks behavior yesterday. Since the Emperor left he basically spent hour after hour swimming in circles along the perimeter of the front glass. He ate several frozen krill. I thought that Tusks basically cruised slowly around the tank. <sure, after they are well settled - it's been my experience that this can take as long as six weeks with a tusk fresh from import. I mean, we're talking about a wild animal here, yes?? Is one reason why quarantine is beyond useful in these situations. The aggression from the Emperor just exacerbated the situation.> This one whips around pretty fast along the glass. <and they are also powerful swimmers, capable of effortlessly leaping out of your tank.> Occasionally he pushes his snout above the water line. Normal? <no> Should I be concerned? <yes> Does Jason C. the "tusk man" have any comments here? <you're hearing them now...> Last time I didn't heed Anthony's advice I got burnt. <there-in is the lesson, perhaps.> I really hope I'm right this time my friend (although I have this bad feeling I'm not). If in two weeks the Emperor comes back and pounds the tusk again then one of them has to go for good. <don't really think two weeks will be enough for the tusk to settle in. As for the Emperor, well... there are just no guarantees and a fish that large is going to make a quick assumption it's OK to be the boss.> I don't have the accommodations for two big tanks at this point. My LFS has a nice 3.5in Asfur that would probably not be a problem but it hardly seems a fair trade for the Emperor (7in.....eats out of my hand.....2x the color of some others I've seen). <Well, I hate to say this but you've made the bed, and now you must sleep in it. I can't tell you which fish to keep. They are both magnificent animals. Perhaps the knowledge gained will be used in advance of the next fish you consider for purchase.> Thanks Rick <You are quite welcome. Cheers, J -->

Harlequin Tusk Thanks so much for your feed back. The tank will be under fished. Only one will be added next month a harlequin Tuskfish.  <wow... so much for under fished :) That puppy pushes a foot long as an adult. With the puffers alone we are still looking at elbow rubbing in the near future. Still... you have time, my friend> Petaluma is the town I live in.  <ahh... very nice. I was just visiting the area a couple of weeks ago. Gave a presentation to the SF reef club (BARE). Very dry this year to say the least! Bought my kitty last year in Geyserville too:)> I'm not related to any tribe. There are many in this area- Miwok, Pomo . and more that I can't remember.  <all fascinating indeed!> Also thank you for writing your book. It is informative, and a good read all around,  <ahh... thank you. Yes... Bob's book is a tremendous work!> Keep writing although I'm hard pressed to come up with any subject you haven't already covered. It really is a masterpiece.  <yes... he is always writing... and we are also collaborating among Wet Web Media friends (Bob, Steve, Zo, myself et al) on a three volume set. We will be covering Reef Invertebrates, Reef fishes and Reef corals in a unique writing style that it seems many folks have come to appreciate from Bob and I :)> When I was in the fish store and said what books do I need to read in order to get this whole thing off the ground it was like a Greek chorus "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist " !!!!!!!!! Thank you again for your time. Gretchen Petaluma <best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Re: Tuskfish Mr. Calfo, thanks for the answers. Harlequin Tuskfish a foot long? <I wish it weren't so in this case. Indeed... it is a max size, with most only getting say 8-10". Still, a heavy feeder and burden on the bio-load. A shame... such a magnificent fish. That settles it... lets talk about building you a 1000 gallon aquarium <smile> Maybe I'll reconsider Look forward to the collaboration . Gretchen <excellent my friend! Kindly, Anthony>

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