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The last part of your question—
“provided there are enough of
them”—actually hints at the
answer. Since L. dimidiatus
members of its genus are obligate
cleaners that live off the parasites, mucus,
and necrotic tissue of other fish (which, as
you probably know, will actually line up at
coral-reef cleaning stations to be picked clean
by these little wrasses and other cleaning
organisms), keeping them fed within the
confines of the aquarium—even a really
big aquarium—is virtually impossible.
You simply can’t provide a large enough
population of fish to meet their nutritional
needs for the long term (not to mention, we
try to avoid introducing fish with parasites
on them to our tanks to begin with), and
it’s rare to find a specimen that learns
to accept standard aquarium foods. Most
simply starve to death within a few weeks.
In addition to their dismal captive survival
record, I would discourage you from keeping
this species because removing them from the
coral reef has the unintended consequence of
eliminating a vital cleaning station that fish
in the area have come to depend upon.
is a very s
I read an online description of
the blue-streak cleaner wrasse
Labroides dimidiatus that said it
pecialized feeder and should only
be kept by expert aquarists. If it’s a cleaner,
can’t it get all the food it needs from the
other fish in the tank (provided there are
enough of them)?
It sounds like your purple tang
Zebrasoma xanthurum might
be in the early stage of head
and lateral line erosion, or
rtunately, purple tangs seem to be
especially prone to developing this condition.
Tangs and HLLE
I’ve had a purple tang in my
quarantine tank for about three
weeks, and I recently noticed a
—about the size of a pinhead—
on its head right behind its eye. Since I first
observed this, the hole has gotten slightly
larger. The tang has been behaving calmly,
so I don’t think it injured itself. Any idea
what might have caused this? Should I be
worried about it?
My water parameters are all excellent.
The only thing measurable is nitrate, which
tests below 10 parts per million. I’ve been
feeding the tang daily with a formula for
herbivores, along with romaine lettuce. I’m
really frustrated by this, because I was just
a week away from putting the fish into my
main tank, so any help you can give would
be greatly appreciated!
Terre Haute, Indiana
As to “experts” keeping this species, I find
that perplexing. Experts may be more likely
to be familiar with the care requirements of
a challenging species, and some may be more
inclined than the casual hobbyist to go the
extra mile to provide for those requirements,
but no responsible aquarist will try to keep fish
in this genus, since they will die in captivity
regardless of the aquarist’s level of expertise.