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Peacock Wrasse

Macropharyngodon Bipartitus


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The Peacock Leopard Wrasse is one of 11 currently known species of Macropharyngodon, and although all are incredibly beautiful, this genera is considered very delicate and does have some special...

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The Peacock Leopard Wrasse is one of 11 currently known species of Macropharyngodon, and although all are incredibly beautiful, this genera is considered very delicate and does have some specialist care requirements that must be fulfilled by the advanced aquarist if these fish are to acclimatise well to life in captivity. In the wild, the Peacock Leopard Wrasse is found over mixed sand, rubble, and coral areas of lagoons and sheltered seaward reefs to depths of 30m (98ft), where it occurs singly, in pairs, or in large aggregations of females, and is usually observed browsing for molluscs and foraminiferans amongst the substratum. This leopard wrasse requires a very mature, spacious aquarium with plenty of live rock and sand that supports its natural diet on an ongoing basis, if it is to thrive. If added to a newly set up tank, it will starve to death. There should be plenty of hiding places amongst the rockwork, with enough depth of substrate (7.5cm/3” of fine sand) for the fish to bury if it feels threatened. Because of the difficulties in feeding this leopard wrasse, it should not be kept with fish that require a similar food source to survive, as otherwise one species may out-compete the other. There should be relatively calm areas in the tank that allow it to locate food successfully. Tankmates should be peaceful and of an easygoing nature so that the Peacock Leopard Wrasse does not feel harassed and subsequently stops venturing out to feed. Groups can sometimes be kept together successfully (added simultaneously) but larger numbers should only ever be considered for exceptionally large aquaria, as in the average sized aquarium, natural prey will deplete too quickly with that many fish requiring the same diet. Do not house with other Macropharyngodon species or pugnacious dottybacks and hawkfish, as they will fight for territory. When choosing your leopard wrasse, check that its body is not emaciated, and that it is actively searching for food. It is not uncommon for a newly added leopard wrasse to hide beneath the substrate whilst it adjusts to its new surroundings and altered circadian rhythm; in such cases it is best to leave them be, they will usually begin to explore within a couple of days. These fish require stable and optimal water conditions at all times, so a good filtration and maintenance regime is a must. Ensure that the aquarium has tight fitting coverslides with no small gaps in the hood, as these fish are expert jumpers. May also be seen on sale as Blue Star Leopard Wrasse, Divided Leopard Wrasse, Rare Wrasse, Splendid Leopard Wrasse, or Vermiculate Leopard Wrasse. Not recommended for beginners. Very challenging to feed. This species will spend many hours searching out micro-invertebrates living in amongst the live rock and substrate. It must be provided with natural prey. A constant supply of tiny live foods for this purpose can be cultured in a fishless refugium. Will often take vitamin-enriched brineshrimp, and sometimes Mysis, but this alone will not provide enough sustenance.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Latin NameMacropharyngodon Bipartitus
Tank SizeLarge
Care LevelModerate
Reef SafeReef Safe


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