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Choerodon fasciata, Harlequin Tuskfish. Scott W. Michael

Family: Labridae

Species in Genus Choerodon:

Reference: A PocketExpert Guide to Reef Aquarium Fishes
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: SWM


Although best known by the more readily available Harlequin Tuskfish shown in the above photo, this genus contains a few species of tuskfishes occasionally encountered in the fish trade. While most are very durable aquarium residents, they are not well suited to most reef tanks because they get too large, need plenty of swimming room, and have very eclectic diets.

Tuskfishes feed on mollusks, crustaceans, worms, echinoderms, and small fishes. While they do not eat coral, they may well disturb coral colonies when looking for hidden prey. It is possible to house some of the smaller species in the reef aquarium if you are not concerned about keeping snails, small clams, ornamental shrimps, serpent stars, urchins, or sea stars in your reef tank.

Like many of the larger wrasses, tuskfishes are much less destructive as juveniles than they are as adults. They are also more likely to attack and eat tankmates added to the tank after they have attained some size and become fully acclimated.