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Family: Labridae

Species in Genus Larabicus:


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


Although not common, some of the six species in the genus Labropsis occasionally make their way into the aquarium hobby. They tend to do poorly in the reef tank because of their specialized diets. Many in this genus feed exclusively on the polyps of small-polyped stony corals when they reach adulthood. As juveniles, at least some are cleaners (one species also cleans as an adult).

As is the case with a number of obligatory corallivores, switching them to an artificial diet is difficult. Of course, aquarists who keep the corals that these wrasses normally eat (e.g., Acropora species) will probably want to avoid adding them to their tank. The more advanced aquarist who wants to attempt housing these fishes should keep in mind that members of the same species are likely to fight and congeners might also quarrel.

Larabicus quadrilineatus (Red Sea Cleaner Wrasse) is more likely to acclimate to aquarium life than other tubelip wrasse species, but it is by no means easy to keep. As a juvenile, it is a cleaner, and as an adult it is a coral-polyp feeder.