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Macropharyngodon meleagris, Leopard Wrasse. Scott W. Michael

Family: Labridae

Species in Genus Macropharyngodon:

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


The 10 species in this genus are undeniably beautiful but delicate and often difficult to keep. They typically suffer during the shipping process and also present feeding challenges.

They do best in a reef tank with an attached refugium. This venue should provide a steady supply of the foraminiferans (shelled protozoans), minute snails, and tiny crustaceans that they normally prey upon. Although leopard wrasses may eventually accept prepared and introduced live foods, the presence of well-established live rock and live sand will provide foraging opportunities.

In many respects, their husbandry is similar to that of the Green Mandarinfish (Synchiropus splendidus). Even if it seems as though your leopard wrasse is getting enough to eat, it sometimes gets thinner and suddenly dies—possibly from intestinal worms. Fenbendazole and piperazine (e.g., Pipzine by Aquatronics) can be used to deworm them.

Other than being a challenge to keep, these wrasses are great additions to the reef aquarium as they will not harm desirable invertebrates. Provide them with a sand bed (at least 2 in. [5 cm] deep) in which to bury.

Facts about MacropharyngodonRDF feed
Family Labridae  +
Image credit SWM  +
Reference A PocketExpert Guide to Reef Aquarium Fishes  +
Text credit SWM  +