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Mystery Wrasse

(Pseudocheilinus ocellatus)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Semi-aggressive   • Maximum Size: 4"
• Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
• Diet: Carnivore   • Origin: Indo-Pacific
• Family: Labridae   • Species: Wrasse   • Aquarium Type: Reef Compatible

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Mystery Wrasse native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

The Mystery Wrasse is one of the most popular, small wrasse species in the aquarium hobby; they make wonderful additions to "nano" systems as well as larger reef aquariums and are often in high demand. Endemic to the deep waters of the Indo-Pacific, Mystery Wrasse are generally found in close proximity to their hiding places among the coral reefs. Due to some of their unique physical characteristics, the Mystery Wrasse has also earned the nicknames of the Tail Spot Wrasse and the Five Bar Wrasse. Mystery Wrasse have a varying pink, purple, to red base coloration with five vertical, white lines on the flanks as well as yellow to orange heads and caudal areas that bleed into their base coloration; They also have a black ocellus spot at the base of the caudal fin that is bordered in white as well as a white band that connects the top of the ocelli from each flank. Mystery Wrasse also have faint, iridescent blue speckling and edging among their translucent fins in addition to various purple to white markings on the face and head.

They are generally peaceful with other fish species, but they will quarrel with conspecifics as well as heterospecific tank mates that intrude on their well established territory; for this reason, they are often added to the aquarium last. Mystery Wrasse are an active and playful species that have become extremely popular within the hobby, often making them hard to acquire; although, they can sometimes be special ordered from a local retailer or found online through various vendors.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Mystery Wrasse in the home aquarium.

Mystery Wrasse are an exuberant species (once established) that require an aquarium of at least 30 gallons (55+ gallons would be considered ideal) and prefer plenty of unobstructed swimming space as well as plenty of live rock for grazing, hiding, and territory. Although they are considered to be a hardy species, quality biological and mechanical filtration in conjunction with a protein skimmer should be used to help ensure optimal water chemistry. As known jumpers (like most wrasse), their aquarium should be provided with a sealed top or hood system in order to prevent injury or escape.

They are an overall peaceful species that will get along well with heterospecific tank mates, although, they should not be housed with conspecifics and should be the last addition to their aquarium environment (once established, they can become territorial with newcomers). Mystery Wrasse make excellent candidates for reef aquariums as they will not harm sessile invertebrates, or larger ornamental shrimp, snails and crabs; however, they may eat small ornamental shrimp and will actively prey on bristleworms, flatworms, and parasitic snails.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Mystery Wrasse.

Mystery Wrasse are carnivores that thrive on tiny crustaceans, zooplankton and other small meaty items in the wild. Their aquarium diet should consist of a well balanced variety of meaty food items such as vitamin-enriched or "gut loaded" live, frozen, and prepared brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, ghost shrimp, chopped krill, chopped crab meat, blood worms, chopped clams, chopped fish, and other meaty marine foods in addition to quality flakes and pellets intended for carnivores and omnivores. Feed 2 to 3 times per day and only what will be consumed within a few minutes.

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