Fish Species Profile: Choati Red Leopard Wrasse

by Kevin Kohen on March 24, 2010

Male Choati Leopard Wrasse

Male Choati Leopard Wrasse

Fish of the genus Macropharyngodon are more sensitive to a lot of activity or commotion, and normally do not fare well long term and are not suited for aquaria with numerous established and territorial inhabitants. The ideal way to maintain these fishes properly is to plan for their introduction, and be patient to acquire healthy fish to start with.

Choat’s Leopard Wrasse should ideally be the dominant species in the display, or at least be introduced and established prior to other more active, territorial, or aggressive inhabitants, or even similar shaped fishes. That is one of the most critical factors in determining their success in home aquaria that is overlooked in my opinion; they need to rule the tank.

A well established aquarium at least four feet in length with plenty of hiding places and a 2-4” layer of fine gravel or sand, with an abundance of amphipods and copepods as a natural food source will satisfy their hunting instinct and taste for small crustaceans.

Female Choati Leopard Wrasse

Female Choati Leopard Wrasse

Offering small quantities of enriched frozen foods 6-8 times per day will keep them fat and happy. They seem to enjoy moderate current, and appear to adapt well in moderately lit reef aquaria. Our harem of fish are maintained in a 120 gallon mixed reef aquarium with 2 MP40’s on alternating long pulse mode, and an 8 bulb T5 lighting system suspended 4” above the water surface.

The main difference is in coloration and physical size (males are much larger than females). Males develop pale blue or lime green stripes on their face in between the orange, from the mouth to the operculum. This coloration will also be visible between the eyes and on top of the head, as well as outlining the dark spot on the operculum. Their orange random spotted pattern will sometimes form larger spots that can join together resembling horizontal stripes down the length of the body, and lastly, the soft dorsal and anal fins will take on a yellow or blue/green hue, which alternates with the orange horizontal stripes.

Visit the fish section of the Diver’s Den for more rare fish!

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About the author: Kevin earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Wright State University, and is an avid marine life photographer, lifelong aquarist, and marine fish enthusiast. He has worked in the aquarium industry since 1983. He launched the web site in 2000 and designed and oversaw the installation of the Drs. Foster and Smith Aquaculture Coral and Marine Life Facility, which opened in July of 2005. Kevin is currently the Director of LiveAquaria at Drs. Foster and Smith. See more articles by Kevin Kohen.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Bonnie Ramba March 24, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Good choice! I love the colors 🙂

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