Bird Families

Chile / Ochetorhynchus melanurus

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Tailed wrasse, orange-striped iris, pink-striped wrasse. It is often confused with Christmas, Pink Face, or Ornate Wrasse. This species was first described in 1851. Blicker, who named it the less commonly used name Duskytailed iris and gave it the Latin name H. hoevenii.

Scientific name: Halichoeres melanurus
Size: Adult fish can reach a size of about 15 cm. Usually in the trade it is easy to find adolescents about 3.75 -5 cm.

Habitat: Western Pacific Ocean - from Japan and south to the Great Barrier Reef, east to Samoa and Tonga

Species characteristics: This fish has an elongated torpedo-shaped body with red lines from the mouth to the base of the tail. In adolescents of this wrasse, the body is painted blue, on which red stripes are already visible. As puberty progresses, the color becomes more intense. The head of this species of fish is colored yellow or green, which turn into bluish-blue in the region of the gills. Horizontal stripes become brighter, but less even and, as it were, intermittent. On the body of an adult of this species, vertical blue stripes appear, which start from the dorsal fin to vertical red stripes. The tail of this wrasse is colored blue (blue) with characteristic specks. However, it should be noted that I have seen representatives of this species, which have no specks on the tail.

Habitat: Western Pacific Ocean - from Japan and south to the Great Barrier Reef, east to Samoa and Tonga
Habitat: Mainly in reefs, where it sits on a natural diet, eating small fish, crustaceans, small invertebrates and worms. In terms of social structure, their life resembles a harem, a single large male will monopolize a harem of smaller females. Interestingly, if the male disappears or dies, the largest female takes on the role of male in this harem and starts mating with the smaller females - quickly, usually within an hour. During the next month, the dominant female will behave in the same way as the male, including mating, and a little later she will fully become a male and her body will begin to produce sperm.

Feeding Tips: Tail-spotted wrasse will eat most of the prepared foods, including flakes or tablets. They take brine shrimp, shrimp chopped in a mixer or frozen food well. In fact, I will say from personal experience, it is difficult to say that this wrasse will not eat. Based on its excellent appetite, the wrasse's role in the reef is often identified as a killer of parasites, including flatworms (a species of red planaria), as well as pyramid snails, which can infect molluscs. Smaller representatives of this species are excellent at absorbing headgill molluscs, since their small physique allows them to climb into the crevices of the reef and swim between corals. The downside in the appetite of these fish is that they will instantly pounce on the food in the aquarium, without giving the opportunity small fish get your share of the feed.

Difficulty keeping: (1 = easy - 5 = difficult) This type of fish is very easy to keep if you put them in an already established and healthy aquarium. Halichoeres melanurus has a habit of hunting snails, and as a result, they often move small stones around the aquarium. Another small problem is that this fish grows quite quickly and very soon can reach sizes up to 15 cm in length, which must be taken into account when choosing the size of the aquarium for these wrasses. But its colors become brighter. Based on my experience, I will put the content complexity at "2".

Aggressiveness level: (1 = shy, calm - 5 = aggressive, arrogant) For this indicator, I will also give "2" points. I cannot call these wrasses aggressive, although they pounce greedily on food, not giving other fish to eat. Sometimes interspecies aggression may appear.

Maintenance Requirements: Like all Halichoeres species, this wrasse species needs sand at the bottom of the tank to sleep in. Ideally, it should be soft, granular, like sugar, about 5-7.5 cm thick so that they can burrow into it. Rough substrates should be avoided so as not to harm the health of wrasses.
Reef Aquarium Compatibility: I would highly recommend Tailed Wrasse for keeping clean, as a biological control for unwanted scalp, red planaria and pyramidal snails in your reef aquarium. The minimum size of an aquarium for keeping fish of this species is 250 liters.

Personal experience: I have had the opportunity to keep several representatives of this species for several years. When starting the 600L aquarium, I put four juvenile wrasse into it. For the first few days, I noticed skirmishes and small fights between them, although they did not damage each other. After some time, they lived in peace and harmony. Due to the rapid growth of these fish from 5 cm to 15 cm, in three years I had to give a couple of them to my familiar aquarists. This fish is constantly on the move and hunts for tasty snails. They constantly circle around stones and look into various cracks in search of food. And thanks to their bright color, these wrasses are easy to spot in any corner of the aquarium, and they immediately attract the attention of the audience.

Further reading: Wrasters and Parrots by Scott W Michael

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