The Harlequin Tuskfish – Choerodon fasciatus

What would a website about aquarium tips be without fish profiles? Here at Aquarium Tip Tank you will be able to find fish profiles that aren’t too scientific and confusing, but do include all of the necessary information about the natural, wild habitat of the fish and the tips, tricks, and information that you will need to keep the fish in your aquarium and keep it healthy!

First, we’re going to start with the Harlequin Tuskfish (Choerodon fasciatus). The alternating blue-trimmed white and orange strips of this fish make for a beautiful addition to a saltwater aquarium. Fret not, the four protruding blue teeth may make this fish appear ferocious, but it is actually relatively docile.

The Harlequin Tuskfish is part of a large wrasse family, Labridae. It can be found from Southern Japan to Australia in a widespread area of the Western Pacific. Specimens from Australia are known for there more intense, brighter colors. There are age differences in coloration as well. Juveniles have black false eye spots at the front and rear of the dorsal fins, on the anal fin, and on the pelvic fins. These are thought to be “protective” spots and disappear as the fish grows. In a healthy aquarium you can typically expect the Harlequin Tuskfish to reach 5 to 7 inches in length. Of course, there are some fish stories out there of the maximum size being 12 inches.

Harleguin Tuskfish are carnivores, generally aren’t picky and should be given a variety of meaty frozen and/or freeze dried seafood. Chopped krill, shrimp, squid, and non-oily fish can be part of a great well-rounded diet or the Harlequin Tuskfish. In the wild, it does use its teth to grasp and shred hard prey such as hard-shelled benthic invertebrates, small crabs, fish and shrimp, but usually avoid the resident shrimp, small fish, crabs, and sessile invertebrates in a healthy, well fed saltwater aquarium. This is not to say that large specimens won’t misinterpret new additions to the aquarium as food, but your best bet is to add any small fish or shrimp after the lights are turned off. Then, be on the look out for a little while and the darkness should give the new additions some time to get acquainted to the tank and find a hiding spot. Tuskfish do not actively eat corals, although they may inadvertently knock some over while searching for prey.

Tuskfish are generally hardy fish with easy to moderate levels of care and maintenance necessary. Like most reef fish they do best when the water conditions of the aquarium are kept with parameters similar to their natural reef environment, but otherwise do not have any special water quality and lighting requirements. Keeping a pH range of 8.0 – 8.4, specific gravity of 1.020 – 1.024, temperature range of 75 – 82 degrees F, and feeding properly should keep the Harlequin Tuskfish happy and healthy.

As usual, the bigger the tank size, the better for a Harlequin Tuskfish. If you do happen to get that specimen that grows to 12 inches long, it will definitely have some girth to go along with it. A minimum of 60 gallons is recommended, and if it grows bigger than the typical 5 to 7 inch aquarium Tuskfish, you’ll definitely want to have a bigger tank.

A substrate is optional for the Harlequin Tuskfish since it doesn’t bury itself in the sand at night, but a sandy, crushed coral substrate can always help with biological filtering and is recommended. It is also recommended to have live rock that is arranged with overhangs, openings, and caves for hiding and a sense of security for the Tuskfish. In the wild they are generally found as single specimens patrolling coral rubble, sandy areas, and areas of caves and overhangs on the reef.

You should probably not keep more than one Harlequin Tuskfish in your aquarium. More often than not, they are found alone on the reef, and their external characteristics do not make it easy to distinguish males from females.

As always, make sure you research your Local Fish store! Make sure they partake in conservation practices to keep the ocean reefs thriving! Make sure they have a live specimen guarantee, and you read it!

Any questions about the Harlequin Tuskfish? Leave your comments below. They are a great and beautiful fish for your marine aquarium!