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Old 03/07/2018, 12:24 PM   #1
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Blue Spotted Puffer being harassed by Blue Streak Cleaner Wrasse...


I have a Blue Streak Cleaner Wrasse that my GF absolutely thought was gorgeous and had to have. He was in the tank for ~2 days before I added my blue spotted puffer.

The puffer was out and swimming around the tank last night while the wrasse was sleeping/hiding but now that it's day and the wrasse is out the puffer won't come out of his little cave he chose in the live rock.

I did reach down with some tongs and fed the puffer some mysis and he ate it up. It didn't take him long at all to figure out the tongs meant food and he ate well.

That said I don't want to stress the puffer out if the cleaner wrasse is harassing him. I do understand how the cleaner wrasse is supposed to 'clean' the fish so to speak - but the type of nipping/biting this wrasse is doing to the puffer doesn't seem beneficial and seems like harassment.

When I was feeding the puffer I managed to get him to come out of his cave with food/the tongs but as soon as he saw the blue streak wrasse he would go back into his hiding spot in a hurry.

It's my understanding that puffers are not easily intimidated and will defend themselves/stand up for themselves but with him being so new I think he's a bit timid.

I have isolated the wrasse to a floating breeder for now while I decide what to do.

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Old 03/07/2018, 04:21 PM   #2
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Sometimes a wrasse will focus on spots or markings thinking that they're flatworms or parasites... with typical fish, the harassed fish can just drive the cleaner away with a bit of aggression. Your puffer doesn't have the dexterity or speed to chase the cleaner away.
I'd keep the puffer and trade the wrasse in. Cleaner wrasses have notoriously short lifespans in captivity, but your puffer could be with you for years if it's well cared for.

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Old 03/08/2018, 08:02 AM   #3
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I've found that cleaner wrasses and puffers don't mix. Eventually puffers develop an open sore spot from being picked at by the wrasses (their lack of scales probably contributes to this too), the wrasses then hone in on that sore spot and continue to make it worse and worse.

Patience is a reefer's best tool.
Secret Xenia lover. M.S. Marine Biology
Staff - Marine Discovery Center, St. Petersburg FL
Tampa Bay Reef Club BOD 2018

Current Tank Info: 34g modded Solana
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Old 03/08/2018, 04:24 PM   #4
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Thw wrasse is just super hungry. They really dont do very well in tanks that do not have a larger fish population to feed off of. They can survive if you have a healthy pod population, but it's their nature to eat off fish.

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Old 03/08/2018, 04:34 PM   #5
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Well, there is reason why people say dont buy cleaner Wrasses...

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Old 03/08/2018, 04:55 PM   #6
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You can, you just need to provide the proper environment for them. Mine is almost 4 years old. But he has plenty of large fish to feed off of without being a pest. And I have a large, well established fuge which feeds plenty of pods for him to munch on in between. He's probably the most social fish in my tank. Be it to other fish, or meeting us at the glass.

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Old 03/09/2018, 11:04 AM   #7
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After I let the wrasse out of 'jail' he ate quite a bit of nori I had in the tank for the Tangs. He stopped harassing the puffer and has been eating mysis and nori and brine shrimp.

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Old 03/09/2018, 11:23 AM   #8
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It’s really not true that cleaner wrasses are difficult anymore. I have had one in my 90 for 2 1/2 years, and one in a little 30g for over a year. If you get the African ones they are very tough fish. Mine will eat mysis, flakes, pellets, clam, basically anything I throw in there.

For the original poster though, they can pester some fish and it’s not likely to improve with your puffer. I think you’ll need to make a choice on which to keep.

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