Care Level: Easy
Reef Compatible: Yes
General Description: The Checkerboard Wrasse, also known as the Marble Wrasse, is native throughout the Indo-Pacific, Fiji, and Australia. Like all wrasses in the genus Halichoeres, the Checkerboard wrasse absolutely requires a moderately-sized to fine sandy substrate in order to be able to bury themselves at night for protection or if felt threatened during daylight. In fact, it is very common for your newly introduced wrasse to immediately bury themselves once released into the aquarium. As juveniles, Checkerboard wrasses have a yellow tail and predominately white-colored body that is mottled in a brown pattern. As they mature, this mottling disappears and the namesake “checkerboard” becomes more clear. Adult Checkerboard wrasses have a bright yellow tail, facial markings, and develop black markings against their white bodies that resemble a checkerboard pattern. Checkerboard wrasses are sought after for not only their active and colorful presence in a reef aquarium, but for their incredible natural ability to control and eliminate nuisance red Planaria flatworms and pyramidellid snails that sometimes hitch hike on corals or live rock. This behavior is exhibited across most Halichoeres wrasses. Checkerboard wrasses can reach a size of approximately 8″.
Diet Requirements: Checkerboard wrasses are carnivores, actively hunting tiny crustaceans (e.g., copepods, featherdusters) throughout the day. A diet consisting of various meaty preparations such as brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, and other mixed frozen foods that contain algae, such as spirulina, will maintain optimal health and coloration. We highly encourage soaking frozen foods in vitamin and fatty acid supplements, as these wrasses have very high metabolisms. Multiple, small feedings per day rather than one large feeding can also help and in turn create more of a natural environment for a Checkerboard wrasse as it would feed in the wild. Checkerboard wrasses will also accept high quality flake or pellet foods, which is great for nutritional gaps and variety.
Care Requirements: An established, minimum 90 gallon aquarium with a 3″ sandbed at the very least is needed for a Checkerboard wrasse. A tight fitting lid is a must because these wrasses are known to jump out of aquariums. Checkerboard wrasses enjoy a variety of rock work and crevices to swim through and around while they hunt. Such live rock arrangements can also help to make it feel secure and encourage more outgoing behavior. Given their peaceful nature, a Checkerboard wrasse should not be kept with overly aggressive species, especially those that can outcompete it in food resources. It is best to add a Checkerboard wrasse before larger or more active fish in order to allow it to acclimate to the environment. Checkerboard wrasses are compatible with other peaceful wrasses, including different species in Halichoeres, though it is best to add them all at once for the best chance at success. Very large specimens could predate on small ornamental shrimps. Recommended water conditions, 72-78° F, KH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, salinity 1.020-1.025.
Purchase Size: Juvenile Small: 1-1/2″ to 2-1/4″; Medium: 2-1/2″ to 3-1/4″; Adult Medium: 2-3/4″ to 3-3/4″; Large: 4″ to 4-3/4″
Note: Your item may not look identical to the image provided due to variation within species. Purchase sizes are approximate.