Care Level: Moderate
Reef Compatible: With Caution
General Description: The Harlequin Tusk is an extremely beautiful and unique type of wrasse that is native to the Indian Ocean and Australia. Indian Ocean tusks are less brightly colored overall with fewer blue margins in the white stripes than Australian tusks, but both forms have blue-colored teeth that they use to crunch through the shells of invertebrates. Do not let the ferocious appearance of the Harlequin tusk fool you, as they are quite docile and keep to themselves. An adult Harlequin tusk can reach a size of approximately 10″. Note: Tusks collected from Australia are more expensive than those from the Indian Ocean, but they are much hardier, healthier and on average have a longer life expectancy. Because of this, Aquatics Unlimited prefers to support the fishing practices of Australia and stock only the Australian Harlequin Tusk form.
Diet Requirements: Harlequin tusks are carnivores. A diet consisting of various meaty preparations such as brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, mussels, clams, krill and other mixed frozen foods will maintain optimal health and coloration. We highly encourage soaking frozen foods in vitamin and fatty acid supplements, especially for juvenile tusks that have very high metabolisms. Harlequin tusks may also accept high quality flake or pellet foods, and algae sheets.
Care Requirements: An established, minimum 125 gallon aquarium is required for a Harlequin tusk. The tank may need to be larger for a more mature specimen or upgraded accordingly as a juvenile tusk grows. A tight fitting lid is a must because Harlequin tusks have been known to jump out of aquariums. Harlequin tusks enjoy a variety of rock work and crevices to swim through and around while they actively hunt for crustaceans, but make sure to leave some open sandbed space. Upon introduction, a Harlequin tusk can be rather shy but it will become more courageous and bold over time. While the Harlequin tusk will not harm corals, it is to be added “with caution” into a reef aquarium because it will predate on and eat various members of a reef clean-up crew including snails, crabs, urchins and shrimp. A Harlequin tusk would make an excellent addition to a fish only with live rock aquarium. Tusks should not be added into an aquarium with overly pugnacious tank-mates that will bully it. They generally do not conflict with other fish but can harass certain additions made after them, especially fish that are significantly smaller. Keep only one Harlequin tusk per aquarium. Recommended water conditions, 72-78° F, KH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, salinity 1.020-1.025.
Purchase Size: Small: 2-1/2″ to 3-1/2″; Medium: 3-1/2″ to 4-1/4″; Large: 5″ to 6″; XLarge: 6″ to 7″
Note: Your item may not look identical to the image provided due to variation within species. Purchase sizes are approximate.