Care Level: Advanced
Reef Compatible: Yes
General Description: The Black Leopard Wrasse, also known as the Yellowspotted Wrasse, has a wide distribution across the western Indo-Pacific, eastern Indian Ocean, Australia and Christmas Island. Seldomly seen in the aquarium trade unlike other leopard wrasse species, the Black leopard wrasse is a striking fish that catches the eye. It has a very dark body, covered in many small cream to white colored spots. In some individuals, a highlight of red may be seen across the dorsal side of the body. The Black leopard wrasse requires exceptional dedication and attention from the hobbyist in order to thrive. Like all members of the genus Macropharyngodon, the Black leopard 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 leopard wrasse to immediately bury themselves once released into the aquarium. Black leopard wrasses do best when kept in groups of three or more individuals. There are few differences between males and females, each reaching an adult size of approximately 4″.
Diet Requirements: Black leopard wrasses are carnivores, actively hunting tiny crustaceans throughout the day. Encouraging a Black leopard wrasse to accept prepared foods can be a challenge. We have found that offering live brine shrimp at the beginning can gain the interest of particularily fussy or stubborn individuals. Note: All of our Black leopard wrasses for sale are eating frozen foods. Ultimately, a diet consisting of various meaty preparations such as brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, and other mixed frozen foods will maintain optimal health and coloration. We highly encourage soaking frozen foods in vitamin and fatty acid supplements, as leopard 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 the leopard wrasse as it would feed in the wild. Black leopard wrasses may accept high quality flake or pellet foods with time, which can be great for nutritional gaps and variety. Black leopared wrasses have an incredible natural ability to control nuisance red Planaria flatworms that sometimes hitch hike on corals or live rock.
Care Requirements: A very established, minimum 75 gallon aquarium with a 3″ sandbed at the very least is needed for a small group of Black leopard wrasses. Upgrade the aquarium accordingly to accomodate a larger group; more leopard wrasses require a greater abundance of natural food resources. If only keeping a single individual, we would not recommend an aquarium less than 50 gallons. Leopard 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. The Black leopard wrasse is not tolerable of nitrite or ammonia spikes, and an established tank also offers more abundant microinvertebrates and crustaceans (such as amphiopods) for it to prey on. Given their peaceful and timid nature, a Black leopard wrasse should not be kept with overly aggressive species, especially those that can outcompete it in food resources. It is best to add Black leopard wrasses before larger or more active fish in order to allow them to acclimate to the environment and begin feeding. Recommended water conditions, 72-78° F, KH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, salinity 1.020-1.025.
Purchase Size: Small: 1-1/2″ to 2″; Medium: 2″ to 3; Large: 3″ to 4″
Note: Your item may not look identical to the image provided due to variation within species. Purchase sizes are approximate.