Care Level: Advanced
Reef Compatible: Yes
General Description: The Ornate Leopard Wrasse, also known as the False Leopard Wrasse, has a wide distribution across the western Indo-Pacific, New Guinea and Australia. Not as readily available in the aquarium trade unlike other leopard wrasse species, the Ornate leopard wrasse is a beautiful fish with a smaller speckled pattern of various colors and a greater accent of red in its body unlike the standard Leopard Wrasse (Macropharyngodon meleagris). The Ornate leopard wrasse requires exceptional dedication and attention from the hobbyist in order to thrive. Like all members of the genus Macropharyngodon, the Ornate 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. There are few differences between males and females, each reaching an adult size of approximately 5″.
Diet Requirements: Ornate leopard wrasses are carnivores, actively hunting tiny crustaceans throughout the day. Encouraging an Ornate leopard wrasse to accept prepared foods can be a challenge. We have found that offering live bring shrimp at the beginning can gain the interest of particularily fussy or stubborn individuals. Note: All of our Ornate 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. Ornate leopard wrasses may accept high quality flake or pellet foods with time, which can be great for nutritional gaps and variety. Ornate leopard 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 55 gallon aquarium with a 3″ sandbed at the very least is needed for an Ornate leopard wrasse. Upgrade the aquarium accordingly to accomodate a group; more leopard wrasses require a greater abundance of natural food resources. 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 Ornate 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, an Ornate leopard wrasse should not be kept with overly aggressive species, especially those that can outcompete it in food resources. It is best to add Ornate 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 2-1/4″; Medium: 2-1/2″ to 3-1/4; Large: 3-1/2″ to 4-1/4″
Note: Your item may not look identical to the image provided due to variation within species. Purchase sizes are approximate.