Care Level: Easy
Reef Compatible: Yes
General Description: The Mystery Wrasse, also known as the Whitebarred Wrasse, has a limited distribution in the Coral Sea of Australia north to the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean and Ryukus in Japan. The body shape and coloration of this wrasse is unmistakable with the six other species in the genus; for example, the Sixline Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia). The Mystery wrasse has an overall reddish-maroon colored body, with several thin vertical white stripes (these can disappear completely with maturity), a bright yellow face with pink markings and a black spot on each side of the caudal peduncle that serves as a distraction to predators. A deep water species, Mystery wrasses have been documented at depths of up to 58 meters (190 feet) on the edges of reef slopes. For this reason, Mystery wrasses aren’t extremely common in the aquarium trade. When they are available, they have one of the higher price tags compared to other members of the genus. Though expensive, the Mystery wrasse is a relatively hardy fish that is very willing to adapt to aquarium life and a prepared diet. Given their cryptic nature, it is not unusual for your newly introduced Mystery wrasse to lurk among the live rock until it becomes more comfortable with its surroundings. Mystery wrasses have been observed to prey on nuisance red Planaria flatworms and pyramidellid snails that sometimes hitch hike on corals or live rock. However, do not rely on this wrasse to solve such problems; wrasses in the Halichoeres genus are a better alternative. An adult Mystery wrasse can reach a size of approximately 4″.
Diet Requirements: Mystery wrasses are carnivores, actively hunting tiny crustaceans (e.g., copepods, amphiopods) throughout the day. A diet consisting of various meaty preparations such as spirulina brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, squid, clams and other mixed frozen foods will maintain optimal health and coloration. We highly encourage soaking frozen foods in vitamin and fatty acid supplements, as wrasses have high metabolisms. Mystery wrasses will also accept high quality flake or pellet foods, which is great for nutritional gaps and variety.
Care Requirements: An established, minimum 75 gallon aquarium is ideal for a Mystery wrasse. A tight fitting lid is a must because these wrasses are known to jump out of aquariums. Mystery wrasses require a variety of rock work and crevices to swim through and around while they hunt. Such live rock arrangements will also help to make it feel secure and encourage more outgoing behavior. Given their rather timid nature compared to other members in the genus, a Mystery wrasse should not be kept with overly aggressive species. In such an environment, your Mystery wrasse will be reluctant to explore. It is best to add a Mystery wrasse before larger or more active fish in order to allow it to acclimate to the environment. Keep only one Mystery wrasse per aquarium; they are compatible with other peaceful wrasse species in a large enough tank. Smaller, docile fish species added after a Mystery wrasse could be bullied. A Mystery wrasse is right at home in a reef aquarium; corals, anemones and most invertebrates will be ignored. Very small shrimp species, such as anemone shrimp (Thor sp.), could be at risk. Recommended water conditions, 72-78° F, KH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, salinity 1.020-1.025.
Purchase Size: Small: 3/4″ to 1-1/4″; Medium: 1-1/4″ to 2-1/4″; Large: 2-1/4″ to 3-1/4″
Note: Your item may not look identical to the image provided due to variation within species. Purchase sizes are approximate.