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Tamarin Wrasse of the Genus Anampses

Tamarin Wrasses

Tamarin Wrasse of the Genus Anampses
Most wrasse enthusiasts will tell you that their dream wrasse or goal is to obtain and successfully keep one of the 13 species of the Anampses Wrasse, collectively known as Tamarin Wrasse. LiveAquaria® considers most species of Tamarin Wrasse as “Expert Only” regarding care and husbandry requirements. Tamarin Wrasse are typically not recommended for the novice or budding aquarists as experience and a thorough understanding of wrasses and wrasse husbandry are paramount for their long-term care.

In addition to discussing the fundamentals of Tamarin Wrasse care, this article will also explore common practices LiveAquaria employs to ensure our customers receive the healthiest and highest quality aquatic life. We hope these shared techniques and information is gleaned by readers and wrasse aficionados to help ensure the successful and long-term care of Tamarin Wrasse in their marine aquariums.

Wrasse Acclimation and Conditioning
One of the first things that needs to be understood about Tamarin Wrasse is that shipping is particularly stressful since the confines of a bag prevents the wrasse from doing what they normally do in stressful situations which is to burrow. Upon initial collection and bagging, these active wrasse can potentially expend a lot of energy and ultimately exhaust themselves trying to “burrow”. Eventually, a bagged or packaged wrasse will settle down once placed into the shipping box and sealed up where complete darkness (inside the shipping box) calms the wrasse. However, it is not uncommon for Tamarin Wrasse to injure their mouths and jaws if they are incessantly trying to burrow while in the shipping bag. Knowing this, anytime a Tamarin Wrasse from Diver’s Den is sold our trained team in the Coral Farm & Aquatic Life Facility that is responsible for shopping and packing Diver’s Den orders follows the protocol for the precious cargo and diligently and carefully packages any Tamarin wrasse in a timely manner to reduce stress and ensure a safe departure from our facility.

If LiveAquaria receives Tamarin Wrasse with mouth injuries, we make sure to provide optimal water quality and monitor any injury or abrasions, medicating with antibiotics only if needed. Since all members of the Genus Anampses are sensitive species, Tamarin Wrasse brought into the LiveAquaria Coral Farm & Aquatic Life Facility in Rhinelander, WI for sale in the Diver’s Den® WYSIWYG Store are not kept in fish systems with copper treatment.

Tamarin Wrasse Health and Treatment
Since wrasse have a thick slime coat and the ability to secrete excess mucus to create sleeping “cocoons”, ich is usually not a problem. However, they can be susceptible to flukes that can infest not only the scales and exterior body of the wrasse, but also inside the gills and nasal passages. If we find flukes upon arrival or during observation, the wrasse will be dipped in freshwater for 5 to 20 minutes and monitored closely for signs of distress. Freshwater dips provide a very successful method for ridding the wrasse of flukes. Subsequent freshwater dips may be required in the following days if needed. Flukes that have fallen off the wrasse during the dip will be seen in the bottom of the bucket or container used for performing freshwater dips. PraziPro (Praziquantel) can also be used both prophylactically as well as treatment for flukes and other external parasites in a quarantine aquarium set up.

Other potential issues with newly acquired Tamarin wrasse are internal parasites. If a wrasse is suspected of harboring internal parasites, their diet of brine shrimp and mysis shrimp will be mixed with API’s General Cure which contains Metronidazole and Praziquantel (500 mg Metronidazole and 150 mg Praziquantel per tsp). In order for the treatment to be effective, it must be ingested by the wrasse. This treatment is provided several times per day for 7 to 10 days.

Feeding Tamarin Wrasse
Feeding habits of Tamarin wrasse are interesting to observe since the wrasse will take in food, chew it up, spit it out and repeat this process several times before finally consuming the food item. One of the reasons Tamarin Wrasse exhibit this feeding behavior is due to their pharyngeal jaw which acts as a second set of teeth/jaws for chewing up hard shelled crustaceans or smaller snails and bivalves. The pharyngeal jaw resides in the back of the wrasse’s throat. Moray Eels also possess a set of pharyngeal jaws which aides in their ability to capture and “gulp” down larger prey items.

Proper Substrate for Tamarin Wrasse
A key factor in successful care of Tamarin Wrasse is to provide an aquarium with a deep sand or “soft” substrate layer. As mentioned previously, these wrasse burrow when stressed or sleeping at night so it is imperative to provide a layer of appropriate substrate of at least 2” in depth. This deep substrate layer also offers a safe haven for a new wrasse to “disappear” if being bullied by its tank-mates.

Success with Tamarin Wrasse
Another observation noticed about Tamarin Wrasse here at the LiveAquaria Coral Farm & Aquatic Life Facility is that regardless of the species, the sweet spot for maximum survival and success of these wrasse appears to be related to their size. Tamarin Wrasse that are approximately 1-1/2” to 4” in length seem more likely to acclimate to aquarium life and can better handle the stress of shipping. While LiveAquaria has had success acclimating Tamarin Wrasse over 4” it usually takes extra effort, dedication and time to acclimate and condition larger specimens.

On a final note, keep in mind that Tamarin Wrasse will fare best in a large, established aquarium aquascaped with ample “live rock” which will provide hunting grounds and additional food and nutrients for the ever-foraging wrasse. Tank mates for Tamarin Wrasse should not be obnoxious bullies or the dominant species. Ultimately, for long-term success, the Tamarin Wrasse should be the prime fish on display, free of harassment. Tamarin Wrasse can be some of the more challenging fish to keep in the marine aquarium. However, the reward of these keeping these beautiful and active wrasse are worth it when success is achieved!

Popular Species of Tamarin Wrasse

Blue Stripe Tamarin Wrasse (Anampses femininus)
Blue Stripe Tamarin Wrasse (Anampses femininus) are one of the more regular Tamarin Wrasse species brought into the LiveAquaria Coral Farm & Aquatic Life Facility. During the wrasse’s quarantine and conditioning period at the LiveAquaria Coral Farm & Aquatic Life Facility (usually 4 to 6 weeks minimum) the wrasse are housed in their own covered aquarium with substrate. Most of the time they are the only fish in the aquarium to reduce stress and eliminate competition for food. The lights on the aquarium are turned off for the first day or two and then initially turned on at a subdued level until the fish is fully acclimated and conditioned. This technique is used for most Anampses wrasse species brought into the Coral Farm and Aquatic Life Facility at LiveAquaria.

Tamarin Wrasses

Once the wrasse is out and about, foraging for food, a mixture of frozen/thawed brine shrimp and mysis shrimp which has been enriched with VitaChem is offered. In most cases the wrasse starts eating within a day or two. For finicky wrasse, we will offer live copepods until they are weaned over to the enriched brine shrimp and mysis shrimp diet. On a side note, an established (non-copper treated) aquarium with plenty of live rock and deep substrate should already have a healthy population of copepods for a new wrasse to dine on.

Redtail Tamarin Wrasse (Anampses chrysocephalus)
Another Tamarin Wrasse sold in the Diver’s Den® when available is the Redtail Tamarin Wrasse (Anampses chrysocephalus) also known as the Psychedelic Tamarin Wrasse. Females boast a high-contrast appearance with a bold black body coloration adorned with a galaxy of small white dots and a gorgeous tail that is white at the base and vivid red at the back half. Occasionally, the aptly named males of the Psychedelic Tamarin Wrasse are collected. The head of the striking and exotic-looking male is usually bright orange to red in color with bright blue, yellow and platinum colored dash-type markings. The rest of the body is brown to black with some iridescent flecks or scales followed by a tail that is half white and half black.

Redtail Tamarin Wrasse

Black-Backed Tamarin Wrasse (Anampses neoguinaicus)
Black-backed or Black Pearl Tamarin Wrasse (Anampses neoguinaicus) also display visually pleasing markings with their mostly pearl white body and black back or dorsal side. This species also sports three ocelli or eyespots, the largest ocelli is displayed on the operculum, or gill cover of the fish, while the other two ocelli are at the end of its long dorsal fin and at the end of the anal fin. The electric blue highlighting around the ocelli really makes the eye spots “pop” and stand out. These wrasse also have a subtle sheen overall and slight flecking on the scales which further adds to their allure.

Black-backed Tamarin Wrasse

Lennard’s Wrasse (Anampses lennardi)
One of the larger species of Anampses is the Lennard’s Wrasse (Anampses lennardi). The Lennard’s Wrasse will require an aquarium of at least 6 feet in length for long term success. Both male and female of this species are incredibly beautiful with dominant coloring of bright yellow, electric blue and vibrant green with the latter color primarily in large mature males. Lennard’s Wrasse make very infrequent appearances in the aquarium industry, so it is extra special when they are in-house and offered for sale in our Diver’s Den WYSIWYG Store.

Lennard's Wrasse

Other Anampses Wrasse Species
When available, LiveAquaria offers other Tamarin Wrasse for sale on Diver’s Den such as Anampses twistii, A. caeruleopunctatus and others. If you are a connoisseur of wrasse or one-of-a-kind fish be sure to sign up for our daily Diver’s Den email alerts to be notified of new aquatic life coming to Diver’s Den.

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