It's been four weeks since I introduced the two Pintail wrasse and I've been nervously watching their behaviour like a hawk.
Oh boy these fish really like to eat! When it comes to feeding time they are like mini sharks especially the larger male and yes, from what I've seen I do indeed have a male and female of the species (I'll elaborate a bit more on that in just a moment). Given half the chance they will eat all the food that I add into the tank no matter whether it's meant for them or not. This has caused a bit of a problem for me as I like to make sure that everyone gets their fair share. To do this I offer food directly to some of my livestock, this includes the Possum wrasse, Nudus gobies, pistol shrimp, Pom Pom crab (occasionally), cleaner shrimp and some corals most notably the sun coral. Pre-fairy wrasse days I used to do it via the end of a long pipette. Unfortunately it took the fairy wrasse all of a couple of days to realise that the pipette equalled food and no matter how I tried to evade them or distract them 9 times out of 10 they would steal the food. In the end I had to discard the pipette and be a little bit more inventive. I connected a syringe to a long piece of acrylic tubing with silicone hose. The tubing is wide enough to take up whole pieces of food, so now when I need to feed, the food is inaccessible to the fish until I depress the syringe plunger. It drives the male Pintail crazy as can he see the food is there but he can't get at it no matter how much he pecks at the tube. Then I wait for him to lose interest and dispense the food, this seems to be working quite well so far.
Moving on, these fish may be sharks at feeding time but when it comes to glass cleaning they turn into complete and utter nervous wrecks. I have read that these fish can be jumpers and boy do I believe it, show them an algae magnet and it's splashes all round. Thankfully I have a mesh top to prevent any would be escapees. They show no sign of wanting to make a hasty departure at any other time including water changes. As a consequence I have been avoiding cleaning the glass as often (and hence taking less photos), I hope they learn to accept that the algae magnet is not out to get them because I really like being able to see into the tank.
Now that they've settled into their new home their behaviour has changed. The larger fish is most definitely male because he's very recently started displaying to the female. If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes I wouldn't have believed how he changes his colour during the nuptial display. It really is amazing! He extends his fins are and his colour intensifies especially the area on the rear of his belly which turns red and the area under his dorsal fin turns purple. I know that this is natural behaviour but I hope it doesn't cause any long term issues with the pair. I'm slightly paranoid having read that keeping pairs of these fish in smaller tanks generally doesn't work out in the long term. I really don't want him to harrass her to death or for her to change into a male. I will be watching very carefully and intervening if needed.
Hi, my name is Lisa and I live in Derby, UK. I am a self-confessed reefaholic!