Have you been buying the wrong Cleaner Wrasse?

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GTM42

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There is always a lot of buzz around new aquarium fish that are very colorful and rare like new fairy wrasses and basslets, however, in the scientific world, they have some often more helpful criteria when it comes to the excitement for new fish. Today’s fish spotlight is a perfect example of that, we are going to be looking at the Redlip Cleaner Wrasse. This fish was the subject of a recent study performed by Isabelle M. Côté and Suzanne C. Mills where they studied the cleaning habits of the redlip cleaner wrasse and why it may be a better alternative compared to the more commonly purchased cleaner wrasses.
When cleaner wrasses are cleaning their “client” fish they are eating parasites and dead skin, however, they also occasionally “cheat” and eat living tissue and mucus off the fish. This study found that while “Ninety percent of redlip cleaner wrasses took jolt-inducing cheating bites from their clients,” it happened less frequently compared to the wrasses in the aquarium trade like the blue streak wrasse.
The redlip cleaner wrasse also performed more “tactile stimulation” which is essentially when the cleaner wrasse massages the “client” fish in order to make them stay after cheating. However, while 75% of redlip cleaner wrasses used tactile stimulation, 70% of these uses were in order to get passing fish to stop and get cleaned. In this case, the redlip cleaner wrasse is using this trick more to get “customers” than to make an angry fish mad. The redlip cleaner wrasse was also chased by an angry “client” far less when compared to other cleaner wrasses.
So what does this mean for the hobby? Well, there still need to be more studies performed to ensure this behavior is uniform across different regions and even seasons, it is a very interesting finding that may lead to a better cleaner wrasse in the aquarium trade that cleans “client” fish more effectively and in a less harmful manner.



Sources

Côté, I.M., Mills, S.C. Degrees of honesty: cleaning by the redlip cleaner wrasse Labroides rubrolabiatus. Coral Reefs 39, 1693–1701 (2020). https://doi-org.liblink.uncw.edu/10.1007/s00338-020-01996-6
 
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vetteguy53081

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I’ve had mine 7 years this summer and is my oldest fish
 
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ca1ore

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What’s the point of the article .... it’s really just a few poorly written paragraphs (I’m in a bah humbug mood clearly). Not like having a cleaner wrasse is anything close to a necessity for a reef tank, 99% of which don’t have a large enough population of big fishes to sustain even a single cleaner. Fortunately the African sourced bluestreak adapts pretty well to aquarium fare if you can keep it off the carpet. Lost one that way also.
 
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