Harliquin Tuskfish
Harliquin Tuskfish

Harliquin Tuskfish

Coerodon fasciatus

Harliquin Tuskfish

Common name: Harlequin tuskfish
Scientific name: Choerodon fasciatus
Max size: 12 inches / 30 cm (reports of larger specimens do exist)
pH: 8.1-8.4
Salinity: 1.020-1.025
Temperature: 72-78ºF (22-26°C)

The Harlequin tuskfish is relatively common in the trade. Among the Choerodon species, it is the only species that is both suitable for aquariums and available in the trade.

This species changes its look a lot during its life span. They have orange stripes with blue outlines across the body. The body becomes darker the further back you look. Near the tailfin they usually have a dark blue stripe but in some Harlequin tuskfish specimens half the body can be covered in dark blue stripes. A darker body is a sign of an older fish. Juveniles are paler and unlike the adults they have black spots on their fins.

The Harlequin tuskfish lives in groups in the wild but can often be very aggressive towards other Harlequin tuskfish when kept in an aquarium and it is best to only keep one fish in the same tank. They are best kept with other moderately aggressive fish such as Angels, Tangs, and Triggers. Make sure to introduce the tuskfish before the Angels, Tangs, and Triggers as they otherwise might bully the Harlequin tuskfish. Harlequin tuskfish are not reef safe and should never be kept in a reef aquarium. If they are kept in a reef aquarium they will eat all small invertebrates they can find. They usually leave corals and clams alone.

This fish originates in the Indo-pacific. It is most common in the western part of the Pacific Ocean from Taiwan to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. Most fish in the trade come from Australia or the Philippines. You should whenever possible buy Harlequin tuskfish that is collected in Australia as they usually are in much better condition and hardier than the ones collected in the Philippines. The reason for this is better collection techniques and housing of the fish.

The Harlequin tuskfish is often expensive in the trade and you should expect to pay 50$+ for a juvenile and 2-3 times that for an adult in the United States as well as online.

Harlequin tuskfish care and aquarium setup:

The Harlequin tuskfish should be kept in an aquarium no smaller than 55 gallon / 200 L. If you want to keep several specimens you will need a much larger aquarium. They are best kept in a "fish with live rock" aquarium but they can be kept in a "fish only" aquarium as well. It is important to provide the fish with ample amounts of hiding places in caves and under overhangs. You can usually keep corals and anemones in the tank but it is not necessary. Feel free to use any marine suitable bottom substrate you like as the Harlequin tuskfish don’t have any special preferences in regards to bottom substrate. The aquarium should be well circulated and good water quality is very important when keeping this species. The Harlequin tuskfish prefers a well lit aquarium with some darker areas.

Ideal water conditions for the Harlequin tuskfish are pH 8.1-8.4, salinity 1.020-1.025, and temperature 72-78ºF (22-26°C).

Feeding Harlequin tuskfish

Harlequin tuskfish will sometimes, but not always, accept marine pellets. They need a varied diet containing a lot of high protein food. In the wild, they live on different mollusks, invertebrates, urchins and starfish. In your aquarium you should feed your Harlequin tuskfish a varied diet that can be based around chopped up sea food but that should be complemented with frozen food and live food such as feeder shrimp. Feed 2-3 times a day.

Breeding Harlequin tuskfish

The Harlequin tuskfish is a hermaphrodite and all fish are born females. The largest female then develops into a male when the need for a male arises, e.g. if the dominant male in an area fall prey to a predator. This means that you can buy a group of juveniles and get a harem because one of the specimens will develop into a male. You will however need a very large aquarium to keep a group of these due to their territorial nature in aquariums.

Little is known about breeding this species in aquariums or how they spawn in the wild. They might spawn in groups. If you want to try and breed Harlequin tuskfish you will need a very large aquarium and a lot of patience.  Don't hesitate to contact us to share your experience if you succeed in breeding this species.

Wrasse Articles:

Bird Wrasse – Gomphosus varius
Dragon Wrasse  - Novaculichthys taeniourus
Hogfish - Information about Hogfish
Neon Wrasse – Halichoeres melanurus
Ornate Wrasse – Halichoeres ornatissimus
Queen Coris – Coris frerei
Radient Wrasse – Halichoeres iridis
Spanish Hogfish – Bodianus rufus
Striated Wrasse – Pseudocheilinus evanidus
Yellow Coris – Halichoeres chrysus

Line Wrasses:
Fourline Wrasse – Pseudocheilinus tetrataenia
Sixline Wrasse – Pseudocheilinus hexataenia
Eightline Wrasse – Pseudocheilinus octotaenia

Fairy Wrasses:
Exquisite Fairy Wrasse – Cirrhilabrus exquisitus
Lubbock's Fairy Wrasse – Cirrhilabrus lubbocki
Scott's Fairy Wrasse – Cirrhilabrus scottorum
Solar Fairy Wrasse – Cirrhilabrus solorensis

Flasher Wrasses:
Carpenter's Flasher Wrasse – Paracheilinus carpenteri
Dot-and-Dash Flasher Wrasse – Paracheilinus lineopunctatus
Filamented Flasher Wrasse – Paracheilinus filamentosus
McCosker's Flasher Wrasse – Paracheilinus mccoskeri


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