Anampses neoguinaicus

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Latin name Anampses neoguinaicus - Bleeker, 1878
Local name New Guinea wrasse
Family Labridae - Anampses
Origin Australia, Japan, Indonesia, East Pacific, Central/West Pacific
Max length 20 cm (7,9")
As aquarium fish
Minimum volume 500 cm (132 gal)
Hardiness Delicate
Suitable for aquarium Experience, preparation and extra care required
Reef safe Always reef safe
Aggressiveness Docile but might be aggressive towards similar species of same gender
Recommended Zooplankton (Cyclops, pods...)
Small crustaceans (Krill, mysis, artemia...)
Other invertebrates
Beware of
Difficult to keep alive

This species is hard to keep alive and thriving.

Jumps out of open aquaria

This species is known to jump out of open aquaria.

Keep in mind
Sensitive during transportation

This species is very sensitive during transportation and acclimatizing into the aquarium.

Live food

There is a greater chance of success with this species if one can supply a living feed to allow it to adapt to the tank.

Deep sandy substrate

This species needs a minimum of 2 inch (5 cm) of sand in the aquarium bottom, so it can dig itself down when afraid or needing to sleep.

Acclimitises best as a juvenile

This species will better acclimatize to the aquarium`s condition if introduced, when young.

Very small individuals can be very delicate.

Frequent feeding

This fish requires feeding several times a day, especially when newly added.

When the fish can find its natural food in the aquarium it requires less frequent feeding. 

Requires plenty of space for swimming.

This species revels in swimming and requires an aquarium with ample space.

A pair, or one male with several females

This species functions best as a pair (one male, one female), or one male with several females.


This species is very shy and docile, so one should be careful when keeping it with more aggressive fish.


This species can change gender from female to male.

When a male is needed, a female changes sex and takes on the role.

Descriptions and further reading
Genus description (Anampses)

Species in the genus Anampses are often very beautiful, but it can be a challenge to keep them in good condition. There is a great difference in appearance, not only between males and females, but also between juvenile and adult fish.

The greatest chance of success with these fish is when they get live food right from the start and if they are being fed frequently. Later when they are full grown twice daily should suffice. When one has plenty of zooplankton in the tank, feeding need not be so frequent.

Even though these fish become quite large, they are not normally a threat to shrimps and other invertebrates. Very small invertebrates, however can prove too much of a temptation.

These Wrasses are typically peaceful towards others and thrive best in a small group with just one male.
When they feel threatened or need to rest, they bury themselves into the sand.

When one selects these fish at the fish store one must make certain they are not injured during transport. Specifically the area around the mouth can easily be damaged.
Very small individuals need feeding very often and the larger ones find it hard to acclimatize. For the middle sized fish, to thrive and accept food is also quite a challenge.

It is not easy to add them to an existing aquarium with other fish, as these Wrasses can be very shy. It is an advantage if one has an empty tank or one with peaceful species, until they start feeding and have become bolder.

Family description (Labridae)

Wrasses are nearly always seen in reef aquaria, since many of the species are both attractive and useful in battling a range of unwanted invertebrates like i.e. flatworms, pyramide snails.
These fish live of everything from zooplankton to large crustaceans, sea urchins and the like.

The needs and behaviour of Wrasses vary greatly, so it is vital to familiarize oneself with the specific species before buying one.

Aquarium trade Yes
Distribution Western Pacific: Philippines and Taiwan to Fiji, north to the Izu Islands, south to the Great Barrier Reef and New Caledonia. Recently recorded from Tonga (Ref. 53797).
English common names New Guinea wrasse
New Guinea tamarin
New Guinea chisel-tooth wrasse
Black-banded wrasse
Blackback wrasse
References and further reading

About references

Henry C. Schultz. 2005. Monkeys from the Underwater Jungle: The Genus Anampses - Reefkeeping Magazine - (English)
Bob Fenner. The Touchy Tamarins, Wrasses of the Genus Anampses - Wet Web Media - (English)

Scott W. Michael. 2009. Wrasses and Parrotfishes (Reef Fishes Series Book 5) - TFH Publications / Microcosm Ltd. - (English)