Novaculichthys taeniourus

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Facts
Latin name Novaculichthys taeniourus - (Lacepède, 1801)
Local name Rockmover wrasse
Family Labridae - Novaculichthys
Origin East Indian Ocean, West Indian Ocean, Australia, The Red Sea, Indonesia, East Pacific, Central/West Pacific
Max length 30 cm (11,8")
As aquarium fish
Minimum volume 800 cm (211 gal)
Hardiness Average
Suitable for aquarium Suitable for special aquariums
Reef safe Not reef safe
Aggressiveness Aggressive towards other species
Feed
Recommended Small crustaceans (Krill, mysis, artemia...)
Larger crustaceans (Shrimp, crabs...)
Other invertebrates
Fish
Beware of
Jumps out of open aquaria

This species is known to jump out of open aquaria.

Can be a threat to many invertebrates

This species eats shrimps, crayfish, crabs, small bivalves, sea urchins, snails and similar.

Aggressive

This species can be extremely aggressive towards other fish.

Be careful when keeping these fish together with peaceful or docile species. Regular feeding, plenty of hiding places and a lot of space can alleviate aggressive behavior to some degree.

Keep in mind
Thrive best on their own

These fish flourish better without other members of the same species in the aquarium.

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.

Rearranges rocks and sand

This species has a habit of rearranging rocks and sand.

Make sure rocks are placed securely on the substrate, so they cannot toppled over.

Requires plenty of space for swimming.

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

Hermaphroditic

This species can change gender from female to male.

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

Initially shy

This species can be very shy when first introduced into a new aquarium.

More aggressive fish can be introduced after this species has acclimatized.

Descriptions and further reading
Description

These fish should not be kept in an aquarium where they are not allowed to rearrange whatever they can get hold of.

When younger, their pattern and shape is very different, as shown on the picture.

Genus description (Novaculichthys)

Fish in the genus Novaculichthys are not often seen in aquaria, but has one a big tank with ample sand, these fish are interesting to observe. When they are fully grown they will spend a lot of time rearranging loose objects.

These fish are well known for being able to swim vertically into the sand and even to swim under it.

When first introduced they are very shy and thus need a lot of calm and quiet. Later on when they have become bolder, they can become aggressive and a threat to small fish and various kinds of invertebrates.

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.

FishBase
Aquarium trade Yes
Distribution Indo-Pacific: Red Sea to South Africa (Ref. 35918) and the Tuamoto Islands, north to Ryukyu and Hawaiian islands, south to Lord Howe Island. Excluding Persian Gulf (Ref. 86689). Eastern Pacific: Gulf of California to Panama and the Galapagos Islands (R
English common names Rockmover wrasse
Dragon wrasse
Masked wrasse
Olive-scribbled wrasse
Carpet wrasse
French common names Mardel
Labre masqué
Danish common names Dragegylte
References and further reading

About references

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