The bluestreak cleaner wrasse, also known as the bluestreak cleaner goby (Labroides dimidiatus), is an omnivorous tropical fish that belongs to the family Labridae of the order Perciformes. It gets its name from its tendency to school in areas where it feeds off of parasites found on other fish and marine mammals, though it will also feed on algae and small invertebrates when necessary.
It may become aggressive when feeding, which can lead to injury or even death if care isn’t taken during feeding time.
It is an all-around fish that can be found in the waters around Fiji and other parts of the Indo-Pacific Ocean.
When people think of the saltwater aquarium hobby, the first fish that usually comes to mind is the reef fish like tangs, triggers, angels, and butterflyfish. There are, however, many other types of saltwater fish you can keep in your aquarium as well, including some that may even help to clean and maintain it!
The Bluestreak cleaner wrasse (Labroides dimidiatus) is just such a species. Here’s everything you need to know about this unique little reef dweller in today’s article!
What do cleaner wrasse do?
It’s not uncommon to find a fish at a coral reef with a nibble taken out of it. This isn’t an attack, but rather a sign that it has run into its local cleaner wrasse. The fish is going to get cleaned, whether it likes it or not! Cleaner fish make their living by picking off external parasites and dead tissue from other organisms in exchange for food or shelter.
Some studies suggest they also play a role in reducing stress on resident fish. Bluestreak cleaner wrasses can be found at dive sites around Indonesia, where they live symbiotically with moorish idols. They often pair up as groups of three; one female and two males who form social bonds throughout their lifetime.
They are considered one of the largest groupers commonly kept in home aquariums because they are less aggressive than others in their species, making them suitable for both community tanks and display tanks.
Origin and description
The Bluestreak cleaner wrasse, Labroides dimidiatus, is a fish found in the Indian Ocean. These colorful fish are a popular addition to marine aquariums because of their unique behavior. The bluestreak cleaner wrasse is an omnivore that spends its time feeding on small crustaceans and algae, but it can also play an important role in reef ecology as cleaners that help rid other fish of parasites and dead tissue.
In fact, these wrasses actually develop a symbiotic relationship with client fish such as butterflyfish; if given the chance, these little striped fish will find lice or uneaten food particles from another animal’s body before they cause harm.
Then he swims over to his awaiting client and cleans them by removing unwanted debris from scales or plates with his beak-like mouth before he swims away for more clients.
Cleaner wrasse species profile
Endemic to areas of deep-water coral reef, Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasses have a unique social structure that makes them an interesting subject for study and observation. These fish are typically found in pairs or small shoals, but will occasionally congregate in much larger schools with other species.
Their favored habitat is within or just beyond an area of breaking waves; they will generally flee into deeper water when divers approach. They tend to be active at dawn and dusk, which often results in their being confused with wrasses belonging to other genera; many species are active during daylight hours and some may even be seen moving about on bright sunny days.
Cleaner wrasse scientific name
The scientific name of the bluestreak cleaner wrasse is Labroides dimidiatus.
Their habitat is the Indo-Pacific Oceans, Red Sea, Pacific Ocean, West Africa coast to the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia. The Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse is a small fish of 3 to 4.5 inches long and can be found in shallow reef habitats with little to no current or wave action. It is usually found near anemones or large polyps but not on them.
They live within their territories among coral heads which contain species that help keep pests-free. They are most often spotted living around coral formations containing pink soft corals (Fungia and Caulastrea spp.) They are sometimes referred to as surgeonfish cleaners due to their ability to use their mouths for removing parasites from other marine animals, like Surgeonfish and Angelfish as well as humans who enter into close proximity with these reef inhabitants.
The blueline wrasse is a peaceful schooling fish that requires live coral as its habitat as adults, often living within caves and crevices. Juveniles can be kept in a community tank but adults become aggressive when kept with other fish besides their own species.
Bluestreak cleaner wrasse size
Labroides dimidiatus is a small fish, with a total length of 4.5 inches (12 cm) and a maximum weight of 170 g.
Bluestreak cleaner wrasse tank size
The minimum recommended tank size is 55 gallons with plenty of places to hide, swim and find food. Ideally, they should be kept in larger aquariums where they can live with other fish that may harass them.
Tank set up
In order to house Labroides Dimidiatus, a tank of at least 55 gallons is needed. With a great swimming room and lots of coral formations, an oceanic-themed setup would work best. Filtration will also need to be excellent because these fish produce a lot of waste. The ideal water temperature should be between 72 – 78 degrees Fahrenheit while they are in tropical waters and in between 68 – 74 degrees Fahrenheit while they are in non-tropical waters.
These fish can live up to 5 years. Be sure that when you’re setting up your aquarium, there is plenty of rubble underneath rocks and corals so that it gives them enough room to clean themselves if they want to or need to.
Also, make sure there are plenty of places for hiding especially if you have multiple fish inside your aquarium or multiple tanks. As well as having space to hide from their predators, they like to playfully hide from each other just like people do.
This way they are less likely to fight with each other as much since they have somewhere else to go when one gets too close. Another thing that could lead to fighting is territorialism but if there is plenty of room inside your tank, then you shouldn’t run into any issues with territorialism either.
Bluestreak cleaner wrasse tank mates
The Bluestreak cleaner wrasse is an active fish, and will not be able to peacefully coexist with slow-moving tank mates. It can be kept with other aggressive or semi-aggressive fish that are too large to be a meal but it may bully smaller species. A male will not get along with other males of its own kind as they do compete for females.
Some of the compatible tank mates are yellow tangs, scooter blennies, and dartfish. The Bluestreak cleaner wrasse is considered reef safe but is known to clean large, predatory fish like grouper and eels.
Bluestreak cleaner wrasse breeding
They will spawn several times a year. The female can lay from 500 to over 1000 eggs at a time. It is believed that only 100 or so of these eggs will survive until adulthood. Their life span can range from 2 to 8 years depending on their habitat, but most of them live for about 5 years in an aquarium or a fish tank. In nature, they are believed to live for about 3 years.
Bluestreak cleaner wrasses have been bred successfully in captivity and it is recommended by many hobbyists that they be treated like other saltwater tropical fish species. They live well in small groups.
Because of their smaller size, certain zooplankton might also make up part of their diet as long as it fits within their mouths. Since they are omnivores, they do not necessarily eat one type of food over another.
Are Bluestreak cleaner wrasse aggressive or peaceful?
Bluestreak cleaner wrasses are peaceful, social fish that make a great addition to your aquarium. Make sure you have a lot of space for them though because they like to swim in packs! They eat leftovers from other fish and will not hurt anyone. If you keep them with smaller fish, don’t be worried about their size because they are peaceful to everyone else.
In fact, it is better if you keep them with other small or medium-sized tropical fish, although, they are territorial, and will become aggressive when their territory is threatened.
They have even been observed biting coral to scare away other fishes or an intruder who wanders too close. So it’s best to respect their need for space and steer clear if you see them in an area where they aren’t common.
Bluestreak cleaner wrasse care
Bluestreak cleaner wrasses are reef safe as they do not eat corals or other inverts. They do, however, eat parasites and mucus off of their tank mates. Therefore, it is recommended to house active fish that spend time out of the water such as tangs, lionfish, and puffers. Make sure that all your fish are fed well so there isn’t competition for food between your pets.
When introducing new fish, it is best to quarantine them separately from any inhabitants until you know they are disease-free. All animals should be quarantined before being introduced into a display aquarium, especially when introducing a large group of new animals at once.
Cleaner wrasse diet
Blue-streak cleaner wrasses are omnivorous fish that mainly eat parasites and dead skin off larger fish, they will sometimes eat live prey as well. Bluestreaks feed by cleaning smaller fish of parasites and dead skin at cleaning stations found in coral reefs throughout their natural range.
The diet also consists of benthic flora and fauna, such as sponges, cnidarians, ascidians, sea anemones, bryozoans, and tunicates. In addition to meaty foods like brine shrimp, Mysis, and bloodworms, they also consume mucus from reef fish.
The ideal water should have a pH of 8.2, a temperature of 29 ̊C, and a water hardness of 13-15 dH.
Bluestreak cleaner wrasse lifespan
They have a life expectancy of 5 years in nature.
Parasites and diseases
Bluestreak cleaner wrasses are very susceptible to marine ich, a common and highly contagious fish disease. Also known as White Spot Disease, marine ich is caused by a protozoan parasite and is characterized by white spots on a fish’s body and fins.
Other than symptomatic treatments, there is no cure for marine ich; infected fish must be removed from an aquarium to prevent other animals from being affected. The safest and most effective way to remove a diseased animal from an aquarium is with quarantine procedures—that way, only diseased animals can pass on parasites or diseases in their bodies.
Some of the common predators of the cleaner wrasse are larger fish, sharks, and humans. When they feel like they are in danger, the wrasse cleaners resort to using their most dominant weapon, their sharp teeth. Humans sometimes eat these fish and while they normally do not attack humans, when cornered or threatened, they can be fierce fighters.
Even though their teeth may look dull and broken, their bite is extremely painful. One way to avoid being bitten by them is to catch them with a hand net so that they don’t feel threatened.
Do Bluestreak cleaner wrasse make good pets?
Labroides dimidiatus, commonly known as bluestreak cleaner wrasse, is a good choice for those who want to add a fish to their tanks, they are interesting to look at and don’t take up too much room. This species is typically around 4 inches long and has a lifespan of five years or longer if cared for properly.