SHOULD WE KEEP CLEANER WRASSE?
Provide a useful service in removing parasites, loose and damaged scales and dead skin from client fish. Have been shown to ‘de-stress’ fish using a pre-cleaning massage technique. Will set up a cleaning station in large enough tanks with plenty of client fish. Recent captive breeding success may lead to hardier, easier to feed tank bred cleaner wrasse becoming more widely available in the hobby eventually.
Wild caught cleaners are difficult and challenging to keep long term in anything but the biggest systems containing large numbers of fish for them to service. Can become a real pest in tanks with fewer clients, harassing and constantly pecking at tank mates. Wild caught Hawaiian cleaner wrasse in particular are obligate cleaners, relying on a diet that includes parasites and fish mucus. In a tank without sufficient client fish, chances of success with these fish are slim. There are concerns that the collection of cleaner wrasse from the wild is detrimental to the health of coral reefs as a whole. Cleaner wrasse won’t prevent marine white spot due to the more complicated life cycle of the parasite responsible.