Lemon Meringue Wrasse

July 1, 2002 - April 7, 2004

When I bought this fish in mid-2002, it was identified as a Yellow Coris Wrasse. Almost a year later, I was told that it was actually a Banana Wrasse. However, months later it turned out to be a Lemon Meringue Wrasse, because of its white belly.

When I added it to my tank, it disappeared for the first seven days, first appearing on July 7, 2002 for the picture taken above. It was named Chiquita. Over the past 21 months, Chiquita gave us hours and hours of enjoyment, always darting through the tank as it grew from 2" to 3.5" in length. She (my assumption that it is female) ate any foods introduce to the tank, and really enjoyed newly hatched baby brine shrimp.

At night, virtually to the minute, she would dive into the crushed coral substrate to sleep all night. Sometimes she would do it seconds before the lights turned off, and other times within a second of the tank going dark. Watching this occasionally, it was hard to believe she didn't get scratched by the coral chips.

Chiquita liked hoping into the overflow box to eat a quick snack of pods that were unfortunate enough to be there. Once done, she'd hop right back into the display. One day, to my astonishment, I found her in the refugium section of my sump, which would have been an amazing trip down through the overflow (weir box) and plumbing. She ate many pods as she patrolled the area through Caulerpa. Worried that it would be hard to catch her in this spot, it was surprising when she basically swam into the net for a quick ride back up to the main tank. I lowered her into the water and she swam away quietly as if it was no big deal. She never did tried that stunt again.

Unfortunately, on April 7, 2004 I found her in distress on the substrate during the early part of the day. Her routine was to swim all day long, so I knew something was wrong. I tested the water with every test kit I had, but nothing indicated a cause for Chiquita's plight.

After watching her lie there breathing, and occasionally moving slightly to a different position, I put her in a breeder's box to protect her from anything. My hope was that she would recover if left alone.

Sadly, the next afternoon she died. My only guess is that she jumped and hit something hard in my canopy. It must have caused some internal damage leading to her death. She jumped quite often, as Phoenix my Flame Angel loved to chase her. Often, I would find dried splashs of saltwater on the mirror behind the tank, residual proof from her acrobatics. She never displayed any injuries, but perhaps that last day was different. I'll probably never know.


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