Do you really want a Harlequin Tusk fish



If you are researching Harlequin Tuskfish then there are certain things that you already probably know. You will know that they grow around 10-inches in length, that they are a risk with the cleanup crew and maybe small fish, and depending on your budget and room, you must be keeping them in 100-gallon, to 125-gallons or maybe even 175-gallons.

You will know that they are members of the Russ family, that Australian specimens are prettier than the Indonesian specimens, and that they are safe with corals. You can find all this information on google. Here you will know how is it really to keep one.


You Harlequin Tuskfish will grow about 1/2 an inch in about 6-months. One of the most striking things about this fish is how solid he is. He is noticeably chunkier than other big fish like Tang.

Now, his size means a couple of things:

Needs larger tank

Firstly he will need a decent amount of swimming space. If you are keeping him in 100-gallons you will know that it is small for him. He will spend most of his time in hiding spaces like caves, but when he comes out, he will cover the ground quickly and barges any other fish out of the way. When he goes for a power-swim he will also be a risk to your SPS corals.

Big time poopers

Being a heavy-set fellow, he also poops quite a lot. This means that he will take a lot of the capacity of your tank for bio-load which is another reason he is probably better suited to a tank of 6-feet or more.


He is classified as a semi-aggressive and they are also described as timid and reclusive, but that is not true for every Harlequin Tuskfish. When you put him in the tank for the first time, he might go for the biggest fish in the tank and thus take over the position fish of alpha-fish in the tank immediately.

Tuskfish generally acts like a bit of a douchebag, strutting around the tank pushing others out of the way. 

Clean-up crew

In terms of the cleanup crew, the Tuskfish will not be too bad with snails, but he does seem to like the more crunchy invert shortly. So, if you want a Tuskfish, a cleanup crew predominately of snails might be the way to go. But some people do suffer from snail wipeouts, so it might just be potluck.

Nasty fish

As beautiful as this fish is, you will find it to be quite a nasty fish and he is usually upset about the peace-balance in your tank. There will plenty of fish that will never bother, but at the same time he will also eat up some. He is just generally quite belligerent.

It is not just about keeping them in a small tank, there are plenty of stories on the internet of these guys being aggressive even in a tank as big as 9-feet long. 


The conclusion is that this is just their nature of being a predator, but as for all fish behaviors can vary from specimens to specimens. So, in the right tank maybe 6-feet long and more with no small fish and no crunchy inverts; the Harlequin Tuskfish could still be absolute centerpiece fish. But for the vast majority, they are simply just not worth the hassle and will cause more harm than good.

At the end of the day, providing a harmonious environment for your fish will make their lives less stressful and your experience more relaxing.

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