HELP-Leopard wrasse tragedy (Not new fish)


New member
Reader's Digest:

Idiot roommate turned heat off in house. Tank recovered but leopard wrasse is sick and emaciated from not hunting. Day 5 and still wont eat or hunt. What should i do? how can i help her? Should i just put her down? This will break my heart :(

-Only fish in tank
-Parameters perfect now
-Standard feeding not enticing fish to eat
-Fish bulletproof until Chill event
-Fish used to eat anything

I left town for all of last week and charged my girlfriend (quite knowledgeable) with watching my tank. She did an excellent job of feeding, and topping off. The only duties i told her to do.

My roommate left town several days after me, for the last two days of my trip.
-----------------He turned the heat in the house OFF.-----------
when he left it was 75 in boulder, it snowed heavily on Wednesday evening (last time girlfriend came over was wens. morning), and the temperature was hovering around freezing until my return. (48 hours later)

Promptly upon coming home and seeing all my corals retracted, i noted that i also didnt see my only fish: the leopard wrasse.

I touched my finger to the tank water, and instantly knew. The tank was freezing cold: 48' F to be exact. I immediately began extracting water into jugs, and heating them in the bathtub, and replacing the water.

Everything lived.

After spending 6 hours gently raising the temp to 60-65, i decided the heaters should do the rest, to minimize shock to the system. I've been diligently monitoring the tank since (day 5 now) and all parameters are perfect.

The leopard wrasse is alive, but heavily emaciated, and obviously sick from the cold event.

But the leopard wrasse wont eat. Period. It sleeps all day in the sand, pokes its head up when i feed the tank, but can barely make the effort to move. Even mysis (her usual) gently pipetted right by her face cannot get her to open her mouth to eat it. But the smell of food awakens her!!!

What should i do? Please i seek your advice. Be realistic with me, but approach from the perspective of this has been my only pet for over a year, not impulse buy, or eye candy. (had the wrasse for 14 months now)

Thank you so much for your attention and advice.


New member

I am so sorry to hear about your problems. I wish I could offer you some good advice, but I have never had anything close to this happen to my tank. Maybe try some live food soaked in garlic to entice the fish a little more.

I do think it is amazing that you didn't lose any corals. I wish I could be of more help. I hope your wrasse pulls through.


Meat Popsicle
I don't have much experience with wrasses, but I feel your pain. I think of my fish as much more than just ornaments too.

Have you tried soaking food in garlic? Worth a try. Live food is a good idea, I would try to get some live pods like Tigger Pods from reef nutrition. They are Tigriopus califoricus, which are red in color and lots of fish LOVE. Have you tried soaking the food in Selcon? How about Cyclopeeze? Just some ideas. Good luck!


Premium Member
Honestly, I think you're on the right track. Keep attempting to feed it like normal, make sure your water parameters are in perfect shape even though you believe at this point you had minimal if any die off, etc. Anything you might attempt to do to "help" the fish would likely further stress it. If it's going to make it, it's going to make it.


New member
You could always quarantine it and then tube feed it, but I think since it's been only five days you are alright. I believe most fish can go a week without feeding and be fine.