Iridescent Parrotfish (Scarus sp.)
Family: Scaridae (Parrotfishes)
Natural Range: Tropical Seas
Depth: 3 to 160 ft. Size: 15 in. Jumps: No Space: 200+ gal.
Reef Safe: No Care Level: Difficult Temperament: Peaceful
Natural History: The Scarus Parrotfish species are found on coral reef faces, slopes, flats, and lagoons. Actual distribution depends on the species. This genus includes species with initial and terminal phase coloration. These fish grow to sizes ranging most commonly from 10 to 15 inches. The Scarus parrotfish are active fish and bite at rock and dead (usually) coral surfaces to feed on algae. These fish propel themselves with their pectoral fins instead of their caudal fin, which is only used for bursts of speed. Scarids and other parrotfish are important algae grazers on reefs.
Husbandry: The Scarus Parrotfish feeds by scraping algae from rock surfaces. It will pick at stony coral polyps infrequently but since it is such a persistent and active feeder, it will do significant coral damage in a reef aquarium. It has a high metabolism and requires a large algae population or algae supplements to sustain it. It will grow to a large size and is very active and thus requires a very large tank space. A good protein skimmer is recommended to handle the bioload from the wastes of this fish.
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