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FAQs on Fairy, Velvet Wrasses, Genus Cirrhilabrus Systems

Related Articles: Fairy Wrasses,

Related FAQs: Velvet Wrasses 1, Velvet Wrasses 2, Velvet Wrasses 3, Velvet Wrasse Identification, Velvet Wrasse Behavior, Velvet Wrasse Compatibility, Velvet Wrasse Selection, Velvet Wrasse Feeding, Velvet Wrasse Disease, Wrasses, Wrasse Selection, Wrasse Behavior, Wrasse Compatibility, Wrasse Feeding, Wrasse Diseases,

Get along with most all that gets along with them, in the same sort of system... Dendrophyllia californica... a coldwater member of the Dendrophylliid stony coral family.

Scott's Fairy Wrasse; sys.     8/2/17
Two quick questions about two of the variant species out there. I only want one fish if I am going to get one. Not two. I just can't decide which of the two variants to get yet. Or even if I will get them. Research first before I do anything.
How many gallons does the Australia variant need?
How many gallons does the Cook Islands variant need? Thank you.
Camron Buxton
<IMO/Experience, all Cirrhilabrus need "as much space as practical". An uncrowded hundred gallons or more for a small harem. One male and two-three or more females. Bob Fenner>

Cirrhilabrus genus of fairy wrasses, stkg./sys.      12/23/12
Hi crew!
  You can not know how comforting it is to have someone of knowledge to turn to when you are conflicted. Thank you for all you do! Couple of quick questions...I have a male Solar Fairy Wrasse in the QT at the moment. After researching WWM FAQs I'm confused.  Some questions and answers say it is ok to house this male wrasse by himself but others say he needs a female companion due to them being social, etc.
<Some species, individuals "do okay" solely... but all are better displayed in large enough (hundred/s of gallons) settings w/ a mix of initial phase, undifferentiated individuals and one distinct secondary/male>
 Should I get him a girl?
<More than one if there's room>
 Also I have a 80 gallon frag reef tank, is this large enough for him?
<Really just the one>
  Will it be better for him to return him to the LFS? He has been in the QT and has been eating and swimming around.  Thank you again!!  Jennifer
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cirrhilabrus genus of fairy wrasses     12/23/12

Hi Mr. Fenner! It appears that my tank is not big enough for him to live a healthy, colorful life given that he will need a harem. I believe it is in his best interest to take him back to the LFS. Thank you again! Jennifer
<Certainly welcome! BobF>

Fairy/Flasher wrasses 8/16/11
Hey, I just wanted to know your guys technique for acclimating wrasses, specifically the Cirrhilabrus genus of fairy wrasses or Paracheilinus genus of flasher wrasses.
<Stock: http://wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm
I know you do not advise dripping, but what amount of time do you float for, and if adding tank water how much at a time?
<... posted>
Also, what would be your minimum advised tank size for a single male exquisite fairy wrasse? Thank you.
<I wouldn't stock a single male/terminal phase individual... SEE WWM re. Won't be happy, colorful, live long or well alone... a small group might be housed in a four foot long system. Bob Fenner
Re: Fairy/Flasher wrasses 8/17/11
Haha darn. I upgraded to this 30 gallon from a 10 thinking I could have a better selection of fish (which I do to some extent) and now many of the fish I want just get too big or need harems.
<Quite a common situation. BTW, I've written Dr. Tanaka re his opinion>
I guess I will go with a flasher then which is no problem as they are also very cool. Would you recommend a pair or a single male for my tank?
<No; as stated previously, these volumes are too small for this genus' members as well>
Also, do you have any favorites? I like the McCosker's and Linespot if I could find one with the blue coloring. Most I've seen have been completely red/maroon.

Cirrhilabrus rubrisquamis Swelling? Env. 2/5/10
I've searched Google and WWM to for an answer to this but have been unable to find any description of a similar condition. I recently acquired (approximately a week ago) a beautiful male Cirrhilabrus .
<Not a good idea to keep Velvet/Fairy wrasses as solos... the males lose their joojoo (colour, oomph) if w/o females present... are social animals/species>
He took readily to my 47 gallon mixed reef and after a brief bout of chasing with my Blackcap Basslet,
<And jumped, hit the top>
settled in marvelously. He shares the aquarium with a small percula clown, Chromis, and blue spotted Jawfish
<Misplaced here. Read: http://wetwebmedia.com/BluSptJawF.htm>
in addition to the Basslet. Parameters are: sg: 1.024, Ammonia: 0ppm Nitrite: 0ppm, Nitrate: 0ppm pH: 8.1. The day after I introduced him I began to notice a slight swelling on his head, directly centered between his eyes. I have
attached a two pictures I just took. This swelling has progressed from being difficult to see to the current condition (beginning to look especially nasty within the last 24 hours) over the course of 6 days. The wrasse doesn't seem particularly bothered by it but the alarming rate at which it has grown is causing me some distress. I would hate for it to be contagious
and/or fatal. Any ideas what it is, how I can treat it, and whether it is contagious? Thanks for your help and insight!
<Is resultant from a physical injury... being in too small confines, sans species-mates... No "medicine", but being moved to larger quarters with its own kind is recommended. Bob Fenner>

Fairy Wrasse lump, and sys., beh. 12/10/08 Hello and thank you for the amazing wealth of advice that you offer entirely free to everyone. I have spent more hours than I care to think about browsing your site and I'm sure it has contributed to my enjoyment of my first 2 years of reef keeping by preventing disasters and related stress. <Ahh! Thank you for this. Deeply gratifying> In these 2 years I have not had any form of disease or infection (that I have noticed) so feel very inexperienced in this area. I have spent a number of hours searching your site for an answer but have been unable to locate one so, unfortunately, I need to ask my first question... My tank is a 180 litre display with a 40 litre sump. Display houses 1 fairy wrasse, 1 royal gramma, 1 blue devil damsel, a pair of tank bred Percs, a couple of red hermits, a variety of snails plus live rock and corals (mainly LPS with a couple of toadstools and some mushrooms lower down). Sump houses 4" sand bed and Chaeto macro algae plus Deltec mce-600 skimmer, heater and return pump. The system has been up and running for about 6 months with the wrasse being the last fish addition about 6 weeks ago. Last coral added was a Fungia a couple of weeks ago. SG 1.025-1.026, temp 25-26oC. Nitrate, nitrite, ammonia and phosphates are all nil. Ca 420, Alk 7 to 8 dKH (on the low end I know but seems stable here) ph between 8.0 and 8.3 (difficult to be precise on the kit - have asked for a meter for Xmas). I use RO water from my LFS for water changes. Two days ago I noticed my fairy wrasse had a lump on its face (please see photos). <I see them. They're excellent> Since introducing it to the tank it seems to react to it's own reflection on the inside of the glass and try to attack itself <Yes... a natural behavior...You should darken one end of the system (paper taped over the outside) to discount internal reflections> which has caused some damage to it's lips (a potential route in for bacterial infection? <Mmm, possibly> No sign of redness but difficult with a pink face!). The fish is normally very visible around the tank but started to only come out to feed. The lump doesn't seem to be getting any bigger (may have shrunk a little in the last 24 hrs) and the fish seems to be coming out a little more this evening. My LFS have advised that, as it does not appear red or weeping and the fish is eating ok, it is likely to be relatively benign and something that will go away by itself. I know patience is a virtue in this hobby but I figure this may be a time for an exception to the golden rule. <Mmm, rare...> I have managed to get a couple of photos that I attach in the hope that one of you be may able to share an opinion on what the problem is and whether or not it needs intervention. Please let me know if the files are too big and need cutting down. I have kept them reasonably large as I think I've got some decent pictures of the problem that may be of use to others should you wish to publish them on the site. Thanks again and I hope I haven't flaunted any of your very reasonable rules for asking a question or foolishly missed a disease photo library post. Chris <Thank you for writing, sharing your experience, accompanying graphics. A few things to state here. Cirrhilabrus spp. (fairy, velvet wrasses) are nervous, constantly moving animals that really not only need more space than here, or what most aquarists can afford them, but are also very social animals... Really requiring a mix of specimens of various sizes, a ratio of more, sometimes many more, females in a given system to "feel comfortable"... And, even given the large living volume/space and plenty of conspecifics, they still are "fabulous jumpers!"... A good idea to always have some sort of light/ing on outside their system, and definitely whatever conveyance to keep them in their tanks... that is not dangerous/damaging... My fave example is/was a huge tank up a multiple story building... in a neurologist's office years back... An "all plastic" (like screen door material) netting system arranged up the sides around the entire lip of the top of the system... such that when (not if) the Cirrhilabrus leapt out the top, they eventually fell back into the tank... some animals were still lost periodically... due to "sticking" on still-too-hot-but-cooling metal halide pennant fixtures strung above. So... the "bump" on the snout here will not likely go away... and this animal will continue its nervous behavior due to the size of this system, a dearth of mates to make a haremic shoal... and its inherent nature. IF you had the means to do so, moving it to larger quarters, adding more specimens of the same species (juveniles, females) would greatly decrease the "pacing" and jumping behavior... but not eliminate it. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Fairy wrasse in a nano tank, not 10/4/08 Hello there! <Hi!> Great site, can't repeat myself enough. <Thanks> I have a year old 10G nano reef tank, with a medium CPR refugium loaded with Caulerpa and Chaetomorpha macros. I have 15-17 lbs of live rock, corals-mostly softies, very few sps. 2-3 hermits. maybe 2 Nassarius snail and 3 turbo snail. No fish. Parameters are: Amm 0, nitrate 0, Ph 8.2-8.3, alkalinity 8-9 DKH, calcium 440 ppm, magnesium 1280-1350 ppm, Temp 77-80 F I run a Outer Orbit MH 150W 14000 Kelvin light system. All my corals and inverts seem very healthy and growing fast. The system free of nuisance algaes of any kind. ( Wasn't an easy progress though..:-) Here's my question. I'd love to keep either an exquisite, Scott's or blue sided fairy wrasse in my system. That would be my only fish. Please let me know if it's possible in such a small system? Did you know anyone who had success with them in a nano tank? <Very rarely... these fishes need much more room to move, feel safe... am wondering if there isn't "footage" on "YouTube" or such re how Cirrhilabrus make their lives in the wild... For the most part they live in shoals that roam around a large territory together, "playing off" each other... with one alpha male, an assortment of lesser fe/males, undifferentiated individuals... W/o the social component, the males alone don't act or stay very spectacular... in such small volumes they basically go "stir crazy"... Really need a hundred gallons plus... others of their own kind...> Your time and hassle truly appreciated, Sonny <James Lawrence/Microcosm, told me ayer that they're coming out with one of their pocket guide books on livestock for nanos... I believe you're a candidate. Bob Fenner>

Fairy Wrasse... Shoal of 5 in a 500 gallon tank 6/30/07 <Greetings! Mich here.> Second question in one evening. <You're reaching your limit... just kidding!> Hope you can help. <Me too!> In my new 500g reef rank, <Well, I'm jealous!> I would like the "primary" motion to come from a small school of Cirrhilabrus scottorum. <Oh! This is one of my most favorite fish. I love fairy wrasses in general, but I am a particular fan of this beauty. I love them because they can be so colorful! Like a rainbow!> My LFS has recommended buying ~5 females and introducing them to the tank at one time (last). <This is good in theory.> The theory is that one will change to male and they will work in a community. <Yes. This is a sound philosophy.> Does this sound reasonable? <Yes.> Is this too many/too few? <This seems reasonable. Five would be a nice final number. Hopefully all survive.> Would this idea worry you in captivity (I've never seen this done)? <There is nothing that I see as a red flag here. Please send pictures of the group when you get to this point!> Thanks!!! <Welcome!>

Fairy wrasse sys. and Cyclop-eeze fdg. 4/14/07 Hello, First I want to once again thank you for all of your help. My tank and I owe you a great deal of gratitude. If you ever find yourself in south Florida, I owe you a beer. <Oooh, now you've got my attention> Today I stopped by a local pet store. I saw a little fish I thought I could offer a decent home, left to research him on your web site, and went back to purchase him. He looked so happy in my tank, for about an hour. I have a one inch space next to my filter that isn't covered. <Yikes!> Alas, the little guy found it. I haven't yet ruled out suicide, though no one in my tank is talking. Funeral processions will be held in my bathroom in a few minutes, after I cover up the escape hatch. <Am singing a dirge... in preparation for that beer at the wake later> On to my question. The pet store recommended freeze-dried Cyclop-eeze to feed my corals (soft corals only, zoanthids, mushrooms, various other polyps). <Mmm, about the right size...> Up until now I had been using Zooplex. <Another good product IMO/E> I brought home the Cyclop-eeze and it doesn't have directions. I searched their web site, to no avail. Any info on how I use the stuff. I'm worried about overdoing it and polluting my tank. Sincerely, Chris V <I'd alternate the two products listed... mix up a smidgen/cut-off piece of the Cyclops, defrost, dissociate the crustaceans in a bit of water... turkey baster blow toward the intended colonies... While suspending a good deal of water circulation if this is too brisk. Bob Fenner>

Re: Temminckii Wrasse, sys. - 02/15/07 Bob, <Shawn> I'm sorry but i don't understand the statement about when you said (Mmmm, would have either more or less (substrate) here......see WWM re....) <... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsubstr.htm and the linked files above... the comments on how deep various substrates should be in marine systems...> Im <I'm> way confused that kind of contradics <...> one another. Oh when i <I> try to look up these fish on your sight <site> i can find only general info nothing more or less on genus!!!! Thanks <A bit of practice Shawn... in reading "up" to the family level likely. Interpolating, syncretizing... Wakarimasuka? Bob Fenner> - Scott's Fairy Wrasse 7/24/06 - Hi Bob <JasonC here today.> I was wondering I have a Amphiprion ocellaris and a Pseudochromis fridmani in a 30 gallon tank with an Eclipse filter would I be able to add a Scott's Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus scottorum) to this tank? <You could add the fish, but it would be completely inappropriate. I'd skip this fish until you have at least a 75 gallon or larger tank.> Thanks for your reply. <Cheers, J -- > Exquisite Wrasse - 2/15/2006 Hello, <Hi there> I recently purchased an exquisite wrasse who now resides in my Quarantine Tank. The wrasse is having a major problem swimming. He lies on his back most of the time but breathes normal. When I feed him, he scoots himself along to catch the food. What type of condition could he have and what medicines are available to treat this. All of my tank parameters are normal. I don't want to lose him. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks. <Having chased this species a number of times underwater I am surprised any arrive in live condition... this is one of the species I would do a pre-emptory dip/bath on and place in a large, established (hundreds of gallons, lots of live rock, reef) aquarium... and hope that it lives. Bob Fenner. My new pair of solar wrasse - 2/15/2006 Hello everyone. Happy Valentine's day to all. I have a question about my newly acquired pair of Solar Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus solorensis). I was so pleased when my LFS informed me that they received a pair of Solars in. I have been waiting for a pair for a couple months now. I have the couple in a 10g quarantine tank currently, bare bottom with a little LR and filter. <I'd hasten them through here> I know that this fish is rather shy and timid, I have heard that about all fairy wrasse at first. I have had this couple for about 3 days now and they are still very timid. My current setup is a 55g low light reef tank, <... not large enough> with a Carpenter's Flasher Wrasse, a Firefish, a Starry Blenny, and a Scott's Fairy Wrasse. My question is, do you think that the pair of Solar Wrasse will be able to fit in with the Scott's Fairy Wrasse? <... not really> I have been reading about how Scott's are temperamental to other Wrasse added after them. I have placed a mirror up to the tank and he doesn't seem to care about it, he actually seems interested in just swimming with the reflection. He does not flash his colors or anything of that nature. If this would not work out, my other option would be to set up a separate tank for the Solar Wrasse. I wouldn't mind setting up another tank since I am interested in purchasing a two Black and White Percula Clowns, and I feel that adding the Clowns to my current 55g along with the pair of Solar Wrasse would probably exceed the limit. Do you think that adding these 4 fish to the current 55 would be overload? <Yes...> If I set up a separate tank would both pairs, Clowns and Wrasse, be able to spawn with the other pair in the tank? <Not a good idea if you intend to raise the young> If it would just be the 4 fish in a separate tank, what size tank would you recommend? <Most Cirrhilabrus sp. should be placed in a hundred gallons minimum> Thanks for all of your assistance. Brian <Bob Fenner> Cirrhilabrus Trio In A 50 Gallon Tank? - 11/10/05 Hey Crew, <<Hey!>> I've read through the FAQs and still am unsure if my setup will be sufficient or not to provide for the finned buddies I'd like to get. The LFS I frequent for all things salty has 2 separate trios of Cirrhilabrus (C. solorensis & C. rubrisquamis) in Quarantine (they Q all their fish 7 days before they hit the sales floor). <<Both are very attractive wrasses.>> So my question(s) is this... Assuming both Trios make it through Q at the LFS healthy. Will one trio be suitable in my 50 gallon low-light reef? <<Yes>> And if so, would one of the trios be a better choice in those confines than the other? <<Whichever you like the better.>> The 50 gallon (36"x18"x18") tank in question is a 2 month old low light reef w/3" aragonite sand bed and 35 lbs of new (2 months cured) Tonga live rock and roughly 10 lbs of mushroom and colony polyp rocks from my main reef tank. The only other residents in this tank currently are Nassarius and Cerith snails and anything that hitchhiked in on the Live Rock. The tank has a skimmer and a small HOB refugium w/ Macro Algae (Chaetomorpha) and has roughly 750gph water movement. <<Should work nicely for the wrasses.>> If one of the trios will work... would you foresee any conflicts w/ adding a few Firefish and a couple of Cleaner Gobies sometime down the road? <<Mmm...should be fine, though probably not more than one Firefish due to conspecific aggression among this species.>> Thanks for your time and all that you provide to the Hobby. Andy <<Happy to assist, EricR>>

Re: Scott's velvet wrasse >Much thanks for re-affirming my hunch about this silly fishes shy behavior. Kinda funny that Scott would respond to a ticket about a Scott's Fairy Wrasse. :P >Yes, but no longer Scott here, Marina this afternoon. >>I've seen the wrasse poking out of the rocks once in a while, but he is still very keen on staying hidden. At least he moves about now, always a good sign. As for the quarantine bit, I realize that it may have been a good idea, but a 4 inch fish kept in a 5 inch collection box for two weeks at the LFS I felt was more than adequate stress to put on the poor fish, not to be added to sticking him in a 10 gallon "fix-me-up" box. >>Just to be clear, firstly, the 5" "collection" box, was this fish literally being kept in a specimen container? Or was it really being kept in the kind of row display that is used by retailers and wholesalers? I would think *that* would be the more likely situation, therefore, the fish is tied into a HUGE volume of water. Please know that if you take a stressed (and therefore *very* disease susceptible) fish and move it once again, into a system with established tankmates, one day you may end up with BIG trouble. There are *very* good reasons for quarantining, absolutely NO fish or invertebrate has ever gone into any of my systems, or into the displays of the public aquarium I'm associated with. 30 days is the minimum, and it's standard protocol for all P.A.'s (to the best of my knowledge). The aquarium I'm associated with has, by far, the healthiest displays I've ever seen, and I attribute that to their religious quarantine procedures. >Definitely tho, he's got some appetite, so that's a great sign. Thanks again for alleviating my worries all. 8) Erik >>Now, we need to expect fairy wrasses to be timid, and note that they are also notorious tank-jumpers, just be sure you've got a good cover over the tank to keep him safe. Also, was just speaking to another friend who lost another Cirrhilabrus via overflow tube. The fish was alive in the sump when he found it, but it was terribly chewed up and he had to euthanize it immediately. Therefore, I'll suggest a bit of screen or something to prevent this with your new purchase. I'm going to second getting more of the same species for him if AT ALL possible, you'll be amazed at the change in behavior once they're in groups (they have "security" issues). To whet his appetite try little meaty foods such as Mysis shrimp, and small bits of krill, shrimp, squid, or octopus (just about anything marine, really). I think if you can establish a group you'll agree they're some of the BEST marines (as species go) one can keep. Best of luck! Marina >>P.S. I have another friend who established a group of picture wrasses and OH MY GOD! Just STUNNING! Have fun!

Wrasse Impasse? Hi all, have a question about a Scott's velvet wrasse I just purchased. I have read in many places that this tends to be a pretty tough (comparatively speaking) fish with great compatibility for reef tanks, so I was sold; after the fact, I found out this fish also tends to be shy...and therein lies my question. I have a 125 gallon tank lit 3/4s across (leaving 1/4th the tank shaded) by 4 55watt pc tubes. Its a fairly well stocked tank for liverock, and has a 3inch bicolor, a 2 inch arc eye hawk, a 3inch perc, and a 2.5 inch Fiji false eye puffer, and two supposed emerald crabs (ones brownish red though...). The fish (the velvet wrasse) was under pretty hefty stress at the LFS where I purchased him, and after introduction into the tank (no qt, no dip, just acclimate and straight into the tank, no more stress than necessary) <Arghh- I have to give you the mandatory scolding about skipping quarantine...I know the intent was to "reduce stress", but keeping the fish in a quarantine tank for a few weeks allows the fish to settle down, feed, and relax a bit from the rigors of collection and handling. Contrary, quarantining is a terrific antidote for stress. Please, please utilize the process in the future...That being said, let's move on...> , he swam about for a few moments in something of a panic and went straight to hiding. This morning I woke up to find him in the same position (literally sitting on the bottom of the tank) surrounded by his mucous cocoon. He still hasn't moved, but is extremely intent and follows all movement with his beady little eyes. Is it normal for him to literally sit on the bottom, or should he be swimming (albeit hidden) in the water column? <Well, these wrasses tend to be a bit shy, particularly when kept singly. They tend to fare better in groups in many cases. He'll probably come around soon, if conditions in the tank remain stable, and if he is not overly harassed by the other inhabitants of the tank.> Lastly, assuming his sitting behavior is normal, I should expect 1-3 weeks of hiding before he decides to be social, correct? Thank you for your time. Erik <Well, Eric, you're reading my mind here! I couldn't give you an exact timetable, but I know that my wrasses take some time to settle in. They are remarkably tough animals... Enjoy your! Regards, Scott F.>

Just bought a Hawaiian Flame Wrasse -- Are They Jumpers? Hi Bob, I recently had the good fortune to purchase a 3" male flame wrasse in perfect condition. I have him in an extremely healthy 55 gallon show reef (bare bottom) with 2 small tangs (purple and chevron). The rocks are arranged with lots of small arches and mini caves/ledges for the fish to go in and out of. <A good aquarium species, likely good tankmates, but a small system for this animal> Plus, I have extremely heavy small polyp growth over every rock in the system (it's several years old, and no rock surfaces show because there are so many polyps -- I actually have to "weed" the tank every few months!). So, hopefully he feels secure. <You will know by observation> I'm worried that this fish will end-up jumping out of the tank. I read that they can do this. <Yes, very capable... cover over all openings big enough to exit> Technically, all fish can, but certain ones seem to be hell-bent on suicide (e.g., gobies/tile fish). If there's a slight possibility, then I'm not worried. However, if it's very common, then I'd like to take preventive measures. <Please read re the genus Cirrhilabrus on our site: http://wetwebmedia.com/cirrhilabrus.htm> My tank is acrylic with the typical two large openings on top. What do people use to prevent jumping? <The tank fabricators make little covers... I generally use "shipping tape"...> I don't want to impede air circulation as I have fans running and 2 halides. I also don't want to cut down light transmission. Any suggestions? Thanks so much. <The tape, and air stones, Venturi intakes... likely a couple of muffin fans on your canopy blowing air in/out of the area above the tank. If this area is enclosed and the Jordan's Wrasse jumps out, it will likely flop back in... Bob Fenner> Darin Tidwell

Re: Just bought a Hawaiian Flame Wrasse -- Are They Jumpers? Thanks for the lightning-fast response. The back of my canopy is open. What I'll probably do is put some type of material across the lower backside of the opening, so if he jumps, he'll be able to flop back into the tank. <Good planning> Yes, I realize this system is a bit small for this type of fish, and I'd love to get a 90 gallon or larger system, but I live in California and we're prone to earthquakes, so I figure 55 gallons of reef on the floor is better than 90. I also have a 20 gallon refugium with sand/plants below the tank. <Do know what you mean. Live in San Diego> I truly appreciate your help. I don't know how you keep up with all the messages you get! <I key quickly. Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner> Darin

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