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FAQs on Coris gaimard Wrasses: Behavior

Related Articles: Coris gaimard Wrasses

FAQs on: Coris gaimard Identification, Coris gaimard Compatibility, Coris gaimard Stocking/Selection, Coris gaimard Systems, Coris gaimard Feeding, Coris gaimard Health, Coris gaimard Reproduction, Related FAQs: Wrasses, Wrasse Selection, Wrasse Behavior, Wrasse Compatibility, Wrasse Feeding, Wrasse Diseases

Are characters... do swim about a good deal, when not buried under the sand

Red Coris Wrasse Coloration Changes    6/21/13
Greetings Crew. I know Mister Fenner is an expert on The Red Coris Wrasse, so I have a question. I have attached a photo as well. I have been raising one of these beauties for a couple years now, and as of the last few months, he has experienced a drastic color change. He has gone from having the brilliant neon blue dots and assorted colorful stripes, to plain orange with a small patch of blue above the yellow tail. I estimate his size to be 5". He is very healthy, fat, and eats 3 times a day. The only food he will eat is Mysid Shrimp. I add a Selcon, VitaChem, and garlic mixture to his food. I am curious if this is how he will look from now on, or if he will undergo further coloration changes yet?. Thank you for your help.
<Your fish will continue to change... as it becomes a male/terminal phase individual. Do try to get it to eat other foods... I'd blend in/soak
Spectrum pellets... gradually replacing the Mysids to a large extent...
Your fish is a beauty, but smallish to be changing from a female to male.
No problems though: Do read here:
Bob Fenner>

RE: Red Coris Wrasse Coloration Changes    6/21/13
Thank you Mister Fenner for your rapid response. I have read the link you sent me before, very informative, as is all of your vast information provided on your wonderful site.! I will try as you suggested, starting tomorrow. I will soak some Spectrum Pellets tonight. I run numerous large systems, and most of my fish, including many large display specimens,
thrive on Spectrum Pellets.
<Ahh! A great staple food>
All of my many Fairy, and other smaller Wrasses love them as well, it seems my larger Wrasses have been the exception thus far. I will let you know if I can get The Red Coris Wrasse to eat them or not.
<And you Paul. BobF> 

Red Coris Wrasse - Juvenile Regression?     6/13/13
Have you ever seen a Red Coris Wrasse begin regressing its colors to juvenile markings?
See these pics. The "before" shot, taken four months ago around the time that the wrasse was placed in my tank. The "after" shot, taken today.
<I see>
Sorry for the lack of clarity in the "after" shot, but you will clearly that the juvenile markings have started to return. The spots on its forehead/nose even have a black border coming back. The fish has grown about 1/2 inch in this timeframe.
<Happens; not to worry>
This wrasse is housed with a much larger harlequin tusk, who is occasionally very aggressive in chasing it. I wonder if perhaps this behavior has caused this? Should I be concerned?
<Likely the Choerodon's presence, actions are of consequence here, but as long as no damage... I'd leave all as is.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Red Coris Wrasse - Juvenile Regression?     6/13/13
Thanks, Bob. Do you suspect regression could continue and/or become permanent?
<Ah no... eventually all goes forward. B>

Red Coris Wrasse Question, beh.     8/7/12
Greetings my fellow Aquarists.
<Hellos George>
I have had a Red Coris Wrasse in my dining room 75 Gallon Aquarium for a year or so.
<Going to need a larger tank.>
 It is an exquisite creature and very active, with interesting behavior, always eating. It is about 5" long. It's tankmates are a 4" Gold Stripe Clownfish, a 4" Masuda Hogfish, a 3" Filefish, and a 2" Six Stripe Wrasse.
I have 50 pounds or so of Live Rock, 3" of sand, a Reef Octopus Hang on Protein Skimmer, with a Koralia 4, for water movement.  My question is relating to the Red Coris Wrasse's 'schedule'. It will be out all day until dusk, for 3 or 4 days in a row, then stay under the sand for anywhere from one, to up to 5 days, before emerging again. It is very healthy, no signs
of disease, and there is no aggression in the aquarium. I was just curious if this is normal behavior for one of these fish?
<This is perfectly normal. Read more here--
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/CorisgBehF.htm Watch the Maroon Clown for aggression and be aware that the Coris is going to need a larger tank.>
 Thank you as always for your help.
<Quite welcome.>
George Link
Re: Red Coris Wrasse Question 8/7/12

Thank you for the quick reply as usual. I did read the link you sent me to, which I always do, before asking a question. My question wasn't answered there. I was aware they bury themselves at night. It was just the several days at a time, being buried all day and night that puzzled me.
<Quite common to remain buried/unseen for days on end.>
 I have a 250 and 500 Gallon Acrylic Aquariums to move it to, when it outgrows the 75 gallon.
<Excellent! Many do not plan ahead for the adult size of this fish.>
 I just want to enjoy it in my dining room, where my computer is, as long as I can.
<Understandable, a truly stunning fish.>
 The Maroon Clownfish was added last, due to their aggressive nature, but I also know the Red Coris is no wimp:)
<You are correct sir.>
 Thank you again.
George Link.

Re: Hey Bob... C. gaimard beh.   4/9/11
Bob, do Red Coris Wrasses ever stay out of the sand throughout the night (or at least most of it) as adults/larger sizes?
<Oh yes. B>
re: Hey Bob
Oh good. I have a breathtaking 6" adult in my 90gal fowlr.
<Will need more room in time. B>
Yeah within two years I plan to have a 180 when I have more room

Coris wrasse lifespan 3/30/11
Hi again all,
I just have a quick question that no one seems to be able to answer. I have, well had, a red Coris wrasse (Coris gaimard). I got him late 2004 and he was already an adult. I'm just curious roughly how long they live in captivity.
<At least fifteen years... perhaps twenty. I know of specimens in public aquaria and service accounts this old>
He died the other day and I'm just curious if I screwed something up or if it was just his time. Fishbase and the rest of the interwebs is no help.
<Actually, fisheries data likely exists for size/age... from which a guestimate/extrapolation can be made. Bob Fenner>

Coris Gaimard/Behavior 12/2/10
Hey crew.
<Hey Jess>
I did some thorough research on the forums on your site and discovered that its normal for a Red Coris Wrasse to hide in the sand at night and be active during the day. My Coris Wrasse on the other hand,
hides in the sand all day, is this normal?
<No, they generally scout around during the day hunting for food but will occasionally burrow in the sand to rest.>
Will he start to swim more as time goes on?
He has been in my 90gal display now for three weeks. I'm starting to wonder. I think you will have a good idea as to whether this is normal or not with the amount of experience you have.
<What are its tank mates? The problem may lie here.>
Thanks everyone,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Coris Gaimard/Behavior 12/2/10

A 5 inch Yellow Tang and a 3 inch Clarkii clown. I have a 4 inch Humu Humu Trigger in qt also. I am making an aggressive tank.
<I wouldn't consider the Coris aggressive and caution advised when keeping with Triggerfish.
May or may not have some compatibility issues. The tang or clownfish shouldn't cause the wrasse to burrow. As these fish grow, your 90 gallon tank will be too small. May want to read through our Coris gaimard behavior FAQs, may find a similar case leading to further help.
James (Salty Dog)>
Re Coris Gaimard/Behavior 12/2/10
Ok....I did and it states that triggers should be kept with angels tangs and wrasse. Also says that adult Coris Wrasse are more aggressive.
<Is yours an adult or juvenile? You didn't state, would have helped knowing.>
My red Coris lets no one near him, he bites them....even the tang.
<I thought this was the guy that stayed buried in the sand all day.>
And my yellow tang chases every fish in my tank, very aggre.
<Likely because of your tank size, territorial issues developing and will only get worse.>
Do you specialize in salt or fresh?
<Our site does both, I prefer salt queries.>
Thanks for the quick response.
<You're welcome, and in future queries please cap proper nouns so I won't have to do it before posting. I wish more folks would read the guidelines before submitting a query.
James (Salty Dog)>
Re Coris Gaimard/Behavior 12/2/10
He is an adult yes, but a small one. I would have said red Coris wrasse juvenile otherwise.
<Well I'm not a mind reader for sure.>
And yes he hides mostly but when he's out and about, he's downright Moody and dominant.
<Sounds like he is doing OK to me.>
Unfortunately a 90 gallon is as big as I can go regarding space and money. I purchased all fish small so I would have a good amount of time until I'm able to upgrade. If your that concerned about enough living space for a fish out of the ocean, then why don't you just promote leaving them in the ocean?
<We do promote this for fish with low survivability rates.>
You should be against the selling of marine and/or freshwater fish. Even if these fish are put into hundreds of gallons that still no where near as close to where they came from. So because its bigger means its ok?
<I did not say that. Larger quarters provides a better chance of a long life span in captivity.>
Giving a better living environment is always a must but you'll never match that of where they came from.
<Yes, that's pretty obvious.>
So good care feeding and water quality is what one needs to focus on.
<And environment. Would you like to live in a closet the rest of your life given healthy food and clean air.....likely not.>
Unless of course the tank is too small for the fish to make a turn...that would be a little harsh and unacceptable. I greatly appreciate the help you and the rest of the crew offer....for free! Its wonderful.
I am not convinced you know as much as you claim regarding saltwater fish.
<I don't recall claiming anything, was just giving advice.>
Your input negates much of the info Bob Fenner offers in his book.
<Bob does read each and every query before posting and if he feels the information is incorrect, he will state so.><<I would do so. RMF>>
Yes Yellow Tangs can be aggressive in any size tank....as well as the red Coris. There is a problem when I feel I know more than the person replying to emails asking for advice.
<Then you have just wasted my time and yours. Bob is always looking for knowledgeable crew members, just submit your experience/knowledge level and submit a short bio to the same email addy you used for your query. If Bob feels you are qualified, then welcome aboard. Before doing so, keep in mind that there
is no pay here, strictly volunteer work.>
Its ok though, thanks again. No need to reply. Again, thank you!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Coris Gaimard/Behavior 12/2/10
Comparing human beings and fish? I rest my case.
I'm sure birds don't like their cages either but with proper care they do just fine.
Sorry to be pushy. I appreciate your time. And it takes a good person to do this voluntarily.
<Thank you. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Hey crew..... Coris gaimard hlth., beh.    10/16/10
Oh absolutely! I learned that the hard way the first TWO times lol. While I have you, let me ask you one more question. Your literature states that this Coris Wrasse does hide in the sand but unfortunately mine hasn't come out since I purchased him four days ago. He was eating great in the store and swimming around after being there for a week, so I am quite optimistic and hopeful for survival. Is four days too long.
<Mmm, no; not too long... after a week I might use the opposite end of a net to slowly trace through the substrate>
Thanks again, If it weren't for you and your website/book, a lot of us "hobbyists" probably wouldn't get half as far as we do. GREATLY appreciated!
<Welcome Jas. BobF>

Coris gaimard... beh.   12/19/07 Bob & Team, <Howdy Joe> I have to agree with Bob about this wrasse, just started growing a small adult (about 4.5 - 5?) up in a 75g where I am trying to fatten him up and let him run the tank till I can get him big enough to go into my 240 with everyone else. Assuming lots of high protein food (in this case raw shrimp, ghost shrimp, krill, and Spectrum pellets) what is the typical growth rate of these wonderful wrasses? I have search all over the web and I find info that he will grow long term. The data I find is somewhere between 13.7? and 23?. Can you confirm the data? <I think the former number is pretty close. Have seen adults of this Coris throughout its distribution... for many happy years> I need him to bulk up to about 7-8? so he can complete for food in my bigger tank as my Queen Angel, Harlequin Tusk, Lion, several Tangs, Maroon Clown, and several eels. <Should be "there" in about six to eight months with good feeding> Thanks for your time. Joe McLaughlin <Welcome. BobF>

Red Coris Question ?   7/10/06 Hi crew hope all is going well. <Better all the time> Well I couldn't resist and bought a Red Coris Wrasse (Coris gaimard) for my aggressive tank. <A great aquarium species in the right setting> And all is good besides he is hiding in the sand. Yes I know they dig and I am perfectly fine with that. But just out of curiosity how do Coris wrasse Sp. breathe underneath the sand with out breathing in the sand?? <Good question... I suspect they continue to ventilate their gills with "buccal suction"... expanding and contracting the throat, pulling in water through the mouth, out the gill slits... Perhaps this species can/does "go anaerobic" for a period of time... Bob Fenner> Thanks for  Your time Josh Schiff

Wrasse Question  12/8/05 Bob <James today> I hope you can help me.  <Me too>  I have a 30 gallon tank with plenty of live rock and open sand patches. I have a dragonet goby and a maroon clown. I recently bought a Gaimard's Wrasse and he seemed to be happy. He wasn't bothered by any other fish and was out in the open for two days. He then buried himself. I have not seen him since. It has been about 6 days now. The tank is covered so I know he didn't jump out. Is this behaviour usual?  <Yes, for that length of time.>  I have tried to move whatever sand I can but have had no luck. There are still spots that I can't get to. Should I give up on it and take the loss? If you can give me any information that would be great. If I reached you by mistake, sorry.  <Jade, here is some info on the Coris gaimard for you to read. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/wrasses/coris/gaimard.htm> Thanks for your help.  <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Yellowtail wrasse 8/14/05 Hey guys hope you're doing well today.  I was hoping that perhaps you might be able to shed some light on some peculiar behavior that my yellowtail wrasse is displaying.  First background info 100 g tank salinity 1.023, nitrates 0, nitrites 0, ammonia 0.  pH 8.4.  I bought this fish about a week ago without doing any research on it because, well, my wife said to (I know, not the best excuse).  Anyhow my question is two part.  First off, I thought the fish was dead because I hadn't seen it in two days after we bought it and I couldn't find the body either.  Then it comes about that the fish is alive and well and doing alright. <Common behavior...>   However, today I found him lying on his side and I thought that he was dead, but then about 15 minutes later I see him back up and swimming as though nothing was wrong. <Another common...> Then another 2 or three hours later I see him doing the same thing (although not on his side, just sitting there on the substrate not moving) then again he is back up and swimming around strong as ever.  Is this normal behavior or is something going wrong that I need to look into.   <Likely the former> The second part of the question is whether or not he will be fine living in a reef tank (I know, not reef safe) with a crushed coral substrate.  Its a beautiful fish and I would hate to have to get rid of it, but I'd rather not make its life miserable in a tank that its not meant for.  Thanks guys. CLB <Is this a Coris gaimard? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/wrasses/coris/gaimard.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Wrasse (Coris gaimard) Hey guys quick question. I have read the forums and see that Humu triggers grow fairly slow and slower than other triggers. About how slow are we talking here? I have a three inch Humu and would like to know approximately about how long it's going to take to be around 4 or 5 inches.  <Difficult to answer, all depends on tank size, diet, water quality, etc.>  Lastly, I searched forums about the Coris gaimard and only found how big it gets in wild not in captivity. So, generally how big does this yellow tail wrasse get in captivity?  And what size tank would you recommend for a growing yellow tail?  <Chrissy, this wrasse is difficult to keep, best left for experts. But to answer your question. In the wild they grow to just a little over a foot. A 100 gallon tank would be the minimum size. James (Salty Dog)> 

Red Coris colour change Hi all tank-watchers! <Hey Wendy how are you today. MacL here sneezing her fool head off.> I've had a red Coris happily for almost a year ? lately his coat looks like scuffed suede, all tatty, like crushed velvet. Is this a normal part of the colour change process?
<My first inclination was to say yes it was color change but I am concerned about the wrasse chasing him.>
Two days ago I noticed our six-line wrasse chasing him relentlessly all over the tank.... is this a case of ?get him while he's down? or could this be the cause of the tatty coat and I just hadn't seen the aggression earlier?
<Well they do go to a much darker color as they age. You didn't say how large he or she was. That can make a difference. I can tell you that sometimes as they go through changes to adults they can look just so bizarre. Not raised scales or anything like that but the color which was so so bright just seems to dull and lack the former luster. Eventually they will get it back and been even more attractive. I always recommend feeding them with a excellent foods supplemented with good vitamins. MacL> Thanks xxx W

Hiding Coris wrasse First off...new to this site, and it's helped tremendously! << Welcome. >> My tank size is a 200gal. fish only, with only a 4" Scopas Tang inhabiting it. Yesterday, I visited my old fish store (shopped there for years, until 8 months ago). They had a gorgeous 7" Red Coris that I went back and purchased today. I talked to an old friend of mine, who works there, and he told me that they are a hardy species, will eat most meaty foods, and would be ok with the Scopas Tang in my tank. << I agree. >> I brought him home, and after showing off for my camera, and swimming for an hour or so, he decided to bury himself in the sand and go to sleep. << Sounds normal. >> I trust these guys, at this particular fish store with anything they say. Now, I look online and is says these fish are "expert only...difficult to care for". Any suggestions why? << I don't see them as difficult fish.  Good choice for a 200 gal.  I think I would offer him lots of meaty food, but otherwise I'd feel safe buying him (especially with that long time spent in a pet store). He'll come out, just don't disrupt the tank, and wait it out. >> Thanks!! Andy <<  Blundell  >>

Red Coris gaimard Thanks Mr. Fenner! I saw an adult stage Red Coris a few weeks ago at the LFS and was mesmerized with the stunning beauty of this fish. <They are gorgeous... Am in Hawai'i right now and this is one of my favorite species to find, observe on the reef here> I did some research on the fish and knew that it could grow a foot or longer. But after reading your section on how this was your favorite wrasse (definitely mine as well), I had my mind set on buying the fish. <My fave, but rambunctious as stated... a real "rock mover"> So far it has lived up to every expectation as you've said: amazing beauty, graceful movements, and quite intelligent. My question was, I read once somewhere that if you get a male recessive gaimard, the main body coloration is a bit darker than the females and the size potential is considerably smaller than the females, up to 8 inches max only. Is this true? <Not in my opinion. Have heard of determinate species in both Labrids and Scarids, in addition to ones that change from initial stage (females) into males... but Coris wrasses all seem to change from females... and all males are larger (makes sense) than females> Thanks for all the great knowledge that you and the crew provide to all of us marine enthusiasts (nuts) :) .   Michael <Glad to share. Bob Fenner>

Coris gaimard Hi All I love the site--and along with everyone else am eagerly awaiting the upcoming WWM crew book on inverts. Just a quick question about the Coris gaimard aka Red Coris Wrasse: I've had my healthy juvenile (2-1/2-3 inch) now for about nine months in a 50 gal. tank (it's temporary--he's moving soon to a much larger tank). I'm surprised--not disappointed, just surprised--to see that he isn't changing color at all. I would think that in the wild fish would have to grow/change to adulthood much faster to survive. Do any of you know how long the transformation process generally takes from juvenile to adult? Or from juvenile to the first marked color transformation?  <This can be a long time... and is highly variable... I know of cases where it appears that keeping a specimen in small quarters seemed to forestall development/change indefinitely> I've got a powerful G2 skimmer so I keep him well fed--maybe even a little fat--in case this makes a difference. <I think it does> Ok, well maybe one more: I've seen many Red Coris Wrasses while diving in Hawaii. The young always stand out like beacons against the white sand. Why are the young so conspicuous? It seems like the color would be an attractor to bigger, hungry fish.  <Mmm, perhaps being so "obvious" is actually useful in avoiding predation... notice the bright colors, the false eyespots... perhaps mimicking a unpalatable animal like a Nudibranch, behaviorally complete with slow, largely "laying down" orientation> From an evolutionary standpoint it makes no sense to me--I'd think they would begin with the duller adult coloration and THEN become beacons for reproductive purposes. Just curious if you might know. Thanks again for your absolutely invaluable site, Adam <And you for being part of it. Bob Fenner>

Coris Gaimard Wrasse in Seclusion Hi Lorenzo, <Bob back again...> Thanks for filling in! I introduced a Coris Gaimard to my aquarium, exactly one week ago. He immediately dove in to the substrate and has hidden there ever since. He doesn't come up to swim or to eat. I know he is alive because I see undulations under the sand. I'm getting worried... Is there anything I should or can do? Your advise would be appreciated, Thank you, Jennifer <Hmm, not much really... best to wait... this specimen will "pop up" if/when it is ready... likely is coming out at night to check out the real estate. Do try offerings of bite-size meaty foods toward "lights out" time... this may hasten the unburrowing of your Coris. Bob Fenner>

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