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FAQs on Flasher Wrasses, Genus Paracheilinus Behavior

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Related FAQs: Flasher Wrasses, & FAQs on: Flasher Wrasse Identification, Flasher Wrasse Compatibility, Flasher Wrasse Selection, Flasher Wrasse Systems, Flasher Wrasse Feeding, Flasher Wrasse Disease, Flasher Wrasse Reproduction, & Wrasses, Wrasse Selection, Wrasse Behavior, Wrasse Compatibility, Wrasse Feeding, Wrasse Diseases,

Catching a male in display in the wild is fun, trying, and breath-taking.

exquisite wrasse ailment/behavior   2/22/17
Dear WWM crew,
I am a very inexperienced aquarist, having just begun a tank this past September. Wrasses are the most delicate fish I've attempted and the first didn't live through quarantine (flukes, I think).
<May be>
I have a had a juvenile female (I think) exquisite wrasse in quarantine for 10 days. I was told by the owner of my LFS (an awesome guy) that she had been treated with copper, PraziPro and Chloroquinine phosphate while in the store. Days 1-10 she seemed very healthy. She is in a 10 gal tank aerated with 2 airstones and going through TTM, so the tank is uncycled. She has tolerated the moves very nicely, hiding for maybe 20 minutes after each move with some color change but recovering quickly. I treat the water with Seachem Prime in addition to monitoring ammonia and scrupulously removing waste.
<Mmm; expect me to state something/s regarding the trade off of preventative steps versus induced stress/disease>
Yesterday her fins seemed clamped, breathing a little fast and swimming a little listless. Her tail also seems ragged. All of these changes were very subtle but after losing the first wrasse I have been on high alert for trouble. I added 1/2 dose PraziPro to the tank, watched a bit. She seemed ok and I had to go out for a short time. When I returned she'd been in
PraziPro bath roughly 2 hours and was clearly struggling to swim. I was concerned she wasn't tolerating PraziPro (I have read anecdotal reports that some wrasses don't) so I did a 50% water change (salinity 1.022, matched the tank but the temp of the added water was a couple degrees warmer than the tank I'm afraid) and added a hang - on filter with
carbon. During the water change she exhibited drastic color change, laid on the floor a couple minutes, then hid behind a PVC and has been there since breathing fast. She hasn't eaten.
<I'd NOT treat further, and would expedite the moving of this fish to the main display. Any further delay will NOT add to the likelihood of disease avoidance and WILL add to the potential loss of this specimen>
Hindsight being what it is, I think now that I over-reacted by adding the PraziPro. When laying down her fins are clearly NOT clamped. I can't see her tail to tell if it is actually ragged. My instinct is that she's stressed and to leave her be, maybe she'll come out later. Do you suggest I do differently?
<Yes; move this fish as stated>

I don't want to stress her to death, I know she is delicate. I just want to get her into my display tank, I feel she is
safest there.
Thank you so much,
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Carpenter's Flasher Wrasse Behavior Question       12/11/12
I recently sent you an email about a concern with the mouth of my Carpenter's Flasher Wrasse. I had a concern about the upper part of its mouth. It was sent on December 9, 2012. I haven't heard back on that question,
<... it was responded to... It's archived here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/flshrwdisf.htm
but I had some developments with the same fish so I thought I'd seek your insight on it also. The Carpenter's Flasher Wrasse is in the tank with a Lime Green Wrasse.
<May not get along>
 I noticed they were having a very interesting interaction with each other darting around. Then, the Flasher Wrasse would turn pale and open up its fins to make a very impressive display of fins and color. He would dart around and dance around the lime green wrasse. The Lime Green Wrasse is a female. She would dart aways and play shy. Then, she would come back over to where he was at again and the display would go on all over again. I took so many videos and pictures for a good hour. This display has gone on again today. I would assume this is mating display that the Flasher Wrasse is so known for. What I am confused about is its display towards the Lime Green Wrasse. Is it possible for them to mate, since they aren't the same fish?
<It is not possible as far as I'm aware. Thalassoma lutescens is very distantly related genetically>
 Or, is this just a display of another sort?
<Likely agonistic display behavior>
 If it is possible for them to mate, what should I expect in this situation? I hadn't planned on this, so I wasn't sure much about their reproduction, especially since she isn't another Flasher Wrasse. Thanks for your help.
Brent Wells
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Filamented Flasher Wrasse-update/lifespan 6/6/11
Hi all,
Back in April, 2009 I had sent in a letter to you guys that I had placed 3 female wrasses with my male flasher wrasse. He was purchased as a juvenile
2/9/09 online. The females purchased in 4/09. One female turned to male and tried to kill the original male (I call him Whiz).
<As in Gee?>
It jarred the top on a running fly and then found a way out on the second run and died. A second female then turned male and was even more aggressive to Whiz, and I found him a new home. This left one female left. Since Whiz was pretty aggressive towards trying to mate I figured it'd be best for her if I moved him, so into my soft coral tank he went.
He became best buds with Gravedigger my yellowhead Jawfish (which I also wrote earlier about having gone blind for 4 months).
And he even slept in the rock just above her hole, and hung out with her all day...until a couple months ago. I started noticing him being more secretive, not out in the open as much but still coming out for food...whizzing through the front of <I see this. Quite a pair>
Last night I found him dead. I've had him 2 years 4 months; he was a juvenile when purchased (from Liveaquaria). I've only been able to find one reference to a yellow flasher wrasse lifespan of 5-8 years but no information on how long it takes a flasher wrasse to reach juvenile stage and/or how long the juvenile stage lasts.
<Can be just a few months>
I would've thought he would have lived longer. The other fish in the tank are all fine... mated pair of clownfish (Ocellaris) (no anemone); ORA mandarin pair (20 months old) and the Jawfish (have had 3 yrs.). The female Filamented flasher wrasse is fine, howbeit, not at all happy about my giving her the company of a Midas blenny and she does from time to time let the blenny know she doesn't like its presence. Just another note the Whiz was from Indonesia, the females from the Solomon Islands and they grew to be a bit larger than he was.
Do you have any additional information on the lifespan and aging of flasher
wrasses that you can share?
<I do not unfortunately. However you may be able to "read between the lines" re some species by looking at their age vs. length data on such sites as Fishbase.org>
Thank you.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Pals for sure

McCosker's Flasher Wrasse Female To Male Change -- 02/01/11
Hello WWM crew!
<<Hiya Becca!>>
I have a 150L aquarium that until recently has been stood empty after a nasty white spot outbreak (fallow for approximately 3 months).
<<I see>>
Last week I added a pair of yellow coral gobies who I love but they looked a little lost in the tank so I decided to get them some company in the form of a trio of McCosker's flasher wrasses.
<<Mmm, this tank is too small for the wrasses really. While though a smallish fish, and though one that doesn't require a large environment in which to roam like say a Tang species would, 150L/40g U.S. is still a bit small here given their penchant for aggression among conspecifics. And to make matters worse, this fish does better, in my experience, in a group of 5 or more. A 'trio' just doesn't allow for enough spreading of aggression among the group. These little wrasses are also notorious jumpers 'a behavior only exacerbated by 'too-small' confines>>
The LFS gave me a ring this morning to let me know they had got the fish in for me, when I went to see them they were all swimming happily together and munching on flake and frozen Mysis. Looking at them now I am afraid I may have ended up with 2 males rather than 2 females, one of the males is almost fully grown compared to the other who is the same size and colour as the female but I noticed that he had an elongated section on his dorsal fin the same as my big male.
<<Ah yes'¦ You likely have a sub-adult male in the group>>
I can't get a picture at the moment as he will not stay still but I will keep trying. Now finally getting down to my question, will they all still get on or will one of them have to go?
<<Odds are the dominant male will not tolerate the younger male 'especially in such close confines>>
I have read that some males will be subordinate, or that the female to male change can be halted by the presence of a dominant male.
<<This is true. And perhaps if this system were larger'¦'¦'¦'¦>>
How can I tell if the smaller wrasse is in the process of becoming a male or if he is fully male already? (Probably going to be a really obvious answer isn't it!)
<<Compare its appearance to the larger male (color/color pattern, finnage)>>
If I do have to get rid of a male would you suggest another female or try to leave the pair as it is?
<<These are a 'haremic' species. Four or more females per male 'and a larger tank 'are your best option>>
Thanks for your time, sorry for carrying on so long!
<<No worries Becca, happy to share. Cheers'¦ EricR>>
Re: McCosker's Flasher Wrasse Female To Male Change -- 02/02/11

Hello again,
<<Hiya Becca>>
Thanks for the quick reply.
<<Quite welcome>>
I think I will give my cousin a ring and ask if he wants them for his tank (500L).
<<A much better solution>>
By the sounds of it they will be much happier in there than in my tank.
Would the sub adult male be ok to go with the other two or is it best for me to take him to my LFS?
<<I would seek to exchange the young male for a female, if possible>>
May see if he's willing to trade me his rather nice ornate leopard wrasse for them!
<<Ah Becca'¦you may be going from the frying pan in to the fire. Before deciding, please read here and among the associated links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/macropharyngodon.htm >>
R2: McCosker's Flasher Wrasse Female To Male Change -- 02/03/11

Thank you again for another quick reply.
<<Always welcome, Becca>>
The only reason I suggested the wrasse is I had him for two years first and gave him to my cousin for his birthday :)
<<Ah then, obviously this particular specimen has acclimated well to captive care (rare'¦the vast majority don't survive the first weeks of captivity), though for its long-term health a larger reef system will give it more room to roam/forage>>
But if he's not my best option I may go have a good look at his tank and nick something better suited to my tank.
<<Do keep thinking about/researching your options and feel free to come back and discuss re. Eric Russell>>

Paracheilinus filamentosus <MIA> & PBT Ich 8/29/10
Dear Wet Web Crew,
I am the proud new owner of a 90 gallon saltwater reef tank. I bought it from a friend of mine who had the tank up for 5 years and moved it to my house in May. I have been slowly adding fish and corals to my tank and currently have a line up as such:
1 Powder Blue Tang
<Really needs more room than this>
1 Royal Gramma Basslet
1 Blue Damselfish
1 Mandarin Dragonette
1 Tomato Clownfish
1 Foxface Rabbitfish
1 Paracheilinus filamentosus
1 Rose Bubble tip anemone
LPS, SPS, and soft corals under 2 250 Watt halides and 2 96 Watt actinics
The water keeps coming back fine (1.025 salinity, 8 KH, 400 Ca, 0 Nitrate, 8.3 pH).
Anyways, down to the question. When I added my Paracheilinus filamentosus about 3 weeks back,
<... no quarantine? Dip/bath?>
he was doing great. Eating, swimming around, good colors and such. About 2 weeks after that (1 week ago) I added the Powder Blue Tang.
<Ditto? A mistake>
There was no visible aggression between anyone in the tank, however, now the wrasse is nowhere to be found. He came out to eat once 3 days ago, but I haven't seen him since then. Last night I moved some of the rocks around to see if I could find a corpse, but to no avail. Is there any particular reason that you can think of that the wrasse would go MIA. I cannot find him anywhere.
<Dissolve quickly if lost here, good poss. it left the tank... perhaps a pet ate it there... Harassed by the Tomato? Eaten by the Entacmaea?>
It should probably be noted that my Powder Blue has a decent case of Ich. I've been reluctant to pull him and treat because he looks otherwise very healthy. He is eating and looking very good. I'm hoping he will pass it on his own.
On that note, I have some of the Seachem Metronidazole and Focus that is said to fight Ich and is reef safe. Is it worth using on the food, or do you think it is a waste/.dangerous?
<I would hold off... this anti-protozoal is not likely to effect a real cure here... as it cannot/should not be administered long (enough) term to "take out" all stages of the Crypt>
Thank you very much for your time and expertise,
Jake B.
<Mmm, I do want to refer you... Here:
and the linked files above... to grant you insight into your probable situation/outcomes. Bob Fenner>

Flasher Wrasses, Male Back To Female? -- 04/22/10
Hello All,
<<Greetings, Tricia>>
My apologies if I missed it in the previous flasher wrasse question, but can a sub-male flasher wrasse change back into a female?
<<Happens rarely in captive systems, as I am aware. But as with Anthiines, the 'change' can sometimes be halted/reversed if in the very early stages>>
I have had a trio for about a month- one male and two females. About a week ago my male quit doing his evening routine of flashing and girl chasing. Two days later I noticed that my larger female (but still quite a bit smaller than the male) was brighter in color. "She" is now showing signs of an elongating top fin and is chasing the other female.
<<Mmm, sounds like something is up with the 'previously' dominant male. Whether an illness or simply 'old age' is causing it to lose interest in the females, the dominant female is quickly 'taking over' just as it would in the wild>>
My male now spends about 60% of his time in a particular place in the tank, while the other two swim all over.
<<Indeed'¦ I think it very unlikely here that the 'changeling' will be reverting to female>>
If I'm correct, and I now have two males, will one revert to female?
Or should I re-home one of the males and try to locate another female?
<<Though it may well be a possibility, I have never seen/heard a dominant female take over a harem with a dominant male already present. The 'old' male will certainly decline/continue to decline in this situation. You can try placing it with some fresh 'young' females and see what happens (being haremic, they do not fare well for long as 'loners'), but the male's loss of interest in the harem would not seem to bode well for it, in my opinion>>
My thanks in advance,
<<A pleasure to share'¦ EricR>>

McCosker's Flasher Wrasse'¦Aggressive Male -- 03/13/10
Hi crew,
Have a question about a pair of McCosker's flasher wrasse, male and female pair that I recently acquired.
<<These are a haremic fish species'¦better kept in a group of three or more females to a single male>>
The male is acting with some intermittent dominant/aggressive behavior towards the female and I'm not sure if this is normal in an established pair or if it is the process that this species goes through to become a pair.
<<In addition to being haremic, these fish are also protogynous hermaphrodites (born female 'can change to male)'¦the male's behavior establishes his dominance and is a behavioral cue to suppress the female from 'becoming male.' Unfortunately, without other females about to spread his aggression, the single female must bear the brunt of all>>
I'm afraid the aggression will be too much for the female in the long run.
<<This is likely>>
She is timid now and stays to one side of the aquarium, unable to venture out into the open most times.
<<Add a couple more females>>
Parameters are all excellent. The tank is a 29g and has many places to hide.
<<This tank needs to be larger 'especially with the 'needed' addition of more females>>
She is eating well and does not have any outward sign of disease.
<<She will likely just 'disappear' if left on her own with the male>>
On another note, sometimes after eating this female does "barrel rolls" and will flip over seemingly on purpose. She does put obvious effort into doing so, and it is not a swim bladder thing. Maybe helps with digestion or overeating?
<<More likely courtship behavior 'even just 'play'>>
I feed spectrum and frozen Mysis or brine every day or every other day.
<<Ah my friend, do research your charges 'these fish need multiple small feedings EVERY DAY for their long term wellbeing. Start reading here and follow/read among ALL the links in blue at the top of the page (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/paracheilinus.htm) >>
Thanks for your advice.
Happy to share'¦ Eric Russell>>

Filamented Wrasses...Two Males Now - 02/17/09
<<Hey Deb>>
Previously I wrote about my wrasses... one male and three females. They're doing very well.
One of them always seemed to stay hidden so I would mostly only see three of them. This past week I noticed that all four were out and about quite regularly. On closer observation, I now have two males.
<<Oh? Perhaps this has something to do with the previous 'hiding' behavior 'as in the 'changeling' being seriously harassed by the existing/dominant male 'and now 'habituation' has settled things down a bit 'but for how long?>>
I still see a great group dynamic... they all appear to get along, no signs of bickering, at least no more than the typical pecking order short chase, and of course being a young male a bit more girl chasing.
Will this dynamic remain?
<<Not likely in my opinion, at least not without room to establish separate territories 'then there's the issue of 'enough females' to go around>>
Or as the younger male gets older should I expect to see a bit more territorial display?
<<Hard to say Deb'¦only time will tell. A 'continued peace' will depend largely on the agonistic tendencies of the particular species, and the individuals themselves. Captive care and the confines of the aquarium can/does affect behavior, but even so, I wouldn't suggest keeping more than one male in all but the largest of home systems>>
A bit about the tank and their care: The tank is a 30g SPS reef/10g refugium.
<<I really think this is too small an environment for the two males here>>
They are the only fish in the display along with 2 cleaner shrimp, 1 peppermint shrimp and 1 emerald crab. The refugium holds a little rusty goby (Priolepis hipoliti) and 2 peppermint shrimp. The fish are fed 2-3 times a day a mix of Mysis, reef plankton and homemade mix of minced squid, clams, shrimp and fish (soaked with Selcon), with occasional additions of other planktonic foods for variety.
<<Sounds like all are well fed 'is a plus, but not likely enough to swing the balance>>
Thank you.
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>

Wrasse Behavior - Jumping, Freaking And Hiding (Oh My!) - 05/23/05 Hello crew, <Evening> I'm very worried about my adult male Paracheilinus lineopunctatus. <Gorgeous fish> I've kept him for about 5 months now and up until recently he was a very active happy seeming fish. About one month ago he started jumping, or trying to. <Yep...all too common...a "high-strung" fish. My flashers use to literally "ping around" in the light hood like pin-balls if the lights suddenly went off due to a power outage.> I have the top 100% covered because I read these guys jump. <Mmm...not sealed I hope...possibly covered with egg-crate or similar?.> Problem is, when he hits the canopy it scares the crap out of him and he hides for days only to timidly re-emerge and start taking food again. Then after he starts getting bold and swimming above the rock again he'll try to jump. I feel really bad for him and I kinda wish I'd never have gotten him. I imagine him on the reef jumping at will and I feel terrible robbing him of that. <I wouldn't worry about this last item. According to Fishbase this specie is generally found at 12-40 meter depth. A long haul to the surface for a "recreational" jump <G>.> Many things I could correlate this behavior with but no clue as to a cause. 1. It seemed to coincide with his adulthood. He started getting his full adult coloration and size before he started jumping. 2. I added more light (3x18w NO --> 2x18w NO + 2 55w PC) about a month before this behavior started. he was fine for that month though. 3. I added a 1w 470nm moonlight about 6 weeks before. All water chemistry parameters test fine (0 NO3, PO4, Ca~370, dKH~8.5, SG~1.0255@78degrees F, temp~80 degrees F) Any experience with soothing crazy jumpers? Anything at all I could do to make my fish more happy? <Make sure another fish is not harassing your wrasse. But even if this is not the case, my experience has been that sooner or later these fish will jump. These fish can be kept, but as you're experiencing, they require some special considerations. One is a peaceful environment in which to live (extremely important in the unnatural confines of an aquarium), another is some type of grate directly on top of the tank openings.> Thank you so much, Andy <Regards, Eric R.>

Any Wrasses Less Likely To Jump? -- 07/19/07 Hello. <<Hi Pam!>> Are any wrasses less likely to jump than others? <<Most all the small ornamental species offered/used in the trade have varying tendencies re.. in my experience>> I have an open tank, and I know most wrasses are jumpers, but I thought if they were put in with all peaceful fish, that they may not jump. <<This does help, but it is not just the other fishes that can/will cause a wrasse (any 'jumper' species) to head for the open air. At one time I had a couple small groups of Flasher Wrasse species that would go 'nuts' if the lights on the tank were to suddenly 'black out' as from a power surge/outage...sounded like pinballs pinging around in the light hood!>> I have an Elos tank, and don't want to cover it with Eggcrate or screen. <<Neat!...and understood>> The beauty of the tank, is that it's rimless and open. <<Yes...very nice>> My fish are all very peaceful. Right now I have a Pygmy Possum Wrasse, a Purple Firefish and a Tailspot Blenny. I really wanted to add a Laboutei, but don't want to be irresponsible if it's definitely going to leap out of the tank and die. <<VERY likely with this species...and is the same pretty much with all the Flasher and Fairy Wrasse species. I have experienced, as well as very often hear of these fishes demise from leaping out an 'uncovered' system>> I know Firefish can be jumpers, but my Firefish never goes beyond the bottom half of the tank, and if he gets spooked, he dives into the rock...never up. I have two good size caves in my rock and lots of crevices and swim-throughs. <<All good, though many of the wrasses tend to be more active in the upper-third of the water column>> So..... should I definitely nix the idea of the Laboutei? <<Logic would seem to dictate this...>> Are any other bright wrasses less likely to jump? <<Still no guarantee it won't end up on the floor, but the smaller Halichoeres species are quite colorful and would be 'less likely' than the Laboutei to sail out of your tank...in my opinion. H. Chrysus is a premier aquarium species...and if you want something a bit less monochromatic, take a look at H. ornatissimus>> Thank you! Pam <<Regards, EricR>>

Re: Any Wrasses Less Likely To Jump? - 07/20/07 Thanks Eric. <<Quite welcome, Pam>> Ok, I'll take your advice and keep away from the Mystery Wrasses. <<I think you mean Flasher/Fairy Wrasses?...Probably for the best>> I took a look at the two wrasses you mentioned. <<Okay?>> I really like the ornatissimus. <<A gorgeous fish indeed>> I also was looking at the Five-barred Mystery Wrasse. <<Another beauty...love that 'expression'>> That's one of the only wrasses that LiveAquaria doesn't mention as a jumper. <<Am in disagreement>> Do you know if they are jumpers or not? <<I have known them to jump, yes...though 'possibly' less prone than the previous mentioned species due to their tendency to stay/hide lower in the water column. And please do understand, I have seen Halichoeres spp jump as well...I just think these are the better 'gamble' re >> Thanks, Pam <<Happy to assist. Eric Russell>>

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