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FAQs on Fairy, Velvet Wrasses, Genus Cirrhilabrus Compatibility

Related Articles: Fairy Wrasses,

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

Final Stocking--Wrasse Confusion      3/3/19
Hi Bob and Crew,
I recently sold a 180 gallon tank along with the big tank fish (tangs, Foxface, etc.) I've downsized to a 90 gallon, which I've aquascaped into a bommie tower by using a PVC structure and a separate cave.
<I see this in your pic>
I think it will look really good once the coralline and Zoas grow in. Plenty of hiding places and rock to pick at. I've attached an image. I've kept Zoanthid colonies and the following inhabitants:
Banana Wrasse (Halichoeres chrysus)Captive Bred Orchid Dottyback (Pseudochromis fridmani)Blue-Green Chromis (Chromis viridis) (The sole survivor if anyone wants to learn from my experience. Started with 9 in the 180 gallon. Maybe I didn't feed them frequently enough?)Flame Hawkfish
(Neocirrhites armatus)Captive Bred Orange Skunk Clown Pair (Amphiprion sandaracinos)Yellow Prawn Goby (Cryptocentrus cinctus) and Pistol Shrimp Combo
All are getting along just fine. I'm seeking some color in the water column. I'm considering a Bristletooth tang, either the Yellow Eye Kole (Ctenochaetus strigosus) or the Two Spot (Ctenochaetus binotatus). It
seems they are similar in habits and care and okay in a 90 gallon.
<Yes; either one of these would make a good addition>
Or do you have opinions otherwise?
I'm experiencing much angst over wrasse choices. I've read myself in circles. Would I have room to place three wrasses in the 90 with the tang?
Without the tang?
<With or w/o depending on the species; there are several small/er labrid species that are easy going>
I've read that it's best to keep a male with a couple of females, but I'm not sure in a 90 gallon. Here are some of the choices:1. Three juvenile Whip Fin Fairy Wrasses (Cirrhilabrus filamentosus)--In some places I've read they are peaceful and others state they can become terrors. Will they get along with the Dottyback and Banana Wrasse?
<Yes; should>
2. Three Sub Adult/Male McCosker's Wrasses (Paracheilinus mccoskeri)--Not sure if they are placed together one will become a male and the two others revert to female?
<Likely only one will be/come a male>
3. A combo of any of the following: Male Carpenter's Wrasse (Paracheilinus carpenteri), Male Ruby Headed Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus cf cyanopleura), Multicolor Lubbock's Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus lubbocki), Scarlet Pinstripe Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus evanidus), Sub Adult/Male McCosker's--How
many and which combo would be most desirable?
<Just one Pseudocheilinus; a trio of the others/Cirrhilabrus>
Thanks for all you do to promote conscientious fish keeping. I hate to make mistakes and see others make mistakes that cause animals to suffer.
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Re: Final Stocking--Wrasse Confusion        3/4/19
Thanks for the quick reply! I was able to order the recommended fish
through Live Aquaria, which makes me happy as everything I've ever received
from them has been healthy!
<Ah, good. Most all their stock in turn is from Quality Marine; a paragon
of excellence in the trade.

Re: Final Stocking--Wrasse Confusion     3/8/19
Hello Again, I'm pretty sure Live Aquaria sent me 3 male Whip Fins. Their find are already long and colorful. I've attached a pic. Am I right?
<Mmm; yes; but not "very" male...>
And if they are all males, I'm assuming they can't be in the same 90 gallon aquarium, can they?
<I'd go ahead and place them... This species is often crowed together, all-males at wholesalers... and seems to get along... at least in the short/er term. Likely one of the trio will further develop into the
primary, alpha male, and one, two might revert to (more) female coloration, def. behavior>
Hope you are able to answer quickly because I'm afraid to put them all in the same tank. Thanks,
<Cheers, BobF, headed back home tonight for under a week>

Mixing Wrasses     4/15/17
Hi Crew!
<Mon Cher>
I have been reading so many different opinions on the subject of mixing wrasses, and my head is spinning.
<Well; tis a HUGE assemblage... some tiny species and one that's near five feet long! Some are meek, cleaners... Others, outright predatory>
Lol. So, I decided to ask someone that I know, and trust. Currently, in my 75 gal, have a Royal Flasher Wrasse (male) along with a couple other small, peaceful fish. I am wanting to get one last fish. Ideally, I was wanting to get a Golden Rhomboidalis (male), but I don't know if he would be too aggressive towards the Royal. I know there is no guarantee with fish, but do you think I would be making a mistake with that mix?
<Do you have any, many females? Intend to get them of either Labrid genus, species? I would definitely do so. IF there are a couple female Cirrhilabrus, I give you good odds that they will get along. W/o the females, about middling likelihood>
Would you recommend a different wrasse, or something like a purple tilefish instead?
<Mmm; Malacanthids aren't easily kept in captivity... really need more room than a 75...>

Thanks for your help, and all you do to help us out! Cheri
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Mixing Wrasses     4/15/17

Thanks for the quick reply. I had not intended to get any female wrasses as I thought that may increase aggression towards my other my other fish.
<Actually; would greatly alleviate it>
In regard to the Tilefish, I understand your points, and I was wondering about the size of tank required because they can grow to 6”. In that regard, I thought it strange that LA suggested a tank size of at least 50 gal.
<Need more room "psychologically"... Almost all sand tilefishes expire early due to stress; or manifestation thereof>
Everything gets along great right now, so I may switch gears, and look into other peaceful fish like the Helfrichi Firefish or other Dartfish.
<These would be better choices>
I don’t think I can get into too much trouble with those..lol Again, thanks for the advice. Cheri
<Cheers. BobF>
Re: Flasher and Fairy Wrasses      11/21/17

Alright, well we've had some time to maul this information over. We have narrowed our choices to the red head solon fairy wrasse. And either the McCosker's or Flame Wrasse depending on how you answer the next few questions.
First, for our purposes, is it better to get a pair of wrasses or a Harem to maintain natural coloration of the males?
<Best harem, second best, pairs>
Second, if you have not had a chance to look, a pair of Flame Wrasses are up to $599 depending on the source... a very scary price tag.
<Yes! I did look... Dr.s F and S had large/r males for about three hundred US>
However, females are substantially less (a little over $100) . If we purchased either two or three females at once, would it be guaranteed one would eventually emerge with "super male" coloration?
<Maybe not super (there are such things in Labrids, Scarids... if you consider the parrots a separate family); but at least male in time>
I also assume that adding these fish (either a pair or harem of both wrasses) to 84X24x18 130 gallon system with a purple tang, flame angel, Banggai cardinal and single clown fish would not create undue hardship on the system?
I didn't ask before as the system has a seriously low bioload.
<I don't think that you'll register any change here>
<Welcome. BobF>

Re: Hair algae battle. fish gone haywire, Now starved, bullied Cirrhilabrus
Hello again Nate,
<Hiya Dave>
I decided I should update you because I have more questions about my solon fairy wrasse.  First of all, the melanurus wrasse is going to be moved tomorrow.
  He is clearly doing some bullying as he will sometimes give chase to pretty much anything in the tank that crosses his path.
<Not so good>
Very disappointing as almost all accounts I have read were of a relatively peaceful fish.  Anyway, I'm afraid the solon wrasse has gotten worse.  He appears malnourished and has taken to hiding most of the time.  I can still coax him out to eat, but tonight he has even been finicky about that. 
<What have you tried using for food? Have you tried garlic? How many times a day are you feeding? Better to feed small amounts more often throughout the day rather than say one gluttonous feast>
I noticed him performing the barrel rolls again the other day as he ate, and tonight he repeatedly went into a corner and rolled to his side before righting himself.
<After looking at that picture, I can't imagine it has all that much strength.>
When he does swim openly, he tends to hang around the circle and swim with his head down as if watching underneath him.  I also noticed some black lines that seemed to follow the lines of his scales.  I have attached a picture so hopefully you can see something I am not seeing.  I also attached a picture of him when I got him almost 6 months ago for reference. My best guess is malnutrition and stress from being bullied.  I want to do my best to save this fish.
<I wish you the best of luck my friend. He has clearly seen brighter/better days. Get the one out and fatten the other up. I sifted through the old messages and no mention of alkalinity. Keep a close eye on your ph and kH with the way your tank is looking. -NateG>
Thanks again,

Re: Hair algae battle. fish gone haywire
I have been feeding a mixture of foods. He gets Spectrum pellets, New Era Marine Pellets, Rod's Original and Pacific Plankton, and freeze dried Cyclop-eeze.  I soak the Rods in Selcon and VitaChem as well.
<All pretty good stuff. Make sure you are turning down/off the pumps when you feed. Both the Selcon and VitaChem taste pretty bad. Try a drop of VitaChem and 2 drops of garlic extract per cube. Pick up some Spirulina enriched brine and some PE Mysis. Put one cube of each and a few tablespoons of tank water into a very small Tupperware container. Add your drops. I use a similar mixture and it can stay in the fridge 4-5 days easy.>
He take care to make sure he eats everyday, but clearly more is needed.  I am not sure about my kH as my test kit is a Seachem which does meq/L. It usually measures 2.5-3 meq/L with ph being about 8.1.  <K cool> I'll get the bully removed, feed smaller and more frequently, and start a series of large water changes with some better source water.
<Got that RO unit working yet?> 
Hopefully I can report back in a few weeks
with better news. <Report back tomorrow after you get that jerk outa there haha> I do have one last question while I am writing.  If manage to get him healthy again, would it be safe and beneficial (more concerned about the latter) to add a female?
<Not sure about that>
I have seen a few sources saying fairy wrasses do better with a female or two.
<Yes if the tank is large enough and if the females are added first/simultaneously>
As I stated, this would be down the line when I am sure he is healthy. One thing at a time.
<Yes indeedy! Get yourself some good water and a clean up crew of sorts to get rid of that hair algae. I mean an army haha then remove enough of them afterwards so they don't starve/fight. -NateG>
Thanks again .
Re Cirrhilabrus abuse     5/25/13

Getting back to you a little late, but the report so far is good.  The bully is gone, and the other fish already seem far more at ease. 
<Excellent! Job well done!>
The fairy wrasse has come back out, but he is still quite week. Hopefully he will pull through.  I have at least 8 turbo snails at work along with an assortment of Nassarius, Nerite, Astrea, and Cerith snails at work. I'm hoping I can find a tuxedo urchin tomorrow.  I fixed the RO unit, so water quality is improving.
<Good good. That will make the battle much more strait forward. Keep those phosphates down and let those Turbos do their
I actually have noticed a complete lack of algae growing on the windows over the past week.  The GHA will likely take a
little more time, but things seem to be improving. . I still have a lot of work ahead of me.  I think the rocks are going to get another scrubbing on my next water change.
<Okiedoke. Good luck with that. Keep that Chaeto pruned and that skimmer clean. -NateG>
 Thanks again for all the help.
Re: Cirr., WWM abuse     5/26/13

Getting back to you a little late, but the report so far is good.  The bully is gone, and the other fish already seem far more at ease.  The fairy wrasse has come back out, but he is still quite week. Hopefully he will pull through.  I have at least 8 turbo snails at work along with an assortment of Nassarius, Nerite, Astrea, and Cerith snails at work. I'm hoping I can find a tuxedo urchin tomorrow.  I fixed the RO unit, so water quality is improving.  I actually have noticed a complete lack of algae growing on the windows over the past week.  The GHA will likely take a little more time, but things seem to be improving. . I still have a lot of work ahead of me.  I think the rocks are going to get another scrubbing on my next water change.  Thanks again for all the help.
<By the way. Hermits. Small ones. Lots and lots of them to get into the nooks and crannies. Blue leggers and scarlets -Nate>

Mixing Exquisite and Solorensis Wrasses   7/11/12
Hello, I recently added an Exquisite Wrasse and a Solorensis Wrasse to my 93g Cube tank.  The Exquisite was added first and the Solorensis about two days after.
<Mmm, well, these Labrid species live in social aggregations... I take it these are two males...>
 Initially the Exquisite was extremely aggressive towards the Solorensis, chasing it around the tank and even some close quarter combat.  The next day the roles were reversed and the Solorensis was the aggressor towards the Exquisite (though not as bad, minor skirmishes and some chasing).  Im wondering if these two will eventually get past the aggression and soon become compatible.
<Can't tell... but I'd trade one or the other back in, get two females, sub-adults of whichever species you keep>
 Is it normal for them to display this behavior early on until a hierarchy is established?
<Not unusual at all, no... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/velvetwrcompfaqs.htm
and the linked files re the genus above, particularly stocking/selection>
 Both are eating and otherwise seem healthy.  It doesn't seem as though either is going out of their way to cause or hide from trouble.  They just seem to go about their business until they get too close or something else sets them off otherwise.  Just curious as to how I should handle these guys. 
Jason Upson
<Again... read (soon), separate, stock just the one species in a haremic setting here. Bob Fenner>

Wrasses and Gobies, comp.      5/30/12
Good Evening Crew!
I have a 120 gallon reef tank (48x24x24) with a Cirrhilabrus solorensis male in it among other fish. I would like to get a female solorensis and a pair of Halichoeres chrysus to add. (I have a ton of LR arranged in a semicircle in the middle of the tank that has another ton of additional rock behind the semicircle with pillars at either rear corner) I only found a few FAQs that mentioned mixing these two genuses <genera, pl.> and they were promising. However before I purchase these fish (female first then Halichoeres pair next) I would like a more definitive opinion : ). I also have a regularly reproducing pair of Lysmata amboinensis and some Lysmata wurdemanni floating around there somewhere.
<These should all go fine together... the Peppermint shrimp might get munched when molting though>
On a similar note, in the same tank I have a pair of Valenciennea puellaris that are well established and a bit territorial to everyone including me if I sit on that side of the tank. I have fallen head over heels for a pair of Amblyeleotris latifasciata that are doing very well together at my LFS. I would like to have both including the shrimp for the potential new pair. I am very skeptical given the personality of my current gobies. I have no issues keeping my current pair fat as I have a penchant for gorgonians and feed a whole cube of Cyclops several times a week along with oyster feast and P.E. Mysis. I also feed spectrum Thera pellets, omega one veggie flakes, enhanced brine shrimp on occasion, and Nori (not all at once though XD ). I really want these other gobies with their shrimp partners but if they're just going to be harassed I'll contain myself.  
Thank You for Such an Invaluable Site!
<Mmm, about a fifty fifty chance of the engineer and shrimp gobies getting along... And a royal pain to remove if not... Bob Fenner>

Wrasse and Tang Compatibility   4/24/11
Hello Crew
First I want to say thank you so much for everything you do. I am on this site all the time learning what I can. Now for the tank specs. We have a 250 gallon (72"x 30") RR with a 6" DSB and about 150 lbs of live rock, and a 60 gallon refugium with 2" sandbed and lots of Caulerpa.
<Yikes... do keep the last clipped/pulled back>
The salinity is kept at 1.025, pH 8.4, nitrate 5 ppm, ammonia 0 ppm, nitrite 0 ppm, calcium 460 ppm phosphate 0 ppm. Our current stock list is as follows:
1 Canary Wrasse 4"
1 Coral Beauty Angelfish 4"
1 Royal Gramma 3"
1 Green Mandarin 3.5"
1 Scopas Tang 3"
4 Blue Chromis 1"
1 Cleaner Shrimp
Several Nassarius Snails, Cerith Snails, Nerite Snails, and 3 Turbo Snails
Torch Corals
Several Mushrooms
Several Zoanthids
Pulsing Xenia
Leather Coral
Bubble Anemones (splitting again)
We would really like to add a few Wrasse for more color, but we get conflicting opinions on what we can and cannot add. I have been reading through the wrasse FAQs on this site and I find myself getting more unsure.
I would love to add a couple Labouti Wrasse, and Scott's Fairy Wrasse. Do you think they would be alright with the established Canary Wrasse and with each other?
<Yes... the two Cirrhilabrus spp. should be fine here in such a shape/size volume, and the Halichoeres chrysus is easygoing, mix-able with the Fairies/Velvets>
If so, how many would you recommend of each?
<At least a trio of each, one decided male, two initial phase individuals of each>
And I have read that Wrasse will actively hunt amphipods and copepods.
Would they be food competitors with the Mandarin?
<To some extent, yes. Though, Mandarins are near rock and bottom feeders and Cirrhilabrus broadly open/midwater>
He's been fat and happy for a couple years, and I don't want to rock the boat.
We have also been considered adding another tang or two. We love Vlamingi Tangs, but are not sure that our tank is big enough for one.
<Mmm, for a while... maybe a year or so; depending on what size you start w/, how much of what you feed>
If not, we are also considering an Atlantic Blue Tang.
<Not easily kept, but nice fish>
Please let me know if either would be a good choice or if you have any other suggestions.
<Am more of a fan of the Ctenochaetus and Zebrasoma rather than Naso, Acanthurus for aquarium use, due to size, smaller foraging area for the prior>
Thanks in advance for the advice!
<Certainly welcome. Bob Fenner>

General Wrasse compatibility, & Cirrhilabrus f'  2/5/11
Dear WWM Crew,
I have a 180-gallon reef that has been setup since 1997, over that time it has gone through many different transformations in rockwork, equipment, lighting and such but over the course of the last two years I have been extremely happy with the end result and it has gone relatively unchanged with the exception of adding coral (primarily SPS) and fish (tangs, Anthias and a majority of different wrasses). The main DT and satellite tanks drain into a 90-gallon sump which is then disbursed, back to the display, a 55-gallon frag tank and a 30-gallon refugium. Now that I have given a small description of my system, comes my question, In my DT I have three small tangs, a Yellow, a Red Sea Purple and a Red Sea Sail Fin.
<This last gets very large as you likely are aware>
A male and female square patch Anthias, three green Fiji Chromis and the rest of the fish are various different wrasses. They include an Ornate Christmas wrasse, a leopard wrasse, an African exquisite wrasse, a red finned fairy wrasse, a solar fairy wrasse, a McCosker's Flasher wrasse, a female Hawaiian flame wrasse and a hooded fairy wrasse. Shortly after this past Christmas, I purchased the last and final fish, a Male Hawaiian Flame wrasse which just finished its 6-weeks in QT. I waited until all the lights were out in the DT, the DT was feed heavily just prior while my male flame was being drip acclimated.
This was my prized addition, I got him a little on the thin side but over the 6-week QT built him back up to a healthy robust specimen, he looked fantastic. Once I added him to the display, I watched him under the moon lights as he poked around finally settling into a small cave with the rockwork. The next day when I came home from work a sit in front of the tank as I do every night and spend about a half hour visually scouring over everything then feed the fish. All the fish come right to the front glass as they usually do every night with the exception of the Male flame which I assumed was still adjusting to his new surroundings and being shy. Two days later, still no Male flame sighting when feeding the tank, later that evening I did see him bolt across the front of the tank and dive for refuge under a rock shelf just above the sand bed. After two more days of disappearance I was really starting to worry. Last night while turkey basting my rockwork, I must have blown into his hiding place and he shot up to the top of the tank. He looked nothing like the same fish I added approximately 1-week before, he was slimy, sand was stuck all over his body and his fins were ripped to pieces. He stayed at the top of the tank long enough for me to pin him into the corner and scoop him out with my hand before rushing him back into the qt tank that I continually keep up and running. He was breathing very heavy at the time but now has since calmed down and settled into the QT. I added some SeaChem Stress Guard last night and again this morning and will keep a close eye on whether he is eating or not but the real question to this long winded blabber is of the current list of fish referenced above which of them do you feel would have been the most likely to fight cause such damage, I personally feel it was the Exquisite wrasse and the Red finned Fairy.
<Mmm, my money is on the Cirrhilabrus bathyphilus>
The reason I am asking is that once the Flame is healthy enough to be put back into the display, my plan is to capture the other wrasses and put them into the 55- gallon frag tank or refugium to hopefully break them of their territorial habits before adding them back to the DT once the male Flame has gotten himself re-established.
Looking forward you hearing what words of wisdom or advice you guys can provide
<I hope you're VERY good with nets... I'd get some help, maybe even traps to help here... Again, I'd remove the congener first>
Thanks for your time
<Please do make it known how this turns out. I do hope your male C. jordani recoups. Bob Fenner

General Wrasse <in>compatibility, Cirrhilabrus f'   4/10/11
Wanted to give you the update based upon my last email to you, The Male flame had recuperated to the point I was comfortable reintroducing him back to the display, I purchased one of those clear acrylic, in the tank hanging refugiums that I installed in the main display and placed him in the refugium for a full week so the other fish would get used to him.
Yesterday, I released him from the small hanging fuge into the main tank just as the last stage of my light cycle (actinics) was near its end all the while keeping a close eye on the interaction between him and the Cirrhilabrus bathyphilus, (hooded fairy wrasse) This morning once the actinics and second stage 454 blue lights came on, I checked to see how the flame was doing, it took a while to find him but when he finally did come out of hiding there was the red fin fairy wrasse close on his heels biting at has tail and hasn't stopped mauling him until I was able to bait and catch the red fin and transferred him to my 55 gallon frag tank.
The flame is again ripped to shreds, his dorsal and tail fins are torn and it appears that he has suffered some serious damage to his right eye. I am in the process of trying to catch the flame so I can get him back into the QT tank but he is in an area of the tank well behind the rockwork that I can't get to. I'm not sure if I am going to be able to catch him this time and based on how severely beaten he is, I'm not sure he is going to make it. The other wrasses and other fish for that matter have not bothered him all afternoon so I have to go with my original assumption that it was indeed the red fin.
<I'd likely leave the M/terminal phase Jordan's where it is. BobF>
Mystery Wrasse and Scotts Fairy Wrasse -- 09/09/10
I am stocking a 180 gallon mixed reef and am wondering if I will be able to keep a Cook Islands Scotts Fairy Wrasse with a Mystery Wrasse?
<Should be fine... though, having more than one (male with some number of females) Cirrhilabrus is a very good idea, rather than a sole (likely male)>
Would I be better off adding them both at the same time, or adding the Fairy Wrasse first since the Mystery seems to be labeled as more aggressive?
<Not much diff. either way... this species of Pseudocheilinus is not "that" aggressive generally>
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Exquisite Wrasse... comp. f'... adding to an existing mix   10/5/09
Dear WWM.
<Hey Kai! JustinN here!>
I released my new Flame Wrasse yesterday after quarantine. My Exquisite Wrasse reacted by chasing the new fish around the tank, albeit nothing serious. It was just some minor chasing to show who's boss around.
<Pretty typical with a newcomer to the glass-walled world.>
I decided to separate them even though I thought it was nothing serious. So the Exquisite is now in a Betta box. The thing is, he's trying to escape by rubbing and pushing his snout against the sides of the box.
<Can't say I blame him -- I'd be mad if I were the sheriff in town and got stuck in a jail cell! ;)>
I believe he has hurt his upper lip slightly in doing so. He is still feeding on NLS pellets and frozen mysis shrimps. Is there a cause for concern?
<Just monitor -- if he's still eating, its likely not major if anything.>
He has stopped rubbing and pushing after 2 hours of doing so. I guess he felt the pain. I really do not wish to cage him up like this, but its for the better of both fishes in the mean time. I plan to release him after the
flame wrasse gets more comfortable and bolder in his new environment. Both fishes are healthy and feeding well and are very healthy. The exquisite is an "alpha" male after spending awhile in the tank. He flashes and display to the other fishes every evening when I dim the lights. I hope this is nothing serious and hopefully it will heal in time. It will heal...right?
Thanks for your time.
- Kai
<Well Kai, sounds like typical growing pains of adding a newcomer to the world. Assuming that the tank is large enough to handle both of these typically alpha characters, all should heal with time, yes -- however, there will likely still be an unavoidable struggle for 'dominance' for a period of time. I would call this normal, and just observe for any severe bullying that may grow as time goes on. Ciao! -JustinN>

Re: Exquisite Wrasse  10/5/09
Thanks for the reply Justin.
<Glad to be of assistance, Kai!>
The Flame Wrasse has settled in nicely and is picking off food from the water column.
<Good, sounds like he's settling in nicely.>
Came home to find the exquisite still interested in food, which is good.
Can I now conclude that his mouth is not under any serious injury and will heal in time?
<Based on what you previously reported, I would say that this is a high likelihood -- since the injuries were unnoted prior to the captivity, I'm sure they are related.>
I will release the exquisite back into the main tank once the flame has settled down and claim a piece of real estate to himself. Thanks for your help. Yes the tank is big enough for these two fishes. I removed many of my fishes prior to adding these two Cirrhilabrus, to maximize swimming space and territories.
<Excellent, sounds like you're well on your way and on the right track.
Good luck, and let us know if you have any further questions! -JustinN>
Thanks for your help!

Adding a solar fairy wrasse   10/1/2009
Hello all,
<Howdy Jen!>
I have a 75gal low light reef and wondered if I can add Cirrhilabrus solorensis to my crew. I'm currently stocked with 2 dwarf angels, 2 small gobies, 2 clowns, a fridmani Dottyback and a canary wrasse. One, am I already at my stocking limit and two, do you think my wrasse and Dottyback would even allow a new fish into their tank?
Thanks for your help!
<I do give you good odds here... 70-80 unqualified percent... that these Velvets will blend in fine... they occupy a bit "higher" niche than the Halichoeres and Dotty... and the length of the tank should work... I give
it the "arf arf" seal/Zalophus of approval. Bob Fenner>

Re: Cirrhilabrus luteovittatus, now comp.  08/05/09
Do you think it would be ok to add a Sixline to this tank
<Well, there's no guarantee that two wrasses will get a long. But in a 75g tank with lots of rock work, it's probably a smaller risk than most.>
(75 with x2 false Percs, 1 yellow watchman goby, 1 Kole tang, 1 velvet fairy wrasse) down the road, or would this cause problems?
<With wrasses you can never be sure, but I think you'd be ok.>
Do you think a springeri Pseudochromis would be mild enough for the velvet fairy?
<Again, there's always some risk mixing wrasses together, but I think you'll probably be ok with these two in a tank of this size (provided there's enough rockwork).>
Thanks for the input!
<De nada,
Sara M.>

Will the Yellow Streaked Fairy Wrasse and the Clown Fairy Wrasse Work Together? -- 10/19/08 I am getting a 135 gallon tank and have started researching what fish I want to have. <<Very good>> I know I want a few tangs and wrasses and had some questions. <<A 'few' tangs will be an issue'¦in my opinion'¦though I think a 'couple' is doable here>> Do the Yellow Streaked Fairy Wrasse and the Clown Fairy Wrasse get along together? <<None of the Cirrhilabrus Wrasses really 'get along''¦but it can be possible to keep differing species in a large enough tank'¦although Cirrhilabrus luteovittatus (Yellow Streaked Fairy Wrasse) is generally considered one of the more aggressive species of the genus. Still'¦these two fishes 'could' conceivably coexist in this 6-foot tank>> Also, would I have problems with having a Purple Tang, Yellow Tang, Naso Tang and Blue Hippo Tang in the same tank? <<Mmm, yes'¦way too much Tang'¦way too little tank. Though you have likely seen both in smaller systems than yours'¦the Naso and Hippo Tang both require larger tanks than what you have for their long-term health'¦both physical and social. You might get away with the two Zebrasoma species together for a time, but the Purple Tang may become a terror as it matures. I would suggest mixing genera with a small Acanthurus species (e.g. -- A. japonicus) or Ctenochaetus species (e.g. - C. strigosus) to accompany the Yellow Tang, for the best chances of success>> Which of these should I introduce first, second, etc.....? <<I would introduce the Wrasses first and together'¦and the Tangs last (after quarantine), and also together if possible>> I can send you a list of all the fish I want and see what you think. Thanks, Debbie <<I'm happy to help Debbie'¦do first research your fish choices re compatibility and suitability to your system'¦then once your list is pared down, write back for some input. Regards, EricR>>

Re: Will the Yellow Streaked Fairy Wrasse and the Clown Fairy Wrasse Work Together? -- 10/20/08 Okay, I have made some changes. Instead of the Blue Hippo, I figured the Blue Tang instead, since it doesn't get quite as big and the brown powder tang that you talked about with the yellow. Is that better? <<Providing the scientific names would help'¦I am going to assume by 'Blue Tang' you mean Acanthurus coeruleus, the Atlantic Blue tang'¦and no'¦this is not better. The Atlantic Blue tang, while not as heavy bodied, will get bigger than the Blue Hippo Tang. Try using fishbase.org for researching your fish selections to get a better idea of their ultimate size, geographic origin, diet, habitat, etc. I very much suggest you limit your Tang selections to the Yellow Tang and Whitecheek (aka Powder Brown) tang for this tank'¦especially considering you seem new to all this>> I am copying the list here, mainly because I am worried about bioload. I am planning on a refugium to add more water to the system, and am trying to find out how big it needs to be. <<As big as you can go'¦really. Do also read here and among the many related links at the top of the page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm >> Okay, here is the list: Reef Safe or Semi-safe fish I want for my BIG tank: TANGS SHOULD ALL BE ADDED TOGETHER Yellow Tang (yellow and large) 8" <<Okay>> Powder Brown Tang (black, tan, red and yellow and large) 8" <<Be sure to get Acanthurus japonicus, and stay away from the similar Acanthurus nigricans. Both are often sold under the same common names of' Powder Brown' or Whitecheek' but the former is much more aquarium hardy while the latter has a dismal record re and should be left to advanced hobbyists with the proper systems to keep this fish. Look them up by their scientific names and study the picture so you learn to tell which is which>> Blue Tang (blue and some yellow on tail and large) 10" <<Likely Acanthurus coeruleus and unsuitable for this tank. Best to stick with the first two Tangs and leave it at that>> WRASSES SHOULD BE INTRODUCED TOGETHER BEFORE TANGS Clown Fairy Wrasse (blue and pink and yellow and medium) 5" <<Cirrhilabrus solorensis'¦a beautiful fish>> Orange Back Fairy Wrasse (orange and purple and red and medium) 5" << Cirrhilabrus aurantidorsalis'¦another beauty'¦as most all species from this genus are>> Mated Pair Black and White Ocellaris Clownfish (black and white and medium) 4" each <<Okay>> Coral Beauty Angelfish (blue and orange and medium) 4" <<Be sure to acquire a healthy specimen that has been at the dealer for a couple weeks as this species prone to damage from collection/handling>> Flame Angelfish (red and medium) 4" <<A superior aquarium species from this genus (Centropyge). These small Angels are feisty'¦especially toward each other. If you get them both I suggest you introduce them together if possible>> 2 Purple Firefish (purple and white and small) 2" each <<Although a social species, I find these fish don't cohabitate well in aquarium settings. Also, with the exception of conspecifics, these are very timid fish that are easily bullied to the point of starvation and/or stress induced ailment. Not a good choice considering the tankmates you have chosen'¦I suggest you pass on these fish>> 2 Yellow Stripe Clingfish (yellow and black and small) 2" each <<Another dubious choice in my opinion, and better left to a species tank and a time when you are more experienced in the hobby. We have little data on these fishes but what we have you can find here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clingfishfaqs.htm >> 2 Neon Gobies (blue and black and small) 2" each <<Okay>> 7 - 9 Blue Green Chromis (green and small) 2" each <<This is another social species that, in my experiences, generally dwindles in numbers due to continuous harassment from the one or two dominant individuals>> You guys are great!! I really appreciate your help, I want a good system but, I also wanted a colorful mix. <<Quite understandable'¦just keep within your knowledge/skill level and the constraints of your system>> This is difficult!! <<Just keep reading/learning>> I want some of the other fish that don't do good with coral and may start another tank for them but, I don't like how those tanks have no color because of no corals. Any ideas there? <<Hmm'¦beauty in the eye of the beholder... I find well designed and stocked 'natural' looking FOWLR systems to be 'very' attractive and interesting>> Again, thanks, Deb <<Happy to share. EricR>> 

New addition advice, Cirrhilabrus comp.  8/18/08 Crew, <Karl> I need some of your knowledgeable and generous advice. I'm thinking of adding a Clown Fairy Wrasse <Cirrhilabrus solorensis> to my mature 55 gallon peaceful FOWLR tank with 60lbs LR. 4 Green Chromis, Firefish, Bicolor Blenny, Bali Coral Angel, Maroon Clown (assertive but not aggressive) <Mmm, will likely become more the latter with time> and a Cleaner Shrimp. I'm using Aragamax Select (sugar sized) for the bed which I hope is OK (I understand Wrasse like to 'dig in' ). <Mmm, not all genera/species... not Cirrhilabrus> Would this be advisable in you opinion? <Mmm... not really... this tank is pretty much full behaviorally... and these wrasses are not really suitable in such small volumes, placed/kept alone... Live in haremic associations... as you'll find with a bit of reading, on WWM, elsewhere. Bob Fenner> ~ Karl

McCosker's Flasher Wrasse with Cerith and Nassarius snails. - 07/19/08 Hello Crew! Let me start by saying thank you for the excellent job you do! Now for my question. I want to know if the McCosker's Flasher wrasse and Carpenter Wrasse will be compatible with my clean up crew? I have read on several online retailers web sites that this fish is "Reef safe" and will not harm inverts. Is this true? <Almost always the case, yes. Cirrhilabrus and Paracheilinus species by and large feed on "off the bottom" zooplankters> I really enjoy the work that my Nassarius, Cerith and Nerite snails do. They are excellent little scavengers and I don't want to add anything to the system that is going to hunt them down and kill them. The system is a 105 Gallon Half hexagon with a 35 Gallon sump/refugium with Chaeto and Macro growing in the refugium. 4-5" DSB in display tank and refugium, ETSS Reef Devil Skimmer, 1/4 hp Chiller, Mag 18 Return pump with 3x 1/2" water outlets, 4x65watt PC's and approximately 65 Lbs of Live rock. The system is cycled and about 2 months old. I purchased a kit of Copepods and amphipods along with only snails for the clean up crew. My goal is to research all the fish prior to purchasing them so that everyone gets along in a nice little community. Are there any Gobies or blennies that you might also recommend that will not feed on my clean up crew. <Many... see WWM re...> Thank You so Much! Mario from Rancho Cucamonga, Ca. <Welcome, from BobF in very VOGy Kailua Kona>

Labrid comp.   7/12/08 Hi all, This one will be real quick. What is your opinion on keeping a Sixline Wrasse, and some sort of Fairy Wrasse in the same 75 gallon tank? Thanks, Marc <Likely enough room for all here... The Lined staying in and amongst rock, the Cirrhilabrus up and about in the mid water. Bob Fenner>

Cirrhilabrus/Paracheilinus compatibility/harem size    2/16/08 Good morning WWM Crew, <RA> Well, I've been thinking a lot about what exactly I'm going put in my 86g (48"L x 16"W x 26"T). I've been thinking about getting a harem of the smaller (3") wrasses of either of the above genera. First off, would these fish be compatible with a pair of maroon clowns and a BTA? <Mmm, possibly... in a system of this size, shape... there's a very real poss. that a Premnas would kill other fishes in time> My tank is tall, and the top of the live rock barely extends past the bottom half of the tank, giving plenty of open room for the wrasse. Second, how large are harems in the wild generally? <Of the above genera, species? Usually dozens of individuals... some lower "caste" males perhaps only with a few females per> I'm trying to form a biotope, so I'm avoiding all fish that only school/group in very large numbers. How many wrasse could I keep in my tank? <Not many... perhaps a handful here> Well, thanks for reading this. Your crew has been very helpful with me and my countless hypothetical questions. TIA, Random Aquarist <Welcome. Less random BobF>

Re: Cirrhilabrus/Paracheilinus compatibility/harem size   2/17/08 So, I'm guessing it would be best to not mix maroons with wrasse. <We are in agreement> However, I still like the idea of mixing clowns and wrasse. What BTA-hosting clowns would be compatible with a harem of wrasse? <Smaller, easier-going species... particularly tank-bred/reared... Ocellaris, true Perculas... at the top of my choice list. Bob Fenner>

R6: Adding Another Wrasse To My Tank (Not Going to Be Easy) -- 02/17/08 Lights are back on and the Sixline is after the Solar again, seems like he's on a mission. <<Mmm, yes'¦can be relentless>> Even when the Solar Wrasse finds a hiding place the Sixline relentlessly searches for it. When he finds it he chases around the tank at full speed until a new hiding spot is found... this cycle has repeated itself several times but so far no one seems hurt. Will this settle down in time and if so what signs should I look for? <<Less chasing about>> If not, how long do I wait to try and remove one of the two, which would be decided by which one I can actually catch. <<Sometimes these introductions just don't work out'¦ If the Solar wrasse does not/can not feed, if any physical trauma occurs beyond a nipped fin, or if the 'incessant' chasing does not stop in a couple days'¦I would remove one of these fishes. EricR>> R7: Adding Another Wrasse To My Tank (Not Going to Be Easy) -- 02/18/08 Solar is hiding for the last 8 hours or so under some rock and the Sixline seems a little less interested in finding it then before. <<Mmm'¦maybe a glimmer of hope>> I also re-aquascaped part of the tank to hopefully disorient the Sixline a bit and enforce a truce while they all laid low. <<A good move>> An hour or so after I finished, the Sixline did find the Solar Wrasse in its hiding spot but just swam up to its face and stared it down for a while. This time Solar didn't make a run for it but instead just backed in deeper after the Sixline left. Hope this is a good sign since I really like both fish. All that being said, how long should I wait to see if the Solar comes out and feeds before getting concerned? <<Hard to say, Danny'¦ If the fish was introduced shortly after arrival at the LFS then it likely hasn't fed much for days already, if at all, and is in a weakened state from the stresses of capture and transport and will need to feed soon in my opinion (within the next couple days). If this fish was quarantined and feeding/fed well before introduction then it can go a bit longer. EricR>>

R8: Adding Another Wrasse To My Tank (Not Going to Be Easy) -- 02/20/08 Eric, <<Danny>> A quick update... <<Thank you for this>> The Solar had been spending the last 2 days hiding under the rocks but I could see him through the bottom of the tank to monitor his vitals. <<I see>> This evening a gave the gang Mysid shrimp with some Selcon for added impact and the Solar came out in seconds! <<I'm sure it must be hungry'¦>> However, the Sixline was on his case right away. <<Mmm, can be true 'beasties''¦much belied by their size/popularity in the hobby>> I managed to keep the Sixline at bay by using my net to distract / scare him back and that allowed the Solar a chance to gulp down a half dozen or so Mysids. <<A good strategy'¦is 'very' important that this fish be able to feed/gain strength. I am impressed and pleased with the lengths you are willing to go to in the interest of this fish>> After feeding and the Sixline persisting in his chase attempts the Solar went back under the rock. To me this is a big step, since at least he's shown a desire to eat... <<It is a plus, but even though it appears there has been no physical trauma to the Solar Wrasse, the psychological stress imposed by the Sixline does have a deleterious effect>> And, if I can entice him at least 1-time a day to eat there may be some hope. <<If the Sixline Wrasse is not pursuing the Solar Wrasse in to its hidey-hole as they most often do, maybe so>> You never know, maybe the Sixline will get used to his presence over time or the Solar might stand his ground. <<Habituation is a possibility'¦but don't ever expect these two fishes to be 'friends''¦I expect there will always be a bit of chasing-away to some extent>> I also want to thank you for listening (reading) and always responding. <<No worries mate'¦is what we do!>> Being new to this fascinating hobby it's good to have some place to get impartial advice from people who are doing it for the love of the hobby too! Danny <<Ah yes, it is truly our desire to have you/folks like you succeed in the hobby. EricR>>

Wrasse & Jawfish? Cirrhilabrus comp.  12/10/07 Good morning/evening/afternoon? <AM here/Hawaii now> I bought a 2.5" wrasse a week ago. He's in quarantine (glass bottom with a single 14lb piece of liverock) hiding on me but seems to be doing well... feeding, etc. Being smaller and not being able to get a great look at him to distinguish, I figure he's one of the following 3 species: Cirrhilabrus luteovittatus, Cirrhilabrus rubripinnis, Cirrhilabrus tonozukai <Neat fairy, velvets...> He definitely has a more burgundy tinge to his coloration but I haven't been able to notice any blues/greens on his sides. <This genus' members are highly variable per species at times... see Fishbase.org> In any event, I bought the little guy as a peaceful addition to my 90g reef tank. I have about 100lbs of live rock and some soft corals. I introduced a Kole Tang recently, already have a yellow-tailed blue damsel and two yellow-headed Jawfish. I've read that these wrasses are very peaceful and so are the Jawfish, however thought I'd ask the question... should the wrasse fit in nicely with the jaws? Thanks, Dave <I think so... will likely be "high above" them in placement most all the time... Bob Fenner>
Re: Wrasse & Jawfish? More comp....  12/10/07
Sorry for the added email... I was able to coax the wrasse out of her hiding place. <Likely a him...> Given the red to burgundy coloration and a single black dot higher up towards the tail, from your pictures I'd venture a guess that the wrasse is Cirrhilabrus tonozukai. The dealer also called it a Fairy Wrasse. <This is a common name for the entire genus> Dr Foster's website would indicate that this wrasse would be compatible with Jawfish? and every website I saw mentioned that these are very peaceful wrasses ideal for community tanks. So I'm guessing they would be a decent match for the Jawfish? <Should be> Secondly, I do have hermits, a serpent star, a tuxedo urchin, soft corals, and a coral banded shrimp. Would any of these be of concern as far as being eaten by the wrasse? <No> While I still have your attention... I have a slightly larger than golf ball size tuxedo urchin. At the moment, he's sitting in the middle of my soft coral polyps... would you expect any harm to be done? <Possibly... I would move it. RMF>

Wrasses for my 58?? Bring on The Wrasses! (Stocking Question) - 11/20/07 Hello WWM crew <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> First, kudos to you for all the wonderful information and help you give out on a daily basis. <Well, thank you kindly! Proud to have been associated with this group for over 5 years. We have amazing people whose love for this hobby and aquatic life is inspiring!> I have a 58 RR that is LPS dominated, mainly with Acans/Micros. <Ahh- you're one of THOSE people! Just kidding- they are beautiful corals! I just laugh because some of the hype that's been attached to them of late.> I currently have 1 Green Banded Goby, 1 Yellow Neon Goby, 1 Red Head Goby 1 small Royal Gramma and 2 Wheeler's Watchman Gobies. <Wow! A great assemblage of some of my favorite little fishes! Sounds sweet!> I would really like to add a wrasse to the tank. I was thinking about 2-3 Carpenter's Flashers or McCosker's in the same numbers. Would this work with my current fish list? <I believe that this could work fine. The smaller Fairy and Flasher wrasses will make fine tankmates for the fishes that you have, and their colors will be stunning, complimenting your coral collection!> If need be I have another home for the Royal Gramma. <This fish would be my only concern. There is a slight possibility that the Gramma will not be as friendly as we'd like. However, the Gramma generally occupies a different strata within the water column of the system than the wrasses do, and may not be an issue. Observe carefully and intervene if needed.> Would this work?? If not could I add one wrasse instead of 2-3? <I think that these wrasses are more comfortable, and display better in small groups. I would not go solo.> Everything I am reading sounds like they are happier and have a better survival rate if housed in small groups. <Cue "Twilight Zone" theme- you read my mind!> Thanks in advance for any help/direction you might be able to give me Patrick <You sound like you're on the right track! I'd love to see pics of this tank when everyone is settled in! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Solar Fairy Wrasse...Compatibility/Pairing -- 10/10/07 Hi, <<Hello Joel>> I have a 3" or so Solorensis (aka Solar, aka Painted, aka Clown Fairy) Wrasse. <<Ah yes...Cirrhilabrus solorensis. Very nice little fish>> It is looking female, gorgeous fish. I want a male, too. <<Okay...though it might be best to obtain another female and let the dominant individual 'turn'>> I've seen them paired in tanks successfully. <<Indeed, this can be done...and the bigger the tank the better re>> But when I got this one, no second fish was available. I have two options that I can see: 1. Get a small juvenile. What are the odds it (or this one) will go male? <<Pretty good>> 2. Get a male roughly the same size as the one I have. I found one for a great price, beautiful specimen. <<A bit risky if the specimen you already have has started making the change to becoming male. You would need to be very sure...>> Would this be stupid? <<Could be problematic...as stated>> Will they fight to the death if they are the same size? <<Not usually, if of differing sexes...but there are no guarantees>> Or I suppose the 3rd option -- forget it having added this one already, there is no hope for keeping two. But I don't want to hear that! <<Is worth a try I think if you can obtain a female for certain...and have a bit of patience. And it will certainly help things if you can remove the one you have to quarantine for a day or so and introduce/reintroduce the pair to the display together>> Thanks, Joel <<Regards, EricR>>
Re: Solar Fairy Wrasse...Compatibility/Pairing -- 10/11/07
Thanks. <<Welcome>> How long does it usually take if 2 females for one to go male? <<Is variable between genera, species...and can be dependent upon/effected by environmental factors...but likely 1-3 months>> Mine is showing NO signs of going male, and I got that male from the shop and added it 2 days ago (it was get it or lose it time!). They seem totally disinterested in each other (no fighting), and both eating well, fat. I think it will be ok in the end. <<Sounds as though... EricR>>>> Fortunately, the store I got the male from QTs for 4 weeks before selling and I got it out of QT.

Aggression in fairy wrasses   7/25/07 Hello Crew, <Lisa> Have you had any experience of really aggressive/territorial fairy wrasses? <Oh yes... Cirrhilabrus are definitely such amongst conspecifics...> I have a 2.5 inch long, well-fed male redfinned fairy wrasse, who is beautiful and comical, yet has developed a real attitude problem. Within a couple of months of being introduced to my 300L reef aquarium, he has metamorphosed from a shy retiring individual to a bit of a thug! I suspect he took out two small blue reef Chromis not so long ago during hit-and-run dashes, and he has now started flashing and flaring at, and attempting to hit my percula clown pair (2 inches), who were recently returned to the tank after illness. He spent a number of his early days in the tank sucking up to my yellow tang, and the two are now best buddies. The tang (3.5 inches) sometimes tries to protect the clowns by getting in between them and the wrasse, but at other times he and the wrasse gang up and maraud around the tank as a team. The only other fish inhabitants are a sixspotted goby pair (2 inches), who keep to their area at the bottom of the tank, happily sifting sand all day long. They can fend for themselves, and seem to scare away the wrasse when he tries to start on them. Their only real issue with the wrasse is that they spend all day digging out a bed under a rock, and as soon as the lights go out, the wrasse comes along and forcibly ejects them from their bed and settles in himself, weaving his mucus cocoon! They have now taken to preparing several beds each day, so they know that they will have somewhere to sleep! I would say that this was an issue with the wrasse disliking fish of a similar colour to himself, but I have also witnessed him harassing bright blue reef Chromis. <Mmm, maybe it can't see itself...> He even sometimes flares at me when I am peeking in at him, and has been known to nip my fingers when I reach into the tank. I thought that fairy wrasses were supposed to be relatively peaceful creatures, when kept away from 'their own kind', <Usually so> and I am beginning to suspect that mine is a psychopathic exception to the rule! Do you have any tips or hints, or do you think I should prepare myself for Marley's (Marley the wrasse, geddit?!) <Shades of Charlie Dickens!> return to the store? Many thanks for your tireless work and help, Lisa <Maybe this or the addition of a couple of females... BobF>

Leopard and Fairy Wrasse Together? - 03/10/07 Hope all is well crew. <<Doing fine, thank you>> My question for today is would a leopard wrasse get along with my yellow sided fairy wrasse. <<Is likely, yes>> The tank is a 90 gallon reef. <<Too small really...do you have a large and mature in-line refugium to help provide a ready supply of foodstuffs for these little understood and often quite difficult to feed fishes?>> I really like the potters leopard wrasse. <<A beautiful fish>> But all are Beautiful. <<Indeed>> What Leopard would you suggest? <<None are easy...all are delicate shippers and fussy to get to feed.  The majority (80%?...maybe more?) don't survive more than a week or so after capture.  If you can find one that is already feeding on Mysis and/or New Life Spectrum pellets (the latter is important for long-term health in my experience) then you may have a chance of keeping one of these amazing fishes alive.  But if you have any doubts...either in the health/vitality of the fish or your ability to provide for its long-term well-being...do please pass it up for a more suitable species.  Regards, EricR>>

Mixing a Lineatus and Hawaiian Flame Wrasse - 02/21/07 I have a 90 gallon tank with no fish in it yet.  I just purchased a C. lineatus wrasse, but won't receive it until next week.  I also would like to purchase a Hawaiian Flame wrasse for the same tank. <<Both beautiful fishes...and pricey too!>> Would these two fish get along. <<Is possible, yes.  I have kept mixes of flasher/fairy wrasses before with little problem regarding interspecific aggression, though in a much larger system.  I suggest you introduce these two (after quarantine) to the tank at the same time to eliminate the problems associated with the tendency of the first fish introduced to "lay claim" to the tank.  The availability of plentiful hiding places will also help should aggression initially be an issue.  And do take in to consideration these fishes tendency to jump out of the tank.  In my experience this is most likely when/if the tank should suddenly "go dark."  You can't do much about sudden power outages, but be sure to have your lights on timers and consider using low-wattage fluorescent (even actinic) bulbs to try to "ease" the transition from light-to-dark>> I have 100 lbs of live rock in the tank, eventually it will be a SPS reef tank. <<Sounds good...a nice environment in which to showcase these lovely fishes>> Thanks, John <<A pleasure to share.  EricR>>

Fish Compatibility, Cirrhilabrus     1/14/07 Crew <Hey Mike, JustinN with you today.> I have wanted a Flame Wrasse Pair for some time.  I have the opportunity to pick up a pair in the 3 to 4 inch range for the male.  However, I am concerned about compatibility with my current fish inventory. <Good for you to research ahead of time, I commend you for this.> I have an established 110 mixed SPS LPS reef system.  Currently my fish inventory is 1 blue hippo tang (fairly large), 1 yellow banded maroon clown (fairly large), 2 assessors, 1 red velvet wrasse, 1 mandarin goby and 7 blue chromis reef fish. <Ok> I know there are no guarantees.   <Of course, fishes are still individuals.> However, I would like your opinion on compatibility issues particularly with one wrasse and a couple of larger long time tank residents already in the system. Thanks, Mike <Well, Mike, I see nothing that leads me to think that this mix would not work. As you stated, no guarantees can be made as individual specimens have individual temperaments, however, I think that with proper quarantine and assuming that you have sufficient hiding places provided, these beautiful wrasse will be a wonderful addition to your reef. Hope this helps! -JustinN>

Cirrhilabrus wrasse compatibility    11/27/06 Bob, <Hey Jonathan, JustinN here with you today> I was just wondering if these two fish would be compatible in my 46 gallon reef set up: Cirrhilabrus solorensis and Cirrhilabrus scottorum.  I already have the Cirrhilabrus solorensis in the tank and was interested in adding the other.  Currently in the tank I have a pair of clowns and a yellow watchman goby. Let me know.  Thanks! Jonathan <Mmm, in a larger setting, I would think they would work without problems. However, I think there would just not be enough room for two fish with an ultimate adult size of about four and a half inches. Hope this helps you! -JustinN>

Ruby Head Wrasse, Cirrhilabrus comp.    11/24/06 Hi, <Hey Terri, JustinN with you today.> I just purchased another Cirrhilabrus cyanopleura, or Ruby Head Wrasse. I wanted a companion for the first Ruby Head, and from what I've been reading, species of Cirrhilabrus are compatible. The newcomer is getting a severe beating from the first wrasse. <Mmm, to be expected somewhat. These fish are typically not tolerant of other males, and will fight voraciously, until the less dominant is either submissive, or on its way to changing back to a female.> What do you recommend? The tank is a 240, so there should be plenty of room for each wrasse to claim it's own space. Should I purchase another wrasse, to divert attention from this one? I like wrasses so this would not be a problem. Would rearranging the rocks help? <Rearranging the rockwork may help, but honestly, my suggestion would be to return the second Cirrhilabrus cyanopleura back to the LFS in exchange for another species of fairy wrasse. The difference in color and appearance should break up the hostility you currently see.> The first wrasse, until now, has been the sweetest and most docile fish in the tank. Fish include damsels, chromis, two tangs, two clowns, two angels. My other recent purchase was a juvenile Koran angel, who gets along with everyone. <Sounds very nice> Thanks! Terri <As stated previously, while species of Cirrhilabrus can be compatible, its often hard to strike that balance when they're both of the same species and both male. Hope this helps you! -JustinN>
Re: Ruby Head Wrasse comp.   11/25/06
Hi, <Hey again, Terri> I originally had a male and female, but the female jumped out of the tank recently, didn't notice until too late, and I wanted to get another wrasse for the first one. All open spaces have been tightly secured too. <Ah, I see.> >  My other recent purchase was a juvenile Koran angel, who gets along with everyone. > <Sounds very nice> I like this guy, seems very friendly and intelligent. > <As stated previously, while species of Cirrhilabrus can be compatible, its often hard to strike that balance when they're both of the same species and both male. Hope this helps you! -JustinN> Thank you, JustinN! I ordered this one from the web, and didn't think to specify a female. Didn't realize two males of this species would not get along, Terri <Well, Terri, you could always just 'stay the course' as the saying goes, and see how things work out with the fairy wrasse. They are thought to be sexually dichromatic, and given time and space (which you obviously have) the submissive should eventually revert back to female. Hope all works out for you! -JustinN>

Wrasse/Cirrhilabrus Compatibility - 08/03/06 Dear WWM, <<Good Morning>> We have a six-line wrasse, a yellow finned female fairy wrasse, a twin-spot or clown coris wrasse, and a red head solar or clown fairy wrasse.  With regards to the twin-spot we did not know what we had until we brought it home and looked it up (we typically do not buy anything without doing this first but this one time we did, so...). <<Mmm, yes...impulse buying...most all have been there/done that.  You since have learned this fish will grow to be a bruiser/will eat your other fish, perhaps returning it is in order?>> The yellow finned female fairy wrasse keeps chasing the red head Solor or clown fairy wrasse.  We are considering getting another clown fairy wrasse (to possibly stop getting the one we have now chased) but I read that males can be aggressive within their own species so that may not be the best thing to do.  What is your opinion on this and is there a way to tell a male from a female clown fairy wrasse? <<The "fairy" or "flasher" wrasses are not "gentle" fishes as the name might imply.  Keeping multiples is usually limited to keeping single specimens of interspecifics together, or keeping a male and "several" females (to "spread" the male's attentions).  Even then, some bickering may occur among interspecifics until a "pecking order" is obtained.  And like most all fishes, my experience with wrasses has been that the species most similar in size/color will fight the most with the larger species ignoring the smaller species...unless their big enough to eat them, of course.  As for sexing Cirrhilabrus solorensis, to be honest I don't know...I'm not even sure this species is sexually dimorphic>> We are also considering getting a yellow coris wrasse and a radiant wrasse. <<By "yellow coris wrasse" do you mean Halichoeres chrysus?  An excellent and relatively peaceful aquarium fish in my opinion, though I do wish folks could get away from calling this fish a "coris" wrasse.  I think "canary" wrasse is more suitable/descriptive of its nature...but enough of my rant>> Do you think we will have any trouble if we add these?  Our current tank is a 210 gal. and we are considering buying a 500 gal. from our local saltwater shop as he is downsizing and if so will move everyone into this tank. <<Even with the 210 I think you're fine, as far as bio-load.  But I do have concerns with the six-line and the twin-spot wrasses.  These may make it difficult to add future specimens.  The six-line looks small/cute enough, but can be real monsters.  I have seen these kill newly introduced wrasses of similar size...even in very large systems>> I would also like to say that we have struggled with Goniopora but either our tank is extremely established or squirting it with phytoplankton from a turkey baster is doing the trick. <<Mmm, a difficult species for anyone...Most don't survive their first few months, those that do rarely make it a year...probably best left in the ocean until we learn more about it/its care>> We bought a small $10 one and it is doing wonderful, puffing out all over the place since I have been squirting it.  I feed it every other day.  Maybe this will help someone else if they are having trouble. <<I do hope yours continues to prosper>> Thank you guys <<and gals>> so much for this website and all of your insight on the saltwater world. <<We're all happy to help>> It is extremely difficult to find people willing to help and with the experience and knowledge that you have. <<Is indeed a cumulative effort>> Best regards, Marc & Belinda Barry <<Cheers, Eric Russell>>

Fairy Wrasse... feeding, compatibility   5/14/06 Hello, <Hi there>          First of all, I would like to thank you for all of your support over the years.  I would also like to ask a question, I have recently run into the problem of newly acclimated fish, fairy wrasses in my case, being scared away from food by competition.  In my case the competition is a powder blue tang, sailfin tang, and a juvenile Chrysurus.  I just lost a gorgeous lineatus wrasse to this unfortunately. <Happens... Cirrhilabrus are not bold competitors, as you mention> He was around five inches long so it wasn't like he was a baby trying to compete with the guys.  Which brings me to my question, I have heard of people using acrylic containers with holes in them to give the new tankmates time to adjust and get used to feeding in the tank with competition.  So would you recommend this and if so, where would I find a contraption like this. <Might prove useful, you'd have to either fashion this/them or have an acrylic/plastics shop do it for you. Not made commercially> But if you do not, I would appreciate if you could instill some other sort of information about possible techniques upon me.  Thank you very much for any help that you can give me. Regards,           Dave <Different temperaments/compatibilities, different tanks... Bob Fenner>

Cirrhilabrus Wrasse Compatibility with Hermit Crabs   3/3/06 Thank you WWM Crew for all your past advice.   Two of my Red Legged Hermit Crabs (Paguristes cadenati) disagree with the common fact that Cirrhilabrus Wrasses are "Reef Safe." <Heee heee... who's "right?"> My Social Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus rubriventralis) must have gotten bored and ate up some free-range fish food. <Yee hah! Get along little anomurans!> It was no great loss (But a great show.)   I post this experience just so others can know and so they will not get terrified if one of there Cirrhilabrus Wrasses takes down a tank mate.    <Thanks>   One thing, he has never eaten one of the Blue legged hermit crabs (Clibanarius tricolor) ??? <Not as tasty? Might if hungry enough. A point in lesson here: "All animals, as species, individuals are only to some degree "safe" or no"... Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Cirrhilabrus Wrasse Compatibility  - 2/11/2006 I am looking to add a trio of Flame Wrasses (1 male and 2 females) to a tank that already has a solorensis wrasse, 2 false Percs, and a yellow watchman goby.  Should I expect any compatibility issues, especially between the flames and the solorensis? <The solorensis is relatively peaceful but the Flame Wrasses are aggressive.  If you have a large enough tank you may get away with it. Read here for more info on selection/compatibility.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/wrasses/> Thanks. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Andy
Re: Cirrhilabrus Wrasse Compatibility  - 2/11/2006
Thanks for getting back to me. <You're welcome.> I looked at the link but did not see the Flame Wrasse and not sure if I am missing it or if it is under a specific family that I am unaware of. <Didn't search hard enough my friend.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/wrasses/cirrhilabrus/index.htm  Is also known as Jordan's Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus jordani).> Also, you mention a big enough tank -- this is a 90 gallon with a 40 gallon sump/fuge, an ASM G3 skimmer and a closed loop. <Tank is large enough.  Do provide caves etc for them as in live rock.  This wrasse isn't one of the easiest to acclimate to prepared foods.  Do make sure they are eating before buying.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks. <You're welcome.>

Re: Cirrhilabrus Wrasse Compatibility  - 2/11/2006 Thanks. I didn't realize name that the flame fell under -- sorry.  I have about 130# of LR so I am guessing that this will be fine for them. <Yes> Thanks again for the advice.  WWM is a great resource. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Andy Clown fairy wrasse addition  - 01/12/2006 Dear WWM Crew, <Marc/Belinda. Belinda reminds me of a favorite song by the Grass Roots. Bella-Linda> Over the weekend we went to our local saltwater shop and I fell in love with a fairy wrasse they have labeled as a clown fairy wrasse.  I have not been able to find much information about this type of wrasse on the internet or whether it would be compatible in our tank.  Our 210 gallon community tank consists of: 2 black onyx percula clowns (mated pair) 1 radiant wrasse 1 yellow coris wrasse 2 yellow fin fairy wrasses 2 firefish 2 zebra barred gobies 2 scissortail gobies/Dartfish 1 scooter blenny 1 male green mandarin (plan to add a female) 1 bicolor blenny 1 diamond watchman goby 1 6-line wrasse 1 rusty angel 1 bicolor Foxface Rabbitfish 1 royal Gramma Basslet 3 pajama cardinals (spotted cardinals) 1 sailfin tang 1 Hector's goby 2 greenbanded gobies 1 two spot bimaculatus blenny 1 blenny (green with black line across top and lime green head with forked tail) 2 cleaner shrimp 1 queen conch 1 sand shifting sea star 1 star fish 1 cucumber I think this is it.  Can you tell me if we would be able to add the clown fairy wrasse we saw at the store?  Would it be overcrowding or pick on or be picked on by others?  Our tank is pretty peaceful and we do not want to disturb that. <I wouldn't add any more fish.  You are around 7 gallons per fish now.  But to answer your question, the Red Head Solon/Clown Fairy Wrasse (cirrhilabrus solorensis) is reef safe and grows to 5" and I believe a rather expensive wrasse.> Thank you so very much, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Marc & Belinda Barry Fairy Wrasse Harems  12/7/05 Hey crew, how are you this evening? <Scott F. here today...Doin' fine!> I just have a quick question on compatibility among the genus Cirrhilabrus, but first I have a question regarding Cirrhilabrus lubbocki. Is there a way to determine the genders of these fish? I've seen several articles and books that recommend keeping a large harem of these as they stay less than 3" as a nice schooling species, but have not been able to find pictures identifying male from female or any retailers that sell genders individually. I'd hate to just buy some and let them pick each other off until one male and however many females were left. If you have a retailer recommendation that can help or a way to identify them that would be a great help. Or if they can be bought young enough so they will work out their own social order, that would work too. <With regards to sexing these fishes, the males will typically display distinct color on all of the fins, particularly the anal fin, whereas females usually possess clear anal fins. Although not a 100% reliable method, this is a fairly accurate way to determine the sexes.> Second, I've heard that while single males don't get along in the same system amongst the genus, that harems of different species can sometimes be kept. I'm currently in the planning stages of a 750-1150 gallon tank. I'm still about two years out, but my nights are spent feverishly picking what specimens to keep and all of the other details that make our hobby the stuff of madness.  The problem therein lies that I'm in love with 3 species of Cirrhilabrus: Cirrhilabrus jordani, Cirrhilabrus lineatus, and Cirrhilabrus lubbocki. I would like to keep a harem of each, but I want to know if you guys would recommend this. Or should I cut it down to just two? Also, if there is no way to distinguish C. lubbocki and you don't recommend getting a group of them to let them sort it out, then that might be the solution right there. <In a tank of this size, I don't see any problems with this plan. The most difficult part of maintaining harems is finding females! Collectors tend to pass on the less colorful females, shipping the more marketable males.> Anyway, any advice or help you can provide would be great. I know people have kept many fairy wrasses in the same tank, but these are usually the exception and not the rule. I prefer to err on the side of caution when it comes to these things. Thanks again. <Again, I think that small groups of 1 male to 3-4 females as you're planning is the best way to go. If you can find a group of females, you're likely to end up with one fish emerging as a male in the end. Good luck with your planning, and send pics when this monster tank is up! Regards, Scott F.>

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: Cirrhilabrus Trio In A 50 Gallon Tank? - 11/21/05 Follow up ... I ended up picking up the "trio" of C. solorensis. <<Beauties, ain't they?>> In the LFS tank they were fairly washed out color wise and showed no aggression (they were in a sand less tank w/ a Flame Angel and couple pieces of live rock), but since they've colored up very nicely, and voraciously eat anything and everything offered. <<Not atypical>> But here in lies my question, all 3 now match to some extent the coloration of the male photo in your Cirrhilabrus article (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/wrasses/cirrhilabrus/   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cirrhilabruspt2.htm )... And the largest and most colorful of the three has been aggressive <<Establishing dominance>> (chasing around the rockwork and nipping) towards the other two, not to the point of tearing fins or causing cuts, but on occasion the smallest will take to the sand during daylight hours to evade harassment from the dominant male. <<Maybe nothing to worry about. I have a Leopard Wrasse pair (Macropharyngodon meleagris), they were purchased as females and the more dominant morphed to a "super male" which even after a year, every month or so will chase the female to the point of hiding in the sand for a bit...she doesn't seem any the worse for wear for it...and the male's colors seem to benefit from the brief excitement too. If all three C. solorensis are eating and not being physically mauled, I would be inclined to see how it plays out.>> Is this normal behavior for Cirrhilabrus when introduced to a new home? <<Tis normal, period... These fish (Cirrhilabrus sp.) are haremic and will defend their territories against other males. Even with a male and several females you will see some chasing as the male continually establishes dominance.>> If so, any estimate on how long this Ike and Tina show normally lasts? <<Will likely die down in a few weeks.>> Or is it probable that my "trio" is actually a group of males. <<Possibly...or maybe the "lesser" two are/were in the process of changing to males when collected.>> How sexually dimorphic is C. Solorensis... Are the pictures in the article representative of all female Solorensis? <<Probably not "all", as coloring is effected by diet, environmental conditions...>> In your opinion would I be best to split them up now, or at what point would you suggest separating them? <<Separate once it becomes obvious they (it) are becoming mal-affected.>> Are there any other tricks that might settle the aggression... <<Remove the dominant male...rearrange the rock and let the other two wrasses become "settled" for a week...reintroduce the male.>> I do have a mature Bicolor Angel that I could move into their tank that would happily beat on all of them <<Hee!>>, or I could move a few Chromis or possibly even a pair of black Ocellaris clowns in. <<A few Chromis might provide some diversion.>> Either way, the earliest I would feel safe moving an aggressor or dither in is a couple more weeks as I wouldn't want to risk any of my other fish, prior to observing a month of sustained good health from my new Cirrhilabrus. Btw... I remember reading (I think it was in Mr. Fenner's CMA, but it could have been in Paletta's New Marine Aquarium), that in a large enough system male Cirrhilabrus can revert back to female, any idea's on the time scale involved in this transformation? <<I have heard of this with "not yet completely turned" males, but I have never witnessed it. At any rate I would think it would take some weeks to happen.>> Thanks Andy <<Good luck Andy...I'd be interested to know how things turn out. EricR>>

Stocking Fairy Wrasses  8/31/05 Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I have a 90 gallons aq. with live rock and corals, I have a Lubbock Wrasse and would like to add an Exquisite Wrasse.  Are they compatible? Thanks, AJ <Well, AJ, both of these fishes are from the genus Cirrhilabrus, and are found in nature in fairly sizeable, mixed-sex groupings. A dominant male defends a "harem" of females and subordinate males. This is a great way to keep them in captivity. In a situation where you'd simply have two (probably male) fish in your system, I'd be a bit hesitant. However, if you are able to obtain males and females of both species, you may have better luck. In my experience, it is possible to mix individual males of different Fairy Wrasses together, if you have both males and females of each species in the mix, if the tank is large enough, and if there is enough "territory". If you manage to obtain a group of just females (kind of rare, because males are more commonly collected), you'll be pleased to see one of the females (the dominant one) turn into a lovely make in a short amount of time (the fish is known as a "protogynous hermaphrodite"). See if you can get some females to throw into the mix! Good luck! Regards, Scott F. >

- Fairy Wrasse and Clown Gobies - Hey Bob <Actually, JasonC today...> You will not remember me but you answered many of my questions back when you were working with the now defunct flyingfishexpress.com folks. <Seems like a long time ago.> Thanks for all that info, it helped me a lot. I'm putting together a new system, a basic reef with a RBT anemone and 2 Percs (had them for years) under MH lights. The tank is a 110 gal, 30 high, 48 long, 18 back to front with a massive skimmer (Euro-Reef CS8-2), 20 gal refugium with 6 inch DSB, 35 gal total in sump.   There will be 4 Maxi-jets hooked to a wave-maker/controller, and I have not decided on the size of the Maxi-jets.  There will be corals in the tank, however the focus is going to be on flasher and fairy wrasse.   If I do my home work, and pick the wrasse for size and color to offset aggression, how many individuals could my system hold? <I wouldn't go nuts with fairy wrasses - even though they aren't typically aggressive fish, mixing more than two species in your tank might lead to trouble. You could do male/female pairs of each.> Also, are the various clown gobies (Gobiodon sp) able to live with fairy wrasse? <Sure.> Thanks for the help! Rich <Cheers, J -- >

Wrasse Harem Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> First, I would like to say Thanks for your website,  I think it is the best site online.  I have spent many hours reading all the information there and your site has helped my further my knowledge about this hobby more than anywhere else.  I have such high respect for people so dedicated to this hobby. <Thanks so much for the kind words. I'm lucky to work with some great people here!> On with my question, I am interested in purchasing a Cirrhilabrus luteovittatus , but I have seen some info that says they are semi-aggressive.  I have a very peaceful tank (72 gallon) so I was wondering if you would tell me your opinion on this fish.  Would he cause any problems in my tank with the other peaceful fish.  I have a Purple Firefish, Clown Goby, Court Jester, Possum Wrasse, 3 small juvenile flasher wrasse (Carpenter), Exquisite Wrasse, and a Cirrhilabrus solorensis and some shrimp. <Nice mix of peaceful, colorful fish there! I like that mix! In fact, I'd call it near perfect! Personally, I have not had any problems mixing different fairy or flasher wrasses together, as long as sufficient space is provided. Yes, there is a social dynamic that may be disrupted. In wrasse communities, I generally worry for the newcomer, not the other way around. If you do add the new fish, observe very carefully and be prepared to take action, if necessary. There are no guarantees, unfortunately!> Also, if you have time, could you please tell me how you can tell the difference between male and female flasher wrasses. <Well, from an external standpoint, it's generally color and extended finnage on males. Females, almost across the board, are not as colorful as males. It's usually that simple. I know that's not much to go on, but that's usually the best way to tell. If you want a mixed group, buy a few immature specimens, wait a few months, and one will definitely turn into a male...> When I purchased them at my LFS, they said they were capable of changing sexes so that one would turn into a male, leaving the other 2 female.  So my question is, is this true because I purchased them so that I could have a harem, but so far I can not tell much difference in them after 4 months. <Give 'em more time...It will eventually happen...Could even take longer, but it will happen> They rarely ever swim together but 2 of them are always flashing.  The only difference is that the 2 that are always flashing have 2 elongated rays on their dorsal fins and have blue lines and the other one has 3 rays but her stripes are not blue, just a darker orange. I'm just guessing, but it seems like so far, I have 2 males and one female. <That would be my guess, too!> Do I have a chance of them turning into a harem with one male and 2 females? I would really appreciate your opinion on this.   Thanks for your time, Ashley Whittington <I certainly think so, Ashley. Just keep everyone happy, observe carefully, and I'll bet that harem will form! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>  

Breaking The Wrasse Impasse (What Wrasses To Mix) Thanks for the advice Scott! <My pleasure!> I would love to get a harem going but Rhomboid Wrasses are so hard to come by, especially good ones.  I'm afraid by the time I'm finished collecting his harem, he's too old to flash anything!   <And you might have spent all of your retirement fund trying to get some, too!> Are you saying that the male wrasse is not choosy with his harem? <In most cases, the natural "social order" will form, and he will accept them. This has been my experience with a number of fairy wrasse species> And it wouldn't matter when I add them?  My concern is that the male may dislike the gals that I choose for him and decides on some domestic violence! <Well, there are no guarantees when you're dealing with fish, particularly in captive situations. Fish, like people, are individuals, and you never know what they are thinking> And as for other wrasses to make him sustain color, are you speaking of other species of fairy wrasses within the genus?  They won't harass each other? <Well, it is possible to mix males of the same or different species if your tank is large enough. And, in all likelihood, you'll get to observe the "flashing" behaviour even if you keep one male with several females of the same species. Again, of course, there are no guarantees that the fishes won't harass each other, but it is worth trying in a large > I do have a mystery wrasse waiting to go into my display, but I think they are quite different in behavior than the fairy wrasses.  Would he work to keep Rhomboid's color? <Perhaps, as they can occasionally encounter each other...Hard to be sure, though, as they inhabit different environmental niches within the tank> I know I'm stretching... <You're doing fine!> Tks for your help! Roy <My pleasure, Roy! Enjoy the beautiful fishes that you're going to be adding soon! Regards, Scott F>

Mixing Fairy Wrasses Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I love your website and think it is the coolest out there on this subject. <Awesome! Glad you enjoy it! We have lots of fun being here for you!> I have two quick questions. <Sure> I have a 250 gallon FOWLR and am curious if wrasses can co exist together when mixing.  I have a male (4 inches or so) and female (2 and a half inches) lineatus wrasse  (Cirrhilabrus lineatus) and a red headed fairy wrasse (2 and a half inches) (Cirrhilabrus solorensis).  They show no aggressive behaviour but I am not sure how they evolve.  I would really like to add one more wrasse to the mix.  Either a Laboute's fairy wrasse (Cirrhilabrus laboutei) or a Golden Rhomboid wrasse (Cirrhilabrus rhomboidalis).  Do you think this is pushing it? <In a smaller tank (like under 100 gallons, I'd say that it would be pushing it. On the other hand, in a tank of this size, there is enough physical space for fishes to avoid one another if they need to. Ideally, Cirrhilabrus wrasses should be maintained in groups of one male to two or more females. In nature, these fishes are found in haremic units, with a dominant male defending a harem of subordinate females and immature males. However, in your tank, I'd go for it. There are, of course, no guarantees, but I think that it's worth a try> Also,  My tank parameters are perfect as of this morning.  O ammonia, Nitrite and under 5 nitrate.  My sump though does not smell appealing.  Should I be cleaning my bio balls? <Not really. But you could use some activated carbon and/or PolyFilter to help remove the odor. Do a little investigating around your system to see what could be causing the offensive smell.> Your help would be appreciated, Thanks, Matt <My pleasure! Regards, Scott F>

Fairy Wrasses 12/2/04 Hi! I currently have a 180g setup with nine fish in it. Among those fish are 4 Fairy Wrasses- C. luteovittatus, C. cyanopleura, C. lubbocki, and C. lineatus- all are males. My question is, can a female lineatus be added safely or will she be harassed to death by the other fairy wrasses? The local LFS has a female in stock and she'd be the smallest of the wrasses in the tank. Your help is greatly appreciated! Scott <Although Fairy wrasses are relatively mild mannered (especially for wrasses!), I am surprised that those that you already have are tolerating each other.  Many fairy wrasses do live as pairs or harems, so the M and F lineatus should be OK, but the other males may harass her or become increasingly aggressive due to the presence of a female.  If you do attempt to add this fish, first and foremost, quarantine!  Then, be prepared to remove the other males in decreasing order of aggression if necessary.  It is strictly a matter of taste, but if I were in your position I would be willing to give up all of the other males to keep the M-F pair.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>
Re: Fairy Wrasses 12/9/04
Thanks for getting back so quickly! <Glad to!> I too am surprised that they all get along as well as they do. There is so little aggression it's almost scary. Since the addition of the lineatus there has been even less than before. It is pretty cool, though, how they interact; i.e. color changing and flashing as warnings. <Seeing really natural behavior is amazing!> Just out of curiosity, why choose the m/f lineatus over a diverse group of fairy wrasses? Thanks again! Scott  <Just a personal interest in observing courting and knowing that fish must be in exemplary health to breed.  Best Regards.  Adam>

"Red" Fairy Wrasse--Help Hello. <Hi there> I saw a very colorful fish at my local fish store that was labeled "Red Fairy Wrasse". It was about 3"-4" long and was $56. After I went home, I researched it and couldn't find any fish that had the common name Red Fairy Wrasse. From my research, I concluded that all Fairy Wrasses are peaceful, rather easy to take of, and don't get any bigger than 6" or so. <Fair generalization> From my research, I concluded that the Fairy Wrasse at the store was of the genus Cirrhilabrus. <Yes... you can see a bunch of pix of these on fishbase.org, WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/wrasses/cirrhilabrus/index.htm > First question: Is this true?... Second question: Should I buy this fish and put it in my 70 gallon FOWLR with a Cinnamon Clownfish, a Coral Beauty Angelfish, a Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish, a Foxface Lo, and two Sea Urchins? <Is the Lion small enough to where it won't swallow the Wrasse? Your tank is getting crowded, but behaviorally all should get along. Bob Fenner>

Re: "Red" Fairy Wrasse--Help. Thanks for the reply, Bob. I decided not to get the Wrasse. I didn't have enough trust in the fish store that the Wrasse was to buy it for $56. To answer your question about the Lionfish--yes he is small; small enough that he doesn't even bother my Cinnamon Clownfish. I think I may buy 1 or a trio of Banggai Cardinalfish to go with my Black Long-since Sea urchin. Thanks again--Greg. <Better to shy on the side of conservancy. Bob Fenner>

Don't Pass Up A Wrasse! Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I have a 125 reef with mainly soft corals, LPS corals. I have peaceful fish: 3 purple Firefish, 3 red Firefish, 1 green clown goby, 1 threadfin goby, 1 citron goby, 1 red head goby, 2 maroon clowns, 1 rose e quad. anemone, a green e. quad, 4 cleaner shrimp, 3 fire shrimp, 6 peppermint shrimp, 4 green Chromis, and two neon blue gobies in the mail as I write. <My kind of fish population! Small is beautiful, especially in a large tank!> I am very interested in ordering a fairy wrasse or a flasher wrasse.  I have reviewed the marine center page and there are so many I am overwhelmed.  I have tried to avoid difficult species. (I just don't like killing things.) <I can dig that!> Could you recommend some hardy, compatible, pretty species for me that stay small? <Well, there are, as you stated, many, many different species that stay small, are colorful, and are easy to care for. In my experience and opinion, you could do well with many Cirrhilabrus species. I really like C. solorensis, C. rubriventralis, and C. scottorum (heh, heh, heh!). If you're like me, and want to support the "home team", you could get a C. jordani (Hawaiian Flame Wrasse)...> (I prefer lots of small colorful fish, rather than a few big ones, although I am seriously considering setting up a fish only tank b/c dog face puffers and cow fish are just too cool.) <Diggin' this! My thoughts exactly, bruddah!> Are fairy wrasses and flasher wrasses really reef safe, or are they like Centropyge's where you're always taking a chance. <No- they really are "reef safe", being strictly planktivorous, and not interested in corals or sessile inverts at all. Maybe the only caveat with these fishes (and one that's frequently overlooked by most hobbyists, IMO-is that they are predominantly found in deeper water, and seem to behave more "calm" in less brightly lit tanks (or perhaps, 20000k would be a nice compromise)...Yes, they will adapt to brightly lit tanks just fine, but this is just something that you may want to think about when planning for these fishes. They can be kept individually, or in small groups- like 3 females to one male...or groups of 5 (3 females to 2 males)...> Thank you for your help, John Kim <Any time, John! Good luck with your tank(s)!>
Don't Pass Up A Wrasse (Pt. 2)
Scott, <Good morning!> I forgot to mention that I have one blue mandarin. Will the wrasse compete with it for food. Again thank you for your help. John <Well, John, I'd have to say an unqualified "no". Fairy and flasher wrasses tend to pick food from the water column, whereas Mandarins generally confine their feeding to the substrate and rocks. Sure, the odd Fairy Wrasse might pick something off the rocks now  and again, but the vast majority of their feeding does take place in the open water. Hope this alleviates any lingering concerns you might have. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Fairy Wrasses - Since fairy wrasses are peaceful fish, could two of different species co-exist? What if one was added a few weeks after the first. Specifically Laboutei and exquisite. <Well, for starters... it really depends on the size of the system. But provided the system is large enough, I would say it would probably work, however your chances are better with a male and female of the same species rather than different species. Cheers, J -- >

Flame Wrasse Can I add a flame wrasse (male) to my existing 90 gallon fish only tank with 60 pounds of live rock? Below is my current livestock, water condition, inhabitant behavior: Livestock: - 4" Scott's fairy (male)  - 2.5" Cuban hog - 3" juvenile imperator  - 4" juvenile personifer - 2" African flameback Water Condition: - ammonia/ nitrite = 0 ppm - nitrate = 2 ppm Behavior: All specimens are behaving socially and happily amongst each other (no aggression). If the flame wrasse is not a good choice, can you please make a recommendation? Thanks. Dan >> This Cirrhilabrus would fit in for now... but your ninety is going to be getting crowded with those large angelfishes growing up... Bob Fenner

Reef Safe Wrasses! (6/25/03) Hello.  What is a good reef safe wrasse for a 30g tank?  <Many of the fairy wrasses would be fine, one of my favorites is the Scott's fairy wrasse.  Cody>

Australian Lineatus Crew, <Hi there> I didn't notice this species anywhere on your website <Here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/wrasses/cirrhilabrus/index.htm the folks at Marine Depot have this Fairy Wrasse species name misspelled... there is but one "n"... pls see it on fishbase.org> but wondered if you knew anything about this fish. It looks very pretty and fairly reef safe ( http://www.marinedepotlive.com/auliwrli.html). <Is... the whole genus> In addition, I keep my reef between 80F and 81.8F with Heaters and Chillers and haven't had a problem for 2yrs.... would that be a problem for this Wrasse? <Nope, not likely. Just make sure you keep the whole top covered... very good jumpers. Bob Fenner> Christopher Slabe 

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