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Fairy Wrasse: Colorful and Affordable

I love fairy wrasse. They are so beautiful to watch, even-tempered, and relatively hardy with the right tankmates. When housed with overly aggressive or even semi-aggressive fish they tend to stress and become unhealthy. Any tank with these fish in them also needs a lid or screen. I recommend something with smaller holes. I’ve had a screen top and found my fairy wrasse on top of it dead. I would have sworn there was no way it could have fit through the screen top but it found a way.

They do well eating small meaty foods, but I have had them eat Formula II flake which I find to be nearly universally accepted (even by my pajama cardinal).

They do well with most other fish but they don’t do well with others of their kind and will fight. If you do want more than one you can pull it off by keeping a harem. That’s one male and a group of 5 or so females. If you have a very large tank (6″ long) you can do two males with no females. But if you do two

Fairy wrasse are relatively small fish but are better behaved and less likely to jump in a larger tank with plenty of rock to hide in. Like many wrasse they enjoy having sand in the tank as well.

Below is a video I took a while back of me catching one of my wrasse that had jumped. Luckily he didn’t jump out of the tank and die, he jumped but landed in the overflow. I had to build a make-shift fish trap to get him out.

The article linked to below is about a newly identified species. I have to admit I swear I’ve seen this one in fish stores before. That is possible of course. Just because a fish hasn’t been scientifically identified doesn’t mean it hasn’t been caught and sold in the hobby. As the article mentions we in the hobby tend to just think of these fish as nice variants, one that happens to be a more handsome fish than the others. It’s only through rigorous scientific study that we learn they are actually different species. So when you pick up your fairy wrasse be on the lookout for one in the bunch that really stands out to you. You might be getting a rare prize for the price of a standard, but beautiful, fairy wrasse.


At a cursory glance, we tend to lump similar-looking reef fish into a monolithic species and chalk up differences as variants. But upon closer examination, we are finding sufficient distinction to satisfy the description of a new species. Cirrhilabrus cyanogularis is a case in point.

Source: The blue-throated fairy wrasse: a new species