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FAQs on Bird Wrasses: Reproduction

Related Articles: Bird Wrasses Sociable to the Point of Exuberance! The Bird Wrasses, Genus Gomphosus by Bob Fenner

FAQs on: Bird Wrasse Identification, Bird Wrasse Behavior, Bird Wrasse Compatibility, Bird Wrasse Stocking/Selection, Bird Wrasse Systems, Bird Wrasse Feeding, Bird Wrasse Health, Related FAQs: Wrasses 1, Wrasse Selection, Wrasse Behavior, Wrasse Compatibility, Wrasse Feeding, Wrasse Diseases,


Bird wrasse pairing Hello WetWebMedia crew -- I have a very healthy, active bird wrasse with a good appetite; when I purchased "him" he was considered the "most unattractive" bird wrasse the store had ever seen... I adored him for his pink nose, olive green body, pink tail and friendly disposition towards other fish.  I tend to gravitate to the odd fish, and this one was different from any other bird wrasse I'd ever seen. <Ahh, the ugly duckling story...> After further research, I realized that I must have actually purchased a female in transition... becoming a male.  The nose is now completely green, and the tail is less pink and more black than it had been; I'm not unhappy about the transition... he is an interesting fish no matter what color.  The store now has a "female" black bird wrasse for sale, slightly larger than the one I have.  I'd like to house the pair together in my 90 gal but have received conflicting advice.  The store, of course, says there would be no problem; they'd love to sell me the fish.  Other sources say that I shouldn't add the "female" second... and someone else told me that since the first one may not be completely "male" yet, that it should be fine. <Likely will work out here... even better chance in an even larger system> I have plans to upgrade to a 140 gal within the next year.  If they get along, would the pair be comfortable living out their lives in that size tank? <Likely so> Other residents are: a Volitans lion, a pink-tail trigger, a nine-year-old gold maroon clown and one large blue damsel.  I do not plan to add any other fish to this group. <I see... am surprised the Lion hasn't eaten the damsel/s... yet> Thanks in advance, for your suggestions... I've learned to trust the advice I get from WetWebMedia, and use the articles as my personal guidelines.  Any help you can offer in this matter will be much appreciated. Sincerely, Kyn Un <Sounds like you have a good plan to me. I would go ahead with the introduction, and if there are signs of over aggression, separate out the existing Gomphosus (in a floating, plastic colander) for a few days... Bob Fenner>

Bird wrasse pair We have had a male bird wrasse for a little under a month and recently bought him a "girlfriend" to hang out with. When we put her in the tank, everyone started to attack her, including the male. We currently have a lionfish, red flame lobster, blue tang, Niger trigger and a Huma Huma. Usually the Huma Huma is very docile but he chases the female bird wrasse. Any idea why the male and the female aren't getting along? <Mmm, likely this tank's size is at root here... for what you list, and likelihood of all getting along with the new Gomphosus (unless it was quite small... a few inches in length), you need a couple hundred gallons of space. Bob Fenner>

Bird Wrasse Pair I have had a Green & Brown Bird Wrasse Pair in my 300G for the past 4 months. Last night they were darting in & out of the rock work than they started to swim with their top fin straight up so I watched close thinking this is trouble. They both stopped towards the top in the middle of the tank, the Male (Green) went up a little they were touching than I see this white cloud they both dashed away. This all happened very fast (everything is fast with a bird wrasse). Did they mate? <Sounds like it> Do you have any information on Bird wrasse mating/spawning? Any information would be helpful at this point.   Thank you Kaye <I don't have access to print works (am out in HI), and have not observed Gomphosus spawning in the wild (there are two species, one collected for the trade here, G. varius, which is very likely what you have), but from the general "pattern" of their spawning, it does seem yours have... Unless you have taken precautions to remove some of the fertilized eggs, and/or removed skimmer, most all mechanical filtration, likely these have been removed/destroyed. Do look for the name "Thresher" in standard works on reef fish reproduction, and possibly the "Breeder's Registry" online for more information. Bob Fenner>

Bird Wrasse Girlfriend Hello, <Hi, MikeD here> I am about to purchase a male green bird wrasse
<ok. These are actually among the more aggressive members of the wrasse family>.  
However, in his tank at the shop is the female. Apparently he was unhappy until they added the female
<Whomever told you that is on commission and trying to sell a double sale with you picked out as the intended salary increase source.>.  
Should I also purchase his girlfriend to keep him happy or will he survive without her
<He'll probably do better without her. Keep in mind that most wrasses occur in schools, rather than pairs, and that nearly all males WERE females before they got to that stage.>? Also, in my 400 gallon tank I only have 5 fish including a Niger Trigger
<With a 400 the pair of Bird Wrasses would probably do fine, while the results are often a violent and sometimes fatal divorce in smaller tanks.>. Can I add a Picasso Trigger and\or a Clown Trigger
<If you want to add another trigger that's your choice, but be aware that the Niger will grow to AT LEAST a full foot and MAY grow up to 20" (that's 4" shy of TWO FEET)  Although your tank is large enough to support a Clown Triggerfish to maturity, the VAST majority end up going ballistic and killing ALL of their other tank mates.  Those brilliant colors mean the same thing that they do on wasps and coral snakes, "I'm dangerous! Approach at your own peril!" and are NOT there just to be pretty>?   
I have asked this already but you all have your own and varied opinions.  I do want a peaceful tank when everyone's all grown up.
<LMAO! Bird Wrasses and Triggerfish are NOT peaceful fish, but rather are very much the fish equivalent of creatures like Hyenas and Jackals, in other words omnivores with a well developed taste for fresh meat on the hoof. In fact, the comparison of a triggerfish to a land hyena is particularly apt, as both have jaws capable of crushing things far beyond the ability of other creatures in their respective habitats.  the war between the Lions and the Hyenas is NOT just a cute story line in "The Lion King" with the two species being natural and deadly opponents, while ironically many triggerfish are the cause of death to Lionfish in captivity> Many Thanks, James.
Bird Wrasse Girlfriend (continued)
Thanks Mike, <You're very welcome> OK, if I do get the bird wrasse it will be just the one.
<That should be fine. If you want an active fish, this species is often hyper even compared to other "hyper" species so movement is assured.>  
Clown Trigger is out but I may get the Picasso.  Bob recommends them in an article here on WWM.
<These are often among the less violent members of the triggerfish family, with the only fish I'd suggest NOT putting them with being very small species or lionfish. IMO Lion/Scorpionfish and Triggers are always a high risk combination at the very least.>  
As per your recommendations a few weeks ago, I am definitely going to get a Naso Tang and Harlequin Tuskfish.
<Both of these ought to be fine, although you may want to watch the bird wrasse to make sure it doesn't single out the Tusk if added first. Those teeth on a Tuskfish are for moving rocks and crushing shrimp/crabs and rarely used in self defense. Go figure?>  
I will send you some pics when it's all up and running.
<That would be great, even better you could join the site and post your own member photo album.> Kind Regards, James.

Wrasse Sex Change Hi! <Hi there-Scott F. here today> I've purchased a small female bird wrasse and am hoping she will turn into a he. <smile> Is there anything that I can do to help her along? Please advise. Thanks! Linda <Well, Linda, in the wild, sex change is determined by social factors, among other things, in these animals. With an individual specimen in your tank, there is not much that you can do to influence this process. Mother nature has the control over that! If your wrasse does start turning green-well- then Mother Nature has granted your wish! In the meantime, just give the fish a good home with proper care, and she/he will live a happy, healthy life!>

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