FAQs on Flasher Wrasses, Genus Paracheilinus
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Flasher Wrasse Identification,
Flasher Wrasse Compatibility,
Flasher Wrasse Selection, Flasher Wrasse Systems, Flasher Wrasse Feeding, Flasher Wrasse Disease, Flasher Wrasse Reproduction, &
Wrasses, Wrasse Selection, Wrasse Behavior, Wrasse Compatibility, Wrasse Feeding, Wrasse Diseases,
Catching a male in display in the wild is fun,
trying, and breath-taking.
Carpenter's Flasher Wrasse Behavior Question
I recently sent you an email about a concern with the mouth of my
Carpenter's Flasher Wrasse. I had a concern about the upper part of its
mouth. It was sent on December 9, 2012. I haven't heard back on that
<... it was responded to... It's archived here:
but I had some developments with the same fish so I thought I'd seek
your insight on it also. The Carpenter's Flasher Wrasse is in the tank
with a Lime Green Wrasse.
<May not get along>
I noticed they were having a very interesting interaction with each other
darting around. Then, the Flasher Wrasse would turn pale and open up its
fins to make a very impressive display of fins and color. He would dart
around and dance around the lime green wrasse. The Lime Green Wrasse is
a female. She would dart aways and play shy. Then, she would come back
over to where he was at again and the display would go on all over
again. I took so many videos and pictures for a good hour. This display
has gone on again today. I would assume this is mating display that the
Flasher Wrasse is so known for. What I am confused about is its display
towards the Lime Green Wrasse. Is it possible for them to mate, since
they aren't the same fish?
<It is not possible as far as I'm aware. Thalassoma lutescens is very
distantly related genetically>
Or, is this just a display of another sort?
<Likely agonistic display behavior>
If it is possible for them to mate, what should I expect in this
situation? I hadn't planned on this, so I wasn't sure much about their
reproduction, especially since she isn't another Flasher Wrasse. Thanks
for your help.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Filamented Flasher Wrasse-update/lifespan
Back in April, 2009 I had sent in a letter to you guys that I had
placed 3 female wrasses with my male flasher wrasse. He was
purchased as a juvenile
2/9/09 online. The females purchased in 4/09. One female turned
to male and tried to kill the original male (I call him
<As in Gee?>
It jarred the top on a running fly and then found a way out on
the second run and died. A second female then turned male and was
even more aggressive to Whiz, and I found him a new home. This
left one female left. Since Whiz was pretty aggressive towards
trying to mate I figured it'd be best for her if I moved him,
so into my soft coral tank he went.
He became best buds with Gravedigger my yellowhead jawfish (which
I also wrote earlier about having gone blind for 4 months).
And he even slept in the rock just above her hole, and hung out
with her all day...until a couple months ago. I started noticing
him being more secretive, not out in the open as much but still
coming out for food...whizzing through the front of <I see
this. Quite a pair>
Last night I found him dead. I've had him 2 years 4 months;
he was a juvenile when purchased (from Liveaquaria). I've
only been able to find one reference to a yellow flasher wrasse
lifespan of 5-8 years but no information on how long it takes a
flasher wrasse to reach juvenile stage and/or how long the
juvenile stage lasts.
<Can be just a few months>
I would've thought he would have lived longer. The other fish
in the tank are all fine... mated pair of clownfish (Ocellaris)
(no anemone); ORA mandarin pair (20 months old) and the jawfish
(have had 3 yrs.). The female Filamented flasher wrasse is fine,
howbeit, not at all happy about my giving her the company of a
Midas blenny and she does from time to time let the blenny know
she doesn't like its presence. Just another note the Whiz was
from Indonesia, the females from the Solomon Islands and they
grew to be a bit larger than he was.
Do you have any additional information on the lifespan and aging
wrasses that you can share?
<I do not unfortunately. However you may be able to "read
between the lines" re some species by looking at their age
vs. length data on such sites as Fishbase.org>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Pals for sure
McCosker's Flasher Wrasse Female To
Male Change -- 02/01/11
Hello WWM crew!
I have a 150L aquarium that until recently has been stood empty after a
nasty white spot outbreak (fallow for approximately 3 months).
Last week I added a pair of yellow coral gobies who I love but they
looked a little lost in the tank so I decided to get them some company
in the form of a trio of McCosker's flasher wrasses.
<<Mmm, this tank is too small for the wrasses really. While
though a smallish fish, and though one that doesn't require a large
environment in which to roam like say a Tang species would, 150L/40g
U.S. is still a bit small here given their penchant for aggression
among conspecifics. And to make matters worse, this fish does better,
in my experience, in a group of 5 or more. A 'trio' just
doesn't allow for enough spreading of aggression among the group.
These little wrasses are also notorious jumpers'¦a behavior
only exacerbated by 'too-small' confines>>
The LFS gave me a ring this morning to let me know they had got the
fish in for me, when I went to see them they were all swimming happily
together and munching on flake and frozen Mysis. Looking at them now I
am afraid I may have ended up with 2 males rather than 2 females, one
of the males is almost fully grown compared to the other who is the
same size and colour as the female but I noticed that he had an
elongated section on his dorsal fin the same as my big male.
<<Ah yes'¦ You likely have a sub-adult male in the
I can't get a picture at the moment as he will not stay still but I
will keep trying. Now finally getting down to my question, will they
all still get on or will one of them have to go?
<<Odds are the dominant male will not tolerate the younger
male'¦especially in such close confines>>
I have read that some males will be subordinate, or that the female to
male change can be halted by the presence of a dominant male.
<<This is true. And perhaps if this system were
How can I tell if the smaller wrasse is in the process of becoming a
male or if he is fully male already? (Probably going to be a really
obvious answer isn't it!)
<<Compare its appearance to the larger male (color/color pattern,
If I do have to get rid of a male would you suggest another female or
try to leave the pair as it is?
<<These are a 'haremic' species. Four or more females per
male'¦and a larger tank'¦are your best
Thanks for your time, sorry for carrying on so long!
<<No worries Becca, happy to share. Cheers'¦
Re: McCosker's Flasher Wrasse Female To Male Change --
Thanks for the quick reply.
I think I will give my cousin a ring and ask if he wants them for his
<<A much better solution>>
By the sounds of it they will be much happier in there than in my
Would the sub adult male be ok to go with the other two or is it best
for me to take him to my LFS?
<<I would seek to exchange the young male for a female, if
May see if he's willing to trade me his rather nice ornate leopard
wrasse for them!
<<Ah Becca'¦you may be going from the frying pan in to
the fire. Before deciding, please read here and among the associated
R2: McCosker's Flasher Wrasse Female To Male Change --
Thank you again for another quick reply.
<<Always welcome, Becca>>
The only reason I suggested the wrasse is I had him for two years first
and gave him to my cousin for his birthday :)
<<Ah then, obviously this particular specimen has acclimated well
to captive care (rare'¦the vast majority don't survive
the first weeks of captivity), though for its long-term health a larger
reef system will give it more room to roam/forage>>
But if he's not my best option I may go have a good look at his
tank and nick something better suited to my tank.
<<Do keep thinking about/researching your options and feel free
to come back and discuss re. Eric Russell>>
Paracheilinus filamentosus <MIA>
& PBT Ich 8/29/10
Dear Wet Web Crew,
I am the proud new owner of a 90 gallon saltwater reef tank. I bought
it from a friend of mine who had the tank up for 5 years and moved it
to my house in May. I have been slowly adding fish and corals to my
tank and currently have a line up as such:
1 Powder Blue Tang
<Really needs more room than this>
1 Royal Gramma Basslet
1 Blue Damselfish
1 Mandarin Dragonette
1 Tomato Clownfish
1 Foxface Rabbitfish
1 Paracheilinus filamentosus
1 Rose Bubble tip anemone
LPS, SPS, and soft corals under 2 250 Watt halides and 2 96 Watt
The water keeps coming back fine (1.025 salinity, 8 KH, 400 Ca, 0
Nitrate, 8.3 pH).
Anyways, down to the question. When I added my Paracheilinus
filamentosus about 3 weeks back,
<... no quarantine? Dip/bath?>
he was doing great. Eating, swimming around, good colors and such.
About 2 weeks after that (1 week ago) I added the Powder Blue Tang.
<Ditto? A mistake>
There was no visible aggression between anyone in the tank, however,
now the wrasse is nowhere to be found. He came out to eat once 3 days
ago, but I haven't seen him since then. Last night I moved some of
the rocks around to see if I could find a corpse, but to no avail. Is
there any particular reason that you can think of that the wrasse would
go MIA. I cannot find him anywhere.
<Dissolve quickly if lost here, good poss. it left the tank...
perhaps a pet ate it there... Harassed by the Tomato? Eaten by the
It should probably be noted that my Powder Blue has a decent case of
Ich. I've been reluctant to pull him and treat because he looks
otherwise very healthy. He is eating and looking very good. I'm
hoping he will pass it on his own.
On that note, I have some of the Seachem Metronidazole and Focus that
is said to fight Ich and is reef safe. Is it worth using on the food,
or do you think it is a waste/.dangerous?
<I would hold off... this anti-protozoal is not likely to effect a
real cure here... as it cannot/should not be administered long (enough)
term to "take out" all stages of the Crypt>
Thank you very much for your time and expertise,
<Mmm, I do want to refer you... Here:
and the linked files above... to grant you insight into your probable
situation/outcomes. Bob Fenner>
Flasher Wrasses, Male Back To Female? --
My apologies if I missed it in the previous flasher wrasse question,
but can a sub-male flasher wrasse change back into a female?
<<Happens rarely in captive systems, as I am aware. But as with
Anthiines, the 'change' can sometimes be halted/reversed if in
the very early stages>>
I have had a trio for about a month- one male and two females. About a
week ago my male quit doing his evening routine of flashing and girl
chasing. Two days later I noticed that my larger female (but still
quite a bit smaller than the male) was brighter in color.
"She" is now showing signs of an elongating top fin and is
chasing the other female.
<<Mmm, sounds like something is up with the 'previously'
dominant male. Whether an illness or simply 'old age' is
causing it to lose interest in the females, the dominant female is
quickly 'taking over' just as it would in the wild>>
My male now spends about 60% of his time in a particular place in the
tank, while the other two swim all over.
<<Indeed'¦ I think it very unlikely here that the
'changeling' will be reverting to female>>
If I'm correct, and I now have two males, will one revert to
Or should I re-home one of the males and try to locate another
<<Though it may well be a possibility, I have never seen/heard a
dominant female take over a harem with a dominant male already present.
The 'old' male will certainly decline/continue to decline in
this situation. You can try placing it with some fresh 'young'
females and see what happens (being haremic, they do not fare well for
long as 'loners'), but the male's loss of interest in the
harem would not seem to bode well for it, in my opinion>>
My thanks in advance,
<<A pleasure to share'¦ EricR>>
Wrasse'¦Aggressive Male -- 03/13/10
Have a question about a pair of McCosker's flasher wrasse, male and
female pair that I recently acquired.
<<These are a haremic fish species'¦better kept in a
group of three or more females to a single male>>
The male is acting with some intermittent dominant/aggressive behavior
towards the female and I'm not sure if this is normal in an
established pair or if it is the process that this species goes through
to become a pair.
<<In addition to being haremic, these fish are also protogynous
hermaphrodites (born female'¦can change to
male)'¦the male's behavior establishes his dominance and
is a behavioral cue to suppress the female from 'becoming
male.' Unfortunately, without other females about to spread his
aggression, the single female must bear the brunt of all>>
I'm afraid the aggression will be too much for the female in the
<<This is likely>>
She is timid now and stays to one side of the aquarium, unable to
venture out into the open most times.
<<Add a couple more females>>
Parameters are all excellent. The tank is a 29g and has many places to
<<This tank needs to be larger'¦especially with the
'needed' addition of more females>>
She is eating well and does not have any outward sign of disease.
<<She will likely just 'disappear' if left on her own
with the male>>
On another note, sometimes after eating this female does "barrel
rolls" and will flip over seemingly on purpose. She does put
obvious effort into doing so, and it is not a swim bladder thing. Maybe
helps with digestion or overeating?
<<More likely courtship behavior'¦even just
I feed spectrum and frozen Mysis or brine every day or every other
<<Ah my friend, do research your charges'¦these fish
need multiple small feedings EVERY DAY for their long term wellbeing.
Start reading here and follow/read among ALL the links in blue at the
top of the page (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/paracheilinus.htm)
Thanks for your advice.
Happy to share'¦ Eric Russell>>
Filamented Wrasses...Two Males Now -
Previously I wrote about my wrasses... one male and three females.
They're doing very well.
One of them always seemed to stay hidden so I would mostly only see
three of them. This past week I noticed that all four were out and
about quite regularly. On closer observation, I now have two males.
<<Oh? Perhaps this has something to do with the previous
'hiding' behavior'¦as in the 'changeling'
being seriously harassed by the existing/dominant male'¦and
now 'habituation' has settled things down a bit'¦but
for how long?>>
I still see a great group dynamic... they all appear to get along, no
signs of bickering, at least no more than the typical pecking order
short chase, and of course being a young male a bit more girl
Will this dynamic remain?
<<Not likely in my opinion, at least not without room to
establish separate territories'¦then there's the issue
of 'enough females' to go around>>
Or as the younger male gets older should I expect to see a bit more
<<Hard to say Deb'¦only time will tell. A
'continued peace' will depend largely on the agonistic
tendencies of the particular species, and the individuals themselves.
Captive care and the confines of the aquarium can/does affect behavior,
but even so, I wouldn't suggest keeping more than one male in all
but the largest of home systems>>
A bit about the tank and their care: The tank is a 30g SPS reef/10g
<<I really think this is too small an environment for the two
They are the only fish in the display along with 2 cleaner shrimp, 1
peppermint shrimp and 1 emerald crab. The refugium holds a little rusty
goby (Priolepis hipoliti) and 2 peppermint shrimp. The fish are fed 2-3
times a day a mix of Mysis, reef plankton and homemade mix of minced
squid, clams, shrimp and fish (soaked with Selcon), with occasional
additions of other planktonic foods for variety.
<<Sounds like all are well fed'¦is a plus, but not
likely enough to swing the balance>>
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>
Wrasse Behavior - Jumping, Freaking And Hiding
(Oh My!) - 05/23/05 Hello crew, <Evening> I'm very
worried about my adult male Paracheilinus lineopunctatus. <Gorgeous
fish> I've kept him for about 5 months now and up until recently
he was a very active happy seeming fish. About one month ago he started
jumping, or trying to. <Yep...all too common...a
"high-strung" fish. My flashers use to literally "ping
around" in the light hood like pin-balls if the lights suddenly
went off due to a power outage.> I have the top 100% covered because
I read these guys jump. <Mmm...not sealed I hope...possibly covered
with egg-crate or similar?.> Problem is, when he hits the canopy it
scares the crap out of him and he hides for days only to timidly
re-emerge and start taking food again. Then after he starts getting
bold and swimming above the rock again he'll try to jump. I feel
really bad for him and I kinda wish I'd never have gotten him. I
imagine him on the reef jumping at will and I feel terrible robbing him
of that. <I wouldn't worry about this last item. According to
Fishbase this specie is generally found at 12-40 meter depth. A long
haul to the surface for a "recreational" jump <G>.>
Many things I could correlate this behavior with but no clue as to a
cause. 1. It seemed to coincide with his adulthood. He started getting
his full adult coloration and size before he started jumping. 2. I
added more light (3x18w NO --> 2x18w NO + 2 55w PC) about a month
before this behavior started. he was fine for that month though. 3. I
added a 1w 470nm moonlight about 6 weeks before. All water chemistry
parameters test fine (0 NO3, PO4, Ca~370, dKH~8.5, SG~1.0255@78degrees F, temp~80 degrees
F) Any experience with soothing crazy jumpers? Anything at all I could
do to make my fish more happy? <Make sure another fish is not
harassing your wrasse. But even if this is not the case, my experience
has been that sooner or later these fish will jump. These fish can be
kept, but as you're experiencing, they require some special
considerations. One is a peaceful environment in which to live
(extremely important in the unnatural confines of an aquarium), another
is some type of grate directly on top of the tank openings.> Thank
you so much, Andy <Regards, Eric R.>
Any Wrasses Less Likely To Jump? -- 07/19/07
Hello. <<Hi Pam!>> Are any wrasses less likely to
jump than others? <<Most all the small ornamental species
offered/used in the trade have varying tendencies re.. in my
experience>> I have an open tank, and I know most wrasses
are jumpers, but I thought if they were put in with all peaceful
fish, that they may not jump. <<This does help, but it is
not just the other fishes that can/will cause a wrasse (any
'jumper' species) to head for the open air. At one time I
had a couple small groups of Flasher Wrasse species that would go
'nuts' if the lights on the tank were to suddenly
'black out' as from a power surge/outage...sounded like
pinballs pinging around in the light hood!>> I have an Elos
tank, and don't want to cover it with Eggcrate or screen.
<<Neat!...and understood>> The beauty of the tank, is
that it's rimless and open. <<Yes...very nice>>
My fish are all very peaceful. Right now I have a Pygmy Possum
Wrasse, a Purple Firefish and a Tailspot Blenny. I really wanted
to add a Laboutei, but don't want to be irresponsible if
it's definitely going to leap out of the tank and die.
<<VERY likely with this species...and is the same pretty
much with all the Flasher and Fairy Wrasse species. I have
experienced, as well as very often hear of these fishes demise
from leaping out an 'uncovered' system>> I know
Firefish can be jumpers, but my Firefish never goes beyond the
bottom half of the tank, and if he gets spooked, he dives into
the rock...never up. I have two good size caves in my rock and
lots of crevices and swim-throughs. <<All good, though many
of the wrasses tend to be more active in the upper-third of the
water column>> So..... should I definitely nix the idea of
the Laboutei? <<Logic would seem to dictate this...>>
Are any other bright wrasses less likely to jump? <<Still
no guarantee it won't end up on the floor, but the smaller
Halichoeres species are quite colorful and would be 'less
likely' than the Laboutei to sail out of your tank...in my
opinion. H. Chrysus is a premier aquarium species...and if you
want something a bit less monochromatic, take a look at H.
ornatissimus>> Thank you! Pam <<Regards,
Re: Any Wrasses Less Likely To Jump? -
07/20/07 Thanks Eric. <<Quite welcome, Pam>> Ok,
I'll take your advice and keep away from the Mystery Wrasses.
<<I think you mean Flasher/Fairy Wrasses?...Probably for
the best>> I took a look at the two wrasses you mentioned.
<<Okay?>> I really like the ornatissimus. <<A
gorgeous fish indeed>> I also was looking at the
Five-barred Mystery Wrasse. <<Another beauty...love that
'expression'>> That's one of the only wrasses
that LiveAquaria doesn't mention as a jumper. <<Am in
disagreement>> Do you know if they are jumpers or not?
<<I have known them to jump, yes...though
'possibly' less prone than the previous mentioned species
due to their tendency to stay/hide lower in the water column. And
please do understand, I have seen Halichoeres spp jump as
well...I just think these are the better 'gamble' re
>> Thanks, Pam <<Happy to assist. Eric