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FAQs on Halichoeres Wrasse Compatibility

Related Articles: Halichoeres Wrasses,

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

Halichoeres kallochroma

A three-part stocking change up- and saving some Hermits lives?       1/21/16
A multi-faceted stocking question for you all today.
Its been three years of happy reefing since I contacted you guys last. Thank you so much for your incredible online resource. I appreciate WetWebMedia so much for all you do.
<Ahh; thank you for your kind, rewarding comments>
I have a 110 pseudo-reef tank (a few varieties of mushrooms and Zoas nothing else size 60"x22"x20") that is bare bottom. It is currently stocked with a Flame Angel, Mystery Wrasse, Single Ocellaris Clown Fish, and Longnose Hawkfish. Since it is bare bottom, I have a handful of Trochus snails (my preference) as my clean up crew but no other inverts. I'm thinking a few big changes I want to briefly run by you. First, I'm thinking about darning and adding sand for aesthetic purposes. If I do that I would love to add a bunch of hermit crabs.
<Am keen for the sand, negative on the Hermits>
I know Hawkfish can be hit and miss with the small hermits (but the Longnose apparently has a smaller mouth and therefore is not as dangerous on this front?- or this internet misinformation?).
<Mis-; Oxycirrhites will pick them out; eat them>
I am mostly interested in the larger scarlet, Halloween, electric blue variety. I have been unable to find if these critter are endangered in such an environment.
<See my (and others) opinions re Anomuran use; archived on WWM.
In addition to the sand and Hermits, I'm thinking of two new additions. I'm pondering a single yellowtail damsel. I've heard Damsels are… difficult fish, which is why I have always avoided them, but I think the rich blue color would be an awesome addition. I have also read the yellowtail is a social species and a single addition may amplify aggressiveness?
<The social Pomacentrids are best kept in small, odd-numbered groupings; stock 3, 5...>
The final addition I am considering is a Melanarus Wrasse (put that new sand bed to use!). I know they are prone to attacking cleanup crew but was hoping if you could shed some light on their behavior towards Trochus and the large hermits mentioned.
<It may well eat these in time>
I also have concerns with a Mystery Wrasse in the tank. Due to the cost and beauty I'll pick the Mystery every time!
Thanks in advance!
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Banana wrasse Butler (and missing Hermits); w/ a nod to Peter, Paul & Mary     9/23/15
Hi team
<Hey Jim>
I have a lovely banana wrasse in my reef tank. The family picked it (ok I was coerced)
Haven't seen a hermit crab in months.... I seem to remember them being hit and miss when it comes to inverts. Any ideas guys?
<"Where have all the hermits gone? Long time learning....Gone to Halichoeres everyone; when will they ever learn, when will they e..ever learn?"
Thanks Jim
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Banana wrasse     9/23/15

I knew it.....that said he is a very happy / good looking fish.
<You bet your wrasse; er, Labrid>
Will have to catch him if I want any cleaner shrimp though.
<Ah yes. Bob Fenner>

saltwater compatibility question; Labrids      8/5/15
Hi crewmember,
I have a question on wrasse compatibility. I have a pastel green (Halichoeres chloropterus) wrasse that is about 6-7 inches.
<Wow; big>
Its currently in a 75 gal and I have just set up a 120 that I want to put it in. I want to know the likelihood that it will accept other wrasse tankmates. I have a yellow canary (Halichoeres chrysus) wrasse that is 4-5 inches and a 3" possum (Wetmorella nigropinnata) wrasse.
<Big for the genus, species>
Would the green wrasse be likely to murder the rest?
<Mmm; not if there's sufficient habitat.... rock et al. to "break up" the environment here>
Reading through your archive
( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/wrassebehfaqs1.htm  2nd convo) Bob answered someone who had the canary and the green wrasse who was asking about the green one harassing the yellow but did not seem concerned as though it would subside without question. I want to move all of them into the new tank at the same time to avoid dominance and established territorial issues just looking for advice before I put them in there.
<I'd place the Green last and hope for the best. Likely they will all get along in this setting. Bob Fenner>

Re: Quarantine question; now Halichoeres comp.       6/21/15
Thank you again for your input. I cannot find much information on Halichoeres melanurus on WWM or in any books.
<About the same for all in this massive genus>
Is it compatible with Ocellaris Clownfish, Long-nosed Butterfly fish, Yellow Tang, Naso Tang, Hepatus Blue Tang, Flame Hawkfish, Royal Gramma, Raccoon Butterfly fish, Coral Beauty and Cleaner Wrasse?
<Should be; in a large enough setting>
Much thanks.
<Welcome. BobF>

Melanurus wrasses killers?      2/17/15
Hello, I am writing to see if you could help me solve a mystery. I recently inherited a pair of melanurus wrasses that had previously been homed in a 220 gallon tank. They came into my 76 gallon tank with 50 gallon refugium on Saturday. Since then 3 of my fish have mysteriously disappeared into the abyss and 2 others I found dead. A large mandarin goby, a small Kole tang, and a red scooter blenny all vanished without a trace. I pulled out my small copperband butterfly last night as he was swimming upside down (barely) and today I found my small yellow tang in its last stages of decomposition.
All parameters check ok. So i am wondering if the pair of wrasses, which are rather large, could have been the culprits.
<Not at all likely these Halichoeres are predaceous... perhaps their addition has somehow altered the bio-capacity of the system though... lower dissolved oxygen? I'd be changing a good deal of the water, vacuuming the substrate... And looking perhaps for some other trouble... bristleworms of size, a crab, pistol or mantis shrimp...>
Any help would be appreciated!
<Good hunting. Bob Fenner>

Wrasses. Mixing Halichoeres       8/29/14
I'm looking for some help. I would like to put a radiant wrasse with a Christmas wrasse in a Red Sea max 250. Would this be possible?
<If both were started small (3-4 inches overall length), as initial phase specimens; I'd give good odds of them getting along in this size/shape volume>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Wrasses
Thanks for the quick reply! Would you buy them together? Or which one would you put in first? It's a reef tank I'm planning on keeping them in
<I'd get and introduce at the same time if possible, practical. If not, either species a bit larger or decidedly smaller (more than an inch) after the other. BobF>
Thanks again
Re: Wrasses
One more question I know that these wrasses like a deep sand bed.
<Mmm; not so much this genus (Halichoeres)>
I'm planning on adding more sand to my tank. The only problem is my tank has been running for over a year. Would this cause a problem?
<Not if done "right". Please read here:

and the linked files above>
Thanks again
<Welcome. BobF>

Wrasse<s> Compatibility      1/2/14
I have an established Christmas Wrasse (CW) and recently introduced a Yellow Coris Wrasse (YCW).  The CW is acting very aggressive towards the YCW, keeping the YCW either buried or in the corner.  On a good note, I have seen it eating when it can sneak some food. How long should I wait before I consider it a failed match and remove the YCW?
Thanks for your help.
<... how large a system is this? What amount of décor? Substrate type, grade, depth? Bob Fenner>
 Re: Wrasse Compatibility      1/2/14

> Subject: Wrasse Compatibility
> I have an established Christmas Wrasse (CW) and recently introduced a
> Yellow Coris Wrasse (YCW).  The CW is acting very aggressive towards
> the YCW, keeping the YCW either buried or in the corner.  On a good
> note, I have seen it eating when it can sneak some food. How long
> should I wait before I consider it a failed match and remove the YCW?
> Thanks for your help.
> <... how large a system is this? What amount of décor? Substrate type, grade, depth? Bob Fenner>
30 gallon reef tank (SPS),
<Ahh, too small for both these Halichoeres species to likely cohabit peacefully>>
 about 2-3 inches of fine sand, just the 2 wrasses and 1 clown goby.  I had an earmuff wrasse previously and never saw any aggression (the earmuff was actually the dominant one).
Unfortunately, it recently jumped so I got the YCW.

Red/ brown flatworm problem    2/11/13
Hi -
I recently developed a red/ brown flatworm problem in my 110 reef tank. I have several peaceful fish including a Linespot Flasher Wrasse & I just added a Six Line Wrasse to help control the flatworms. They seem to get along fine. I was thinking of adding a Green Wrasse (Halichoeres Chioropterus)
<... mis-spelled>
 to help with the flatworm problem. From what I read, the Green Wrasse is peaceful but I am getting mixed message on whether they are reef safe. Can you clarify?
<Is amongst the most "reef safe" of fishes>
 Also, will I have a problem with
compatibility with having these 3 wrasse in the same tank? -Ron
<The Sixline may chase, harass the others, but this volume and shape tank should accommodate all. Bob Fenner>

H. Cosmetus and H. Iridis, Halichoeres comp.
Hi folks,
In May I wrote about my cosmetus/claudia issue. The Cosmetus won. Well, my Iridis experienced a terrible mishap (Tunze clicked on just as he woke up, from just under the pump. The pump blew him head first into the nearby rock. Painful to witness and not believable if did not see!)
Anyway, as cosmetus and iridis are "peaceful" I shopped for a pair of iridis. Many months yielded a gorgeous pair. They emerged yesterday and the cosmetus attacked both, into the sand. Neither reemerged.
Might well be that cosmetus isn't as peaceful as advertised. 5x2x2 tank ought to be plenty large, one would think. They look nothing alike.
<Just being of the same genus here is enough>
I wonder if ANY wrasse can be in the tank with the cosmetus....
<Other genera will likely fit in fine. 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>

Lysmata wurdemanni's killer/Shrimp Compatibility 1/24/12
Hi Crew!
I'm from Italy so pardon me for my English...
<Much better than from many English speaking queriors.>
I'm trying to win the war against the Aiptasia (Glass Anemones) that infested my LR/LPS/SPS/Fish 60g tank.
I've tried different solutions (Red-Sea AiptasiaX, Salifert one, vinegar, etc..) without success.
I've bought 4 Lysmata wurdemanni but after 3 weeks they suddenly disappeared. One of them I saw in the claws of my Stenopus hispidus, but I really don't know if the Stenopus killed the wurdemanni or someone else in the tank did the job and the Stenopus simply had the lunch.. :(
<The Coral Banded Shrimp is aggressive toward other shrimp including it's own kind unless a mated pair.>
Before introducing other, and so expensive, wurdemanni I was wondering which tank inhabitant(s) take out from the tank to avoid the wurdemanni to be killed again.
The tank inhabitants are:
1 Halichoeres Hortulanus - Checkerboard Wrasse (15 cm)
<Larger specimens have been known to attack/eat shrimp.>
1 Lo Vulpinus (12 cm)
4 Amphiprion Ocellaris (from  3 to 7 cm)
3 Chromis Viridis (3/4 cm)
2 Pseudanthias squamipinnis (4/5 cm)
1 Zebrasoma flavescens (7 cm)
1 Paracanthurus Hepatus (6 cm)
1 Stenopus Hispidus (6 cm - only the body)
<I would remove the hispidus.>
1 Blennius Gattorugine (8 cm)
6 Enctmea <Entacmaea > quadricolor (red BTA)
<Another good possibility, especially with six BTAs present.  You did not state your nitrate level and Peppermint shrimp will not tolerate high nitrate levels and do require an iodine/dide supplement.>
I know that the wrasses have shrimps in their diet, but I'm very afraid to take him out from the tank and not be able to see his amazing livery anymore... :(
Could be the Stenopus the wurdemanni's killer instead? In this case, say goodbye to a Stenopus will be not so painful to me.
<I would definitely start by removing this shrimp.  The Nudibranch, Berghia verrucornis, is also known
to eat Aiptasia as well as (depending on their eating personalities)
Copperband and Raccoon Butterflyfish, but your tank is a bit small for the later two.   You may want to read here as well.
Thanks in advance for any suggestion and for the great job all the Crew do.
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Leonardo (Italy)
Re Lysmata Wurdemanni's killer/Shrimp Compatibility <<RMF>> 1/24/12

Thanks a lot for the prompt reply and for the precious suggestions.
<You're welcome.>
So I start with taken the hispidus out of the tank. I didn't understand the relationship between BTA's and nitrates.. :0
<Was relating to the Peppermint Shrimp although BTAs appreciated water low in nitrates.>
In my tank the nitrates are always not-detectable..and the BTA continue splitting.
Do you think that I may leave the wrasse in the tank?
<It's your risk to take.  At 15cm (6 inches) in length it would be very well capable
of making a meal out of a Peppermint Shrimp if not well fed.  I'd try adding one Peppermint Shrimp and observe.  Since shrimp have a hard exoskeleton, I'm not so sure now that a BTA's sting would be powerful enough to kill/stun a shrimp.  The shrimp are generally smart enough to avoid these creatures.
I will ask Bob for his valuable input on this.><<From ayer's mail, I see this is a Halichoeres hortulanus... will get bigger and VERY likely consume any shrimp in time. I would not place these together. RMF>>
<Ditto.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re Lysmata wurdemanni's killer/Shrimp Compatibility 1/26/12

<Hello Leonardo>
This is what I suppose too.
I'll try to catch him and find him another home ;)..
<Good luck.>
Which is, in your experience, the best way to catch an hortulanus?
<I've never tried catching one but using two nets is definitely a plus.

Might want to read here for additional help/ideas. 
I know he used to sleep in the sand bed...May I try to catch him with a net while he's sleeping?
<Yes, might want to cover the area it sleeps in with a suitable glass/plastic container then hold a cover over the top once he is in the container.>
Any input will be welcome.
<Ditto.  James (Salty Dog)>
not so sure now that a BTA's sting would be powerful enough to kill/stun a shrimp.    1/26/12

<Indeed... the sticky, stinging cnidocysts... they are!>
 The shrimp are generally smart enough to avoid these creatures.
I will ask Bob for his valuable input on this.><<From ayer's mail, I see this is a Halichoeres hortulanus... will get bigger and VERY likely consume any shrimp in time. I would not place these together. RMF>>
The above is what I was asking for input on.  I believe I told the querior about the wrasse eventually making a meal of the shrimp.
<And you, B>

Banana Wrasse Compatibility   10/28/11
I have a 150 gallon FOWLR. My fish are 6" porcupine puffer, 24" snowflake eel, 6" red breasted wrasse, 2" blue damsel, 3" coral beauty.
I want to add a banana wrasse (around 6" - 7") and a Niger Trigger (around 4"). The new fish will be QT for 6 - 8 weeks first and then one added at a time. First the Niger Trigger and assuming he is fine, then the banana wrasse 2 or 3 weeks later.
<Mmm, well... going to be full-up psychologically here>
I know the Niger Trigger can be hit or miss with my current fish. What about the Banana Wrasse. I assume the Banana Wrasse is fine with the puffer, eel and even the Niger, but I am not sure about the Red Breasted Wrasse.
<Good odds at it getting along.>
I read a lot on WWM and other forums, but really cannot find much on a Banana Wrasse and Red Breasted Wrasse Together.
<Large Halichoeres and Maori Wrasse species almost always get along, given enough room...>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Banana Wrasse Compatibility   10/28/11

thanks. Sounds like I will give it a try.
When the time comes, should I add the trigger and banana wrasse at the same time or do the trigger first.
<I'd add at the same time. BobF>

Halichoeres claudia with Halichoeres cosmetus -- Problems! -- 06/26/11
Hello. I have a problem, and hope someone with expertise on Halichoeres might advise.
I purchased what was listed as H. cosmetus by a generally solid online vendor. They sent H. claudia. They have done right by me, however, the fish went into the display before the misidentification became obvious.
Two weeks later I found a gorgeous H. cosmetus at a local shop. Identical in size to the claudia -- about 4.5". Both have the large spot on the dorsal fin and the ocellus near the tale.
The Cosmetus acclimated incredibly well, very calm. Swam around then buried. It "woke up" before my lights were on and was swimming happily.
Then the halides came on (full-blown reef) and ka-POW, the Claudia began seriously attacking the Cosmetus. It finally buried. After maybe 4hrs I "woke up" the Cosmetus, and things were no better. It ended up burying again.
I didn't at all anticipate this -- my H. Iridis is fine, for example. I guess these two are more related than they look (how the shop misidentified
I have no clue. Their quality supplier of marine products (see how I did that?) <yes> misidentified it for them. They don't really look much alike in the end. But be that as it may, this is the situation I'm in.
Can I expect this to calm down?
<Not likely, no>
Or is this going to be the end of my Cosmetus?
<One or the other needs to be moved elsewhere... use a coarse net to scoop up the sand, Wrasse...>
I can't see any way to catch the Claudia (I for a variety of reasons prefer the Cosmetus, it's what I wanted, and I hope it may control Acro pests as many boards report they do). Anyway, I want the Cosmetus.
The Claudia, surprise surprise, sleeps within a nook inside an enormous round piece of liverock (over 60lbs) that has a small donut like hole in the center. No way to get in there to catch the fish while asleep. Sigh.
So, will these guys settle down? Any suggestions beyond the normal (2-liter bottle trap, etc) to try and catch the Claudia?
Details: 5x2x2 reef, DSB, Hepatus, Sailfin, 2 grammas, and the wrasses for fish. 200lbs of live rock in mostly gigantic cave-shaped pieces.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Halichoeres claudia with Halichoeres cosmetus -- Problems! -- 06/26/11
Thanks. That isn't good news. I have no way to catch the Claudia while it's buried, as it buries in the most inaccessible place. One last question
-- would you have expected this of these two species together?
<Not surprising...>
How is one to know which Halichoeres are fine together and which aren't?
<As you mentioned previously, similar appearing species, genera... are typically less compatible. Habitat/resource partitioning...>
Well, I guess I have to spend hours with the 2-net approach but this seems not promising.
Re: Halichoeres claudia with Halichoeres cosmetus -- Problems! 6/27/11

Update for you! I may have gotten lucky. Tried the nets, and as I as doing so the Cosmetus came out of the sand looking tough. Swam right to the Claudia and they squared off face-to-face. The Cosmetus flashed first, and repeated maybe 6-8 times. After that they ignored each other.
I put food in the tank and both ate.
This morning, Cosmetus was again up first. The Claudia when it woke up just swam around as if nothing was amiss. They ignore each other. Both eating fine.
I may have dodged a bullet. Will continue to monitor of course.
I'd suggest others beware before trying to add this mix in anything shorter than a 6' tank, though.
<Thank you for this. BobF>

best mail order place... SW lvstk., mixing Halichoeres and clnr shrimp    2/10/11
Hello Crew!
I am looking for a good mail order place to buy fish.... I have tried my local fish stores, but when I request certain fish, they just don't come in. I am not asking a lot... looking for Auriga Butterfly, Four Line Wrasse, Canary Wrasse Blackcap Basslet etc... I just feel they talk a good game like they know everything in the world about fish and supplies and seem like they talk down to me.. Like saying you just can't keep a Flag Fin Angel, they are just too hard.... Which I find humorous, because I have kept one before for years...
<Is not an easily kept species...>
anyway, back to the question....(leaves this spot open for a sarcastic comment :)) I know about Live Aquaria, Blue Zoo, Saltwater fish..... Have you ever dealt with or heard of people buying from Marine Garden out of Florida...
<I have not... don't even see such on the Net!>
they seem to have good prices on some fish. Are you able to lend some info to me or am I stuck going to the fish store that is overpriced and stuck buying damsels (which I won't if you know what I mean) and Clownfish and Yellow Tangs.... Every shipment they get in is the same thing every other week... Grr... thank you for your time... again and again and well, again :)
<Mmm, I'd "cast your net" out a bit further... Ask this sort of question on the larger bb's>
One final note.... Canary Wrasse, Radiant Wrasse, Christmas Wrasse and Cleaner Shrimp success stories... Do you know of stories where they have all coexisted together?
<Mmm... Halichoeres spp. I've seen together... but think Shrimp would be meals at times with them>
Cleaners in first and the wrasses introduced all at the same time... or just the Cleaners and one type of wrasse??? I guess I must say thank you again and in this case mention that you are levels and levels ahead of local LFS knowledge... Hummm maybe that was not as much of a compliment comparing you to my stores :):):) but Thank you very much..
<Welcome. Bob Fenner, who would "plug" Dr.s Foster & Smith (LiveAquaria.com) in general>

Wrasse Compatibility  1/29/10
Can you please share your thoughts on the wisdom of adding a flasher wrasse ( the carpenter wrasse is the one I am currently considering) to my reef tank that houses a melanurus wrasse.
<If there's room...>
My current tank is a well established 180g reef employing a 125g refugium/sump (split 50/50) and houses a: Scooter Blenny, Royal Gramma, two percula clowns, melanurus wrasse, Flame Angel, Foxface, and Powder Blue Tang.
<This last is my larger/est concern. Is this specimen very/obviously territorial?>
Most of the FAQ's regarding wrasse compatibility deal with fairy and flasher wrasse's which in general seems to be ok to mix but I didn't know if this would apply to the melanurus wrasse in particular and my other fish in general. My hesitation revolves around the docility of the flasher wrasse compared to some of my other fish and whether the two wrasse species can cohabitate. Additionally, WWM routinely recommends keeping the flasher wrasses in harems as opposed to singly. Is this simply a matter of providing an environment where they are more likely to flash or is there an inherent detriment to the health of the fish if kept singly or a matter of mitigating aggression?
<Mostly the former>
With regards,
<And most specimens of Halichoeres melanurus I've encountered have been rather easy-going. I give you very good odds that a Carpenter's would get along here. Bob Fenner>

Halichoeres chrysus Halichoeres melanurus compatibility -- 01/17/10
Hello WWM Crew,
I love your site, have learned so much over the years and want to thanks you so much for all your insight!!
Quick question, I have a 180 gallon w 40 sump/fuge mixed reef, next month it will reach its third birthday!
The tank has almost 230 lbs of mature live rock, a very healthy pod population and a 3" sand bed. I have a 4.5" female Halichoeres melanarus and would like to add a Halichoeres chrysus, in reading thru many posts I haven't seen any that were specific to these two fish. Before purchasing one I wanted to see what you have to say about compatibility. The tank does include 2 Crocea clams, mostly LPS, 2 gorgeous Bellus angels, 3 blue green Chromis, pj cardinal, Perc clown and a Sailfin Tang. Looking forward to your reply and thank you very much!
<Due to the size, shape of your system, the abundance of foods, live rock, I give you very good odds that these congeners will get along fine here.
Bob Fenner> 

Question on Halichoeres ornatissimus behavior... Comp.   1/7/10
Dear WWM,
Thank you for all the help so far. I have an 8 month old 55 gallon tank up with DSB, skimmer, Reef Crystals, pretty stable parameters (just started with Kalk additions) and the following parameters:
Some problems still with Lobophora on the live rocks, but the "Jekyll and Hyde crab", Percnon gibbesi seems to be making progress against that alga.
<Heeee! Good prose>
My problem is that I have stocked the tank this way:
8 x Chromis
1 x Hal. ornatissimus
1 x Stonogobiops nematodes
1 x Ambly. randalli
1 x Randall's pistol shrimp (with S. nematodes right now)
1 x Tailspot blenny
1 x Percnon gibbesi, 1 x emerald crab (large now and not too useful imho)
<They/Mithraculus... are not>
...and the ornate wrasse terrorizes the gobies. He and blenny are "friends"
in the sense that they seem to forage together and "greet" each other or seem to recognize each other while swimming (it's so hard not to anthropomorphize!).
<I'll say! And my goldfish agree...>
But, ornate wrasse chases the gobies whenever he sees them out of their burrows to the point that the gobies rarely come out. I feed them by squirting food into the holes and they seem to survive this way. The Randall's goby had a severely shredded dorsal fin (which healed in a not too nice way).
Is this normal ornate wrasse behavior and can I expect it to continue?
<Some Halichoeres specimens of various species do "turn mean"... and not much one can do re... Placing an even more agonistic species won't help your other livestock... Putting this fish in a larger system might...>
He/she has two dorsal ocelli, perhaps suggesting it isn't sexually mature; will things get worse over time?
It's about 2.5" long right now in total length. I am realizing I wanted a more passive tank and now I have what appears to be a more aggressive member swimming in it. What to do?
Thanks for the advice.
<I'd likely trade this fish out... Use two nets! Bob Fenner> 

Re: Question on Halichoeres ornatissimus behavior -- 01/28/09
Dear WetWeb,
Thank you! I did trap out the ornate wrasse, though it took over 3 weeks to get him!
<Ahh, good catch!>
I tried 2 nets and that just didn't work well in a tank with branchy corals (net gets hung up; corals get damaged) and the wrasse quickly learned to hide in the sand when it saw nets.
<I like to "scoop up" such sand-divers... with a coarse net... shaking the sand out underneath them>
In fact, after 2 tries at this, all I had to do was *approach *the tank with a net and into the sand he'd dive; very smart!
<Ah yes>
I resorted to a "Reef Gently" fish trap with a trap door held by fishing line.
<Very nice fellows who own and run this co.>
I had to starve the wrasse for 2.5 days and put a tasty morsel of seafood into the trap. This did not work the first or
second times, but finally worked. He could see the Chromis and the cleaner shrimps move in and out of the trap and the food just looked so good, he finally went in. He is successfully re-homed!
So, stocking question. Given my current denizens include 8 x Chromis, 3 tiny shrimp gobies and a Tailspot blenny, I believe I have some room now for more fish in my 55 (+15 gal sump). My thoughts:
1. I was thinking about a tiger watchman goby (Valenciennea wardii) both for beauty and because they "clean" the sand. I have diatoms that form on the sand daily. However, I did spend considerable time and money to populate
the sand bed with creatures. Will this fish be too much of a burden on them?
<Will likely be greatly diminished... but...>
Also, will it clean the sand surface like others in the genus? Or do they mostly home up in one place and just dig there?
<Will move about, pick up and mouth all reachable substrate>
2. Pair of pink streaked wrasse (Pseudocheilinops ataenia): Yes, I am a sucker for wrasses. I think these are quite small so wouldn't be much of a bioload. What do you think? Is it even possible to find a pair?
<Are very touchy... I'd pass>
Your opinions on these additions would be greatly appreciated. In some ways, I regret putting 8 Chromis in the tank since it limits my other choices (if they weren't there, fairy wrasse would be in the picture). However, they are
beautiful, no doubt about that! (and mine appear to get along, so far).
Thank you for the advice!
<There are just so many choices. Of other wrasses, perhaps Halichoeres chrysus... May be it's best to refer you to others stocking queries:
and the linked FAQs files in this series (above). Bob Fenner>

Reef Compatibility (Halichoeres hortulanus) -- 10/16/08 Hello WWM, <<Hiya Steve>> I've looked through your site looking for some info on Halichoeres hortulanus (Checkerboard wrasse) and have found some interesting things about this species. <<Indeed>> However, I have some specific questions that I need answers to. <<Okay'¦will try>> First, will this wrasse eat my Tridacna clam, or my skunk cleaner shrimp? <<I've kept some of the smaller species from this genus with no problems re. This species does get moderately large (to about 12'), but even so I don't think the clam is in danger though if the wrasse is or gets large and/or doesn't recognize the shrimp as a facultative cleaner organism then it may well be in jeopardy>> I also have frogspawn, hammer coral, tongue coral, 2 leathers, mushrooms, Kenya tree, pumping xenia, several varieties of snails and hermit crabs, and a bubble tip anemone. <<The snails and hermit crabs could also fall prey to this wrasse, especially as it gets larger>> So far everybody is behaving quite nicely. Will I upset the apple cart by putting this fellow into this tank? <<Likely not at first with a small specimen (around 4' or less)'¦but as it grows the crustaceans and gastropods will probably be preyed upon'¦as will any fishes small enough to eat>> I know there never is a sure thing, but a little advice would be helpful. <<True'¦and I hope mine has been. Do consider a 'safer' choice here from this genus might be H. chrysus or H. ornatissimus>> Regards, Steve Harris <<Cheers, Eric Russell>>

Lightning Wrasse - Halichoeres cyanocephalus 04/01/2008 Hello, <<Hello, Andrew today>> I have a question about a Halichoeres cyanocephalus. I just picked one up at a LFS, beautiful fish. <<Indeed>> I really normally research everything that goes into my tank but I really didn't want to pass this one up and took the LFS's word. LFS said that the max size was 6-7 inches and is reef safe. I did some research afterwards and there is a lot of conflicting information about this fish. Some sites say max size is 12", some say 5". <<Average about 5 - 6 inches>> Some say reef safe. Some say not. I found some mention on this site that said max size is 6". Could you shed any light on this? Would appreciate any info. He will soon be in a 90 gal. Right now he is in with a Filamented Flasher and a Yellow Wrasse. So far so good.... <<Deemed reef safe. More reading / info found here >> BTW, here is a pic... <<A lovely photo, thank you for sharing. Hope this helps. A Nixon>> <Andrew... you've got to move the graphics... RMF>

Formosa Coris Wrasse with Thalassoma Lutescens Wrasse Compatibility 2/29/08 Hello - great site as usual. <Thanks and hello Jeff> Here's my question. I have a 150XH tank - fish only. I have a nice sized (6 ½") male lutescens wrasse (Thalassoma lutescens). <A Banana Wrasse.> I've also got a 5" Dragon Wrasse. One of my local stores has a beautiful 6" Formosa Wrasse that I'd like. What I'd like to do is trade in the dragon wrasse for the Formosa. I know the Formosa can get big and I'd find him a better him <home> if and when he outgrows the tank, but wondering how the Formosa and the Lutescens would get along. The lutescens and the dragon get along just fine. Curious as to your thoughts? I'd get the Formosa (tomorrow) if it would work. <Well, they are both aggressive, and there is a chance the Banana Wrasse will harass the newcomer, but in a tank your size, this should be minimal providing there are plenty of retreats. I'd give it a shot. Do read here for more info. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/wrasses/Coris/index.htm> Thanks <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> J

H. melanurus wrasse... comp. w/ Lion -12/22/2007 Greetings from the blustery Midwest, I have an 85g corner aquarium set up as FOWLR with 6" DSB, 100lbs LR, Berlin Skimmer. Current occupants are Volitans lionfish, Snowflake eel, serpent star, large 4 striped Damsel that may become lunch for the lionfish in time. I am looking to add one more fish...something to add a little color, that's big enough not to get eaten by the Lionfish, small enough for the tank, and passive enough not to nip at the lionfish fins. LFS has 5" h. melanurus wrasse that caught my eye and having read through a number of FAQ on compatibilities of my current occupants and this wrasse, it seems like it could be made to work. I do understand that the wrasses like to eat pods and I do not have a current source (refugium) to generate these and I am not sure if this will be an issue. In your experience will this wrasse fit in this system. Will the lack of pods be detrimental to health of wrasse? Thanks, Russell Furst <Might be a good choice here temperamentally, color and behavior-wise... Doesn't take much of a size lion to inhale a Halichoeres though. Bob Fenner>

Redheaded Wrasse Has Scott F. Green With Envy! -- 11/17/07 Hi, <Hey there! Scott F. with you today!> I have questions about Halichoeres rubricephalus. <I have one, too! Where did you find this fish? I've been looking for it for years with no luck! I'm Jealous! Wow!> The green fish with a red head. Is this fish known to nip on corals? <Typically, fish of this genus eat small crustaceans. I have kept many members of this family without any coral-nipping whatsoever. I am unaware of any Halichoeres species including coral polyps in its diet. Obviously, fish are individuals, so anything is possible, but I think it highly unlikely.> Is this fish aggressive towards other fish? I mean, does the fish nip on other fishes' tails? <All Halichoeres can be a bit feisty with members of their own genus, but based on my experience with other species in the genus, it should be compatible with other wrasse species if plenty of hiding places are available. This is one of the smaller members of the genus, so do think about this in your stocking scheme.> I have a Mystery Wrasse, a Laboutei Fairy Wrasse and a Flame Hawk in my tank which is about 80 gallon. I don't have any shrimps or other invertebrate in my tank. Thank you, Ferdinand. <Well Ferdinand, I think that this should be an acceptable mix if you've got the rockwork for each fish to establish territories and to retreat to if things get too crazy. Best of luck with this fish- do let me know how it works out for you! Regards, Scott F.>

Question about Ornate Wrasse and cleaner shrimp    8/26/07 I have heard so many different stories about how the Ornate Wrasse and cleaner shrimp either get along or don't. I have just added 2 skunk cleaner shrimp to my 90g tank after being in their own quarantine for 3 weeks. The other fish that I have are all still in quarantine and all are peaceful fish that I KNOW won't attack cleaner shrimp. Now, I purchased the Ornate wrasse a bit ago and he's been in quarantine with the others and is getting along great. But I've heard from my own LFS that they either are fine with cleaners or might "sample" them. <This is a valid statement... re the genus Halichoeres and Lysmata (and even some Stenopids) in general> Is there a real authoritative take on this? <Mmm, well... would you define "authoritative"? These species are found within the same geographical range... in Hawai'i for instance... and generally do "get along"... but if the Labrid is large/r, hungry... it might go after an impugned shrimp... particularly one that is undergoing ecdysis/molting> I would assume not simply because the information I've found everywhere has pretty much said it's a toss-up. As always, you guys give me the best info so I'm coming for help yet again! <I'd toss more toward the end of them getting along... particularly if there's room, decor to hide amongst, good feeding/maintenance> Also, if there really is an "authoritative" view on this and the wrasse will eat my shrimp if not fed well, is there a preventative measure for this or something I could feed the wrasse to take his mind off the shrimp? <This latter> I would assume he'd only go after the shrimp if he was a very hungry fish at the time, but again -- I bring the questions to you guys. Thanks a ton -- you've made my relatively short venture into the hobby a much easier time than I would have ever had otherwise. - Jonathan <Don't hold too long or dear for absolutes in this very relative universe Jon... You'll only waste time and make yourself unhappy. Bob Fenner>

Re: Question about Ornate Wrasse and cleaner shrimp -- 08/26/07 Thanks a lot, Bob, for the quick response on this and giving me more confidence in the matter between the two species. <Ah, good> I have a ton of hiding places in the tank for the fish from the various caves and caverns I've made to some PVC pipe that I've hidden around the tank, so after reading what you wrote to me I think the Skunk Cleaner and Ornate Wrasse should be able to co-exist. Thanks for the bit of a confidence booster as I didn't want to remove the wrasse since it's of absolutely gorgeous coloration and I don't want to lose my cleaner shrimp, either! I'll keep a watchful eye out if I find an exoskeleton if I can even find the shrimp when it's molting (though I'd think not finding it for a day or two might actually be better as that'd mean it found it's hiding spot!). Also, right now, the wrasse is about 2.5-3 inches long and the shrimp are both around 2.5 inches long. <Good...> I've heard Ornate's can grow up to around 7 inches so I'm hoping he doesn't reach the full span but a bit shorter. Thanks again! - Jonathan <Sounds good. BobF>

Flashing clownfish and wrasse with attitude   4/15/07 Greetings aquarium gurus! <Daniel> A quick question for you today. I have a 100 gal reef that contains: 2 saddleback clownfish 1 Valentini Puffer (well behaved) 1 bicolor blenny 1 Talbot's damsel 1 pinstripe wrasse (Halichoeres melanurus) 1 Longnosed Hawkfish 2 golden wrasses 5 Chromis LPS and soft corals. Ammonia=0, Nitrite=0, pH=8.3, Nitrate=unknown (dodgy test kit, needs replacing). Temp and salinity also ok. I take a lot of pride in the appearance of the tank so take a lot of care to keep it well maintained. Weekly maintenance includes 10% water changes and changing of filter media etc. The last few days the clowns have been flashing themselves fairly regularly on the substrate (fine aragonite sand) and some new Zoanthids I've added to the tank. The clowns' colouration is fine and they are eating well. All other fish also seem ok, no signs of disease at all. They also don't seem to flash at night at all, only when the lights are on. I am wondering what could be causing the flashing. Do you think it's environmentally caused/disease? or could it just be part of their natural behaviour? <Is this latter... likely leading to mating, reproduction...> The only new fish to be added are some of the Chromis, but they were quarantined for 2 weeks and still aren't showing any signs of disease. Oh and one more thing. The pinstripe wrasse does not seem to like the new golden wrasses and chases them whenever he comes near them, forcing them to bury themselves in the sand. Is this likely to continue? <Mmm, likely so to a degree... these species are space/habitat competitors...> I was under the impression that pinstripe wrasses were peaceful and could be kept with other wrasses. I will probably rearrange the rock work if it doesn't improve over the next week, maybe remove the older wrasse and isolate him for a while to think about his behaviour. Thanks! Best website EVER! Dan in Sydney, Australia. <Thank you for helping make it so! Bob Fenner>

Halichoeres melanurus and Halichoeres hortulanus   3/21/07 WWM Staff first of all I want to thank you on the wonderful and hard work you do here on a daily basis. My question today comes to in regards to Halichoeres Melanurus and Halichoeres Hortulanus, can they live together? <Mmm, yes> My tank is about 115G (90G Disp+20G Sump+5G Refugium) mixed reef (LPS/Softies dominated with an SPS hint) which is inhabited by 3 wrasses (there are more fish but my main concern are the wrasses) 1 Halichoeres Melanurus (3.5"), 1 Cirrhilabrus Scottorum (4.5") and 1 Pseudocheilinus Hexataenia (2"); the Halichoeres Hortulanus (2.75") is QT'd and ready to go in, I have done lots of research and can't find anywhere that says that those two can't get along together. <Most members, specimens of the genus Halichoeres get along...> In the next 3-4 weeks I'll be moving to a new 120G tank if that helps any in answering my question. Keep in mind that the other 3 wrasses being together for a while and other than the occasional I'm the King quick chase there is no other sign of aggression, I understand like everything else the newbie will be chased and tail whipped for the first few weeks until he learns to respect territories and boundaries. <Ah, yes> I'm imagining that it would work like Tangs  when you put more than one Acanthurus species together or more than one Zebrasoma species together they will tail whip each other until they show who is boss and who runs the show (pecking order). Regards, Rafael A. Saavedra (Member of the Washington D.C. Area Marine Aquarist Society (www.WAMAS.org)) Rockville, MD    <Much less than with the Acanthurids... thank goodness. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Would a Halichoeres ornatissimus eat my cleaner shrimps?   3/14/07 <<Is a possibility with a large individual (can reach 8" in the wild), but I think it unlikely.  H. ornatissimus feeds mainly on bottom-dwelling crustaceans and mollusks in the wild.  Though slightly smaller as adults, I've housed H. chrysus with a couple Lysmata species with no problems.  Keeping the fishes in your care well/properly fed can also reduce such risks.  EricR>>

Halichoeres melasmapomus comp.  12/2/06 Hi, <Good evening Dave, Michelle here.>       I would just like to thank you all for your great help in the past.  <Glad you have found WWM helpful.  Thank you for your kind words.>  I was wondering if a Halichoeres melasmapomus would attack hermits, sally lightfoot crabs, cleaner shrimp more so than other Halichoeres species and if it really gets up to ten inches?  <I'm not sure if it would be more or less likely than others in the same genus, but in general this genus will eat small snails, ornamental shrimp, and several types of worms.  And yes, it really does get up to ten inches.>  Also do Pseudanthias bimaculatus require and additional husbandry compared to other Anthias, I have heard mixed opinions?  <They are a challenging deep water species which require low level lighting and passive tankmates.  Please read here: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2005/8/fish and here http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-04/ac/index.php>   Thank you so much for your help. <You are welcome. Mich> -  Dave

Puddingwife Wrasse...Snail/crab compatibility  9-19-06 What up WWM Crew? < A preposition for a direction. Just kidding, howdy! > I've put a deposit down on a juvenile Puddingwife Wrasse so that I could do some more research on them...he was cool looking/interesting in the store. < Beautiful fish. Research ids always good, I could use some myself! > I've found that he will one day be too big for my aquarium, but am willing to deal with that problem when it arrives. < Spoken like a good foster parent. > I've read that they eat mollusks/sea urchins in the wild...that being kind of a broad statement, do you think that my snails and hermit crabs will be in danger from this guy? < Oh, yes. One of their favorite things to do is to pick up the snails/hermit crabs, and beat them on the rocks until the good stuff comes out. Horribly entertaining, but very taxing on your clean-up crew. > Also, are these fish generally wild caught or farm raised? Just curious. < Wild caught, but captive breeding is being worked on daily. > Thanks again, Brad < Good luck! RichardB >

Wrasse Compatibility  - 06/02/2006 I have a 75 gallon tank that has been cycling for 6 months with 4 blue reef Chromis.  I just added an adult Coris gaimard to the tank and from that point on I was simply amazed at the beauty that these fish possess.   <A gorgeous fish indeed.> They just beat out tangs as my favorite fish in the sea.  I was wondering however if it would be ok to mix this Coris gaimard with a Halichoeres ornatissimus?  And also how these fish would be with inverts (cleaner shrimp) and soft corals? <Dave, an adult Coris is an aggressive fish while the Ornate or Christmas Wrasse is rather docile.  Would be a gamble.  Both are not safe with ornamental shrimp and most inverts including Fanworms, small hermits, and snails.  The Coris is not safe with corals while the Ornate Wrasse reportedly is.  Keep in mind that wrasses do need a fine sand bed in which to burrow. Thanks! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Dave

Cleaner Shrimp Compatibility   6/2/06 Bob, <Jonathan> I have a 72 Gallon FOWLR tank set up.  The current stock is a juvenile hippo tang, a pair of clowns, a punctatum butterfly, and a pinstripe wrasse.  I was just wondering how a pair of skunk cleaner shrimps would do in this tank? <Likely fine> My main concern is the wrasse. <Mmm... is this Halichoeres melanurus?> I have done some research and found that most wrasses must be monitored with shrimp.  So, I am just looking for some guidance before going out and spending $40 on what could potentially end up being as an feeding session for my fish.  Thanks, Jon. <Likely this fish will recognize the cleaners for what they are and leave them alone. If you have sufficient rock for them to hide, I would not be concerned here. Bob Fenner> Checkerboard wrasse? 7/7/05 Hello, just have a quick question. I have the opportunity to purchase a checkerboard wrasse,  I was wondering if it was reef safe, mostly coral and clam safe. < Yep, sounds safe to me.  It may pick at some small inverts but overall a very safe fish. > The wrasse is 4 inches long right now and would be goin into a 135 gallon with 150 pounds of live rock. are they finicky feeders? < I don't believe so.  Having lots of quality live rock will certainly help, and really any balanced foods will be fine. > and I have a 2 inch six line will this be a problem? < Should not be a problem in a tank that size. > I understand the wrasse gets to 12 " and I'm under stocked on fish right now. < So far I think you would be fine.  If it ever gets that big you can  get rid of it later, but that would be years down the road. > <<I'd rate Halichoeres wrasses as "medium" in the reef safe category... RMF>> thanks a lot Tristan <  Blundell  >

Wrestling With A Wrasse!  9/22/05 I am considering getting a Radiant Wrasse to combat a problem with the Montipora Nudibranchs.  I've heard many reports of great success with these wrasses, and they are gorgeous fish. <Yes they are! I love Halichoeres species, and the H. iridis is one of my very favorites! They are a bit touchy, however, and I have known several people who have not been as lucky as I while acclimating them. Take it really slow and be sure to quarantine them carefully.> Only thing is, I worry about my cleaner shrimp (2) and my jumbo Tongan Nassarius snails in particular, and the other snails and hermit crabs in general.  What is your experience with these fish and their behavior towards these animals?  Thanks, Joel <Well, Joel, these guys have relatively small mouths, but they can and do pick on small snails. In fact, I've had other Halichoeres wrasses (H. melanurus, in particular) that have taken an almost sadistic dislike of snails, literally bashing them out of their shells before dispatching them! Generally, these guys are well behaved, but smaller shrimp, Fanworms, and snails are potential snack items if the fish feels so inclined! I certainly feel that the potential risk is worth it for their utility and sheer beauty, but you'll have to make the final call. Good luck with this wonderful fish! Regards, Scott F.> Tailspot wrasse ?????? hey bob, can we consider the Tailspot wrasse ( Halichoeres melanurus) reef safe, as far as coral, hermit crabs and snails ? <Hmm, not absolutely... I'd say it's somewhere between 30-40% likely reef safe. Bob Fenner> I cant find very good info anywhere on it. Thanks again Rob Huss <The HUGE genus Halichoeres has very little written about it in the aquarium interest. Have you seen the coverage on our site: http://wetwebmedia.com/halichoeres.htm Bob Fenner>

Question about Halichoeres wrasses  I have a well-established h. ornatissimus in a 180 gallon reef. Can another Halichoeres sp. be added to the same tank? Specifically, I am looking at a H. iridis.  Thanks for your time  Brian Daniell  <Yes, and thanks for writing. This speciose genus of Wrasses are often found in "more than one" associations in the wild... And Halichoeres iridis is one of the smaller, more gentle (some of the larger members of the genus get too big, rambunctious) to associate with the "Christmas Wrasse" (what a family, there are three "other" official Xmas Labrids!). Pix and more on the genus et al. stored on the site: www.wetwebmedia.com Bob Fenner>

Yellow Coris Wrasse Bob, I recently purchased a yellow Coris wrasse, <Halichoeres chrysus: http://wetwebmedia.com/halichoeres.htm> whom I thought was a reasonably reef-safe fish. He doesn't seem too interested in the flake food I feed, or the pieces of shrimp or scallops that I feed the Lionfish every 3 days. But I just witnessed him tearing small snails off the rock and shaking them in his mouth, dropping them. Is this normal? <Yes> I have hundreds of snails (they reproduce once in a while in my tank - previous email...), but they are periodically sucked into the intakes, and I need as many of them as possible. (serious algae issues in this 300g tank) What to do? <Use other algae control methods... these are detailed on the WWM site> Also, I noticed earlier today the dreaded Aiptasia gaining a foothold - wished I had seen them earlier - would've waited to add the wrasse and put in Peppermint shrimp - or do you think they will be safe to add now that the wrasse is in there? <Worth the risk... but would likely try a Chelmon or other... oh, see you mention this below> I will read up on Aiptasia control, maybe a butterfly (copperband?) - though I have heard that if they are not weaned onto other foods - they soon will perish. I hate to buy a fish that I know is doomed, guy @ the LFS says he will get rid of all the Aiptasia, therefore doing the job I need him for, so what if he dies after that. I feel that is a very short-sided point of view, and told him I didn't agree with that type of philosophy! <Read about the Glass Anemones, their control on our site.> Anyway, thanks for letting me ramble - and as you say - "Be chatting my friend"! Mike Berrett <Indeed. Bob Fenner>

Help with clownfish/wrasse Hi Bob, you have been tremendously helpful in the past. Thank you. If you have the time, please see if you can help me with the following questions: My set up: 30 gallons, 45 lbs premium Fiji live rock. Just bought a true Percula and am upgrading to a 92 gallon reef later this year. When I do, I want to add an anemone. Can you recommend a few that are will host the Percula and are relatively easy to find?  <Please read through the many FAQs on Anemone selection, use posted on WWM starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anemones.htm> In the meantime, while I'm in my 30 gallon, a friend suggested to get a pink tip because he has heard of them hosting the odd Percula. Have you ever heard of this? Also, could I add a saddleback clown with a tank (the 92 gallon) that already has a Percula? <I would NOT try this... please study... this is an a possibility fraught with danger> When I go to a reef set up, I know I have to get rid of my (small at the moment) red Coris wrasse. Do I have to get rid of my (also small) golden Coris wrasse too?  <Not likely, this is a Halichoeres chrysus I'll assume> I currently have inverts (cleaner shrimp, assortment of crabs) and plan to add more in the reef set up. Are there any wrasses that are OK with inverts that I could put in a reef tank? Thanks again Bob. <Many. Please read through WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Re: Multiple Halichoeres wrasses (marine livestocking) Hi, Bob, Thanks for the comments below; really appreciated. I know there is always a risk when introducing new fish to the tank but I hate to introduce something that is likely to cause to problems. <I feel the same way> Just wanted a little clarification. You thought my H. marginatus would likely be fine with a H. ornatissimus or a H. iridis. Since you actually said something to the effect that odds were they'd all do fine, do you think it wouldn't be too much risk to try all three? They are nice fish and seem reasonably hardy plus with they swim out a lot. <Should be fine. Do look for a "larger" (about same size to start with) iridis> My H. marginatus seems to be a feisty fish and held his own on introduction against a fairy wrasse (trapped and returned to the LFS) and a Pseudochromis sankeyi but my yellow "Coris" did not (the sankeyi pestered him) and the "Coris" had to be removed. Thanks to a cracked tank, I have a chance to reintroduce everything and given the fish interactions, I'm wondering how important it is to control fish reintroduction order. The P. sankeyi is going back to the store but I'd like to replace with several P. fridmani (I've read they will tolerate each other; rare for a Pseudo). <Not really... there's a huge spectrum of "compatibility" in the genus... especially tank-raised specimens tend to be easy-going> I have a P. asfur and a purple tang as well as a flame angel , Rainfordi goby and C. fisheri angel. My thoughts are to introduce the fridmani and Halichoeres wrasses simultaneously, followed by the tang and angels. My asfur is very shy though. Maybe it should go in first? <Not necessary> Do you think I could later add some fairy wrasses or would that be risky with the pseudos or the Halichoeres? The tank is 210G. The only other fish would be my 9 Chromis viridis and a clown pair. That's probably it for the fish stock in this tank. <Should be okay as well... though will hide more with the wrasses present> BTW we've talked about my maroon clown pair before- looks to me like they have mated and may be ready to spawn. They are a tad ornery but really aren't too bad to the other fish so I'm thinking of keeping them rather than getting a Perc pair. However, now is the time to remove them since I've never seen them swim into a trap. What do you think? Not too risky or asking for trouble later when they get even bigger? Thanks! Marc <Can be feisty indeed... will likely "rule the roost" for a good hundred gallons. Bob Fenner>

Multiple Halichoeres wrasses Hi, Bob and company, <Hello Marc> Your Halichoeres faq suggests you can keep multiple Halichoeres but I'd like to double check before trying. How well do wrasses of this genus do with other members of the same genus that look similar? With others of the same species? <Better than members of the same species at times> I have a yellow "Coris" and a H. marginatus (I think: kind of dusky but with turquoise band on tail and darkish red/green/blue on the body; hard to match to your pics.) These two get along fine. I've recently "discovered" this genus after ignoring for years and am quite taken with them. Do you think I could add a H. ornatissimus or H. iridis safely to my 210G reef? <I give you very good odds that these will all do fine here. Bob Fenner> Thanks! Marc

Wrasse Compatibility Hello; <<Hello, JasonC here...>> How are you today? <<I am well, so far... thanks for asking.>> I am thinking of getting a Golden Wrasse (Halichoeres chrysus) for my 30 gallon tank. <<Only 30 gallons? This fish would fit - they max out at about four inches - but that's a small system for a fish who will cover every inch.>> I also have a couple of peppermint shrimp, a cleaner shrimp and some feather dusters. Will the wrasse be okay with the shrimp, or will he eat them? <<Well, there is always that chance, but the odds are lower because the shrimp were there first. Still... if you miss a day or two of feeding, you might be missing a shrimp. I wouldn't put it past the wrasse to take a sample.>> I also have a refugium that I grow amphipods in, and if necessary, I could feed him the amphipods. <<Also a good source of food.>> Thanks for all your help in getting me going in the marine hobby. (It would have been a lot more difficult without your help.) <<Glad you find the site useful.>> Kevin <<Cheers, J -- >>

Yellow wrasse (Halichoeres chrysus) compatibility Hello, <Hello> I'm considering adding a "Yellow Coris Wrasse" (Halichoeres chrysus) to my 75 gal. system. Current occupants are a Royal Gramma, Neon Goby, some hermits, Astrea and Nassarius snails. I eventually would like to add a Percula Clown, Longnose Hawk, and possibly a Flame Angel. Do you see any compatibility problems here?  <It may eat your snails, even the hermit crabs if hungry> I'm particularly concerned if the similar shape and color between the Royal Gramma and wrasse might be an issue? <Not likely if they grow up together> Also, I have aragonite substrate. Is this soft/fine enough for the wrasse, or does it require "beach-like" sand? The Nassarius snails have no problem burying in it. <Should be no trouble> Thanks in advance for your response. John H. <Bob Fenner>

Canary Wrasse Woes Bob (Steve), <Actually- Scott F. this morning!> Nice to talk to you again. I have had some fairly good success with my reef tank (thanks in part to your assistance). I now find myself in a rather interesting problem. All reports I have read, people I have talked to, and internet sites visited (including yours), list the Canary Wrasse as fish and reef safe. Until recently, I have never had any problems with mine. He (I am guessing sex based on the number of dorsal spots) has never seemed to be very aggressive at all, sticking close to my banded goby on most occasions. This morning I noticed him nipping at my star polyps and chasing my banded goby. Have you heard of or noticed this type of behavior before in a canary wrasse? Is it possible that this is as a result of finally feeling comfortable in the tank (he has now been in the tank for about a month), and being close to full size, trying to establish dominance in the tank? Short of replacing the wrasse with a smaller version or a different fish entirely, what do you suggest I do to tame this apparent growing menace? Sincerely, Mark <First Mark- forgive me for this if I'm mistaken, but by "Canary Wrasse", I'm assuming you are referring to Halichoeres chrysus? Assuming this is the fish, here's my take on the situation: These wrasses are not known to eat corals, but they do pick on tubeworms now and then. Also, they are known predators of flatworms and Pyramidellid snails, etc. Perhaps the fish was merely foraging for these prey items among the star polyps? Were the polyps actually damaged? Is he eating well, and have you been providing him with meaty foods? Finally, the chasing of other fish can sometimes be confused with the cleaning behaviour that these wrasses do engage in from time to time. My suggestion at this point (once again, assuming we're talking about the same species) is to observe him for a while longer to see if the undesirable behaviors persist. If he is truly nipping coral polyps and aggressively engaging your other fish, you may have to remove this individual to keep your aquarium a healthy, safe place for all of your specimens. Good Luck! Scott F.>

Wrestling with Wrasses <Scott F. here with you this lovely evening> I am thinking of adding an Halichoeres chrysus or two to my 65 gallon reef tank to help control flatworms. <They are excellent wrasses.  They are hardy and attractive and do well in small groups.> One of the fish I currently have is a P. fridmani.  Will the canary wrasses be OK with this fish?  Fred <Should be fine as long as there is enough rock work and shelter.  Fridmani tend to be more secretive than these extraverted wrasses.  These are great fishes, and I'm sure you'll enjoy them.> <Regards, Scott F.>

Halichoeres chrysus and cleaner shrimp compatibility Hi Craig, <Hi Jun, Phew! Just now catching up on mail!> I actually have a couple of questions for you. First. Do you think a banana wrasse (Halichoeres chrysus) a cleaner shrimp killer/eater? <Hmmm, wouldn't chance it! Likely wouldn't be good.> Secondly, my purple tang is now ich free (he is still in QT, just finished copper treatment). He is now eating but had develop HLLE from poor water condition (Ammonia, nitrite both .25) due to QT not cycled. I was doing 25% water change daily and adding cycle to keep ammonia and nitrite down. Should I keep doing water changes in my QT? or should I just let the cycle to continue by adding cycle in QT (how often?). Can not catch my banana wrasse and bicolor blenny in my main tank (they didn't get the ich) so I was unable to run my main tank fallow. It's been 2 weeks that these 2 fish are ich free nor showing any symptoms. My question is, if I keep my purple tang in my 20 gal QT for 4 more weeks until he is really healthy, do you think that he's got the chance of fighting off ich once I reintroduce him in my main tank. I also heard that you can not really get rid of ich in a system (is this true?). Sorry, I got carried away and ask more than a couple of questions. Thanks again. <Continue water changes, hopefully your QT is catching up bio-wise. I like to run a filter at least for mechanical filtration. This is one of those cases where getting the Tang to eat medicated food would be great. Start him on it before moving him and then continue for a while afterward and if he gets any "spots'. I would try to get the Wrasse and Bi-color Blenny to eat it as well. The idea isn't to "get rid" of ick or any other of the various maladies, it is to provide a well balanced ecosystem where ick is under control, naturally. When it isn't, then we act to get the system back in order and provide poor conditions for ick to flourish. He should do fine with the medication in his system.  Boy, good luck with this Jun!  Craig>

Yellow wrasse and a batter dipped... er... cleaner shrimp. Hi, Thanks for your excellent and very informative site. I wish I had seen it before I started, I could have made some better decisions! <Hehe, didn't we all> I have a 30 gallon FO with some (hopefully) culturing limestone reef rock, some scattered LR rubble (to provide coralline cultures etc.), and a <1 inch Fiji pink aragonite substrate. Filtration is an Eclipse 3 system with BioWheel (I know the limitations but its all I'm going to have for a while). Carbon filter cartridge is changed every 2 weeks and filter pad is cleaned daily, PolyFilter is in continuous use in the filter tray. Lighting is a CSL 24" 65 watt compact fluorescent SmartLamp (50 10K/50 actinic) retrofit kit. Water changes are 10% weekly. Circulation is augmented by a 160 powerhead. I'm adding a small amount of Seachem reef calcium daily to help get the coralline going. I'm in the process of getting a skimmer going under the Eclipse hood. <Cool, it's a big pain though, involving chopping the hood up a bit. I know of several people who have fit cheap SeaClones in there.> The tank has been operating 3 months and is stable with SG 1.023, Temp 78-79, PH 8.2, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrates <10 ppm. Stock was initially 3 small damsels for cycling, 2 died due to constant attacks from the very aggressive yellowtailed blue (fins and eventually bodies bitten). <Lovely...> After the tank stabilized, we added 1 Engineer Goby (Convict Blenny?) <I've always wondered why they have two very distinct and different names...>  which is doing well hiding under the rocks and digging his own elaborate cave system. <Careful that he rock doesn't collapse> I knew I should probably remove the damsel but it was thriving and I just didn't. But now I wish I had. I then added 4 turbo snails and 1 small serpent star. Then one 1.5" false percula clown was added. We're trying to keep the stock level quite low in this small a tank. With the Clown and the 1 aggressive damsel being the only free-swimming fish in the tank, the Clown was dominant at feeding time and most other times. Then this strange behavior would occur where the Clown would sort of hover, head down, in front of the damsel's preferred rock hole, while the Damsel would act aggressive and nip at the Clown's pectoral fins. The Clown would seem to completely ignore this. This went on for about 1 month with no apparent damage to the Clown. A few days ago we noticed the Clown acting more submissive in general and his tail fin had been chewed almost completely off. We knew it was the damsel (saw him doing it some later) but the Clown (who's behavior and feeding was normal otherwise) still seemed oblivious to these assaults. Due to the fin damage, it was already too late to save the Clownfish. I've since torn the tank apart in order to get rid of that damsel. What do you think would cause this seemingly healthy and normal Clown to allow these lethal attacks from a smaller damsel? By 'allow', I mean this apparent sort of 'sitting-still' and taking it behavior. <That's very odd, I don't know what to tell you!>   Anyway, we now have another small clown which is doing well so far (a few days) by itself with the always hiding Goby. We just got a 2" Yellow Coris wrasse (Halichoeres chrysus) along with a skunk cleaner shrimp on the advice of our LFS. This may not have been the best idea given that I am now reading on your site that there is a possibility that the shrimp may become a shrimp snack for the wrasse. <Yep> The shrimp is little smaller than the wrasse maybe 1.5" head to tail. What do you think the odds of losing the shrimp the wrasse are? <90% when the wrasse gets larger> Should I complain to the LFS because when I specifically asked if the wrasse might attack the shrimp they said 'no'? <IF you think complaining will get you anywhere. Maybe simply pointing out that in the long run these critters may not get along together will be enough> Should I just wait and see? I want to keep the wrasse well-fed but it disappeared after 30 min nosing around the tank. I assume its buried (the LFS mentioned this behavior as well). <Yes they do that, he'll wake up every morning buried in the sand> Should I make an effort to feed it when it re-appears or should I just wait till the normal feeding time even if it has re-buried by then? <Don't expect normal behavior out of it for a week or so being that it's a new fish. Keep it well fed and remove it if it gets much larger than the shrimp. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks for any help you can offer! Rob Pensacola, FL

- Canary Wrasse Disappearance - Hello all: I just added 2 canary wrasses to my 125G FOw/oLR. As the tanks at the LFS did not have sand beds, both wrasses happily dove into the gravel when introduced on Sunday afternoon. Both made an appearance on Monday afternoon and both ate well. However, I have not seen either wrasse since Monday. I read the articles on the website that stated that these wrasses may hide for two or three days, but this time period seems unusually long. <Not for new introductions...> How are they surviving if I feed the tank while they are buried? <They are likely going hungry for the moment.> Do you think that they will appear in due course? <I do hope so, but you might also check the floor behind the tank. These fish can fly through the air with the greatest of ease... need to keep your tank well covered to prevent accidental loss.> As always, your input in valued. Thanks, Mitch <Cheers, J -- >

- Expensive Tastes - Jason: Thanks for your reply. <My pleasure.> The mystery has been solved... my porcupine puffer saw both of these fish as an opportunity to satisfy his hunger pangs. <Oh bummer... those puffers do things like that. Sorry to hear of your loss.> Mitch <Cheers, J -- >

- Mixing Wrasses - Hello all at WWM, I have a female Christmas Wrasse (Halichoeres ornatissimus) that follows me from one end of  the tank to the other. My kids like to watch her dive into the sand bed at night after the lights go out. How DO they breathe under there anyway? I recently saw a male at a LFS that has a gorgeous bright ruby red color and is around the same size of 4" long. would it be o.k. to introduce a male into my tank ( 200 gal. with plenty of live rock ) with her or might she resent the presence of a male in her territory? <It's my thinking that this wouldn't work out. These fish are solitary in the wild - almost never seen in pairs. I don't think, even given the amount of space you have, that this mix will work. If you enjoy the interactions of your current wrasse, I'd leave it be as these will certainly change post addition.> I read on your site they are solitary but she gets along fine with everyone else... <Solitary meaning they don't hang out with others of their kind.> Coral Beauty Algae Blenny Royal Gramma Azure Damsel If not the male, how about another type of wrasse such as the Red Head Solon Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus Solorensis)? <Well, that Cirrhilabrus would be a fabulous choice not only because it is a real looker, but because it would work much better than another Halichoeres.> I want to make conscientious decisions on  stocking the tank to make sure all inhabitants are happy as possible. <Good think you asked in advance.> Thanks in advance for your answer. Cheers! Joel <Cheers, J -- >

Halichoeres compatibility -- terminator or Kumbaya???? 5/24/04 Hi there. Hope you're having a pleasant day. <well, with thanks and hope for you in kind> The dilemma: We have two primary tanks, a 200 and a 45 gallon. In the 45, we have our small and juvenile fish. Had a Yellowcheek wrasse (Halichoeres cyanocephalus) in there with a Lemon Meringue (Halichoeres leucoxanthus) for over a year, each being roughly an inch and a half long. About a week ago the Yellowcheek started turning on the Lemon Meringue, with intent to kill. Chomped a bit of the fins off the little guy before we popped him into the 200 for safety, where a larger Yellowcheek lives. That one immediately hit a torpedo attack on the lemon. We'd had a previous pair, each about 4 inches long, together in the 200 for about 3 years, no problems. We pulled the lemon out of the 200 (he's my favorite fish), put him back with his other friends in the 45 and put the small Yellowcheek into quarantine. <ah, good> What are the odds -- oops, as a Baptist I'm not supposed to know about those things...ahem. Let me rephrase that. What might be the chances that the two Yellowcheek fellows might get along in the 200 gallon neighborhood? <not likely it sounds at this point. Territorial drive is stronger than sexual drive more often in closed aquaria> We have mainly triggers and tangs in there now, with the larger Yellowcheek and a Mexican rock wrasse. Plenty of fine grain sand, barnacles and live rock in there as well. I've never tried mixing wrasses of the same species before. <it can be very difficult indeed, and works better when both go into new tank at the same time. Little chance here with one established> Thanks much, Susan Kooiman <best regards, Anthony> 

Radiant Wrasse I originally purchased the wrasse to put into a 40 Gal. SPS tank that has 70+ lbs. of LR. It is bare bottom except for a 1 foot square alcove in the rocks that gradually rises from ½' in the front to Approx. 5' in the back of the alcove. It also has 40 Gal. Refugium upstream and a 20 Gal. sump containing an overkill skimmer. A 1500 gph ( 0 head ) pump returns the water through a Mechanical, carbon, U.V., and heater modules. My question is will the wrasse be compatible with a Swissguard Basslet (L. rubre), and a Scooter Blenny (S. Ocellatus) which spends its nights buried in the sand (except for eyeballs). I had the intent of using the wrasse to help the scooter blenny control flatworm. I slipped up and didn't do my usual 4 week coral quarantine because I got some from a friend. I don't have a lot of flatworms. I think the blenny is doing some damage to them. He doesn't eat any of the food I feed the tank, not even Mysis. I do see him picking at the rocks and sand all day and he is chunky. It could be all the pods in the tank too. The only other occupant is a Flameback Angel (C. aurantonotus). <I don't see any problem with adding the fish.> My other option is to put the wrasse into a 40 Gal. Anemone (lots of polyps, mushrooms) set up that is identical to the SPS setup. This includes all equipment, refugium, LR, BB, and 1ft. square sand bed. This tank only has a pair of Solomon Island Perculas. The Chevron tang will also be going into that tank. I guess I could put the wrasse in this tank to keep the pods in check and leave enough for the scooter blenny in the SPS tank. This will insure he is working for his keep as I am not sure how it will do on flatworms. Thanks for all your opinions in this email and all other info you have shared with me on all FAQ's, Mahalo, Dennis <Dennis, I think either option will be viable.  I would like to point out that the QT is too small for those fish.  Even though it is a temporary home.  The wrasse will get along in either tank.  I would probably put the fish in the first tank.  Good luck MikeB>

The Mean Green Wrasse? (Halichoeres chloropterus) Hi, I have a Green Wrasse (Halichoeres chloropterus) and was wondering if the are compatible with corals and anemones ETC???? Thanks! Ryan <Hi Ryan. I'm a huge fan of Halichoeres species wrasses, and have kept many of them over the years. The H. chloropterus is one of the larger members of the family, and is every bit as compatible with corals as the others, IMO. Like most Halichoeres species, they will decimate any tubeworms, snails, feather dusters, and other small crustaceans that live in your system. They are not aggressive fishes, for the most part, but they can become "cantankerous" once they become acclimated to their new home. They have great personalities, but can become a bit of a behavioral problem in a smaller tank, or one that houses smaller fishes. All in all, I think that this is a great fish if you can accept their personality traits. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

Wrasse compatibility I have a 72 gallon bow front reef tank with a pugnacious six line wrasse.  I have a Halichoeres argus in another tank and would like to add him to the 72 gallon tank, however, I am wondering if the six line and him would get along. < I'd say you will be fine. I don't picture either of them causing any problems. > Another option I have been pondering is to set up a fish only tank with some more aggressive fish - triggers, moray eel, and a puffer.   Would the  Halichoeres argus be able to handle this tank? < Yes, I think so.  Especially if he is 4 inches or longer.  I think that would be fine as well. >  For the more aggressive tank, what type of filtration would you recommend? < Lots of live rock, and a very large healthy refugium. >   Thank you for your help. <  Blundell  > Green Wrasse Hi, I was wondering if the Green Wrasse (Halichoeres chloropterus) when people say not reef safe for this fish what do they mean E.G. they eat coral polyps, crustaceans ETC ? <According to fishbase.org, "Feeds mainly on hard-shelled prey, including mollusks, crustaceans and sea urchins"... And as it is a small species, a high/er score on blanket "reef safeness". Bob Fenner>  

Halichoeres chloropterus--Reef Safe or No? (5/11/05) Hi, I was wondering if the Green Wrasse (Halichoeres chloropterus) when people say not reef safe for this fish what do they mean i.e. they eat coral polyps, crustaceans, etc?  <By "not reef safe," it is meant that they eat something that reefkeepers want in their tanks. Anything that eats corals is therefore not reef safe. Other things are more nuanced. The species in question is known to eat various invertebrates, a number of which (flatworms and parasitic snails) are actually pests. They may nip at Featherduster worms, but are not reported to nip at corals. They'll take out smaller crustaceans as well. Therefore, they advisory is "with caution" when it comes to reefs. Hope this helps, Steve Allen.> 

Wrasse Selection 4.3.05 Hi, I was wondering is the Green Wrasse - Halichoeres chloropterus safe to keep with a BTA and 2 clowns and also corals (if there is any corals to avoid when keeping this fish please inform me) <Although every fish on the reef eats SOMETHING, a wrasse of this type is especially hard on reef aquaria. Only in the largest aquaria is it a decent combination. A fairy wrasse would be a much better choice. Good luck, Ryan> 

Halichoeres hoeveni vs. Halichoeres melanurus - Will the Real Wrasse Please Stand Up? >I wanted to get information on the Halichoeres hoeveni. Is it reef safe? And what abut feeding requirements and how big will it get? And lastly temperament? Yours, Mark >>Hello Mark, Marina this morning. It seems that a search using that name nets me a referral the Halichoeres melanurus. Once we get that far finding this fish on fishbase.org is pretty easy. To answer your question, in my experience most fishes of the Halichoeres genus are outgoing and won't be bullied around. However, this guy hits about 5" (12cm) in length, and is relatively small-mouthed, as it feeds on small invertebrates. Expect this fish to snack on the small stuff, and you'll need to treat it (re: feeding) as you would a mandarin dragonet. So, in general, yes, "reef-safe", though expect some snacking. A refugium or good supply of "pods" will be most helpful for this little fellow. Don't forget, now that you have the proper name of this species, please use our Google search to find more information on this fish. 

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