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FAQs on Halichoeres Wrasse Stocking/Selection   

Related Articles: Halichoeres Wrasses,

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

Panicky canary wrasse following copper treatment     2/26/16
Hello WWM Crew,
Thank you for running such a helpful site. I have searched quite a bit and cannot find a link which relates to the issue I’m dealing with. I would be grateful for some advice concerning the behaviour of my canary wrasse who is now acting as if suffering from PTSD after 20 months year of bliss.
From Sept – Dec 2015, I ran my DT fallow and treated 3 fish (1 canary wrasse, paired Ocellaris clownfish) with Cuprazin
<Ooh; Labrids/Wrasses, and quite a few other fish families really suffer for copper exposure... stop eating...>
for 2 weeks in a HT where they lived for 80 days. I learned the hard way that a QT is necessary: a Molly Miller blenny brought Ich to my DT, rapidly died, and my coral beauty also died. This will never happen again. Of my paired Ocellaris Clownfish, the male though appearing stronger than the female, died on day 4 of copper treatment. The female clownfish is doing well, but my canary wrasse’s panic attacks scare her a bit.
<Panic? Wrasses are given to spontaneous... erratic bursts of swimming at times; even/including in the wild>
DT is a Red Sea Max 130D tank (130 litres) I have had for over 2 years. 20-30% water changes are done weekly, water parameters are sound. The survivors, my female clownfish and Saffron, the canary wrasse, are back in the DT since end of December 2015. It was very difficult to move Saffron to the HT and only once buried could he be moved with sand after I tried netting him for hours. Has remained scared of me since (understandably), so I stay out of his sight as much as possible and feed from a faraway corner.
My concern is that he is prone to panic attacks and will dart around to bury itself.
<Mmm/ what they do... >
This has caused him last week to hit the top of the aquarium and amazingly for a 4” fish, fall into the refugium from which I had to net him which was easy as there was nowhere for him to go and put him back in the DT. He has come out of this physically intact though has since managed to injure his tail (a cut in the middle) most likely against rocks in another one of those panics when I forgot to cover the tank the day house cleaners came by. I am concerned he will eventually kill himself through injuries no matter how careful I am. I feel he will do best in the DT with optimal diet and vitamins. Last thing I want to do is move him again. I understand fish can come out of copper treatment slightly different which he sure is.
He was and remains a fantastic fish and I feel terrible for him being so stressed. Is there anything else I can do to help?
<One thing that comes to mind is to add another one or two of this Halichoeres species. Turns out it is a social animal... I'd add more; which should result in calming the present one down; prompting all to be out and about much more>
Many thanks for your advice.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
RE: Panicky canary wrasse following copper treatment     2/26/16

Dr Fenner,
<Just Bob please; I have no doctorate>
I truly appreciate your replies, thank you so much. Saffron still eats voraciously and never stopped even in copper which he seemed to tolerate, but it has changed his personality from bold to suspicious/scared when humans stand near the tank. It’s evident transfers from DT to HT and back are fresh to his memory. He was like any other wrasse before, as you described, the odd mad sprint. Now definitely jumpier.
I’m sorry to trouble you for a few more details re. your comment about sociability of wrasses. So true, he loved his pal the coral beauty. My QT is ready. Are there species of Halichoeres you would recommend as a good match for an adult canary wrasse?
<Most all; but conspecifics (the same species) are best>
Or do you mean I should look at 1-2 juvenile canary wrasses (probably 1 as my tank is only 130 litres)?
<Yes; likely just one more in this volume>
I’ve read they can be competitive with another similarly coloured wrasse. Is it an issue to have 2 sand-dwellers in one tank?
<Not a problem here w/ H. chrysus>
Leopard wrasses appeal but the last thing I want to do is get this wrong.
<Macropharyngodon spp.? Not hardy. See WWM Re>
My female clownfish seems content. In such a scenario where the male died, would one look to offer a new companion or best to leave her be?
<Either way... up to you>
Last question I promise, their ‘body clock’ has changed since treatment, 2 less hours of activity each, 18:00 bedtime instead of 20:00. Light in the HT unnerved the wrasse so I let natural light dictate. Ongoing recovery from copper treatment or something summer will help?
<Time going by>
Again, thank you. We want Saffron to be serene once more.
<Cheers, BobF>
RE: Panicky canary wrasse following copper treatment     2/26/16

Bob, thank you again so much. You’ve put my mind at rest. We will provide another Halichoeres asap. WWM’s is such a great resource.
<Welcome Soph! B>

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 compatibility... Halichoeres... stkg./sel.      1/25/14
Good morning crew,
    Just a quick couple of questions. I have a 68 gallon reef tank with the following fish; one ocellaris clown, one percula clown, one Firefish and one Lubbock's fairy wrasse (Cirrhilabrus lubbocki - male). The clowns have paired up and the percula is pregnant
<Mmm; no>
 despite the different species. I am assuming because both were aquacultured from the same breeder locally. I recently began a battle with both Montipora and Zoanthid eating Nudibranchs and my LFS advised me to get a melanurus wrasse (Halichoeres melanurus) to help eradicate them. They have both male and female of the species in stock.
<... as with all Labrids; females become males>
 My questions are will this fish add too much to my bioload?
<Possibly there may be some issues w/ your present fishes>
Will the two wrasses possibly get along and if so would it matter if I get the male or the female?
<Only one specimen for this size/shape system>
Lastly will the melanurus actually eat the Nudibranchs or is it not a normal thing for them?
<Search, read on WWM re. Will eat other items first>
I have seen that they can be good for flatworm infestations. Thanks for all of your hard work with the
website. You all have saved me from making many mistakes and educated me as to why some of my choices before finding you were mistakes. Rob.
<Read on... Bob Fenner>

Mixing Halichoeres melanurus with Pseudocheilinus ocellatus in moderate confines     12/9/12
Hello again!
I contacted you guys awhile back when I had issues with a six line wrasse and wanted to substitute it with a melanurus wrasse.
<A much easier-going genus of Labrids>

 I have since done so and fallen in love with him (despite not being so kind to my clean up crew). The other day I saw my first Mystery Wrasse in person (I'm sure you can see where this is going) and wanted to know if mixing the two is feasible?
<Mmm, well, better than the Sixline, but still not easy... unless the system is very large; which yours isn't>
 I've rotated out a lot of stock with fellow reefers as issues arose but would rather not risk something foolish at the price of a mystery wrasse.
Plus, if I actually had to choose between the two it would be a difficult choice. I'd rather not put myself in that position either. Also, what kind of clean up crew do you think best works with a resident melanurus? All pertinent information to follow:
Tank: 60"X 22"X 20"
Current inhabitants:
1 yellow tang
1 O. clownfish
1 Flame Angel
1 Longnose Hawk
1 yellow tail damsel
1 beautiful melanurus
Hopefully I am not committing the crime of overstocking either!
<I'd not try another Pseudocheilinus here. Bob Fenner>

Halichoeres stocking question...   10/5/11
Good Morning, Bob and Crew at WWM!
<And you Jamie>
Hope that all is well with everyone.
<Is w/ me, thanks>
Well, my little Vrolik's wrasse did not make it. He was in quarantine with a right pectoral fin injury and I think he had collection type issues as the injury never developed to anything that looked "infectious" and he died in four days after receiving him.
This set back had made me re-evaluate my stocking plans and THINK about what I am in fact trying to accomplish.
My tank is a 225 gallon reef with a 30 gallon sump plus 14 gallon refugium with Chaetomorpha and 3 inch sand bed (could be deeper). Corals are mostly softies, 2 clams, and fishy friends are: 7" Atlantic Blue Tang, 5" Emperor,
4" Powder Blue Tang, 4" Kole Eye Tang, pair of Percula Clowns (laying eggs regularly), 2" Coral Beauty Angel, 2" Flame Hawk, 4" Starry Blenny and a very LUCKY Cleaner wrasse whom I've had for the past 2+ years...(Lucky because he happens to eat everything and I count my blessing on him because
I've learned that they have a HORRIBLE survival rate...I got him before I LEARNED that fact which is something I do NOT do anymore).
I would love to have some wrasses, which leads to this question. After reading and reading and learning about the different species of wrasses, I'm thinking that the Halichoeres species should do better in my setting because of their larger size 4 - 6 inches, peaceable nature, able to tolerate other Halichoeres better, and appears more calm/confident as they cruse the tank.
Can I add ONE or can I add a small harem of Three?
I would be happy with one, but I LOVE to watch the interaction amongst the fishes, so three would be lovely. I was planning on Halichoeres vroliki, Halichoeres iridis, and a Halichoeres biocellatus. Or three of any one of them?
<In this setting, you could go any of these routes>
Do you think they would fair well with the description of my setting?
<Yes I do>
I would describe my tank as fairly peaceable, the only conflicts observed are the Atlantic Blue chasing the Kole Eye because with the exception of color, their shape is extremely similar. The Kole Eye is very well adjusted and just swims away and goes about his business. The other conflict is between the Emperor and the Atlantic Blue, just lots of "honk honk"s.
<Thus far; and likely into the future for quite some time>
Thank you for taking a "personal" look at my situation!
For Bob, YES, these are the same fishes I've had since a few years ago I was writing you while trying to eradicate a very very bad case of Crypt infection! Thanks to you expertise and support, they are happy and healthy with me.
<Ah, good. Bob Fenner>
Re: Halichoeres stocking question... 10/05/11

Thanks, Bob!
I will see what I can gather to introduce together. Most likely, I will go with three different Halichoeres as I could potentially end up with two males and then there is a chance of them dueling to the death! Men!
Just kidding!
<Some men... Cheers Jamie. B>

Halichoeres ornatissimus sel., comp.  4/9/08 Hi Bob, <Peggy> Researching the Halichoeres ornatissimus regarding its reef compatibility. I'm finding conflicting information amongst my sources. Some say it will feed on feather dusters, small clams, etc., while others claim it is reef-safe and will not bother inverts, etc., other than the usual unwanted fare of excessive bristleworms, flatworms, Pyramidellids, etc. I have a beauty (pics attached) that I house in a 75-gallon fish only with a nice deep sandbed, and he does great, but I want to be certain of his potential before risking him to an unsuspecting reefer who has lots to lose if he decides he has a hankerin for a clam, etc.! Would you care to opine? Many thanks. Peggy <I would... I give this my (bark bark!) seal of approval as being way to the right side of being "reef safe" as far as marine fishes, particularly wrasses goes... H. ornatissimus stays small.... Oh, a bit re here: http://wetwebmedia.com/halichoeresbestart.htm Cheers! BobF>

Re: Halichoeres rubricephalus Wrasse Tragedy- Unethical Collection Practices Take a Toll...   12/5/07 Hello Scott, <Hello again, my friend!> Sorry for the late reply, it is because the internet connection here was down for weeks. <Ughhh! I can't imagine how frustrating that must have been!> The Redheaded Wrasse was a magnificent fish, beautiful in every way. <Oh, no! "Was" sounds like past tense!> I had it for a week but mostly the fish was hiding. He was a shy one, and he only came out when I feed him. <Not surprising, many Halichoeres do live a rather cryptic lifestyle, and this species is apparently no exception!> He ate well, I gave him chopped squid and shrimps. This fish did not nip on any of my corals and wasn't aggressive toward other fishes. He looked healthy and I was very exciting to have him. <I can imagine! What a great fish to have!> Unfortunately, he died unexpectedly. <I'm really sorry to hear that.> I suspected it was because cyanide. Sad to say, but I found out that in Indonesia most fishes were captured this way. <Unfortunately, the practice is still common in some parts of the world. Fishes like this Wrasse, which do tend to live a cryptic lifestyle, are sometimes flushed from their hiding places with chemicals, often with tragic results, as you experienced. And there is also the added "collateral damage" to the reefs as a result of chemical use during collection. Fishes damaged by cyanide will often eat and then die shortly after their first feedings, so yours may indeed have been exposed to cyanide or other chemicals. It is important to let your dealer know that you felt that the fish died because of chemical exposure during collection. If enough consumers communicate these types of experiences to retailers, and the retailers relay this to the wholesalers, there will eventually be no market support for collectors who employ these practices. Of course, don't forget to quarantine all new arrivals for other possible problems, such as parasitic and bacterial infections. It's an important practice which everyone should employ. Sometimes, you can catch and treat potential maladies before they take down the fish or its tankmates.> I hope I will be able to find this beautiful healthy creature in in the near future. Anyways, thank you for helping me to identify this fish. I really appreciate it. Sincerely, Ferdinand. <Glad to be of assistance, Ferdinand. Here's to hoping that you are able to obtain a healthy, net-caught specimen in the near future! Regards, Scott F.>

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 wont 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, EricR>>

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 Russell>>  

Halichoeres melanurus and Pyramidellid snails   11/15/06 Hello crew, <Brandon> I have recently noticed that there are many Pyramidellid looking snails attached to the bottoms of my Astrea snails. <Sure looks like it> I've been thinking of getting a clam once I decide on type and find one I am content with but this is an obvious setback in the plan. <Oh yes> I saw where a Halichoeres melanurus (Hoeven's wrasse) was recommended to consume these pests but have looked at some sites that say it is not a reef safe fish. <Is toward that end of the scale... I'd say/state "largely reef-safe"... how 'bout that?> What is your experience with the fish in the reef setting? There's also a picture attached that I took a few minutes ago. Thank you and have an excellent day. Brandon <The smaller Halichoeres species (there's a bunch!) are relatively peaceful, non-injurious to cnidarians, other sessile invertebrates too small to be eaten whole. Bob Fenner>

Stocking A Super Reef Tank (Cont'.) Hi Scott, I'm so excited!  Today I added 3 Canary Wrasses to the tank. <Awesome! Great fish that can really add some color, personality, and excitement to a tank!> The LFS ordered them in.  All ate at the store and were swimming out in the open.  Apparently 3 more were hiding in the sand.  I brought the outgoing ones home, gave them a 5 minute fresh water dip and put them into the tank. The dip is good procedure, but do try quarantine next time...> To my surprise, they all simply started swimming in the water column.  They never hid in the sand or the rocks.  So far, 5 hours later, none of the fish seems bothered by the change.  The new wrasses are eating off the rock and ate some homemade fish food.   <Great to hear. They really are a pretty perfect reef fish. At night, they may bury themselves in the substrate for protection, but they will typically remain out in the open all day.> They're a beautiful addition and seem very gentle.  It was the perfect suggestion. <I'm really glad you like them! They'll just become more and more attractive and outgoing as they settle in.> Thank you!  Next fish is a Lyretail Anthias when a nice one shows up at the LFS.  Nancy <Keep me posted, Nancy! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Has This Wrasse Passed? - 12/12/05 Hello all: <<Howdy>> Happy Holidays to the scholars of the deep! <<Mmm, more like "students"...but thank you.>> One week ago, I acquired a H. hortulanus and introduced it into the display tank after performing the precautionary acclimation procedures. <<No quarantine eh...>> The lights were turned off upon introduction.  The wrasse immediately swam to one of my live rock stacks and has not appeared since. <<Not atypical behavior.>> I realize that these wrasses bury themselves in the substrate, but I would think that I would have seen it after one week. <<One might think so, but I have a Macropharyngodon meleagris that has stayed buried/out of sight for more than a week at a time on more than one occasion...only to pop up again and resume browsing/hunting as normal.>> I was discussing this with a fellow aquarist and he volunteered the following hypothesis that he had read in some periodical.  The theory is that since these wrasses bury themselves so deeply within the substrate, they penetrate into the anaerobic portion and consequently are consumed by the bacteria and/or waste materials in the substrate. <<Um...if this were true, would they not be extinct in the wild?  Do you not think there are anaerobic bacteria on/in a reef/the reef floor?  I don't think is your issue.>> I would appreciate your feedback, as if this is the case, then my days of purchasing Halichoeres wrasses are over. Thanks, Mitch   <<Fear not Mitch, the Halichoeres genus are quite hardy (and personable) for the most part.  If the wrasse was not doomed from the start (poor collection/transport/handling) then it could pop up soon.  Though do be aware, your specimen will grow to be a bruiser at 12 inches.  Regards, EricR>>

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>

Re: Wrasses Thanks for the pointers. I looked at your site and then FFExpress. They have a H. Iridis for sale. Is this a difficult species to keep? It looks really neat and only gets 4 and a half inches long. Thanks again, Everett <Not a difficult species... and very beautiful and peaceful. I give the big double thumbs up to Halichoeres iridis. Bob Fenner>

Reef Wrasses Anthony, <yes.....> You will be pleased to know that I have swapped the Coris for a nice little canary wrasse.  <if we are talking about Halichoeres chrysus, then I am quite happy for you!>  I did try to talk myself into the Coris but your comment re killing corals slowly did it for me. <alas... a beautiful fish, but not suited for a reef tank> Thanks again! <always welcome! Kindly, Anthony>

Halichoeres chrysus Yellow "Coris" wrasse (although not really a Coris sp) Yes, a newly introduced Halichoeres chrysus, another beautiful wrasse but hopefully reef friendly and not so boisterous! I will still be keeping an eye on him but so far (2 hours) the Kole I have is giving him a hard time not the other way around. <indeed they are very peaceful/passive> On another question I sent a few days ago, my Lobophytum "skirted", came out better than ever and now has disappeared (polyp-wise) for a few days, 3 or 4 . Relocation? Or still a growth spurt as you advised back then? <when going through fast growth spurts they cycle like this often. I cannot say for certain without seeing it though. Have faith if its polyps reliably return after just a few days and look very well> Thanks, Jordon, PS I am keeping your advise re the 300 gallon for support when the time comes, as I strongly suspect it will!! <excellent, best regards, Anthony>

Halichoeres chrysus Hello WWM Crew! <Hi Tracy> I have perhaps a simple question. I have had two saltwater tanks for about 8 months. And so far I consider myself very fortunate and have had very little loss. I had a Sebae anemone die. I do not do the proper research before I purchased it.  <Too common> At the LFS it was white and unattached. It did not last long. Since then I try and do as much research on a species before I every purchase it. I have a Halichoeres chrysus (Yellow Wrasse) in my tank. I have had it for about 8 weeks. It is doing great, I do not seem to have any problems with it. Recently when I was researching species compatibilities, I saw one of the on-line suppliers list the Halichoeres chrysus as "expert only".  <What? I disagree... this is likely the hardiest of wrasses of the genus (a Halichoeres as you state, though the most common name is "Yellow Coris")> I have had good fortune and I try to take proper care of my tanks, I am far from an expert. More like a novice. What are the difficulties or concerns associated with the Halichoeres chrysus ? Thanks <Little and none. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/halichoeres.htm and the Linked FAQs. Bob Fenner>

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