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FAQs on Thalassoma Wrasse Behavior

Related Articles: Thalassoma Wrasses

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

Re: mixing Thalassoma wrasses? Now sexing         4/9/15
Follow up question is how can you determine if the Goldbar wrasse is a male or female?
Thanks again, Calvin
<Yes
; well, I can... can you? Females are blah compared to males (which they can, do turn into in time).
Some non-initial phase pix here on Fishbase:
http://www.fishbase.org/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.php?Genus=Thalassoma&Species=hebraicum

Bob Fenner>

Re: mixing Thalassoma wrasses?       4/10/15

I've read they need another female present to change into a male. so if I have a single Goldbar that is female it should turn into a male?
I appreciate this info.
<Can, will change, but not as quickly or at as small a size if not in a group. B>

Thalassoma lutescens       7/4/14
Hi Crew,
<Chris>
I just have a quick question. If I add two female banana wrasses together, will one eventually turn male?
<Yes>
The tank is a 160 FOWLR. Thanks!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Bluehead Wrasse, Males sel.    6/19/08 Hi Crew, [insert Crew member quip ; ) ] The only picture used to represent the Bluehead Wrasse, Thalassoma bifasciatum, shows the terminal phase male. Studies show this coloring is present in approximately 4% of wild fish! My question is: How do the fish stores and/or their suppliers produce so many TP males? Or, how do they get so many IP males and females to "make the conversion"? Thx for any insight you can provide. David <These male/terminal phase individuals (also for many other species) are preferentially collected in the wild. Hopefully near-conversion "males" are readily available in such harems to convert to functioning males. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Bluehead Wrasse   6/19/08 Hi Bob, If you'll entertain another question ... Will IP males be a paler version of their brightly colored TP counterparts; or is the coloring of IP males and females usually various shades of yellow and white bands? Thank you again for your assistance saving my Zebrasoma some months back. It is alive and well thanks to your experience and advise. Regards, David <Come/occur in intermediate colors/markings... depending on mood/physiology (principally hormonal, but neurologically mediated as well), through recent behavior... most are yellow, with some white and black markings... ones that are "close", waiting... turn a bit more bluish, sometimes with black banding... like males... BobF><<Who does wish he had the means, time on WWM to put up his many pix to show such>>

Lifespan question, Thalassoma lunare    5/2/08 Hi, <Tim> I was wondering if you could tell me the average lifespan of a lunare wrasse in captivity. I have owned one for about 5 years now and I'm not sure how old he was when I bought him; length was about 5 inches then. Just wondering how old he might be and what his life expectancy would be. Thanks, Tim <Mmm, let's see if Fishbase.org has... Mmm, not for this Thalassoma: http://fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=5645&genusname=Thalassoma&speciesname=lunare but other members of the genus do have age/mortality data... about 10-12 years is likely an average maximum lifespan. Bob Fenner>

Klunzinger Wrasse 10/15/06 Hello Crew: I couldn't find exactly my situation in the FAQs so I thought I would shoot a  line over to see if you have any thoughts.  As the subject line says I have a Klunzinger wrasse that has started some significant behavioral changes.  I have owned him and his 4 tankmates for very close to 4 years now (haven't lost one).  Those tankmates are: Goldentail moray eel (yellow variant), purple tang, niger trigger and an annularis angel.  Tank is 125 gallons,  with a decent amount of live rock - can't remember anymore how much but I think it was along the suggested guidelines.  Euroreef skimmer.   Anyway, the wrasse has always been the boss of the tank and the most active fish by far.  Over the past week, he has slowed down considerably and now for the last two days has taken to staying in one spot underneath a piece of live rock and apparently hasn't moved.  I can observe no external changes in terms of spots, growths or anything like that though I can only see one side of him.  He was always a fairly big fish ever since I got him from The Marine Center 4 years ago.  He's now a good 9 inches or so long.  All 4 of his roommates appear fine and in fact have increased their activity with him kind of out of the picture and not bossing them around.  No chance in my opinion the Angel spooked him as the angel is the biggest sissy in the tank.  Kent Marine RO/DI unit in the house so frequent water changes - water quality appears OK and as I said everyone else is looking good.  I pride myself on providing a good variety of food.   Are we looking at old age???   <Perhaps, but it's always so hard to tell - few fish get a chance to get to old age in the wild so there's no baseline for what makes an old fish in captivity. Could also just be middle age - perhaps the wrasse is not the angry young wrasse he used to be. Would keep an eye on things and hope for the best. He may yet make a return with a bit of an attitude adjustment. Cheers, J -- >

Klunzinger's Wrasse Acting Strange/Proper Preparation of Natural Seawater - 08/13/06 Hi Mr. Fenner, <<EricR here this morning>> Hope everything is fine there'¦ <<Yes, thank you>> Here is a problem which I don't know yet whether it's a big problem or a small problem. <<Hmm, let's see then...>> It's about the behavior of my Klunzinger's Wrasse (Thalassoma klunzingeri). <<A very neat/attractive fish>> He has been acting totally weird lately.  He was the type to cruise around the tank searching for food (ate very well) and even when I clean the tank he never hides. <<Typical, yes>> But 2-days ago he never came up to the surface from his hiding place inside the sand bed.  So I thought he was tired or something but the next day also he never showed up so I was obviously scared as I thought he was dead. <<Not necessarily...have observed this behavior in other/similar species>> Then I put my hands inside and tried to search for him inside the sand then suddenly he just came out moved around like lightning and vanished under the sand again. <<Yikes!...I wouldn't do this, quite stressful to the wrasse>> I repeated my actions again once but got the same results & since then he is hiding. <<Best to leave the wrasse be>> My water quality: Ammonia 0.02 & Nitrite 0.05. <<Mmm, should be "zero"...and may be what is affecting/mal-affecting the wrasse>> I use normal seawater for monthly 20% water changes which I collect from the shallow sea so I don't think I can maintain my Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate at '0' levels. <<This is distressing to read.  Unless you are properly "processing" this water (please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seawater.htm) you are likely introducing pollutants and pathogens to your system>> Am I right??? <<Indeed my friend...this is "false economy"...and may likely mean the ultimate demise of your fish/system>> I didn't check for Nitrate as my test kit is over. Salinity: 1.020. <<Salinity should be 1.025/.026>> My tank is 80G and has only another Blue tang and a Bannerfish which are normal at this moment. <<Mmm, must mention...this tank is too small for the tang in the long-term...and marginal for the Bannerfish...in my opinion>> My green algae growth is fine <<I'll bet...>> & I have a lot of live rock.  What do you think about this situation? <<I have seen these "burrowing" wrasse hide before for as long as seven days when pestered.  In this case I think the problem is environmental (water chemistry issues/pathogens)>> What's up with him? <<Something in your system/water is bothering the wrasse>> Will he be normal again or should I expect the worst? <<Properly quarantine/treat/buffer the NSW, or better yet, convert to synthetic, and you will likely see an improvement>> Thanks, best regards, Rachel   <<Cheers my friend.  EricR>>

FISH PROBLEM Hi, I have had a small lunare wrasse for the last 6 months. The last three weeks it hides in shells and under rocks and never seems interested in eating or swimming around the tank. He is breathing heavier than normal and his body color is changing from light blue to a lime green color. Is it sick or is it going through it's sex change where it becomes a "super male" ???  AMY  >> You may have hit the proverbial head on the nail... I wouldn't be overly concerned re this Thalassoma lunare... as it will once again become more outgoing... I doubt if it/she/he is really sick. Bob Fenner

Mexican wrasse in hiding Background: 55 gallon (fully cycled), 2 clowns, 1 Firefish, 1 Rabbitfish, and 1 wrasse with about 18 pounds of live rock and good water conditions. I have a Mexican (Cortez, Rock, Rainbow) Wrasse for about 6 weeks now.  The first 2 weeks he was always visibly swimming around the tank and never hiding - then I added some (more) live rock and did a little rearranging in the tank.  The wrasse now hides for the past 4 weeks.  I have peeked around the corner when the lights are off in the room and I know he is alive and has very good color... as soon as I put the lights on or he sees me he bolts back into his hiding place (a fake plastic sponge (I think) coral, where one of the fingers broke off allowing him access to swim into the base) and won't come out.  My question - he is a beautiful fish and I enjoyed watching him swim for the first 2 weeks so what can I do to get his behavior back to that state. <Likely not much that is easy to do... this fish lives in quite large haremic settings... lots of space... and lots of others (especially females) of its own kind. If you had a larger system (a few hundred gallons) you might be able to somewhat replicate more natural conditions, and hence behavior... If you can place this fish in at least twice the current volume, adding a female or two would likely induce the male to become (return to being) more outgoing. Bob Fenner> Thank you so much for your help with.
Mexican wrasse in hiding
Bob, thank you so much for your prompt response!  Your WetWebMedia site is a tremendous resource to us newbies starving for legitimate direction in our efforts and avoid disastrous mistakes.  Further to my question on my hiding Mexican Rock Wrasse, I saw a FAQ on a similar situation (see excerpt faq below).  Do you think if I add a Damsel in my tank that he may stimulate the Wrasse to come out of hiding?  Thanks again for your inputs and keep up the great site for us!!! <Thank you my friend, and yes to the attempt at adding a ditherfish. This is likely the best thing you can do presently to encourage your Thalassoma to be more outgoing. Bob Fenner> EXCERPT FAQ: I have a 65 gallon reef tank with only 4 fish--maroon clown with anemone, yellow watchman goby, African Flameback angel, and a purple tang. The former 2 understandably do not swim around very much, but the latter 2 seem to hide all day. I see the fish only when I feed. I have A LOT of live rock in my tank though. Are they just indirectly hiding? <Indirectly? All should come out to some extent... Is there much "activity" around the area, folks walking by during the day? Perhaps a very active "dither-fish" like a hardy Damselfish species would do well to make all more outgoing. Consider A four or three stripe or others: http://wetwebmedia.com/damsels.htm One that stays smallish> Or do they just need to be enticed out into the open by more social fish? <Ah! There you go> The tank is fully stocked with corals and my cleaning regimen is very pristine. What should I do so I can see more of my fish? <Try a/the dither fish idea here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Mexican wrasse in hiding
You (and the web site) are amazing!  I went home last Friday night and anxiously added a ("dither fish") four stripe Damsel as you recommended, and my Wrasse has returned after not seeing him for over 4 weeks - incredible. Thank you so much! <You are welcome David. Bob Fenner>

Confusing Wrasse Hi guys: I have a Lunar wrasse bought from the LFS 3 weeks ago.  For about 2 weeks was eating vigorously.  Over the last week, has grown very finicky.  Won't eat Mysis shrimp anymore (eats and then spits it out). And may eat whole shrimp (with shell) sometimes (bangs it against a rock, very cool). <Yep- I've seen that behavior- it IS cool!> No change in behavior (still all over the tank).  We have noticed that its color has become more green in the last few weeks (don't most of them go the other way) so am worried that the sex is changing.  (A) is that possible?  (B) any chance that is causing the lack of food take?  Do I need to vary the food even more? <Female-to male sex changes are common. Color changes do happen...These fishes start out as relatively dull juveniles, and really start to color up when they reach adulthood...As for providing a variety of foods: I've never seen a fish that won't benefit from this!> Tank specs: 90g  Fish Only Wet Dry with Sump ETS 300 Skimmer (was originally a reef tank) 2-3" Sand bed No nitrates, ammonia, tank very well cycled Salinity is high 1.025-1.026 but maintained constant with a NURCE top off device Lots of rock and hiding places Other inhabitants: Majestic Snapper Koran Angel Baby Clown trigger <Wow! These are some potentially very large fishes...Please, please consider the "end game" here, and plan on much larger (like several hundred gallons) housing for them in the near future, if you expect them to live anything close to a natural life span...> Thanks in advance for help! <You're welcome! Scott F>

Wacky Wrasse?  Howdy, I bought a Lunare Wrasse 2 days ago. When I was vacuuming the wrasse got a little frisky, and hopped out of the tank. I got him back in after about 45 seconds to one minute. It was a close one, but now he just lays there and breathes. All of his color is still there, and my chemicals are pristine.  <Given time, he can make a full recovery. keep an eye on him, and make sure that he eats. Continue to maintain excellent water quality>  Also, is it normal for a wrasse to lay around except for the outbursts of energy where he shoots around the tank and eats? Jeffery  <Yep- wrasses are known for some of their wacky antics. If there are no disease signs, and the water parameters are as good as you say- I'd chalk it up to typical wrasse behavior. Given what your wrasse went through, I'd say that he has a good chance at a full recovery. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Sex Changing Wrasse - Hello to all at WWM: About three months ago a bought a FEMALE Thalassoma lucasanum, (AKA Rainbow Wrasse, Paddlefish Wrasse, Cortez  margarita Wrasse). However, now almost 3 months later, it has changed to the  male coloration, maybe into an actual male. I did not know these fish would or  even can change from the female coloration to the male coloration.  Just curious if anyone at the Crew has heard or seen of such a thing. <There are many wrasses as well as several other groups of fish that have this remarkable ability. It ensures the continuation of the species. What a planet!> Either way I like both color forms. By the way, Scott Michael's Marine Fishes pocket guide  has great photos of this fish on page 319. As always, thanks for all your time and effort. Gene <Cheers, J -- >

Normal lunare wrasse behavior  09/13/2005 Hi, <Hello Shelly> I was reading your FAQs regarding lunare wrasses, but I did not come across anything particularly relating to my fish situation.  We have kept a lunare wrasse in a 75 gal. aquarium for about 5 or 6 months now.  Tankmates include 1 snowflake moray eel, 2 domino damsels and assorted snails and hermit crabs.  We had a lionfish who died suddenly about a month ago.  There were no signs anything was wrong with that fish.  Just one morning, I woke up to find it belly up.  After that, I had the water checked and levels were perfect.  So we don't know what happened with the lionfish. <Diet?>  The only thing I can think of is perhaps it was injured by another fish.  At any rate, my concern now is with the wrasse.  It seems to be resting on the bottom of the tank for a few seconds, then gets up and swims around for a while, and goes back on the bottom.  Is that normal? <Wrasses do rest quite often.  Don't know what it's behavior was before the lion death.> It also likes to hide in some of the rocks (which I gather from your site is normal).<Yes>  Coloration and eating habits are fine.  I am just worried that it is coming down with something (maybe that the lionfish had?), and wondering what I can do.  I am going to take the water to get tested again today. <Shelly, lunare wrasses like meaty foods, and vitamins should be part of their diet.  A few drops of Selcon in their food does wonders.  Wrasses also like to burrow in a sand substrate.  Crushed coral etc is much too coarse for their skin.  Ten percent water changes weekly add to the health of fish also.  James (Salty Dog)> Thank you for your help. <You're welcome> Shelly

Wrasse concerns 10/9/05 Hi, <Hello> I'm sort of concerned about a lunar wrasse that I have. For a few weeks now, his appetite has tapered and he is lying on the bottom a little more than usual. <How big a tank, of what make-up, chemistry?> I've also noticed, for some time now, that he breathes rapidly. Is this normal for this fish? <Yes> As far as I know, he's always breathed rapidly. But with the decline in his eating and being somewhat more lethargic, I'm wondering if something is wrong. Other than that, he looks normal and healthy.  Up until just yesterday, he has been alone in the tank for several months. This after his Picasso trigger buddy jumped out of the tank to his demise. He now shares the tank with a queen angel. Thanks for any help! <... Please read re Thalassoma wrasses on WWM. Bob Fenner> 

Spitting lunar wrasse  2/8/06 Hey Bob, <Yo> I observed something interesting in my tank this evening.  One of my fish is an adult lunar wrasse, approximately 6 inches long.  I feed chopped up fresh sea food that is just dropped into the tank and frozen brine shrimp and bloodworms.  I put the brine shrimp and bloodworms in a "worm basket" to feed.  I do not know if that is the proper name, but it is what the folks at my LFS called it.  Anyway, it is a plastic mesh cone that the food sits in to slowly dissolve in the tank.  Well, I can not just leave it suction cupped to the glass because my wrasse will rip it off the wall.  So, I hold the cone in the water for a few seconds to let some food dissolve and then I pull it out until most of it is eaten.  Then I put it back in, let some dissolve, and remove it again.  I do this until all the food is slowly dissolved.  All of that to say this: I noticed tonight that when I pull the feeder out of the water, my wrasse will come to the surface and spit water at the feeder.   <Neat> I saw him spit it as far as 3-4 inches.  It was really an interesting behavior.  I have seen this behavior demonstrated with freshwater Amazon fish, but not with reef fish.  I cannot imagine that is a typical behavior, but one this fish has learned due to my feeding technique. <And who says fishes are dumb? Bob Fenner>

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