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FAQs on Fairy, Velvet Wrasses, Genus Cirrhilabrus Behavior

Related Articles: Fairy Wrasses,

Related FAQs: Velvet Wrasses 1, Velvet Wrasses 2, Velvet Wrasses 3, Velvet Wrasse Identification, Velvet Wrasse Compatibility, Velvet Wrasse Selection, Velvet Wrasse Systems, Velvet Wrasse Feeding, Velvet Wrasse Disease, Wrasses, Wrasse Selection, Wrasse Behavior, Wrasse Compatibility, Wrasse Feeding, Wrasse Diseases,

What to about disappearing wrasses?      12/29/15
Hi There,
I'm writing to see if I could get an outside opinion on what I should do regarding two newer additions to my tank that suddenly went MIA? The fish in question are two male Velvet Wrasses (C. exquisitus and C. solorensis)
that were purchased and quarantined together. Both never displayed any aggression towards each other and even rested together in the same pvc elbow during their stay in the QT tank. After being introduced to the display tank they both seemed to thrive for approximately two weeks. They then suddenly disappeared and have been not been seen out in the past 10 days.
<Mmm; the usual responses that come to mind; they're hiding; possibly in the substrate, though not typical for Cirrhilabrus spp.; eaten, or jumped out>
I have spotted both of them lurking in the rock work at night so they are still in the tank. After a lot of reading it sounds like this is not completely uncommon and can be linked with aggression from a tank mate.
<Mmm; yes; or not sufficient numbers to feel comfortable... these live in haremic conditions of one alpha male, several initial phase (females) and juveniles. Not bachelors>
The display tank is 120 gallons with a large amount of rock work set in two islands. The current inhabitants are 2 Ocellaris clowns, 1 Purple Firefish, 1 Royal Granma, 1 Threadfin Butterflyfish, and 1 Blue Jaw Triggerfish. I have tested my water a couple of times and everything has remained stable (SG 1.023, pH 8.2, NH/NO2 0, NO3 5 ppm). While I have never seen the Trigger display aggressiveness to anything in the tank he does do the occasional high speed pass around my rock work. My thought is the wrasse never became comfortable with it and went into hiding. I'm thinking about moving the trigger into the quarantine tank to see if the Wrasses decide to come back out. Does this sound like a good idea or should I just continue to be patient with everything as is?
<I'd be adding some females of the genus; not necessarily these species.
Bob Fenner>
Thanks,
Jonathan

Cirrhilabrus pylei swimming strangely... 6/21/10
Good Sunday to those at WWM!
<Yikes... now Mon. AM!>
Hope that all is going well with you and yours.
I've acquired a beautiful Cirrhilabrus pylei about 10 days ago from my LFS.
He was eating very well and looked alert, I personally fed him 20 Spectrum pellets so I brought him home. About three days ago he has started swimming sort of strangely, I can only describe it as though his tail end is heavier than the rest of him. He still eats, though not as vigorously, and he is very much aware of what is going on around him. He spends his time swimming like that around the tank and once in a while if someone chases him, he will swim "normally" for just a brief second. He does not show any colour changes as one would expect during stress or sit on the bottom of the tank as you see in a lethargic fish. His breathing rates have not increased. I've read that C. pylei is collected from deep water and so I thought it might be a swim bladder problem but I've read most people observe them swimming erratically, but my is not doing that...
Tank parameters are pH 8.2, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 5.
I've enclosed his picture. He swims around in that position that you see.
Please advise.
Thank you as always,
Jamie
<Mmm, may be "just stress" at play here... Cirrhilabrus spp. are very social animals, living in traveling shoals/groups... do you intend to add more Richard Pyle's (female) wrasses?

Re: Cirrhilabrus pylei swimming strangely... 6/21/10
That was my original plan - to have a male and two females, BUT, I'm worried they are more "delicate" than the average Cirrhilabrus, like the *solorensis, **exquisitus, **lubbocki *which I have currently*.
<I do agree that Pyle's Velvet Wrasse is touchier than these>
*A little information about this tank: it's a 72x24x30 with 250+ lbs live rock, lots and lots of hiding space, and the rocks are placed so that they can swim the whole length of the tank in both the front and back.
It's inhabitants:
Powder Blue Tang 4.0"
Atlantic Blue 4.5"
Kole Tang 3.5"
Cleaner wrasse (eating pellets, Nori, Mysis - thank goodness!)
Cirrhilabrus solorensis 2"
Cirrhilabrus exquisitus 2"
Mystery wrasse 1.5"
Flame Angel 2"
Emperor Angel 2" (I know that I will have to move this guy when the time comes. He was eating pellets like a champ and follows me everywhere I go!
I couldn't resist. And now in a little while I'll have an excuse to get a HUGE tank! >-< )
Percula clown (pair)
Firefish gobies x 5
Pearly Jawfish x 2
Randall's goby 4"
Yellow watchman goby 2"
Red scooter blennies x 2
Carberryi Anthias x 2
So you see, I think I am reaching full capacity if I'm not already there.
I would love to get females for all the Cirrhilabri (?) but then read somewhere that they are like canaries and will "flash" if you put mirrors in the tank... Maybe not?!?
<Not really>
I've removed the Pylei into my 20 gallon coral tank, he is in there with a orange spotted blenny. He looks like he is doing the same.
Do you think I have room for females in the 220 if he recovers and get to go back?
<I do think there is room there. BobF>
:) Thanks,
Jamie

Re: Cirrhilabrus pylei swimming strangely... 6/22/10
Hi Bob!
Really? There is room?
<I do think so>
That's really exciting news for me because I just LOVE fish interactions! My cutest "odd" couple right now is the small Yellow Watchman Goby and huge Randall's Goby "pair". They share the same cave and look after each other. The Yellow Watchman will sometimes "perch" on the back of the Randall and the Randall will protect the little one when one of the tangs come too close to their home. One time, the Yellow Watchman "kissed" the Randall on his cheek after being separated for a few hours!
I will give the Pylei some time to rest in the small tank and if he does better, I'll have my LFS order a few females of C. exquisitus, C. solorensis, and C. Pylei and then I can quarantine them together and then add them all at once.
I've noticed that when you add fishes it is easier for the new comer to be with a group as they cannot be singled out by the established fishes.
<This is so>
To give you an update, the Pylei is still swimming that strange way but is eating better.
<Thank you>
Thank you as always,
You and WWM has helped me tremendously over the months and years!
I've enclosed a picture I took in the coral reefs of Ihuru, Maldives as a "Thank You". I hope you enjoy it,
Jamie
<BobF>

Very nice!

Re: Cirrhilabrus pylei swimming strangely... 6/25/10
Hello WWM and Bob,
I was hoping to share good new about my C. pylei but he is not doing so well. He has difficulty swimming now and is spending the day lying on his side or his back on the bottom of the tank.
<Very bad signs>
I turn all pumps off to feed him and he eats greedily.
<Oh! A good sign>
He is smart to eat Formula One and Mysis. He is still very alert and moves his eyes well, he just couldn't seem to move his tail or that he is stiff in the back half of his body. What do you think this is? What should I do?
<Perhaps damage... from collection, handling... Not more that you can do that you are not already doing>
Thanks for your thoughts!
Jamie
<Welcome. BobF>

Fairy Wrasse Issue, beh., hlth. 7/8/09
http://s920.photobucket.com/albums/ad45/mdrumm/?action=view&current=P1000926.flv
Hi,
<Hello there>
I have a fairy wrasse that has developed swimming issues as shown in this video. Right now it's in QT and being treated with Prazi and Nitrofuricin Green.
<For what?>
It eats like a champ but has trouble swimming. Please tell me what you would recommend to get this wrasse back to good health. Thanks.
Mike
<Mmm, may have been damaged in collection... There is nothing to be gained by the above treatment. Only time can/will tell if this Cirrhilabrus improves. Bob Fenner>

Fairy Wrasse lump, and sys., beh. 12/10/08 Hello and thank you for the amazing wealth of advice that you offer entirely free to everyone. I have spent more hours than I care to think about browsing your site and I'm sure it has contributed to my enjoyment of my first 2 years of reef keeping by preventing disasters and related stress. <Ahh! Thank you for this. Deeply gratifying> In these 2 years I have not had any form of disease or infection (that I have noticed) so feel very inexperienced in this area. I have spent a number of hours searching your site for an answer but have been unable to locate one so, unfortunately, I need to ask my first question... My tank is a 180 litre display with a 40 litre sump. Display houses 1 fairy wrasse, 1 royal gramma, 1 blue devil damsel, a pair of tank bred Percs, a couple of red hermits, a variety of snails plus live rock and corals (mainly LPS with a couple of toadstools and some mushrooms lower down). Sump houses 4" sand bed and Chaeto macro algae plus Deltec mce-600 skimmer, heater and return pump. The system has been up and running for about 6 months with the wrasse being the last fish addition about 6 weeks ago. Last coral added was a Fungia a couple of weeks ago. SG 1.025-1.026, temp 25-26oC. Nitrate, nitrite, ammonia and phosphates are all nil. Ca 420, Alk 7 to 8 dKH (on the low end I know but seems stable here) ph between 8.0 and 8.3 (difficult to be precise on the kit - have asked for a meter for Xmas). I use RO water from my LFS for water changes. Two days ago I noticed my fairy wrasse had a lump on its face (please see photos). <I see them. They're excellent> Since introducing it to the tank it seems to react to it's own reflection on the inside of the glass and try to attack itself <Yes... a natural behavior...You should darken one end of the system (paper taped over the outside) to discount internal reflections> which has caused some damage to it's lips (a potential route in for bacterial infection? <Mmm, possibly> No sign of redness but difficult with a pink face!). The fish is normally very visible around the tank but started to only come out to feed. The lump doesn't seem to be getting any bigger (may have shrunk a little in the last 24 hrs) and the fish seems to be coming out a little more this evening. My LFS have advised that, as it does not appear red or weeping and the fish is eating ok, it is likely to be relatively benign and something that will go away by itself. I know patience is a virtue in this hobby but I figure this may be a time for an exception to the golden rule. <Mmm, rare...> I have managed to get a couple of photos that I attach in the hope that one of you be may able to share an opinion on what the problem is and whether or not it needs intervention. Please let me know if the files are too big and need cutting down. I have kept them reasonably large as I think I've got some decent pictures of the problem that may be of use to others should you wish to publish them on the site. Thanks again and I hope I haven't flaunted any of your very reasonable rules for asking a question or foolishly missed a disease photo library post. Chris <Thank you for writing, sharing your experience, accompanying graphics. A few things to state here. Cirrhilabrus spp. (fairy, velvet wrasses) are nervous, constantly moving animals that really not only need more space than here, or what most aquarists can afford them, but are also very social animals... Really requiring a mix of specimens of various sizes, a ratio of more, sometimes many more, females in a given system to "feel comfortable"... And, even given the large living volume/space and plenty of conspecifics, they still are "fabulous jumpers!"... A good idea to always have some sort of light/ing on outside their system, and definitely whatever conveyance to keep them in their tanks... that is not dangerous/damaging... My fave example is/was a huge tank up a multiple story building... in a neurologist's office years back... An "all plastic" (like screen door material) netting system arranged up the sides around the entire lip of the top of the system... such that when (not if) the Cirrhilabrus leapt out the top, they eventually fell back into the tank... some animals were still lost periodically... due to "sticking" on still-too-hot-but-cooling metal halide pennant fixtures strung above. So... the "bump" on the snout here will not likely go away... and this animal will continue its nervous behavior due to the size of this system, a dearth of mates to make a haremic shoal... and its inherent nature. IF you had the means to do so, moving it to larger quarters, adding more specimens of the same species (juveniles, females) would greatly decrease the "pacing" and jumping behavior... but not eliminate it. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

C. pylei, Looking for More Information... beh., fdg. mostly 08/28/08 Hello crew, <Lisa> After digging through what I could find on your page (which is by far one of the best sources available), and others, about the Cirrhilabrus pylei, I purchased a male that has done quite well so far, though I know only two months is nothing special with many fish. Over those two months, I have seen some conflicting information come up from fellow reefers on public forums and I'd like to see if you all know anything more about the particular species than what is available on your site and on fishbase.org. <Ok> I have three questions and the first is if there is any information as to whether or not the fish fades without a female present. <Does, will> I can easily support the addition of a female, finding one just seems to be quite difficult. <Mmm, yes... though the "initial phase" (am sure you're aware that Labrids are protogynic, synchronous hermaphrodites) are far more numerous in the wild than terminal/males, because they're not as pretty, large... they don't sell much, aren't collected much...> I am also assuming that, should the addition of a female be a good idea or necessary, that the location the female is from wouldn't matter. <Correct> The second question is where this particular color morph is from. Part of my identification issue may also stem from the difference of flash vs. no flash on the photo, and the other lighting conditions involved in the pictures I've found. <You are wise here> The Cirrhilabrus article wasn't very clear as to the origin of the fishes in the pictures, so I have included a picture of mine, also to be referenced with the third question. <Mmm, not able to tell... some of my pix (and most all on WWM are mine) are above water (aquarium), specimens of unknown locality> The last question has to do with feeding. When I got him, he was decidedly fat, but in comparing pictures overtime, it does seem that he is very slowly thinning from about the midpoint of the body, back. <Very, too common..> I currently feed mysis mix with Cyclopeeze every other day. All of my water parameters are ideal: amm, nitrites, nitrates, and phosphates are all zero, ph of 8.4, and temp ranges between 79 and 81. For Alk, my test gives a buffering capacity, which it tests out to 300 ppm, and the test says that that's fine. The only thing that I have seen "bullying" him are the neon gobies that he does not like when they try to clean him. He shows no outward signs of illness. Should I feed more often or try a pelleted food, or is it possible that there is some other issue I may be overlooking? Or am I just a worrying parent? <Is a food, availability issue likely... A very good idea to feed small amounts more frequently AND add a DSB of size somewhere, perhaps a vigorous, large refugium to supply more food organisms on a continuous basis> Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you soon, Lisa
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: C. Pylei, Looking for More Information 08/28/08 Bob, <Lisa> Thank you for the speedy response. I will have to start pestering my LFS about getting a female or two in. <Two or even three...> I have not seen the wrasse picking at the rocks at all (am assuming you were thinking about 'pods as a food supply), <One of a few sources...> so I will have to increase the amount I feed the tank. I do have an attached refugium, but as I have no active pod-eaters, I have not bothered trying to harvest them for the main tank, so I will try that as well. <Good, though, they should "wash over" through the pumping mechanism, or overflow... depending on the plumbing/tanks arrangement.> Thanks again,
Lisa
<Welcome. BobF>
Rhomboid injury... jumper 11/07/07 Hi Guys & Gals @ WWM, <Dustin> Thanks so much in advance for any help you can give me with my problem. I have searched the web and your web site, especially the FAQ's on wrasse diseases, with no luck finding a diagnosis to my fish's wound. <This is what this is... a very typical Cirrhilabrus "jump" trauma... the genus, and a few other Labrids, is notorious for taking a shot for the stars... in this case, cutting a chunk out of its topside...> This evening I came to watch the spectators in my aquarium for a little while before heading to bed and I found this white spot on the back of my prize rhomboid wrasse. I had only been in watched them a couple hours earlier with no signs of trauma. <Only takes a moment> I am no expert but it does not look bacterial nor parasitic, but almost like a gouge wound. <Agreed> My tank parameters are as follows: ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 5, temp 79.5 F, calcium 450, Alk 3.5 55 Gallon Reef Tank with the following inhabitants: 1 - 4.5" Magnificent Foxface (Siganus magnifica) <Needs more room than this> 1 - 3" Rhomboid wrasse (Cirrhilabrus rhomboidalis) 1 - 2" Potters Angel (Centropyge potteri) 2 - 1.5" Green Chromis (Chromis viridis) 2 Hitchhiker urchins 1 Medium/Large Rose Bubble Tip Anemone 2 Euphyllia sp. corals (Hammer, Frogspawn) 3 Acropora corals 1 Sarcophyton Leather <Will all need more room in time...> My best guess at what this injury may have stemmed from would be that of a poisonous Foxface spine or from darting around the tank and getting jabbed by one of the urchins. <Nah!> It looks like what I would expect fish flesh to look like. I will include 2 pictures following. One I took hours before I notice the wound and the second is the best shot I could get of the would. <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc266/fittiger/rhomboidwound1.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a> <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc266/fittiger/rhomboidnowound.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a> I'm a bit panicky at the moment so please excuse any courtesies that I may have forgotten. Thanks again for any help. Sincerely afraid of losing this wrasse, Dustin <No worries... this wound doesn't appear too severe... I would do nothing overt here... Just leave the fish in place... consider where you're going to put that much larger system... Cheers, Bob Fenner>

How long before a female cirrhilabrus rubrimarginatus starts to become a male? 8/26/07 Hey There WWM <A bit of it> I purchased a male and female cirrhilabrus rubrimarginatus from Live Aquaria. Unfortunately the male didn't survive Fed Ex. The female is doing well. I had wanted them as a pair but at the moment I can't find a male in local store or online. However, Live Aquaria has some more females. <Okay> My goal is to have a male and at least one female, and since this species will change sex I could buy 1-2 more females and hope only one changes to a dominate male. <Yes> I could also hold out and hope a male shows up at a local store or online. <Mmmm, up to you> My question is: how long do I have before my current female starts to change sex? <Perhaps weeks to a few months in the presence of conspecifics> It has only been in my tank 4 days. Is it a safer bet to just introduce another female (and would it be better if it was 2)? <If you have room, two...> Thanks so much Rich <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Wrasse Part II... color retention, improvement, nutr. 2/14/07 I do have a follow up. <Groan... where is the prev. corr.? I can barely remember the house address. Thank goodness am inside right now...> Any truth that diet can help keep the color bright on Fairy/flasher wrasses? <Umm, yes... is one of the principal factors... let's see, along with size of the system, presence, ratio of conspecifics, their sex... water quality (a big category!)...> Seems to make sense. What would be the foods of choice? Thanks again. Steve. <Mmm, see WWM re foods/feeding/nutrition of the genera, Labrids period, Marines en toto... Some fun now! BobF> Re: Wrasse Part 1 2/14/07 Bob, Here is the first part with most of my questions that I sent. Thanks for the quick reply and info. Much appreciated. <Ah, thank you> I am very interested in adding a wrasse, but need some info and advice. I have room for a Mandarin goby and a Flasher/Fairy wrasse or two smaller wrasses. Leaning towards Mandarin w/wrasse. I have peaceful FOWLR system with shrimp. Need reef safe fish. Looking for a blue, green (or yellow) wrasse as I have plenty of oranges and reds in the tank currently. We love color. I don't want to nuts as I saw the Lineatus over $250, but am willing to spend more than unusual for the right fish. We like the Scott's Fairy Wrasse, but know they come in different shades depending on origin. How do you feel about keeping one SFW and still maintaining decent color? <Will likely fade in time...> Any assistance or info you think I need would be appreciated. Steve <BobF> Temminckii wrasse (cant find) Wrasse in Hiding? 2/9/07 To Whom this may concern, <Hi there Shawn, Mich with you today.> I bought a pair of temminckii fairy wrasse last <F>Friday (male - female). The male had some dark black spots on his sides I would have to say I think that it's do <due> to stress? <Mmm, maybe, maybe not.> I accumulated <acclimated> the fish for several hours before I placed them in the tank they also had a dip before entering the tank. <Mmm, no QT?> After the fish entered the tank the male went right under some live rock and stayed they for 3 days. He wouldn't move much only in circles to see what was going on the only way I could tell he was alive was that his eyes where <were> moving. So the problem I have is that I have a sea hair <hare> and the other day he decided he wanted to go in the area that the male wrasse was in. As the sea hair <hare> began to burry <bury> himself in that area you could see the wrasse wedged in between the hair <hare> and the live rock. The next day the hair <hare> began to rise (I wasn't there to witness this) and since I can't find the wrasse anywhere. I lifted the rock where all of this took place and nothing !!!!!! I can't seem to find this guy anywhere and the female wrasse has been doing great this whole time. <OK.> As for my tank its 140 gal with 4 large polyp stony corals as for the fish I have 3 tangs: a Naso, a chocolate, and yellow eyed tang and inverts include 3 cleaner shrimp and one coral bandit <Banded> water condition ph 8.4 salinity is 1.023 cal is 400 alk is 10 <W>what to do is he buried or dead. Or coral bandit <Banded> food. <Hopefully he's hiding. Not uncommon with this family. How are your ammonia, nitrite, nitrate levels? Any peaks? This could be an indication of a poor outcome for your fish. Not a lot you can do, but monitor your parameters and wait and see.> Thanks <You're welcome. -Mich> Shawn Smith <Please use your spell checker and grammar checker next time you submit a query.>

Temminckii Wrasse... beh. 2/14/07 Hello, <Shawn> I have a pair of these wrasses that i <I...> purchased from my LFS (male- female). The problem is that the male doesn't move around to <too> much just between 2 or three locations in the tank. <Mmm, kind of what the species does in small/ish volumes> When he gets to these areas he just lays there on the sand bottom <Mmm, this is a bad indication> and doesn't do much at all. Before i forget they have been in the tank for almost 2 weeks this Friday <Friday> coming up will be the second week. I don't notice anything on the fish nothing visual at all. Is this normal behavour for this fish? <Shouldn't rest on the bottom> The other issue i am having is the female. At first she was doing great moving <moving> all over hanging out with all of the other fish in the tank and eating fine. This Saturday i cleaned the inside of he tank first time since the wrasses where introduced to the tank. After i finished my cleaning duties i couldn't find the female anywhere. I feed like normal she still was no where to be found (very unusual she was always in the mix of things when food was about) same to be said for Sunday. When i got home from work on Monday there she was on the sand bottom up against the glass not doing to much at all. Kinda like the male does all the time except she was in the wide open the male is usually under rock but you can see him still. I did try feeding she did seem to be eating a little but not much. Even when the lights went out she didn't even hide. <Mmm, awful skittish, eh?> So i guess what am asking is what do you think the problem could be. Or do you think she is not eating enough ????? my water is fine alk is 10 sal is 1.022 <Low... I'd keep this about 1.025> ph is 8.3 to 8.6 depending day to night and no traces of nitrates and same for ammonia 0 thanks for your help Shawn Smith <How large is this system? What are the other livestock? How much live rock do you have? Have you read re the genus on WWM? BobF> Re: Temminckii Wrasse... beh. Still not reading or using punctuation... 2/14/07 BOB, <SHAWN> I'm sorry i forgot to tell you all that stuff . The fish tank is 140 gal with about 125 lbs of live rock. I have about 2 to 3 inches of live sand. <Mmm, would have either more or less here... see WWM re> As for the live stock i have 3 cleaner shrimp 1 yellowed eye tang a chocolate tang and a Naso tang and a coral bane shrimp. You stated small/ish volumes can you explain a little more in detail. thank you Shawn Smith <Oh, re behavior... much more "natural" behavior in large/r, less-crowded settings... Yours reads as fine here... I do hope that you don't have a problematical specimen. BobF> My Cirrhilabrus Rubrimarginatus is shaking ... 8/19/06 Dear WWM Crew, <Diane> I have had, what I believe to be a Cirrhilabrus Rubrimarginatus, for about 4 months now. It's between 4 and 5 inches long and really a beautiful fish. Up until lately, it seemed to be eating, swimming, etc. quite normally. I don't know how else to describe this but to say that for the past couple of weeks, I notice that the fish has begun to shake when it's swimming around. It seems to be getting worse every day. Like a person would shake with Parkinson's disease. Is it having problems breathing? <Do not believe so.> Background: My aquarium is 50 gal. It has a refugium w/Euro protein skimmer. Water parameters are all normal. Salinity is 1.023. Temp is usually between 77 and 81 degrees; occasionally has spiked higher though (86) when I had forgotten to turn the external fan on in the morning before leaving - and once when we had a six hour power failure during a heat wave - (not fun) ... :o( Other inhabitants are a yellow tang, blue tang, 2 clowns, 3 green Chromis, diamond goby, 6-line wrasse, and one Anthias. <This tank is much too small for these fish, especially the tangs and your subject wrasse.> An anemone, <Not a good idea having an anemone with non-anemone tolerant fish, and corals.> a few corals, snails, blue leg crabs and hermits. Recently I had a red slime problem and was told by my LFS that I might be feeding them too much. <More than likely from overcrowding than anything else.> He suggested that I only feed them every other day to eliminate the red slime. I did, and it worked, but I am concerned that I am not feeding them enough now. I feed them a variety of foods- i.e., frozen cubes, fish roe (from the sushi market), ground up shrimp, seaweed, Cyclop-eeze, plus a weekly regime of different additives for the reef - DT-live or Microvert, calcium, alkalinity, etc. I change out 10 gal. of water/week, plus have my LFS come out once/month to do a complete cleaning and make sure everything is running properly. Should I be concerned or is this normal behavior for this kind of fish? I did take a 15 sec. video of it tonight that I could email you if you want to take a look? <If the fish appears to be itching himself on the substrate while doing this, the fish is exhibiting hunting behavior, trying to uncover crustaceans to munch on. I've also observed this shuddering effect with other wrasses present as a "this is my territory" display. Is this fish eating well. The Pink Margin Wrasse is not one of the easier ones to acclimate. Keep an eye on him for signs of any parasitic type disease that may be developing. Do read our wrasse behavior FAQ's also, and related links above. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/wrassebehfaqs1.htm> Thank you for your help. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Sincerely, Diane Re: My Cirrhilabrus Rubrimarginatus is shaking ... 8/19/06 Thank you for the quick reply, James. <You're welcome.> I knew when I purchased the blue tang that he would eventually outgrow the tank. My justification was to trade him back to my LFS when he gets too big and start again with a little one. He was about the size of a quarter when I got him - and he's now about the size of the circumference of a standard coffee cup. The yellow tang is about the same size. Still, your point is well taken regarding the tank being too small. Regarding your questions about the wrasse - he is eating fine. No, he's not itching himself at all on the substrate that I've noticed. He lays behind the rocks a lot and sometimes on the bottom of the sand. At times, I've thought him dead because he's in sort of curved positions. Then I'll see his eyes move - or I put a net into the water to pick him up and he swims away without problem. When I open the top of the aquarium, <These fish are jumpers, so ensure the top of the tank is well covered.> he usually comes right out looking for food. He only seems to shudder when he's swimming around in the water. So far - no parasitic type diseases on any of the fish - but I'll keep watching... <Do you have a fine sand substrate the wrasse can take cover/sleep in?> Thank you for the link - I read a lot last night on your site - but I think I missed that one so will go back and read through it. You and your team provide such a wonderful service to the rest of us novices out here who so enjoy these beautiful creatures. I can't imagine how you find the time to do this. But I'm glad that you do! <Is a collective effort among the crew.> Thanks again. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Best regards, Diane

Re: My Cirrhilabrus Rubrimarginatus is shaking ... Yes, I do. It's between 3-4 inches deep. I have seen (and heard) him jump before so I do keep it covered. It's not a canopy on top, but two sets of lights (power compact lighting) that go across with about an inch or so in between. I place a fan on top every day to keep the air circulating and the temperature down. Just enough space to allow the cool air from the fan in. Thanks again James - I'll keep reading and observing them - and considering a larger aquarium... <Sounds good, James (Salty Dog)> Sincerely, Diane Quarantine Or Not? - 03/03/06 WWM Crew, <<Hello>> As always thanks for all the work you do on this site. It is a tremendous help to me and many other enthusiasts alike. <<Rewarding to hear.>> I have a question about a painted fairy wrasse (Cirrhilabrus solorensis?). <<yes>> I just purchased a 2" specimen along with a 2" raccoon butterfly (Chaetodon lunula). I drip acclimated them for an hour and a half then moved both of them to a bare bottom 20 gallon long qt tank. <<Mmm...>> Inside the tank I have several different PVC fittings for them to hide in. The butterfly is doing great and swimming around, but the wrasse keeps trying to fit under the pipes. <<Not unexpected. QT is very useful and necessary, but at times/under certain conditions can do more harm than good. I would give this fish a pH and temperature adjusted freshwater dip and place it in the display tank (you do have a suitable sand bed in the display, yes?>> I know that they like to bury themselves in the sand, but I'm worried about him banging into the bottom of the pipes. <<Indeed...and psychological damage as well.>> Do you know of anything I could put in the qt tank that he could get under that would be better for him? <<Not without compromising the QT tank. Best to move to the display as explained.>> Also if his behavior continues should I move him to the main tank after a few days? <<I would do it without delay.>> My main tank is a 95 gallons, 55 gallon sump, 110 pounds of live rock, 4" hippo tang, 7 blue green Chromis, two cleaner shrimp, and some Cerith and turbo snails. Thanks for any help you can provide, Cory <<Regards, EricR>>

Bummed male flame wrasse Hello Bob, I'm sorry that you didn't have a chance to make it out to the Big Island last January. Would have been a hoot trying to dive though. All the usual shore diving spots were getting hammered and I mean HAMMERED with huge waves. <Wish you were out here with us right now... still can... am here for another few weeks. Some hashers, ChuckR et ux. of WWM, Pete... and I are here> On to the reason that I'm writing... While out in Hawaii I caught a male and female Flame wrasse and shipped them back here to San Diego. <Neat... Cirrhilabrus jordani... not easy to catch> Arrived fine and have been happier than any other flame I've had before. Haven't really had an unhappy flame yet... till now. With in the past few days I've noticed that the male is all bloated like he has eaten too much. Not real sociable and out displaying. Still swimming fine but the bloating is a little more each day and I think he's gonna pop any day now. Really doesn't eat anymore, kind of pecks at some of the small bits that float by then goes back into hiding. Can't get the bugger out of my 125 gal reef setup to treat. All parameters for water quality are really groovy. My SPSs tell me when I've been less than diligent, well before the fish tell me. Problem seems to be an internal bacterial infection. The question being can I treat him in the reef system without damaging the setup (i.e. SPSs) since I can't get him out and with what do you suggest if I can. Hope to hear back while there might still be hope. Thanks, Paul Witt <Maybe (what I would do) try bolstering the fish's immune system through feeding, directly adding Selcon or equivalent to foods, the water... do whatever you can to spiff up water quality... Bob Fenner>

Breeding Cirrhilabrus? 10/9/04 I'm trying to breed Cirrhilabrus wrasses, (Cirrhilabrus temminckii) and (Cirrhilabrus flavidorsalis?). Do you guys have any pointers or info? Philip, S. El Monte <hmmm... I am not aware of any significant hobby or commercial breeding/culture activity with this group of fishes. Do check into the database at the Breeder's Registry online... and perhaps the old TFH "Reproduction of Reef Fishes" for field observations that might give you insight to go on. From what we know, you will need very large and tall aquaria to begin to have any chance at successful pairings for their elaborate and extended mating "dances". Also, do think about visiting or chatting with the folks at some public aquaria like Atlantic in Riverhead NY where spawnings (no attempt at rearing) is an almost daily occurrence. Best regards, Anthony>

Breeding Cirrhilabrus II 10/11/04 Do you have a link to the website of the Atlantic public aquarium in Riverhead NY? <if you are going to succeed... you need to be more resourceful than that <G>: simply do a keyword search with the info given to you: "Atlantis Aquarium" "Riverhead, NY", etc... it will show up on the first google page of hits. Do help yourself, bub> I would be totally interested if the fish are spawning like crazy. <I have watched them spawn... and my NY friends say this is a regular occurrence in the evenings> By tall aquaria, how tall are we talking about? <several meters - pool sized: much bigger than home aquaria, as they need a deep column of water to run to the surface for their mating rituals... like Centropyge angels> I've already got four C. temminckii in quarantine, but I don't know if they're still in the female phase about to transition to being males or if they're immature males in development. <sex change can occur completely in as little as 10-14 day> So far the pics on the internet I've seen are probably of dominant(?) and subordinate males(?), (based on the elongated pelvic fins), but no females(?). They are anywhere from 1 3/4" to 2" in length. The pelvic fins on all of them are not elongated yet. By the way thanks for the leads. Philip <very best of luck! Anthony>

Fairy Wrasse Aggression 2/9/05 Good evening, WWM team. <Howdy> I've really appreciated your advice dispensed via the site in the past, but I can't find a good answer to my current dilemma, so I'm asking in the hopes that you might have some thoughts. I recently added a grouping of four C. rubriventralis to my 100 gal. system, and am having some aggression issues amongst the group. The wrasses arrived in decent shape; all were just under 2 inches in length on arrival. They acclimatized quickly in quarantine, and I moved them to my main system after two weeks. The established residents are 2 ocellaris clowns and 4 L. amboinensis shrimp, all very happy (plus various snails, soft corals, feather dusters, etc.). Initially, everyone got along well. However, after about 10 days in the main system, the wrasse that had grown the most ("Bully") began bullying the others (but not the other residents). Bully would chase the other wrasses around the tank, eventually herding them into one of the back corners. If one moved from that area, they would be chased back. I haven't seen any real attacks; no wounds, fin tears, etc., but Bully is definitely chasing, bumping, and generally making live hard on the other three. <The establishment of a pecking order.> It's now been a few days of this, and the other three have taken to hiding in the sand or rockwork during portions of the day. <As long as there is not physical nipping, biting, wounds... it may settle down soon once the order is set> Interestingly, Bully doesn't really act up during mealtimes, and everyone seems to be getting enough to eat. Water parameters have all been fine (undetectable NH4 & NO2, NO3 < 5, pH 8.2-8.3, sal. 1.025, Ca 400, dKH 11.2, temps 78-80 depending on lights). After reading all the material I can find online, my assumption is that all four were juveniles to start (as I originally wanted), but that Bully has started to make the change to a male. <Indeed possible> The aggression, while stressing the other wrasses, seems like it could be within the normal range for this social phase. <Agreed> If so, I don't want to disrupt things by isolating Bully and risk having one of the others start to change as well, leaving me with two males in too little space. At the same time, the bullying seems a bit excessive (my wife refers to it as domestic violence and is threatening to feed Bully to the cats). On top of that, the coloration of all four isn't so different yet that I can definitely tell the sex of each of the fish (I haven't found great male/female comparison photos), so they may all still be immature, or all have been male initially, although I don't think that's the case. If you'd like to see pictures, I can try to snap a few. The bottom line is that if I've got a problem fish on my hands, I'd rather isolate/trade/sell him (anything but turn him into sashimi for the cats) than risk the other three, but I'm not sure how to make the call whether to let this play out or intervene. Any thoughts? Thanks, Mark <Without severe aggression... I'd wait it out a bit longer. Anthony>

Behavior of Scott's Fairy Wrasses in pairs Hi Bob, <cheers... Anthony in his stead. Have any of you ever seen a female Scott's Fairy Wrasse or are you familiar with their behavior in pairs? <indeed> The LFS sold me a presumed M/F pair of Scott's Fairy Wrasses. The male certainly looks like all the photos I have seen of the typical male Scott's Fairy Wrasse. I cannot seem to find a photo of a female. <when in doubt...fishbase.org http://filaman.uni-kiel.de/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.cfm?ID=12728 the photos here are all of pairs, however most are pickled for science> The "female" is not as vibrant. Her coloration is very similar minus the red streak so typically seen on the side of the males. <did you buy the fishes after watching them in the dealers tank for a while... a week or more? How are they in your QT? Do they behave like a pair? Is there reason to suspect that you weren't sold a bonded pair but two fish thrown together?> They have been in a 25g Q tank for 3 days. He is the more timid of the 2, hiding most of the time. I noticed at feeding time if he sees "her" he goes back to his hiding place. I have seen "her" chase him a few times. <doesn't sound terrible at all> I did do my homework but I am confused. According to the information presented on the Coral Realm web site they are..... [quote] protogynous, monandric hermaphrodites -- that is, all individuals are first female and then change to males. In the fairy wrasses, young fish (just under 2.5 cm - 1 inch - in one species) are asexual and as they grow the ovaries begin to form (Kobayashi and Suzuki 1990). Most individuals will develop functional ovaries, reproduce and then begin transforming into males. However, a small number of fish will never reproduce as females, and instead begin changing sex immediately (Kobayashi and Suzuki 1990). There is also evidence that indicates that males can reverse their sex and transform back into females. This would possibly occur if the density of males greatly exceeds the females in an aggregation[/quote] In Marine Fishes 500+ Essential-to-Know Aquarium Species Scott Michael mentions that pairs can be kept as long as the male and female are either introduced together or the male after the female. Have any of you kept pairs? <Bobs in Indo, but I have kept pairs> Is it normal for the females to chase the males in this species? <they are skittish and poor shipping fishes categorically. All bets on behavior are off for the first week or two.> I would imagine their behavior would be the opposite. <not 3 days after a long couple of weeks in transit on import. This sensitive fish is peculiar until establishment and we cannot expect a stressed fish to act stereotypical... more time my friend> Ok, so if they can change back and forth do they change color and patterning as well? <no sex change likely here just yet> Do I have a pair or is my presumed female.... a female transitioning into a male or visa versa? <no idea without photo and longer time in captivity> Should I let them work it out? <yes please> The male is a beauty I would hate to lose him to stress. <the QT is very fine... just monitor the female and pull if necessary> Thanks so much as always for the help. Leslie <best regards, Anthony>

Re: Behavior of Scott's Fairy Wrasses in pairs <<when in doubt...fishbase.org > http://filaman.uni-kiel.de/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.cfm?ID=12728 the photos > here are all of pairs, however most are pickled for science>> Thank you for the link. She looks like the first photo but is more blue than greenish. <<did you buy the fishes after watching them in the dealers tank for a while... a week or more?>> I saw them in the store on 2 separate occasions about 4 days apart. The owner says she has had them for about six weeks. They were purchased for her tank and she decided to put a pair of Anthias in instead completing the stocking for her tank. They were in separate tanks. <Arghhhh!> So they were sold as a male and a female not a mated pair. Sorry, I didn't make that very clear. I noticed the female was chasing a newly added clown fish in the LFS. I should have suspected something then. <many possibilities not the least of which is that 6 weeks alone for the female could have permitted the sex change or that it was never a female but unsexed or an unexpressed male> > <How are they in your QT? They are both hiding except at meal time. Both are eating frozen PE Mysis, frozen enriched BS as well as some flake. <Excellent!!!> The first day the male seemed to be intimidated by the female, going back into hiding whenever seeing her. The second day the female seemed to be avoiding the male, by darting into the rocks whenever he was near. They are sharing the Q tank with a Midas Blenny, a Black and White Percula Clown and a Red Scooter Dragonet. They do not have any interest in any of the other fish. > < Is there reason to suspect that you weren't sold a bonded pair but two fish thrown together?> Yes I believe so as they were in separate but neighboring tanks. <unfortunate> The owner told me she had had them together previously and moved the male so she could add some other fish to that tank. <inconclusive if not dubious... why bother to split a peaceful pair? Why not just put the new/incoming fish into another tank... like the one that the female was moved to. Does not seem kosher> > Have any of you kept pairs? > <Bobs in Indo, but I have kept pairs> Lucky guy! <he lives a charmed live and deserves it for his efforts and attitude among many things. As far as the Anthiines... I'm still thinking that it is too soon to worry. Without severe fin nipping or aggression... lets wait it out for a few weeks> Thanks again as always. Best Regards, Leslie <best regards, Anthony>

Re: Behavior of Scott's Fairy Wrasses in pairs Hi again Anthony, <cheers> I have a bad feeling that my wrasses are both males. <hmmm... tough to say from these pics. The "females" dorsal is held down. Males have a nice yellow splash on the tips of the soft rays of the dorsal. Still... the images give me hope that you may have a sexed pair... a compatible pair however is another matter> I sat in front of the tank this afternoon for 3 hours or so with the camera and got to observe quite a bit. They are both out and cruising around the tank most of the day now. I got some OK shots....not my usual quality but good enough to give you an idea of what they look like. The "male" is a tad smaller than the alleged "female". Their coloration is exactly the same with the exception of the red blotch on the males side. I noticed the posterior tips of his dorsal fin are a bit tattered today, they however do not appear to be split, frayed or have bites out of them. "She" did quite a bit of displaying with her fins fully erect. His seemed to be some where between clamped and relaxed. I would say I saw her chase him maybe 5 times. She chased him , he would dart behind a rock and she would swim off. < a good sign... just pecking order issues... reversed as they are here> He always came back out, almost immediately. I never saw her corner him, or nip at him.. He does not look as good as he did the other day. I saw him flash once. I am on my guard as I have had several bouts/wipeouts due to Marine Velvet. I am keeping my Q tank and the 2 display tanks without inverts at a specific gravity 1.010 to 1.011 until they are stocked. The one tank that has a few corals is kept at 1.021. <yes... not too low for corals please... no lower in fact> So, I am not sure what that flashing is about. <just posturing> I took a good look with a magnifying glass and did not see anything concerning. So, would an unsexed or unexpressed male lack the typical red splash of color the males usually display on their sides? <yep... until it could be expressed (the dominant male gets removed from the crowd)> Is that something they develop and lose with the changing of their sex? <yep again> I have attached some photos.....hopefully they will helpful. Reviewing these photos now and comparing the fins of the 2 fish, it appears that there is more of the males fin missing than I originally thought. <no worries just yet> Do you think it is still OK to wait and watch? <yes, based on above observations> I often wonder how Kosher this particular LFS is. I often get very good advice, occasionally get info that is in direct conflict with what I consider to be good information from reliable sources and have "caught" them in an occasional untruth. <alas, you can get good advice at a bad store and bad advice at a generally good store. Being an educated consumer is the solution> I prefer not to give my business to those sorts of places, but the problem is they get really nice fish, have more variety, reasonable prices as well as some less typically seen fish. So I am on my guard and try to be careful when shopping there. <your best bet> I just saw your article in Reef Keeping Magazine. I didn't realize you wrote for them or had a book out. <yep... have co-authored the first of three more books with Bob Fenner and Steve Pro here. We begin taking pre-orders this month (shameless plug <G>)> That's great. I can't wait to check your book out. <thanks kindly> I am a seahorse keeper and have just begun to get into corals, so my knowledge is severely lacking there. <its a wonderful journey as you learn> I have never kept much due to inadequate lighting. <the lighting might have been fine, just the advice on species selection was bad...heehee. There are many hardy low light corals> All my tanks crashed a few months ago......long story.....So I after 3 months fallow I have the opportunity to re do them all. I have just upgraded the lights on my 3 tanks. I have a 50g with 2 96w pc.s, a 44T with 2 65w pc.s and a 30T with 2 65w pc.s. <very nice> I am looking forward to learning as much as I can and filling my tanks with some pretty things I was never able to keep. Thanks so much for all your help. Best Regards, Leslie <kindly, Anthony>

Cirrhilabrus scottorum Identity crisis Bob, I have 2 Cirrhilabrus scottorum - Scott's Fairy Wrasse and have run into the almost complete loss of color problem. I originally bought 2 so that 1 would change to the female coloring and maybe give me a shot at keeping the male coloring. Well there was absolutely no fighting for dominance. The larger of the 2 stayed with his male coloring and the other smaller one (about 1/2 the size) started changing almost immediately. Now we are a couple months down the road and the dominant male has slowly lost his coloring and now is nearly the color pattern of a female. I guess the transition was too easy and he feels no need to display his dominance???? <Mmm... not likely. More likely genetic, nutritional...> Actually he less striking than the female. He doesn't have as much of a purple hue to him, just VERY dark. I can still make out a little of the red square on his side. <This species does show tremendous variation by "region". Please take a look at these thumbnails on fishbase.org: http://www.fishbase.org/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.cfm?ID=12728 or key the scientific name in on a search if this won't come up.> I feed almost every form of frozen food available, so can't think of anything on the nutrition front. However I do not soak the food in any vitamins, etc. Have never been a big fan of this. <I am, and encourage you to become a fan... Vitamins do work... for health, color, life... for your livestock... and you!> Simple question, has anyone kept a Scott's coloring long term?? <Yes> What did you/they do, and any suggestions on changing the sex of one of my Scott's back to male. Thanks for the help. Regards, Brad Johnson <Do use a liquid vitamin and iodide prep. on this and your other fish's foods for a few weeks, once a week directly in the water. Bob Fenner>

RE: Cirrhilabrus scottorum Identity crisis Bob, Thanks for the quick reply. On detailed close inspection, the purple hue is much more evident than I had originally thought. However the red square is still slightly there. <Ah! Perhaps this individual is still "changing" quite a bit> Looked at your pics and they don't really match. Mine originally looked more like: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WrassePix/Cirrhilabrus/Cirrlabrus%20scottorumAQ3.jpg I had some Zoë laying around so I have started soaking the food prior to feeding. Do you have any favorite vitamins, or method of soaking the food (length of time, etc) <No favorite manufacturers. Most are fine as far as I am aware (not actually made by the pet-fish companies that label, distribute them, but by much bigger, human-intended concerns). Time to soak about ten-fifteen minutes does about all the good that can be... and administering directly to the systems water once a week are my standard operating procedures here> I do fear now my problem is they have both become females. Without introduction of a third I feel I am at a loss on this one. However I am encouraged at your thought that this could indeed be nutritional. <Yes, and/or just time... Do agree that a very large system, more individuals would lead to one individual becoming/assuming male looks/behavior... but in time one of these two will likely become a male... a matter of months. You likely know that many wrasses studied, all the Cirrhilabrus I'm aware of, are protogynous synchronous hermaphrodites... first females, turning into males if conditions allow/warrant it... Patience my friend. Bob Fenner> --Brad

Re: Hey Bob ;) (missing wrasse) Cirrhilabrus scottorum (Scott's Fairy Wrasse ) OK, I left town for three days and when I returned, he was GONE!!!!!!!!!!!! There was no ammonia spike, he is not in the overflow and all parameters are sound. I have been back for 5 days and still no sign of him. All parameters perfect. My LFS guy suggests that he could be "burrowing" for a few days or more. . . <Could be burrowing... more likely jumped out... do you have a cat/burglar? Bob Fenner> Any ideas?? Thanks, my friend Rich

Got my Lubbock's! <<Hi, JasonC here, filling in for Bob while he's off diving>> I bought my Lubbock's fairy wrasse on Saturday and added him with my Centropyge argi. (I know, I should have quarantined but I'm only planning on two fish and I wait until I know the fish has been at the LFS for a while). <<well, then you also know you can expect to have two fish to treat when something turns up>> Turned the lights off afterwards and the wrasse hid all night. Sunday morning he was ready to come out, the aggression was limited to a 2 second chase. He ate that morning and is eating now like he's been established forever. Thanks for the info before on helping me choose the right fish out of that list. Everything's going very well. <<Best of luck. J -- >>

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