Wrasses can be one of the best additions to a home aquarium with their beautiful coloring, active lifestyle and social behaviors. It should be noted that like all species there can be exceptions.

Some Wrasse species, however, can be hard to keep in a home aquarium, notably the Labroides.

A Leopard and Cleaner Wrasse together

The stunning Leopard Wrasse

Social behaviors of the wrasses are very different with some being very socially acceptable at the juvenile stage, then becoming aggressive as they mature. Some start out as aggressive and continue that way for life. Some will protect their territory against members from other species, while some will protect it from everyone including their own.

In the Wrasse family, there is about 60 genera with over 500 different species of fish contained within. Wrasses are found all over the world in tropical areas, with many being very colorful and some not so much. Some are well suited to aquarium life and others not. Ranging from a few centimeters up to 2 meters long there is an array of difference between them all.

Some species will even go through several color changes in their lives which has made things more difficult for scientists to identify them. Some fish of the same species have been seen to look so different at times they were originally thought to be 2 separate species.

As with many marine fish, Wrasses primary source of movement comes from using their pectoral fins and will use their tailfin for fast getaways when in danger. Many of the wrasses will utilize sand and substrates to bury themselves in as well. Mostly suitable for reef aquariums with being known for picking off small crustaceans as being the only concern. Ensure you research the type of wrasse you are thinking of adding to your tank before purchasing to ensure they will suit your personal setup.

Wrasses are well known for being fast and active fish with endless amounts of energy, with a large appetite to boot. They are seldom fussy eaters with the exception of the cleaner wrasse who requires specific nutrition. Diets from species to species will vary but most enjoy eating crustaceans and molluscs. In an aquarium they need to be provided with a range of meaty foods and brineshrimp – most frozen foods will do. As they are known for having big appetites and as its recommended to keep up with this, they will put a larger load on your tank so water quality will need to be maintained constantly.

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