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Reef Safe Fish: Wrasses

What Do You Mean Reef Safe?

As you know not all marine aquarium fish are reef safe. Many saltwater fish will harm corals, many saltwater fish will harm or kill invertebrates. Reef Safe saltwater fish are marine fish that are safe for corals and invertebrates to include in any reef aquarium. While it has to be said that no marine fish can be considered 100% trustworthy around live coral and small invertebrates, purchasing any of the saltwater fish in the Reef Safe category will be as close to a best choice for a reef aquarium as you can get. There are rouge fish in any species, so if your new tank member is messing with your corals or invert's, remove it and take it for a ride to the LFS. If you ever are confused or have a question while trying to decide which fish to buy for your home reef tank don't hesitate to email for our expert opinion.

Which Qualify as Reef Safe

Well, of course that would be a fish which can be kept in a reef safely, right? But the problem here is, " safe in a reef " is not a universal definition and different people have different ideas as to what qualifies. Therefore, lets consider three categories of saltwater fish 1) Completely reef safe, 2) Mostly reef safe, and 3) Dont do it! This page will focus on wrasses in categories 1. If a species and/or genus is not mentioned here, there is a 90% chance it falls into the " Dont Do It catagory. There will be some species omitted which are reef safe but they are omitted due to their obscurity in the trade.

Special Note: When you see "Aquarium Conditioned" on one of our featured saltwater fish, it means the fish have gone through our Aquarium Conditioning Process which is up to to 60 days long, depending on species. During this time the arriving ocean fresh fish go through Quarantine, then go into our aquarium life systems. In our aquarium life systems they will get used to aquarium life and we work on getting them to eat well through a special process we use to change ocean fresh saltwater fish over to our aquarium conditioned fish. The process includes enough time to let us have confidence sending marine fish to you knowing they will do well in proper aquarium conditions and they will also eat well, which are the two most important factors if you expect a long life saltwater aquarium fish.

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Aquarium Conditioned
Carpenter's Fairy Wrasse
Paracheilinus carpenteri
Picture of Carpenter’s fairy wrasse, Paracheilinus carpenteri YouTube Video Carpenter's Fairy Wrasse

Description: These wonderful fish make a fascinating display in the peaceful community tank or reef tank! Also called the Redfin Flasher Wrasse or Pinkfin Flasher Wrasse, Males are most spectacular when they "flash" (display) toward other fishes or their reflections in the aquarium glass. An interesting side note is that all male Flasher Wrasse colors will intensify when in courtship is in process. Therefore by putting in a group of Carpenter Flashers with a male and females both present, that way the males will be more likely to frequently present their colorful displays. A perfect reef and home aquarium fish, the Carpenteri Flasher's adult size is around 3 inches.

Tank Recommendations: A 30 gallon or larger aquarium, either fish-only or reef, with a shaded area is recommended. A 2-3 inch sand bed so they can bury themselves in the sand to sleep or hide. Live Rock should be provided for all Fairy and Filament Wrasses. The Live Rock provides numerous small life forms that the Wrasses consider a tasty treat as well as another place to hide when they feel threatened. Note: Wrasses are known to jump from aquariums. Be sure to have some sort of covering with no large open holes that they can escape from.

Food and diet:Flasher wrasses have a high metabolism and should be fed several small meals a day rather than two large meals. Best practice is to use a refugium as part of the system’s filtration. This will provide a constant food supply of small live foods (e.g. copepods). A regular diet should include vitamin enriched frozen mysis shrimp, vitamin enriched frozen brine shrimp, and other meaty foods along with a high quality marine flake and marine pellet food.

Reef Compatability:Excellent

Level of Care: Easy


Approximate Purchase Size:

Small 1-1/2" to 2"; Medium 2"to 2-1/2"; Large 2-1/2" to 3"


Small $35.99 Medium $39.99 Large $49.99



Aquarium Conditioned
Red Margin Fairy Wrasse

Cirrhilabrus rubrimarginatus (Fiji)
Picture of the Male and Female Red Margin Fairy Wrasse ALIGN= YouTube Red Margin Fairy Wrasse

Description:The Red Margine fairy wrasse is also called the Cirrhilabrus rubrimarginatus and the Pink Margin Fairy Wrasse. They are found living along the reefs from Souther Japan all the way to Indonesia. Males are brightly colored compared to the females and show shades of blue, purple, or red with a broad stroke of yellow just in front of the red on their tail. Colors change depending on mood, and when courting a female.

Tank Recommendations: A 90 gallon or larger aquarium, either fish-only or reef, with a shaded area is recommended. A 2-3 inch sand bed so they can bury themselves in the sand to sleep or hide. Live Rock should be provided for all Fairy and Filament Wrasses. The Live Rock provides numerous small life forms that the Wrasses consider a tasty treat as well as another place to hide when they feel threatened. Note: Wrasses are known to jump from aquariums. Be sure to have some sort of covering with no large open holes that they can escape from.


Food and diet:Best to feed several small meals a day rather than two large meals. Best practice is to use a refugium as part of the system’s filtration. This will provide a constant food supply of small live foods (e.g. copepods). A regular diet should include vitamin enriched frozen mysis shrimp, vitamin enriched frozen brine shrimp, and other meaty foods along with a high quality marine flake and marine pellet food.

Reef Compatability: Excellent

Level of Care: Moderate


Approximate Purchase Size: Female 2" to 3", Male 2" to 4"




Female $69.99 Male $139.99




Aquarium Conditioned
Yellow Fin Fairy Wrasse
Cirrhilabrus flavidorsalis
Picture of Yellow Fin Fairy Wrasse, Cirrhilabrus flavidorsalis
Description: This smaller species is an ideal reef fish that was completely unknown to the trade until only 2010. The Yellow Fin Fairy Wrasse, Cirrhilabrus flavidorsalis, is also known as the Yellowfin Fairy Wrasse and the Millennium Wrasse. So obscure was this species with its limited range in nature, even fairy wrasse fanatics didn't know it's Latin name when first introduced! With a deep yellow dorsal fin, pink and white body, and sometimes a light blue caudal fin. Most of the time we see a white and pink body with large stripe-like patterns giving the Yellow Fin Fairy Wrasse expressive colors. Like most fairy wrasse it has the ability to magically change its color depending on its mood. Females have similar colors with the addition of a black spot near the anal fin.

Tank Recommendations: A 30 gallon or larger aquarium, either fish-only or reef, with a shaded area is recommended. A 2-3 inch sand bed so they can bury themselves in the sand to sleep or hide. Live Rock should be provided for all Fairy and Filament Wrasses. The Live Rock provides numerous small life forms that the Wrasses consider a tasty treat as well as another place to hide when they feel threatened. Note: Wrasses are known to jump from aquariums. Be sure to have some sort of covering with no large open holes that they can escape from.<


Food and diet:Best to feed several small meals a day rather than two large meals. Best practice is to use a refugium as part of the system’s filtration. This will provide a constant food supply of small live foods (e.g. copepods). A regular diet should include vitamin enriched frozen mysis shrimp, vitamin enriched frozen brine shrimp, and other meaty foods along with a high quality marine flake and marine pellet food.

Reef Compatability: Excellent

Level of care: Easy

Approximate Purchase Size: 2" to 3"


$49.99


Aquarium Conditioned
Scotts Fairy Wrasse
Cirrhilabrus scottorum (Australia) Scott's Fairy Wrasse, Cirrhilabrus scottorum


Description: Scott's Fairy Wrasse is a truly stunning fish displaying almost any color you can imagine. Like in all fairy wrasses, the males display the best colouration. They are however protogynous hermaphrodites so it is not 100% correct to speak about true males or females as all fish are born females and then develop into males if conditions are right. It is an easy to care for fish and Scott's Fairy Wrasse can be a good beginner fish if you disregard the high price. It is reef safe and rather friendly which makes it ideal for a community reef tank. Several females can be kept in the same tank without any problem, but only keep one male unless the aquarium is very large (at least 200 gallons.

Tank Recommendations: A 90 gallon or larger aquarium, either fish-only or reef, with a shaded area is recommended. A 2-3 inch sand bed so they can bury themselves in the sand to sleep or hide. Live Rock should be provided for all Fairy and Filament Wrasses. The Live Rock provides numerous small life forms that the Wrasses consider a tasty treat as well as another place to hide when they feel threatened. Note: Wrasses are known to jump from aquariums. Be sure to have some sort of covering with no large open holes that they can escape from.

Food and diet:Best to feed several smaller meals a day rather than one large meal. Best practice is to use a refugium as part of the system’s filtration. This will provide a constant food supply of small live foods (e.g. copepods). A regular diet should include vitamin enriched frozen mysis shrimp, vitamin enriched frozen brine shrimp, and other meaty foods along with a high quality marine flake and marine pellet food.

Reef Compatability: Excellent

Level of care: Easy

Approximate Purchase Size: 3" to 4-1/4"





$219.99

Aquarium Conditioned
Mystery Wrasse
Pseudocheilinus ocellatus Picture of Mystery Wrasse, Pseudocheilinus ocellatus YouTube Video Mystery Wrasse
Description: The Mystery Wrasse is a very hard to find small fairy wrasse, sometimes referred to as the Whitebarred Wrasse or Fivebarred Wrasse. Found only in deep water, further exploration will likely expand its range. Bold and hardy with a great appetite, The Mystery Wrasse is ideal for the reef aquarium. The body has yellow, blue, and purple neon lines on its face with white vertical stripes and an eye spot surrounded by a yellowish hue on its green tail. Some younger fish will have more green in the body, which will quickly change to red in the aquarium.

Tank Recommendations: A 30 gallon or larger aquarium, either fish-only or reef, with a shaded area is recommended. A 2-3 inch sand bed so they can bury themselves in the sand to sleep or hide. Live Rock should be provided for all Fairy and Filament Wrasses. The Live Rock provides numerous small life forms that the Wrasses consider a tasty treat as well as another place to hide when they feel threatened. Note: Wrasses are known to jump from aquariums. Be sure to have some sort of covering with no large open holes that they can escape from.

Food and diet:Best to feed several smaller meals a day rather than one large meal. Best practice is to use a refugium as part of the system’s filtration. This will provide a constant food supply of small live foods (e.g. copepods). A regular diet should include vitamin enriched frozen mysis shrimp, vitamin enriched frozen brine shrimp, and other meaty foods along with a high quality marine flake and marine pellet food.

Reef Compatability: Excellent

Level of care: Easy

Approximate Purchase Size: 2-1/4" to 3-1/4"


$144.99


Aquarium Conditioned
Blue Star Leopard Wrasse
Macropharyngodon bipartitus, Maldives
 Picture of Blue Star Leopard Wrasse, Macropharyngodon bipartitus YouTube Video Blue Star Leopard Wrasse
Description: This wrasse is not only known as the Blue Star Leopard Wrasse, but also as theLeopard Wrasse, Blackspotted Wrasse and the Guinea Fowl Wrasse. Pictured above are female specimens of the Leopard Wrasse. Like all of the wrasses of the Macropharyngodon genera, the Leopard Wrasses are born as females. If there is no male present, one female will become male and the color pattern changes. Adult male patterning is more streamlined; having an orange-red body with dark green spots, lines on the head, and a dark 'ear' spot.

Tank Recommendations: A 50 gallon or larger aquarium, either fish-only or reef, with a shaded area is recommended. A 2-3 inch sand bed so they can bury themselves in the sand to sleep or hide. Live Rock should be provided for all Fairy and Filament Wrasses. The Live Rock provides numerous small life forms that the Wrasses consider a tasty treat as well as another place to hide when they feel threatened. Note: Wrasses are known to jump from aquariums. Be sure to have some sort of covering with no large open holes that they can escape from.

Food and diet:Best to feed several smaller meals a day rather than one large meal. Best practice is to use a refugium as part of the system’s filtration. This will provide a constant food supply of small live foods (e.g. copepods). A regular diet should include vitamin enriched frozen mysis shrimp, vitamin enriched frozen brine shrimp, and other meaty foods along with a high quality marine flake and marine pellet food.

Reef Compatability: Excellent

Level of Care: Moderate

Approximate Purchase Size: 2" to 3-1/2"




$59.99


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Copyright 2018 Aquarium Creations Online
Photos are representative of each species. All marine life will be unique and variations should be expected, color and sizes may vary.
*Guarantee Restriction: All of our livestock are guaranteed. However for one or more of these species, they may be marked with a guarantee restriction. If it does, it means the specific animal may not handle stress from environmental conditions well. These stresses can include poor water quality, harassment from tank mates or confined aquarium conditions. When stressed, these species can lose the ability to ward off infection and disease. Other species may be listed as Restricted because they have such specialized feeding requirements that is difficult recreate in a aquarium and may succumb to malnutrition.