Cirrhilabrus cyanopleura is one of the most variable of the fairy wrasses but is also one of the most common and hardiest to enter the aquarium trade. Commonly known as the "Blueside Fairy Wrasse", they usually have blue sides, a light blue stomach, greenish back and a red head and eyes. Depending on geographic region, maturity and breeding, their coloration may also include orange or yellow, purple, or greater amounts of red or green. Some popular variations in the aquarium trade are a Red-headed variation and the Yellow Flank Fairy Wrasse which are adult males that have developed a bright yellow spot on their sides. Because of their many variations, the fish you receive may look different from the one pictured here.
Fairy Wrasses (Cirrhilabrus sp.) and Flasher Wrasses (Paracheilinus sp.) have a generally placid temperament and tolerate most tankmates, provided that they have plenty of places to escape to and hide to feel secure. Flasher Wrasses tend to be more active and outgoing than Fairy Wrasses and the two groups may be aggressive towards each other. Males of both groups are usually brighter in color than juveniles and females, and males will show their colors and behavior to the best advantage in the presence of a female. Regional variations and cross-breeding within each groups can make identification difficult.
Both Fairy and Flasher wrasses can usually be found around rubble piles and rockwork and should have plenty in the tank to retreat to. These wrasses are perfect for reef aquariums. Most will not harm corals, polyps or most invertebrates but should not be kept with very small crustaceans like Sexy Shrimp. These fish are known jumpers, so the tank should be covered at all times.
These wrasses will usually accept most types of small foods once acclimated. They can be fed a varied diet of flakes, frozen and fresh foods like copepods, Cyclops, brine shrimp, mysis shrimp and similar items.