Aquarium Livestock Pet Care Guides

Wrasses - Active Swimmers


Pacific, Atlantic & Indian Oceans

Tank Temperature




Specific Gravity



Some omnivorous, but most are carnivores. Feed a varied meaty diet of frozen, fresh or prepared foods such as brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, krill, clams, scallop, fish flesh and similar items.


Active swimmers. Some may bury in the substrate (especially Halichoeres). May jump from aquarium if stressed or frightened.


Community safe, but may harass smaller or timid tankmates. Invert Safe and Reef Safe with extreme caution; may eat some inverts or nip at polyps.

Species Overview

The group of fish known as "wrasses" is very large, currently containing 60 different genera and at least 500 species. These fish can range from tiny, peaceful fish to large and aggressive predators. While we can provide general care and requirements for some groups, there are always exception. Research your individual choices carefully.

Wrasses from the Halichoeres and Thalassoma genera are some of the most active in the wrasse group. Most are narrow and torpedo-shaped. While Thalassoma wrasses are often in the upper to mid-water ranges of the aquarium, Halichoeres wrasses are often closer to the substrate or rockwork, especially when young. They also bury themselves in the substrate when resting or threatened. Because of this behavior, Halichoeres wrasses are often confused with some Coris wrasses. Thalassoma wrasses are also sometimes known as "paddlefin wrasses" due to their use of their pectoral fins while swimming.

Halichoeres and Thalassoma wrasses are more active and aggressive than many other groups, especially as adults. They should not be kept with invertebrates like crustaceans (crabs and shrimp) or feather duster worms. Some do not bother corals, but they may damage colonies as they search for food and may nip at polyps and fleshier corals. Feed a varied meaty diet of frozen and prepared foods; most wrasses will also graze on microinverts in the aquarium.

We always suggest that you do further research before adding a new pet to your tank. What we have provided for you are guidelines and suggestions. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact our fish room at 717-299-5691 ext. 1213 or

Recommended Items

Frozen Aquarium Food
Salt Mix
Protein Skimmers
Feeding Tongs
Glass Canopy