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What is a Fairy Wrasse?

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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2016
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The fairy wrasse is a type of tropical saltwater fish that generally has very distinctive blue, green, yellow, red, and black markings. These fish, which typically grow to a length of about 6 inches (15.24 cm) are generally considered very easy to care for, and usually have a mild temperament. They can generally be kept in the same tank with other fish, and are also considered good fish for reef-based aquatic environments, since they do not typically pose a threat to invertebrate marine life. The fairy wrasse typically requires a fairly large tank with a minimum of about 125 gallons (473.18 liters) of water. These fish are meat eaters, and can thrive on a diet that includes frozen shrimp or other meat foods, though pellets and fish flakes can also form a part of a healthy diet for the fairy wrasse.

There are several species of fairy wrasse, and they can vary widely in coloring. The Scott's greenback fairy wrasse generally bears distinctive green flanks, with a black stripe down the center of the back, beneath the dorsal fin. This variety of fairy wrasse can usually be found in the waters off the Cook Islands, Fiji, and Australia. Some varieties of Scott's fairy wrasse may contain a great deal of red, blue, and yellow coloration.

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Males and females of these species generally look very similar to one another. Some experts believe that females of these species are able to transform themselves into males, and that males may be able to transform themselves into females. It is also believed that these species can undergo color changes according to their moods, such that the male will often display brighter colors while attempting to catch a female's eye for mating purposes.

The fairy wrasse is considered a jumping fish, and hobbyists are therefore often advised to keep aquariums tightly closed. These fish can generally be kept in the same tank with other fish, and with invertebrate sea creatures such as coral. Hobbyists are, however, normally advised to introduce fairy wrasses into the tank only after other tank mates have become settled in the environment. Shrimp kept in a tank with these fish may fall prey to them, since they form part of the fairy wrasse's normal diet. Males may fight with one another in a tank environment, but a single male fairy wrasse in the company of many other females will generally display consistently bright markings and an even temperament.

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