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What is a Six Line Wrasse?

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  • Written By: Angie Bates
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2016
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A six line wrasse is a type of tropical fish native to the waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Generally found around coral reefs in the wild, these colorful fish are also commonly sold for salt water aquariums. The scientific name for the six line wrasse is Pseudocheilinus hexataenia.

A bright, colorful fish, the six line wrasse gets its name from the six vibrant orange, horizontal stripes covering its vivid purple body. Its tail is green, which usually lightens to yellow at its tip. Red eyes are bordered above and below with thin white stripes. These fish grow to an maximum of 4 inches (10 cm) long.

Six line wrasses in the wild are found commonly around Japan, Australia, and the Hawaiian Islands. They most often live in reef habitats, feeding on small invertebrates. Generally a shy species, these fish prefer to hide when they feel threatened.

In aquariums, the six line wrasse will initially bury itself in the sand at the bottom of the tank when first introduced to its new environment. This behavior may last for days, but eventually the fish will acclimate, and begin to swim freely in the tank. Diurnal, the six line wrasse is active during the day; at night it sleeps in the sand.

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The six line wrasse is a moderately aggressive fish. It should not be placed in tanks with less aggressive fish and does not work well with other wrasse species. The fish can be placed in tanks with other six line wrasses, but all wrasses should be introduced at the same time. A six line wrasse should always be the last fish added to a new aquarium.

When setting up a new home for a six line wrasse, the tank should be a minimum size of 20 gallons (75.7 L). It should also have about 3 inches (7.5 cm) of sand at the bottom, to provide burrowing space for the fish. Additionally, the aquarium owner should set up caves and other hiding places to help the fish feel secure. Wrasses are generally strong jumpers, so any aquarium should be covered to prevent them from jumping out of the tank.

The six line wrasse's diet should consist of both live and dried food. Though they are generally not picky eaters, they may be picky when first introduced to a tank. These are often desirable fish to have in an aquarium because they eat many pest species, such as pyramidellid snails. They are considered reef safe, but are not completely ideal, particularly if the aquarium owner is keeping shrimp, because shrimp is one of the wrasse's favorite food.

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