» Posted by on Jun 9, 2014 in Blog, Education, EricR | Comments Off on Saltwater Fish for Sale

Saltwater fish for sale

By Eric Russo
June 9th 2014

Wrasses, they’re active, colorful, and hardy. How can you say no?

Klunzingers wrasse - Thalassoma rueppellii

Klunzingers wrasseThalassoma rueppellii
A saltwater fish for sale at Absolutely Fish.

Cirrhilabrus solorensis

Cirrhilabrus solorensis
A saltwater fish for sale at Absolutely Fish.

More often than not, when I start helping marine customers in the store, I find that the list of desires for a new fish boils down to one or all of the aforementioned characteristics. The first thing that always pops into my head is, “How about a wrasse?” Now I don’t know if it’s because I have an unhealthy, borderline creepy, love for this marine family or if it’s because most wrasses actually do fulfill all of these requirements! Many times the response I receive to my suggestion is, “Well I’ve heard of them, but I don’t know anything about them…” Sooo, here we go, let’s learn a bit about these awesome fish.

Paracheilinus filamentosus

Filamented Flasher WrasseParacheilinus filamentosus
A saltwater fish for sale at Absolutely Fish.

Wrasses, or Labrids, are a varied family in size and behavior, but they share many common characteristics. The most predominate characteristic you will see throughout the family is a long slender body and this streamlined shape comes in handy because these suckers like to move. As one of the more active marine families, wrasses are constantly gliding around their habitat making them quite interesting to observe. The genera most commonly kept in the aquarium also range quite a bit in size, with most Thalossoma wrasses reaching about 12”, down to the cryptic Wetmorella species, which don’t usually exceed 2-3”. As a result, whether you keep a fish only tank, a reef, or a nano, there is a wrasse that will fit the bill… and the tank.

In addition to varying in size, temperament also fluctuates depending on the genus you select. Their temperament can range from predatory down to highly timid and many are sorted between the two ends of the spectrum. While this does make it easy to add a wrasse to ANY tank, it also makes it slightly trickier to select the right one for YOUR tank. If looking for an addition to a large fish or predatory tank, look for wrasses in the genera of Thalassoma, Choerodon, Coris, Cheilinus, Gomphosus, or Novaculichthys. When looking for an addition to a reef or a peaceful fish only tank, look in the genera of Pseudocheilinus, Paracheilinus, Cirrhilabrus, Haliochoeres, Pseudojuloides, Wetmorella, Coris, or Macropharyngodon.

Green Bird Wrasse - Gomphosus varius

Green Bird WrasseGomphosus varius
A saltwater fish for sale at Absolutely Fish.

Black Leopard Wrasse - Macropharyngodon bipartitus

Black Leopard WrasseMacropharyngodon bipartitus
A saltwater fish for sale at Absolutely Fish.

Now, when it comes to color, it’s hard to beat some of the variety and patterns you will find on wrasses. It would be easier to list the colors you won’t find wrasses in, because the answer is… none. From the stunning psychedelic pattern of the Fivestripe wrasse, to the beautiful iridescence male Paracheilinus in full display, there is a fish to sate any desire for color. Think of male wrasses as the peacocks of the fish world, with more dominant and healthy males being the most colorful. I mean, you’ve got to get those ladies to notice you somehow, right!? Aside from being beautiful, this family is one that tends to hold up well in captivity. They are generally quite disease resistant, acclimate quickly into new environments, and they have healthy appetites.

So, when it comes down to brass tax, if you don’t have a wrasse or three in your aquarium, you’re just doing it wrong. With the variety of colors and temperaments to select from, plus their active and hardy nature, why wouldn’t you have one?! Seriously, what the heck is wrong with you? Ahem… my apologies, but you get what I’m driving at. The next time you stop in the shop, please do yourself a favor and ask to be shown some of the species we stock, I promise you will like what you see.

– E. Russo
June 9th 2014

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