Golden Wrasse

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Halichoeres chrysus - Randall, 1981
Golden Wrasse

A wonderful beginner's fish, best kept in schools of 3 or more. Scott W. Michael


An under-appreciated, brilliantly garbed wrasse that remains relatively small and readily acclimates to captivity. It can be kept in groups that provide color and interest to a peaceful marine community group.

Family: Labridae

Other common name(s):

  • Yellow Coris
  • Canary Wrasse

Native range:

Habitat: Reef-sand interface. Provide a sand bed (at least two ­inches deep) comprised of a finer substrate where it will bury itself at night or when threatened. (Coarse sand may inflict skin injuries.)

Maximum length: 12 cm (5 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 114 L (30 gal)

Water: Marine 24 °C (75 °F) - 28 °C (82 °F)

General swimming level: Midwater to bottom.


Carnivore. Feed meaty foods, twice a day.

Aquarium Compatibility

This is normally a very mellow species that rarely, if ever, behaves aggressively toward tankmates. It is more likely to be the target of bullies (namely dottybacks, damselfishes, hawkfishes). You can keep more than one female in the same tank—keep males on their own or with one or more females. (Males have brighter orange bands on their heads and one rather than two spots on the dorsal fin.) This wrasse is not a threat to most ornamental invertebrates with the possible exception of shrimps.


Egg scatterers that produce pelagic eggs, often in midwater mating rituals. Both eggs and larvae that drift with plankton in the water column and settle back onto a reef at about the time of metamorphosis. These are among the most challenging types of marine fishes to propagate in captivity.


The Golden Wrasse is a bottom-oriented species that swims about searching the sand or rock surface for edibles. It will follow tankmates that disturb the sand in hopes of pouncing on prey items flushed from hiding by a substrate-disturbing species.

Reference: 101 Best Saltwater Fishes
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: SWM