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Gomphosus varius, the Green Bird Wrasse. Scott W. Michael

Family: Labridae

Species in Genus Gomphosus:

Reference: A PocketExpert Guide to Reef Aquarium Fishes
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: SWM


There are two equally spectacular species in this genus: the Indian Ocean Bird Wrasse (Gomphosus caeruleus) and the Green Bird Wrasse (Gomphosus varius). The latter is common in the aquarium trade.

I hate to dissuade people from keeping these wrasses because they are so hardy; on a number of occasions, I have seen large Green Bird Wrasses survive almost total wipeouts. The problem is that they are very predatory, feeding on a wide range of invertebrates and even small fishes. Their diet can include small tridacnid clams and other bivalves, snails, feather duster worms, and a wide range of crustaceans. The upside is that they will also eat fireworms and mantis shrimps.

If you keep them, keep only one male per tank. You can house a male and female together (they are sexually dichromatic) in a larger tank (135 gallons [513 L] or larger), but introduce them at the same time.

Feed them two times a day, unless natural fare (e.g., worms and crustaceans) is available in the tank. Both species are active, prolific jumpers and need a covered tank and lots of swimming room. They do not bury under the substrate.