Ornate Wrasse

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Halichoeres ornatissimus - (Garrett, 1863)
Ornate Wrasse

Often sold as the Christmas Wrasse, this is a hardy beginner's fish. Scott W. Michael

[edit] Overview

This much-loved species is ornately adorned with green tattoos on the red and white face, body and fins and readily acclimates to life in the home aquarium that has a sand bed where it can bury itself at night or when it feels threatened.

Family: Labridae

Other common name(s):

  • Christmas Wrasse
  • Ornamented Wrasse

Native range:

Habitat: Reef-sand interface. Provide a sand bed at least two inches deep comprised of a finer coral-sand substrate. Larger, more coarse-grained substrate can lead to injury.

Maximum length: 17 cm (7 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 209 L (55 gal)

Water: Marine 24 °C (297 K, 75 °F) - 28 °C (301 K, 82 °F)

General swimming level: Near substrate.

[edit] Feeding

Carnivore. Feed meaty foods, twice a day.

[edit] Aquarium Compatibility

This species is not overly aggressive toward other fishes, although large males may chase and bully similar wrasses or smaller fishes added to their homes. Keep only one male per tank. Females can be housed together or with a male. While they will not bother corals, larger individuals may attempt to eat ornamental crustaceans.

[edit] Breeding/Propagation

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.

[edit] Notes

This fish will move just over the substrate in search of food. When threatened and at night it will bury under the sand. It may leap from an open aquarium. When first added to the tank, it may take time to adjust to the captive day-night light regimen—they will often bury when it is night back on the reef where it was collected and come out when it would normally be light on its “home” reef. In time they acclimate to a captive day-night schedule.

Reference: 101 Best Saltwater Fishes
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: SWM
Facts about Ornate WrasseRDF feed
Common name Ornate Wrasse  +, Christmas Wrasse  +, and Ornamented Wrasse  +
Family Labridae  +
Genus Halichoeres  +
Image credit SWM  +
Maximum length 7 in  +
Minimum aquarium size 55 gal  +
Native range Indo-West Pacific  +, Cocos Islands  +, Christmas Island  +, Hawaii  +, Marquesas Islands  +, Tuamotu Islands  +, Japan  +, and Great Barrier Reef  +
Reference 101 Best Saltwater Fishes  +
Specific name ornatissimus  +
Swimming level Near substrate.  +
Text credit SWM  +
Water max temp 301 K (28 °C, 82 °F)  +
Water min temp 297 K (24 °C, 75 °F)  +
Water type Marine  +