A Reef Safe Wrasse can make an excellent addition to a reef tank. Wrasses are a vital part of a natural reef ecosystem, and they are a very active and adaptable saltwater fish.
However, if you put a non-reef safe wrasse into your reef tank they can nip at your expensive corals and they might even try to eat smaller fish and invertebrates.
That’s why we put together this list of reef safe wrasses, so whether you’re looking for a small reef safe fish, or a large reef safe fish you’ll be able to find a wrasse that will be a perfect fit for any size reef tank.
Reef Safe Wrasses
Six-line Wrasse – Pseudocheilinus hexataenia
The Six Line Wrasse (Buy Online) is a very popular and affordable reef safe wrasse. They get their name from the six horizontal blue lines that contrast against their orange body. They are a very active fish, and they will add life to any aquarium as they dart around the rocks and coral in search of food.
The Sixline Wrasse comes from the Indo-Pacific, and the coastal water surrounding Fiji. In their native habitat, they carefully forage for food amongst a wide variety of coral colonies. The Six Line Wrasse tend to be a peaceful fish, and they can be kept in a community tank that has lots of live rock and plenty of places to hide.
The Six Line Wrasse will also help keep unwanted pests at bay since they will eat bristleworms off live rock, along with pyramidellid snails, flatworms, and small urchins.
Longfin Fairy Wrasse – Cirrhilabrus rubeus
The Longfin Fairy Wrasse (Buy Online) is also known as the Social Wrasse due to their peaceful nature. This wrasse also exhibits different color variations, so you might find them in fish stores listed as the Blue and Red Fairy Wrasse. The Longfin Fairy Wrasse will usually have a pale red body with orange fins with blue accents.
The Longfin Fairy Wrasse is the perfect fish for the reef tanks since they are a very active and peaceful fish. They get along well with most wrasses in their genus, and they are one of the best wrasses to keep with large groups of peaceful fish.
Melanurus Wrasse – Halichoeres melanurus
The Melanurus Wrasse (Buy Online) also goes by Tail Spot Wrasse and Hoeven’s Wrasse. They have a beautiful blue-green body that’s accented by pink and yellow horizontal stripes. They are a very peaceful wrasse and they tend to leave coral alone, but they should be monitored at first since some individuals might nip at polyps, feather dusters, and shrimp.
The Melanurus Wrasse needs to be kept in at least a 50-gallon tank, and it should have a tight-fitting lid since they can be jumpers. It’s also a good idea to provide them with a deep live sand bed to burrow in when they get frightened.
The Melanurus Wrasse will do best when kept with other peaceful fish including other wrasses, and they even get along with members of their own species. And in some cases, they might even act as a cleaner wrasse and eat parasites off of their tank mates.
Yellow Coris Wrasse – Halichoeres trispilus
The Yellow Coris Wrasse (Buy Online) is a bright yellow fish with black spots and stripes across its back. They are a very popular and affordable reef safe wrasse, and they need to be kept in a tank with lots of live rock and coral. They also need to burrow when they feel threatened, so they should be kept in a tank with a deep live sand substrate. Just be aware that they are also well-known escape artists, so they aren’t the best fish to keep in a lidless tank.
Splendid Pintail Fairy Wrasse – Cirrhilabrus isosceles
The Splendid Pintail Fairy Wrasse (Buy Online) is a stunning fish that has a native habitat that stretches from Japan all the way to the Philippines. They should be kept in at least a 90-gallon tank with lots of live rock. They are also a very peaceful fish that get along with other community fish, and they won’t bother corals, reef safe crabs, or other invertebrates.
The Splendid Pintail Fairy Wrasse is also a very active fish that will add some life and color to a reef aquarium. Just be aware that they are very strong swimmers, so they’ll need to be kept in a tank with a tight-fitting lid to prevent them from trying to escape.
Naoko’s Fairy Wrasse – Cirrhilabrus naokoae
Naoko’s Fairy Wrasse (Buy Online) has a vibrant red upper body with a yellow stripe on their side and a bright white belly. Naoko’s Fairy Wrasse is a new addition to the aquarium hobby since it is a relatively new species that was only just discovered in the early part of the 21st century. They are currently only found in the waters off Indonesia where they live in diverse coastal reefs. They do make a great addition to a reef tank since they will leave coral alone, but they have been known to eat immature invertebrates.
Yellow Banded Possum Wrasse – Wetmorella nigropinnata
The Yellow Banded Possum Wrasse (Possum Wrasse for Sale) also goes by the name Pygmy Possum Wrasse, and the Arrowhead Wrasse. They hail from the waters off Indonesia where they primarily live amongst the rocks that make up the base of the coral reef .
The Yellow Banded Possum Wrasse will only reach a maximum adult size of about 3-inches, so they can be kept in small nano-reef tanks. They are a very peaceful fish that also won’t bother corals, and they generally won’t eat invertebrates. The Yellow Banded Possum Wrasse can be shy though, so it’s a good idea to provide them with plenty of live rock and a soft sand substrate to hide in when they get frightened.
Solar Fairy Wrasse – Cirrhilabrus solorensis
The Solar Fairy Wrasse (Buy Online) is one of the most stunning wrasses that you can add to a reef tank. They have a deep blue body and a yellow face that’s accented by a pink forehead, and they have a black trim that contrasts with their silver fins.
The Solar Fairy Wrasse also has a very peaceful temperament, and they have a very hardy nature which makes them one of the best saltwater fish for beginners. They also can be kept in a 30-gallon tank since they won’t get that large, and they aren’t very active swimmers.
The Solar Fairy Wrasse likes to keep to themselves looking for food in and around the live rock work in a reef tank. They also don’t nip at coral polyps, and in most cases, they won’t bother invertebrates. In addition, they are very peaceful fish, and they even get along with other members of their species. However, the males can be somewhat aggressive, so it’s best to first add females before introducing a male to a tank.
White Banded Possum Wrasse – Wetmorella albofasciata
The White Banded Possum Wrasse (Buy Online) is a great Pygmy Wrasse for a nano reef tank. They are native to the waters off the coast of Indonesia, and they are a very easy to care for saltwater fish.
The White Banded Possum Wrasse has a dark red body with black spots and white vertical stripes. They also have a unique pointed face that’s shaped like an arrowhead that lets them find food in tight crevices.
The White Banded Possum Wrasse are a very peaceful fish, and they don’t bother corals and they get along with a wide range of tank mates. They also won’t get much larger than 2.5-inches, so they can be kept in small aquariums like a 10-gallon pico-reef tank.
Brunneus Fairy Wrasse – Cirrhilabrus brunneus
The Brunneus Fairy Wrasse (Buy Online) also goes by the name Dusky Fairy Wrasse. They are an extremely sought after wrasse species due to their unique coloration. The Brunneus Fairy Wrasse has a body that exhibits darker blues, reds, and deep purples that sets it apart from the other brightly colored Wrasses in the genus Cirrhilabrus.
The Brunneus Fairy Wrasse is a very active swimmer that needs to be kept in at least a 75-gallon tank with plenty of live rock and a sandy substrate. They can be aggressive towards other types of wrasses so they should only be kept with members of their own species. However, they will get along with most other species of community fish, and they won’t bother corals.
Eight Line Flasher Wrasse – Paracheilinus octotaenia
The Eight Line Flasher Wrasse (Buy Online) is a large reef safe fish that needs plenty of swimming space. This wrasse starts out life with a different color pattern than they will have as a fully mature adult fish. The juvenile Eight Line Flasher Wrasse has a light pink body with pale blue horizontal lines. While the adult Eight Line Flasher Wrasse has a bright orange body accented by bright blue horizontal lines and scarlet fins
The Eight Line Flasher Wrasse is a peaceful fish that will do well in a community tank. They also won’t bother corals, but they should be watched carefully around smaller invertebrates. The Eight Line Flasher Wrasse will need to be kept in at least a 55 gallon tank with a sand substrate and lots of live rock with small caves to help them feel safe.
Orange Back Fairy Wrasse – Cirrhilabrus aurantidorsalis
The Orange Back Fairy Wrasse (Buy Online) has a blue and purple body accented by a bright orange right under their dorsal fin. They are also able to change color during their mating dance, and they will even take on different shades depending on their mood.
The Orange Back Fairy Wrasse can be a very active fish, but they can also be shy so they’ll need lots of rocks in their environment to feel safe. However, once they get accustomed to their surroundings they will need lots of swimming space.
You should keep an Orange Back Fairy Wrasse in at least a 90-gallon tank. It’s also a good idea to keep an Orange Back Fairy Wrasse in an aquarium with a tightly sealed lid to keep them from trying to escape.
Divided Leopard Wrasse – Macropharyngodon bipartitus
The Divided Leopard Wrasse (Buy Online) is an amazing looking wrasse that has a multi-color body that makes them a real eye-catching specimen to keep in a reef tank. Their coloration covers the whole spectrum with shades of red, yellow, green, along with subtle blue accents.
The Divided Leopard Wrasse gets along well with other peaceful fish, and they can be kept with members of their own species. They will naturally develop into groups where a single female will turn into a dominant male that mates with the other females.
The Divided Leopard Wrasse needs to be kept in a tank with a soft sandy substrate since they need to bury themselves at night when they sleep. They also like to have plenty of live rock to hide in, and they are a good reef safe wrasse since they leave coral alone as well as invertebrates.
Hawaiian Flame Wrasse – Cirrhilabrus jordani
The Hawaiian Flame Wrasse (Buy Online) is one of the most vibrant fish in the ocean. They also go by the name Jordan’s Fairy Wrasse, or Jordan’s Wrasse. Male Hawaiian Flame Wrasses have a golden body with bright red fins. The females have a more subdued coloration since they don’t have the males bold markings.
The Hawaiian Flame Wrasse needs to be kept in at least a 90-gallon tank since they are very active swimmers. They also need a sand substrate with plenty of live rock and a few small caves.
The Hawaiian Flame Wrasse will leave corals alone, and they don’t tend to show any interest in most invertebrates. However, they will need to be fed frequently since they are a very active fish that needs to be fed 2 to 3 times a day.
Mystery Wrasse – Pseudocheilinus ocellatus
The Mystery Wrasse (Buy Online) is a very unique wrasse that has a slender body with a deep blue/purple coloration. They also have a yellow face with a narrow mouth that allows them to find small bits of food in tight spaces.
The Mystery Wrasse can be shy, so they will need caves and crevices to hide in to feel safe. They will also create a cocoon when they feel threatened, and they will wrap themselves in a cocoon every night when they sleep. Luckily they only sleep at night so they will be active throughout the day, and they are very strong swimmers, so they will need to be kept in the least a 90-gallon tank.
The Mystery Wrasse will leave corals alone, but they will eat small crustaceans if they can fit them in their mouth. They also can be aggressive towards smaller fish so it’s best to keep them in a tank with other large reef safe fish.
Lineatus Wrasse – Cirrhilabrus lineatus
The Lineatus Fairy Wrasse (Buy Online) is a rare wrasse species that is found off the coast of Australia. Females and non-dominant males exhibit dotted blue stripes, and dominant males lack stripes and their whole body is covered in vibrant red, yellow, blue, and purple colors.
If you keep a single male they will become the dominant male and display their full coloration. Otherwise, if you keep a group of Lineatus Wrasse then the males will challenge each other to assert their position in the tank. Other than that they are very peaceful fish, and just like most members of their species they need plenty of rocks to hide in along with a sand substrate.
Pink-Streaked Wrasse – Pseudocheilinops ataenia
Pink-Streaked Wrasse (Pink Streaked Wrasse for Sale) is one of the best reef safe wrasses in the saltwater aquarium hobby. They are also quite attractive since the males have a pale pink body with orange stripes that is tastefully accented by bright yellow fins with blue tips.
The Pink-Streaked Wrasse can be shy when introduced to a reef tank, but they will become bolder and less fearful over time. They will usually be left alone by most fish in a peaceful community tank, but they might be harassed by other wrasses in the Pseudocheilinops genus. But usually, they will be fine as long as they are kept in at least a 50-gallon tank with plenty of places to hide.
Debelius Fairy Wrasse – Cirrhilabrus adornatus
The Debelius Fairy Wrasse (Buy Online) is also known as the Redfin or Koi Fairy Wrasse. They are a reef safe wrasse, and they won’t harm invertebrates. The Debelius Fairy Wrasse also won’t pick at coral polyps even if they get hungry, and they will get along well with a wide range of tank mates.
The Debelius Fairy Wrasse should be kept in at least a 50-gallon aquarium, and they are notorious jumpers, so they will need to be kept in a tank with a tight-fitting lid. They also like to live near large rubble piles in the wild, so you’ll need to make sure you provide them with live rock with plenty of caves.
Yellow Fin Fairy Wrasse – Cirrhilabrus flavidorsalis
The Yellow Fin Fairy Wrasse (Buy Online) also goes by the name Millennium Wrasse. And as their name suggests their signature feature is their bright yellow dorsal fin. They also color up nicely as they mature and they will have a vibrant pink and white body, and the males will sometimes develop a blue caudal fin.
The Yellow Fin Fairy Wrasse also has the ability to change color depending on their mood, and they will really color up when they are courting a mate.
The Yellow Fin Fairy Wrasse get along well with other fish, and they are an excellent community fish. They also are a reef safe wrasse that won’t bother corals, and they’ll leave most of the invertebrates alone in a reef tank.