Fish of the Week: Bird Wrasse

The bird wrasse (Gomphosus varius) is a very peculiar looking fish. These saltwater fish use their long snout to catch tiny

Male bird wrasse - courtesy of UCBerkeley
Male bird wrasse – courtesy of UCBerkeley

crustaceans down in holes and crevices for food. Therefore, they should not be kept with shrimps and invertebrates that look like tasty treats and are classified as “not reef safe.” They should be kept in a tank that mimics their wild environment with lots of rocky crevices to root around in and other non-aggressive fish species. This fish species is another notorious jumping species, so make sure your lid is secure!

Males are usually the more green, whereas females tend to be more brown in coloration. You should only have one fish or one pair of male and female in a tank. Introduce the female to your tank first if you wish to establish a mating pair (males can be bullies to any newly introduced bird wrasse). This is a

Female bird wrasse - courtesy of
Female bird wrasse – courtesy of

peculiar fish species where the males are significantly large than females. These fish are also hermaphrodites, wherein if a male were to leave a territory or die, a female could become a male and take over. This means, if you buy two juvenile fish, you will end up with one male and one female.

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