News / Species Spotlight / Highly Underrated Fish - Green Wrasse (01/30/15)

Highly Underrated Fish - Green Wrasse

In the Wild

Halichoeres chloropterus is native to the Western Pacific, ranging from the Philippines to the Great Barrier Reef, but is absent elsewhere. They are usually associated with coral or rubble reefs and the nearby sandy or silty areas. They are generally found in very shallow water, 30 feet or less.

While all these fish are green, fish collected from areas with more algae and sea grasses tend to be a darker green color, while specimens collected from coral and rubble dominated areas tend to be paler. Juveniles and females will both have some dark spots on their backs and/or dorsal fins. The maximum wild recorded size was nearly 7.5 inches. Their wild diet includes clams, snails, stars and urchins, along with smaller foods in the water column.

In the Aquarium

Green Wrasses are unique in that the hobby sees very few neon green fish. I don't think this is the only reason they are desirable though. They are extremely hardy additions to Fish Only and certain Reef aquaria. While they pose little risk to any of the benthic invertebrates in a Reef tank (corals, sponges, sea fans, etc) their preferred diet does include several other motile organisms that are common in a Reef system (clams, stars etc). However, if you can do without a few of these things in your system, I still suggest adding them to reefs as they are voracious predators of all sorts of nuisance mites, bugs and nudibranchs.

While their wild max size is large, they are unlikely to grow to that size in home aquaria. That being said, this is probably the fastest growing fish in the genus, so expect your 2" fish to be a 4" fish very quickly. They can also have a tendency toward aggression. I don't suggest keeping them with other Halichores genus fish (unless they are very large), or other fish that are similarly shaped, especially if those fish aren't aggressive.

They are quick to start eating prepared foods; we feed them a mix of meaty foods like krill and mysis etc. They also take to pellets and even flake food very quickly.