News / Species Spotlight / Popular Piscines - Cirrhilabrus laboutei (12/09/15)

Popular Piscines - Cirrhilabrus laboutei

In The Wild

Cirrhilabrus laboutei is a "Fairy Wrasse" that comes primarily from the West Central Pacific. Found commonly anywhere from 20' to 160' deep, they are usually around rubble and back reef slopes. On visits to our Short Supply Source for these, we found them in massive schools between 30 and 50 feet of water. Which makes for a stunning visual, not unlike the more famous massive schools of anthias. Also like anthias, numbers in the huge schools indicate these fish having a haremic distribution; one male for several females.

Males will develop a decidedly bluish cast while juveniles and females will remain predominantly purple. This is a very resilient fish as a species having a population doubling time of under 15 months. They have a max size of just under 5 inches.

In The Aquarium

This is one of the hobby's best fish. Like most fish in the Cirrhilabrus genus, they are hardy, disease resistant, are totally reef safe and readily take processed foods. Among the fish in the genus, these are on the more peaceful end of the spectrum. This means they are excellent candidates for adding multiples and or harems, and they are substantially cheaper in lot pricing. It also means that they shouldn't be added to aquariums with very aggressive fish, or other well established male Cirrhilabrus wrasses. If multiple females are added the most dominant one will morph into a male.

All Cirrhilabrus wrasses should be fed at least two times per day, and these are no exception. These do take to pelletized foods quite well, which makes this chore much easier. Like many other wrasses, aquariums should be covered as these have a well established tendency to jump when startled. Discretion should be used when placing any fairy wrasse in a tank with an anemone, especially Heteractis or Stichodactyla genus anemones as they pose a direct threat to fish that try to steal food from them.

When acclimating these don't be surprised if they hide for a day or two. This is common. Do NOT go rooting around looking for them. They will come out in a day or two as long as they have tank mates that aren't overly aggressive. They acclimate much more quickly when multiples are added, and in more dimly lit tanks. There is no problem with them in brighter tanks, it just may take longer for them to be comfortable. - Cirrhilabrus laboutei

Scott W. Michael, Reef Aquarium Fishes, 1st ed. (T.F.H. Publications Inc, New Jersey, 2005).