News / Species Spotlight / Popular Piscines - Red Coris Wrasse (12/18/14)

Popular Piscines - Red Coris Wrasse

In The Wild

Red Coris Wrasses can be found around reefs all over the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans, but are absent from the Atlantic ocean. Younger fish are found singly or schooled, in shallow, sheltered reef locales. Older specimens are generally found singly over deep reef slopes. They can range from just below the surface down to roughly 160 feet.

This fish has three distinct color forms. Only two of the three are frequently seen in the marine aquarium hobby, the juvenile form you see to the right, the female you see on the bottom. The males lack the yellow tail and coloration tends to be more blue green over all. They also have a diet transition as they grow. Fish under two inches tend to be predominantly planktivores and once they get to about two inches long they will start to dig for food under rocks and rubble. As adults they will mostly eat bivalves, snails, crabs shrimp and other motile invertebrates.

In The Aquarium

These are tremendously good aquarium fish, especially for the Coris genus which tend to get large as adults. This fish will commonly get to six or eight inches in captivity making it one of the best sized Coris Wrasses available. They are very disease resistant and generally hardy, though larger specimens can be sensitive to shipping stress. Many shops prefer to stock juveniles for this reason, though with careful acclimation adults should fare just fine.

Red Coris are generally peaceful, but larger specimens will pick on other Coris genus wrasses and may bully smaller fish / newer aquarium additions. Juvenile specimens frequently act as cleaner fish, picking parasites etc. and some fish may take exception to this, but these quarrels should be short lived. The juveniles can be housed together, but are likely to cease peaceful co-existence with each other as they grow up.

This is an animal that sleeps in sand, and will fare much better if given a fine grain sand bed a couple inches deep. Sand beds much deeper than that will have anaerobic zones that could be disturbed by the wrasse and larger grain sizes can irritate their skin, making them susceptible to lymphocystis. They are also known for turning over anything they can while looking for food. Make sure both rockwork and (if in a reef tank) corals are very securely fixed in place.

Coris wrasses need a varied diet and to be fed multiple times per day. Juveniles have an especially high metabolism and will consume a large amount of food. Luckily, they take processed foods, even pellets readily. They will also eat just about any motile invertebrates they share an aquarium with; they are a direct threat to snails, crabs, clams and shrimp. Keeping them well fed will curb they rate at which they eat your clean up crew.

We get these primarily from our MAC certified Fijian Short Supply Chains, like everything we get from there, the Red Coris come in consistently healthy, eating, and they are amazing.

Rudie H Kuiter, Fairy & Rainbow Wrasses and their relatives, 1st ed. (TMC Publishing, Chorleywood, UK, 2002)
Rudie H Kuiter & Helmut Debelius, World Atlas of Marine Fishes, 1st ed. (IKAN-Unterwasserarchiv 2006)
Scott W. Michael, Wrasses & Parrotfishes, 1st ed. (T.F.H. Publications Inc, New Jersey, 2009).
In House Resources: Adam Mangino, Eli Fleishauer