News / Species Spotlight / Species Spotlight - Nahackys Fairy Wrasse (10/06/16)

Species Spotlight - Nahackys Fairy Wrasse

Species Spotlight - Nahackys Fairy Wrasse Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus nahackyi)
As one of the rarer fairy wrasses in the aquarium trade, Cirrhilabrus nahackyi is a showpiece in any fish tank and a feather in the cap of any rare fish collector. Its mish-mash of colors makes for a truly unmistakable fish, which makes it all the more surprising that this species was only recently discovered. The first specimens were in fact collected for aquarists, and it was only in 2012 that this elusive creature was at last scientifically described after its collector, Tony Nahacky.

The reason this fish was able to avoid the limelight for so long relates to its preference for deep outer reefs, typically below 35 meters, and its limited distribution in the wild. To date, it has been found in Fiji and Tonga, though it might also occur in nearby Samoa and some other smaller islands. Its closest relative is another uncommon and expensive deepwater species, the Hooded Fairy Wrasse Cirrhilabrus bathyphilus.

The differences between these two are obvious, if a bit subtle. Both are primarily red and yellow fishes, but in C. nahackyi there is only a small amount of red along the head that quickly blends into the yellow of the body. The dorsal fin is one of the easier traits to look for (in males, at least), as C. nahackyi has a unique extension of the first dorsal fin spine, which makes it look a bit like a crested cockatoo. The colors of the dorsal fin differ as well, being mostly yellow in this species versus the red and black of C. bathyphilus. Females are a bit less extravagant in appearance, being mostly red with yellow fins and with several faint lines and dots present along the body.

Quality Marine is fortunate to be able to offer this prized species from our MAC certified collectors based in Fiji, which means you can rest assured that this fish has been sustainably collected and, from the coral reef to your aquarium, it has received the best care in the industry. Like most species of fairy wrasse, C. nahackyi is a robust and reef safe addition to an aquarium and will thrive on a typical diet of frozen shrimp and dry pellet foods. If housed alongside more aggressive and boisterous tank mates, it is advised to add this polite and retiring fish early on and to avoid mixing with other wrasses that might harass this piscine pacifist. Both sexes can be housed together, which will result in the males actively engaging in their nuptial displays, so be sure to grab a pair on those rare occasions when they are available.