How to Care for a Flame Wrasse in Your Saltwater Aquarium
Wrasses have always been a family of fish that reefers have been fascinated by. With its huge diversity of about 600 species, it is easy to find a perfect wrasse for any reef tank. Unlike clownfish and many tangs or angelfish, multiple wrasse species or harems of a species can often be kept together in the same aquarium.
The Hawaiian Flame Wrasse is among the most desirable of wrasses. They are strikingly colorful, are also reef safe and hardy animals that do well in aquariums.
A male flame wrasse is larger and more colorful compared to females which is typical of the wrasse family of fishes. Males are golden yellow with a bright red upper body and fins. A mature male flame wrasse is quite a sight to behold. The females are mostly red with some yellow coloration around the mouth and anal fin.
In an aquarium, you can keep a Flame wrasse by itself, in pairs or in a harem with one male and multiple females. A minimum tank size is 30 gallons for a single wrasse or 50+ gallons if you are keeping a pair or a harem of wrasses. They are also prolific jumpers so a tight fitting lid or screen top is ideal.
As with other fairy wrasses, all flame wrasses begin their life as females. Once they mature, one in the group will turn into a male. It is possible to purchase multiple females, which are less expensive, then wait for one to eventually turn into a male.
Once you have brought home your flame wrasses, the most ideal scenario is to first keep them in a quarantine tank for 30 to 60 days to make sure they are disease free and actively eating. We have a great video all about quarantine tanks embedded below for reference.
We do understand that a quarantine tank is not always feasible. In these cases, we recommend isolating the fish in the display aquarium to help acclimate the fish into your display. This will help reduce the initial stress from other tank inhabitants, ensure they are eating properly and allows you to closely observe the new fish for any signs of disease or infection.
CPR offers a line of in-tank refugiums that work great for isolating new fish directly in your display aquarium.
As flame wrasses require meaty foods. You will want keep plenty of frozen mysis shrimp on hand.
Piscine Energetics and Cobalt Aquatics offers some of the best mysis available and are both harvested from pristine glacial lakes in Canada.
The best way to feed frozen mysis is to first thaw the mysis and soak them in a food soak like Selcon. The Selcon helps to enrich the food with additional Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins.
After about 15 minutes of soaking, strain the mixture with a net or a frozen food strainer and feed your fish. They will also accept flakes and pellet foods, a good trick is slowly introducing flakes or pellets into your frozen food mixture to help the fish get accustomed to these types of food.
For those lazy days, Innovative Marine makes a nifty gadget called the Gourmet Defroster. It allows you to simply toss the frozen food into your aquarium and prevents the food from being sucked into your overflow box or your filters. The twisting mechanism even allows you to regulate how quickly the food is released into your aquarium.
Proper acclimation and great nutrition will help to ensure your flame wrasses thrive in your aquarium.
If you have any questions or looking to get some wrasses for your reef tank, our trained team of aquarium experts is here to help. Until next time, take care and happy reefkeeping.
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