- Species Information
- Scientific Name:Cirrhilabrus exquisitus
- Described:Exquisite Wrasse
- Maximum Size:3-5 inches
The exquisite wrasse, Cirrhilabrus exquisitus (Smith, 1957) is part of a beautiful group of fishes known as fairy wrasses. These fish are known for their gorgeous colors, mesmerizing swimming behavior, and peaceful personality, making them a wonderful addition to most reef tanks. Exquisite wrasses are found throughout the Indo Pacific where they live in small harems, one male to several females. They are an active fish that is usually visible swimming throughout the water column and will fare best in a fairly large tank with live sand and rock work. All fairy wrasses will bury themselves in the sand when stressed and often at night so a thick sand bed is required to keep this species happy. These fish can be fairly sensitive to stress which may make them more prone to diseases. Keeping them in a properly set up tank with good water quality and peaceful tank mates should alleviate any problems associated with this species. Exquisite wrasses will not bother corals or clams but may pose a threat to small crustaceans. They are known to jump when startled so a tightly fitting lid is necessary.
Physical Description– Exquisite wrasses vary in color based on age, sex, geographical location, and even stress level. Their most notable quality is the deep green coloration of their body. This species is sexually dimorphic with males having brighter color, and a larger size, than the females. Females can transition to males if the dominant male is removed. Females generally have a green body with scattered pink blotches with shades of blue especially near the head. They have a white underbelly and a blue spot on their caudal peduncle. Males have deeper blue coloration on their head, throughout their body and on their caudal fin. Bright pink spots are often found near their dorsal fin and the same black spot is present on their caudal peduncle. The Sustainable Islands project often has “super” male exquisite wrasses from Africa which have a bright pink color mixed with blue and green for a very striking and unique appearance.
Temperament– These fish are very peaceful and should be kept in a tank without aggressive fish. They will get along well in pairs, provided both fish are not males. They can generally be kept with other wrasses, even other species of fairy wrasse.
Size– Exquisite wrasses are sexually dimorphic with males being larger than females. Females generally grow to about 3-4 inches in length while males can reach 4-5 inches.
Diet– Once adjusted to life in captivity, these fish will readily accept a variety of prepared foods. At the Sustainable Islands project we feed these fish our Hatchery Diet, frozen brine and mysis, as well as cyclopeeze. Live brine is a great way to get this fish eating after the stress of being shipped.
Distribution– These fairy wrasses have a large distribution throughout the Indo Pacific, from the coast of Africa to Fiji. The color of males will change based on their geographic location. We normally have exquisite wrasses from Africa or Bali.