By Bob Goemans
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Cirrhilabrus punctatus

Randall & Kuiter, 1989

Dotted Fairy Wrasse

Likely Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Indo-West Pacific Ocean: Eastern Australia (New Caledonia, Loyalty, Vanuatu, and Fiji Islands) to New Guinea.

Size: 5 inches (12 cm)

Natural Environment: Inhabits protected shallow lagoons and deeper offshore reefs and usually found at depths between 15 – 85 feet (5– 25 m) where it feeds on zooplankton.

General Husbandry: Occasionally seen in the trade with the male varying in colors, sometimes mostly olive green with upper body rosy red. Females are overall reddish. Nevertheless, colors of both vary depending upon the age of the specimen, collection areas, and breeding timeframes.

Can be maintained in reef or fish-only aquariums that should have ample crevices and caves, and peaceful tankmates.

As to diet, will eat most regular aquarium foods, e.g., finely chopped various frozen or fresh meaty foods such as mysis, squid, fish flesh, shrimp, clam, etc., and should be offered two to three times daily.


    Order: Perciformes

    Suborder: Labroidei

    Family: Labridae

    Genus: Cirrhilabrus

FYI: Those in this genus may hide for several days when first introduced, and are also good jumpers, therefore covered aquariums, possibly with eggcrate, are necessary to prevent them from jumping out of the aquarium.

They don't bury themselves in the sand at night, as do many other wrasses. Instead, they may form a mucus cocoon similar to some parrotfishes and/or wedge themselves into a rock crevice. It should be noted the cocoon remnants do not seem to harm water quality or other aquarium inhabitants.

One male per aquarium.

Males may be aggressive towards other fairy wrasses and zooplankton feeders in the aquarium.

Experience Level: Beginner

Temperament: Peaceful

Diet: Carnivore

Coral Safe: Yes

Fish Safe: Yes

Invertebrate Safe: Yes

Acclimation Time: 30 minutes+

Aquarium Environment: Reef or fish-only aquarium

Tankmates: Peaceful

Minimum Tank Size: 60 gallons

Temperature Range: 74 - 82°F (23 – 27°C)

Specific Gravity: 1.020 - 1.026

pH: 8.0 - 8.5

 Cirrhilabrus punctatus (Dotted Fairy Wrasse)
Photo © John Randall
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