Girdled Fairy Wrasse


Girdled Fairy Wrasse.

  • Girdled Fairy Wrasse
  • Cirrhilabrus balteatus
  • Care: Intermediate
  • Diet: Omnivorous
  • Group Size: Alone, pair or harem
  • Place of origin: Western Central Pacific
  • Coral Safe: Generally yes
  • Critter safe: Generally yes

Girdled Fairy Wrasse, Cirrhilabrus balteatus, are vibrant and distinctive occupants in a reef tank.

These elegant creatures have dark green or purple bodies, strikingly offset by their white bellies. As the name suggests, they have a large pink/orange saddle mark on their sides. Bright orange rimmed eyes stand out on their dark faces. Males and females look alike, although the males’ colour will deepen when they are courting.

Girdled Fairy Wrasse, Cirrhilabrus balteatus, Ecology.

These beautiful fish live around the Marshall Islands, in the Western Central Pacific Ocean.

The complex habitat help the wrasse avoid predation. Unlike some species, these fish do not bury themselves to sleep or hide. Instead, they have quite a nifty trick. In order to sleep safely, Girdled Fairy Wrasse find a nook they like. They then envelope themselves in a protective mucus coat. Supposedly, this hides the wrasses scent from predators. These sticky invisibility cloaks do not degrade your water quality like some coral wax jackets’ might.

In Nature, Girdled Fairy Wrasse live in groups with one male to a few or more females. Dominant males instigate spawning by preforming their courtship display. He will dash around, showing off his colours to the harem. These fish are protogynous hermaphrodites. Which means that, when they get old enough, breeding females turn into a male. As a result, all juveniles are immature females.

Wrasse in the Aquarium.

It is important to imitate the natural environment by providing plenty of nooks and crannies for the wrasse to hide in. Hobbyists should invest in a jump guard to prevent any unfortunate mishaps.

Girdled Fairy Wrasse do best when fed a varied diet. They will accept enriched frozen mysis shrimp and enriched frozen brine shrimp. They will also devour live foods, such as copepods and amphipods, that can be cultivated in attached refugium. Over time they will accept high-quality pellet or flake. We adapt all our wrasse to aquarium life before they leave us. We focus on their health, and most are eating a good quality flake food and/or pellet, such as JBL Maris, before being offered for sale.


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