Six Line Wrasses 101 (With Some Interesting Facts)

Six Line Wrasses 101 (With Some Interesting Facts)

Six line wrasse

Six line wrasses are beautiful, colorful, and popular choice among wrasse species.

They’re also relatively easy to care for once they settle in your saltwater aquarium.

These fish are aggressive toward other fish and invertebrates.

So you must learn about their requirements before considering them for your marine aquarium.

Let’s learn about six line wrasses in more detail.

Six Line Wrasse Species Overview

The six line wrasse is a small saltwater fish commonly found in the Indo-Pacific oceans.

This fish is reef-safe and famous in the aquarium trade.

They’re usually found among the branches of coral on the seaward reef.

However, they also inhabit clear coastal and shallow waters, having dense algal growth.

It’s nearly impossible to breed six line wrasses in home aquariums.

So, most six line wrasses that you see in home aquariums are actually caught in the wild.


Beautiful six line wrasse

The six line wrasse gets its name from the six long lines on either side that run lengthwise along its body.

These lines also give this fish a distinct look from other wrasse species.

Six line wrasses have a violet color body with six orange stripes along the flanks.

They have a tiny spot on the dorsal side near the base of the tail, along with blue lines and a blue streak on their pelvic fins.

Males and females of the six line wrasse species look exactly alike.

A six line wrasse is born as a female and can change gender later based on its environment and internal factors.


A six line wrasse has an average lifespan of four to six years, but it also depends on the quality of its habitat.

Some six line wrasses have lived up to ten years in captivity.

So, these wrasses must get proper water conditions and a well-balanced diet to improve their lifespan.

Besides, they’re hardies and easy to handle for new as well as experience fish keepers.

Average Size

A six line wrasse can reach a maximum length of 3.9 to 4 inches in the wild.

However, the average size of an adult wrasse in a marine aquarium is up to 3 inches.

The male wrasse is slightly larger than the female.

However, the difference between the male and female six line wrasse is not too evident and can be difficult to notice.

Six line wrasses are small but shouldn’t be kept in nano aquariums.

These active fish require plenty of space to move around the tank.

Six Line Wrasse Tank Setup

Six line wrasse in a tank

Six line wrasses are hardy fish that can survive a wide range of water parameters.

However, they need a clean, healthy, and spacious saltwater reef aquarium to thrive in a captive environment.

Let’s understand how to set up the fish tank for six line wrasses in detail.

Tank Size

Six line wrasses are small-sized saltwater fish. However, they’re active swimmers and love to move around the tank.

Therefore, a minimum tank size of 40 gallons or more is recommended.

Tanks with smaller capacities can restrict their movements and make them aggressive.

These fish can also become territorial and attack tankmates in the absence of enough space.

Moreover, the tank should have visual barriers that can separate different sections.

Creating hiding places will replicate their natural habitat making the wrasses feel safe and secure.

Tank Equipment and Decorations

In the wild, six line wrasses live near shallow coral reef environments in warm tropical waters.

So, it’s best to replicate their habitat in the aquarium to make them feel comfortable in captivity.

These small fish need slow water movement, so be cautious as too much turbulence can stress them.

A tight, sturdy lid is required as six line wrasses are known to jump out of water.

Six line wrasses are reef-safe and won’t nip at corals.

So, live rocks made from aragonite skeletons of perished corals and other creatures are usually used in a six line wrasse aquarium.

A sand bed can be used to simulate the rocky reef environment of their natural habitat.

Rocks, driftwood, and caves can create hiding spots inside the aquarium.

Given below are the items required in a six line wrasse tank:

  • Substrate (Soft sand),
  • Air Pump,
  • Filter,
  • Heater,
  • Standard lighting,
  • Aquatic plants,
  • Thermometer,
  • PH testing kit, and
  • Hiding places like live rocks, caves, driftwood, etc.

Maintaining the water quality is essential for ensuring that the water remains within the acceptable range.

Six line wrasses can handle variation, but it’s best to keep the water parameters stable.

Six Line Wrasse Care

Healthy six line wrasse

A six line wrasse is relatively easy to care for once it settles itself inside the aquarium.

However, create an environment that keeps it busy exploring different nooks and corners of the aquarium to avoid confrontations with tankmates.


Six line wrasses are carnivorous fish that mainly eat meat in the wild.

They feed on tiny crustaceans found in coral reefs, including amphipods, copepods, and isopods.

Like their natural habitat, these fish forage near the tank bottom and will nibble at small invertebrates inside the aquarium.

These fish tend to attack small fish inside the tank.

A coral reef inside your marine aquarium can’t provide the required nutrition for six line wrasses.

Therefore, you must supplement their diet with protein-rich food like brine shrimp or mysis shrimp.

You can also feed your wrasses commercial fish pellets or flakes and finely chopped fresh or frozen shrimp to add variety to their diet.

Feed your six line wrasses a pinch of food twice a day, giving them enough food that they can consume in two to three minutes.

Don’t overfeed as it can affect them and the water quality.

Some of the live food that you must feed a six line wrasse are:

  • Brineshrimp,
  • Mysis shrimp,
  • Blackworm,
  • Bristleworm,
  • Nudibranch,
  • Amphipods
  • Copepods, and
  • Isopods.

Feeding them a well-balanced diet is vital to provide the nutrition required for their health and overall growth.

Water Parameters

Six line wrasses can handle variations in the water quality, but it’s essential to maintain stable water quality to ensure they don’t get stressed.

These fish prefer warm water as they belong to the tropi­cal waters.

So it’s best to replicate water conditions that resemble their natural habitat.

The ideal water parameters for six line wrasses are:

Water Temperature: 72°F to 82°F (22°C to 28°C)

Water pH: 8.0 to 8.4

Specific Gravity (Salinity): 1.020 to 1.025

Water Hardness (dkH): 8 to 12

Tank Maintenance

Six line wrasses can tolerate a wide variety of conditions than most aquarium species.

However, these fish will thrive easily with consistent and clean water quality.

You must perform a 20% to 30% water change every week to keep your aquarium clean.

Regular maintenance will control toxic buildup that can affect the water quality.

Unlike most aquarium fish, six line wrasses can handle variations in water quality.

However, maintaining stable water conditions can help improve their lifespan.

Common Diseases

Six line wrasses aren’t prone to the most common health issues that affect other fish in captive environments.

They can feel anxious and stressed during transportation to your home.

However, they should settle down once they get used to their new surroundings.

Given below are a few of the common diseases that can affect six line wrasses:

  • White Spot,
  • Fungal infections, and
  • Bacterial infections.

These wrasses do pretty well once they have established themselves in the tank.

However, be cautious and do a full quarantine before adding a new fish or invertebrate into their tank to avoid transmission of any infection.

Six Line Wrasse Behavior and Temperament

The six line wrasse is a reef-safe fish as it doesn’t nibble on coral inside the aquarium.

So it’s a good choice for community reef aquariums with coral and other marine fish species.

These fish are peaceful and easily cohabitate with other tankmates.

However, they can exhibit aggressive and territorial behavior in certain situations.

Tank size and adequate food are the two most important things to consider when keeping these wrasses.

A medium-sized or large aquarium can help in keeping their aggression under control.

Six Line Wrasse Tankmates

Six line wrasse in a tank with tankmates

Six line wrasses are small but aggressive and territorial toward other fish.

So avoid keeping them with invertebrates or small, peaceful fish species.

A six line wrasse should be housed with large sized confident, semi-aggressive fish that can hold their ground when attacked by a six line wrasse.

Some of the tankmates that you can keep with six line wrasses are:

  • Banana wrasses,
  • Dragon wrasses,
  • Angelfish,
  • Butterflyfish,
  • Pufferfish,
  • Tangs, and
  • Large clownfish.

Don’t keep these fish with other six line wrasses, invertebrates, and smaller peaceful fish species because they’re known to attack small fish and eat invertebrates.

Also, don’t keep them with big, aggressive fish because they’ll get bullied out of their territory.

Given below are some fish that you shouldn’t keep with six line wrasses:

  • Six line wrasses (multiple male fish),
  • Gobies,
  • Fairy wrasses,
  • Cleaner wrasses,
  • Leopard wrasses,
  • Pipefish,
  • Seahorses,
  • Yellow coris wrasses, and
  • Melanurus wrasses.

So, you can keep a six line wrasse with semi-aggressive and large fish that can withstand the six line wrasse’s aggressive and territorial behavior.

Breeding Six Line Wrasses

Breeding of six line wrasses is impossible in home aquariums.

These fish mature at that age of around two years.

However, there is hardly any difference in the male and female fish to determine their gender for breeding.

They also won’t get the chance to breed because they’re too aggressive toward each other when housed together.

That’s why they’re usually kept alone.

These wrasses are also broadcast spawners.

They randomly release their sperm and eggs into the water, reducing the chances of successful fertilization.

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