The Fish Guru

Six-Line Wrasse: The Fiery and Vibrant Coral Reef Fish

The Six-Line Wrasse: A Fiery and Vibrant Coral Reef Fish

Looking for a fish that combines color, aggression and personality? Look no further than the six-line wrasse.

This Indo-Pacific native fish has become a popular choice for saltwater aquariums around the world, thanks to its striking appearance and lively behavior. In this article, well explore what makes the six-line wrasse such a captivating species, and what you need to know to keep them thriving in your aquarium.

Appearance and Behavior

One of the standout features of the six-line wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia) is its iridescent colors and dramatic stripes. These fish feature a vibrant blue body with six horizontal orange stripes that run the length of their body.

The combination of blue and orange creates a striking contrast that is sure to catch your eye. When excited or threatened, the six-line wrasse can turn even more stunning, with the stripes becoming deeper and more intense.

In addition to its impressive appearance, the six-line wrasse has a lively and exciting personality. These fish are known to dart and dance around the aquarium, using their powerful tail fins to propel themselves through the water column.

They are also known to be quite territorial and aggressive, especially towards members of their own species. But this aggression is often tempered by their small size, typically reaching only three inches in length.

Habitat and Distribution

The six-line wrasse is found throughout the Indo-Pacific region, from the coast of East Africa to Indonesia and northern Australia. They are typically found inhabiting shallow coral reefs, where they can hide among the nooks and crannies of the reef and feed on small crustaceans and other invertebrates.

Tank Requirements

If youre looking to keep a six-line wrasse in your home aquarium, there are a few things you need to know. First and foremost, these fish need plenty of space to swim and hide.

A minimum tank size of 30 gallons is recommended for a single six-line wrasse, with additional space needed for any tank mates. They also require plenty of live rock in their environment, as this provides both hiding spots and a source of food.

When it comes to water quality, six-line wrasse are quite hardy and can tolerate a range of parameters. However, they prefer temperatures between 75-82 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH between 8.0-8.4. They also require good water flow to replicate their natural environment.

Adult Size and Lifespan

Six-line wrasse are slow growers, and typically reach their full size of three inches within the first year of life. They are also relatively short-lived, with a lifespan of 4-6 years in the wild.

However, in captivity, they have been known to live for up to 10 years, provided they are kept in a suitable environment and provided with proper care.


Overall, the six-line wrasse is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an eye-catching, colorful fish with plenty of personality. With their fiery behavior and vibrant colors, these fish are sure to bring excitement to any saltwater aquarium.

Whether youre an experienced fish keeper or just starting out, the six-line wrasse is a great addition to any home aquarium. So why not add one to your collection today?

Availability and Cost

The six-line wrasse is a popular fish in the aquarium trade, and as such, it is quite easy to find in most pet stores and online retailers. These fish are typically wild-caught, which means they are caught from their native habitat and transported to aquariums around the world.

However, as with all wild-caught fish, it is important to ensure that the fish you purchase are sourced responsibly and ethically. When it comes to cost, the six-line wrasse is relatively affordable, with prices typically ranging from $30-$40 per fish.

However, the cost can vary depending on where you purchase the fish from and their quality. It is important to shop around and compare prices to ensure that you get the best deal possible.

Diet and Feeding

The six-line wrasse is a carnivorous fish that feeds primarily on small crustaceans and other invertebrates in its natural habitat. In captivity, it is important to replicate this diet as closely as possible, as a balanced and varied diet is essential to their health and vitality.

For the most part, six-line wrasse do well on a diet of high-quality protein sources, such as brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, and other small crustaceans. These can be purchased frozen or live from most aquarium supply stores.

Alternatively, commercial fish pellets or flakes can be used as a staple food, as long as they are high in quality and specifically formulated for carnivorous fish. It is important to feed your six-line wrasse small, frequent meals throughout the day, rather than one large meal.

This will ensure they are getting the nutrients they need to stay healthy and active. It is also important to vary their diet as much as possible, to ensure they are getting a range of nutrients and minerals.

In addition to their regular diet, six-line wrasse may also appreciate the occasional treat in the form of live or frozen foods, such as blackworms or bloodworms. These provide a valuable source of nutrition and can help to keep your fish healthy, active, and engaged.


Overall, the six-line wrasse is a great addition to any saltwater aquarium, thanks to its striking appearance and lively personality. With a little bit of knowledge and care, these fish can thrive in captivity and provide years of enjoyment for their owners.

So if youre looking for a colorful, active fish with plenty of personality, why not add a six-line wrasse to your aquarium today?

Tank Mates

One of the most important aspects of keeping a six-line wrasse is choosing suitable tank mates. These fish are known to be quite territorial and can be aggressive towards other fish, especially members of their own species.

However, with some careful planning, it is possible to find suitable companions for your six-line wrasse. Suitable

Tank Mates

One good option for tank mates is other wrasses, such as dragon wrasses or fairy wrasses.

These fish share many of the same characteristics as the six-line wrasse, including a vibrant coloration and active personality, making them great companions for each other. Other good options include larger, more semi-aggressive fish, such as angelfish, butterflyfish, pufferfish and tangs.

These fish are less likely to be bullied or attacked by the six-line wrasse, and their larger size provides a natural buffer against aggression. Unsuitable

Tank Mates

However, there are also some fish that should be avoided when keeping six-line wrasse.

These include other six-line wrasses, as they will most likely fight with each other and cause stress and injury. Additionally, small peaceful fish or invertebrates, such as shrimp or snails, may be seen as food by the six-line wrasse, and should be avoided.

Care and Maintenance

Keeping a six-line wrasse happy and healthy requires careful attention to its needs in terms of tank setup, water parameters, and health issues.

Tank Setup

A suitable tank setup for a six-line wrasse should include a sandy substrate and plenty of live rock. This will provide the wrasse with plenty of hiding spots and opportunities to forage for food.

Three to four inches of sand should be provided, with plenty of crevices and caves for the fish to explore. Live rock can be used to build a natural-looking habitat and help maintain water quality, in addition to providing hiding places.

Water Parameters

Six-line wrasse are adapted to a range of water parameters, but they prefer alkaline water with a temperature range of 75-82 degrees Fahrenheit, pH between 8.0-8.4, and water hardness between 8-12 dKH. It is important to maintain these parameters consistently, as fluctuations can cause stress and health problems.

A good quality filtration system should also be used to ensure that water quality is kept at optimal levels.

Health Issues

Stress and transportation can be a common issue with six-line wrasse, as they can be sensitive to changes in their environment. It is important to acclimate them slowly to their new tank and to minimize handling and stress as much as possible.

Consistent water quality and proper maintenance of the aquarium equipment can also help to reduce stress levels in the fish. In terms of health issues, common problems include parasitic infections, bacterial infections, and other diseases.

Regular monitoring of your fishs behavior and appearance can help identify potential health issues. If any health concerns are identified, prompt treatment with the use of appropriate medications or treatments is essential.


Keeping a six-line wrasse requires careful attention to their needs in terms of tank setup, water parameters, and choosing suitable tank mates. With proper care and attention, however, these fish can be a stunning and exciting addition to your saltwater aquarium.

By following the guidelines outlined above, you can ensure that your six-line wrasse thrives and brings joy to your aquarium for many years to come.


Breeding six-line wrasse in captivity can be challenging due to their wild-caught nature and their breeding behavior. Six-line wrasse are broadcast spawners, meaning eggs and sperm are released simultaneously into the water column, making successful breeding a more complex process.

Difficulty and Limitations

One major challenge is obtaining a pair of wrasse. It is difficult to determine the sex of juvenile wrasse, and often several wrasse must be purchased to increase the chance of obtaining a compatible pair.

Once a pair has been identified, breeding can take place, but it requires a captive environment that mirrors their natural habitat, which can be difficult to achieve. Wild-caught six-line wrasse can also frequently have been subjected to extended periods of transportation, and this stress can make it challenging for them to breed successfully.

Sexual Maturity

In general, six-line wrasse reach sexual maturity at about two years old, although this can vary depending on environmental and other factors. If youre interested in breeding them, its important to obtain a healthy pair of juveniles, that have been established in a stable environment for a sufficient length of time, to increase the chances of success.


Despite these challenges, the six-line wrasse is still a great addition to any established saltwater aquarium. Due to their active personality and territorial nature, however, it is important to choose tank mates carefully.

They will coexist well with larger, more confident fish, including angelfish, butterflyfish, pufferfish, and tangs. Any tank mates should be carefully planned to avoid smaller peaceful fish or invertebrates, which may be seen as food by the six-line wrasse.


The six-line wrasse is a beautiful and lively fish that adds a vibrant color and energy to any aquarium. With their stunning blue and orange stripes and active personality, they are sure to be a centerpiece of any saltwater tank.

Furthermore, they are relatively hardy and easy to care for, making them an excellent choice for both novice and experienced aquarium hobbyists.


In summary, the six-line wrasse is a colorful and active fish that can be a great addition to your saltwater aquarium, as long as you choose tank mates carefully and provide them with a suitable environment.

Breeding can be challenging, but this should not deter you from enjoying these stunning fish in your aquarium.

With appropriate care and attention, the six-line wrasse can bring beauty and energy to your aquarium for years to come. The six-line wrasse is a popular and lively fish that is prized for its vibrant colors and active personality.

Suitable for intermediate-level aquarists, these fish require a tank setup with plenty of hiding spots and live rock and thrive in alkaline water with temperatures between 75-82 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH between 8.0-8.4. When selecting tank mates, it’s important to choose larger, more semi-aggressive fish, and avoid smaller peaceful fish or invertebrates.

Breeding these fish is challenging, but not impossible.

Although they may be initially difficult to maintain, with proper care, the six-line wrasse can be a stunning and vital addition to your saltwater aquarium.

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