The Fish Guru

The Fascinating Dragon Wrasse: Characteristics Care and Breeding

Dragon Wrasse: A Fascinating Fish with a Unique Personality

If you’re a fish enthusiast, you’ve probably heard of the Dragon Wrasse, a compelling and colorful fish that’s native to shallow coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific region. Known for its unique appearance, the Dragon Wrasse has become more and more popular among fish-keepers in recent years.

However, before you decide to keep one as a pet, it’s crucial to understand their characteristics, personality, and behavior. In this article, we’ll explore all aspects of the Dragon Wrasse and provide you with the information you need to care for these magnificent fish properly.

Characteristics and Personality

The Dragon Wrasse, also called the “Reindeer Wrasse” due to its distinctive protruding mouth, is an attractive fish that can reach over a foot in length. Juveniles display neon green and red stripes, which gradually morph into a brick-red color as they mature.

However, one of the most striking features of the Dragon Wrasse is its eyes, which are bright yellow or lime green and seem to glow in the dark. But what makes the Dragon Wrasse truly unique is its personality.

It’s a smart fish that’s challenging to predict, often displaying a lot of aggression towards other fish. They also tend to dig through rocks and substrate in search of food, making them unsuitable for reef aquariums.

However, they can be kept in a species-only tank, and if provided with plenty of room and hiding places, they may not exhibit excessive aggression.

Care Level and Price

The care level required for a Dragon Wrasse is moderately high compared to other fish. They require a tank that is at least 100 gallons, with plenty of rocks and hiding places.

Also, the water parameters must be closely monitored, as they are susceptible to diseases like Cryptocaryon irritans (marine ich). A protein skimmer is recommended for the maintenance of a healthy environment.

If you’re keen on getting a Dragon Wrasse, keep in mind that they are relatively rare and expensive compared to other fish. Juveniles typically retail between $50 and $100, while adults can cost up to $300.

Habitat and Distribution

As we mentioned earlier, the Dragon Wrasse is native to the Indo-Pacific region, where it can be found in shallow coral reefs and lagoons. Particularly, they are found in reef flats and lagoon patch reefs.

Their natural habitat provides them with the necessary hiding places for shelter, food, and protection from larger fish.


Juvenile and Adult Appearance

The Dragon Wrasse’s appearance is one of its most intriguing features. Juveniles display a neon-green and red-striped pattern, which gradually turns into a solid brick-red color as they mature.

The color of the Dragon Wrasse is one of its distinctive characteristics as it stands out against the primarily blue and green backdrop of the reef.

Body Design and Fins

The Dragon Wrasse has a distinctive body design that sets it apart from other fish. It has a long and streamlined body, with a square-shaped head and a protruding mouth resembling that of a reindeer.

The dorsal fin, located on the fish’s back, is relatively small compared to other fish. On the other hand, the pelvic fins, located on the belly, are frilly, which adds to the fish’s unique look.


In conclusion, the Dragon Wrasse is an exciting and unique fish with a fascinating personality. However, it requires specific care conditions and is relatively rare and expensive compared to other types of fish.

If you’re considering keeping a Dragon Wrasse, it’s crucial to understand its characteristics, habitat, and care requirements to provide it with the best possible life in captivity.

Setting up a Dragon Wrasse Tank

If you’ve decided to keep a Dragon Wrasse, it’s essential to know how to set up an appropriate tank that caters to their specific needs. In this section, we’ll cover everything you need to know to set up a Dragon Wrasse tank.

Tank Size and Setup

Dragon Wrasses require a tank that’s at least 100 gallons in size. They are primarily saltwater fish, meaning you’ll need to set up a saltwater tank.

The tank should have plenty of rocks, grass, and substrate, providing hiding spaces that the Dragon Wrasse can use for shelter and as a foraging ground. The substrate should be at least two inches deep so that the Dragon Wrasse can dig and hide.

Water Conditions

To maintain a healthy environment for your Dragon Wrasse, the water conditions must be appropriate. The ideal water temperature should range between 72 and 78F, with a pH level of 8.1-8.4 and a specific gravity of 1.020-1.025.

Ensuring that the water conditions are within the Dragon Wrasse’s preferred range will promote their overall health and help prevent disease outbreaks. An efficient filter system is essential to keep the water quality high.

Filtration equipment such as protein skimmers and canister filters are useful for removing excess food and waste that could otherwise build up in the tank and cause water quality issues.

Tank Mates

When it comes to tank mates, the Dragon Wrasse is generally not sociable. They are aggressive towards other fish and will typically only tolerate their kind.

Hence, it’s best to keep your Dragon Wrasse in a species-only tank. Avoid keeping them with aggressive fish like Triggerfish, as this could result in fights, leading to a stressful environment.

Invertebrates are generally compatible with the Dragon Wrasse, but it’s always best to introduce them gradually to assess how well they are accepted by your fish.

Dragon Wrasse Diet

Carnivorous Diet

The Dragon Wrasse is a carnivore fish, requiring a diet that consists of prey like small fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other invertebrates. In their natural habitat, they are known to feed on crabs, snails, polychaete worms, and other small crustaceans, making them carnivorous predators.

Feeding Schedule

To maintain a healthy Dragon Wrasse, a consistent feeding schedule is essential. We recommend feeding them small meals 2-3 times a day, which mimics their natural feeding habits.

You can use either fresh or frozen seafood to meet their dietary requirements. If you find it challenging to maintain a feeding schedule, it may be best to invest in an automatic fish feeder to feed them while you’re away.

Varied Diet

While small prey is a primary food source, it’s essential to provide the Dragon Wrasse with a varied diet. This ensures that they get all the necessary nutrients and vitamins.

High-quality flake and pellet food can also be introduced into their diet, but they should not be the only source of food. It’s crucial to ensure that all the food provided is of high quality to ensure that your Dragon Wrasse remains healthy.

In summary, setting up a Dragon Wrasse tank requires careful planning to ensure that the appropriate water conditions and equipment are in place. A species-specific tank is necessary, given the Dragon Wrasse’s aggressive behavior towards other fish.

Maintaining a consistent feeding schedule with a varied diet and high-quality foods is essential to keep these carnivorous fish at optimal health. By following these tips, you can create an environment that allows your Dragon Wrasse to thrive.

Caring for Dragon Wrasses

Dragon Wrasses are fascinating fish that require specific care to stay healthy and live a long life. In this section, we’ll cover everything you need to know for proper Dragon Wrasse care, including maintenance, disease prevention, and breeding.


Maintaining a clean environment is essential for the health of your Dragon Wrasse. Regular cleaning of the tank, including removing excess food and waste, is necessary for optimal water quality.

Moreover, partial water changes should also be implemented to ensure that the water conditions remain consistent, keeping them safe from common saltwater diseases. Feeding your Dragon Wrasse a healthy diet of high-quality, varied foods is also necessary for their overall health.

Ensuring that they receive adequate nutrition will create an optimal environment for growth and development.

Disease Prevention

Water testing is an essential aspect of proper Dragon Wrasse care to prevent and detect potential issues. Testing the water regularly for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates will help detect early signs of poor water quality, which can trigger disease outbreaks.

Utilizing a quarantine tank before introducing new fish to the main tank is also critical for preventing the spread of disease. The Dragon Wrasse is susceptible to common saltwater diseases like White Spot disease, Velvet disease, and Marine Ich.

These illnesses can wreak havoc on their overall health and require immediate attention from a veterinarian. When you notice any signs of illness, such as rapid breathing, lack of appetite, or changes in skin appearance, do not hesitate to seek medical attention.


Breeding Dragon Wrasses in captivity can be a challenging task due to their complicated courtship rituals. However, with the proper setup, knowledge, and care, you can breed these fish in captivity.

To successfully breed Dragon Wrasses, the male and female must be compatible, and there must be a comfortable environment with ample hiding places. To simulate spawning conditions, it’s essential to replicate the natural habitat.

A clean and well-maintained tank provides the ideal spawning environment. The male will display mating behavior by swimming and flashing his fins in front of the female.

Once fertilized, the eggs of the Dragon Wrasse are deposited onto the substrate and may hatch within 24 hours.

Breeding Dragon Wrasses requires closer monitoring than regular aquarium keeping, so it’s crucial to keep an eye out for any potential health issues or behavioral changes.

In Summary

Properly caring for a Dragon Wrasse requires consideration and care for their specific needs. Regular environment maintenance, healthy diets, and disease prevention are crucial for keeping them healthy and happy.

Furthermore, breeding them in captivity requires replicating their natural habitat and closely monitoring their courtship ritual. By following these guidelines, you can ensure the longevity and health of your Dragon Wrasse.

In conclusion, caring for a Dragon Wrasse requires attention to detail and knowledge of their specific care needs. Maintaining a clean environment, feeding them a healthy and varied diet, and preventing common saltwater diseases are essential for keeping your Dragon Wrasse healthy.

Additionally, breeding them in captivity requires replication of their natural habitat and monitoring of their courtship ritual. By following these guidelines, you can ensure the longevity and health of your Dragon Wrasse, making them a rewarding and fascinating pet to keep.

Popular Posts