Care Level: Moderate
Reef Compatible: Yes
General Description: The Canary Top Wrasse, also known as the Yellow and Purple Wrasse, is endemic to the waters of Sri Lanka. Like all wrasses in the genus Halichoeres, the Canary top wrasse absolutely requires a moderately-sized to fine sandy substrate in order to be able to bury themselves at night for protection or if felt threatened during daylight. In fact, it is very common for your newly introduced wrasse to immediately bury themselves once released into the aquarium. The Canary top wrasse sports a uniquely half yellow and half white body at any life stage or sex. Juvenile Canary top wrasses will appear to have a more white to purple belly, while adult bellies can have a pinkish hue to them. Canary top wrasses are sought after for not only their active and colorful presence, but for their incredible natural ability to control and eliminate nuisance red Planaria flatworms, fireworms and pyramidellid snails that sometimes hitch hike on corals or live rock. This behavior is exhibited across most Halichoeres wrasses. Canary top wrasses can reach a size of approximately 5″. ID Note: The appearance of this wrasse is often confused with another popular wrasse species, the Yellow Wrasse (Halichoeres chrysus) because a common name for this wrasse is also Canary Wrasse. An easy way to tell these two species apart is the fact that the Canary top wrasse has a white belly – a characteristic that the Yellow wrasse does not have (i.e., completely yellow overall).
Diet Requirements: Canary top wrasses are carnivores, actively hunting tiny crustaceans (e.g., copepods, featherdusters) throughout the day. A diet consisting of various meaty preparations such as brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, calanus and other mixed frozen foods that contain algae, such as spirulina, will maintain optimal health and coloration. We highly encourage soaking frozen foods in vitamin and fatty acid supplements, as these wrasses have very high metabolisms. Multiple, small feedings per day rather than one large feeding can also help and in turn create more of a natural environment for a Canary top wrasse as it would feed in the wild. Canary top wrasses will also accept high quality flake or pellet foods, which is great for nutritional gaps and variety.
Care Requirements: An established, minimum 55 gallon aquarium with a 3″ sandbed at the very least is needed for a Canary top wrasse. A tight fitting lid is a must because these wrasses are known to jump out of aquariums. Canary top wrasses enjoy a variety of rock work and crevices to swim through and around while they hunt. Such live rock arrangements can also help to make it feel secure and encourage more outgoing behavior. Given their peaceful nature, a Canary top wrasse should not be kept with overly aggressive species, especially those that can outcompete it in food resources. It is best to add a Canary top wrasse before larger or more active fish in order to allow it to acclimate to the environment. Use discretion based on the wrasse’s size for appropriate tank-mates. Canary top wrasses are compatible with other peaceful wrasses, including different species in Halichoeres. Multiple Canary top wrasses can even be successfully kept together, so long as the aquarium is large enough to support them. In this scenario, it is best to add all individuals at once for the best chance at success. Given that the Canary top wrasse is a “true” reef associated species, they feel most at home in such an environment. Corals will be left unharmed, though with an appetite for undesirable invertebrates (i.e., planaria, fireworms, and nuisance snails), keep in mind that sometimes a Canary top wrasse may make a mistake on decorative invertebrates. Recommended water conditions, 72-78° F, KH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, salinity 1.020-1.025.
Purchase Size: Small: 1-1/4″ to 1-3/4″; Medium: 1-3/4″ to 2-1/2″; Large: 2-1/2″ to 3-1/4″; XLarge: 3-1/4″ to 4″
Note: Your item may not look identical to the image provided due to variation within species. Purchase sizes are approximate.