Care Level: Moderate
Reef Compatible: With Caution
General Description: The Red Breasted Maori Wrasse is a relatively hardy, rare fish that occasionally makes its way through the aquarium trade. Native to the Red Sea, Fiji, and western Indo-Pacific, the Red breasted maori wrasse is one of the most impressively colored in its genus Cheilinus. It has a dark brown body with five or six white vertical stripes and a bright reddish-orange band behind the head in which its name is derived. The shape of this wrasse is unlike any other fish and its size will also make a statement to your hobbyist friends, reaching an adult size of approximately 12″. Despite its large size, the Red breasted maori wrasse can be rather cryptic and timid. Do not house it with overly aggressive species that will bully it. Cheilinus wrasses are known to blow jets of water at the sand bed in search of benthic prey.
Diet Requirements: Red breasted maori wrasses are carnivores. A diet consisting of various meaty preparations such as brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, mussels, clams, krill, squid and other large chunks of frozen food (with some 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 wrasses have high metabolisms. High quality flake or pellet foods may also be accepted with time. Maori wrasses can be fussy at first; offering gutted live ghost shrimp or fiddler crabs will encourage feeding behavior. Note: It is not unusual for your Red breasted maori wrasse to consume large amounts of food in a single sitting and not feed again for a few days.
Care Requirements: An established, minimum 200 gallon aquarium is ideal for a Red breasted maori wrasse. A tight fitting lid is suggested because wrasses are known to jump out of aquariums. While a Red breasted maori wrasse will appreciate some rock work and crevices to swim through and take refuge under, unobstructed open swimming space should also be provided. Red breasted maori wrasses are to be added “with caution” into a reef tank because they will eat clean-up crew invertebrates and very small fishes typical of reef aquariums; corals will be ignored. A Red breasted maori wrasse would make an excellent addition to a fish only with live rock aquarium, and with tank mates that are of similar temperament and size. If you want to house a Red breasted maori wrasse with more aggressive species, it should be added first to allow it time to acclimate to its surroundings. If you want to house a Red breasted maori wrasse with more docile species, it should be added near last or last. Take into account the size of your Red breasted maori wrasse upon purchase for appropriate tank mates. Only one Red breasted maori wrasse, or any Cheilinus wrasse, per aquarium. Recommended water conditions, 72-78° F, KH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, salinity 1.020-1.025.
Purchase Size: Small: 2″ to 3″; Medium: 3″ to 5″; Large: 5″ to 7″; XLarge: 7″+
Note: Your item may not look identical to the image provided due to variation within species. Purchase sizes are approximate.