Conde’s Fairy Wrasse

Scientific NameCirrhilabrus condei
Minimum Tank Size50 Gallons
Water Parameters72-78 F, pH 8-8.4, Salinity 1.020-1.025
Conde’s Fairy Wrasse is a great alternative to the commonly selected four line wrasse. They have a lot of aggression in them, making them one of the smaller wrasse that can be kept with more aggressive tankmates. This is ideal for small aquariums where corals need protection from pests.

Their bodies are a bright red with an orange belly. This color continues on their pectoral, anal and tail fin. Conde’s Fairy Wrasse has a red base on their dorsal fin, topped with a black ridge that ends with a small yellow section. They are very colorful wrasse that do not feature any stripes or patterns. They will typically dart around the tank and keep an eye on other fish and may flare its fins at others.

Is Conde’s Fairy Wrasse Reef Safe?

Wrasse of the Cirrhilabrus family are generally reef safe and Conde’s Fairy Wrasse is no exception. Their behavior is either very aggressive or peaceful towards other fish but they will generally ignore any inverts. Their mouths are very small and not suitable for fighting with any inverts that are not juvenile or new born size. Likewise all worms that are not tiny will be safe with Conde’s Fairy Wrasse in the aquarium.

When adding worms or inverts after housing Conde’s Fairy Wrasse it is important to do so at night, after feeding the wrasse. Additionally the newly added invert or worm should be of a decent size. Anything over an inch in size for inverts or a worm over a few inches should be safe right away. Feather dusters should be buried slightly in the sand to give them protection from any fish in the tank.

Corals will benefit from the addition of this wrasse as they will hunt for small pests on rocks, glass, the sand bed and the corals themselves. They will not pick at or tear any corals on purpose but they may eat pests off the corals, which can cause temporary stress. Overall the pests they keep away from corals will be more beneficial than any trouble the Conde’s Fairy Wrasse could cause.

Conde’s Fairy Wrasse Wrasse Diet

Conde’s Fairy Wrasse is  very aggressive eater and can keep other fish from eating. Be sure to feed the tank in multiple areas when keeping them with more meek fish that can be bullied. Larger fish should have no issues eating around the Conde.

As these wrasse are so quick they will do well with any type of food. Floating, sinking or free swimming live food will all be accepted by them. Additionally they are quick to take just bout any food added to the tank. There is almost no chance they will refuse to eat after they have settled into the tank.

A good diet for Conde’s Fairy Wrasse consists of:

  • Frozen Mysis or brine shrimp
  • Zooplankton
  • Copepods
  • Amphipods
  • Prepared foods
  • Chopped shrimp
  • Nori or seaweed

As they are such small wrasse, which have small digestive tracts that are unable to hold large amounts of food, the Conde’s Fairy Wrasse will require three or four feedings a day. Large tanks with a flourishing copepod population can do well with only two or three feedings a day but this should not be expected. The easiest way to get three feedings a day is with automatic feeders with prepared foods. This can be supplemented by any refrigerated or frozen foods by hand.

These wrasse are hit and miss on seaweed. Most wrasse will eat seaweed chunks that have been ripped by other fish but this will not always happen. If the Conde’s Fairy Wrasse does not eat any amount of seaweed you should supplement their diet with plant based prepared foods or vitamin enriched brine shrimp. The more rounded out their diet is the better coloration you can expect from Conde’s Fairy Wrasse.

When they are not being fed the Conde’s Fairy Wrasse will be seen swimming around the tank and picking at rocks, glass and the sand bed. They do this to find small pieces of food or small crustaceans. Most frequently these are copepods or amphipods, which feed on waste in the tank. The larger and more mature the tank is, the more copepods you can expect to be living in the aquarium. Most wrasse will be able to eat more pods than are born however, making this much less of a feeding act and more of a hobby for Conde’s Fairy Wrasse. To make this a more reliable means of food a refugium can be linked together with their aquarium, giving the copepods a safe place to reproduce before being hunted.

Conde’s Fairy Wrasse Tank Requirements

While many wrasse are used to being deep underwater Conde’s Fairy Wrasse has a different home. They are used to small, shallow areas where jumping to different bodies of water is common. This means they will jump excessively in the home aquarium throughout their entire life. Combine that with their small body and you have an escape prone wrasse. Be sure any tank with Conde’s Fairy Wrasse has a tight fitting lid with all holes covered with either a mesh net or filtration media. Cut outs around power cords and overflow boxes are frequently over looked even when the wrasse can fit through the gaps.

As a member of the Cirrhilabrus family they rely on large rock networks for shelter, both for swimming around and sleeping at night. When they have an unclaimed area of rocks or section of the sand bed Conde’s Fairy Wrasse can often be seen sleeping in a mucus cocoon. This is a small web like structure they will make and eat when they wake up. It appears as a few strands forming a bubble around the wrasse and holds them in place for the night. This allows them to conserve energy that would otherwise be lost by swimming in place.

Allowing them to sleep using their cocoon is vital. They do not have much energy to spare as said earlier with their more frequently required meals. Never disturb a wrasse when you see them sleeping for the night, as doing so will make them significantly less likely to do so in the future and causes them immense stress.

These wrasse will not burrow and are fine to keep in a bare bottom tank. Likewise gravel and crushed coral work fine as a substrate for them.

Conde’s Fairy Wrasse Tankmates

Good Conde’s Fairy Wrasse tank mates are:

  • Clownfish
  • Tangs
  • Angelfish
  • Damselfish
  • Basslets
  • Chromis
  • Butterflyfish
  • Surgeon fish

While I do not generally suggets Damselfish they are a similarly sized fish that can tolerate the amount of aggression that Conde’s Fairy Wrasse can bring along with them. Many popular small aquarium fish can be bullied by this wrasse. Be sure to only pick larger fish or those with at least a semi aggressive temperament.

Unlike a lot of fairy wrasse this one should not be kept with any other wrasse, no matter how peaceful they are. The only exception is adding multiple Conde’s Fairy Wrasse to a larger tank at the same time. They can form a harem as they do in the wild. While most wrasse will become male in the home aquarium the extra aggression put out by Conde’s Fairy Wrasse combined with their usually smaller homes makes them more likely to accept other females and reduces the odds of females changing into males.

Small eels may be fine with Conde’s Fairy Wrasse but should be kept with caution. They are very small fish who enjoy sleeping on rocks at night, making them easy targets for predatory eels. Any eel who has sharp razor teeth or a large mouth is a danger to this wrasse. Small pebble tooth eels are typically good tank mates.

Always keep the tank size in mind when picking out tank mates. Those who are stressed out in smaller tanks may be even more stressed when kept with Conde’s Fairy Wrasse as they fight for territory. Overstocking the tank with any other territorial fish is a sure way to cause issues in the aquarium.

Conde’s Fairy Wrasse Gender

As a wrasse Conde’s Fairy Wrasse begins its life as a female. They will have less pronounced coloration, developing a richer red body and solid black line on their dorsal fin as they age and transition into a male. While young they will have a small black dot on the top half of their tail, before their fin. This section of the fish is known as the caudal peduncle, which is the section between their dorsal fin and tail fin. The dot located here is the easiest way to tell if the wrasse has matured.

If the wrasse still has this dot then they are younger and likely still a female. If the dot is gone entirely they are almost sure to be male. You can also use their colors to guess if they are male or female, but with how many factors change the wrasses color this is not too accurate.

Depending on where the wrasse originated from they can have two sets of colors. Conde’s Fairy Wrasse from the Samaral island will have a brighter red, a yellow line bellow their dorsal fin and a more white belly. On the other hand those that come form Indonesia will have a sunset look to them, with a yellow stomach shifting into an orange mid section and red top half. If you are looking for a specific coloration and are ordering your wrasse it is important to ask the collection location.

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