Radiant Wrasse Care Guide

Scientific NameHalichoeres iridis
Minimum Tank Size70 Gallons
Water Parameters72-78 F, pH 8-8.4, Salinity 1.020-1.025

The Radiant Wrasse is a beautiful, challenging addition to aquariums. They have a much more fickle health to them than most wrasse. This makes them a more avoided addition and therefore more rare of a sight. They will not bother any tankmates and can always be seen going across the tank in search of something to watch. Combine this with their stunning yellow-black body and you have a nice addition to any peaceful aquarium.

Is the Radiant Wrasse Reef Safe?

The Radiant Wrasse is absolutely reef safe and causes harm to neither corals or the inverts in the aquarium. They are unlikely to eat any mid sized worms, making feather dusters an acceptable addition to the tank. Any inverts that are added should be of decent size to reduce the chance of being hunted, however the Radiant Wrasse is already extremely unlikely to bother even small inverts.

This does mean that the Radiant Wrasse should not be used to combat larger worm problems that other wrasse are able to handle. They will eat tiny worms and keep them from becoming a problem in the tank if used early enough.

Radiant Wrasse Tank Requirements

The Radiant Wrasse is more demanding when it comes to how their tank is. When new to the tank they are likely to be stressed, losing color and more prone to sickness than most other wrasse would be. To combat this the tank should be perfectly set up to accept and accommodate the new wrasse.

The main points to check on are:

  • Having a deep sand bed
  • No fish to harass them
  • A tight fitting lid with holes covered
  • An acclimation box
  • Decent copepod population

Members of the Halichoeres family love to burrow in the sand for protection, even in a completely safe environment. They will do this when they are frightened, stressed and at night time to sleep. Being more delicate than most wrasse the Radiant Wrasse will spend a lot of time early on burrowed. Being unable to do so will cause them excessive stress. With this fish costing more than three or four bags of sand there is no reason to avoid having a sand bed ready for them.

When building a sand bed it is important to keep the rocks in mind. Rocks should be placed directly on the glass, needing no support from the sand to stay in place. The Radiant Wrasse will often burrow horizontally and somewhat under the rocks. This can knock down large rock structures if they are not held in place properly. In addition to placing them beneath the sand you may adhere the rocks together or connect them with zip ties. Falling rocks can damage corals, harm fish and even crack the aquariums glass.

Acclimating the Radiant Wrasse

The Radiant Wrasse has a hard time being added to new tanks. This is largely due to their collection and shipping procedures, which takes a while longer than most wrasse. Additionally they are extra sensitive to shipping stress and moving from tank to tank. This makes for an odd wrasse addition, as most are extremely hardy and can be added with little worry about their safety.

The main choice to make when acclimating the Radiant Wrasse is deciding what is more important to you. If you value everything in your tank more than the wrasse, which most people with large established aquariums do, then you should drip acclimate the Radiant Wrasse and add them to a hospital tank before adding them to the aquarium. This will make them have to endure another tank transition while keeping your main tank safe from any sickness or parasites they may bring with them.

When keeping the Radiant Wrasse in a quarantine tank you must add either a sand bed or sand box. The small, usually barren quarantine tank will stress the wrasse and make them seek shelter. As they often burrow when stressed a sand box or bed will make them feel much safer, reducing their stress and making the Radiant Wrasse stay healthy. A sand box would be a small container with two or three inches of sand in it. This uses a lot less sand and reduces costs compared to a full on sand bed.

Once the wrasse has been deemed safe for the main tank you can begin acclimating them a second time. If you have any fish who may be aggressive towards the Radiant Wrasse then they should be placed into an acclimation box for the first few days in the new tank. These will allow other fish to see the Radiant Wrasse while still keeping the wrasse safe. It will be more stressful for the wrasse than free swimming in the tank but being bullied is much worse for the Radiant Wrasse than an acclimation box is. After the fish in the tank have grown used to the wrasse they may be released from the acclimation box, which should then be removed from the tank.

Radiant Wrasse Diet

Luckily feeding the Radiant Wrasse is not difficult. They are quick to accept just about any foods fed to the tank and are competitive eaters. They can be bullied away from food by much larger fish but should still be able to eat due to their speed. Their diet should consist of:

  • Finely diced shrimp
  • Prepared foods, such as flake and pellets
  • Frozen brine or mysis shrimp
  • Live baby brine shrimp
  • Copepods
  • Nori/seaweed

Like most wrasse the Radiant Wrasse demands at least three meals a day. This is due to their smaller digestive tracts which make them unable to hold a significant amount of food over long periods of time. To keep them fed it is highly advised you use multiple automatic feeders set on timers. This will allow you to distribute the food around the tank, ensuring the wrasse is able to get some food no matter their tankmates behavior.

When changing from two feeding a day to three it is important to lower the amount of food given per feeding. Otherwise you would just be feeding the tank 50% more food than they would get with two feedings.

Radiant Wrasse Tankmates

The Radiant Wrasse is very peaceful and should not disturb any fish in the tank. Even similar wrasse will do just fine when placed in a tank large enough fro both wrasse to have their own space. When keeping multiple burrowing wrasse or other burrow users the tank should have a deep sand bed along the entirety of the tank rather than several hills of sand.

Good tank mates for Radiant Wrasse are:

  • Tangs
  • Chromis
  • Dotty Backs
  • Blennies
  • Gobies
  • Basslets
  • Cardinalfish
  • Rabbitfish

Some tank mates to avoid are:

  • Other Cirrhilabrus Wrasse
  • Damselfish
  • Eels
  • Dragonets

Wrasse are quick to destroy copepod populations in the tank due to their constantly hunting personality. This makes them unsuitable tank mates for any fish who is dependent on pods. This is mostly dragonets and mandarins. Even larger 300 gallon tanks would struggle to support the two fish without an attached refugium. The Radiant Wrasse itself is not dependent on copepods so there is no harm in keeping them in groups.

Damselfish and eels can often give the Radiant Wrasse a lot of unneeded stress when placed in the same tank. Damselfish are both territorial and aggressive. They are commonly kept due to their hardiness and low cost but should be avoided for any peaceful fish such as this wrasse. Like wise eels can take swings at these small wrasse as the wrasse hunts for copepods on the rocks.

When keeping multiple wrasse it is important to keep other aggressive wrasse out of the tank. Even when introduced second a larger more aggressive wrasse is likely to harass the Radiant Wrasse to death after they become male.

Gender & coloration

The main color change the Radiant Wrasse has after it becomes a juvenile is its head. As they age their head will turn a deeper yellow, giving them a more distinct look with a high contrast along their body. Once they pass maturity they will continue to change the color of their head, shifting into a more green color.

This head color is the only way to guess which gender the Radiant Wrasse is. Wrasse begin their lives as female, changing into male over time and depending on their surroundings this can be very quickly or delayed. By observing how developed their yellow head is we can make an educated guess on their gender. If they already have a slightly green head there is almost no chance the Radiant Wrasse would be female still.

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