Labroides dimidiatus
Labroides dimidiatus
Labroides dimidiatus
Labroides dimidiatus
Source: Brian Gratwicke / CC BY 3.0
Labroides dimidiatus


Latin name Labroides dimidiatus - (Valenciennes, 1839)
Common name Cleaner Common Wrasse
Family Labridae - Labroides
Origin East Indian Ocean, West Indian Ocean, Australia, The Red Sea, Indonesia, East Pacific, Central/West Pacific
Max length 14.0 cm (5.5")

As aquarium fish

Minimum volume 500 l (132 gal)
Hardiness Average
Suitable for aquarium Suitable with care
Reef safe Always reef safe
Aggressiveness Mostly peaceful but might be aggressive towards similar species of same gender


  • Zooplankton (Cyclops, pods...)
  • Small crustaceans (Krill, mysis, artemia...)
  • Parasites


This species can be fastidious and in an aquarium it can be very difficult to get them to eat sufficiently.

Can nibble at clams

This species sometimes nibbles at clams including Tridacna species.

Frequent feeding

This fish requires feeding several times a day, especially when newly added.

When the fish can find its natural food in the aquarium it requires less frequent feeding. 

Live food

There is a greater chance of success with this species if one can supply a living feed to allow it to adapt to the tank.


This species can change gender from female to male.

When a male is needed, a female changes sex and takes on the role.

Bred in captivity

This species can be bred in captivity, one can therefore consider asking your local fish store for a captive bred specimen.

Removes parasitic life

This species is able to remove parasites from fish.
It does not have a great impact on a large outbreak of marine ich (Cryptocaryon), for example, but it contributes towards keeping fish parasite free.

Constant cleaning can stress the fish in the aquarium, so one should not add this fish which removes parasites, if the fish are already weakened through other causes.

Not all specimens actively clean fish.

Can coexist as a pair

They can live as a pair provided they are introduced simultaneously.


The aquarium should house many fish, so the Wrasse can find enough parasites, although this can be supplemented with other food types.

Genus description (Labroides)

Cleaner Wrasses, of the labroides genus, remove parasites from fish, but only particular types of parasites.
They do not remove marine ich (Cryptocaryon irritans) or velvet (Amyloodinium ocellatum), but they are good at controlling parasitic Flatworm and Isopods

Cleaner Wrasses do not survive on parasites alone, but also eat other fishes mucous layer. It is therefore a bad idea to keep Cleaner Wrasses with a small amount of fish as this will weaken these fishes immune system. 

Labroides dimidiatus are the easiest to keep in an aquarium as they will often happily eat frozen food, especially if helped along by having live food to begin with. 

These fish can be kept in pairs or alone, but two males will kill each other.
As it can be problematic to distinguish gender, one should buy these fish at a young age, if one wishes to have a pair. 

They sleep in a mucous cocoon between the rocks. 

Even though predatory fish will rarely eat Cleaner Wrasses in the wild, the same cannot be said for in captivity. 

Family description (Labridae)

Wrasses are nearly always seen in reef aquaria, since many of the species are both attractive and useful in battling a range of unwanted invertebrates like i.e. flatworms, pyramide snails.
These fish live of everything from zooplankton to large crustaceans, sea urchins and the like.

The needs and behaviour of Wrasses vary greatly, so it is vital to familiarize oneself with the specific species before buying one.


Aquarium trade Yes
Distribution Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa (Ref. 4392) to the Line, Marquesas, and Ducie islands, north to southern Japan, south to Lord Howe and Rapa islands.
English common names Wrasse, Common cleanerfish, Bluestreak cleanerfish, Bridled beauty, Bluestreak cleaner wrasse, Cleaner wrasses
Danish common names Almindelig pudsefisk
German common names Putzerfisch
French common names Poisson nettoyeur commun

References and further reading

About references

Bob Fenner. Cleaner Wrasses in the Genus Labroides - Wet Web Media - (English)

Scott W. Michael. 2009. Wrasses and Parrotfishes (Reef Fishes Series Book 5) - TFH Publications / Microcosm Ltd. - (English)

Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2014. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication., version (08/2014).


hermaphroditic, live food, hard to feed, pair couple, eats tridacna
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