Thalassoma amblycephalum
Source: Philippe Bourjon / CC BY-SA 4.0

Facts

Latin name Thalassoma amblycephalum
Common name Bluntheaded wrasse
Family Labridae - Thalassoma
Origin East Indian Ocean, West Indian Ocean, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, East Pacific, Central/West Pacific
Max length 16 cm (6.3")

As aquarium fish

Minimum volume 800 l (211 gal)
Hardiness Hardy
Suitable for aquarium Suitable with care
Reef safe Reef safe with caution
Aggressiveness Might be aggressive towards other species

Food

Maybee
  • Fish
Mostly
  • Parasites
Recommended
  • Zooplankton (Cyclops, pods...)
  • Small crustaceans (Krill, mysis, artemia...)
  • Larger crustaceans (Shrimp, crabs...)
  • Other invertebrates

Jumps out of open aquaria

This species is known to jump out of open aquaria.

Threat towards crustaceans

This species poses a threat towards shrimps and crabs etc., which are relatively small.

Can be a threat to small fish

This spicies might be a threat to smaller fishes.

Demand a very large aquarium when fully grown

This species needs a very large aquarium when fully grown.

Exactly how big the aquarium should be is hard to say, but the size of this species is such, that it cannot normally be kept in a home aquarium.

Threat to snails

This species likes eating snails whenever possible.

Frequent feeding

This species requires frequent feeding, at least a couple of times per day.

Requires a varied diet

This species must be fed with an appropriately varied diet.

Requires plenty of space for swimming.

This species revels in swimming and requires an aquarium with ample space.

Hermaphroditic

This species can change gender from female to male.

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

Lives in a pair

This species can live as a pair (male and female).

Eats Pyramid snails

This species can be used to combat Pyramid snails.

One can of course be unlucky in having an individual that refuses to eat them.

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.

Hiding places

This species needs good hiding places, for example, between live rocks.

Can be aggressive

This species can be aggressive if they are not provided with adequate space.

Genus description (Thalassoma)

Thalassoma species are beautiful both as juveniles and as adult fish, even though there is quite a difference in appearance. On the whole, they quickly grow too large for most aquaria and are therefore often offered for sale.

Depending on size they live on everything from Artemia to larger invertebrates like snails, crustaceans and sea urchins. They are well able to smash larger crustaceans on rocks to get pieces small enough to swallow.

Large individuals can be extremely aggressive towards other fish and will happily eat the smaller ones.
They should really be fed three times daily, as they are very active, which incidentally, means they require a lot of swimming space.

Although these Wrasses often dig themselves into the sand, a sandy substrate is not absolutely necessary for them to thrive.

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.

References and further reading

About references

Bob Fenner. Wrasses of the Genus Thalassoma - 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. www.fishbase.org, version (08/2014).

Tags

hermaphroditic, pair couple, pyramid snail, eats shrimp, eats crab, eats fish, eats snails
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