Thalassoma lucasanum
Source: JJPhoto.dk

Facts

Latin name Thalassoma lucasanum - (Gill, 1862)
Common name Cortez rainbow wrasse
Family Labridae - Thalassoma
Origin The Mexican Golf, West Atlantic
Max length 15.0 cm (5.9")

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 similar species

Food

Maybee
  • 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.

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. 

Requires a varied diet

This species must be fed with an appropriately varied diet.

Looses colour in the aquarium

In the aquarium the colour of this species can become matte.

Food with plenty of pigment and generally a varied diet of high quality can help alleviate colour loss.

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.

A pair, or one male with several females

This species functions best as a pair (one male, one female), or one male with several females.

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.

Description

When fully grown the pattern and colour will change, so the fish has three colours: green, yellow and red.

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.

FishBase

Aquarium trade Yes
Distribution Eastern Pacific: Gulf of California to Peru, including the Galapagos.
Spanish common names Vieja arco iris, Vieja de Cortés, Viejita cabeza azul

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, shoal group, pair couple, eats shrimp, eats crab
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