Thalassoma pavo
Source: Cisamarc / CC-BY-SA-3.0
Thalassoma pavo
Source: JJPhoto.dk
Thalassoma pavo
Source: JJPhoto.dk
Thalassoma pavo
Source: JJPhoto.dk
Thalassoma pavo
Source: Cisamarc / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Facts

Latin name Thalassoma pavo
Common name Ornate wrasse
Family Labridae - Thalassoma
Origin West Indian Ocean, Mediterranean Sea
Max length 25 cm (9.8")

As aquarium fish

Minimum volume 800 l (211 gal)
Hardiness Hardy
Suitable for aquarium Suitable with care
Reef safe Reef safe with caution
Aggressiveness Aggressive

Food

Maybee
  • Fish
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.

Aggressive

This species can be extremely aggressive towards other fish.

Be careful when keeping these fish together with peaceful or docile species. Regular feeding, plenty of hiding places and a lot of space can alleviate aggressive behavior to some degree.

Can be a threat to small fish

This spicies might be a threat to smaller fishes.

Poses a threat towards invertebrates

This species will eat small crustaceans, snails, sea urchins, bristleworm etc.

Cool water

This species lives in cooler water than is the norm for a saltwater aquarium.

The temperature should be kept between 16 and 22 °C (60 and 70 °F).

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.

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.

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.

Hiding places

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

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, aggressive territorial, eats fish, eats shrimp, eats crab, eats snails, eats sea urchin, eats bristleworm polychaete fireworm
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