Species group: Wrasses
Other common names:
Scientific name: Thalassoma bifasciatum
The Bluehead Cleaner Wrasse enjoys doing what it does best: cleaning. Change of coloration indicates several behavioral changes. The Bluehead, like many Wrasses, forms a harem of several females and one male. When the male dies, one female changes its coloration to become a male.
The Bluehead Wrasse is small, with an elongated cigar-shaped body. The most striking feature that gives the species its name is its bluish head. In males, two vertical black bars are present separated by a light blue band. The pectoral fins resemble paddles.
It is a peaceful species, though males tend to be territorial and aggressive, especially with new additions to the tank.
A 40-gallon reef aquarium is ideal for the Bluehead Wrasse. The Bluehead is sensitive to water quality; frequent water changes and filtration are necessary to keep the tank clean and the water quality excellent. Rockwork provides the necessary hiding and sleeping places. Blueheads love burrowing into the sand and resting on the floor, hence a sandy substrate is provided. Since the main diet of the Bluehead includes parasites on the bodies of other fish, a large community of fish is necessary.