Species group: Wrasses
Other common names:
Scientific name: Cirrhilabrus exquisitus
The Exquisite Fairy Wrasse is a small Wrasse which is found living in groups in shallow reefs in the Indo-Pacific. It feeds on zooplankton, and lives at depths to 40 meters. In the night, the Wrasse tends to burrow into the sand creating a refuge from predators that typically do not look at the ocean floor for food. The Exquisite Wrasse tends to form groups with one male and multiple females. Males use their intense coloration to warn others to stay away. In the aquarium, Exquisites tend to lose their bright colors if another male is not present.
The Exquisite Fairy is a bright rainbow-colored fish and considered to be one of the larger Wrasses. As with all Wrasses, it has a sharp, tooth-like appendage in its mouth, which enables it to eat larger hard-shelled prey such as invertebrates. A large oval black spot is present on the caudal peduncle.
Exquisite Wrasses can be quite aggressive with other Fairy Wrasses that are introduced to the tank after them. When all the males are removed, the female changes sex to become the dominant male.
A tank of at least 50 gallons provides the necessary space for swimming. A large tank is recommended when there is more than one male. Hiding places can be created by providing rock and coral cover. Owing to its tendency to prefer areas with strong water movement, artificial currents can be created in some areas of the tank. The tank needs to be covered at all times. Because the Exquisite Fairy likes to burrow, a sandy substrate of 3 - 4 inches deep is necessary. A tank cover is also important because, like most Wrasses, the Exquisite Fairy is a jumper.