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Bird Wrasse
(Gomphosus varius)
Quick Care FactsCare Level: Easy
Temperament: Semi-Aggressive
Maximum Size: 12"
Minimum Tank Size: 125 gallons
Water Conditions: 72-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Diet: Carnivore
Origin: Indo-Pacific, Indian Ocean
Family: Labridae
Species: Wrasse
Aquarium Type: Fish Only
Species Information
The Bird Wrasse is a remarkable and unique species that is named for its long, bird-like "beak" as well as its flitting swimming behavior. Endemic to the Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean, the Bird Wrasse is commonly found snacking upon benthic invertebrates, mollusks, and echinoderms among various lagoons and seaward reefs. The Bird Wrasse males are generally a light to dark green hue while the females have a white anterior that blends into a dark to black posterior and have a yellow-orange, upper snout. The Bird Wrasse is an extremely popular species and is commonly available throughout the hobby; they can be acquired through local and online retailers within a fair price range (considering all specimens are wild-caught).
Aquarium Care
The Bird Wrasse requires an aquarium of no less than 125 gallons and should be provided with plenty of open swimming space as well as a sand substrate (3"-4" deep) and an adequate amount of live rock for shelter and territory. As known jumpers capable of extreme bursts of speed, they should be housed in an aquarium with a sealed hood or tight-fitting lid in order to prevent escape and injury. They should be added to established aquariums with plenty of water movement, stable conditions, and proper oxygenation.
They are a large wrasse species known to be messy eaters (they tend to grab their food and smash it around to break it into smaller pieces) and require efficient biological and mechanical filtration in addition to a quality protein skimmer. Bird Wrasses are aggressive feeders and can show territorial aggression towards other tank mates; they should be housed with other large, semi-aggressive species that can fend for themselves.
They can live singly, as a pair, or one male to multiple females, although a group would need a much larger aquarium. They will not harm corals or sessile invertebrates, but they will consume small shrimp, mollusks, echinoderms, and small fish; they are not recommended for a reef environment and should only be kept in large FOWLR systems.
Feeding & Nutrition
Bird Wrasses are carnivores that consume crustaceans, mollusks, small fish, and echinoderms in the wild. Their aquarium diet should consist of a variety of meaty food items such as vitamin-enriched or "gut loaded" live, frozen, and prepared brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, ghost shrimp, chopped krill, chopped crab meat, bloodworms, chopped clams, chopped fish, and other meaty marine foods in addition to quality flakes and pellets intended for carnivores and omnivores. Feed 3 times per day and only what will be consumed within a few minutes. Bird Wrasses are aggressive feeders and care should be taken to make sure other tank mates get their share of food.
Additional Photos