Velvet Wrasse

Blue-sided Fairy Wrasse ~ Blue-scaled Fairy Wrasse

Family: Labridae Picture of a Velvet Wrasse, Blue-sided Fairy Wrasse, or Blue-scaled Fairy WrasseCirrhilabrus cyanopleuraPhoto courtesy: Seth Weintraub
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Awesome and easy fish to care for!!! I have this one (full grown) with a Scott's Fairy (same size of 3" but still growing) and a Solor Fairy wrasse. Little tiffs... (more)  Carrie

   The Velvet Wrasse, Blue-sided Fairy Wrasse, or Blue-scaled Fairy Wrasse can be a very beautiful and lively fish in any aquarium! Like all the fairy-wrasses they are a peaceful fish in aquariums, though they may not be compatible with some of the basslets, dottybacks, or longfins.

   The fish shown in the photo above is most likely a juvenile, as the coloration and patterning between species is often very similar before they mature.

   As the Velvet Wrasse, Blue-sided Fairy Wrasse, or Blue-scaled Fairy Wrasse matures, the females will be a light red on the upper back side with a large light purplish area above the pectoral fin, while the males will be red and have a deep blue area above the pectoral fin. On both the colors fade to yellowish or white on the lower head and abdomen.

For more Information on keeping this fish see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Marine Aquarium


Geographic Distribution
Cirrhilabrus cyanopleura
Data provided by FishBase.org
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Perciformes
  • Family: Labridae
  • Genus: Cirrhilabrus
  • Species: cyanopleura
Velvet Wrasse

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Mated pair of Velvet Wrasses (Cirrhilabrus cyanopleura) displaying fairy wrasse behavior when newly acclimated fairy wrasse behavior

A great showing of a male and a female pair of Velvet Wrasse. They are newly acquired so are displaying the typically non-movement behavior of Fairy Wrasses when frightened or not sure of their surroundings. Yet once acclimated, this species is probably the most "aggressive" of the Fairy wrasses, next to the Temminicki Fairy Wrasse, and they will attack flasher wrasses. But these are still mellowish fellows and cannot be housed with aggressive fish like dottybacks or lined wrasses. If stressed, fairy wrasses go into hiding or may jump right out of the tank. They are very easy to care for, eating quite readily, and can be kept with other fairy wrasses. To add males of different species to the same tank introduce the smaller size first and at the same time, then after the smaller ones have acclimated add the larger size all at once. There will be some arguing and chasing, but they will eventually calm down.

Maintenance difficulty:    The Velvet Wrasse, Blue-sided Fairy Wrasse, or Blue-scaled Fairy Wrasse is easy to keep. Wrasses are not challenging if you feed young specimens several times a day. Start with brine shrimp, live or frozen, and offer other protein foods as well.

Maintenance:    Feed all kinds of live, frozen, and flake foods. Best to feed small amounts several times a day. We generally feed squid, shrimp (the same kind people eat), mussels, and all kinds of chopped up fish. A good formula for wrasses is Pro-salt marine. They are best maintained singly or in pairs with other fish and/or invertebrates.

Habitat: Natural geographic location:    Velvet Wrasse, Blue-sided Fairy Wrasse, or Blue-scaled Fairy Wrasse are found in the Indo-Australian archipelago from the Christmas Island to New Guinea. It is usually found at depths of 5 to 20 meters. They live on lagoon edges, canals, and outer reef drop-off zones. They spend most of their time a few meters above the bottom catching plankton.

Foods:    All kinds of protein foods, formulas and flakes. They are a plankton feeder in the ocean.

Social Behaviors:    They live in harems consisting of a secondary male and numerous females. They are a peaceful fish in aquariums, though they may not be compatible with some of the basslets, dottybacks, or longfins.

Sex: Sexual differences:    Males are larger and more intensely colored the the female. Their ventral fins are elongated the the tail fin is pointed. The colors become iridescent during courtship. The female is generally smaller and has a black dot on the caudal peduncle.

Light: Recommended light levels:    Likes plenty of light. Usually found in sunlight areas.

Temperature:    No special requirements. Normal temperatures for marine fish is between 74 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit.

Length/Diameter of fish:    Velvet Wrasse, Blue-sided Fairy Wrasse, or Blue-scaled Fairy Wrasse adults can grow to 8.0 cm (3.2 inches).

Minimum Tank Length/Size:    A minimum 40 gallon aquarium is recommended.

Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong    No special requirements.

Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom    They are a plankton feeder and will spend most of the time near the middle of the aquarium.

Availability:    This fish is available from time to time.

Available From These Merchants
Redhead Fairy Wrasse Cirrhilabrus Cyanopleura Var. Medium Redhead Fairy Wrasse Cirrhilabrus Cyanopleura Var. Medium
Offered By: That Pet Place
Price: $59.99
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Blueside Fairy Wrasse Cirrhilabrus Cyanopleura Sub Adult Blueside Fairy Wrasse Cirrhilabrus Cyanopleura Sub Adult
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Price: $44.99
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Lastest Animal Stories on Velvet Wrasse

Carrie - 2006-03-20
Awesome and easy fish to care for!!! I have this one (full grown) with a Scott's Fairy (same size of 3" but still growing) and a Solor Fairy wrasse. Little tiffs here and there between the Solor and Velvet, but these species are generally too peaceful to cause more than a bite wound. (which heals quick with the aid of a cleaner shrimp and as long as the wrasse is still eating, don't worry about the scrapes and tail nips) It is necessary to add the fairy wrasses at the same time and after territories are established, they calm down. The Scotts Fairy is the most diplomatic and backs down to avoid confrontations. I cooresponded with a gentleman in Japan that studies wrasses before I put this combo together. PLEASE put an egg crate over any open holes. They only "jump" when frightened, and I have not had a death due to that behavior yet since the top is well covered!

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