Pictured above is an adult specimen of the Clown Wrasse, African Clown Wrasse, or Gaimard Rainbow-wrasse. The juvenile is much different with a general orange coloration and four white spot markings evenly spaced down the back of the fish.

   The Clown Wrasse, African Clown Wrasse, or Gaimard Rainbow-wrasse are a lively fish. It is best to keep them with hardy companions that don’t mind a rambunctious tankmate!

   Because this fish is called a Clown Wrasse or an African Clown Wrasse as well as the Gaimard Rainbow-wrasse, do not mistake it for the Clown Coris or Threespot Wrasse, Coris aygula, which is also often called a Clown Wrasse. They look quite a bit different from each other!

Scientific Classification

Clown wrasse in red sea
Image Credit: orlandin, Shutterstock

Maintenance difficulty

   The Clown Wrasse, African Clown Wrasse, or Gaimard Rainbow-wrasse is easy to keep. Feed young specimens several times a day. Start with brine shrimp, live or frozen, and offer other protein foods as well.


   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 prefer a sandy bottom at least 5 cm deep in order to bury themselves in case of danger and at night to sleep.

Habitat: Natural geographic location

   Clown Wrasse, African Clown Wrasse, or Gaimard Rainbow-wrasse are found in the Indo-Pacific from the Red Sea to Hawaii, Tuamotu, the Marquesas, Japan, and New Caledonia.


   All kinds of protein foods, formulas and flakes.

Social Behaviors

   These fish may live in groups when young, but as adults they live singly. They prefer mixed bottoms of coral, rubble, and sand on exposed reef terraces, lagoons, and outer reefs.

Sexual differences

   The male will develop a light green stripe on the body above the anal fin as it gets older.

juvenile Clown Wrasse fish
Image Credit: Rob Atherton, Shutterstock

Recommended light levels

   Prefers lots of light. Usually found in sunlight areas.


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

Length/Diameter of fish

   Clown Wrasse, African Clown Wrasse, or Gaimard Rainbow-wrasse adults can grow to 40 cm (15.75 inches).

Minimum Tank Length/Size

   A minimum 60 gallon aquarium is recommended.

Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong

   No special requirements.

Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom

   Will spend time in all parts of the aquarium, but mostly near the bottom.


   This fish is available from time to time.

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Featured Image Credit: orlandin, Shutterstock