Not only is it one of the largest of the lined wrasses, the Eight-Lined Wrasse is also one of the most boisterous!

An active and attractive fish, the Eight-Lined Wrasse is hardy, disease resistant, and long lived. This can make them a great addition for the right marine aquarium. In a reef environment they will not bother corals or clams, however they will eat shrimp, crabs, gastropods and smaller fish if present. They are also quite adept at taking care of pyramidellid snails, bristleworms, small urchins and commensal flatworms.

Though they are timid fish in the wild, once they become acclimated to the home aquarium they are quite boisterous. They are fine in a community setting but will become aggressive towards shy timid species in the same aquarium, and sometimes even larger fish. To prevent confrontations it is best to keep it with larger or more aggressive fish and to make a single lined wrasse the last addition to the aquarium. They do not co-habitat well with other lined wrasses.

Eight-Lined Wrasses are diurnal, which means they are active by day and sleep at night. As with all fish in this genus they sleep in a mucus cocoon, which fortunately does not seem degrade the water quality. It is thought that the cocoon protects them from predators as they sleep by masking their scent.


Scientific Classification

Species: octotaenia

Habitat: Natural geographic location

The Eight-Lined Wrasse is found widespread in the waters of the Indo-West Pacific; from East Africa to the Hawaiian Islands and near the Ducie Islands, in the northern areas of Yaeyama Island, and all through Micronesia. They inhabit clear coastal areas to outer reefs and slopes at depths of about 30 to 130 feet (9 – 40 meters), dwelling in caves or crevices among rubble and live coral where there is abundant invertebrate growth.

Eight line Flasher Wrasse
Image Credit: Joshua Silsbury, Shutterstock


These fish are not listed on the IUCN Red List.


The Eight-Lined Wrasses have rather variable color patterns with some having a more yellowish to orange body, while others may have a pink to reddish body. The distinguishing feature of this fish are the eight strong horizontal stripes, ranging from orange to a maroon red. They have a pointy head and mouth which enable them to reach the coral reef invertebrates they feed on.

Length/Diameter of fish

Eight-Lined Wrasse adults reach up to 5.5 inches (14 cm).

Maintenance difficulty

These fish are hardy and easy to maintain once they are established in the aquarium. Make sure the individual you choose is eating and active.


The Eight-Lined Wrasses are carnivorous, in the wild they feed on many small organisms such as various crustaceans, molluscs, sea urchins, crab larvae, and fish eggs. Provide a diet rich in all kinds of protein foods, formulas and flakes with an emphasis on small crustaceans. They are very active and need to be fed twice a day at least if not more. As with other lined wrasses they benefit from productive live rock. Picking on the rock, they will eat the copepods, amphipods, and other micro fauna it provides.


These exceptionally hardy, disease resistant, and easy to care for. Provide basic marine aquarium care with a 20% water change monthly or 10% twice a month.
For more information see, Marine Aquarium Basics: Maintenance

Aquarium Parameters

This fish needs to have plenty of good quality live rock with plenty of cracks and crevices for retreating into to feel comfortable, especially in a smaller aquarium.
Minimum Tank Length/Size:
A minimum 30 gallon (113.5 liters) aquarium.
Light: Recommended light levels
Prefers sunlight to moderate light.
No special requirements. Normal temperatures for marine fish is between 74° and 79° Fahrenheit.
Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong
No special requirements.
Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom
They will usually spending most of their time in the rockwork.

Social Behaviors

The Eight-Lined Wrasse should be kept singly as they do not co-habitat well with other lined wrasses. Even in the wild they do not keep harems. They are basically reef safe or can be kept in a non-reef setting. They will do best with semi-aggressive or larger, less aggressive tank mates like tangs, angelfish and butterflyfish, surgeonfish, puffers, goatfish, filefish, and squirrelfish.
When choosing tank mates, avoid shrimp, gastropods, smaller fish, small urchins, or crabs as the Eight-LIned Wrasse will eat them happily! Larger dottybacks, hawkfish, and triggerfish do not make good tank mates as they may pick on the this wrasse. Likewise the Eight-Lined Wrasse will harass smaller fish to death. Even shy or peaceful fish such as firefish, gobies, grammas, mandarins, seahorses, Pipefish, fairy wrasses, flasher wrasses, and leopard wrasses will be harassed. Predators such as groupers, lionfish, and scorpion fish will eat the lined wrasses in a heartbeat.

Sex: Sexual differences

It seems there is a direct correlation between size and sex for the Eight-Lined Wrasse. The males are generally the largest, with females coming in second and immature fish being the smallest.
The males will show off a more intense coloring during mating.


Has not been bred in captivity.


Though not as readily available as some of the other lined wrasses, the Eight-Lined Wrasse can sometimes be acquired by request from your pet store or found on the internet and can cost about $30.00 to $40.00 USD.

Popular Searches

Featured Image Credit:  Pseudocheilinus octotaenia (Image Credit: zsispeo, Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)