For something ‘pretty in pink’, the Rose-band Fairy Wrasse is the beauty to fill that niche!

The Rose-band Fairy Wrasse Cirrhilabrus roseafascia is a large, handsome fairy wrasse. Reaching a length of 7.9†(20 cm), it is the largest wrasse in the Cirrhilabrus genus. This is a deep-water species that inhabits reef slopes and dropoffs in waters as deep as 370 feet (113 m).

This wrasse fish is also known as the Red-striped Fairy Wrasse and Pink-Banded Fairy Wrasse. The juvenile it is a quite cute with white spots speckling the sides of its reddish pink body. But as its common names depict, It becomes distinctively attractive in its adult coloration. It is an overall pink with a broad reddish band along the back, highlighted just below with some yellow and a yellow stripe along the head.

The Rose-band Fairy Wrasse is an excellent pet for an intermediate aquarist. It will do great in a fish only aquarium and a reef as well. It does not harm any live corals or small invertebrates.They like a tank that has open space for free swimming, but also many crevices in rock work to hide in. It can be kept with other Cirrhilabrus members and also with smaller, non-aggressive fish.

As with all Cirrhilabrus species, these wrasses are hardy against most infectious diseases but on occasion they suffer from “ich” (white spot disease). They can be treated successfully with medicine or a copper drug. For deep water species such as these, you want to obtain a specimen that has had proper de-compression procedures done when being captured, otherwise they can die from internal injuries.

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

Rose-band Fairy Wrasse, Cirrhilabrus roseafascia

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Male Rose-band Fairy Wrasse displaying his nuptial coloration for females.

The Rose-band Fairy Wrasse is one of the best wrasses for the reef set up as it will not harm corals or invertebrates. They are deep water wrasses and need to be properly decompressed or they will not live long past 3 to 4 months. The only creature that will be in danger in the same tank would be a copepod or amphipod that wanders out of its protective live rock! These fish can be kept with other similarly sized Cirrhilabrus fairy wrasses, just be sure to put the smallest in first and then once they’re established add the larger ones. Do not house them with aggressive fish and keep a lid over your tank as they are lively jumpers. They spin a cocoon at night to sleep in. Once comfortable, many fairy wrasses will spawn in captivity if they are in a large enough tank!

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Perciformes
  • Family: Labridae
  • Genus: Cirrhilabrus
  • Species: roseafascia
Rose-band Fairy Wrasse – Quick Aquarium Care
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately hardy
  • Minimum Tank Size: 55 gal (208 L)
  • Size of fish – inches: 7.9 inches (20.07 cm)
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Temperature: 75.0 to 82.0° F (23.9 to 27.8&deg C)
  • Range ph: 8.0-8.4
  • Diet Type: Carnivore
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Habitat: Distribution / Background

The Rose-Band Fairy Wrasse Cirrhilabrus roseafascia was described by Randall & Lubbock in 1982. They are found in New Caledonia and also known from scattered Pacific localities; Samoa, Fiji, Palau and Cebu (the Philippines). Other common names they are known by are or Red-striped Fairy Wrasse, Pink-Banded Fairy Wrasse, and Redstripe Fairy Wrasse.

This is a deep-water species that inhabits waters at a depth of 98 to 370 feet (30-113 m), though juveniles may occur at lesser depths. They inhabit deep reef slopes and dropoffs. They live in their natural habitat by forming a harem of one dominant male, several females and juveniles. The Rose-Band Fairy Wrasse is a deep water dweller, and a few reports by divers state that it forms a small aggregation of several individuals (in Cebu). In Fiji, it was videotaped from a submersible at a depth of more than 100 meters, where one or two large males (estimated some 20 cm long) were among the rocks. There is not much information about their stomach contents, but it would be assumed, as with any Cirrhilabrus wrasse, they feed on zooplankton and small crustaceans in the copepod family.

This species was first collected at the depth of 328 feet (100 m) off New Caledonia where it entered a crab pot; an unexpected capture. It was not known from any other locality until around 2000. Exploration by deep diving discovered several specimens in Fiji and Samoa, and also a Japanese diver photographed a male in Palau. Recently some Japanese divers reported many specimens in Cebu, the Philippines. In 2003 the very first specimen was collected and shipped from Cebu to Japan as an aquarium pet. No scientific examination for those from other localities was made but we (Randall, 2005; Tanaka, Pyle & Randall, in press) regard it as this species. An underwater photo by Hiroshi Nagano in Palau is almost identical to the species in appearance and we think that it also is C. roseafascia, although no specimen was collected.

So far no other color morphs have been reported. It is very closely related and most similar to C. lanceolatus , that is endemic to southern Japan. These two can be differentiated by their pelvic-fin color pattern. C. roseafascia has a bluish dark area posterobasally on the fins, while in C. lanceolatus it is restricted to anterior part of the fins. Also C. lanceolatus has a bluish dorsal fin in the male stage.

  • Scientific Name: Cirrhilabrus roseafascia
  • Social Grouping: Harems – They form a harem of one dominant male with several females and juveniles.
  • IUCN Red List: LC – Least Concern – There is no population information available for this species.


Rose-Band Fairy Wrasse males are overall pink with a broader reddish band on the back beginning at upper lip, continuing through eye onto the upper side of the caudal peduncle. They have a narrow yellow stripe on the head and at the base of the dorsal fin. The dorsal fin is mostly pinkish and yellowish on the anterior part and the margin is bright yellow. Pelvic fins are yellowish with a prominent dark spot posterobasally. Other fins are yellowish; anal and pelvic fins with a blue edge.

Juvenile Rose-band Fairy Wrasse, Cirrhilabrus roseafasci. Red-striped Fairy Wrasse, Pink-Banded Fairy Wrasse Juvenile Rose-band Fairy Wrasse Photo Courtesy: Hiroyuki Tanaka

Females are similar with pinkish band on the back, fins yellowish, and pelvic fins with a similar dark spot. Juveniles are also similar with a small black spot on the upper side of the base of the tail fin. There are oftenmany white spots on the side and a broader white vertical band behind the eye.

All the members of the genus Cirrhilabrus and Paracheilinus have an ability to change colors of body and fins partially or entirely, and then they look like different species, even in the aquarium. They show such color changing especially while they are excited or in courtship behavior to threaten other males of the same or different species, or to attract females of their own kind. This behavior can be seen especially from dusk till early night and early morning.

  • Size of fish – inches: 7.9 inches (20.07 cm)
  • Lifespan: 8 years – Lifespan of 5 -8 years.

Fish Keeping Difficulty

The Rose-Band Fairy Wrasse is moderately easy to care for, suited for an intermediate aquarist that can meet its needs. This is a deep water species, coming from waters down to 300 feet on the reef. This species will adapt to normal lighting, but may be better kept in a calm and darker captive environment, with a few tank mates, to help it acclimate initially. It is best to have at least 1.023 salinity, as lower salinity can lead to health problems, and the best temperatures are between 75 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit (24 – 26 C).

  • Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately hardy
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate

Foods and Feeding

Like all wrasses, the Rose-Band Fairy Wrasses are planktivores, adapted to feed and survive from eating mostly plankton, so enjoys a meaty diet. Once acclimated they are not too picky about their food. Feed mysis, shaved shrimp and fish flesh, and brine shrimp that is freeze dried, frozen or fresh. They can also be fed flake food and sometimes feeds on tablets. Pelleted food can be presoaked to remove any possibility of air. They will also help themselves to the copepods living in your live rock.

This wrasse is very energetic so needs frequent feedings. Feed at least twice a day. Feeding several times a day will help keep the natural copepod population going, or you can add copepods every 6 weeks.

  • Diet Type: Carnivore
  • Flake Food: Yes
  • Tablet / Pellet: Occasionally – Sometimes feeds on tablets. Pelleted food can be presoaked to remove any possibility of air.
  • Live foods (fishes, shrimps, worms): Some of Diet – Not necessary unless fish is new to the tank and not eating. Brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, as well as other protein sources can be offered occasionally.
  • Meaty Food: All of Diet – In addition to regular feedings, protein can be obtained from the copepods and other small crustaceans living in a reef tank.
  • Feeding Frequency: Several feedings per day

Aquarium Care

Water changes 20% per month. When doing water changes, a small water change can be acceptable but a big one may frighten it, causing it to dash into crevices or even jump out of the tank.

  • Water Changes: Monthly – 20% is best, more than that may stress them. Small water change can be acceptable but a big one may frighten it, causing it to dash into crevices or even jump out of the tank.

Aquarium Setup

Make sure there is open space for free swimming and many crevices to hide in. It does not need a sand bed as it does not burrow, but rather it will produce a cocoon while it is sleeping among or under rocks or corals. It does not harm any live corals or small inverts.

Like all wrasses, the Rose-Band Fairy Wrasse may jump from an open tank, so a lid of some kind is a must. Remember, these guys live down 300 feet, so swimming upward very fast is not a danger to them in the ocean. Once in a closed environment, they will get that same “need for speed,” especially when started, so take the proper precautions. Live rock with holes to swim in and out and around is appreciated. Substrate is inconsequential, since Cirrhilabrus wrasse genus will spin a cocoon at night. They do not hide or sleep in the sand like the Halichoeres genus.

  • Minimum Tank Size: 55 gal (208 L) – Provide at least 3 feet (90 cm) of length.
  • Suitable for Nano Tank: No
  • Live Rock Requirement: Typical Plus Hiding Places
  • Substrate Type: Any
  • Lighting Needs: Low – subdued lighting – Although will adapt to brighter reef tanks, provide plenty of overhangs where the Rose-Band Wrasse can get relief from the light.
  • Temperature: 75.0 to 82.0° F (23.9 to 27.8&deg C) – Best kept near 75 – 79° F (24-26° C), but can tolerate 70ËšF (21ËšC). higher than 84° F (29° C) or below 68° F (20° C) would not be good.
  • Breeding Temperature: 0.0° F
  • Specific gravity: 1.023-1.025 SG – Do not go below 1.023 since this fish is typically captured around 300 feet down in the reef where salinity is typically higher than 1.023
  • Range ph: 8.0-8.4
  • Brackish: No
  • Water Movement: Any – Water movement is not a significant condition and it can be kept in a stronger flow or still water, but it needs a slow flow in a tank to feed.
  • Water Region: Bottom – It usually is actively swimming near the bottom and it will venture to the surface for foods when it is well acclimated

Social Behaviors

The Rose-Band Fairy Wrasse is peaceful and will get along with similar sized Cirrhilabus Wrasses, and also with smaller, non-aggressive fish. Best kept singly without conspecifics in a smaller tank, but over 150 gallons one male to 3 females added simultaneously.

The Rose-band Fairy Wrasse is a reef safe fish. it will do well in a coral-rich tank with sessile invertebrates and/ or in a fish community tank, but select tank mates that are not aggressive.

Larger and rather territorial angelfishes like Pomacanthus and Holacanthus are not recommended even when these angelfish are juveniles. Dwarf angelfish can be good mates as well as the more docile angelfish genus, including Centropyge , Apolemichthys , Genicanthus , Chaetodontoplus and Pygoplites . Smaller and non-aggressive fish as well as wrasses of other genera can be kept, if these are as active or larger. Small but very aggressive fishes like dottybacks are not recommended tank mates.

Dr. Jungle says… “Hear what Hiroyuki says about keeping this pretty wrasse!…thanks for sharing Dr. Tanaka!”

“I once kept two young males of 9 and 11 cm long together with great success without any problem. I got an extra large male, 16 cm that did well along with other members of Cirrhilabrus and Paracheilinus and it always was slowly and gracefully patrolling the tank all day long. It accepted any food offered and sometimes it went up to the surface to receive foods directly from my hand. A juvenile I kept was active and when disturbed it darted into a small crevice but soon came out of it for swimming with curiosity. This species like other members can be maintained in a tank alone or in a small group of the same species or other spp. I have been keeping seven individuals in total, measuring 4cm juvenile to 16 cm adult male specimens, that are doing very well in a fish community tanks of 90x45x45cm and 120x40x40cm sizes. They were kept with other Cirrhilabru s members ( lunatus, punctatus, katherinae, temminckii, rubripinnis , etc.) and several flasher wrasses ( Paracheilinus spp. ) and also with Blue Damsels (5 cm, Chrysiptera cyanea ), Black-back Butterflyfish (8cm, Chaetodon melannotus ), Flame Angelfish (6cm, Centropyge loriculus ), Blue-lined Angelfish (17cm, Chaetodontoplus septentrionalis ), an anthiid fish (5cm, Pseudanthias sp. ), etc. The fins turned vivid yellow while it was being cleaned by a Cleaner Wrasse (5cm, Labroides dimidiatus ).” …Hiroyuki Tanaka

  • Venomous: No
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Compatible with:
    • Same species – conspecifics: Yes – One male to several females in tanks over 150 gallons. Will get along with other cirrhilabrus genus wrasses of similar size.
    • Peaceful fish (gobies, dartfish, assessors, fairy wrasses): Safe
    • Semi-Aggressive (anthias, clownfish, dwarf angels): Safe
    • Monitor – Small but very aggressive fishes like dottybacks are not recommended tank mates.
    • Large Semi-Aggressive (tangs, large angels, large wrasses): Monitor – Larger wrasses may harass your cirrhilabrus wrasse.
    • Large Aggressive, Predatory (lionfish, groupers, soapfish): Threat
    • Threat – Will out compete slow eaters.
    • Anemones: Safe
    • Mushroom Anemones – Corallimorphs: Safe
    • LPS corals: Safe
    • SPS corals: Safe
    • Gorgonians, Sea Fans: Safe
    • Leather Corals: Safe
    • Soft Corals (xenias, tree corals): Safe
    • Star Polyps, Organ Pipe Coral: Safe
    • Zoanthids – Button Polyps, Sea Mats: Safe
    • Sponges, Tunicates: Safe
    • Shrimps, Crabs, Snails: Monitor – Monitor very small shrimp such as sexy shrimp sized crustaceans.
    • Starfish: Safe
    • Feather Dusters, Bristle Worms, Flatworms: Safe
    • Clams, Scallops, Oysters: Safe
    • Copepods, Amphipods, Mini Brittle Stars: Monitor – Will ingest copepods at a higher level if not feed often. In smaller tanks, addition of copepods every 6 weeks may be needed.

Sex: Sexual differences

Females of Cirrhilabrus roseafascia are similar to the males but with a pinkish rather than a reddish band on the back and the pelvic fins have a similar dark spot. The females fins are yellowish.

Breeding / Reproduction

No report for reproductive behavior or for aquatic cultivation is known. Perhaps it is the same as other members of the genus, where a male will move rapidly with more gorgeous coloration to attract and invite its mate to spawn and push out sperm in the water column.

  • Ease of Breeding: Unknown

Fish Diseases

Cirrhilabrus wrasses in general are not prone to disease. As with all Cirrhilabrus members, these wrasses are hardy against most infectious diseases. They spin a cocoon at night so most parasites don’t get a chance to attach, but on occasion they suffer from “ich” (white spot disease). They can be treated successfully with medicine or a copper drug.

At times, they may injure themselves and get an infection at the site of the injury if the water is not in good condition. The Rose-Band Wrasse does need to have at least 1.023 for salinityas it is a deep water fish that naturally lives where the water can be over 1.023.


The Rose-Band Fairy Wrasse is occasionally available and high price tags are the norm. Mostly female and juveniles are found in the trade. Young males are sold on occasion but larger ones are seldom available. The aquarium specimens will be collected and shipped from Cebu and the Philippines most of the time.

We suggest you use diligence when purchasing a Rose-Band Fairy Wrasse. Any deep water fish such as this, that has not had the proper de-compression procedures done ar prone to death within a month of being captured, from internal injury. Ask for confirmation, from whomever you buy this fish, that proper depth acclimation procedures have been done. It’s best to obtain a specimen that has been held in captivity for a couple of weeks or more, or possibly pay for the fish and leave it at the store for two weeks, as a precaution.