When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

The Ultimate Dragon Wrasse Care Guide


The Dragon Wrasse is a fish that’s stuffed with persona. It’s all the time looking out for meals and it shows some distinctive behaviors to get it.

They’re an aggressive species, which can put some folks off, however it’s value braving this aggression as a result of these are very engaging fish that change in look fairly a bit as they mature.

We’ll cowl all the things it’s good to find out about Dragon Wrasse care on this article, akin to their supreme tank design and their dietary wants.

Class Ranking
Care Stage: Average
Temperament: Aggressive
Shade Type: Assorted
Lifespan: 10+ years
Dimension: As much as 10.5 inches
Food regimen: Carnivore
Household: Labridae
Minimal Tank Dimension: 100 gallons
Tank Set-Up: Saltwater with rocks and grasses
Compatibility: Massive and aggressive tank mates


The Dragon Wrasse has many names, such because the Rockmover Wrasse, Carpet Wrasse, Bar-Cheeked Wrasse, Reindeer Wrasse, and Olive-Scribbled Wrasse.

Its scientific title is Novaculichthys taeniourus and it’s a part of the Labridae household, which comprises all of the wrasses. It’s at the moment the one member of its genus.

Dragon Wrasses are saltwater fish from the Indo-Pacific, residing round locations akin to Australia, The Philippines, Hawaii, and California. They reside in shallow coral reefs and lagoons.

Having some earlier fishkeeping expertise is helpful because of their habits. Rookies might need to begin with one thing a bit simpler.

You need to be capable to get a Dragon Wrasse for about $50, however the value can range so much.

Verify any potential fish for indicators of illness. Look out for any markings, wounds, or unusual behaviors. Discover a completely different inventory should you do discover any issues.
As soon as launched, a Dragon Wrasse can reside for over 10 years in a wholesome aquarium.

Typical Conduct

Dragon Wrasses are aggressive and territorial, they are going to assault any fish that will get too shut.

They can even eat any animals (together with invertebrates) which can be sufficiently small to slot in their mouths, so they need to solely be stored with massive aggressive tank mates. They don’t seem to be reef-safe.

After they really feel threatened, they might dive into the substrate, wiggling round till it’s tough to see them. They could transfer round underneath the substrate and seem in new areas.

When trying to find meals, they usually transfer stones and particles round, which is why they’re generally often known as “Rockmover Wrasse”.

Within the wild they might even work collectively, taking turns at lifting rocks and grabbing what lays hidden beneath.

Make certain your decorations are secured down so that they don’t get moved round.


Juveniles and adults look utterly completely different, it could be simple to mistake them as completely different species, however all types of the Dragon Wrasse are lovely.

Juveniles are also known as “Reindeer Wrasse” as a result of they’ve appendages on their head that appear to be horns/antlers.

They’ve a flat physique that could possibly be coated in a wide range of colours, together with white, black, reds, and darkish greens.

Lengthy dorsal and pelvic fins lengthen from the physique. These have darkish rays and a transparent membrane, making them look frilly.

The design of their physique and fins makes them appear to be seaweed. Juveniles even drift via the water like seaweed particles, making glorious camouflage.

Adults lose this aesthetic. The frilly nature of the fins is misplaced, and their physique turns into coated in a structured sample of grey spots on a darkish physique. Their tails grow to be white with a black edging too.

A completely grown grownup will attain 10.5 inches.

Sexing this species may be very tough as a result of men and women look just about the identical and they’re roughly the identical measurement.

Habitat and Tank Situations

You could find Dragon Wrasses on reverse sides of the world as a result of they reside in Indo-Pacific areas, akin to California, Panama, Hawaii, Australia, and Indonesia.

They reside within the shallows (46-82 toes) on reefs and in lagoons. Right here there are many corals and/or rocks to create houses and areas to defend.

There could be numerous grassy areas amongst a substrate of sand and rubble.

The water could be heat and alkaline.

Recreating this setting is one of the simplest ways to maintain your Dragon Wrasse blissful and wholesome.

Tank Situations

Beginning on the backside of the tank, use a sandy substrate to create a layer about 2-4 inches thick, giving your Dragon Wrasse the power to burrow. Bigger grained substrates might scratch after they do that.

Use rocks so as to add some ornament to the aquarium. Don’t use corals or your Dragon Wrasse will injury them.

Safe your decorations within the substrate so that they don’t grow to be unstable when your fish digs.

Unfold some grass across the tank the place you may.

The popular water situations are much like different reef fish. The temperature needs to be 72°F-78°F, the pH needs to be 8.1-8.4, and the particular gravity needs to be 1.020-1.025.

Use a filter with a powerful outlet. Ensure you have a tight-fitting lid too, as this fish might bounce.

What Dimension Tank do they want?

An grownup Dragon Wrasse will want a fish tank of at the very least 100 gallons. They’re massive fish that will probably be extra prone to present aggression when residing in a cramped setting.

Any further area you may present will probably be appreciated.

Tank Mates

Discovering the appropriate tank mates for a Dragon Wrasse might be tough. Their aggressive behaviors might be an excessive amount of for lots of fish. They’ll eat small fish too.
Which means tank mates should be massive and in a position to defend themselves.

This limits your choice fairly a bit, however you may strive groupers, triggerfish, hawkfishes, and snappers.

Invertebrates needs to be averted as most will probably be eaten fairly rapidly. This contains corals; Dragon Wrasses usually are not reef protected.

Your Dragon Wrasse needs to be the final fish added to your setup. If the Dragon Wrasse is established first, it is not going to recognize new tank mates being added to its territory, so it might lash out at them.

Be careful for indicators of aggression, particularly whereas the Dragon Wrasse is getting used to its new setting. You’ll have to separate fish in the event that they combat frequently.

Many individuals counsel that you simply purchase a juvenile and preserve it single. This removes compatibility issues and also you get to look at all of the modifications that happen because it matures.

Can You Hold Dragon Wrasse Collectively?

No, solely preserve one Dragon Wrasse per tank. They’re aggressive and territorial; seeing one other Dragon Wrasse of their environment would result in frequent preventing till there is just one left.

Food regimen

Dragon Wrasses are carnivores. They’ve two massive tooth that they use to interrupt down their prey.

They’d naturally spend a whole lot of their time swimming round reefs trying to find meals, generally having to maneuver issues round of their setting.

They’d fortunately eat something that comes their manner which is sufficiently small to suit into their mouth. This could possibly be small fish or invertebrates, akin to worms, shrimps, and snails.

This provides you a whole lot of meaty meals to select from when designing their eating regimen. It additionally makes it a lot simpler to range their eating regimen, which is vital for offering a variety of vitamins.

Attempt utilizing contemporary or frozen meals like brine shrimps, mysid shrimps, blackworms, and silversides.

You’ll be able to present high-quality flake and pellet meals too, however average your use of those as they’re much less nutritious.

Give them small quantities of meals 2-3 instances a day.


If you understand how to cope with aggressive fish, caring for a Dragon Wrasse is comparatively simple.

As with all fish, they want a clear setting and a nutritious diet.

Normal tank upkeep consists of performing partial water modifications and wiping away extra algae. You will want to trim any reside crops as wanted too.

Use a water testing every week in an effort to reply rapidly if any of the water parameters stray from the best ranges.

Dragon Wrasses usually are not liable to any illnesses specifically, however they’ll decide up frequent saltwater illnesses.

Separate the affected fish right into a quarantine tank earlier than therapy.


It is extremely tough to get Dragon Wrasses to breed in captivity, you would wish a big business setup. It’s not well worth the effort or the chance of aggressive outbursts between your fish.

A mating pair would naturally undergo a courtship ritual, ending with the feminine releasing her eggs and the male fertilizing them.

The fertilized eggs would float within the ocean present for as much as 75 days earlier than lastly hatching.
Are Dragon Wrasses Appropriate for Your Aquarium?

Newbie aquarists needs to be cautious of a Dragon Wrasse’s aggressive nature, as it could trigger issues should you’re unprepared.

Anybody who feels assured that they’ll deal with this habits ought to be capable to look after a Dragon Wrasse with out challenge. Their wants are easy; simply clear their tank and provides them a diverse, nutritious eating regimen.

You could be annoyed by the restricted tank mate choices, however these fish are lovely and their fiery persona will preserve you entertained for hours.

Buying a juvenile is especially rewarding since you get to look at their look and habits change drastically over time.

What does your Dragon Wrasse aquarium setup appear to be? Tell us within the feedback under…


Leave a Comment