Six Line Wrasse Natural Appeal and Charm

Six Line Wrasse may not be as bold and colorful as the Mandarin Goby, but they have their own appeal. You have to admit that this fish is an attractive one, and they will certainly create unique look for your aquarium. Finding this saltwater fish is relatively easy – especially at your local fish store and the online one. So, what’s the appeal of the fish, anyway? And how to care for them properly and correctly? Let’s find out by digging the facts further, shall we?

Getting Know Six Line Wrasse

Also known as Six Stripe Wrasse, this fish has its own scientific name of Pseudocheilinus Hexataenia. Their color and the unique body pattern are the reasons why they gain such a popularity. This fish has either orange body with blue stripes or blue body with orange stripes. They are visually attractive fish. Such bold color is accompanied by their unique eyes – darting around with chameleon-look alike. Because of their popularity, they are inexpensive and they are relatively easy to maintain.

When you see the fish from the local fish store, the general size would be 1 to 2 inches, but they can actually grow up to 3 inches – and 4 inches, max, when you properly care for them. They are native to Indo-West and Central Pacific Ocean, as well as the Red Sea. You can also find them in areas like northern area of New South Wales, northwestern area of Australia, and northern area of Great Barrier Reef.

Six Line wrases

The Six Line Wrasse is considered a hardy fish that is pretty straightforward to maintain within a saltwater water tank. Because of their small body (in general around 3 inches – or even less), they can be kept within a tank having 20 gallons to 30 gallons of water volume without a fuss. This fish is a bold type and they love it when there is enough live rock inside the aquarium. It will become their aquascape – enabling them to easily dart in (and out) for protection. Moreover, the live rock gives them chances to look for morsels for a bite.

The Nature of the Fish

When it comes to reef safe type of fish, this fish is included in one. They tend to leave corals (and most invertebrates) alone without wanting to disturb them. Moreover, they may even become a cleaner fish that can peck algae or parasites from the bigger plants, rocks, and fish. If you have issues with pyramid snail population, they are your go-to guy! They are great to keep the population in check. It’s safe to say that this Wrasse don’t typically eat coral. If you seem them picking around the corals or hovering around the rocks, they aren’t actually trying to disturb those corals. They are looking for super tiny invertebrates, such as copepods, worms, and other meaty items to consume.

Six Line Wrasse Feeding Manner

Despite their attractive appearance and the seemingly harmless behavior, this fish is basically a carnivore. They like eating crustaceans, parasites, and small worms (such as bristle worms) as their main meal. You may see them picking the live rocks in their attempts to search for foods. They aren’t eating the live rock – they are searching around the rock.

They are quite okay with the standard food for saltwater environment, such as tablets, pellets, or flakes. But they would prefer frozen food – even the small food (as long as they live). It would make their day. This fish is pretty active – not the sluggish type. You may want to try feeding them 2 to 3 times per day to make them stay active and energized.

The fish also consumes flatworms, sometimes. They may also consume segmented worms (bristle worm, for instance). However, one fish won’t be capable enough to get rid of the tank’s pests. And they are the type of fish that respond differently to those flatworms. Some Wrasses may eat those flatworms quite eagerly and voraciously, while some may even ignore those flatworms.

Tank Mates and Behavior Six Line Wrasse

One of the biggest issues of having a Six Line Wrasse is about tank mate. This is an aggressive fish – and they can even be more aggressive to other Wrasse family. It’s also possible that Wrasse would dominate and act aggressively to shy fish – leading them to succumb to their death or even parasites. This Wrasse won’t be good to keep in a tank with other shy and smaller fish, like Leopard Wrasse, Royal Gramma Fish, Firefish, Fairy Wrasse, and Marine Betta. If you keep your Wrasse with those shy fish, they would be harassed constantly by the Six Stripes Wrasse. Although Wrasse may be okay with Pipefish, Seahorses, or Mandarin Goby, these slow fish may not stand a chance in fighting for food. In the end, these slow fish may starve because the Wrasse will always take their food fast.

If you are adamant in keeping your Wrasse with other fish, it would be wise to introduce them the last. Newly arrived Wrasse has this tendency to be peaceful. If you put them first into the aquarium and then add other fish, they would be super aggressive because they are defending the tank – claiming and inhabiting the area as their territory. Other fish won’t have a chance.

Another risk related to Wrasse’s care is their tendency to jump out of your tank. Whenever they are startled, they would do it. If you are going to keep the Wrasse, it’s advisable to have a lid on the aquarium and it should be a tight-fitting type. Or if you can figure out a way to prevent them from doing so or to obstruct their jumping, it would be great.

The Pros and Cons

Having the Six Line Wrasse has its own pros and cons aspects. As a popular fish, there are some positive traits to expect from keeping them. However, nothing is perfect so you should be ready for their possible downsides too.

The pros include:

  • The fish is hardy and it is beautiful
  • You don’t need to spend a lot of money to buy them
  • They can maintain the cleanliness of the tank by eating parasitic creatures, like bristle worms, flatworms, or pyramid snails
  • You don’t need an overly big tank to keep them. Small tanks will do because the fish can live within 20 gallons to 30 gallons of setting

The cons include:

  • This is a type of aggressive fish. They can even be aggressive to the same Wrasse
  • In terms of food competition, the Wrasse may out the shy fish, leading them to starvation and lack of food supply

Caring for the Wrasse

Although the Six Line Wrasse is okay within a small tank with 30 gallons, max, you shouldn’t keep them in an overly small tank. This fish like to swim around and explore – that’s why they are perfect for show fish. They love big areas where they can swim around, while enjoying the rockwork for hiding. They aren’t fussy creature that requires fancy aquarium. All they need is spacious tank where they can swim freely while still having a place to hide. If you are able to provide such a thing, they are happy enough.

Observe their behavior. When their eyes become red and they raise their fins, they are ready to be aggressive. As it was mentioned before, this fish can become a bully. They aren’t afraid of bigger fish (but shy type) than themselves. The fish would sleep in the so-called mucus cocoon. Sometimes they may do so under the sand. It’s a part of their defense mechanism to protect them from nocturnal predators.

Breeding the Fish

It’s quite common for this fish to spawn inside the aquarium. However, they may not have been raised successfully because the parent simply don’t look after the eggs. Moreover, being aggressive fish is difficult. Mating the fish is a problem too. Before they learn about others gender, they can become super hostile and attack each other. But if the method succeeds, the mating can work – but it may take quite a long time. And also a lot of luck. Often times, one attempt isn’t successful and you may have to try and try again. The males are bigger than the females. During mating dance period, they become somewhat more colorful. This fish is easy to care but super difficult to mate.


If you want to acclimate the fish, here is what to do:

  • Place the fish in a bucket. Drip acclimate for 60 minutes with rate around 3 drips a second. It would bring the fish’s (water) parameter in line with the parameter in your water tank.
  • Once the process is done, catch it (with a net) and put it in the tank gently.
  • DON’T put the water where it came from to the water – simple remove it.

Final Words

As it was mentioned before, this fish is quite easy to care for beginner aquarist as it isn’t fussy or complicated. However, if you are thinking about breeding it, then you should find other types of fish – your chances of success would be higher with other types. The Six Line Wrasse can be a great display for your aquarium – as long as you keep it alone without other accompaniment.


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