female melanurus wrasse

Female Melanurus Wrasse

Are you thinking of keeping a female Melanurus Wrasse in your aquarium and wondering how to care for it? There are a few things that you need to know before you get one of these beautiful fish.

Before you purchase a female Melanurus Wrasse, you need to make sure that your tank is suitable for one of these fish, and that you don’t have unsuitable tank mates. Choosing with care and making sure that your water parameters are correct will ensure that your fish will thrive.

Tank Setup

The Melanurus Wrasse is a saltwater fish that requires a reasonably large tank – at least 50 gallons and preferably closer to 100 gallons. You should not try to keep these fish in a smaller aquarium, as they are likely to get stressed and become vulnerable to diseases if they don’t have enough space.

Your wrasse will be happy in almost any reef tank (although check out the necessary water parameters below), and they don’t need much else in terms of their setup.


The water for the Melanurus Wrasse needs to be right, just as it does for all fish. Ensuring that everything is balanced will increase the chances of your fish staying happy and healthy, so let’s find out what a Melanurus Wrasse needs.

Firstly, these are tropical fish that enjoy a reef environment. The temperature of the tank needs to be between 72 and 78 degrees F, with a salinity level between 1.020 and 1.025, and a pH level between 8.1 and 8.4.

On the whole, setting up a tank for a Melanurus Wrasse is not too difficult, but you need to make sure that you meet these parameters. A tank that is too hot or too cold, has imbalanced salinity, or has the wrong pH may cause a whole host of issues.

Although wrasse are generally easy to look after, making sure you have the right setup massively increases your chances of success.

Tank Mates

Although most species of wrasse are aggressive and can cause problems in tanks, Melanurus are popular because they are reasonably peaceful fish. They will fight if necessary, but if your tank is suitable and they have everything they need, they can get along well with other fish.

However, it is best not to pair them with other kinds of wrasse, as they are very likely to become victims of aggression, and they may get injured. It can be hard to introduce Melanurus Wrasse to an established tank, even though they are generally calm fish. If you are trying to choose some tank mates for them, consider options like clown fish, the neon goby, or the Banggai cardinalfish.

If you really want to keep them with other wrasses, you should avoid keeping two males together, and make sure you give them plenty of time to get acclimated to each other. You should also feed them heavily in the early weeks so they are not in competition for their meals at any time.

How Long Does A Female Melanurus Wrasse Live?

This species is pretty hardy and generally long lived. As long as you provide a suitable environment and your fish does not get any dangerous diseases, it could survive for up to 10 years, although many will only live between 4 and 6 years.

Will Female Melanurus Wrasse Eat Cleaner Shrimp?

Yes, female Melanurus Wrasse feed on all kinds of small invertebrates, including cleaner shrimp. Any shrimp that is small enough for the fish to consume can become prey, so if you have shrimp, consider this before you add a Melanurus Wrasse to your tank.

You can minimize the risk of the shrimp being eaten if you provide plenty of hiding spots for them and feed the Melanurus Wrasse sufficiently, but even then, they may eat some of the shrimp. If you’re going to add these fish to your aquarium, be aware of this problem first and make sure you’re happy with the risk of losing some shrimp.

Are All Wrasse Born Female?

Almost all wrasse are born female, yes. The juveniles start out as females, and some will mature into males. This usually occurs if there is no dominant male already in the group, so if the male in your tank dies or you remove him, you will likely find that one of your females takes his place.

It is usually the biggest and most aggressive female that will make this change, although she won’t do so while the dominant male remains in the tank.

Some wrasses are born males, but these tend to remain weak and will rarely become dominant in the tank hierarchy. Being aware of how the sexes work in wrasse society is helpful if you want to keep them.

Does A Melanurus Need Sand?

Yes, a Melanurus needs sand in the aquarium. These fish instinctively bury themselves in the sand when they want to sleep, and they will struggle to sleep if they don’t have a suitable substrate that allows them to do this.

Melanurus also burrow into the sand when they feel threatened. If you put them in a tank full of rocks or another hard substrate, your fish may injure themselves. They might cut their fins or their bodies on rocks if they cannot get down where they feel safe and unexposed.

Create a bed of at least 4 to 6 inches of sand, ideally a medium grain. If the grains are more than 4 mm, they may cut the fish when they try to burrow, and it will be difficult for the fish to hide themselves.


A female Melanurus Wrasse can make a stunning addition to any aquarium, but make sure that the setup is right, and be aware that it can be challenging to get one of these fish adapted to an established tank.

If you are going to add one, check that the water parameters are suitable and make sure there is plenty of sand for your fish to burrow into if it gets alarmed or wants to sleep.