Six Line Wrasse

Updated August 6, 2019
Author: Mike - FishLore Admin
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The Six Line Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia) is one of the wrasses that can be considered reef safe. The Six Line should leave your corals, clams, and most other invertebrates alone. They may get a little rowdy with new fish introduced to the tank, but more on that later. They have really nice coloring and markings. They have a purple/blue body with six horizontal yellow/orange lines. The caudal fin is often a shade of green with hints of yellow. The coloration on males may become even more vibrant when they are ready to spawn.

Pseudocheilinus hexataenia Pseudocheilinus hexataenia

The Six Line Wrasse can be quite hardy if shipped and acclimated properly but they are known as "poor shippers" and online merchants may not reimburse you if this fish dies in transport. As always, it's a good idea to take your time and slowly acclimate your sixlined wrasse into your quarantine tank and keep them there for several weeks so you can get them eating and so you can monitor them for signs of disease.

Getting them out of a tank full of live rock is not fun. Use this time while they are in quarantine to give them highly nutritious fish food to help them overcome the stresses of shipping. If after several weeks in QT and you see no signs of disease you can slowly acclimate them into your display tank.

Behaviorally they may be kept in multiples in larger tanks but may get aggressive with other six lines in smaller tanks. Keeping them with other wrasse species is not recommended in smaller tanks (like less than 100 gallons). They should do fine with other marine fish species though but each fish can be different and you'll need to watch closely when first introducing them to your tank.

It is recommended that they are one of the last species introduced to your tank to help limit aggression.

tail spot with coral

Feeding wise, the Six Line Wrasse is not all that picky and they should eat standard marine fish foods. They also will pick at the live rock in between meals. Six lines can also be used to help control the pyramidellid snails that are known to prey on your prized saltwater clams.

Pseudocheilinus hexataenia near coral

Six Line Wrasse Care

Scientific Name : Pseudocheilinus hexataenia

Common Names : Six Line Wrasse, Six Stripe Wrasse, Sixline Wrasse

Care Level : Easy

Life span : 5 or more years

Size : 3 inches (8 cm)

Water Parameters : standard saltwater parameters - ph: 8.1 - 8.4, Temperature: 70°F - 80°F (21°C - 27°C), Specific Gravity: 1.020 - 1.025, dKH: 8 - 12°

Origin / Habitat : Red Sea, Indo-Pacific, Western Indian Ocean

Temperament / Behavior : They can be peaceful if you introduce them last to your aquarium. They are considered semi-aggressive since they may scrap with other wrasses and similar looking tank mates.

Breeding : Although spawnings have been reported, we don't believe they've been successfully raised in captivity.

Aquarium Size : 20 gallon minimum

Tank Mates : Avoid mixing them in with other wrasses but if you do, watch closely for signs of aggression between the wrasses. Although they are considered one of the more peaceful species of wrasses, they may also harass other tank mates such as grammas, gobies, pseudochromis, etc. If you wait to introduce them last into your tank you may have a better experience with keeping them.

Reef Tank Compatible? : Considered reef safe in that they should leave your corals and other beneficial invertebrates alone. They may even act as cleaners (albeit rarely) on larger fish species in the tank. They may even help control pyramidellid snail populations if you're having problems with these snails and your clams.

Fish Disease : Saltwater Fish Disease - Diagnose, Symptoms and Treatment

Diet / Foods : Carnivorous, they will pick at the live rock in between feedings looking for tiny crustaceans and should take standard aquarium foods. Cyclop-eeze, frozen marine preparations, flakes, smaller pellet foods, etc.

Tank Region : Usually hanging around their turf on the live rock.

Gender : Males may become more colorful when ready to breed.

Photo Credit : Photos copyright

References / Further Reading
Michael, S. W. (2001). Marine Fishes, 500+ Essential to Know Aquarium Species. T.F.H. Publications.
Fenner, R. M. (2001). The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, Commonsense Handbook for Successful Saltwater Hobbyists. (3rd Printing). T.F.H. Publications.
"Pseudocheilinus hexataenia". FishBase. Ed. Ranier Froese and Daniel Pauly. November 2005 version. N.p.: FishBase, 2005.

Site References :

Six Line Wrasse Comments

From: Stan
This was one of the original fish to go into my saltwater fish-only setup. I love the colors on this wrasse but seldom see it out and about except around feeding time. It has been aggressive (not too bad though) with others that I've added to the tank, such as my royal gramma and even my yellow tail blue damsels. It'll just kinda dash at them and then go back to it's little cave.

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