White Belly Wrasse

Updated August 6, 2019
Author: Mike - FishLore Admin
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The White Belly Wrasse is also known as the Lemon Meringue Wrasse and is often sold as the yellow coris wrasse. The White Belly Wrasse has a white belly and a yellow top with spots on the dorsal fin.

This wrasse is often picked up in the hopes of ridding a tank of unwanted pests such as montipora eating nudibranchs, acropora flatworms, bristle worms and pyramidellid snails that are parasites on tridacnid clams. Reports are hit and miss regarding their true effectiveness of controlling these unwanted pests.

Some hobbyists swear by them and others get annoyed with their exceptional carpet surfing abilities. A tank with a good fitting hood or canopy will go a long way in keeping them in your tank. If yours should end up missing, check the floor, the overflow and sump for the little jumper.

White Belly Wrasse White Belly Wrasse - Halichoeres leucoxanthus

Upon introduction to your tank they may be somewhat skittish but they should soon settle down and be out and about picking at the live rock in your tank. Use caution if you plan on keeping them in a reef tank because they may (or may not) pick at snails, crabs and clams. A sand bed of at least a couple of inches is needed because they dive into it at night to sleep.

Try to feed them a couple of times per day frozen meaty foods. You can try the pellets and flakes but it may take awhile to get them eating the pellets/flakes. Keep trying though. They will also pick up nourishment from any pods found on and within the sandbed and live rock.

You may have picked one of these wrasses up with the hopes of them helping rid your tank of one of the pests mentioned above. In my personal experience they have not done much in the way of controlling monti eating nudis, having kept one in a frag tank with afflicted montis. However, others claim that they did notice them eating the nudibranchs.

White Belly Wrasse Halichoeres leucoxanthus - White Belly Wrasse

Wether you picked a White Belly Wrasse up to be a part of a utility crew or just because it was a pretty little wrasse, it will make a great addition to the right set up. They stay on the small side and get along well with others (except others of the same species) and they are not that hard to get eating.

White Belly Wrasse White Belly Wrasse

Also, a sand bed a few inches deep is needed for them to sleep in at night. If you have a bare bottom tank a tupperware bowl full of sand hidden behind the live rock will work fine. Make it deep enough so they can dive into it.

White Belly Wrasse Care

Scientific Name : Halichoeres leucoxanthus

Common Names : White Belly Wrasse, Lemon Meringue Wrasse, White and Purple Wrasse (seldom called this), sometimes sold as the yellow coris wrasse but this species has a white belly

Care Level : Easy - usually adapts quite well to aquarium life

Life span : 5+ years

Size : Up to 5 inches (12 cm)

pH : 8.1 - 8.4

Temperature : 75°F - 79°F (24°C - 26°C)

Specific Gravity : 1.023 - 1.025

Origin / Habitat : Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Indian Ocean, Christmas Island

Temperament / Behavior : Mostly peaceful

Breeding : To our knowledge and as of 2011, this species has not been bred in the home aquarium.

Aquarium Size : 30 gallon minimum

Tank Mates : Use caution when putting them in with other wrasses but otherwise should do fine with other similar sized fish species.

Reef Tank Compatible? : Could be considered with caution. They may nip at hermit crabs and tridacnid clams.

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

Diet / Foods : Goes after meaty frozen marine foods readily but ignores flakes and pellets. Picks at the live rock all day long.

Tank Region : Some are quite bold and will swim all over the tank whereas others seldom venture far from cover.

Gender : Unknown

Forum : Saltwater Fish Forum

Photo Credit : Photos copyright JJPhoto.dk

References :

"Halichoeres leucoxanthus". FishBase. Ed. Ranier Froese and Daniel Pauly. November 2005 version. N.p.: FishBase, 2005.
Michael, S. W. (2001). Marine Fishes, 500+ Essential to Know Aquarium Species. T.F.H. Publications.

Site References :

More Wrasse Profiles
Pencil Wrasse
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Pencil Wrasse
This wrasse can be on the difficult side to feed. They are poor shippers and need a period of adjustment with lots of feeding per day at first. Great looking fish once acclimated.
Six Line Wrasse
Pseudocheilinus hexataenia
Six Line Wrasse
Getting this fish past the acclimation stage is critical. They don't ship very well and often develop ich or show signs of other saltwater fish diseases. They might get aggressive with other wrasses. They grow to about 3 inches (8 cm) and are often kept in reef tanks.