Adorned Wrasse (Halichoeres cosmetus)

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Color Form: Black, Blue, Orange, Yellow
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Reef Compatible: Yes
  • Water Conditions: sg 1.020-1.025, 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4
  • Max. Size: 5"


The Adorned Wrasse is an ornate, vibrantly-colored wrasse brimming with personality. This two-spotted beauty boasts iridescent tangerine stripes across a bluish green body giving the Adorned Wrasse a striking appearance. The contrasting color combination and intricate markings of the Adorned Wrasse inject exceptional visual interest to any marine aquarium. In fact, under the "right" lighting conditions mature Adorned Wrasses appear to glow a fiery orange for a fantastic and unexpected visual effect.

In the wild, the Adorned Wrasse is distributed throughout the Indian Ocean and south to Natal, South Africa. The Adorned Wrasse is a reef-associated species, common on shallow coral and rocky reefs where males are typically found solitary while juvenile and female Adorned Wrasses form small loose groups.

The ideal setup for the Adorned Wrasse will be a well-established saltwater aquarium of at least 50 gallons in size with a tight-fitting lid. To best recreate a natural reef environment aquascape liberally with live rock, making sure to provide ample nooks and crannies for your Adorned Wrasse to explore, seek refuge, or forage for food. Be sure to include a large area of open substrate as well as open spaces for swimming. A sandy substrate layer 2-3 inches in depth is essential to provide shelter for the Adorned Wrasse as it burrows into the sand for the evening or when frightened. House the Adorned Wrasse with other peaceful wrasses, including members of its own species.

The natural diet of the Adorned Wrasse consists of benthic invertebrates and as such, large, hungry Adorned Wrasse will eat fireworms and pyramidellid snails, protecting corals and clams from these undesirable invertebrates. The Adorned Wrasse may also eat parasites off of tank mates. Though this hearty appetite for invertebrates seems beneficial, keep in mind that the Adorned Wrasse cannot differentiate between "undesirable" and "desirable" invertebrates. If the opportunity presents itself, the Adorned Wrasse will most likely make a meal of "desirable" ornamental invertebrates including fan worms, shrimp, and other crustaceans in the home aquarium. However, the Adorned Wrasse typically will not harm sessile invertebrates including soft or stony corals.

In the home aquarium, the diet of the Adorned Wrasse should consist of a diverse variety of food items including vitamin-enriched frozen mysis shrimp, vitamin-enriched frozen brine shrimp, and other meaty foods along with high-quality marine flakes and marine pellet foods. The Adorned Wrasse will benefit from frequent small feedings throughout the day.

Approximate Purchase Size: Small: 1" to 2"; Medium: 2" to 3"; Large: 3" to 4-1/2"