Neon / Yellowhead Wrasse (Halichoeres garnoti)
Max Size: 7 inches
Reef Compatible: Yes
Minimum Tank Size: 75 gallons
The Neon Wrasse, also known as the Yellowhead Wrasse, stands out with its easily identifiable appearance throughout all color phases. Adults boast a golden to yellow head, accompanied by a black vertical bar behind the tip of the pectoral fin, which merges with a broad black area on the upper side, extending to the top of the caudal peduncle and upper caudal fin, with a blue underside. Juveniles, on the other hand, sport a vibrant yellow color with a turquoise-blue stripe running along their sides. This color-changing ability makes the Neon Wrasse a delightful and captivating fish to observe in your marine aquarium.
In the wild, the Neon Wrasse can be found concentrated in the Western Atlantic, including areas from Bermuda and southern Florida to southern Brazil. It is commonly associated with reefs, thriving in both shallow and deep reef environments, as well as rocky ledges.
To provide the best environment for the Neon Wrasse, a well-filtered and established saltwater aquarium of at least 75 gallons is recommended, equipped with a tight-fitting lid. To replicate a natural reef setting, generously aquascape with live rock, creating plenty of nooks and crannies for the Neon Wrasse to explore, seek refuge, and forage for food. A sandy substrate layer, 2-3 inches deep, is essential to offer shelter as the Neon Wrasse may burrow into the sand during the evening or when feeling threatened. Peaceful coexistence is achievable by housing the Neon Wrasse with other peaceful wrasses, including members of its own species. However, due to their territorial nature, it's best to keep only one Neon Wrasse per aquarium.
In its natural habitat, the Neon Wrasse's diet comprises benthic invertebrates. They can consume fireworms and pyramidellid snails, which benefits corals and clams by keeping undesirable invertebrates in check. Additionally, the Neon Wrasse may help by eating parasites off of tank mates. However, it's essential to be mindful that the Neon Wrasse cannot distinguish between "undesirable" and "desirable" invertebrates, potentially making a meal of ornamental invertebrates like fan worms, shrimp, and other crustaceans in the home aquarium. On the positive side, sessile invertebrates like soft or stony corals are usually left unharmed.
In the home aquarium, the Neon Wrasse's diet should consist of a diverse variety of food, including vitamin-enriched frozen mysis shrimp, frozen brine shrimp, and other meaty foods. Additionally, offering high-quality marine flakes and marine pellet foods will support their nutritional needs. To keep them thriving, frequent small feedings throughout the day are recommended.