Today I’m rolling out a new feature on Mr. Saltwater tank.com called “Write Up Wednesday”. Each Wednesday I’ll do a write-up about a fish/coral/invertebrate/piece of equipment including my thoughts on the subject. For those of you that follow me on FaceBook, you can also find this write-up on my Facebook fan page.
Six Line Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia)
Six line wrasses get their name from the 6 horizontal lines running the length of their body. Six lines are colorful fish as their slender bodies are made up of a background of blue with red bars. Adding to the splash of color is a green tail that includes a black dot meant to resemble an eyeball to confuse predators.
These fish do not grow very large with their maximum length being 3” (76mm) although most of the specimens I see in tanks aren’t larger than 2” (51mm). Due to their small size, they are suitable for nano tanks.
Like most wrasses, Six Lines are very agile swimmers. They can stop, hover, swim backwards and quickly accelerate away from a perceived threat. These fish are fun to watch as they will split their time between swimming in the open water column and hovering amongst the rockwork in your tank looking for pods and flatworms to eat. Six-line wrasses are sometimes recommended as a way to control flatworms (planaria) and I’m not a fan of this advice as Six-Lines have a reputation for becoming aggressive and harassing and even killing other fish. Several years ago I had a Six Line wrasse who did just that. When I first put it in my tank, he was shy and spent most the time hiding in the rock work. The fish quickly became aggressive and killed my firefish. Removing the fish took several days and I documented the removal on this Mr. Saltwater Tank TV show.
I won’t own a Six Line wrasse again. Yes they are good looking and I’m not willing to deal with one becoming aggressive. I fully realize there are Six Line wrasses out there that are good citizens and I’m not willing to put one in my tank to see if I get an exception to the rule.
If you have a planaria problem and are looking for a fish to control it, I recommend a Hoeven’s Wrasse (Halichoeres melanurus) which is also known a Melanurus Wrasse. Keep in mind there is no guarantee these fish will eat planaria as some Hoeven’s wrasses feast on the worms and some ignore them.
Bottom line: If you really have to have a Six-Line, make sure the other fish in your tank are much larger than the Six Line and are not timid.Browse the Store! Questions?