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Dragon Wrasse

Scientific Name: Novaculichtys taeniourus
Family: Labridae

About the Dragon Wrasse

Species Type: Saltwater Fish
Category: Wrasses & Hogfish

Care Level: Difficult. Healthy specimens may be difficult to find, as stress during shipping is normal. Triggering a feeding response in captivity may present a challenge, or meeting the dietary demands of the species may require special daily care. Is prone to disease, requiring high water quality. Proper acclimation and quarantine are essential, and the use of a UV Sterilizer is suggested. Recommended for advanced marine hobbyists only.
Origin: Indo-Pacific; Hawaii; Phillipeans; Australia; Indian Ocean
Compatibility/Temperament: Semi aggressive community fish for the fish only aquarium. A danger to reef structures as it will pick up and move small rocks, snails, crabs, and any other objects it can fit in its mouth.


The juvenile Dragon Wrasse is quite striking and may be kept in a predator reef aquarium or semi-aggressive community tank. Adults lose the large dorsal spines they had as juveniles and have a more even color tone. Adults will often knock over coral and rocks in reef tanks looking for food. Provide them with at least several inches of fine substrate to bury in while it rests. The Dragon Wrasse will not eat living coral, however adults may often knock over coral. They will eat a wide range of invertebrates and crustaceans, and will nip at clams. Adults may eat smaller reef fishes.

The difficulty with keeping the Dragon Wrasse comes in acclimating the fish to captivity. They do not adjust well to life in an aquarium, and very often carry internal parasites, requiring an extended quarantine period. This is made more difficult by their aquarium behavior, because they will continue to swim and eat well up until their point of death, making it difficult to visually observe the health of a specimen offered for sale. If you purchase this fish, plan to quarantine in a bare bottom aquarium, and medicate for internal parasites as a caution. For advanced marine fishkeepers only.

Dragon Wrasse Diet

Feed a mixed diet of meaty foods including shrimp, squid, krill, fish and frozen carnivore preparations.


Maximum size of 9'' to 12''. Is generally available in the hobby at the 1'' to 2'' size.

Minimum Tank Suggestion

38 gallon

Ideal water parameters for Dragon Wrasse

Marine fish are highly sensitive animals with very specific care requirements. Most all saltwater species will require similar water conditions, designed to replicate that of natural seawater. Ammonia and nitrite levels should absolute zero, temperature at 76F to 80F, and salinity at 1.024 to 1.026. Although some fish are tolerant of lower levels of Nitrate, the goal in every aquariums should be to keep Nitrate as close to zero as possible, and certainly under 20ppm. Finally, maintaining a stable pH of 8.0 to 8.4 is desired. Achieving this is made easier by monitoring alkalinity, which should be kept at 8-12 DKH, and calcium, which is targeted at 400 to 460ppm.

Contributing Members

The following members have contributed to this profile: Pasfur, Administrator
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