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Naoko’s Fairy Wrasse

In the article I’m going to tell you about Naoko’s Fairy Wrasse. This newly described species of fairy wrasse from the genus Cirrhilabrus is a beautiful and relatively hardy fish ideal for the peaceful community fish-only or reef tank.

Naoko's Fairy Wrasse

Cirrhilabrus naokoae is a new fish for saltwater aquarists to consider adding to their tropical fish-only or reef tanks. First described by Jack Randall and Dr. Hiroyuki Tanakain January 2009 in Aqua; The International Journal of Ichthyology, this small (probably to 7.5 cm) fish is a wrasse from the Indian Ocean, and it is a real beauty.

Cirrhilabrus naokoae frequently goes by the common name of Naoko’s fairy wrasse in the marine aquarium hobby.

A New Fairy Wrasse

Cirrhilabrus naokoae appears to be closely related to other so-called fairy wrasses, especially C. joanallenae, C. morrisoni, and C. rubriventralis. The males of all four species share an elevated dorsal fin and large pelvic fins. According to Tanaka, C. naokoae is the 46th species within the genus.

Cirrhilabrus naokoae Husbandry

Although new to the hobby, the following husbandry information appears correct based on anecdotal evidence and what is known about like-species.

Cirrhilabrus naokoae is not an overly aggressive fish, and more than one may be kept in the same suitably large aquarium. Two males have been successfully kept together in the same aquarium by a number of aquarists. Although maintaining a small harem is often preferred when keeping fairy wrasses, the female of this species has yet to be described or collected for the hobby.

It is perfectly suitable to keep Cirrhilabrus naokoae with other fairy wrasses, as well as other peaceful community fishes. This fish is not a picky eater and should readily accept a variety of common foods including small pieces of marine flesh (e.g., table shrimp), frozen food, and flake and pellet foods.

While not aggressive, this fish is certainly not timid either. Once acclimated, it should spend its time actively swimming in the water column.

Be sure the aquarium is covered, as many wrasses are known jumpers.

Cost of Purchasing a Naoko’s Fairy Wrasse

As mentioned at the outset, this is a brand new fish to the hobby, and so the price is often quite high. This may change if the demand is sufficient and collection is straightforward and sustainable. Expect to spend over $200 a fish (as high as $280), although a few individuals have been selling recently for under $200.

Cirrhilabrus naokoae or, more commonly, the Naoko’s fairy wrasse is a beautiful, relatively hardy, albeit expensive, tropical marine fish appropriate for most marine aquarists with a suitably sized peaceful community tank. If you are interested in purchasing one, check your local fish store or try either Blue Zoo Aquatics or LiveAquaria. While only a handful of these fish are being imported at present, both of these online retailers have offered Naoko’s fairy wrasses more than once.

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