Pink-Streaked Wrasse Care: Diet, Breeding, Lifespan & More

Posted by Miles Harrison on 08/30/2022

Last Updated 01/17/2023

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Some of the most attractive saltwater fish in the hobby are wrasses, and it’s for good reason. These fish are known for their ease of care, curious personalities, and unmatched beauty.

One of our absolute favorites is the pink-streaked wrasse. While it may not be as well known as the six-line wrasse or mystery wrasse, its ability to thrive in various tank sizes is what makes this fish highly sought after.

As with all fish, there’s plenty of misinformation available online, and just because this fish is easy to take care of, doesn’t mean you can ignore its care requirements.

In this guide, we’ll discuss diet, lifespan, temperament, whether or not it’s possible to breed this species, and much more. Let’s get started!

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Species Summary

Pink-Streaked Wrasse, also known as the Pelvic-Spot Wrasse (Pseudocheilinops ataenia) are members of the Labridae family. These fish can be found swimming 15-50 feet below sea level, in the coral reefs of the Western Pacific Ocean.

First classified by scientist Leonard Peter Schultz in 1960, the pink-streaked wrasse is the only member of its genus.

The uniqueness of these fish makes them highly prized, and hobbyists love to rave about their peaceful personalities.

The pink-streaked wrasse is relatively easy to care for and is a great option for individuals who are just starting to get into saltwater aquariums. Witnessing one of these fish swimming in a home aquarium is a sight to behold!

Image of a Pink Streaked Wrasse
Pavaphon Supanantananont/
Pink Streaked Wrasse are known for their horizontal yellow stripes


The Pink-Streaked Wrasse looks stunning in person. Its pinkish colors stand out in a marine aquarium, where its bright coloration contrasts nicely with a wide variety of other marine species.

The body of this fish is predominantly pink, and yellow lines stretch horizontally behind the fish’s eye to its tail fin. The dorsal, pectoral, and pelvic fins are translucent shades of yellow, pink, and blue.

Males tend to have more pronounced yellow horizontal stripes, and females tend to be slightly smaller in size.

These fish have a bright orange ring around their corneas, and have bright-pink lips, almost as if they’re wearing lipstick!

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Pink-Streaked Wrasse are small fish, both in the wild and in an aquarium, these fish will grow to reach 2.6 inches in length.

For your pink-streaked wrasse to reach this length, you’ll want to make sure that you’re providing a nutrient-rich diet and a high level of care. Quality of life can directly impact a wrasse's overall health and growth rate.

Pink-Streaked Wrasse Care

Caring for a Pink-Streaked Wrasse is relatively straightforward, they are a very resilient fish, and they make an excellent choice for hobbyists new to saltwater fishkeeping.

You’ll want to recreate an environment similar to the reefs of the western pacific ocean, where this fish is known to reside.

Mimicking this fish’s natural habitat as closely as possible is the key to success with this species.


Pink-Streaked Wrasses have a relatively short lifespan and typically live for 4-5 years in captivity.

Such a short lifespan is typical for most species of wrasse, which tend to live on average for 5-7 years. Some of the longest-lived species, such as the Leopard Wrasse, have only been documented to live up to 9 years.

Tank Size

Although this fish is small, at a minimum, you should have at least a 15-gallon aquarium if you plan on keeping a pink-streaked wrasse.

If you plan on keeping this fish with another peaceful species, you’ll want an even bigger tank. We recommend at least 50 gallons when keeping a pair of wrasses. Although the pink-streaked wrasse is one of the most peaceful wrasse fish, having a larger aquarium reduces the chances that you'll have territorial disputes.

Water Conditions

Pink-Streaked Wrasses, like all fish, are sensitive to changes in water chemistry. You must keep your water quality as pristine as possible when taking care of this species.

In the wild, these fish are found living in the shallow waters of coral reefs, where temperatures are typically a bit warmer, and water tends to be more acidic rather than alkaline.

You’ll want to maintain the following parameters when keeping this fish:

  • Water flow: Pumps should turn over the volume of the tank 12-14 times per hour
  • Ammonia: 0ppm
  • Nitrite: 0ppm
  • Nitrate: < 10 ppm
  • pH: 8.0-8.4
  • Specific Gravity: 1.024-1.0.26

Monitoring your water chemistry with an accurate test kit and tools such as a pH controller will help you maintain these parameters over a sustained period. You’ll want to avoid any sudden changes in chemistry, as this can be incredibly dangerous for a species like the pink-streaked wrasse.

Infographic of Pink Streaked Wrasse Care

Tank Setup

When first introduced to an aquarium, the pink-streaked wrasse can be quite timid. You’ll want to have an aquarium with plenty of natural hiding spots for this species. Live rock can be used to form caverns and other small crevices for this fish to retreat to if it feels threatened.

We recommend a sand substrate for the pink-streaked wrasse. These fish will occasionally bury themselves in the sand at night to hide from any potential predators.

Corals and other anemones may be used to create a natural landscape for this species. Hobbyists will enjoy knowing that these fish are reef-safe, and will not pick at any existing coral you may be growing in your tank.

You’ll want to make sure you have at least some open space in the aquarium, as overcrowding can quickly become an issue. Having an open section in your tank will give the pink-streaked wrasse plenty of room where it can swim, and will help prevent any territory disputes that may occur with other tankmates.

Corals and other anemones may be used to create a natural landscape for this species. Hobbyists will enjoy knowing that these fish are reef-safe, and will not pick at any existing coral you may be growing in your tank.

Corals and other anemones may be used to create a natural landscape for this species. Hobbyists will enjoy knowing that these fish are reef-safe, and will not pick at any existing coral you may be growing in your tank.

Common Diseases

One of the most common illnesses that affect pink-streaked wrasse is swim bladder disease. This disease is frequently seen in inbred fish or fish that have physical abnormalities. Fish affected by this disease typically have trouble swimming downwards and will tend to swim near the surface. Their bladders fill up with gas, causing the fish to become extra buoyant.

This disease is caused by poor collection techniques if they’re wild-caught or the disease may be brought on by issues related to the digestive tract.

Treatment typically involves quarantining the affected fish for 1-2 weeks, and treating them with Seachem’s KanaPlex, MetroPlex, and API’s FURAN-2

Pink-Streaked wrasse can also be susceptible to spinal injury. These fish are a bit skittish and tend to dart around an aquarium. This high-speed method of swimming can result in unintended consequences, as the fish may swim directly into a rock or the glass side of a tank, resulting in a spinal injury.

These injuries are often fatal, but treatment is possible. If you suspect your pink-streaked wrasse may be suffering from a spinal injury, you can try adding 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt for every 5 gallons of water, twice every 48 hours. The salt should reduce swelling. If treatment is successful, you should see your fish beginning to swim more normally after a few months have passed.

Food & Diet

We recommend feeding the pink-streaked wrasse frozen or live brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp, or nutrient-rich flake food at least twice a day.

Pink-streaked wrasses are not picky eaters. In the wild, these fish will feed on small invertebrates and other small crustaceans.

These fish love to eat and will constantly hunt for the occasional snack. If you happen to have a large number of copepods swimming throughout your aquarium, you can reduce feedings to once a day.

As an occasional treat, you can feed the pink-streaked wrasse bloodworms and rotifers, but feed sparingly, as these foods are less nutritious.

Image of a Pink-Streaked Wrasse
Pavaphon Supanantananont/
A Pink Streaked Wrasse swims near the substrate

Behavior and Temperament

If there’s one thing that stands out about this species, it would have to be its peaceful personality. These fish are some of the most tranquil types of wrasse available in the hobby. Aggressive behavior is incredibly rare with this species, opening up the opportunity for a wide variety of tank mate possibilities.

Although they may appear to be quite shy at first, over time, they will become quite comfortable in their new home. They’ve even been known to observe their human caretakers come feeding time!

These fish are active swimmers, when they’re not swimming throughout the water column, they can usually be found resting in their preferred area of the tank.

However, their peaceful temperament makes them the perfect victim of bullying from more aggressive species. You’ll want to avoid pairing a pink-streaked wrasse with more aggressive fish, such as a maroon clownfish, or royal gramma.

Tank Mates

Due to their peaceful temperament, the Pink-Streaked Wrasse can co-exist with a wide variety of other peaceful species.

It's possible to keep a pair of these fish, but you'll want to have an aquarium that’s at least 30 gallons. Although these fish rarely show signs of aggression, they will appreciate having their territories.

Since the pink-streaked wrasse is so timid, larger fish may attempt to bully them, increasing their levels of stress, and resulting in a weakened immune system.

Avoid aggressive species, such as

  • Clown Triggerfish
  • Purple Tangs
  • Maroon Clownfish
  • Tessalata Eel
  • Lionfish


Pink-Streaked Wrasses tend to take somewhere between 3-4 years to reach sexual maturity. Although these fish have been documented to spawn in an aquarium, there have been no reports of hobbyists successfully breeding the pink-streaked wrasse in captivity.

Breeding Wrasse is so difficult, that there have been only two successful species bred. The Melanurus Wrasse, and the Cleaner Wrasse.

Wrasse fish have the unique ability to change sex. It is believed that the wrasse has a small time period where they can reverse their sex change, but eventually, this window begins to close, and once closed they are considered “terminal” and no longer can change sex.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a pair of Pink-Streaked Wrasse where a female is ready to lay eggs, you have a long and difficult road ahead for breeding this fish.

When Wrasse larvae hatch, they are very underdeveloped. The larvae must survive a large amount of exposure to bacteria to advance to the fry stage. If you were to successfully raise the fry, you’d be one of the first to raise this fish successfully in captivity!

Where to Purchase

Pink-Streaked Wrasses are uncommon but are occasionally available at Local Fish Stores, and from online vendors on websites such as eBay, and Light Fish.

Always inspect a new fish before adding them to a home aquarium. Fish can carry diseases, if you suspect your pink-streaked wrasse may have an infection or disease, quarantine the fish and provide the proper treatment for a few weeks before moving them into your aquarium.

In Conclusion

As you can see, the pink-streaked wrasse is an excellent choice for a saltwater aquarium. Its peaceful personality, stunning appearance, and ease of care make this fish an excellent choice for both new and experienced hobbyists.

We hope that this guide has given you all of the information needed to decide whether or not this fish is right for you. We have a strong inclination that adding this fish to a saltwater aquarium is a decision you won't regret!

As always, if you enjoyed reading this guide, we’d love to hear from you! Consider introducing yourself on our community forum where we discuss aquariums and share aquarium-related content!

Miles Harrison

Miles Harrison

With over a decade of aquarium experience, Miles can be found writing about saltwater and freshwater aquariums. When he’s not writing about fish, you can find him going for a run or building websites, such as this one!