Discussion in 'Fish Discussion' started by evolved, Aug 26, 2017.

Cirrhilabrus Complexes: Inferiority Need Not Apply (1st Revision)

Cirrhilabrus, the “Fairy Wrasses”, are one of the most elegant, active, and colorful reef fish. Their appeal in a reef tank is common to many, but...
By evolved, Aug 26, 2017 | |
  1. evolved

    evolved The Wrasse Guy Staff Member Team R2R R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor AZ FRAG Member Expert Contributor Partner Member 2018 Partner Member 2019

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    Cirrhilabrus, the “Fairy Wrasses”, are one of the most elegant, active, and colorful reef fish. Their appeal in a reef tank is common to many, but not all have a well-rounded understanding of the compatibility amongst them. Enter the notion of “complexes”: groupings of very closely related species within a genus.

    Complexes create groups in which the species are genetically very closely related. Physically the species in these groupings have similar structure: the body shape, fin shapes/sizes, and maximum length. Coloration is not necessarily a commonality within a group, but patterns are to a moderate degree. From a genetic viewpoint, it is quite likely each complex originated from a common ancestor or perhaps from one species still within the complex. Complexes have large implications on levels of aggression and compatibility amongst other complexes. For the most part, the level of aggression within a complex is similar for all those species it contains (of course, there are always exceptions).

    The chart below presents complexes within the Cirrhilabrus genus. The chart can stand on its own to guide a hobbyist in selecting various species for mixing, as it is based on the phylogram of the genetic heritage of the genus. It includes notations on aggression (and exceptions), minimum tank size, and sub-groups within each complex.

    The complexes are named simply by the most genetically senior species of the complex. The relationships between the complexes are represented are represented by the solid lines in accords with the phylogram. Within most complexes, there are also sub-groups. These sub-groups are worth distinguishing from the rest of the complex as their relative levels of aggression typically differ. On that note, the color shading of each box represents the general level of aggression relative to the others. Red boxes have the highest levels of aggression, while green have the lowest. A handful of species go against the norm of their respective sub-group, and those are designated by a “+” for those more aggressive and a “-” for those less aggressive.

    When seeking to mix two or more species within the same tank, the chart should be used in the following manner. The further removed two complexes are the more likely the odds of compatibility. Additionally, the odds of success also improve for similar levels of relative aggression between two complexes; the higher the aggression levels the less likely this will be successful. Two species within the same sub-group should never be mixed. If the tank is very large (over 200 gallons), it may be possible to mix two species with the same complex but within different sub-groups. There is one notable exception: those two complexes in red (Filamentosus and Scottorum) should not be mixed with any other complexes or amongst themselves unless the system is extremely large, say over 400 gallons.

    For example, mixing an Exquisite, Lineatus, and Hooded is rather safe. However, mixing a Conde, Rubriventralis, and temminckii would be problematic at best.

    Hopefully with this knowledge, this chart can prevent needless frustration and incompatible additions the next time you find yourself in your local fish store searching for your next Fairy Wrasse addition.

    Happy Reefing!


    If you love wrasses check out the Wrasse Lovers Thread.
    For more information on all other types of reef wrasses check out the All About Reef Safe Wrasses in Aquaria Thread.
    Featured image courtesy of Eric Zard (zibba).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 28, 2017
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  2. saltyhog

    saltyhog Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Partner Member 2018

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    Wish I could have been at MACNA for the talk. Any chance of a Youtube posting?
     
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  3. Best Fish-Jake

    Best Fish-Jake Valuable Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Am I the only one getting directed to the wrong thread with those links?
     
  4. Baldguy

    Baldguy Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    The link takes me to the revision. Looks good, much better than the old. Newer species included. Very nice Hunter.
     
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  5. Husker

    Husker Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    This has been such a great resource for people. When you look at all the old RC threads on keeping multiple fairy wrasses, there is a jumble of anecdotes of successes and failures with people jumping to the conclusion that eventually they will kill each other regardless of the species. This chart seems to have dramatically increased the success rate to the point where fairy wrasse tanks are not an enigma.

    I appreciate your recommendations for tanks size in the revision, as it seems there are discrepancies between online retailers in this regard. It also seems like the new chart reflects some of the recommendations and experiences that were not necessarily reflected in the old chart (for example, C. rhomboidalis and C. luneatus).
     
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  6. guidedbyechoes

    guidedbyechoes Active Member

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    I would clarify the sentence about genetic seniority.
     
  7. Best Fish-Jake

    Best Fish-Jake Valuable Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Hm, must be something with the Mobil app then.
     
  8. revhtree

    revhtree Owner Administrator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Photo of the Month Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2019

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    CoralNerd and evolved like this.
  9. Scott Fellman

    Scott Fellman Active Member R2R Supporter Article Contributor Expert Contributor

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    Such a cool chart- much needed in all areas of the hobby! LOVE it! Thanks for posting!

    -Scott
     
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  10. Lemec

    Lemec Active Member

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    I would like to give some opposition to the notion that Earlei wrasses are "passive", in my tank, my male was king of all, and would flash and chance any fish that attempted to be aggressive in my tank. He didn't harass anything but was definitely not a "passive" fish.
     
  11. iemsparticus

    iemsparticus The Addiction is Real R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    This is awesome... I saved the graph to my hard drive. :)
     
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  12. dgragg

    dgragg Member

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    Thank you Hunter. I'm continuing to collect the wrasses on my list. You have been a tremendous help.
     
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  13. jlanger

    jlanger Well-Known Member

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    @evolved
    I can't tell you how many times I've referenced your wrasse charts and articles while I was trying to determine which wrasses I could add and when. By following your advice, I was able to add a couple of different males to my reef with no aggression whatsoever. Thanks.

    Congratulations on your talk at MACNA 2017! It was extremely informative and very well presented.
    And it was also a pleasure to meet you and briefly talk about wrasses.
     
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  14. wangspeed

    wangspeed Active Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Thanks for the chart and the talk, @evolved. Favorite talk of MACNA! My new tank hasn't even been delivered yet and I'm starting a list of wrasses that I want.
     
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  15. dwwataz

    dwwataz nuttier than a squirrel turd R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    Hunter, thank you so much for this and previous wrasse guides. I've been in the hobby since last December and am absolutely, and hopelessly, hooked on wrasses. This is my first time posting here, though I've been creeping for several months now. Your writings have helped me tremendously in planning my current and future slice of the ocean.

    I currently have a male Lubbock's(I think, though he is FAR more striking than photos I've seen of other tricolor/Lubbock's online), a transitioning African exquisite, and a female Melanesian hooded wrasse. I have a female pintail coming Thursday and will continue collecting, and adoring, these tremendous animals.
     
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  16. evolved

    evolved The Wrasse Guy Staff Member Team R2R R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor AZ FRAG Member Expert Contributor Partner Member 2018 Partner Member 2019

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    Yes, BRS was there for filming, and I agreed to be recorded. (side-note, but all speakers had the option to opt out of recording if they so chose. Therefore, it's possible that some MACNA presentations will not be posted.)
    Thank you! All species known to date are included.
    Thanks! And yes, this chart should provide a lot more clarity than the prior one. I certainly tried to make the chart stand entirely on it's own this time.
    Thanks a bunch Scott! I will happily take those compliments coming from you. :)
    In this context, that is still passive. It's a big spectrum within the Cirrhilabrus genera of aggression, and on top of that there's even specimen to specimen variation within a species. However, any species that simply postures but doesn't cause any actual physical harm is pretty passive. Being an aggressor is WAY different in behavior.
    My pleasure; I love hearing this kind of feedback. :)
    Jason - the pleasure was entirely mine with receiving those outstanding cookies! :D But thank you for the kind words. :)
    Love to hear that; thanks!
    Thank you!
    Female lubbocki is mostly pink in coloration; quite different from the males. If yours is flashy with lots of color(s), than it's certainly a male. :)
    Best of luck.
     
  17. OrionN

    OrionN Anemones R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    Thanks Hunter. I was searching on your posts regarding Fairy Wrasses and eventually got to this page. It is a lot of help for wrasse beginner like me. I call back to a LFS to buy a Sailfin Fairy wrasse (for sale as Tono's wrasse) after searching over night and cannot find the species. Not exactly an impulse buy but close.
     
  18. Nicky 1212

    Nicky 1212 New Member

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    my first salty tank arriving this autumn, had tropical for 30 years, I was all about tangs.... but I cannot stop thinking about wrasses, and how beautiful they are, I've found your information interesting, and thought changing, I've saved your information for future reference. Thank you for giving your time to educate us, its fascinating.
     
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  19. Ignitros

    Ignitros Member Build Thread Contributor

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    So based on the diagram I should be okay with an Exquisite and Orange Back Wrasse in the same tank?
     
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  20. eatbreakfast

    eatbreakfast Fish Nerd Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Showcase Editor Expert Contributor Partner Member Partner Member 2018 Partner Member 2019

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    Yes, those 2 should be fine.
     
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