Six Line Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia): Ultimate Care Guide


Six Line Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia) are a species of saltwater fish that are quickly growing in popularity. They are typically found in the Red Sea and both the Indian and Pacific Oceans. They can also be found along the coast of Southern Africa, along with the coasts of India and Japan, as well as Fiji. Six line wrasses are a small and surprisingly beautiful fish. They are named after the six colorful stripes that adorn their body. They don’t grow very large, usually maxing out at under 3 inches when fully mature. Most aquarists don’t have luck when it comes to breeding six line wrasses in captivity. This may be because they are all born female and can switch genders as they mature based on their environment and internal factors.

Six Line Wrasse Care

Six Line Wrasse are a saltwater species, and they’re incredibly hardy. That hardy nature means they can survive in a wide variety of tank conditions, but that by no means suggests they should be neglected. They also prefer warmer waters which reminds them of their native habitats in the oceans off the coast of Asia and India. Be warned, though, as Six line wrasses are known to sometimes be a bit aggressive. They’ve been known to be aggressive towards other saltwater fish.

Six Line Wrasse
Six Line Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia)

Temperature for Six Line Wrasse

Six line wrasses call home the saltwater off the Japanese, Indian, and African coast. Those tropical waters are a warmer temperature than typical water. That means that Six Line Wrasses should be kept in tanks with slightly warmer waters. Six Line Wrasses should be kept in tanks that stay between 76 – 82 Degrees Fahrenheit. That range is their preferred temperature, and you should make sure to keep your tank within those parameters.

Water pH for Six Line Wrasse

Six Line Wrasses prefer their water to be slightly acidic. That is reminiscent of their native environments. Their preferred pH level is between is 8.0 – 8.4. You should actively make sure that you keep your tank within that range. A pH level that fluctuates too much can negatively impact all of the species in your tank. So you should be sure to check your water levels regularly.

Six Line Wrasse Size

Six Line Wrasses are a small fish but not small enough to be considered a nano species. Six Line Wrasse can grow to be around 3 inches when fully mature. They may be tiny, but they are still an aggressive species that will likely bully any species that are slower than it. That makes six line wrasses a less compelling option for a community tank.

Six Line Wrasse Tank Size

Six Line Wrasses are a small species of fish; keeping that in mind, you’d likely believe they can be kept in a smaller tank. That is not the case. Six Line Wrasses need a large tank in order to fully proposer and feel relaxed. They require a tank that is at least 30 gallons in size. That size can quickly increase if you keep more than one of them in a tank or if you’re planning on keeping them in a community tank.

Six Line Wrasse Food & Diet

Six Line Wrasses are a carnivorous species of fish. That means they’re likely to nibble on other fish or smaller invertebrates in their tank. Despite that, six line wrasses can be fed pellets or flakes as long you supplement that diet with additional meat, likely of the frozen variety. Six Line Wrasses should also be fed at least twice a day in order to keep them happy and healthy.

Do Six Line Wrasse Eat Bristle Worms?

Bristleworms are a very interesting species of worm that can pop up in any saltwater tank. They tend to hide under rocks and are a very nocturnal species. That means you may have a bristle worm in your tank without even knowing it. Most bristle worms are actually very beneficial to a tank since they’re scavengers. They’ll eat anything left over from your species. Six Line Wrasses have been known to eat bristle worms, so be careful if you have both in the same tank.

Do Six Line Wrasse Eat Nudibranch

Nudibranch are a species of sea slug. They help with algae control in any tank they’re in. Six Line Wrasse will likely eat any nudibranch in their tank. This could be a problem if you were using the nudibranch to help with algae control.

Six Line Wrasse Lifespan

Six Line Wrasses are known to have an impressive lifespan when kept in captivity. They can live up to 10 years. That lifespan is dependent on their care; if they are not cared for properly, then they will not live up to their maximum potential. This is also the case for any species of fish in your tank. Proper care and diet directly influence their lifespan.

Six Line Wrasse Tank Setup

When setting up a tank for any species of fish, you want to emulate their native environment as well as you possibly can. That is especially true of the six line wrasse. The native habitat of six line wrasses tends to feature a lot of reefs, corals, and rocks, which means all are welcome additions to their tanks. They also prefer a sandy substrate, which they will hide in if stressed.  Keeping a lid on your tank is also essential, so your six line wrasse doesn’t jump out.

Are Six Line Wrasse Reef Safe?

Six Line Wrasses are reef safe. They are native to reefs in their home environments and make great reef-safe fish. They will not hesitate to use the reef branches for protection, which they do in the wild. You can’t go wrong with having a reef and six line wrasse together.

Six Line Wrasse Breeding

Breeding Six line wrasse in captivity is nearly impossible, and there have not been any reported successes. This is likely because they are so aggressive and will likely attack others of their species on sight. It is also due to the fact they are all born female and change their gender based on their environment.

Six Line Wrasse Diseases

Six line wrasses are incredibly hardy. That means they likely aren’t susceptible to many illnesses or infections. But their hardy nature doesn’t mean they are impervious to everything. If you keep an eye on their water parameters and make sure to check the water regularly, then you shouldn’t have any issues with diseases

Six Line Wrasse Tank Mates

Six Line Wrasses can be a very aggressive species. That means they cant be housed with more timid fish because they’re likely to bully them. They shouldn’t be housed with any small crustaceans because the six line wrasse will not hesitate to eat them. Clownfish seem to be the most compatible tank mate for Six line wrasses.

Are Six Line Wrasse Aggressive?

Six Line Wrasses are extremely aggressive despite their size. They will bully most other fish they are housed with, which means they aren’t the best choice for a community tank. That is unless you carefully research and select the fish for your tank.

Can you keep multiple Six Line Wrasse together?

Six Line Wrasses should not be kept together. They’re an aggressive and territorial, which means they are likely guaranteed to fight one another. You should avoid keeping them together unless they are of different genders. Male and female six line wrasses will pair up and shouldn’t be aggressive towards one another, but it’s likely not worth trying to find a male and female. You’ll lose fish in the process.

Compatible Tank Mates for Six Line Wrasse

Due to the aggressive nature of Six Line Wrasses, they aren’t many species that can be housed in the same tank as one. Clownfish tend to be the most common tank mate for Six Line Wrasses, but it is entirely dependent on the personality of both fish. The preferred tank mates for Six Line wrasses are species that can hold their own against the aggressive nature of the fish.

Incompatible Tank Mates for Six Line Wrasse

One of the most incompatible species to house with Six Line wrasses is more of the same. They don’t get along with one another, and they will more than likely fight and end up killing one another. This isn’t what you want to have happen in your tank. Also, any small crustaceans are incompatible because the six line wrasse will eat them.

Six Line Wrasse and Cleaner Shrimp

The compatibility of six line wrasses and cleaner shrimp depends entirely on the size of both of them. If the six line wrasse is large enough and the cleaner shrimp small enough, the six line wrasse will not hesitate to eat the cleaner shrimp. That is the case with most fish; they will eat anything that can fit into their mouths.

Six Line Wrasse and Royal Gramma

Royal Grammas and Six Line Wrasses can grow around the same size, which is 3 inches. Royal Grammas are also a lot more peaceful than six line wrasses. That differences in temperaments means they likely aren’t compatible with one another and, as such, shouldn’t be kept in the same tank.

Six Line Wrasse and Mandarin Goby

On paper, Six Line Wrasses and Mandarin Gobies should be compatible. They grow to a similar size and prefer similar tank conditions. The big issue with keeping the two of them in the same tank is their difference in temperaments. Mandarin Gobies are peaceful, and Six line wrasses are the complete opposite.

Six Line Wrasse and Clownfish

Clownfish and Six Line Wrasses are common tankmates with one another. But that doesn’t mean they are instantly compatible with one another. Their compatibility is entirely dependent on both fish’s attitudes. They both may hate each other immediately and start fighting. Or they may get along ideally. The only way to know for sure is to try.

Where Can I Find Six Line Wrasses for Sale?

Six line wrasses are very popular, which means they are likely to be sold by most pet stores. They are more than likely to be carried by specialty aquarium stores. Six line wrasses can be a bit pricey, averaging a price between $20 – $30.

Fish Laboratory

With decades of collective fishkeeping experience, we are happy to share the fish care tips that we've picked up along the way. Our goal at Fish Laboratory is to keep publishing accurate content to help fishkeepers keep their fish and aquarium healthy.

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