How To Care For a Peacock Wrasse

The Peacock wrasse, appropriately called, exhibits a visually captivating appearance adorned with resplendent turquoise spots.

This distinctive attribute has led to its designation as the Argus wrasse, drawing inspiration from the Greek mythological creature Argus, renowned for its reputed possession of a hundred eyes.

The entire body and fins of the fish are adorned with a visually striking magenta interlocking chain link pattern.

At first glance, the magenta colour is depicted in the form of irregular, curving lines, accompanied by a clearly discernible trapezoidal shape in green positioned beneath its ocular region.

The spots on the tail of the fish decrease in size as they approach the end of the fin, while the upper and lower tips exhibit a darker colouration.


How Do I Describe the Peacock Wrasse?

Peacock Wrasse
Picture of a School of Peacock Wrasse

The physical structure of the organism is characterised by an oval shape that is flattened in a lateral orientation.

The oral cavity exhibits a somewhat diminutive size, displaying a degree of protrusion, accompanied by robust dentition reminiscent of canine morphology.

The snout of the organism has several cephalic pores, while the lips are characterised by the presence of 6 to 9 folds.

In general, the length of the head exceeds the depth of the body. The length of the dorsal fin is considerable, extending nearly to the caudal region.

Both genders exhibit a diminutive pigmented area located at the posterior end of the caudal fin, as well as a dark patch positioned directly above the pectoral fin.

Moreover, a considerable number of melanin-rich regions are observed on the anatomical structure, exhibiting the formation of three or four parallel longitudinal stripes.

In general, the phenomenon of sexual dimorphism is often manifested by variations in colouration.

Female and juvenile individuals exhibit a colouration that ranges from grey-greenish to brownish, gradually transitioning to a silvery hue on the ventral side.

There is a lack of discernible colour distinctions between juvenile males and adult females. Male individuals exhibit more vibrant colouration, particularly during the reproductive period.

The observed specimen exhibits pale green colouration, with variations ranging from green-bluish to green-yellowish.

Additionally, the specimen displays longitudinal rows of red dots, while the upper portion of the head showcases a dark blue hue.

The East Atlantic Peacock Wrasse has the potential to attain a standard length of 44 cm (17 in), although the majority of individuals often do not exceed 25 cm (9.8 in) in size.

As a result of its extremely diminutive size, this particular species is infrequently targeted as a sport fish; however, it is occasionally procured by local artisanal fisheries for consumption within the immediate vicinity.

It is also commonly observed within the aquarium trade. The peacock wrasse species are known to consume a diet consisting of many marine organisms, including sea urchins, ophiuroids, bivalves, shrimps, and crabs.

The process of spawning occurs during the spring season, wherein a nest made of seaweed is constructed and protected by the male.

Within this nest, one or more females deposit their eggs, which are secured in place by an adhesive substance.


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How Do I Describe the Behaviour of the Peacock Wrasse?

Wrasses often display jumping behaviour in response to abrupt panic or heightened excitement. Hence, it is recommended to utilise a tightly fitting lid for the aquarium.

Individuals perceive an increased level of security when they are situated in habitats that provide a plentiful supply of live rock for concealment, as well as ample open spaces that facilitate swimming.

To uphold an appropriate social framework, it is commonly advised that the majority of species be housed in pairs or harems, under the stipulation that individuals are introduced either simultaneously or with the females being introduced prior to the males.

The coexistence of various wrasse species is typically discouraged, hence requiring the use of an adequately sized aquarium.

In such instances, it is recommended to initially introduce the species that exhibits the highest level of tranquillity.

These creatures are commonly employed for the goal of devouring diverse pests that have a negative impact on the health of corals and clams.

The aforementioned organisms that can be classified as pests are flatworms, fireworms, Montipora-eating nudibranchs, and pyramid snails.

Furthermore, there exist occurrences in which these organisms partake in the process of cleaning their cohabiting fish tank partners.

These organisms do not exhibit any pathogenic effects on corals or anemones, however, their foraging behaviour may disrupt the ecosystem through the disturbance of rocks.

In addition to engaging in predation or displaying hostile behaviour against smaller fish, larger species typically exhibit nonaggressive tendencies towards other larger fish, contingent upon the presence of discernible physical traits in the latter.


Where Can the Peacock Wrasse Be Found?

The species in question is indigenous to the eastern Atlantic Ocean, namely ranging from Spain to Morocco. Additionally, it can be observed in the coastal regions of the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea.

The sociable littoral fish species can be observed on rocky reefs that are adorned with algae, as well as sea-grass meadows.

Additionally, they can be found in the vicinity of rocks that are bordered by eelgrass, and in brackish waters within lagoons.

The phenomenon takes place within a range of depths spanning from 1 to 50 metres (equivalent to 3.3 to 164.0 feet).


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How Do I Care for a Peacock Wrasse?

The Peacock Wrasse belongs to the genus Macropharyngodon, which comprises 11 known species.

In spite of their stunning appearance, all members of this genus are considered extremely delicate and require the knowledge and experience of professional aquarists to successfully adapt to captivity.

The Peacock Wrasse, a species commonly observed in the wild, can be found in various habitats such as mixed sand, rubble, and coral areas within lagoons and sheltered seaward reefs.

Its distribution spans depths of up to 30m (98ft). This species is typically encountered either alone, in pairs, or in large groups consisting of females.

During observation, the Peacock Wrasse is often seen engaging in browsing behaviour, specifically foraging for molluscs and foraminiferans within the substratum.

  • There should be quieter spots in the tank where it can easily find food. The Peacock Wrasse’s tank mates should be calm and relaxed, or else the fish can feel disturbed and cease venturing out to feed.
  • While it’s possible to effectively keep groups of fish together (by adding them all at once), doing so is rarely advisable due to the rapid depletion of natural prey in an average-sized aquarium when too many fish of the same species are maintained there.
  • Do not keep aggressive dottybacks or hawkfish in the same tank as a Macropharyngodon, as they will fight over territory.
  • If you’re going to buy a leopard wrasse, make sure it’s not too skinny and is actively feeding itself.
  • A freshly introduced leopard wrasse may spend a few days hiding under the substrate while it adjusts to its new environment and altered circadian rhythm; in such circumstances, it is better to leave them alone; after a few days, they will normally emerge to investigate.
  • A good filtration system and regular maintenance are essential for keeping these fish healthy.
  • These fish are adept jumpers, so it’s important to keep them in an aquarium with a secure lid and no cracks.

What is the Feeding Requirement of a Peacock Wrasse?

This species will spend many hours searching out micro-invertebrates living amongst the live rock and substrate. It must be provided with natural prey.

A constant supply of tiny live foods for this purpose can be cultured in a fishless refugium. Will often take vitamin-enriched brine shrimp, and sometimes Mysis, but this alone will not provide enough sustenance.


Read also: What Do Marine Fish Eat?



The East Atlantic peacock wrasse is a species that holds limited commercial significance, with the trammel net serving as the primary fishing gear employed for its capture in commercial fishing operations.

Recreational fishing frequently involves the utilisation of a light rod and reel, a hand line, or a small long line for the purpose of capturing fish.

The species in question exhibits a rather non-selective feeding behaviour, readily accepting many types of bait such as fish, prawns, paste, and even bread. Thanks for reading!

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