17 Fin-tastic Facts About The Hardwicke Wrasse For Kids

Read further to learn some awesome Hardwicke wrasse facts!

Do you love watching pretty, colorful fish swimming across the ocean? If you do, then read further to discover the interesting little world of the Hardwicke wrasse, a colorful group of fish that live in the sea. The Hardwicke wrasse is also known as the sixbar wrasse and it belongs to the Labridae family. The scientific name of this fish is the Thalassoma Hardwicke and it is native to the Indo Pacific and western Pacific islands, northern Australia, and east Africa.

The sixbar wrasse is widely known for its beautiful colors and stripes, making it an aquarium favorite. In addition to this, these fish are also tough, easy to handle, and have a lifespan of many years, which makes them the ideal fish to house in your aquarium. The sixbar wrasse is a carnivorous fish and hence, eats smaller fish, crustaceans, crabs, mollusks, invertebrates, shrimp, and so on. They are considered to be aggressive fish and require larger tankmates and hence, need to be housed in a large aquarium with sufficient swimming space.

Unlike other members of the wrasse family, the sixbar wrasse does not sleep in the sand, but rather, finds a cozy spot in between the rocks. Although they don't require a deep substrate, they do require a sandy bottom to burrow in when they want to rest or hide when frightened.

Read further to learn about the interesting Hardwicke wrasse and do check out our yellowfin flasher wrasse and firemouth cichlid articles!

Hardwicke Wrasse

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Fish, worms, shrimp, crustaceans, mollusks, crabs, sea cucumbers, invertebrates

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

1000 eggs

How much do they weigh?

2-4 oz (56.7-3.4 g)

How long are they?

5.9-7.8in (15-20cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Blue/green body, vertical dark stripes on the body, pink stripes around the eye region

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Bigger fish, sharks

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern.

Where you'll find them

Marine habitats


Tropical Indo-Pacific region, Northern Australia, Western Pacific islands





Scientific Name

Thalassoma hardwicke





Hardwicke Wrasse Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Hardwicke wrasse?

Although the name is uncommon and may sound confusing, the sixbar wrasse is a fish that belongs to the wrasse species of fish. The sixbar wrasse is one of 600 subspecies of the wrasse fish.

What class of animal does a Hardwicke wrasse belong to?

The Hardwicke wrasse belongs to the Actinopterygii class of marine fish. Fish that belong to this class are often bony and ray-finned. Another popular ray-finned fish is the angler fish.

How many Hardwicke wrasses are there in the world?

These fish are spread across the Indo Pacific and Western Pacific regions and are considered to be common marine fish. Hence, the exact population of these fish is unknown.

Where does a Hardwicke wrasse live?

Hardwicke wrasses are found in the Indo-Pacific regions of East Africa, Madagascar, Japan, Indonesia, Philipines, Nothern Australia, and around the islands of the Western Pacific.

What is a Hardwicke wrasse's habitat?

The Hardwicke wrasse is found in a variety of marine reefs, including coral reefs and shallow lagoons. These fish live in rocky substrates and inhabit a depth in the range of  0.25-50 ft (0.07-15 m) below the surface.

Who do Hardwicke wrasses live with?

Juvenile or baby fish of this species are found to travel and feed in groups, whereas adult fish are often found to travel alone or in small, loose groups. During mating season, male and female wrasses form a pair and travel and eat together.

How long does a Hardwicke wrasse live?

The Hardwicke wrasse is a hardy fish and has a lifespan of many years. The fish of this species can live between a minimum range of 4-10 years, which makes them suitable for an aquarium or tank environment.

How do they reproduce?

The Thalassoma Hardwicke is oviparous in nature, which means that they reproduce by laying eggs. The females lay eggs in the water and the males release sperm which fertilizes these eggs. The most unique feature of this wrasse is that they form distinct pairs during the breeding season.

What is their conservation status?

The current conservation status of the Thalassoma Hardwicke is of Least Concern as they are a common fish.

Hardwicke Wrasse Fun Facts

What do Hardwicke wrasses look like?

The Hardwicke wrasse is known for its brightly colored and patterned skin.

Hardwicke wrasse fish are considered to be very breathtaking due to the bright color and patterns on their skin. These fish are often found to be pastel blue, green, or yellow in color with dark stripes on their body. In larger adults, pink stripes are observed near their eyes. Other brightly patterned fish include the electric blue Jack Dempsey, the peacock cichlid, and the cherry barb.

How cute are they?

These fish are an aquarium favorite as they are considered to be very cute and eye-catching due to the bright pop of color they bring to the tank- especially with the pink stripes seen on the adult fish!

How do they communicate?

These fish communicate using a combination of visual movements and rapid color change. A common method of communication among these fish includes them moving their body from side to side and tilting their heads in different directions. They are also known to rapidly change the color of their body as a display of aggression or to attract a mate, a common method of communication for reef fish.

How big is a Hardwicke wrasse?

Hardwicke wrasses are a smaller subspecies of the wrasse fish as they only grow to a minimum length of 5.9 in (14.99 cm), and a maximum length of 7.8 in (19.81 cm). This makes them 12 times smaller than the humphead wrasse, which can grow to a maximum length of 98 in (248.9 cm).

How fast can a Hardwicke wrasse swim?

Due to their small body and wing-like fins, these marine fish move very fast in the water, making them formidable and aggressive predators. Hence, they require a large tank or aquarium.

How much does a Hardwicke wrasse weigh?

The Hardwicke wrasse size is speculated to be around a minimum of 2-4 oz (56.7-3.4 g) from similar-sized species.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for the males and females of this species. They are only referred to as male or female.

What would you call a baby Hardwicke wrasse?

Although there is no specific term for baby Hardwicke wrasse fish, they are often referred to as juveniles.

What do they eat?

These marine fish have a strictly carnivorous diet consisting of smaller fish, invertebrates, crustaceans, shrimp, crabs, and mollusks. They do not, however, eat plants or corals.

Are they aggressive?

These fish are aggressive in nature. It is advised that if you are keeping these fish in an aquarium, they are added last and with bigger fish. Adding a Hardwicke wrasse and shrimp or crustaceans together is not advisable as they are known for killing and eating shrimp and small tank mates.

Would they make a good pet?

These species of fish are a wonderful addition to any tank due to their beautiful colors and energetic nature. These wrasses are easy to take care of, have a long lifespan, and can hold their own in front of other aggressive fish in the tank or aquarium. However, they are not entirely reef safe and often eat smaller tank mates.

Did you know...

Another unique fact about this fish is that they have the ability to change their sex after birth. Often, If there is an absence of a dominant male in the group, female wrasses change their sex and assume the role of the dominant male.

This species of fish is also considered to be intelligent, as studies have observed the wrasse, Thalassoma, using rocks as an 'anvil' in the aquarium or tank. It was found that when these fish were fed hard pellets, they would drop these pellets against hard rocks, breaking them into pieces. They are also often found following this same pattern with small prey.

Are Hardwicke wrasses reef safe?

Most species of the wrasse fish family are reef safe, which means that they can be added to a tank or aquarium without harming or harassing fellow tank mates. The Hardwicke wrasse, however, is not entirely safe in reefs as they are notorious for killing and consuming smaller fish. However, they do not eat plants and corals in the aquarium.

How many species of wrasse are there?

Wrasses belong to the Labridae family and are classified into 600 species. Some of the common wrasses include the humphead wrasse, the cleaner wrasse, the Hardwicke wrasse, the yellowtail wrasse, and so on. Most of these fish are reef safe and are suitable for a tank or aquarium environment.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our white cloud mountain minnow facts and peacock cichlid facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable betta fish coloring pages.



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