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Cirrhilabrus lineatus - Purplelined Wrasse
A Beautiful Aquarium Wrasse

The purplelined wrasse (Cirrhilabrus lineatus) is an absolutely gorgeous fairy wrasse that, in most cases, makes for an outstanding reef aquarium inhabitant. This reef-associated Indo-Pacific fish can be shy—especially larger individuals or ones added to anything less than a peaceful community tank. With the proper tankmates, environment and husbandry, however, this fairy wrasse is one of the more striking fish, and it won’t lose its color without conspecifics.

The purplelined, sometimes called the lined fairy wrasse or the lavender fairy wrasse, is indigenous to the Western Central Pacific from New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands to the Great Barrier Reef. This is a deeper water wrasse, frequently found at depths greater than 33 meters, where it inhabits clear outer reef slopes. Usually living in large shoals, it may be found with other fairy wrasses and anthias species.

Fairy Wrasses in General

The purplelined wrasse shares many characteristics with other wrasses from the genus Cirrhilabrus, which are closely related to the genera Paracheilinus (flasher wrasses), Pseudocheilinus (lined wrasses), and Pteragogus (secretive wrasses). The fairy wrasses are the second largest genus of wrasses. Wrasses from this genus exhibit sexual dichromatism, meaning that males and females have markedly different colorations.

Fairy wrasses are protogynous hermaphrodites, beginning life as asexual individuals before developing female reproductive organs. Many will then transform into males after they have reproduced, although some may never develop fully functioning ovaries and instead transform into males directly. There is at least anecdotal evidence that some species can transform from males back into fully-functioning females. In most natural groupings, female individuals outnumber the more effervescently-colored males.

Purplelined Fairy Wrasse Husbandry

The purplelined fairy wrasse may be treated like other fairy wrasses in terms of its care, although this species does often appear more timid, especially in a brightly lit reef tank. For best success, introduce a small purplelined fairy wrasse to a tank with other fairy and flasher wrasses and other peaceful community fishes. Feed commercially prepared marine aquarium foods formulated for omnivores and carnivores, and feed at least twice a day. Supplement the purplelined fairy wrasses diet with small bits of raw table seafood for optimal health, and consider pre-soaking food in a vitamin supplement like Selcon. This wrasse, like other fairy wrasses, will also show interest in nori and other herbivore foods.


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