Sixbar Wrasse

Thalassoma Hardwickei
Sixbar Wrasse - Marinewise © 2024 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Thalassoma Hardwickei
Other names Sixbarred Wrasse, Sixbanded Wrasse, Hardwicke's Wrasse
Size Up to 20 cm (7.87 in)
Weight Up to .25 kg (.55 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters amongst reefs on outer edges, slopes & drop offs
Depth Range 3 - 30 m (100 ft)
Sixbar Wrasse Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Sixbar Wrasse is a species of wrasse found in the coastal waters of Western and Eastern Australia, including the Great Barrier Reef.
  • It is named for its distinctive six vertical bars on its body, which are a bright blue-green colour and stand out against its pinkish-brown background.
  • They are a solitary species, often seen swimming alone or in pairs, but can also be found in small groups.
  • The Sixbar Wrasse is a carnivorous fish, feeding on small invertebrates and crustaceans such as crabs, shrimp, and small snails.
  • The species is commonly found in rocky reefs and shallow coral reefs, and they prefer areas with strong currents.
  • Sixbar Wrasse are hermaphroditic, meaning they have both male and female reproductive organs. They begin their life as females and later change into males as they grow older.
  • During the breeding season, males will display their vivid coloration and engage in elaborate courtship rituals to attract females.
  • The estimated lifespan is between 5 – 7 years in the wild.
Species Interaction

Aquarium, Snorkeling & Diving

The Sixbar Wrasse is a popular and colourful aquarium fish that is known for its vibrant colours and active behaviour. They can be aggressive towards other fish. They are a common sight for snorkelers and divers in tropical reefs throughout its range. They are typically found in shallow waters, often near coral reefs or rocky areas, and are known for their incredible colours.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Thalassoma

Species: Thalassoma Hardwickei

Conservation Status

The Sixbar Wrasse is not listed as a threatened species under the Australian Government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) or the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

Sixbar Wrasse
As Aquarium Fish

Care Level: Moderate

Temperament: Semi-Aggressive

Diet: Carnivore

Reef Compatible: Yes

Minimum Tank Size: 80 gallons

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Easy

Temperament: Semi-Aggressive

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Caves, Lagoon

Danger: None