10 Awesome Cleaner Wrasse Facts You Didn’t Know

The Bluestreak cleaner wrasse is one of those fish you really learn to appreciate.

cleaner wrasse facts

These fish play an important role in your saltwater tank by cleaning and eating parasites and dead scales off other fish in your tank.

They are very unique as they can prevent your fish from becoming quite sick and save them from certain death due to parasites or disease.

The Cleaner wrasse is a common saltwater fish. They are easy to find and affordable to buy.

They have a great personality and can adapt well to other tankmates. 

Let’s look at some more Cleaner wrasse facts you might not have known.


#1. Cleaning stations

The Bluestreak cleaner wrasse will set up a cleaning station and signal other fish into it for cleaning.

They do this by performing an up and down movement of their tail which alerts other fish that the cleaning station is available.

Not only does the Cleaner wrasse clean the body of other fish, but it will also clean inside the mouth of other larger fish.



#2. Open swimming space

The Cleaner wrasse is a smaller fish but needs a larger tank with plenty of swimming space.

They are a very active swimmer and are known to jump, so it’s important to only put them in a tank with a tightly fitted lid and keep your overflows covered. 


#3. Short lifespan

The Cleaner wrasse has a very short lifespan of about 4 years. It’s common for them to not live that long in a home aquarium.


#4. They are hermaphrodites

These fish are considered to be hermaphrodites. They are all born with reproductive organs to become males and females.

Normally when a male of a group dies, the next largest female in the group will become a male. Read more about hermaphrodites and cleaner wrasses here.


“Reef aquariums are definitely the pinnacle of the hobby.” ~ Brian K. Vaughan

#5. They are not for beginners

The Cleaner wrasse is not a fish for beginners. They can be very difficult to keep if your saltwater tank is new or not suitable for them.

They are very picky eaters and are known to starve to death.

They are carnivores and aside from eating parasites and dead scales from other fish, it can be very difficult to get them used to most foods. 


#6. They need sand and rocks

Cleaner wrasses are known to burrow in the sandbed and sleep in between holes in your rocks.

Having plenty of live rock in your tank for them is important. They will also use these rocks to set up their cleaning stations.


#7. Ok with predators

Large predatory fish in the same tank won’t bully or be aggressive with a Cleaner wrasse as they would with some other fish. I won’t say all predators are safe but many are. 

They realize the value and purpose of the wrasse and understand that it’s a good idea and very beneficial to keep them around. 


#8. Males and females look the same

It is almost impossible to tell the difference between a male and female Cleaner wrasse. They are similar in many ways including colors, marking, and size.


#9. Breeding can take place

It’s common for the Bluestreak cleaner wrasse to breed in saltwater tanks. But it’s not so common for reproduction to be successful.

Males will perform a mating dance to attract females which will then lay eggs to be fertilized by the male.

1 male can breed with several females at the same time. 


#10 Suitable for different tanks

The Cleaner wrasse is safe for saltwater fish only or FOWLR tanks, plus suitable for reef aquariums and tanks with invertebrates.

They are a peaceful fish that usually doesn’t bother anything in the tank.


The Bluestreak cleaner wrasse is a great fish to have providing you can care for it properly. They are difficult to keep for many hobbyists as they rarely eat foods other than what they clean from another fish. It’s common for them to die due to malnutrition.

But that aside, if your tank is mature and can provide proper nutrition for them, they are a valuable asset to your tank. They are very active and fun to watch cleaning other fish.

Particularly when they are cleaning the inside of a large predator fish mouth.

Any other fish would not get away with that, but the Cleaner wrasse can as it’s invaluable to the other fish.