Yellow Coris Wrasse Care – Are They Reef Safe?

Overview and Appearance

The Yellow Coris wrasse is a small, peaceful fish that works well in community aquariums. It’s considered to be relatively easy to care for and can be reef safe, as long as aquarists keep an eye on the fish and watch for any nipping.

These wrasses are a bright yellow color with darker tails. Young fish will have several dark spots on their fins, but as they mature, these spots will fade until there is only one left.

The Yellow Coris grows to about five inches long.


Are Yellow Coris Wrasses Reef Safe?

When it comes to a guide for keeping Yellow Coris wrasse, one of the most important answers many aquarists look for is whether this wrasse is reef safe.

Yes, the Yellow Coris is considered to be reef safe. They are often labeled as reef safe with caution but it’s very rare for them to bother corals. This fish also eats parasites such as fireworms and snails, keeping the reef healthy. However, this nibbling behavior can also extend to shrimp, clams, flatworms, or feather dusters that aquarium keepers may want in the tank, so it’s best to keep an eye on the Yellow Coris wrasse when keeping it in a reef aquarium with invertebrates.

Yellow Coris wrasse care chart
Yellow Coris Wrasse Care Chart


The Yellow Coris is considered to be a peaceful fish. This fish is an excellent member of a community tank and can be kept with other wrasses or members of its own species, as well as other peaceful fish species.

The Yellow Coris can sometimes be shy or timid, so it’s a good idea to provide plenty of hiding places.

In addition, this fish likes to jump, so a lid that fits well is crucial.


A Yellow Coris requires an aquarium of 50 gallons or larger, which will offer this energetic fish plenty of room for swimming. Rocks or other hiding places can be created to make the fish feel safe.

It’s also important to add a thick sand substrate to any aquarium a Yellow Coris will be kept in. A 2 or 3-inch sandbed is suitable for them.

These fish often dig into sand to hide and will also bury themselves at night to sleep.


Read: Melanurus Wrasse care guide


Another key thing to consider when looking at a guide for keeping Yellow Coris wrasse is what diet suits this fish the best.

This wrasse is carnivorous and should be fed a varied diet made up of mostly meaty foods.

Frozen Mysis shrimp or brine shrimp, seaweed, and bloodworms will provide a good source of protein for the fish. High-quality pellet and flake foods can also be offered.

These fish eat a good amount and should generally be fed a few times per day. Offering plenty of food can often steer the fish away from eating reef inhabitants.



Some aquarium keepers firmly believe that breeding the Yellow Coris in the home aquarium is possible, but it tends to be very challenging and only successfully occurs rarely.

Part of the challenge when it comes to breeding these fish is that it can be difficult to determine which fish are male and which are female. Females tend to be a bit smaller, while males are somewhat brighter in color.

In the wild, these wrasses gather together in harems with one male and six or seven females. If there is a shortage of males, one of the females will change into a male.

Aquarium keepers looking to breed their fish may find that it’s best to simply keep them in a large group so as to increase the chances of having both males and females.

In order to achieve spawning, aquarium keepers will need to provide enough space for a pair or harem of wrasses. Spawning will occur spontaneously when the fish feel comfortable and ready.

Once eggs are released, aquarium keepers can collect them and move them to a safe tank for hatching.


Yellow Coris wrasses aren’t prone to any diseases or illnesses in particular. Some fish may scrape themselves as they move through rock structures or dig in the substrate.

This is relatively common and generally isn’t anything to worry about unless the scrape looks red and irritated or if the fish has a change in energy level or loses its appetite.

If a wrasse scrapes itself badly, it can be moved to a quarantine aquarium where it can recover without being pestered by other tankmates.

Scrapes can also be treated with antibiotics or natural medications.


Marine Depot Aquarium Supplies


These wrasses are relatively common, so they’re generally inexpensive. Juveniles usually cost between $30 and $40, while more mature or adult fish can cost between $45 and $50.

When selecting a fish, choose a reputable fish supplier and, if possible, pick a fish that’s brightly colored and energetic.

It’s also a good idea to avoid purchasing any fish with discolorations on their fins or bodies.

Yellow Coris Wrasse Versus Banana Wrasse

When they’re young, Banana wrasses can look very similar to adult Yellow Coris wrasses, but these fish are quite different and require entirely different care.

A Banana wrasse can grow to about a foot long and will need a much larger aquarium. They can also be very territorial and aggressive and are not considered to be reef safe.

Banana wrasses, unlike the Yellow Coris, have bright green or orange markings along their faces and bodies. As the fish mature, female Banana wrasses become a more bold yellow color, while males take on a blue hue, especially near the face.


Should You Add a Yellow Coris Wrasse to Your Aquarium?

The Yellow Coris is one of the most popular wrasses for the aquarium because it’s easy to care for, beautifully colored, doesn’t grow to be excessively large, and will get along with most tankmates.

This fish is also energetic and entertaining. This makes them a welcome addition to nearly any aquarium.

A Yellow Coris can also be a great help in cleaning up parasites and snails. However, this behavior can lead to the wrasse eating other aquarium invertebrates, so although they’re generally considered to be reef safe, it’s best to keep an eye on them if they’re housed in an aquarium with certain anemones or invertebrates such as shrimp and clams.