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are members of the family Serranidae
genera comprise this family including; Pseudanthias, Nemanthias,
All are collectively referred to as anthias. The
anthias most familiar to saltwater aquarium owners belong to the genus
Pseudanthia. There are several species within this genius. This article
is meant to be a generalized description of the genus.
Anthias inhabit all the topical oceans and seas around the world.
These are considered the quintessential reef fish and often account for
the majority of the fish population swarming around tropical reefs.
Anthias are typically among the smaller more docile fishes made
available by the saltwater aquarium industry. These are extremely
popular ornamental fish because of their intense and varied coloring.
Common color variations found among Anthias include pink, purple,
orange and yellow. They will live an average of five years but have
been known to live as long as eight.
Anthias are generally considered hardy fish in their natural
habitat but they have been known to have problems adapting to a life of
captivity. They are quite often traumatized to the point of not
bothering to eat. They have frequently been known to starve themselves
to death. It is strongly recommended that you ask your fish store to
watch them eat before purchasing them. If they are feeding they will be
more apt to acclimate to your aquarium. Live food will often aid in the
These are a shoaling fish. In nature they congregate by the
thousands very often schooling in larger populations. There are innate
subdivisions within these schools typically referred to as harems.
Harems have a hierarchical order. This hierarchy is comprised of one
dominate and up to two subdominant males. Subdominant males are
generally smaller and less colorful. And what is a harem without a
female population? There are often as many as twelve females populating
the harem all of which have their own hierarchy.
are considered good additions to a community tank. They are
“reef safe” and are accustomed to living with a
variety of other
species. They range from 1.5 to 5 inches depending on their particular
species. The size of a specific species should be inquired about to
select suitable tank mates. You want to raise them with other mild
mannered species. Despite their inherent nature to live in communities
a single Anthais can be added to your tank. However several will allow
you to watch them act as nature intended. A new arrival will often
adapt to unfamiliar surroundings if you already have an established
anthais community in your aquarium. Unless you have a very large tank
you will want to have a single male to avoid territorial issues.
However a few may establish a social order. A harem of females is
appropriate when raising theses fish in a community. Anthais prefer
subdued lighting. They are hiders by nature and should be provided with
plenty of plants, rock work or hollow aquarium décor.
Anthias are dither fish. They communicate with each other. They
will warn each other if there is danger approaching
and then issue an
all is clear signal once the potential threat has passed.
Anthias are protogynous hermaphrodites. All species are born as
females. If the dominant male of the harem
perishes this event will often trigger a hormonal response in the
largest female transforming her into a male. This can lead to
aggressive behavior between the two. The dominant male views the
largest female as his potential replacement, while the largest
body is surging with testosterone because of her rank in the
Anthias are Zooplankton feeders. Zooplankton are microscopic
organisms that float in the oceans and seas of the world. They
typically float in columns. These columns are inhabited by crustacean
larva, and extremely small crustaceans like daphnia, and radiolarians.
Zooplankton can be purchased commercially. Anthias can also be fed
vitamin enriched brine shrimp, other varieties of tiny crustaceans as
well as frozen protein enriched food for marine fish. Anthias are
active fish with healthy appetites and should be fed at least three
times a day.