Please visit our Sponsors

Related FAQs: Fancy Basses, Subfamily Anthiinae, Anthiines 2Anthiine Identification, Anthiine Systems, Anthiine Selection, Anthiine Compatibility, Anthiine Behavior, Anthiine Feeding, Anthiine Disease, Anthiine Reproduction,

Related Articles: The Bass family, The Sunburst/Fathead Anthias, Red Sea Reef Slopes

Pseudanthias bimaculatus; the Twin- or Two-Spot Fancy Bass



 Bob Fenner


            The fancy basses, subfamily Anthiinae of the bass/grouper family Serranidae, contain some dozen or so species that are standards in the aquarium interest; and rightly so. Though many Anthiines are too touchy, perishing easily from the rigors of collection, handling and shipping; there are some, as the Two-Spot, that are relatively tough.

            Three key points to this fish’s successful keeping are securing initially healthy specimens, providing a proper environment; and sustaining them sufficient nutrition. Here we will suggest how to go about the above and more; so that if you have the desire to keep Two-spots you’ll do so with ease.  

Pseudanthias bimaculatus (Smith 1955), the Twin or Two-Spot Anthias. To four and a half inches in length. Distributed in the Indo-West Pacific, eastern Africa to Indonesia. This male and female at right in separate aquariums. A very shy species.

Bigger PIX:
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.


Distribution/Sources:  P. bimaculatus is found on deeper reefs (20-100 meters; usually below a hundred feet) through-out the tropical Indo-Pacific; Eastern Africa to Indonesia. Best specimens hail from the Maldives; but mostly the trade imports this fish from Indo.

            Some sources list this as a deep reef drop-off species, but I’ve only encountered it in turbid, low-circulation environments. This may be a clue to its ease of care in captive environments; other Anthiines usually being found in much cleaner, more vigorous settings.

Selecting/Stocking/Compatibility: Learning how to select good specimens is absolutely critical to having good to better chances of these animals making it through introduction/acclimation, and especially if employed, quarantine. In order of importance I stress:

1)      Careful observation of all individuals. ANY of these little basses showing signs of hiding, stray marks, spaced-out behavior disqualifies the purchase of all from that system for me.

2)      Are they feeding? The types/kinds of foods that you can and intend to feed? Ask that these be offered in front of you and again, observe carefully that all are eating.

3)      How many pieces (individuals) does the dealer have on hand? It is BETTER by far to purchase your specimens at the same time and place… selecting just one male unless the system is huge; and three or more females.

4)      Don’t buy “just arrived” fish! Most Anthiines die “mysteriously”, especially shortly after being moved. All Fancy Basses are wild-caught and severely traumatized being jammed together, kept in small volumes in captivity; often not being fed for days ahead of shipping.

Fancy basses are best stocked first, ahead of other fishes that you intend; but not so soon as to not allow your system to become established. Waiting a few months after set up; allowing your non-fish livestock to get situated, the small life to get populated, assures their survival.

Anthiines are great reef tank additions, including the highest technology SPS system. They do NOT pick on polyps, won’t bother shrimps, snails, even Featherduster worms. What one does have to be cautious of is other fishes that might inhale (e.g. Lionfishes and kin), or bother them too much (e.g. some rambunctious wrasses). To reinforce my point: Only one male with a few to several females should be stocked, and only one species of Anthiine per system unless it is huge (several hundred, thousands of gallons).


System: Though these are small fish, topping out at about 14 cm, about five inches overall; they need SPACE. A five foot long, 125 gallon or so tank, better even bigger, is necessary to give them room to move, interact, and feel comfortable; able to get away from you.

            Despite what I’ve stated regarding the conditions where I’ve encountered the Two-spot, you want to have vigorous water movement (at least ten times turnover per hour) including expedient removal of organics (less than 10 ppm Nitrate is a good window to use).

            Décor is important with these fish; whatever you employ, do provide plenty of nooks and crannies to allow them to duck into cover.

            Oh, and per their deeper water habitat, these fish prefer cooler water; the seventies F. (not eighties) working out best.


Foods/Feeding/Nutrition: These fish are zooplanktivores, using all daylight hours to dance about upwelling currents to pick off tasty arthropods on the fly. In captivity the ideal arrangement would be to provide such small critters on a continuous basis. A huge refugium could do this; or a fancy arrangement with live food cultures… for most folks, simply proffering live or frozen/defrosted copepods, brine shrimp, mysids and such three, four times per day will suffice. It is a very good idea to supplement these meaty offerings with an automated feeder supplying small pelleted foods of high quality every hour or so during lights-on time.  


Disease/Health: Though they appear easily damaged, Fancy Basses are not easily lost to pathogenic disease. Yes; they do contract the usual parasitic issues of tropical reef fishes; but they are easily treated with common remedies. What they do not tolerate well is poor water quality, a dearth of nutrition or incessant bothering by aggressive tankmates.


Reproduction: Fancy basses are protogynic synchronous hermaphrodites (“first female”, “not at the same time”, “different, functional sexes”. If your one male should perish, don’t agonize; the largest, more aggressive female will change into a male in a few weeks’ time.

When kept in harems as they exist in the wild Anthiines, produce and release gametes on a clock-work basis. As yet they are not commercially produced for the ornamental trade; but this could be done… and will likely be the source in the not-too distant future.



The Twinspot is a great choice for very easygoing Fish Only, FOWLR and full-blown reef systems as long as these contain other docile species. Do your bit in providing good specimens from the get go; giving them conditions they require, and frequent palatable foods and yours will provide you with years of active beauty.  



Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: