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Genus Rabaulichthys; Sailfin Anthias: 3 Species
Genus Serranocirrhitus; the Fathead Anthias:
Genus Trachypoma; Monotypic
Tropical reefs in the Red Sea, Indian and Pacific. Shallows to a few hundred feet.
Three to six inches (7.5-15 cm.) total length.
Selection: General to Specific
Due to cost and variability of temperament within the group, the different species available should be investigated thoroughly before investing. Some individuals, populations, shipments, species are touted as being touchy, hardy, impossible... all are "challenging" to keep.
I am in agreement with Michael (1991) in not suggesting the necessity of group purchase and husbandry. The various Anthiines live in large aggregations with a definite pecking order that is not replicable or desirable in captive care. If you want to buy a colorful male, only buy one. Similarly, unless you have a very large tank, more than one (or two) females is unnecessary and may well lead to endless fighting and loss. If you lose your only or alpha (dominant) male, the next most dominant specimen will in time change sex to take it's place.
House only one species to a system. If at all possible, acquire all individuals at the same time from the same batch. I have seen all species offered in the trade maintained solitarily for extended periods of time. Solitude is not deadly to them.
Amongst a group, choose the most outgoing individual(s). Leave skulkers behind. Avoid specimens that have a poor index of fitness (that are skinny); particularly one's that are thin behind the head. As always, confirm the specimen is feeding.
Recent introductions will hide for days to weeks. Try coaxing them out with live foods and be patient.
It is extremely important to optimize environmental mediation in reducing stress and preventing over-aggression. Exaggerate the physical break-up of the environment. If you're attempting to house more than one specimen per system, constant vigilance is demanded.
Utilizing biological cleaners, facultative or obligate is strongly suggested. Cleaner shrimps in the genus Lysmata are frequently cited as valuable.
The group enjoys clean, consistent water quality in all areas where they are collected. They will not tolerate anything less in captivity. Optimal "reef" conditions are required.
The absence of aggressive fellow tankmates is re-emphasized. Some species are notorious jumpers. Cover all openings.
Very interesting to watch. Active, quick to respond to any stimuli. Males challenge all apparent challengers, wrap themselves U-shape around females.
Anthiines are very easily spooked on new introduction. Keep lights low and leave an outside light on for a good day or two. Keep your hands out of the system as much as possible and entirely at the onset.
Watch other fishes for aggressive behavior toward your fancy bass. If practical, introduce them first.
Fancy bass are a standard food item for almost all predatory reef organisms big enough to stalk and catch them. Larger piscivorous organisms will devour them like so many gum-drops.
Reproduction, Sexual Differentiation:
Amongst basses, the Tukas are notable for being sexually dichromic and dimorphic, having color and structural differences between males and females. The more mature individual males are larger, more colorful, and in many species sport a few elongate dorsal spines. (see photo)
Feeding/Foods/Nutrition: Types, Frequency, Amount, Wastes
Fancy sea basses feed aggressively on any fine meaty foods. In the wild, crustaceans, fish eggs and larvae. The more frequent and smaller the feedings, the better. Naturally this group is constantly on the prowl; mind that they do not get thin.
Disease: Infectious, Parasitic, Nutritional, Genetic, Social
Unfortunately this group as a whole is very susceptible to bacterial and protozoan infections, which any amount of stress seems to trigger. My experiences with fancy basses differ from work by other authors; I've found they are sensitive to acute poisoning by the most common curatives; copper compounds, malachite and formalin. Prevention and the use of biological cleaners are emphasized.
Losses from "social disease" are extremely common... With housing more than one specimen or crowding, the lowest fish on "the totem pole" are lost, with the next lowest sub-dominant individual next in line: Below are examples of a more dominant female and lower dominance one on the way out. Don't let this happen to you... Either purposely overcrowd the hardy species with just females, keep them singly, or just a few to as large a tank as possible.
Anthiines can make a striking, albeit challenging, addition or a nice display on their own. Read up, provide them with an adequate, peaceful environment and frequent, appropriate feeding and you will be successful in their care.
Burgess, Warren E. Salts from the seven seas. A general piece on the "butterfly perches". TFH June 1974.
Carlson, Bruce A. 1979. The Longfin bass, Anthias ventralis, Randall, 1979. FAMA 8/84.
Fenner, Robert. 1995. The fancy sea basses; subfamily Anthiinae. FAMA 6/95.
Michael, Scott W. 1991. The Fathead Anthias (Serranocirrhitus latus) Watanabe. FAMA 10/91.
Michael, Scott W. 1991. The Anthias: Jewels of the Reef. AFM 12/91.
Nelson, Joseph S. 1984. Fishes of the World. 2nd Ed. Wiley.
Pyle, Richard L. 1989. Lori's Fancy Sea Bass Pseudanthias (Mirolabrichthys) lori (Lubbock and Randall). FAMA 6/89.
Pyle, Richard L. 1989. Bartlett's' Anthias Pseudanthias bartlettorum, Randall and Lubbock. FAMA 9/89.
Pyle, Richard L. 1991. The Hawaiian deep Anthias Holanthias fuscipinnis (Jenkins). FAMA 12/91.
Randall, John E. 1983. A new fish of the genus Anthias (Perciformes: Serranidae) from the Western Pacific with notes on Anthias luzonensis. FAMA 9/83.
Randall, John E. 1989. Shen's Anthias Pseudanthias sheni Randall and Allen. FAMA 11/89.
To: Part I