Fancy Sea Basses, also known generically as “Anthias”, are one of the most common fishes found on tropical reefs. In nature, they are found in large schools, or in harems, consisting of one male and several females.
They have a somewhat mixed reputation in the aquarium trade, with some species/individuals categorically doing better than others. Much of this has to do with how the fishes were treated along the supply chain from reef to hobbyist. If collected carefully, handled conscientiously after capture, and kept well fed, many species can be quite sturdy, and well suited for aquarium life.
Typically, Anthias are good community fish, and will do quite well with other peaceful, non-aggressive fishes. They tend to fare better in groups, particularly harems consisting of one male and several females. They may even be kept as individuals in some instances.
Although they are typically out in the open in the aquarium for large parts of the day, these fishes do appreciate rockwork and caves to retreat to at times. Since many come from deeper water, more diffuse lighting is appreciated by a number of species. Do research the habitat for each species that you are considering.
Anthias have healthy appetites, and need frequent feedings with high-quality foods, such as mysis, cyclop-eeze, and other marine plankton-based foods. For optimum health, it’s best to fee them several times a day in smaller portions.
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