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FAQs about Fancy Basses, Subfamily Anthiinae Behavior

Related Articles: Fancy Basses, The Sunburst or Fathead Anthias

Related FAQs: Anthiines 1Anthiines 2Anthiine Identification, Anthiine Systems, Anthiine Selection, Anthiine Compatibility, Anthiine Feeding, Anthiine Disease, Anthiine Reproduction,

"Why you, I ought to... jump outta this tank~!"

Odd queen Anthias behavior     8/16/14
Last week I picked up a school of 4 queen Anthias from a lfs 3 females and what appears to be an early transition male. They appear healthy and are eating Cyclopeeze like pigs but I've noticed some odd behavior. The transitioning male and 2 of the smaller females school all day as expected in quarantine but the fourth has absolutely no interest in the group.
<Happens>

I haven't seen any aggression but it seems to always be opposite side of the tank which seems odd especially compared to the others. Any idea why and is this something I should be concerned about?
<Nothing to worry about. Do keep an eye on all though; and I'd be  expediting through quarantine. Bob Fenner>

Lyretail Female gulping air, chasing bubbles 8/24/11
Hi WWM Crew,
<Laura/Dez>
Hope all is well with everyone there.
<Ah, yes. Thank you>
I have an 85 gallon very established reef tank with a tied in refugium.
My livestock are 1 Midas Blenny, 1 Male Bartlett Anthias, 1 Female Lyretail Anthias, and One Male Lyretail Anthias.
<Mmm, want to mention re the shoaling behavior by species of most Anthiines>
I also have 1 Candy Basslet and two Yellow Watchman Gobies. My tank parameters are: KH:9, Calcium: 440, Nitrates: 0, Phosphates: 0, Magnesium: 1400, Temp: 77/78 F.
About 2 weeks ago my Female Lyretail Anthias started hanging out in the upper right corner of the tank.
<See my above related comment>
She is continually chasing bubbles, gulping air from the surface, making her own bubbles, and chasing them like mad.
She appears to be eating well, and there is no aggression from any other fish towards her. She looks healthy - no torn fins, spots, signs of any outward disease. Her behavior is puzzling, to say the least and stressful to watch. I am not sure if she is distressed in any way or playing some bizarre game with herself and the bubbles.
<Is a "displacement behavior" set... taking the place of what this fish would other be doing (in the wild)... Circling about here and there w/ her own kind more or less>
Do you have any idea of what might be the issue here and what can possibly be done about it?
<More of the same species, or trading this one fish in...>
My other Anthias are fine and not exhibiting this behavior in the least.
Thanks in advance,
Laura Garmizo
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Re: Lyretail Female gulping air, chasing bubbles 8/24/11
Hi Bob,
<L/D>
Thank you for the reply.
<W.>
Given my tank parameters, current stocking, if I did "more of the same" in terms of adding more Anthias, how many more of each (Bartlett/Lyretail) would you suggest?
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anthiselfaqs.htm
I am either going to have to go this route or take the three Anthias I have out (two Lyretail - male and female, one male Bartlett)
and abandon the idea of Anthias and go with another species completely.
<I do agree w/ your plan/direction>
Curious to hear your thoughts.
<Do write back after reading if you/I are not clear, complete in them.
BobF>
Laura

Gender Change In Square-Spot Anthias I think I now have two males.   7/18/11
Good morning,
<And you Chris>
In the fall I bought two Square-Spot Anthias and put them in my 110 gallon FWLR at school where I teach. (I work year round so I see the tank every week day) One was clearly a male with a very predominant pink spot on the side. The other looked to be female (no spot). Every thing was fine both fish very active and eating well. Came in today and male was hiding in the rock and looked a little beat up, not "normal". The Female was swimming and eating well but had a defined pink spot showing on her side. It seems like the female is becoming male. I did not think Anthias would change sex unless there was no male in the system. I did not think you could keep two males. What should I do?
<Perhaps the "older" (more established) individual/male was/is showing signs of "weakness", the other, preliminarily female individual "moving up" to take its place. I would move the subdominant individual elsewhere>
Thanks for you help,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Chris

Male Square Back Anthias/Anthiine Behavior 7/11/11
<Hello Mike>
I have a 75 gallon aquarium that has been up and running for years Currently
i <I> have a blue hippo, a ocellaris clown, some a pygmy angel <some a?> and 2 damsels. I recently purchased a male and female Square Back Anthias <as> the last two additions to my tank. However, the male is in i would assume mid-transision <transition> so it was given to me cheaper. She/he right now is a orange color with darkening orange/ purple on the head with the square on the side appearing.
My question is does anyone know exactly how long it takes for a female to change to a male. Is it going to take days, weeks, months to finish?
<Many factors involved here so I could not give you a time frame in the event this would even occur. In the wild, Anthias form large harems with a pecking order that would be impossible to duplicate under aquarium conditions. Since you only have two, the sex change may or may not occur and you may also witness spats between the two.
If you want a colorful male, it's best just to buy one. Bob may comment here as well, and might I suggest reading here along with related articles/FAQs found in the header.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anthiina.htm
Thanks mike.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Purple Queen Anthias, sexual change/beh.     6/8/11
Hi crew Just a quick question for you today. About 11 months ago I got a pair of Purple Queen Anthias. The first did not eat anything and died the first week . The second started eating Cyclops and mysis straight away and is still with me today. I got two females because I thought one would turn into a male but the one that's left still looks very much like a female. Will she ever change? thanks for your time.
<One by itself may not change, or may not do so very "dramatically". The driving mechanism here is the presence of competing members of its own kind/species. Bob Fenner>

Question about odd male Lyretail Anthias behavior   4/12/11
Dear WWM Crew,
<David>
I have enjoyed and benefited enormously from reading your website and the books authored by some of your participants. Thank you for serving as a such a treasured asset to the hobby.
<Our pleasure>
I have a trio of Lyretail Anthias (Pseudanthias squamipinnis), received from Live Aquaria Diver's Den two months ago. They were in a 55 g hold tank (as a trio) for a 4-week quarantine period (kept at 79-81 deg F, with live rock and a scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp), which passed uneventfully except for a mild case of Ich), which affected the male but not the two females. The Ich lasted less than a week, and the male developed no more than ~8 tiny spots at any time; if it weren't for his frequent cleaner shrimp service calls I may not have noticed it.
After showing no signs of Ich for 2+ weeks, I moved them about one month ago to the display tank, a 225-gallon mixed reef. Water parameters are:
79-80 deg F; 1.025 sg; NH3/NO2/NO3 = 0; Ca = 420 ppm; KH = 9; Mg = ~1300 ppm; pH = 8.2-8.4; I = 0.06 ppm, SiOH4 (silicate) = 0; phosphate = ~0.05 ppm.
<Okay>
Infrastructure details include: 2 x EcoTech MP40 circulation pumps, a Reeflo Snapper Hybrid in high flow mode, a fourth pump (low flow) to return water from the sump (~40 gallons), wet-dry with bioballs in the sump, Tunze 9410 DOC protein skimmer that runs 24/7<x-apple-data-detectors://4>, 35-watt UV, and ozone set at an ORP of 325 mV (the tank typically is at equilibrium at 330-340 mV, so the ozone is off almost always). Chemical filtration and additive details: three large bags (500+ g each) of Black Diamond activated carbon (one in each overflow, one in the sump, to mitigate some of the allelopathic consequences of a mixed SPS+LPS+softie reef); 300 g of Purigen; 75 mL of A and B two-part Ca/CO3 additive per day; 1.5 mL pure ethanol per day (I'm in the process of slowly ramping up in an effort to minimize nuisance algae growth).
<With you thus far>
Inhabitants details: One M+F pair of ocellaris; one M+F pair of black ocellaris; one presumed M+F pair of Kaudern's (Banggai) Cardinalfish; one M+F pair of red-tailed flasher wrasse; one blue tang; one purple tilefish; one flashing tilefish; one M+F pair of red mandarins; one starry blenny; one midas blenny; one incredibly shy (but healthy) orchid Dottyback; one M+F pair of Yasha White Ray Shrimp Gobies with pistol shrimp. I have a M+F pair of flame angels in the holding tank now but they are so active that I'd like to wait until any outstanding display tank issues are resolved before adding them. I anticipate that the flames will be the last fish additions to the tank (if I do end up adding them... I'm still a bit nervous about my various coral, though I put one member of each type in the holding tank to run a taste-test experiment... yes, I realize their coral-munching habits can change over time!).
<I think you're likely to be fine w/ what you have, the size/volume...>
All the fish with the exception of the issue articulate below seem to be healthy and are eating well. They all get alone<g>, after a brief 2-day blenny war about a month ago, and there are currently no patterns of aggression known to me in the tank. Coral: mostly SPS (several Acropora, two Stylophora, one Pocillopora, one Montipora, one Pavona) and LPS (hammer, elegance, frogspawn, giant palm tree, giant Duncan, pagoda cup, Sympodium, Alveopora, Goniopora, pipe organ, and three Goniastrea), with a small number of softies (two modest-sized Zoa colonies, a few modest-sized mushrooms, and one Cespitularia) Also, I have two sizable rose bubble-tip anemones (I know based on reading your work that I should consider giving them to another home, but I hold out hope that the clowns might one day stop abusing my Goniopora and Alveopora and move to the RBTAs). The coral have generally been healthy, with the exception of damage caused a while ago by a Sinularia overwhelming the (at the time) single bag of carbon I had to remove allelopathic terpenes. That Sinularia has since been removed, and all corals have recovered except the pipe organ, which is well on its way to recovering (~half of the polyps now open daily).
Finally, the Anthias behavior issue! All three fish generally appear to be doing well-- they are alert, swimming all over the tank during daylight hours and even the first few evening hours, show no physical signs of parasites or other diseases... except that the male Anthias no longer eats the foods that I provide. The tank's feeding regiment is a mixture of frozen mysis, brine, 'Emerald Entree' (vegetarian + brine and mysis), and Omega One flakes with garlic, soaked in Selcon and Kent's Garlic Extreme two times a day. The male Anthias also prefers to swim with his head down, as if looking at the sand and rock below. I don't think it's a swim bladder issue since he can (and does) swim normally and at any depth-- seemingly at will-- but simply "prefers" to spend 75% of his swimming time gazing at the rocks and coral below!
<No worries; I'd simply add to the existing diet, actually supplanting it over time with the staple (a few mm size) Spectrum pellets...>
Neither of the two female Anthias exhibit these issues. Of course I could be anthropomorphizing excessively. As a potentially relevant note, I have seen the Anthias pick at the indigenous copepods on the tank walls.
However, since adding the pair of red mandarins to the tank, the copepod population has plummeted (I'm working on setting up a refugium to restore their numbers).
<Good>
When the male Anthias was in the holding tank and during his first month in the display tank, he was a somewhat more finicky eater than the two females, but was still eating reasonably well. He's never been a "man's man" type of male Anthias (there I go anthropomorphizing again)-- he's rarely shown ANY aggressiveness, and any glimmers of male-dominance behavior have steadily decreased over the past couple weeks. When the Anthias were first transferred to the display tank, the male exhibited lots of daily Anthias flashing in which he flares his fins, and flutters ostentatiously around the females. Recently, however, I noticed the dominant female (who used to be slightly smaller than him and is now slightly larger than him) chasing the male across the tank several times!
To be clear, the male isn't exactly cowering, and he spends probably 12 hours a day in the open water-- it's just that I find his behavioral trend towards being even less active to be somewhat worrisome, and perhaps indicative of a more serious problem brewing. He's also been slightly less interested in shoaling with the female Anthias (who are usually together), perhaps because he realizes that they are more manly than he is and is self-conscious :)
My simple questions are:
1) Should I be concerned about the male Anthias?
<Not overly so>
2) If so, what if anything should I do about the situation?
<Yes... change/add to the foods as mentioned>
I feel a bit silly spending so many words on what might be a non-issue, but I have always had a bad case of reef-tank-caretaker's disease, and when something doesn't feel right, I tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the issue.
Thank you for your time and wisdom. I've attached a picture of the three (beautiful!) Anthias when I purchased them; they currently look more or less like this, only 2 months older :)
Best,
David
<I have a long-standing friendship w/ the maker of NL Spectrum, but this does not affect my impression of this food. I have fed it exclusively (as has Pablo Tepoot) for several years. Some testimony/input re:
http://wetwebmedia.com/SpectrumFoodsF.htm
"It" really is... highly palatable, totally nutritious... Trust me here. Bob Fenner>
[Follow Up] Question about odd male Lyretail Anthias behavior    4/17/11

Dear Bob and Colleagues,
<David>
Here is a small series of updates following my last email (I especially enjoy reading follow-ups on your website, so here's my effort to contribute):
<Thank you>
- After trying an enormous variety of foods, the male Anthias is eating now. Even though he doesn't each <eat> the Spectrum foods, most of the rest of the critters enjoy the spectrum pellets and/or flakes, so I'm glad you made the suggestion. What ended up meeting his rather finicky food requirements was Arcti-pods (the large orangish refrigerated copepod variety from Reef Nutrition that unfortunately are rather expensive!). So at least he won't starve to death, I presume.
<Let's hope. Likely this fish will accept the NLS product in time>
- However... his errr lack of assertiveness and energy, coupled with the fact that his two ladies (female Anthias) are thriving, has caused the larger, dominant female to begin wearing the pants in the family.
<Does happen>
I saw her do the dramatic circular Anthias wiggle-dance last night, thought "uh-oh", and sure enough... she's turning into a male. She has an extended dorsal fin spike, and each of her fins has begun to darken in areas exactly corresponding to parts of the male anthias's fin that are darker red, including the red spot on the pectoral fins. Of course she continues to occasionally (maybe once per day) chase the male Anthias just to prove who's boss.
- Naturally, I am wondering if you foresee Anthias wars in the future. I'm inclined to be optimistic about this situation, despite the very odd likely stoichiometry (two male + one female Anthias in the same tank), because they grew up together and because the male has shown no desire to exhibit dominant or aggressive behavior-- quite the opposite. What do you think about the prospects for peace in the future (Anthias peace, that is)?
<Watch and learn/see... either the present male will become subdominant or perish>
- Likewise, is it possible for the male under the circumstances (no
aggressive behavior, willingness to be dominated by a female-in-transition) to revert back to female?
<Not as far as I'm aware, no>
I've read vague and mixed opinions about this possibility, and none specifically attributed to P. squamipinnis gender reversion.
- On another front, my darling red mandarin pair has unfortunately not had a great week. The smaller female, who I used to see many times each day, has gone missing for the past 70 hours. Given her constant hunting/foraging behavior in the past, I take this as a very bad sign.
I've checked the overflows, the sump, etc.-- no luck. The larger male is getting thinner, and after they chewed through my 225 mixed reef's copepod population I fear that he won't get enough to eat, sadly. I have set up a refugium with six bottles of various copepods, but it will take some time before they reach a population density that will be able to dump a significant quantity pods into the display. It's ironic that I've spent $400+ struggling to keep a ~$30 fish alive, but that's the nature of this hobby :)
<Yes>
- Perhaps related to the female mandarin's disappearance, I noticed a very odd nitRITE spike at about the same time she went missing (up from 0 to 0.25 ppm), which was both very clear, very reproducible, and not an artifact of the testing kit (I ran several controls with other tanks and fresh SW). The spike was mostly gone within 24 hours, but its origin was, and still is, a mystery.
<Perhaps this fish did die, decompose>
I spent a while searching the reef for cadavers, bones, etc. with no success, though of course I can see only ~60% of the rock area and a lower percentage of the volume within the rock.
As always, any advice you might provide would be much appreciated. Thank you for your time!
Best,
David
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Re: [Follow Up] Question about odd male Lyretail Anthias behavior.  6/4/2011

(and new questions!)
Dear Bob and Colleagues,
>David<
A few updates, and a couple questions:
Remarkably, the odd couple Anthias (two males and a female; see below) are living together harmoniously in our 225-gallon mixed reef, after a brief touch-and-go period in which the newly transformed male was very aggressive to the original male (we call him the "fabulous male"...). Perhaps more remarkably, the original male is showing signs of reversion to a female, both behaviorally and physiologically (much more orange and less red than the new male, body size similar to or even smaller than the remaining female, purple eye rim and purple streak below the eye have returned).
I've taken pictures throughout the process in case this putative gender reversion may be not previously documented among P. squamipinnis before, and if you are interested I'll organize them and send them to WWM.
<This is a known quality. I.e., Anthiines are capable of sexual reversal>
The male mandarin (the female never re-emerged and is presumed deceased) has fattened up nicely, and the tank's pod and pod-like populations have reestablished themselves.
On to the questions...
I'm aware of the dangers of allelopathy and indeed I've witnessed firsthand a Sinularia damage half of my reef before I identified the culprit and removed it. On the bright side, it was a real wake up call to research, research, research before buying anything (I realize I'm preaching to the preacher on this point).
<To some extent>
My first questions relate to a large-ish (~7" long skeleton), and beloved, frogspawn that is occupying precious real estate in the tank. The DMZ around the frogspawn is large enough that even when fully expanded, it does not touch any other corals. I've read about Euphyllia sweeper tentacles but I confess that among the torch, frogspawn, and hammer in the tank now, I've yet to see any sweepers that are much longer than their normal tentacles. (In contrast, I've seen Goniopora, trumpet, and Goniastrea sweepers quite regularly).
Questions:
1) Do frogspawn, torch, and hammer coral sweeper tentacles look any different than their regular tentacles, only longer?
<Look like consistently thin, translucent flexible from the origin...>
The trumpet and Goniastrea sweepers, for example, are glass-like, thin, and, well... mean looking :) Are these three Euphyllia corals' sweepers simply longer versions of their normal tentacles?
<Longer>
2) Do these three Euphyllia release significant allelopathic compounds?
<Can; yes>
Or does their legendary aggressiveness really only derive from physically touching other corals?
<Mostly, yes>
I have a giant palm tree coral (Clavularia sp.) parked immediately downstream of the frogspawn that appears to be in perfect health. However, a wild-caught Acropora also placed close and downstream of the frogspawn (but far enough away to avoid physical contact) did not survive. It could be of course that this Acropora specimen simply did not do well in captivity, as some wild-caught specimens tend to do, but I've wondered if the frogspawn might have released some terpenes or other natural products that could have contributed to the Acro's demise.
<Might have>
Thank you once again!
Best,
David
<BobF>

Male to Female? (Lyretail Anthias Sex Change/Reversal) -- 01/28/10
Hello crew!
<<Hiya Dre'!>>
I have a bit of an issue with a new Lyretail Anthias I purchased.
<<Ah'¦an excellent aquarium species of Anthiine'¦given a tank big enough for this large aggressive species (more than 100g)>>
I had a male already in my display tank and recently ordered three female Anthias.
<<A good move'¦ Though one of the more aggressive Anthiines re conspecifics, this fish still does better in a group. Again, given a large enough setting>>
While the three were in the quarantine tank I noticed that one of the "females" had a long dorsal fin, just like the male in my display tank!
<<Mmm, yes'¦the dominant female starting to 'make the change'>>
There are no other changes evident on the fish. She/he is larger than the other two females but about the same size as my male in the display tank.
<<It has been my experience that Lyretail Anthias male, that 'came to be' in captivity, show much less dimorphism from females than a wild caught male. Particularly re the dark red spots/markings on the pectoral fins and cheeks. What I'm getting at here is the larger fish with the elongated fin may not show any other differences from the females'¦though I would expect at least some overall darkening of color>>
So my question is if I put her in the display tank with the male, will she revert back to a female or challenge the male for dominance?
<<The male already in the display is likely to be the 'dominant' specimen here, regardless. If the dominant female is not 'too far' along in the change then this male should be able to suppress the process>>
My display tank is 180 gallons. Other fish include 1 Sail fin tang, 1 Powder blue tang, 1 Fox face rabbit-fish, 6 blue green reef Chromis, 1 citrine clown goby, 1 six-line wrasse and 1 dotty back.
Thanks so much for any advice on this matter.
Dre'
<<Really all you can do is give it a try'¦and the sooner the better. There will be some 'jostling' for dominance for sure'¦just keep an eye on things and be ready to take action if it escalates to the point of real physical harm. The addition of a couple more females to the mix would also help here, in my opinion. Cheers'¦ EricR>>

Bump on Anthias?   11/3/09
Hi... I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving.
<Yeah. MikeK/Moist was kind to drive me on out to his family... Had a very nice time>
Do you know what this "spur" is for? ...on its "nose?" Is it a mating thing? feeding?
Thanks,
Sara
<I don't know... and have wondered re as well. Is it as pronounced on initial state (female) individuals? Anthiine fishes are protogynous synchronous hermaphrodites. Got me. Cheers, BobF>

Anthias (err Pseudanthias!) Sex Change'¦ Pseudanthias bartlettorum -- 09/30/09
Good evening!
<<Morning here'¦howdy!>>
I understand that the dominant female Anthias in a group will become the male.
<<In the absence of an existing male, yes>>
However, if I were to purchase a single male Bartlett's Anthias, is there a chance it would revert to being a female if it lived sans harem?
<<Not likely, no'¦ I have seen females in transition revert back when exposed to a male/more dominant female'¦but can't say I've seen or heard of a full blown male reverting in the absence of others of its own kind. Speaking of which'¦ While there are some Anthiine species that can be kept as a single male specimen (e.g. - Pseudanthias pleurotaenia, Serranocirrhitus latus), most all benefit from the presence of others of their own kind. I think this is especially so with Pseudanthias bartlettorum'¦in fact, I would consider it a requirement for the successful long term keeping of this fish>>
My tank is only 75gallons in size which I don't believe is enough for even the smallest shoal, but I love these fish dearly and want to learn more of their husbandry and behaviour.
<<Ah but that is the nice thing about the Bartlett's Anthias. This fish is an excellent aquarium choice among the family'¦and given proper consideration to stocking of other fishes, a group of about 5 of these small fish would do fine in a 75g tank>>
Also, will the solitary male's colour fade without females around?
<<More than color will be affected re'¦health and vigor too. I do not recommend the keeping of a solitary specimen of this species>>
Or with intense lighting? I've read that Bartlett's aren't naturally found as deep as many other species.
<<In my, experience lighting intensity has not been a factor with P. bartlettorum>>
Thanks for your time and help!
A.S.
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>

Strange Anthias Behavior -- 02/03/09 Hello, <<Hi Stephanie>> Thanks for taking the time to read this. <<No problem>> I have a 40-gallon marine aquarium with about 20 pounds of live rock mixed with some base rock (I know I need more live rock, <<Maybe'¦maybe not'¦ If the bio-filtration seems adequate, leave the space for animals to swim and grow>> but it's getting trickier to find in my area) <<'¦?>> and a deep bed of live sand. <<Ah, excellent>> For filtration, I just have a HOB Aqua Clear filter rated for a 55-gallon. I also have a couple of powerheads and plan on getting a protein skimmer before I add any corals <<Good move'¦and I would have done so before now even. Do have a look at the excellent offerings from AquaC, for this size system>> (right now it's a FOWLR set-up, but I'd like to make it a reef eventually). I have a refugium that's full of macroalgae and it keeps the tank stocked with lots of copepods. <<Among other benefits re maintaining water quality. It's sounding more and more like you 'don't need' to add more live rock to this system>> I do a 10% water change every week and my water parameters are fine (Ammonia: 0, Nitrites: 0, Nitrates: 5ppm, pH: 8.3, Temperature: 80 degrees). The tank has only been set up for a couple of months but everything is going great. I have a small cleaning crew of turbo snails and hermit crabs, plus a Lemonpeel Angelfish and a male Lyretail Anthias. <<Mmm'¦ Both these fishes would be/do better in a tank at least twice the size of the 40g>> I know that Anthias can be tricky to keep, <<And compounded by shoehorning them in to a 'too small' system. Pseudanthias squamipinnis is an excellent aquarium species but it is also a large Anthiine (to more than 6'), and is a haremic species better kept as a male and several females'¦something not recommended in your 40g tank>> but mine seems to be doing well <<For now'¦>> (eating, good body shape, active, etc.) besides some odd behavior. For the past week, he's started randomly banging his mouth against the front glass and wiggling (it looks almost like a weird dance). There tend to be copepods on the glass, so I'm not sure if he's just eating them. Is this some sort of territorial/breeding display? <<Indeed'¦ These fish will 'lock jaws' with an opponent and engage in a sort of tug-of-war. It sounds like your fish is seeing his reflection in the glass and is trying to defend its territory (or maybe just bored). The behavior may also be a manifestation of being 'alone' with no females to attend to>>. I'm worried that he'll hurt himself. <<A possibility I suppose'¦ Getting this fish in to a larger tank with some female conspecifics should help>> Thank you! Stephanie <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Unsure if Square Back Anthias is eating - Out and about, very active, especially when I feed; but no eat   2/3/09 Hello, <Hi there Shane> Recently I added a healthy looking a Square Back Anthias to my 80 gallon tank. <Mmm, this, and most all other Anthiine species, is a social animal... really needs members of its own kind present (in a haremic proportion) to do well> Before purchase it was demonstrated it was eating (Formula two). The first 3 days the fish was very shy, but would come out if the room was calm and I turned the current in the tank down. The fish does not ever seem to eat. I've tried Cyclop-Eeze, Formula one & two, and frozen mysis. <Best to proffer live foods, no better means here than a tied-in refugium> The fish becomes excited during feeding time, and moves vigorously about the tank, but never snapping up anything. Occasionally it will suck a small amount of Cyclop-Eeze off the surface, but it is so little it could hardly be enough to keep it alive. It completely ignores pellets and mysis, and acts as if it cannot see the Cyclop-Eeze floating about. The fish is amazingly active (swimming in large rings around the tank & rocks like its trying to catch up to another invisible fish) when the currents are low, and the room is calm. Could it be feeding off of plankton and floating Cyclop-Eeze without really opening its mouth more then the steady 'slack jaw' open it regularly does? <Maybe to some extent> There are no signs of starvation visible. <Ah, good... perhaps it is getting sufficient other where's> Also, I have a problem with excessive plankton, and am a battling glass anemone infestation (very annoying). <Do see WWM re the last... perhaps the new fab Red Sea product: "Aiptasia X"> Thanks for your time! Tank: 80 gal Ammonia=0.0 Nitrite=0.0 Nitrate=0.0 Phosphate=0.1 PH=8.4 Specific Gravity=1.0235 5 Gal sump, refugium region Skimmer, 1 x Phoslock, 1 x Chemi-Pure 1 x 175 Watt Metal Halide @ 8 hours/day 2 x 25 Watt VHO Antic @ 12 hours/day -- Shane W. Scott <If, as you state, this fish appears "full", I would not be concerned... Do look into getting a female, perhaps two if they're small... Bob Fenner>

Re: Unsure if Square Back Anthias is eating - Out and about, very active, especially when I feed; but no eat   2/3/09 Bob: <Shane> I'll keep an eye on the fish for the next few days and take appropriate action if it begins to show any signs of starvation. In the mean time, I will offer a variety of live foods as you suggest to try to coax it to eat something in front of me. <Good... this and other more-adult Anthiines do take a while to become established feeders> I do have one more question about a peculiar trait I've seen in this fish. As I said before, the fish is becoming more and more active. At times, its almost racing through the tank needlessly. I've found that after the fish does laps for two minutes or so, it'll sort of 'rest' on or very near rock edges mid-tank. Its almost as if it "sits" to rest. Interestingly, the fish only rests in areas that have powerful current, and therefore lots of particle/plankton flow. Besides the fact the fish is essentially parked on a rock, it looks great. Should you get too close to the tank or make a quick gesture, it'll jump up and zip around the tank more. Even if you don't provoke the fish to get off the rocks, it will go through its race/rest cycle as long as the lights are on. As I mentioned before the fish is healthy looking, breathing at a normal rate, shows no signs of stress, sickness or starvation. Just acts strange. <Actually... not "odd" behavior... A constrained version of what they do in the wild... but not enough room to "zoom" about in the confines of captivity> A goggle of this hasn't yielded results. Any idea if this is normal? <Yes... it is indeed. I do wish I had more skill, time to make MPEGs or such of video I've shot of Pseudanthias pleurotaenia, esp. in the Ribbon Reef area outside Cairns... the males do this "dance" bit on a regular basis... For the benefit of other males? I.e. to signal their territory? Keep others away? Maintain their harems?> Thanks again Bob! <Welcome. BobF>

Mixing anthias to reduce male aggression? 1/31/09 Dear Crew, <Carolyn> Is it possible for a male of one type of anthias to form a harem with females or another? My reason for asking is that when I lost my male carberryi anthias not 1 but 2 of the females changed sex to become males. <Happens at times> As a result, the lone female tends to be protected (and possibly harassed) by the dominant male while the subordinate male remains at a safe distance. <Hopefully there's room...> Would you recommend leaving the situation as it is (they're in a peaceful 135 US gallon system with a 30 US gallon sump, other inhabitants are: Randall's shrimp goby/shrimp pair, pair of false percula clowns, mandarin, female Lamarck's angel, female flame angel, 5 yellow tail blue damsels)? The alternatives would be to see if I can get hold of some female carberryi anthias (risking a similar situation re-occurring), or to add some female Lyretail anthias in the hope that they would accept the male carberryi as their alpha male. <Mmm, would be better to trade out one of the present males, for a small female...> Not sure what to do for the best - don't like to see the lone male looking so lonely without some females of his own! <Try the local fish stores, clubs, even Craig's list to see if someone needs a male...> Many many thanks for taking the time to read this, I've found similar questions on WWM, but none that answered mine... Carolyn <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Squamipinnis Anthias Transformation? � 12/05/08 Hey Bob, <<EricR here>> I purchased 3 female squami anthias about 2 inches big 5-6 months ago for my 150 gal sps tank. <<A fabulous Anthiine species for aquarium use if given a large enough system, which you have>> Recently, I have noticed one of them to become more dominant about 2.5-3 inches. <<Normal>> Its� colors appear to be darkening; its aggression has increased towards the other anthias at times...its top head fin/streamer has grown longer. <<Ah yes>> Am I witnessing a female to male transformation here? <<Indeed you are my friend>> That would be very awesome if this is the case. <<Is fun to watch for sure>> I know clowns are all about sex transformation as well as a few other species. If I recall correctly from years of fish knowledge, I am not 100% positive of anthias performing sex change as well...? << Yes they do'¦ These fish are protogynous hermaphrodites (as are many species of fishes from the family Serranidae), meaning they start life as females but have the ability to change sex to male when circumstance warrants (as in your case where no male is present) to ensure continuation of the species. Unfortunately it has been my experience that with this species that transformed captive males are never quite as striking in their markings and coloring as wild caught males. But they are magnificent nonetheless>> Thanks for your input, Matthew <<Happy to share'¦ Enjoy the spectacle unfolding before your eyes. Eric Russell>>

Re: Squamipinnis Anthias Transformation? - 12/06/08 Ah thanks for your response. <<Quite welcome>> I just read last night in Reef Fishes Vol. 1 by Scott Michael about anthias and saw a few pictures of transforming Lyretails. Pretty amazing stuff... <<Agreed>> I have another client whose tank I started off with 2 tank raised black Perculas same size, and now one is currently significantly larger than the other. Larger in this case would be the transformed female clown... <<Indeed>> For anthias it's vice versa I suppose size wise. <<Yes'¦ In my experience with several species of Anthiines the mature males are generally at least as large as mature females, and often times a bit larger>> I think my transforming anthias has been going through this change starting from 2 weeks or so and still looks like a female mostly from the outside appearance, only an expert like me could pick up these early signs of a transformation/behavior, color fade etc... <<I see>> This will definitely be the first experience for me on anthias, very cool. What should I expect to see in the next few weeks or months? <<Increased aggression towards conspecifics, lengthening of the first dorsal-spine, increase in red coloration and intensity of markings'¦>> Will it lose the female coloration more so or do they stay relatively similar to the female look as you say wild ones are more spectacularly colored as are wild clowns too? Will it turn darker red at all? <<The base color will stay the same but the male P. squamipinnis should display more red coloration than the females, as well as more striking markings along the cheeks>> Thanks, Matthew <<Happy to share. EricR>>  

R2: Squamipinnis Anthias Transformation? - 12/06/08 I guess what I meant to ask is, what were your end results with the male Lyretail transformation color wise? <<Pretty much as just outlined in the previous query re. The primary differences I've seen between those males transformed in captivity, and those brought in from the wild, is the captive males displayed a bit less red coloration/intensity to varying degrees, and none of the captive transformed males I've seen have ever developed the bright red spot on each pectoral fin evidenced by wild caught specimens. These differences in color and markings can probably be put down to the differences/changes in environment and diet, and maybe even to the absence of other competing males in the aquarium (the latter being of necessity in most hobbyist-size systems). Regards, EricR>> 

R3: Squamipinnis Anthias Transformation? - 12/07/08 I'm betting it has to do more with the absence of other males in the aquarium like you say. <<Perhaps>> Since there are only 3 of them total, it makes sense that colors could only change more drastically in the wild with numbers in the thousands over a reef where hierarchy can get much more sophisticated. <<Agreed'¦ Life in the wild would likely have some differing signals/cues to effect such development>> Other males displaying more color/dominance over other males...makes sense. <<Sounds like a good hypothesis to me>> Perhaps there would be greater chance of stronger color morphs in larger public aquarium displays with multi 1000 gallon systems with many more anthias. <<Likely so>> Also a natural diet too, natural sunlight on the reef....makes better color. Nature always does it better. <<Indeed>> Any ideas how long it will take for the transformation to be completed...weeks, months? <<This has been quite variable in my experience. The duration of the transformation is probably driven by the perceived need (cues) present, the physical environment, and the individuality of the fish. Most often with this species I've seen these transformations occur over the course of several weeks (3-5) once they begin, but I can think of at least one occasion where this took much longer, and I have seen other species/genera where the transformation never happens or never completes at all. Or at least was not so outwardly apparent'¦>> Thanks for your commentary. -Matthew <<Thanks for the opportunity to expound. Cheers, Eric Russell>>

Anthius question 4/29/08 I have been reading your site and all the information on Anthius.... and there is a lot. <Don't know how much you've read, taken in... you're misspelling the genus name...> My questions is <Change in number here...> that I have a backwards set up as far as my anthius go. I have 3 males and 1 female. The three males are - 1 Lyretail and 2 squares, 1 female Lyretail. All are in a 120 gallon and they all school together most of the time except for the Lyretail male who likes his alone time in his cave every so often. I have never had any aggression problems between any of them or the with any of the other fish. They all eat very well ( to <Too...> well!) and they stay out front in the open water most of the time. Is this an oddity? <Mmm, no> Do you know anyone else with this type of set up? I would hate to come home one day and see that their harmony has been disturb. <Change in tense> Another odd thing they do that I haven't been able to find is the males rub each other and sometimes "float" next to each other side by side, so close they are touching. Then they all swim off together again.  Only thing I can think of is, Have they set up a pecking order in my tank? <I would guess so> The Lyretail is 3 1/3 inches, one square is about 4 1/2 and the other is about 5 1/2. None seem to be Alfa male <Like the car?> though. I would like to hear your thoughts on all of this, the reef club I belong to cant figure this one out so I thought maybe you guys might have some thoughts on it. <Captive behavior... is more flexible... Bob Fenner>

Question about Lyretail Anthias... Anthiine beh.  -02/25/08 God morning, I sent this last week and have not received a response so thought I would send it again. I hope I am not pestering anyone. Thank you. <Don't recall seeing> >> Good morning, >> I really appreciate your prompt and positive response. I do have one question, though, about the 24 hours of light--my understanding was that when you introduced new fish, you should turn the lights off for several hours so that they could avoid harassment, so this is new to me. Is this so that they have a longer time to get to know one another? <Depending on circumstances and the species involved better to leave on OR to have off... to "keep asleep" or allow all to see each other...> >> Also, I have read a great deal about Anthias on your site and haven't encountered this information. I have one male and 4 female Lyretail Anthias (Pseudanthias bartlettorum) and have had them for about 2 years in the 150 gallon reef tank. Recently the largest female has changed completely into a male. The (original) male, who is quite bossy, seems to be tolerating it, in the sense that he doesn't chase her more than the others--actually, not at all, now that she has changed. I realize this would normally happen if I lost the male, but he seems quite fit, and is larger than the females. Do I need to worry that at some point soon he will target the new male? <Not to worry, or at least be overly concerned here... This is a "normal", natural behavior... a matter of flux, resource partitioning/competition...> Should I get a couple of new females, to balance things out? <I would not> Will I have to get rid of one of them? I don't think the tank is big enough for two males. <Evidently... it is large enough for one "real" one and one-becoming... RMF> >> Thanks again, and sorry about the extra questions.

Anthias with black tips on fins, beh.   12/16/07 Hello, I noticed within the past few days that one of my Lyretail Anthias' bottom fins have a blackness on the very tips. I thought it may be the beginning of fin & tail rot, but the fins are not tattered at all; Also he is behaving quite normally, being very active as usual. Any ideas of what it is and what I should do? <Highly likely nothing... What species is this? Can you send along an image, pic?> Tank is 90 gallons, 75lbs of live rock, live sand, hermit crabs & various snails. Two Lyretail Anthias. (No other fish. The tank is only 3 months old). Skimmer. I feed the Anthias Mysis shrimp (frozen), Sweetwater zooplankton, Cyclopeeze, and sometimes they actually eat omega flakes with garlic. <Is this Pseudanthias squamipinnis? Might be that one is "turning" into a male... or more male... BTW, this and most other species of the subfamily (Anthiinae) are better kept in small odd numbered shoals in such small volumes as yours. Bob Fenner>

Re: Anthias with black tips on fins Thanks for the quick reply, Bob. Yes, the fish is a Squamipinnis and I am fairly certain that the other one, which is orange, is the same species but female. The orange Anthias was labeled as a Dispar at the LFS. Maybe you can confirm it for me from the pics. <Mmm, definitely not a Dispar... looks to me to be a sub-adult male of the same species... Squamipinnis... note the colored dot on the pectorals, the overall salmon coloring... Has progressed beyond being a female... Likely a factor here in the more darkened fin margins of its conspecific here> I do realize after much reading on this site that a pair of Anthias may not have been ideal, but these two seem to get along quite well, swimming together and such. Every so often the male will chase and try to nip at the female, <Actually... the more male and less male...> but the female just jets out of the way unbothered and sometimes even nips back. I also forgot to mention that there was a bruise on the male (same one with the black tips) and thought maybe it could be related. The bruise seems to be healing though; As of today it is almost gone. <Enjoy them! If introducing other individuals... get smaller, definitely unsexually differentiated or female individuals. See Fishbase.org, WWM... for pix. Bob Fenner>

Leather Coral'¦ Closed / Male Scalefin Anthias'¦ Capturing 10/17/07 Hi there, <Hi K, Mich here.> Firstly I'd like to say this site is great and thank you in advance for your assistance. <Well, glad you like it and welcome!> Problem 1: I purchased a leather coral 3 days ago on a lump of live rock roughly 1kg in weight with over half a dozen small hitchhikers growing on it. The small anemones <Yikes! Is it Aiptasia? Does it look like anything on this page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aiptasidfaq2.htm and a few small corals attracted me more than the leather coral itself which is about the size of a fist. This is revealing to be a foolish mistake on my behalf. <Uh-oh!> The hitchhikers are doing well and are always open and look healthy <If it's Aiptasia, I'm not surprised.> but the leather coral itself hasn't opened up since I introduced it into the tank except once but very slightly. <Sometimes takes time.> Now that I think about it, it was closed in the display tank before I purchased it which concerns me, <Mmm, me too!> as it was in a leather coral only tank with most of the others open barring a few. About a dozen to be precise. I have placed the live rock about half way in the tank with medium water flow directed onto it. <Sounds OK.> My local aquatic store have advised me that 'it will wake up in a few days' <It can.> but I needed reassurance and decided to seek your expertise. I don't know whether it's ok or dying. <Mmm, doesn't sound sick or dying, just unhappy for now.> Please help as I do not want to lose this coral before I have experienced its beautiful splendour. <I'd give it a little time, change your carbon and perhaps do a water change. Sarcophyton corals can be quite chemically toxic to other corals and there may be other corals in your tank that are chemical producers as well. The carbon or PolyFilter will help reduce allelopathic potential.> Problem 2: In an impulse buy (I seem to do this a lot) <Not good. Is always best to research any prospective purchase.> I bought a female Scalefin anthias around 4 months ago. I found it to be quite shy but very peaceful and pretty so I thought I'd get another one a week or so later. (I wasn't aware at this time that this species is sequential hermaphrodites) To my luck it was slightly bigger than the first. You can see where I'm going with this. <Uh-huh.> Pretty much as soon as I introduced it into the tank it started chasing the other one around. Within a month it turned into a male and became aggressive towards my clown fish too. Recently it has made a game of nipping at my cleaner shrimp when feeding in an attempt to drive them away! <Yikes!> The transformation process was interesting but definitely not worth the bother. I know that by adding more females I could calm him down but I don't want to have to do that. I am tired of this pest but despite my best efforts I haven't been able to catch the little troublemaker to take him back to the local aquatic store as he is fast and loves to hide in burrows which my blue cheek goby dug under rocks before it died. <Uh-oh!> Whatever it takes I want it out of there before it causes some irreversible damage and I don't mind taking the female back if it means the male will go. I've been told it wouldn't go into a trap and taking down 20kg of stacked live rock and risking damage to other inhabitants is my only option! Which I'm not too keen on doing for obvious reasons. Is this really my only option? <There are other options... You will want to do some further searches on the Internet and perhaps check on some bulletin board sites... One option that I have heard used with success is feeding the fish in the corner for several days and then taking a length on acrylic, placing it in the tank while feeding and trapping the in this corner.> Tank specs: 260ltr (68 gallons) Juwel tank, 2 Tetra Tec 700 filters, Vectron 2 uv filter, v2 Skim Protein Skimmer, factory standard heater (does the job), factory standard pump for water flow (not so great) and an additional power head with 850 gph flow rate, 2 marine white light bulbs (I was told these were adequate for soft corals), <I would do more research here, this doesn't sound like sufficient light to me and may contributing to your Sarcophytons' displeasure.> air block, and 20kg live rock with live sand. <Your system would likely benefit from some additional LR.> The systems been running for 6 months. <A young system.> Tank inhabitants: Yellow tang, blue tang, <Too small a system for either of these fish, let alone both of these fish!> 2 Ocellaris clowns, female Scalefin anthias, male Scalefin anthias, 3 cleaner shrimps, <Better in even numbers.> 12 turbo snails (started off with 6, in 6 months they have doubled!), red sea pulse coral, <Xenia?> pink pussy coral, <No idea what this might be and Googling it isn't exactly helpful.> leather coral, Japanese pagoda tube worm. <?> Please find pictures attached. <Mmm, no pics were included.> Thanks again, <Welcome!> regards K <Cheers, Mich>

Lyretail Anthias Behavior...Why Are My Females Changing To Males? -- 08/02/07 You guys rock:-) <<Why...thank you>> Here's my question. I have a male and 3 female Lyretails, they been doing great for over a year :-) now. One female is changing (to me it looks like a different species but I've been wrong before hehe) and chasing the old male into hiding :-( . <<Mmm, strange that the dominant female would change/oust the existing dominant male...perhaps the latter has become injured/sick/too old to exert his dominance>> Now if this female is a female Lyretail turning to a male would it be best to pull out the old male or the aggressive female? <<I'm figuring the 'change' is occurring for a reason...if you are concerned for the 'old' male's welfare then this is the fish I would remove>> Do they do this regularly? <<Not as you have described... Not in my experience...>> Meaning after a year or so if I pull out the old male will this new male will be chased by a soon to be new female that changing a year or so down the road? <<This is not typical behavior>> And is it normal to have group and always having to replace with females over the years due to male changing? <<Not normal in home aquaria, no... As long as the dominant male stays healthy, the tank is of a size that multiple territories are not established (usually requires 'at least' several hundred gallons), and the harem is not too large to manage, then I would expect the dominant male to be able to suppress the females from 'becoming' males>> Thanks for any input you have. <<Happy to assist>> Love ya all, Keith :-) <<Mmm...but we've only just met (grin). EricR>>

Fairy Basslet in hiding  7/8/07 Hello WWM! Long time reader, First time poster <Welcome. We are strangers but once> I have had 2 Bartlett's Anthias for 3 yrs now. The male appears in poor health. <Mmmm... like most Anthiines, better to have in a larger number grouping... but this/these may well be reaching senescence... old age> I have a 120 reef system with sump, skimmer, good flow produced by close loop with sequencing unit and chiller. I do bi monthly 20% water changes. Tankmates include a Majestic Angel, <Mmm, this species needs more room than this... by about a minimum of twice> 2 Ocellaris, 3 Chromis, 2 Banggai Cardinals. I feed 2x a day every other day a mix of Mysis, Formula 2 frozen and Cyclop-eeze. (small amounts, slowly....a 6 yr. routine) I also add locally cultivated reef stew to my tank once a month.... yummy treats! My problem is this, for the past 3 days the male Anthias has been hiding in rock crevices around the bottom of my tank. <Perhaps age... maybe something to do with the other fish/es...> The first day, he came out to eat. Yesterday he did not come out during feeding time; however, he did move about, but ate nothing ( I fed out of schedule to entice him out ). Today, he is MIA. I assume he is in the back rockwork not visible to me. <Maybe> I did notice that his color became more intense during this time. The pink hue almost a hot pink. I thought that perhaps his breathing was labored as well. I did look closely at him and noticed NO evidence of injury or outward sign of bacterial infection. I was hoping you would be able to shed some light on my experience. Thank you for your dedication. Kim <Mmm, if there were room psycho- and physio-logically in this system, I'd suggest adding three or five more females of the species... As it is... just waiting. Bob Fenner> Re: Fairy Basslet in hiding -- 07/08/07 Thank you for your reply Bob, <Welcome Kim> The male Anthias has indeed found hiding in the back of the tank. I shooed him to a crevice in the front of my tank. If/when he dies, I would like to easily remove whatever portions my Jumbo Nassarius snails do not devour. <Okay> As he was swimming to the front, he wasn't really swimming, he was more like shimmying with his tail down and snout up. He is still fat as ever and his color is extremely intense, I would say at least 2x or even more....it's almost as if he's running a high fever 0_o <Good desc.> Regarding possible harassment between tank mates. I have a peaceful community for the time being. <Ah, good> I have often thought about trading to my LFS the well mannered (reef tank) Majestic that I have had for 5 yrs. (small for his maturity... maybe 6" in length), <This is likely "it" size-wise here... Has been "bonsaied" by the size et al. restraints of this system> I just don't know if he'll be placed in a better environment and this bothers me. I have arranged my tank in such a way as to provide the most possible lateral swimming area. I have taken much grief on forums for my approach as I use less LR than is popular today. I have 110lbs in my 120 AGA and 20 gal sump. <I see> Using island and arches to provide the hiding spaces needed; I like to keep my rock completely surrounded with brisk current keeping pores from clogging quickly, not to mention more surface area for the biological filtration process to take place. <Well stated; and done> Apologies for my long windedness.( I could have gone on and on :) ) Thank you for your time. Kim <And you for sharing. Bob Fenner> Gender Change In Square-Spot Anthias - 02/23/07 Hello there, <<Howdy>> Love your website. <<Thank you>> It's proving as addictive as marine aquarium keeping (seeing that I am writing this at 1:30 pm. after reading today's FAQ's). <<Indeed>> I purchased a mature 90-gallon system six months ago and thus far, all is going well. <<Cool>> I am thoroughly enjoying this wonderful new hobby, and recently read The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, which I thought was great. <<Excellent>> I've looked through the information you have provided on the square <<spot>> Anthias (Pseudanthias pleurotaenia), but still have a question. <<A very neat fish>> I know that in a group of females, one will eventually become male, but is the reverse true? <<Not once the transformation is completed/final...in my experience>> My LFS sold me a pair of males (both have square blocks on their side), saying that one would eventually become male. <<I think you meant to say "female?">> Have I been misinformed? <<In my opinion...yes>> It's been four months now and one continues to show dominance behavior (charging, not nipping) toward the other, although at times they seem quite comfortable together. <<An illusion>> There have been no noticeable physical changes in the smaller, non-dominant one (or the larger one either).  Both appear healthy, eat well, and have grown since I purchased them. <<My experiences in this area have been the subordinate male will eventually just "disappear" (die) from the stresses put upon it by the dominant male...even in a very large system>> Thanks for any advice you can offer. <<Wish it were more "upbeat">> Susan <<Regards, EricR>> Re: Gender Change In Square-Spot Anthias - 02/24/07 Thanks for your prompt reply and good advice. <<Quite welcome>> I will talk to my LFS, he's a reasonable man and I'm sure will be willing to take one of them back. <<Sounds great.  EricR>> Susan Anthiine Behavior/Dichromatism - 12/04/06 Hello, <<Howdy>> Once again I really appreciate all that you guys <<and gals>> do for us by imparting your knowledge so willingly. <<Happy to share>> I just had a question about Pseudanthias bimaculatus.  I have a 135 gallon (6 feet) FOWLR whose current inhabitants are a powder blue tang, sailfin tang, a Threespot (flagfin) angelfish, a percula clown, three green Chromis and a diamond goby.  In the earlier stages of the tank I attempted to keep a harem of Lyretail Anthias with great success until the most dominant female turned into a male (I started with four females), and then the group started to widdle down until only the male was left who was then gotten rid of. <<Hmm, I have kept several species of Anthiinae and to date have found the Lyretail to be the "better" aquarium species...I currently have a small group (5) with a very dominant and colorful male.  Aside from lots of flashing and "herding" of the females (a natural behavior), these fish have not suffered any harm and have grown/done very well for more than a year...albeit in a system more than twice the size of yours>> Every time I go into this LFS who I really trust and is really trusted among other aquarists in the surrounding area (surprisingly hard to find one of these...especially in New England) who have kept a group of four Pseudanthias bimaculatus in their, I believe it is 90 gallon, reef display for over a year and all are doing great. <<Ok>> But the funny thing is that none of the four seem to have completely changed into a male, or to the extent that I have seen in photographs of the species, they all still seem to have a female coloration. <<Hmm, strange indeed that one would not have asserted dominance/changed to male by this time...unless they were all "very" young to start and the "change" is just around the corner...or perhaps something else in the tank is suppressing these fish>> So I was wondering which arrangement you felt was the best; a group, pair, or single male for this species and size tank? <<Some species are better suited to "grouping" under aquarium conditions than others, and none are a sure thing as you discovered with the Lyretails, but I would be inclined to attempt a group of 3-4 of these beauties>> I also had a question about water flow, the LFS's display has several SPS in it, and do you feel that a high water flow could potentially limit aggression given the conditions that these fish live in in the wild? <<Nope...something else is at play, or perhaps the dichromatism is just very subtle (have witnessed this latter in "tanked changed" Anthiines before)>> Thanks for all of your help. -  Dave <<My pleasure to assist.  EricR>>

Lyretail Anthias...Females Turning to Males - 10/06/06 Good evening. <<Hello>> I recently purchased 3 female Lyretail Anthias, and they all appear to be healthy and getting along with one another. <<Excellent...one of the better/hardier species for aquarium keeping in my opinion>> I was wondering if the most dominant will eventually become male? <<Indeed she will>> How long does this normally take? <<Hmm...have seen it begin almost immediately...completed in as little as a few weeks time>> I know all Anthias can undergo a sex-change when a harem's male dies, but I was unsure about my situation because they were all female. <<No worries mate, the dominant female will "convert."  You may even want to consider adding another female to spread the aggression among "pecking order" of the remaining females.  Having "too few' can sometimes be worse than having too many>> Sorry if this was a silly question. <<Not at all my friend>> Dan <<Regards, EricR>>

Square Anthias ... Mmmm, sys., beh.   7/18/06 Hi I was after a bit of advice. <But not now?> We have a year old 5ft tank. Everything going perfectly.   We had a blue tang, mimic tang, blue damsel and a Chromis. <What happened to them?> We just bought 4 more(3 days ago), a mandarin, a purple tang, longnose hawkfish and a square Anthias. Our store said all were compatible. <The Mandarin may have a hard time getting enough to eat in this mix...> The Anthias hides in a crevice <Typical for this species, especially when new... and it will not likely come out much, w/o the presence of a few females...> and does not come out even to eat. we have noticed it is slightly active in the middle of the night. The other fish don't seem too hassle him, he's just a hermit! How can we make him come out? Cheers Megan <Mmm, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anthiina.htm and the linked files above... particularly "Systems", "Compatibility"... Bob Fenner>

Re: square Anthias, not reading  7/19/06 hi <Hi> again Nothing happened to the fish we had, I probably should have used the word "have". <Change in tense can be/was confusing> My husband, its his fish tank, didn't like the Anthias...my son and i did. The mandarin is eating fine and looks to be getting plenty. How many female Anthias should we get and also if we don't will the male die.? thanks Megan <Please read where you were referred to. There is much ancillary information you need to be aware of... Bob Fenner> Anthias/Blenny interaction - 01/01/06 Eric, <<Carrie>> I just emailed you but I just had a thought......I have a Midas Blenny in with the Anthias.......is it possible that is what is keeping the females from changing? <<Nope...more likely these fish are just very young yet.>> Ask Bob. <<Okay, Bob?...>> >My best guess is yes... the presence of the Midas does likely have an affect here. RMF< In the wild they are known to swim together. <<Will do so in captivity as well.>> I also wonder if buying a male Anthias at this point would be an okay idea or should I not rock the apple cart....... <<I see no problem with this...is what I did.  Better to do so now rather than after one of the females starts to make the change.>> Take Care, Carrie <<Will be chatting my friend, EricR>> Sex change of single Square-Back Anthias Hello, <<Hello - Ted here>> Thank you for your help with other questions I have had.  It has been a great help to ask the questions that I cannot find answers to after hours of searching, and get quick knowledgeable answers. We have a female Square-back Anthias in our 75 gallon FOWLR tank.  It is about 3 1/2 inches now.  This is the only Anthias we have.  The past few days I have noticed that it is showing some darker coloration around the head.  I am wondering will an Anthias change sex to a male if it is the only one, or do they only do this in a group? <<Given only one Anthias, it is unlikely that the color change is related to sex change. Fish will change color when stressed or ill. If you are not seeing any indications of illness (white spots, rapid breathing, etc.) or stress (strange behavior) it may simply be the fish is maturing. I would check the system parameters and monitor things.>> Thank you, Andrew Morgenegg <<Cheers - Ted>>

Shy (Or Scared!) Gramma (8/17/040 Hello Crew, <Steve Allen tonight.> I have another question. I had Recently purchased a fairy Basslet from my LFS (local fish store) <Gramma loreto, I presume.><<Actually, no. An Anthiine species. RMF>> I took him home and floated him w/o quarantine (I know, I know), <tsk, tsk> But anyways the first thing he seemed to do was go in hiding, which I expected every fish would do when being introduced <yup> but he really never came out, though I did get glimpses of him while using the bathroom =) <I won't touch that one.> but that was the first 2 days he seemed perfectly fine but now I don't see him at all...is this normal behavior or is something wrong? <They are shy, but will usually defend d their chosen spot quite vigorously, even against larger fish. And they do com out to feed unless ill or seriously intimidated.>  My Maroon Clownfish <the possible culprit here> and my Panther Grouper are doing perfectly fine (no the grouper is an inch long, he wasn't eaten). <Hmm...I've never seen one quite that small. Do bear in mind that it will grow to 18+ inches and will be able to swallow the Gramma whole someday, though he will likely eat it in pieces sooner than that. Maroon clowns are very aggressive, and I would strongly suspect that it picks on the Gramma behind your back to the point that the Gramma may have gone into permanent hiding. In such situations, the intimidated fish eventually starves to death.> But I was just wanting a quick background on the fairy  Basslet. <Read this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/grammas.htm><<... anthiines.com>> Should I wait a couple more days, or should I start tearing the rockwork away in an attempt to find him? <Oooh, I would not want to be doing that. First off, you're likely to squish something. Secondly, if the Gramma is alive and hiding, he'll just hide again as soon as he finds a nice cranny in the new arrangement. Thirdly, if he's dead, he is small enough that your detritivores and biofilter should be able to handle the decomposition load unless you have a small tank (less than 55G or so). Tearing down rockwork is tedious and can wreak havoc on a stable system. And you'll never can get it back to the same arrangement if you like the way it looks now. Not worth doing without a compelling reason, such as removing the Maroon Clown if he gets dangerous as he gets bigger. Though beautiful, it is one of the most aggressive Clowns. I keep mine with tankmates that don't take any guff. In your shoes, I'd keep an eye on ammonia and nitrates. If no spike, I would let a dead Gramma rot in peace. If you really think it is alive but never comes out during feeds, you can go ahead and tear up the rockwork and find it. Remove as much rock to plastic containers as you need to in order to be able to catch your fish. (I recently had to pull a couple of hundred pounds out to catch a 5" Picasso Trigger--a real PITB.) I would then remove the Clown (and maybe even the Grouper) to a quarantine and let the Gramma establish itself and grow comfortable for a couple of weeks before re-introducing the others. Sometimes simply re-arranging the rock a bit while all the fish are in there will break up territories, but I doubt a Maroon Clown will be adequately confused by this.> Thanks a bunch, Chris <Hope this helps.>

Pseudanthias pleurotaenia hi guys I have a quick question. I have a female square spot Anthias in a 125 gal. fish only tank, with a red Coris wrasse and a maroon clownfish she eats very well. anyway my questions are is the juv. coloration different from the female coloration and will she turn to a male without any other Anthias in the tank? <Juvenile coloration (yellowish) intensifies (to a more bright, golden yellow) with age, but most will not change to even a duller male coloration w/o the presence of at least a single other individual of the same species... better, best to have small, odd numbers of individuals (3,5...) IF your system is large enough. Yours is big enough for three. Bob Fenner>                         thank you for any help                                 tom

About: Dispar Anthias Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 Hi! I'm wondering about Dispar Anthias Pseudanthias dispar relating to adding on to my pair. <Hello Kevin, James (Salty Dog) to assist you.>  I currently have a 100 gal. tank (fish only) with live rock and a 32 gal. hospital tank. In my 100 gal., I currently have 9 Blue-Green Chromis, C. viridis which are all in healthy condition. I have a Blonde Naso Naso lituratus, a Yellow Tang Zebrasoma flavescens, and a Red Coris Wrasse Coris gaimard. I've been researching about Anthias in general for a while and learned about the social groups, feeding, etc. I've always wanted to keep a shoal of dispars, but rarely came across good specimens. One day at the LFS, I came across two shy specimens which looked great!! I decided to buy them at $14.99 a piece (pretty good from what I've seen in other places). When I brought them home and put them into the tank, they hid for 3 hours. Then slowly started to peep out. The next day, they were out with all the other fish. I tried Mysis, but no luck ( though they were lookin' at it!). Then, they turned into pigs!!!!!!! They now eat everything I put in. Now, everything looks great, but I was just thinking how nice it would be to have a few more of those beauties. Do you guys think I could pull off adding 4 more to the tank? I mean will the dispars in my tank accept the newcomers? If not, I already have my mind set on some purple queens (not tuka), (Pseudanthias pascala). I think the key to keeping docile shy Anthias is to first have an established shoal of dither fish (Chromis), then put in the Anthias. Without my Chromis in the tank, the dispars probably would not have had the nerve to go feed. Well anyways, please reply, and I want to compliment you guys on such an informative and well done web site.  <Kevin, I think you will be approaching the overcapacity of the tank. Anyway here is a link to a very informative article by Bob Fenner. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anthiina.htm James (Salty Dog)> 

- Anthias Question - Howdy crew! <Howdy.> Quick question for ya. <Ok.> I have 3 female lyretail Anthias in my 90G reef.  They have been in for about 2 weeks now.  I noticed that two of the three are really starting to have it out.  They lock their mouths together and spin around and around, very odd looking.  I have read that they can be a bit mean. Will they kill each other? <In time, yes.> Is this one trying to become a leader, or a male? <Or at least assert its position in the chain of command... this is very typical for Anthias.> Should I let this continue or remove one of the two. <If you don't remove the others, you will be left with one anyway.> Your recommendations would be greatly appreciated. <You really need a much larger tank to attempt a small school of Anthias, and even then the lowest one on the totem pole is often lost.> Thanks. Paul
<Cheers, J -- >

Anthias Hey Bob, I hope the holidays have been going well for you! <Yes Graham, thank you. Happy holidays to you and your mom> Anyway, after a year of waiting and researching, a I finally purchased 11 Bartlett's Anthias for my aquarium a week ago (1 large male and 10 females). My tank was pretty much designed just for these fish, and these fish are the only fish in the tank (besides a mandarin). All eleven of them eat pellets, flake foods, Cyclop eeze, brine, and mysids like pigs. They're also fed very small amounts 7x daily. Recently I've been noticing the male starting to act aggressively towards the females (which I expected), but two of the 10 females are being harassed more than others. Both have been forced to hide around the right side of the tank, although they may venture out occasionally and swim with the loose school. Both of these Anthias being harassed are almost the same size as the male is. My question is if this is why the male is bothering these two in particular. <As you state... due to size... these females are next to "turn into" males> If so, is there anything I can do to ease the aggression? I have a lot of rockwork for them to hide, as well as extremely strong   current throughout the tank (4500 gallons). Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks, Graham <Comes down to two choices... with variations. To remove them or not... and hope for the best. Bob Fenner>
Re: Anthias Hi Robert, <Hello Graham> Well, It turns out that one of the larger females that the male was harassing turned into another male. Now, these two males are almost the exact same size. Is there any risk to having two males, with a total of 9 females? So far, they each seem to have a portion of the tank for themselves, with the females going between them. Thanks for your reply! Graham <No problem likely... you have a good sex ratio, and good-sized system. Likely these two males will semi-peacefully compete. Bob Fenner>

Anthias woes Hi Bob, I am a frequent reader of your articles on both FFExpress and WetWebMedia, your book is also one of my favorite quick references. I have been in the hobby for a few years now and the culmination of my experience is leaving me with no answer to my latest problem. I have a 180gal reef tank, large skimmer, calcium reactor, and 25gal plenum/algae refugium. About 3 weeks ago my square box Anthias (the dominant fish in the tank) stopped eating (I've had him 8 months). No visible parasites externally, not thin. I thought he was taking a day off, but hasn't eaten since. He would just hide in a cave all the time and wouldn't come out at all. <Hmm, this has happened to my experience with Pseudanthias pleurotaenia before...> I moved him to the refugium a week ago, thinking the live copepods would entice him and that I could try to feed him with out the other fish out-competing him for food.  No luck. I regularly ( 2-3x a day) feed the tank a random mixture of about 10 different frozen foods soaked in Zoecon and have also tried feeding live brine shrimp. <Good ideas> He just sits on the bottom of the refugium, only moving occasionally and refusing all food (even turning away when I squirt it towards his mouth). I still haven't noticed any severe weight loss and he still has excellent coloration. Is there anything else I can try? <Actually yes... the one item that you don't mention is conspecifics... you have no females present with this specimen? In a semi-last ditch attempt to restore its interest in feeding, life, I would place it/him back in the main system and add two females of this species... ASAP. This (as are most Anthiines) species is social, and may have "given up the ghost" for lack of companionship. Bob Fenner> Thanks, David

Lyretail Anthias Question---Somewhat Urgent I have a school of 5 Lyretail Anthias. Until recently the school consisted of 4 females and 1 male. About 2 weeks ago the male hurt his eye and has been somewhat reclusive while it heals. Problem is in the meantime the largest of the females has begun to transform to a male. <Yes... this happens> I have a well established 180gal community reef tank. I didn't think this could happen while the original male was still alive. The female that is in progress to turning male has really begun to take on the behavior of a male. I am in need to of some advise. I have included a picture of the hermaphrodite(?). <Let's settle on "transitioning"> Should I remove this fish from the tank? Will the original male turn to female?. <Doubtful... but in a 180 gallon with plenty of cover, they may all co-exist, even be more lively, colorful with 1 1/2, 1 3/4 males...> I cannot find any good answers on this at all. My website is located at http:/www.thecub.com if you wish to review my tank. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,
Mathew Sica
<Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Re: Lyretail Anthias Question---Somewhat Urgent Bob, Great to hear from you so quickly sir. One more question. I had ordered 3 more females I was going to add this Tuesday from a local independent) fish store. Would it be best to hold off adding these fish Tuesday night or do you think it would help the situation by keeping either male from being too dominant? <I would introduce them> This would bring the total to 6.5 females and 1.5 males. Once again I thank you for your advice and will raise a glass of Guinness in thanks. <Wish I was there with one with you. Bob F, off to go jogging with the dogs, wife, roomie> Best Regards, Mathew Sica

Pink square Anthias 4 weeks of good eating and adjustment for my square Anthias...2 days ago the fish started to butt the front on his mouth on the side of the tank. Later the fish started to butt the front of the tank. Only does this when lights are on! Will he hurt himself? <certainly is stressful and likely physically harmful. Do try to determine what caused the change in behavior... a change in light is likely (new or different bulbs, sudden use of carbon/chemical media which suddenly improves water clarity, cleaning of a very dirty lens/cover that admits more light, etc)> jacdavie Thanks!
<best regards, Anthony>



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