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FAQs about Fancy Basses, Subfamily Anthiadinae 1

Related Articles: Fancy Basses, The Sunburst or Fathead Anthias

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

Pseudanthias evansi (Smith 1954), Evan's Anthias, Yellowback or Yellowtail Anthias.

Fish Identity Hello, Love the site. I was looking through the pics on WWF and found this fish. I was wondering if you could identify it for me. I think it would look great in my 75g reef tank. <Mmm, looks like a Pseudanthias dispar, or perhaps a P. bartlettorum from here. Please see: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anthiina.htm> thanks in advance.
<Bob Fenner>

Fish identification, information Dear Bob, Being a marine fish hobbyist for twenty years, I found your web site to be very educable and interesting. Recently just seen a fish picture from a Japan web site (picture enclosed). Do you know the scientific name of common name for this fish? Is it reef-safe? <This is a deepwater Anthiine (Fancy Bass), by some sources, Holanthias, but Fish base (.org), Odontanthias fuscipinnis (Jenkins 1901), called the Yellow Anthias by Dr. Randall... a Hawaiian endemic... to 9.5 inches total length. Reportedly does well in captivity, though almost always found below 180 feet in depth. A rare beauty. Have seen the species on display (the Waikiki Aquarium) in a local biotopic reef setting. Bob Fenner>

Anthias Dear Jason and Anthony, <<JasonC this time... greets,>> For quite some time I had a pair of Pseudanthias evansi. Beautiful fish, they swam together. Unfortunately, I left a small opening in the aquarium lid and lost one, jumped out and perished (inexcusable carelessness). <<Bummer, do excuse yourself though at some point, this does happen to all of us at some point or another - I lost a harlequin tusk this way. If we don't make mistakes like this, how do we learn?>><Second, other hand... RMF> The other is doing fine. <<Ahh good.>> I would like to replace his buddy. Can I add another of this evansi species safely? <<Oh... good question - think it's a coin toss honestly. Often once territories are established, it can be hard to introduce new, same species fish... I think I would try.>> Other Pseudanthias species? <<Odds are likely lower for a different species.>> The balance of my community is peaceful: yellow tang, sleeper goby, green Chromis, convicts, flame angel, cleaner gobies, and purple fire fish. Over 150 gallons. <<Ahh, this is a good size to make the attempt, at least a good amount of room to seek refuge from the potential aggression - which may never happen, mind you.>> Never had a disease process thanks to WWM advice on quarantine and water treatment. <<Ahh good, keep it up.>> Howard <<Cheers, J -- >>

Anthias Fun Hello WWM crew, I need somebody to talk me off a ledge here. For two weeks I've been holding a 3.5" Lyretail Anthias at my LFS. <One week too long for my tastes. I would prefer to watch it and see if it was going to die from shipping stress. But once it was in the clear, I would much rather QT at home where I could feed it three times per day. Very few LFS have the time or inclination to do that.> It has been in good shape for the entire time that they have had it - no disease, a little shy, but still well aware of its surroundings. Its belly is slightly pinched, but it chases after food very aggressively. I've had it fed a couple times while I watched, and I suspect that it is recovering from a fast due to shipping stress. <Or just not getting fed at all.> My best guess is that it was formerly a super male and has now regressed to subordinate male coloration...it still has just a little bit of the super male appearance left, which I anticipate will fade. Now, I know well and good how fragile Anthias are, and I've read the pertinent info on WWM as well as Scott Michael's articles, chat transcripts, and books relating to them. Still, this appears to be an unusually healthy specimen. Do you see any compelling reason so far to avoid it? <Depends mostly on your tank and your husbandry. If you have read Scott Michael's works, you have a fair understanding of what will be required of you and your system. You will be the best judge if you can measure up.> The complicating issue at hand is that I have an out-of-town move coming up in 2 weeks that will necessitate about 6-8 hours of time in the bag between tanks. <You had my vote until here.> The Anthias will be going into a 75 gallon, Berlin-style tank hooked up to a 30 gallon sump/refugium. In the meantime, it will need to go into a 30 gallon standalone tank with a juvenile tomato clown, a 6-line wrasse, and a chalk bass. In your opinion, is this do-able? <Definitely not the best situation.> One last question...Michael's philosophy on the hardier Anthias species seems to be that, if you can't house a full harem, you're better off keeping a solitary specimen rather than a small group. Do you agree? <Yes> Thanks for all your input...you guys run a great operation! Jason PS - Picked up Anthony's book...great read, and very helpful. Any word on when Bob's next book will (finally) be released? <We (Bob, Anthony, and I) will all be getting together over the next two weekends to discuss upcoming works. We will keep you all posted. -Steven Pro>

Anthias and feeding Thanks for making the Hobby Fun! Hi Bob et. al., <et al member Anthony Calfo in your service> Just wanted to say "thanks," for making what can sometimes be such a stressful hobby so much fun!!!! <a pleasure for all of us indeed> After reading over the feeding FAQs again I feel sooo much better about my fishes and what they're eating. <excellent> Recently we've added two beautiful Anthias to the tank (Evansi I think) and I'd been stressing after reading all the notes in the Anthias FAQ. But they're eating like a charm, and seem to be quite happy bouncing about. I'm worried though, that I'll have to bump up my feeding schedule to once a day (right now just 2-3 times a week.) What do you guys think? <wow... even for the hardiest Anthiines, once a day may not be enough. They are notorious for needing small frequent feedings to survive long-term. Indeed, this has been one of the stumbling blocks with such fishes. Do try to feed 1-3 times daily with very small portions. Overall this is best with most fishes although not always necessary.> Should I start out with fewer feedings and "up the ante" if they get skinny?  <heck no... too much ground to be lost by doing so. Begin with once daily if you feel that you must keep it to a minimum> I'm assuming I'll notice ;-) BTW, I feed 'em just a lil' bit of Ocean Nutrition Brine Shrimp Plus and dose 3 pumps of Bio-Plankton. <dramatically reduce the brine shrimp feedings... it is a very low grade food that will suffer your fishes by attrition (mostly water) if it is a staple (more than 25%). Do yourself a GREAT favor (I assure you that you will write back saying WOW did this work)... mail order or buy local a jar of Sweetwater Plankton (to be refrigerated)... this is an incredible food for Anthiines and ravenously consumed by most fishes. Trust me , my friend> Really, sincerely, thanks again - so much! You guys are to be commended for your generosity, kindness, and most of all knowledge!-Jon <thank you so kindly, it is very redeeming to hear it said. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Thanks for making the Hobby Fun! (Anthias and Feeding) Just a quick additional question about the food. The food I'm using is actually a frozen variety with what looks like quite a variety of protein rich ingredients (shrimp, mussels, clams, etc.) Just so happens to be called "Bring Shrimp Plus." It also claims to have lots of good minerals and vitamins. <hmmm... sounds good on paper, but the name implies that Brine Shrimp is the staple ingredient and that cannot be good in the big picture. Added vitamins and minerals are dubious at times as to their usefulness and ready assimilation by marine animals. Best bets are naturally occurring in whole prey items (mysids, Pacifica plankton, zooplankton from a fishless refugium, etc). Just reminding you of the top shelf options. A lot of industry professionals that I know wouldn't take anything with adult brine shrimp in it for free> Definitely going to pick up the Sweetwater plankton.  <excellent... you won't be disappointed!> Just wondering if what I have been feeding really is crap (so to speak ;-). <its funny you should mention "that"... I was just thinking of an analogy for enriched brine shrimp products...hehe: you can polish a turd, but its still a turd. Ha! How's that for sage advice?!> Lastly, will the clownfish and 2 pajama cardinals be fine with the Sweetwater plankton as well?  <indeed a very appropriate food for them, but no one food can be complete. Do mix up the diet still> Or should I find a better more nutritious frozen food for 'em? <just a nice variety overall of say 4-6 foods. Make sure that some have significant HUFAs in them (supplemented is OK in this case... they are not naturally synthesized by many marine animals... can be obtained in planktons)> Thanks so much. Its amazing how quickly y'all reply, and with such concise intelligent answers. Thank goodness the Hobby has folks like you. -Jon <thank you, my friend. Best regards, Anthony>

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>

Re: Going reef-ish Bob, Thanks for re-enforcing that I'm on the right track with the Anthias. Read the article on them (about 3 times!)! It's what made me think I could put them in with my current stock (thanks!). Will cruise through the anemone FAQS some more. I use the Google tool quite extensively. I'll try different search parameters. Thanks as always Rebecca
<Real, good. Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

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

Truncate Anthias Hi, me again. <Cheers, Anthony Calfo in your service> This time I have a question about an Anthias. His name is Felix and he's the coolest little orange fish you have ever seen,  <I'll take your word on it although you really have no idea just how many spoonfuls of recreational drugs I've done and subsequently how many cool little orange fish I've seen. Of course, I suspect yours doesn't have hands with opposable thumbs...hehe> but he's not feeling well. <tell me about it, my friend> About a month ago I did my water change and filter change and there after he's been hiding. The water was a little cold as I use purified sea water and it had been sitting by the door. I usually wait about a day after getting the water but I had accidentally drained the tank too much and had gone to get more water letting it sit for only about an hour. Anyway he's hiding, and this fish was king of his tank before!!! All the other fish, inverts, and coral are doing fine, no one else was affected. One thing I should add is when the water was tested last week (I do this on a weekly basis) the pH was low. After adding some buffer Felix seems to be more interested in the world outside his cave. He's even come out to perch on the rock in the light. I can see that he has lost no weight at all so I figured he eats off the water column behind the rock (I have a pair of threadfin gobies that are doing the same thing). His color is still not great but at least he's still alive!!! (I love this fish!) My question is should I find another Anthias or should I buy a royal Gramma and try to play on his aggression  <another Anthiinae may be tolerable (females) but never play on their aggression. Our tanks are too small. Try different food too. With Anthiines you simply have to try Sweetwater zooplankton (keep refrigerated). It is incredible for Anthias species> (My last one was kicked around the tank for several months before he was accepted!) (disappeared mysteriously after the addition of a new powerhead?) I ask this because I cannot find another truncate Anthias, Felix was a mix up as he came in as a purple queen. I would hate to add another Anthias only to worry about it not having a proper buddy.  <yes. please don't mix species> I once tried to save a purple square Anthias from a LFS, and Felix loved him, when his attacks were ignored by the larger Anthias he decided this guy need love and attacked everybody else who got too close. Or do you think that I should try and see if I can't find another truncate?  <try the food first and slightly warmer water...then maybe a buddy if you feel you must> My main concern is to keep Felix alive and happy, and while he's alive, he's not happy. Thanks again Kim <his behavior is not because of the single cool water event. That was coincidental. Some aspect of water chemistry (like pH which should be 8.3 to 8.6 daily) is the real culprit most likely. Best regards, Anthony>

Anthias and Angel tribulations Mr. Fenner,  <author and friend Anthony Calfo in your service> I have just recently been introduced to your websites and books from a very good friend who is a professional saltwater aquarist in the Chicagoland area. I must say that your advice is very straightforward and good.  <its a good thing for you then that I am a very convincing fibber <wink>> It has helped me stage my first reef tank, which is currently doing very well. I have a few questions on a certain type of Anthias I bought from a "PetCo". <Aiiiieeeee! Those two words mentioned in the same sentence are like salt in my eyes...did you say "Anthias" and "[name of a Super Pet store]"?!? Argghhhh> Now trust me, I never buy fish from these guys, but I felt that if I did not take these two newly added gorgeous Anthias, they surely would have died in a week or two (I DO NOT normally do this, as I hate to give them business for their SW fish, but I *couldn't* let these Anthias just die). <alas, my friend... I must remind you of what you already know: your purchase not only did not guarantee their survival, but has contributed to the re-order and likely death of more like creatures. By contributing to the sales of inappropriate animals (at least in some merchants hands) you have not only contributed to, but stimulated the commerce in the very trade of that ill-fated fish through such channels. The best way to get retailers to not stock animals outside of their means/skill set is TO LET THEM die (the ill-fated animals, not the retailers...although given to chose...hmmmm?) in their tanks. These stores are not operating charities... if aquarists stop buying inappropriate livestock, then they will stop selling them. Economics. And even if that weren't true... you never want to buy into that mess under any circumstance. My apologies... I didn't mean to jump up on a soapbox...but I am a short fellow <> The plan being that I will look after them, and if I don't want them, I can give them to a proper Fish store that can take care of them. <if you want the challenge, that's one thing and admirable. But again, the reason stated does not wash... changing hands through yet another tank in the chain of custody may be the straw that breaks their back...too much handling/moving> So I took them home without even knowing their real species (they were sold as "pink Anthias") and only a good general knowledge of Anthias (I was a former marine biologist/Dolphin trainer). The Anthias are a very light pink all throughout, with maybe a very slight color difference from top to bottom...more a different shade of pink really...they are still juvenile so hard to tell. Also, they have rather rounded faces, but have the traditional forked tail.  Anyhow, I would like to know the kind of fish they are (if you can discern from my very vague description). They haven't been too eager to eat flake or frozen brine, <neither food is appropriate or useful...try mysids, Pacifica plankton and live grass shrimp if the fish are large enough... even gut-loaded feeder guppies, believe it or not> but I am going to buy some more live brine shrimp tomorrow.  <a truly awful and low grade food unless you plan to gut-load it with brewers yeast/Selcon, etc> They seemed to become healthier as soon as I put them in my tank (my tank has excellent water conditions, strong water motion, plenty of live rock (Berlin system setup) and sand (2-3 inch bed), skimmer, as well as a huge mass of Caulerpa from afore mentioned friend, that came with tons of copepods).  <excellent... I'm Cuckoo for Copepods!> They shook their bodies and flexed their fins almost immediately. As I type this email, they have been getting cleaned by my shrimp for about 20 minutes now and both of the fish won't leave the station. I figure that much of it is irritating mucus and scales on their body from the horrible water conditions of the store. <not to mention the three to five hands that they have been through in the chain of custody from the point of collection, though shipping, transhippers, wholesalers, the retailer and then your tank>  Now for some problems. While I don't anticipate too high of a stress level within the tank for these fish, I do have a rather territorial Flame angel...you are going to lecture me, aren't you... <I'd love to (especially about the reckless ignorance of quarantine) but I feel as though I've done enough already...hehe> The flame has shown some rather weak attempts at shooing away the Anthias, but no actual biting...but he does succeed in shooing them away...he is hogging the water current I suspect. I was thinking about adding some more "niches" within the aquaria by adding some more live rock and sort of dividing the tank into two or three distinguishable areas.  <without actual bites, the intimidation is undo stress, of course> Do Anthias enjoy open water?  <most all do indeed> My friend has two bicolor Anthias that love the open water, <a much hardier species> but his Anthias are huge and well established (dominant fish). My Anthias are small and the flame is dominant. I suspect that as time moves along, the angel will become more tolerant of the Anthias, <all bets are off> but I would like to try and keep him from being as territorial as possible...do you think my plan with the addition of LR (allowing more niches) will help? <pure luck if it does> I guess to ask a more general question that might help, is how is territory really established within such a small confine...in specific with the angel or the Anthias?  <although not directly competitive species...keep in mind the size of your tank compared to their natural range of defended territory in the wild. Any discussion to the contrary is moot> I am thinking that right now my angel has enough cracks in the LR to glide his way through the entire tank rather easily, and so for him to keep the territory of the entire aquascape, or most of it, is rather feasible (the other fishes in the tank are "ignorable" characters, maroon clown, Chromis, Gramma, mandarin; <a mandarin...you are killing me!<G> mature reef, productive refugium, I hope> and the angel will only once in a while shoo some of them away). If I create a break in the aquascape, will this help the angel to keep more of a smaller portion of the tank to himself? <above> I have also heard that Anthias feed on plankton... <indeed!> I assume zooplankton and larvae. Will adding phytoplankton (DT's) aid in the production of zooplankton? <not much on our aquaristic scale... rely on your refugium and ways to make it more productive instead> And if so, how much phyto should I be adding? (I have one large duster, one small duster, one porcelain crab, and the usual reef cleaning crew of snails, blue leg hermits, Brittlestars...these and the mandarin are the only things I can think of that will actively eat phytoplankton or predate on the zooplankton) <actually nothing that you have mentioned feeds decidedly on phytoplankton including the feather dusters (suspected, perhaps dubious but not proven)...dusters feed mucosally and are suspected of eating mostly bacteria and like organics... that is why so many people can breed them in captivity in tanks without natural or substitute phyto but plenty of detritus/organic sediment. You may be wasting your money on phyto without gorgonians or Nephtheids> Sorry the email is so long, but I am rather excited when I talk about the tank. Anyways, any help will be much appreciated, and you will be happy to know that I promote your site and books over Julian Sprung's (oh my, just kidding! He is awesome too, but I do enjoy your method of teaching much better...and I do promote your site as the place to go for hobbyists). Thanks! <Obviously I wasn't trying to earn a book sale with the lecture <smile>, but I'll plug anyway... Book of Coral Propagation, Volume One...review by Robert Fenner: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bkcorlproprev.htm Good luck, my friend. Anthony Calfo> Paul Lee

Touchy fish acclimation and feeding Howdy Bob! <Howdy, Chief! Anthony Calfo in your service while Bob sits in a corner trying to crack brazil nuts open with his forehead> Because of all your good counsel and website information, my personal contacts are at least dwindling in their frequency. Thanks again, and I hope you will help me with a two-part question. < I shall do my best> Because my local LFS is dealing with some water-quality issues, and I still have a backlog of pre-paid fish coming in, I have taken to having them notify me ahead of their arrival (via air freight), and I go right down when they get them in, and bring them home. Naturally, this isn't as nice as if they had been living and eating there at the LFS for a period of time, but it is my present reality. <we do the best we can with what we can> Anyway, I carefully follow your guerilla guide to acclimation of my new arrivals, but it is my impression that by the time I remove them from their "combo-freshwater-shipping-water-with-blue-green- additives" mix, they appear more sluggish and 'wiped-out' than the ones from the same batch who go through an 'LFS standard' acclimation (of gradually adding tank water into their bags and then releasing). Watching my fish in their cat-litter-box they just seem to sit and sometimes their back end curls around a bit towards the front. I don't want to stress them further, so I don't poke & prod, and usually, after about 5 to 7 minutes, I gently transfer them to my lights-out acclimation tank. Sometimes they speed away when I put them in, sometimes they just seem to barely sink to the bottom, and hang out. <quite natural> So, part 1 of my question is this: Is this normal for a fish going through this kind of dip / acclimation treatment, and (just for reassurance) is it still better because of the reduced risk of disease than just mixing waters and releasing? <indeed...cannot mix waters> Part 2. In last night's delivery, I received a male/female pair of purple queen Anthias (they didn't have lyretail). I know they are much more touchy fish, but they were beautiful looking <Arrgghhh... not the best reason when unprepared> and I had spoken to someone who had had three in a very small and simple reef for a long while <more than a year and still fat at that time?> , so I decided to give it a shot. They are still sitting on the bottom of the acclimation tank, breathing OK, and watching with their eyes, but not real motivated to eat. I am going to try "first flake", <I'll eat your hat if they eat flake for you.. hehe. Need meaty food...may even have to resort to live> and Mysis shrimp, but wondered if you had any good ideas about how to tempt one of these pretties into eating? <frozen mysids and Pacifica plankton are good whole foods in the long run...a good specialized homemade recipe like in Bob's CMA will be better. In the meantime, try gut loaded live guppies or ghost shrimp if the fish are large enough, or enriched live brine (Selcon) if still small> Thank you so much for your help. Sincerely, Jim Raub <keep us posted please. with kind regards, Anthony>

Re: Dispar Anthias? Bob, Thanks for the info. What size do the ventralis get to be? The web site doesn't say. <Please see fishbase.org> Easy to keep as the Dispar? Better looking?-always hard to tell in a pic. Difficult to find? <Easier, prettier, expensive to find> Have a great 2002! <Thanks. You as well. Bob Fenner> Steve

Dispar Anthias? Hello Bob! Been awhile since we talked but I still use your book as a reference guide. Have suggested it to many reefers (especially beginners) on the boards. Would have been a lot tougher without it! <Glad you found/find it (TCMA) of use... of such regard that you grant such endorsement> My 127 has been running and doing well for 21 months. I have a lightly stocked fish population-hawk, mated Percs, six line wrasse and Potter's angel. Mostly stony corals with a few softies and clams. I have been researching Anthias for awhile. I may try some, but want to make sure I make the correct decisions. I have done searches, read books and checked your info on WWMedia. There seems to be a wide range of thoughts here- from they are great to NO WAY!!  <These are valid statements> I am thinking of either three or five dispars. I want fish that stay small. Have your opinions changed since your book or since the info on WWMedia was posted? Would you suggest something other than dispars? <Mmm, for different size, types of tanks... the Dispar is fine to great... but there are other choices (like Pseudanthias ventralis ... but, within group differences of sources, batches imported/held are greater than between species choices here... What I am getting at (or trying to) is that care in selecting healthy, not-starved or beaten stock of any Anthiine species is of more consequence than species choosing... and providing adequate physical biotope and feeding more important than species choosing as well...> Since these are semi sensitive fish what are your thoughts on quarantine? I will get them mail order so straight to the reef worries me. I use a 55 hex for a Q-tank. <Good question... by and large I would maybe do a few minutes pH adjusted freshwater dip (with aeration) of new Anthiines and place them in their permanent system. Worth the risk IMO/E> Thanks as always for your thoughts, Steve <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dispar Anthias?
Bob, Sorry to bother you again. The info you have on the ventralis says that they need to be kept in a low light tank. I have 600 watts in a six foot tank. Too much for them to adapt to? <Evidently not. Should/will change to "should be kept". The ones I know of are caught at moderate to great depths (for scuba divers, 100-300 feet) Bob Fenner> Best, Steve

Dispar Anthias Dear Bob, In looking at the last fish to add to our peaceful 140 gal. community (yellow tang, flame angel, sleeper goby, neon gobies, convicts, green Chromis, royal Gramma, cleaner shrimp, soft corals, and SPS corals; I have seen the beautiful "Dispar Anthias" from Hawai'i for sale at a fine retailer. <A good choice in a small school... received "fresh", in good shape... and feeding> They are about 2 to 2 1/2 inches, orange-pink and look a bit like a small grouper. <Which they are! The subfamily Anthiinae is a part of the Basses, Groupers family Serranidae> Can't find much on this species in books I have or searching WWM. <Mmm, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anthiina.htm> Would you recommend it? How large will they become? <Worth trying, about three inches> As always, your advice is my direction. The fish I've lost was a cleaner wrasse bought on impulse without reference to TCMA or WWM where there was clear warning. Howard <You are aware, learning... and caring. All positive traits. Bob Fenner>

Anthias Dear Bob, Thanks for the information. I must have misspelled "Anthias"  <Ahh!> on my search. WWM data and pictures are superb! <Much more to come... soon, the capacity to make, show better, much larger scans... stay tuned> I gather that I should either choose a single specimen or stock 3 or more of these beauties. Perhaps I should watt to find a species other than "Dispar" species. <Perhaps... most Anthiines better in odd numbered groupings... not singles. Bob Fenner> Thanks again. Howard

Sick fish Bob My male Lyretail Anthias just showed up with a dark lump the size of a BB under his skin at the base of one of his fins. It is making the fin stick straight out affecting his swimming a little. He has seemed to have lost his appetite also.  <Not good> This is so strange he was doing great yesterday. He is in a reef tank so there is no way I can catch him. Any idea what this could be and any suggestions for treatment that will not hurt my corals? Can this spread to my other fish? <Not likely catching... maybe an ulceration from a parasite (internal)...> Thank you for you help Jason P.S. How do you get compensated for all this work. Is there some place I can send you some money for all your help? <No my friend. Your participation, involvement, sharing here is more than enough. Bob Fenner>

What In The World Do You Feed Anthias?!? Dear Robert, On Friday, October 19'th of 2001, I was the last person to win twice at the SCMAS (Southern California Marine Aquarium Society) Meeting for a raffle. But lo and behold, nothing else was left (no equipment - no light bulbs, no fish food, no R.O. Unit, no brushes, no water pumps, etc. - all the dry goods were gone!!!). Equally gone were the live goods (no Black Cap Gramma, no Blue Regal Tang, no Yellow Tang, no beautiful corals left, etc. - everything taken!!!). The only thing that was left up for grabs that no one else wanted (and woe is me) were 2 very breath taking but super duper hard to care for Anthias!!! <What species?> I tried to exchange them after the meeting and tried to give them away to anyone, but to no avail!!! Sigh!!! Everyone, including me, knew what the implications are of ending with any of these beauties and I seem to be stuck with them. So the ultimate question, in your expert opinion, what do I feed these poor dears till I get rid of them and ask my friend Michael to exchange them for something more manageable and easier to handle?!? <Perhaps one of your larger systems has sufficient "small life", particularly swimming crustaceans... "copepods", amphipods... for this species to subsist on... otherwise, you can try culturing same, buy them from outfits like Inland Aquatics... try vitamin-laced live brine shrimp... wean them onto prepared foods...> I ended up with a reddish orange Anthias with a little pinkish or lavender square in its side. Your book did not show a picture of this larger of the 2 Anthias. So I really cannot identify what this is. <Take a look a the pix on this part of the WWM site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anthiina.htm Sounds like a male Pseudanthias pleurotaenia...> It refuses to eat. The other, you call it Anthias Squamipinnis and so far, it likes finely chopped shrimp and crab that I normally feed to the Soldier Fish who is just as equally finicky as these 2. But I feel, that it is not eating enough. It is not spitting it out, but it isn't eating as much, either. I'd appreciate any insight you can toss my way. If they still don't eat the whole day today, I have no choice but to exchange them at Strictly Fish come Monday morning which is tomorrow October 22, 2001. Can you help me please?!? <I would exchange these fishes> After all, I've only been in the fish and coral keeping hobby since June of 1998, hardly an expert since my goal is to keep what I have on hand alive for as long as I can.  I honestly wanted to win some dry goods (R.O. Unit my 1'st choice) or a coral or manageable fish. But this?!? I already know for sure that both of these are just simply doomed in any of my tanks. It is such a pity as they never seem to hide and are always up and about and swimming everywhere. I just wish that they didn't bother buying these 2 and placing them in the raffle. Maybe someday when they know how to make these guys live, maybe I shall be up to the challenge of caring for them. But obviously, not right at this moment. I just don't want to be responsible for their demise. I do hope to hear from you soon. And thank you in advance for your time and infinitesimal patience you seem to bestow upon me. <A pleasure my friend. BTW, had a call from Marc.T re 12/15, the combined party at Johns... will likely see you there. Bob Fenner> Sincerely yours,  Aleida Ann Graichen The Mariner Editor

Feeding a new Anthias Dear Mr. Fenner, This morning I received a Square Box Anthias from Flying Fish. It is a beautiful fish and is now swimming in my reef tank along side of a female that I have had for 6 months. I am worried about getting it to eat for the first time. I recently lost another new Square Box as I could never get it to eat. Do you have any suggestions on how I can be successful? I know that it might take a day or two for it to settle in. I have Mysis, Spirulina enriched brine, Emerald Entree, Zooplankton on hand. Someone suggested small feeder guppies also. Any insight from you would be appreciated. <Any live mysids? This is my fave choice... try offering toward evening... with lots of water circulation to move the food about... And do consider first soaking the foodstuffs in a vitamin preparation... this also serves as an appetite stimulant. Bob Fenner>

Re: Feeding a new Anthias I just called around to the LFS in the area. The closet one that has live Mysis is 40 miles. I'm on my way. Thank you for your help. <You will be pleased with the results... a few days of feeding this live crustacean and the dead format, other foods ought to be taken. Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Anthias Feeding! Dear Mr. Fenner, I wrote to you last Saturday regarding my new Square box Anthias male that was refusing to eat. I took your advise about the live Mysis shrimp. Finally, yesterday he has started to eat. Even ate the frozen Mysis and Emerald Entr? that I fed the rest of the tank. Whew, I was really anxious over this one. <Ah, me too! There are specimens, occasions in which no feeding occurs...> Thank you again for your help. I now have high hopes that this particular fish will live a long time in his new home. Regards, Susan <Thank you for the follow-up. Congratulations on your success. Bob Fenner>

Mixing Anthias Just a real quick question.... can you mix species of Anthias and have them stay happy? say if I had a Pseudanthias truncatus and I wanted to put a Pseudanthias pleurotaenia in with him. Would this be a good or a bad thing? Would they be happy together or would they still need buddies of their own kind? <Most Anthiines, the subfamily that is the "Fancy Basses" are shoaling, haremic species (an exception? The Fathead, Sunburst Anthias, Serranocirrhitus latus)... You can mix different species together... they're found in "shared" territories in the wild)... but most do better with more of their own kind in the small systems we call aquariums. Read: http://wetwebmedia.com/anthiina.htm Bob Fenner> Thanks for the info Kim

Anthias, Mandarins. <Kim, Lorenzo Gonzalez here, holding down the fort for Bob while he's underwater in Asia for a couple weeks.> I just purchased an Anthias, though I thought it was a purple queen I am beginning to think it's not! He is most definitely no purple for one thing, but a brilliant orange. And there was nothing shy about him at all. I must say this fish was an impulse buy, my husband took me to the store to get my little Singapore angel and he picked this Anthias out as well.  <Glad to hear you feel guilty about the 'impulse buy'... :-) > I was not interested in Anthias in anyway...and from reading your information I am reminded why. Though this fish was a little more then most of my other tank inhabitants, he seems to be the nicest one in there! I worried about him the first night, noting that he had ick on his pectorals and that his color was poor, but the next morning at feeding time....well you would never have known he was the same fish (by the way I really don't know if it's a he or a she but I named it Felix so it's a he)  <If she's not a he, she probably will be eventually, without a bigger 'he' around to keep her a she... Anthias are like that.> His color was bright a fiery, his attitude about the food I put in there (plain old brine shrimp) was exuberant! In fact he eats better then the pair of lemon damsels that I have in there. my tank is a 60 gal with about 50 -60 lb of live rock and 40 lb of sand.) He seems to have taken the tank over and has even put the little six-line wrasse in it's place, it kept pouncing on my scooter blenny. The most amazing thing is his curiosity, it overwhelms even the wrasse. He wants to see everything!!! Last night I was mopping the floor this was only his second night with us) and he followed me around the tank as if trying to figure out what the heck I was doing. It was really quite cute. And everybody else in the tank comes out now, I've seen more of my lemon damsels and my wrasse in the last two days then I have in the last four months. <The 'dither-fish' effect, in reverse! (Usually a bunch of small, 'stupid' fish are used to get a bigger, shy one to come around)> But the true reason I wrote was that I needed some more info on this fish or just Anthias in general, since I'm not really sure what he is.  <Go to www.FishBase.org and type in 'Anthias' in the common name search, to figure out which sort you have. Then read Bob's articles, and/or Conscientious Marine Aquarist.> I usually research my fish to death, just ask the guy at the pet store, I think I drive him mad with all my questions. I have to write them down I have so many.  <That's sure a good practice, sure is. > It took me almost 2 years of reading and research before I even set up my tank. But I wanted my husband to enjoy this thing too, so I thought I'll get this and see what happens....well now he's my favorite fish, and I want to keep him happy and healthy, and alive. <Glad to hear you're both enjoying it so!> Another thing I had to ask about was the dismal report on the dragonets, the whole reason for starting my tank was to in the end purchase on of these magnificent animal...but not to have it die. Has there been any good news on these fish? Is there anything extra I need to do?  <Yes. And I hate to say this: You'll need to get rid of the little wrasse, and the 'scooter blenny' (if it's the 'scooter' of the same family as the dragonet you so desire), before you purchase your Mandarin. The 60 gallon isn't big enough to produce food for all these direct competitors, even with the mountain of live rock you're piling up. You should wait until the tank is a year established, as well.> I plan on having well over 100 lbs of rock before I even think of getting one (Though resisting has been VERY hard) I would really appreciate anything you could give me as far as information. <You've got a great attitude, and a responsible approach to all this: very nice to see that. A crop of feather, bubble, cup (harder to keep) or common 'strap' Caulerpa will help provide a breeding ground for the tiny creatures your future mandarin will need to eat. Quite good for the general water quality as well.> Just as a side note: My tank is a 60 gal 6 mo old. It has a emperor 400 And power heads at each end I will be getting a skimmer soon) There are 2 lemon damsels, a scooter blenny, a six-line wrasse, a Singapore angle, as well as a cleaning crew of sundry crabs and snails, and soon some shrimp. <Sounds just like one of the tanks we have in the living room, even the Emperor 400, which we had leftover from our freshwater days. The only thing we have on there that you don't is a skimmer. Get one. I would highly recommend a Remora from AquaC. (www.proteinskimmer.com). Compact enough to hang between the wall and the tank, and very effective and safe. (no overflow) You won't believe what the skimmer will pull out of your water... Best regards, Lorenzo >

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

Re: Some questions about reefs >Hi Bob, Thanks for the reply :) It's really good to have some to talk to that knows what they are talking about. <Yes, or at least "has reasons that they can/will state" for their apparent opinions> >I was wondering if you could help me and answer some questions. Please note >that I am a beginner when it comes to reef tanks. I brought a pair of >orange Anthias about 2 weeks ago and to this day I have not been able to >get them to eat anything. The tank is a couple of months old. I have tried >marine flakes, brine shrimp and those algae flakes, but no luck. I asked >the LFS and they told me they will eat the flakes. I have observed them >eating algae growing in the tank (the green kind). ><Hmm, welcome to our hobby, and rest assured, I will try to help you... >Please take a look on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com under the Marine >part, Livestock, the Basses, subfamily Anthiinae (the Fancy Basses)... are >these fish Pseudanthias squamipinnis pictured there? (the females are all >orangish...) As you will know they are zooplanktivores in the wild, eating >small crustaceans, worms, other invertebrates and small fish larvae in the >water column... you should try offering foods like these, frequently (a few >times a day) in vigorous water movement... Also, notice, that like most of >the subfamily, these fish live in large aggregations (with one male >typically)...> It looks like the Genus Nemanthias; Threadfin Anthias, the picture of the orange one in middle. <Okay> Bad news, today I looked at the tank and one of the Anthias is gone and one is looking quite sad. I suspect he will be gone in a day or less. I knew something bad was about to happen! The cleaner shrimp is hanging around the Anthias now like it knows something is going to happen to it! <Yes, I suspect you are correct> Humm, this was not supposed to happen. I did a lot of research to make sure I would not have these problems. I even told the LFS I was a beginner. When a brought the corals, I picked ones that I knew were hardy and for beginners. They are doing fine in the tank but the LFS gave me some for free (because I spent a lot of cash that day). The ones he gave me (SPS) are looking sad now. Should I take them out of the tank and can they do any damage? He gave me some mushrooms also, they look like they are doing fine so far. <I would leave the small polyp stony corals in place... they have relatively little living tissue and their passing will do no real harm... if they perish. You know many of this artificial designation are not easily kept...> I will invest in a good hang on the side protein skimmer today and see what happens and let you know. Should I keep my Eheim filter running with the skimmer or should I replace it with the skimmer? <Do get, use the skimmer IN ADDITION to the Eheim... they are complimentary> At this point I wish I had the tank modified and a sump installed, things would have been a lot easier if I had done this. <Yes, woulda, coulda, shoulda... an aspect of our human experience> Again, many thanks for your help, I really appreciate it! <A pleasure my friend. Bob Fenner> Warmest regards, Lucien Cinc

Some questions about reefs Hi Bob, I was wondering if you could help me and answer some questions. Please note that I am a beginner when it comes to reef tanks. I brought a pair of orange Anthias about 2 weeks ago and to this day I have not been able to get them to eat anything. The tank is a couple of months old. I have tried marine flakes, brine shrimp and those algae flakes, but no luck. I asked the LFS and they told me they will eat the flakes. I have observed them eating algae growing in the tank (the green kind). <Hmm, welcome to our hobby, and rest assured, I will try to help you... Please take a look on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com under the Marine part, Livestock, the Basses, subfamily Anthiinae (the Fancy Basses)... are these fish Pseudanthias squamipinnis pictured there? (the females are all orangish...) As you will know they are zooplanktivores in the wild, eating small crustaceans, worms, other invertebrates and small fish larvae in the water column... you should try offering foods like these, frequently (a few times a day) in vigorous water movement... Also, notice, that like most of the subfamily, these fish live in large aggregations (with one male typically)...> My blue tang is the same. Eats nothing but what is in the tank. Eats it all day. I suspect these fish are wild caught. <Yes, they are> What should I do? I was thinking about getting some Nori and putting that in the tank. Should I just keep buy different foods and trying them, or should I do something else? <The Nori is a good idea... as is live rock... a refugium set-up...> I had a question about the ground probes. I have read the article by Bruce and he puts forward several reasons why you want a ground probe. See http://www.aquarium.net/996/996_5.shtml He sights that when he put one in a tank the Tang was much more friendly and not skittish any more. My blue tang is a bit skittish and I was wondering if the 35VAC in my tank has anything to do with that? Will a ground probe help? <Are you stating that you have measured 35 volts of alternating current in your system? Please do have this all checked by an electrician ASAP... I would not put my hands in such a system... You likely need more than a grounding probe here... Also, please read over the using GFI's section on the WWM site (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters)> I have started buying things from another LFS and I am a bit disappointed with the one that sold me the fish. I have keep fresh water fish for years and have not had any problems with fresh water fish. I thought I would try something a bit more challenging like a reef tank (my tank is 70 US gals) and Reef tanks are so nice to look at. <Yes... good to have new experiences, challenges... and good to keep ones dealer relationships positive, growing...> I use Marine environment salt. See http://www.aquarist.net/. As this is the best salt money can buy, I was wondering if you have used this salt and what you think about it? I add nothing else to the water at all. <Do know this salt (was chatting with the owner of the company, Mike Del Prete) over the weekend at the WMC in Monterey... like other brands, makes more... for standard use, the Instant Ocean lines, a bit better, Tropic Marin... but ME is a fine product as well> When I setup the tank I did not put an overflow on the tank. Instead I used an Eheim filter. At the time, I could not understand why a marine tank needed an overflow, but now I understand the benefits. For example, ease of installing a protein skimmer in a sump (just to mention 1 benefit), which I can not do now. Is there some way of installing a protein skimmer under the tank without a sump? <Hmmm, yes... there are "canister types"... as well as hang on (which I would use here), and on top of tank models (like Tunze's...)... See the WWM site re selection.> I prefer not to have it in plan view as the tank is in my office at work. I was also wondering if I need a protein skimmer at all? <Yes, you definitely want one... when you see the gunk it pulls out you will be simultaneously amazed and appalled...> I have seen many web pages where people have reef tanks and use no protein skimmer at all, just do water changes. <Yes... and have extensive, cured live rock, intense lighting, lots of photosynthesis and filter feeding... ONCE the tank/system is completely cured...> I have read that clams remove nitrates from the water as food. Is this true? <Yes... among other things, life forms> What type of clam should I consider buying? or should I stay away from clams? <Look into the cultured tridacnids (Giant Clams)...> Many thanks for your help and time and I look forward to reading your answers to my questions above :) Warmest regards Lucien Cinc <Thank you for writing my curious friend. Do read through our site. We have much to discuss. Bob Fenner>

Anthiine Care Hi Bob, Thanks for the reply :) It's really good to have some to talk to that knows what they are talking about. <Yes, or at least "has reasons that they can/will state" for their apparent opinions>  I was wondering if you could help me and answer some questions. Please note that I am a beginner when it comes to reef tanks. I brought a pair of orange Anthias about 2 weeks ago and to this day I have not been able to get them to eat anything. The tank is a couple of months old. I have tried marine flakes, brine shrimp and those algae flakes, but no luck. I asked the LFS and they told me they will eat the flakes. I have observed them eating algae growing in the tank (the green kind). <Hmm, welcome to our hobby, and rest assured, I will try to help you... Please take a look on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com under the Marine part, Livestock, the Basses, subfamily Anthiinae (the Fancy Basses)... are these fish Pseudanthias squamipinnis pictured there? (the females are all orangish...) As you will know they are zooplanktivores in the wild, eating small crustaceans, worms, other invertebrates and small fish larvae in theater column... you should try offering foods like these, frequently (a few times a day) in vigorous water movement... Also, notice, that like most of the subfamily, these fish live in large aggregations (with one male typically)...> It looks like the Genus Nemanthias; Threadfin Anthias, the picture of the orange one in middle.<Okay> Bad news, today I looked at the tank and one of the Anthias is gone and one is looking quite sad. I suspect he will be gone in a day or less. I knew something bad was about to happen! The cleaner shrimp is hanging  >around the>Anthias now like it knows something is going to happen to it! <Yes, I suspect you are correct> >Humm, this was not supposed to happen. I did a lot of research to make sure >I would not have these problems. I even told the LFS I was a >beginner. When >a brought the corals, I picked ones that I knew were hardy and for >beginners. They are doing fine in the tank but the LFS gave me some >for free >(because I spent a lot of cash that day). The ones he gave me (SPS) >are >looking sad now. Should I take them out of the tank and can they do >any >damage? He gave me some mushrooms also, they look like they are >doing fine >so far.><I would leave the small polyp stony corals in place... they have >relatively little living tissue and their passing will do no real >harm... >if they perish. You know many of this artificial designation are not>easily kept...> >I will invest in a good hang on the side protein skimmer today and >see what >happens and let you know. Should I keep my Eheim filter running with  >the>skimmer or should I replace it with the skimmer? ><Do get, use the skimmer IN ADDITION to the Eheim... they are  >complimentary>>At this point I wish I had >the tank modified and a sump installed, things would have been a lot  >easier>if I had done this. ><Yes, woulda, coulda, shoulda... an aspect of our human experience> >Again, many thanks for your help, I really appreciate it! ><A pleasure my friend. Bob Fenner>Warmest regards >Lucien Cinc

The End of the Anthias... Hi Bob, Both Anthias are gone now :( I moved the tank a couple of inches forward today, so I now have about 4 inches of space behind the tank. I did purchase a SeaClone and set it up behind the tank. It has filled the tank with bubbles and I have been told that I will need to fiddle at bit with it to get it right. It has been about 8 hours and the collection cup smells bad. I will try another brand of skimmer if this one proves to be inadequate. <Sounds like a good plan, yes> I will now be able to setup a hang-on-type of overflow going to a sump and I will move all the equipment into the sump. The tank is 6 foot long, so there is enough room to fit a decent size sump under the tank. This will take me a bit of time to set this all up, but at the end of the day, I think the tank will be more successful if I do this, and if nothing else, all the ugly equipment will be hidden out of sight. <Do look into a Turboflotor, Remora skimmer... and a CPR Refugium... to hang on... you will be pleased. More on these on the www.WetWebMedia.com site> Thanks for all the suggestions (in this email and in the previous emails). I look forward to emailing you with some good news shortly. <And I on receiving it>1 Warmest regards Lucien Cinc <Press on my friend. You are on the verge of great self-improvement here. Bob Fenner>

Evans Anthias and crabs in the reef. Hello The male Evans Anthias came back out after 2 days of not eating and hiding. He now eats and chases his female again. I don't know what happened I am just glad he came back out and made it. <I as well> I have another question concerning small crabs in the reef. I have a 100 lbs of aquacultured Florida rock in this 240. It came with a bunch of little red crabs. They look just like the crab in one of the pictures in your book. The picture is the one where you show the variety of critters on LR. IT has the little red crab a black urchin, and a cucumber on it. I managed to catch one of these little red crabs so I threw him in the sump. Would it be a good idea to put him back in the main system? All these guys seem to do is pick at the LR. Thanks again, Everett <Are you culturing anything in this sump? If so, I would exclude crabs of any size. Otherwise, if this is an unlit filter et al. area, no sweat. Bob Fenner>

Evans Anthias spawning??  About 3 months ago I purchased a pair of female Evans Anthias. I had been considering Anthias for some time and when I said feed these and they gorged on flakes I knew I could keep them.  <One of my fave Anthiine species>  In the past 3 months the fish never got sick or thin. They compete  favorably for food with their tankmates. The larger of the 2 has  definitely pulled a gender switch on me as it is bigger and pinker than the other. In the last week I have noticed what looks to me like spawning behavior. The larger fishes fins will flare up and vibrate and then he undulates around the smaller fish. This whole process looked very similar to my lemon Jake cichlids when they spawn.  <Good observations, agreed.> Today the larger fish wont come out. I feed and he comes out very briefly eats a little and then disappears back into the rock. His fins are not torn, his color is good and their is no evidence of external parasites, and he doesn't look skinny. Usually the pair swims all over the 240g tank and only hide at night. The male looks to be hiding in the same spot. I would appreciate any info on Anthias spawnings you might have. Do the male Anthias guard eggs? That would explain his unusual behavior.  Thanks, Everett <Egg scatterers, live in haremic settings... pelagic development of young... Bob Fenner, a couple of links/WWM and Fishbase below> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anthiina.htm http://www.FishBase.org/Pseudanthias&speciesname=evansi

Lyretail Anthias Bob, I spoke too soon! Approaching the 3 week mark in the quarantine process. The male Lyretail Anthias has shown a 1/8" black spot on its right of the gill cover close to the mouth. It almost looks like an ingrown hair. The spot protrudes approximately 1/16". The Lyretail looks great and acts in a normal mode. Went to the LFS and was told to treat with Formalin for a day or so. Came home and then went to your Wet Web Media. Now I'm confused. Should I try to treat the quarantine tank with Formalin? The two females look fine. Or should I do a quick freshwater dip with Formalin for approximately 10 minutes? I am always open to recommendations. I was really hoping to place them in my mini-reef, but now I am reluctant. Thanks again for your help <IMO, emphatically just the dip and formalin... the Anthiines don't do well, neither do quarantine systems treated with formalin/formaldehyde... likely to do more harm than good as anything other than a dip/bath... and very likely the "black hair thing" is no problem... Do get these fish into a larger system, feeding ASAP... two weeks should be long enough for this protocol/quarantine. Bob Fenner>

Compatibility of Anthias Bob: Are the various Anthias species compatible? I am interested in having the Dispar and Square Box Anthias together specifically. Also, would they do well with a mated pair of maroon clowns and their host bubble anemone? >> >> No problem with the mix of Anthias if the system is VERY BIG, hundreds of gallon... otherwise the Square Box will be crowding the Dispars IMO, and both will leave the Maroons and their anemone alone. Bob Fenner

Look before you leap/purchase I RECENTLY PURCHASE A SQUARE BOX ANTHIAS AGAINST MY BETTER JUDGMENT. <Then why did you buy "him"? I take it this is a/the more colorful gender member> I HAVE HEARD THESE FISH ARE DIFFICULT TO KEEP. <Historically, yes> I HAVE HIM IN A 75 GAL REEF  WITH ONLY TWO OTHER TANK MATES A SCOPAS TANG AND A CORAL BEAUTY. COULD YOU  GIVE ME SOME ADVICE SO THAT I MAY HAVE SOME SUCCESS KEEPING THIS FISH ALIVE?  DO THEY REQUIRE ANY SPECIAL CARE? WILL ONE BE ENOUGH ? >> <Better kept with a couple of females (yellow)... once trained on meaty food items (they're zooplanktivores in the wild>, in a peaceful arrangement (they should be the dominant species), in a large (at least a hundred gallons), with lots of water movement, good filtration, this species can live a good long while... Most die because of one of the above missing elements. Bob Fenner>

Anthias System << I have a 40 gal. reef and would like to add a sunburst Anthias. I already have a regal blue tang and 3 neon gobies. What special needs does the sunburst Anthias require? >> The little bass, Serranocirrhitus latus, is generally sold in the trade (in the west) as the Fathead Anthias, but the older TFH tomes list this fish which was once classified as a Hawkfish (!) as Sunset Anthias. Of a subfamily (Anthiinae) of often-time touchy species, the Sunset/Fathead is a real winner. It does well (or for sure, much better) than most all Anthias in small volumes, and can be maintained as a single/individual (how it is often found in the wild, in contrast to the mostly shoaling Anthiines). This shy beauty needs some dark hiding spaces and zooplankton type foods in its daily diet. The proposed tankmates should be okay (this species needs docile, non-competitive fishes with it), but do keep an eye on that tang. Bob Fenner

Question: I have a mature 75 gal tank with both soft corals and fish and have a few misc. questions that the books don't seem to agree or comment on.

  1. I would really like to get a cow fish. The big question, will the cow fish eat the corals and the shrimps?
  2. I am about to purchase Chevron Tang and would like to know if it safe to add another tang at a later date.
  3. I am considering getting a school of Anthias, any recommendations outside of the Dispar?

Bob's Answer: Hey Blithe, you're right, most books are not in agreement... and if you ask me, many are obviously written by folks who have precious little practical or scientific experience... Yep, the Lactoria (cowfish) will gladly munch all crustaceans and some of your corals. Other tangs, even another Ctenochaetus should mix okay with the Chevron. Just make sure they're larger or much smaller. Need to know more about you, your system to make broad generalizations re: the Anthiinae. There is a huge range of survivability in the group (as large as any other fish family), but I don't want to unduly influence browsers to try expensive fancy basses. Take a gander at Scott Michael's new book for some pointers re: these miniature basses.

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