Best for Experienced Owners
Size: Small to medium
Activity Level: High
Anthias are native to the tropical waters and reefs in the Pacific and Indian oceans. There are about 10 different species of anthias available as pets. Anthias are quite popular with saltwater fish hobbyists, as they are brightly colored and moderately peaceful. Anthias are best suited for experienced saltwater fish owners, as they tend to be difficult to maintain. Anthias are hermaphrodites, they are all born female but the largest females turn into males.
Anthias are active and moderately peaceful fish that prefer to live in small schools of 3-13, with one male and the rest females. Female anthias are generally peaceful, but male anthias are very dominant and territorial. Anthias can cohabitate with a wide variety of other saltwater fish that are around the same size and temperament as themselves such as the larger species of gobies, small angelfish, blennies, clownfish, and wrasse to name a few. Anthias should not share a tank with fish that are smaller than themselves as they may eat them. Anthias are diurnal, which means that they are more active during the day than night.
Anthias require 2 gallons of aquarium space per inch of fish; depending on the species of anthias they can grow to be from 2-5 inches long so requires about 4-10 gallons of tank space. Anthias naturally live in tropical saltwater areas, so their aquarium should be set up to mimic their natural habitat as much as possible. The bottom of the aquarium should be covered in about two inches of sea sand and should include some hollow rocks or logs, coral, or other things for the anthias to hide in or swim through. The aquarium will also require a water filtration system, an internal water pump, water heater, thermometer and a hydrometer to check salt levels. The aquarium can also include some real or fake plants. The temperature of the water should be around 72-80 Fahrenheit and have a salinity of 1.020 to 1.025. The aquarium light should be on during the day and turned off at night.
Appearance and Care:
Anthias are very bright attractive fish that measure 2-5 inches from nose to tail when full grown. Male anthias are larger and more brightly colored than female anthias are. Anthias come in a variety of different colours and patterns such as bright pink with yellow highlights and pink-white underbelly; bright blue with white dots; bright purple with bright green highlights and markings; and neon orange with lime green spots.
Anthias are carnivores; they eat a mixture of commercial fish food, crustaceans, and small fish. Anthias do not have to be fed live food, but many prefer it and are usually healthier for it. Anthias usually enjoy shrimp, small crabs, zooplankton, small fish such as gobies or dragonets, and krill. Anthias should be feed two to three times a day, because they have a high metabolism.
Anthias require a lot of dedication to ensure their environment is sustained properly, and can be difficult to maintain. If maintained properly, they have a life span of 5-10 years, depending on the species.