Anthias: A Complete Care Guide

Anthias are one of the most common favorite fish amongst the saltwater aquarium hobbyist. The most common Anthias that we get for our tank are all from the genus Pseudoanthias and they are further divided into 79 subspecies in that genus.

But when it comes to the aquarium we have just access to 25 of these subspecies and all the Anthias are going to be colorful, small, perch-like fish that do best wither singly or in a small group. 

Anthias in the wild

The First Anthia was discovered in 1758 in the North-eastern Atlantic ocean. Anthias are most commonly found in the tropical oceans around the world, sometimes in giant schools with hundred or even thousands of individual fish. 

Inside the school, Anthias tend to form smaller groups called Harems. Each Harem is made up of one male and about 10-12 female fish, in the wild. When the dominant male dies or gets eaten; the largest female transitions to a male.

An interesting fact about Anthias all of them are born female.

Males often have different colors than the females of the same species. For instance, male Lyretail Anthias are bright purple with a nice red accent, while females are uniformly orange.

Anthias in captivity

In-home aquariums, Anthias do best in odd-numbered groups of females. This results in the dominant first changing to a male, which takes a few months to complete.

Anthias are territorial and the male will defend its territory from other Anthias of the same species.

Selecting your first Anthia

You are just starting off with these fish then you can go for Lyretail, Bartletts, or Dispar Anthias. these three species will get you accustomed to requirements that need to be met to keep these fishes healthy, while also being hardy enough to be willing to try whatever you have to feed them and go through a few beginner's mistakes.

Care guide

Tank size

All Anthias require a medium to a large tank, about 55-gallon or so at the minimum, but bigger is always better because they are active swimmers.

Also being Active swimmers, Anthias require several small feedings throughout the day. These are not fish that will do well with a single feeding each day.

Feeding routine

If you cannot be home to feed them multiple times a day then you can try an automatic feeder, and try to feed your Anthias 4-5 times each day. But watch your water quality and ensure that they are also maintaining the required water parameters.

Your other fish will also enjoy the feedings that you drop for your Anthias. Once Anthias get established in your tank, you can feed anything. You can start them on live brine shrimps or blackworms, but after that, they seem to love both frozen food and pellets.

Pellets are particularly nice because you can feed them using automatic feeders which helps in keeping the fish healthy.

Rockwork and caves

Anthias love to swim in the open water, but they will only o that if they feel safe and have rockwork to hide in. It is important to give them plenty of caves, nooks, and crannies. So, that they can feel safe so that they can feel safe.

Anthias will also sleep amongst the rockwork at night. Some anthias will even perch on the rock from time to time, but in general, they will be bold and active fish in the open water parts of your aquarium.

Tight-fitting lid

They are also a big-time jumper, so you want to make sure to have a tight-fitting lid over the top. They will jump out even if they find a small opening they can fit in, so you want to cover everything properly.

Unusual Anthias

Once you are comfortable with your ability and maybe wanting an Anthia that is a little bit unusual or more of a challenge to keep, you can go for the Evansi and Ignitus Anthias. Or for even more of a challenge, you can look at Loris or Flavoguttatus Anthias.

Keep in mind that Anthias are found all over the world and some of them, like the Ignitus Anthia, are from deeper waters that will appreciate the cooler temperature and subdues lighting in your tank. 

Otherwise, normal reef tank conditions will work great for almost all Anthias, so do a quick research of the species you are interested in before buying it. That is off to do no matter what you are buying and you will find quickly if that Anthia is going to be special care like a deep water species or any other one.



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