Anthias are active, colorful, reef safe, and generally quite peaceful fish. They pose little to no danger to any other aquarium inhabitant, other than small competing zooplanktivores, such as dart fish and flasher wrasses, which they may chase into hiding.
The key to success with anthias is frequent feeding. Because of their activity level they have a very high metabolic rate, and should be fed a minimum of three times daily. Diet should include plenty of high quality meaty items such as frozen Mysis shrimp, marine algae and Spirulina, enriched brine shrimp and Calanus. Anthias are such enthusiastic feeders they usually learn to eat dry foods quickly, but if they are fussy the dry food can be mixed in with the frozen to encourage consumption. A refugium is helpful in supplementing the main aquarium with live prey items. Additional supplements and vitamins may also aid in maintaining the fish's vivid colors.
Anthias are prone to jumping from the aquarium when startled or excited so we recommend a secure lid.
In the wild most anthias species are found in huge shoals consisting of mainly females and juveniles. In the aquarium they are perfectly happy alone, but if a shoal is desired the aquarium must be of sufficient size to ensure the smallest and weakest fish have space to escape the larger and more aggressive members. A group of at least six females added together can work, and in time the largest fish transforms into the dominant male. He is typically brighter and more colorful than his harem. If he will be added together along with his shoal then as many females and juveniles as possible should be added.
Few fish can compare to the beauty of the rare Pictillis anthias. Both sexes are awash in color; males have a magenta back, orange face and ruby red tail. The middle of the caudal fin is pale yellow and the tips are white, making it look like a flag. Females are an intense pink with lemon yellow along the back and caudal fin. They are best kept singly, as a pair or small harem. It grows up to 6 inches; we recommend an aquarium at least 125 gallons for a single fish and larger for a group.
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