Serranocirrhitus latus                         Fathead Anthias   /   Sunburst Basslet

Anthias oh my dear Anthias, what beauty abounds our coral reefs non more so than in the sub family Anthiinae… for here lie the coral perches, without a shadow of doubt the most beautiful, delicate, gob smacking fish. No artist alive could create such vivid beauty. But slam on the breaks—do not go out and purchase just yet.

There are a few aspects to consider when looking at this group of fish. Forget about the colour, the reef compatibility, etc.—and let’s look at their other traits. First and foremost is their diet. In the wild they hover around coral heads picking off small planktonic animals as they pass by. You will have to feed at least twice per day, the more feedings the better or they will stress out and quickly die. They also exhibit great shoaling behaviour, one that must be met in the aquarium, no less than five, and ten is better. This will take up quite a bit of stocking space and pressure on the pocket.

Another unusual fact like the clown fish they can change sex, if the large male dies then the largest female changes sex, in large groups, scientists removed all the males at once, the exact number of females then started to change sex.

I have chosen the fathead because they are the more hardy of all the family even though they are not the most colourful, yet gob-smacking in their own right. Also these will live happily on their own or in small groups of less than five. They shimmer in the light and are a fantastic sight to behold in any aquarium.

You will have to feed at least twice a day with small meaty foods such as brine shrimp, mysis, chopped cockle and mussel, and don’t forget those vitamins to enhance vitality and coloration. Live brine shrimp once or twice a week will be gratefully received.

They originate from deeper down the reef slope so are not used to intense lighting. When acclimating to your aquarium turn off the lights, and leave them off for the rest of the day. In the morning you will have a de-stressed fish, that will live without light stress for the rest of their days.

The more hardy of this clan will still need a very high level of water quality, with total oxygen saturation, so they are only fish for the more experienced, and expect to pay around £30 – £40.00 each. If you decide to keep them it is a good idea to order as they are not common and you could wait a while for your dealer to acquire them for you.

You wont be disappointed with this beast, I personally would sell my body for one, but there are not many blind dealers around…

Family                         Serranidae

Name                           Serranocirrhitus latus

Location                      Indo Pacific

Size                              9 cm

Feeding                       Small meaty vitamin enriched foods, at least twice per day

Reef Compatibility     Great reef fish

Difficulty                      Medium/Hard, for the more dedicated aquarist