How to take care of Anthias fish?

We will talk about anthias fish care in this blog post.We will also discuss important factors such as their habitat, types,lifespan,tank set-up, water parameters and healthcare, etc.Everything you need to know about anthias fish care will be briefly discussed.


In this blog post

  • Key specifications of anthias fish
  • Why is anthias fish care important?
  • How many anthias fish should you start with as a newcomer?
  • Habitat of anthias fish
  • Types of anthias fish
  • Different strains or colors of anthias fish
  • General and physical attributes of anthias fish
  • Anthias fish lifespan
  • Anthias fish tank set-up
  • Anthias fish diet and feeding requirements
  • Anthias fish healthcare and health conditions
  • Anthias fish daily care and Bi-weekly care
  • Summary

How to take care of Anthias fish?

Daily care tips for anthias

  • Water quality should be monitored regularly with the help of good quality water testing kits, because they produce lots of biological waste in the tank, and if it is left unchecked it can ruin the water quality.
  • Feed them small portions 5-6 times a day.Avoid overfeeding. 
  • Remove uneaten food regularly from their tank.
  • Cover their tank with a screen top everyday.
  • Observe their behavior regularly.
  • Remove aggressive tank mates to a separate tank.

Bi-weekly care tips  for anthias

  • Frequent water changes recommended.
  • Quarantine new members in a separate aquarium or tanks for 15-20 days before introducing them to the main aquarium.
  • Even live food should be quarantined for 2-3 weeks before feeding anthias to avoid various parasitic and protozoan infections.
  • Tank decors and other tank accessories should be cleaned from time to time to avoid infections as they harbor bacteria in them which are not good for the tank environment.

Key specifications of Anthias fish

GenusAnthiasPseudanthias (kept in captivity)
FamilySerranidae (ray finned fish)
HabitatConservation statusIndo-pacificLeast concern
Lifespan5-6 years 
DietPlanktivores (wild)Omnivores (aquarium)
Body sizeBody shapeColor4-6 inches in length Deep elongated bodyRich violet (majorly)
Another namesSwallowtail sea perchMarine goldfish
Optimum temperatureOptimum pHWater hardnessSpecific gravity72F-78F8.1-8.48-12 dKH1.020-1.025
Beginner or experienced 
Some are peaceful and some territorial Experienced level mostly
Care levelDifficult (Purple anthias especially)
Tank size and set-upTank type (Prefered)Male to female ratio55 gallons (minimum)Reef tanks or solitary tanks1 male: many females
Preferred plants/decorationsCoral set-up is preferred with live rocks
CompatibilityNon-aggressive species
Number of anthias fish species found 27 genresPseudanthias-79 species (25 different species in aquarium hobby)
BreedingNot much is known about their breeding in captive conditions, since they are protogynous hermaphrodites.

Why is anthias fish care important?

Anthias are one of the most beautiful and hardier fish in aquarium hobby.They are famous for their bright colouration and hyperactive behavior.

Taking care of these deep water species is a bit challenging because they take a lot of time to adjust and secondly feeding them is quite tough.

They don’t get satisfied with just one or two feedings per day because of their hyperactive metabolism.

How many anthias fish should you start with as a newcomer?

As a newcomer,I would suggest you to go ahead with lyretails,barletts, or dispar anthias.They adapt well in home aquariums unlike other species of anthias.

Feeding them won’t be challenging because they accept whatever you feed them.

Male to female ratio -1 male for every 5-8 females (multiple females)

Habitat of anthias fish

Anthias are saltwater fish and are majorly found in Atlantic ocean and mediterranean sea (reefs).

Origin- Fiji,Indonesia and Melanesia 

Types of anthias fish

  • Pseudanthias (Anthias famous in aquariums)
  • Anthias anthias
  • Anthias asperilinguis 
  • Anthias cyprinoides
  • Anthias helenensis
  • Anthias menezesi
  • Anthias nicholsi
  • Anthias noeli
  • Anthias woodsi

Different strains or colors of anthias fish

Male anthias come in huge varieties of colors than females.

  • Bright red 
  • Pink squares
  • Sherbet orange
  • Electric yellow
  • Light purple polka dots
  • Males anthias are purple -red in color
  • Female anthias are orange in color 

General and physical attributes of anthias fish

  • Protogynous hermaphrodite-All anthias are born females and when the males die, the largest among all will turn into a males in the harem.
  • Harem is a shoaling group of anthias.
  • Body size differs from species to species in anthias.
  • Female anthias are smaller in size.

Anthias fish lifespan

Anthias can live between 5-6 years if their feeding is taken care of well.They are greedy eaters and require frequent feeding and vitamin-enriched food.So if you want them to live longer in aquarium conditions then kindly feed them properly,make a proper diet chart or time table for feeding them.Overfeeding is not allowed in any case.

Anthias fish tank set-up

Tank sizeLight intensitySubstrate/decorationWater parametersTemperatureTank plantsTank mates

Tank size for anthias

Anthias do best either singly or in a small group.They are usually kept one specimen per aquarium.Medium to large size aquariums will be better for them.It is advised to keep them in longer aquariums.

Tank region-Anthias occupy the middle region of the tanks and they mostly swim there in harems.

Anthias are active swimmers and need a tank size of 55 gallons or even bigger than this.

Tank size:

  • Tank size per anthias- 125 gallons
  • Tank size for a single lyretail anthias- 70 gallons
  • Tank size for ignitus anthias when kept alone- 70 gallons
  • Tank size for a small group of 5 anthias- 150 gallons
  • Tank size for a small group of 5 anthias-180 gallons

Anthias prefer lots of hiding spots in their aquarium like their original habitat.

Anthias are great jumpers and can leap out of the tank when threatened,so it is advised to put a tight hood or lid on top of the tank to avoid such situations.

Light intensity for anthias

Anthias appreciate a dimmer aquarium with subdued lighting.

Substrate/decoration for anthias

Substrate-Substrate don’t play a great role in anthias tanks,since they occupy the middle regions of the tank.They mostly like reef settings,so substrate is not an important factor in their tanks.

Decorations- Live rock works,darkened caves, nooks, crannies.They feel safe and secure and even rest there during night hours. 

Avoid keeping sharp or pointed aquarium decors in the tank as it can hurt your anthias.

Water parameters for anthias

Water movement- Fast moving, strong currents in natural habitat so they need the same water movements in their home aquariums too with proper oxygenation.

Use a proper filtration system to keep levels of ammonia, nitrate and nitrite should be 0ppm in the tanks.

Don’t let the levels of organic pollutants rise in aquariums,because it will disturb the water chemistry and make it unsuitable for anthias to survive.Frequent water changes can keep their tanks free from bioaccumulation of organic pollutants.

Temperature for anthias

Anthias come from deep waters and they would like to have cooler temperatures in their aquariums.

Make sure there are no temperature fluctuations in the tank,though some of them can tolerate temperature fluctuations but it’s not the case with all anthias.

Sudden changes in temperature can kill your fish or might make them sluggish which is not a good sign at all.Temperature plays a very important role in fish metabolism cycle.

It’s recommended to maintain the same water temperature conditions like their natural habitat to above mentioned conditions.

Reef aquarium temperature- 78F-84F

Tank plants for anthias

Anthias prefer coral-reef tank displays.

Tank mates for anthias

They are best kept alone but if you are planning to keep them in community tanks with other species then choose peaceful saltwater, non-aggressive and bottom-dwellers as their tank-mates.Choose their tank mates wisely.

Suitable tank mates for anthias fish:

  • Clownfish
  • Pygmy angels
  • Cardinals 
  • Basslets 
  • Reef species – invertebrates and corals

Anthias fish diet and feeding requirements

Feeding frequency-They are metabolically hyperactive and require several feedings many times a day.Feed them small portions many times a day.

You can use automatic feeders to feed them 3-6 times a day.Frequent feedings is must for anthias.Feed them vitamin enriched food for their good health and better colors. 

  • Live and frozen food- brine shrimp,blackworms,fish eggs,calanus
  • Small floating Pellets (It can be given through automatic feeders if you are not around)
  • Feed them carotenoid enriched food for maintaining their vibrant colors.
  • They can be given high quality flake(ocean nutrition prime reef) food too in their diets.
  • Bartlett’s anthias-They easily adapt among other anthias in aquarium settings and accept prepared foods and everything you give to them.
  • Ignitus anthias-Feed them frozen mysis, brine shrimp and copepods.
  • Purple queen anthias-They are tough to care for because of their feeding habits.They need the right feeding habits and diet to thrive in artificial habitats.
  • Yellow striped fairy basslets-It is quite difficult to feed them.

Anthias fish healthcare and health conditions

Anthias are hardy species and rarely get infections,but the tank water conditions are not proper and they are not fed properly then definitely they can catch various bacterial and virus infections.

  • Swim bladder disease or uronema- irregular swimming patterns.
  • Buoyancy disorders are difficult to treat, so it’s important to maintain proper tank conditions for your anthias to avoid such serious disease.


  • Anthias are not recommended for beginners because feeding them is a challenging task and there are other parameters too which need to be taken care of properly.
  • Standard tank reef parameters are best for keeping anthias.
  • Very active and hardy species have complex social structure and are advised to keep one fish per aquarium.
  • 1 male for every 3 females or even more should be maintained if keeping them in harem.
  • Anthias are reef fish,so replicate the same reef look in their aquarium to give them a feel of their natural habitat.
  • Anthias are usually peaceful fish but get aggressive if not fed properly on other small fish.

Frequently asked questions on anthias fish care:

Can we keep anthias in a community tank?

Yes,anthias can be kept in community tanks but it would be better to keep 1 male with many females or just male in a solitary tank. Keeping males together will not be a good idea. Female anthia should outnumber male anthias in the aquarium.

Can we keep male lyretail anthias and squareback anthias in groups?

It is advised to keep male lyretail anthias and squareback anthias alone because they lose their colors.

Are anthias schooling fish?

Anthias are shoaling fish.They are not schooling fish except dispar anthias

Which anthia fish is easy to care for?

Among all anthias lyretail anthias are very easy to care for.