One of the best things about having a saltwater aquarium is the range of beautiful marine life you can have in your home. One wonderful family of saltwater fish are the anthias. These fish are pretty small and are seen in the wild populating the coral reefs.
These fish can be kept in shoals or by themselves, or in small groups. Each species has its own preference, so once you decide on the anthia that you want, be sure to check out the habitat and tankmates that they prefer! A lot of species of anthias like to hang out in groups of one dominant male and a small group of females.
According to Wikipedia, these fish are hermaphrodites and when the dominant male in the group dies, the largest female will turn into a male and take over the role as the leader.
In their natural habitat, anthias feed off zooplankton. If there is not enough of this in your saltwater aquarium, add brine shrimp and other meaty crustaceans for the anthias. A lot of anthias don’t really like light, so make sure your aquarium has darkened places for them to hide out in if they so wish.
There are lots of beautiful anthias available for your saltwater aquarium, but we have picked the five best! They are all pretty hardy in saltwater aquariums and are reef safe, but some do have a tendency to be a bit picky when it comes to food. Make sure you research the species in depth before you purchase your anthia.
Princess anthias (pseudanthias smithvanizi) are . They have a beautiful pink body with small yellow spots. They have a lovely long tailfin that flows in the water which has a yellow-orange shine to it and blue tips.
The rich and distinct colors and hues of princess anthias make them a really sought after saltwater aquarium fish. However, princess anthias are one of the more demanding anthias on the list, so not appropriate for beginners! They find it really hard to acclimatize to saltwater aquariums and get stressed easily.
The squarespot or squareback anthias (pseudanthias pleurotaenia) is a popular choice amongst saltwater aquarium enthusiasts because of its unique look. Female squareback anthias are mostly yellow, with a pale purple belly. They sometimes have purple stripes that faintly run along the side of them.
Males are mostly orange or pink, with a purple stomach and square on the side of them. If you look closely at the male of the species, you will notice so many different highlights on their bodies of blues, purples, pinks, and yellows that look extremely striking. A lot of males have spots on their anal fin and highlights of purple that run along the top of the dorsal fin. A truly stunning species and one that will be a showstopper in any saltwater aquarium!
The evansi anthias (pseudanthias evansi) is a smaller species of anthias and is also known as the yellowtail goldie. The majority of its body is a rich violet color, however, its tail, dorsal fin, and upper body are yellow.
The contrast between the two colors is really beautiful and makes this a stunning species of anthia to have in your saltwater aquarium. There are yellow and orange dots that scatter along where the violet and yellow meet, creating a wonderful glow. They also usually have an orange line that runs from their eyes to their pectoral fin.
Keeping a group of these anthias in your saltwater aquarium gives an amazing pop of color that brings so much life to the tank. However, these anthias can be difficult to look after so if you are a beginner we would not recommend them.
Red Saddled Anthias
These wonderful fish are a striking addition to a saltwater aquarium. The red saddled anthias (pseudanthias flavoguttatus) have a distinctive pattern of blotches that run along their backs. They normally come in a pinky yellow color with orange saddles lining their backs.
Some have hues of purples and violets in their coloration, and every fish is special and unique, with its own wonderful colors! Some appear to have spots along their side.
These fish have a wonderful temperate and are amazing to watch in your aquarium. They are really active, always swimming around and having fun! A perfect ornamental fish.
The lyretail anthias (Pseudanthias squamipinnis) are a beautiful species of anthias. They can grow quite big for anthias, as the males can grow up to five inches! The females of this species are a lovely shade of orange which can fade to a yellow on their fins and at their stomach.
A male lyretail anthia comes in a striking dark red or purple. Its main body is a darker shade, with its fins a lighter red. The fins and stomach of this fish can have a glow of blue, and often there will be a stripe of dark red that goes from its eyes to its pectoral fins. The anal fin is often a lighter color or orange and yellow. What makes this anthia super unique is the long tip it has on its dorsal fin. A wonderful looking fish!
This fish is also really friendly and active and really brings a lot of energy into a saltwater aquarium.
Which Anthia Will You Pick?
Anthias are an amazing family of fish, with so many unique species to pick from. Even each fish of a species seems to be unique, with different shades, spots, and stripes. A truly striking fish!
If you are wanting to add anthias into your saltwater aquarium, remember to look into all the needs of the specific species that you are wishing to purchase. Remember, some have difficulties acclimatizing to the tank, so make sure you know how to do the process to ensure the best possible chance for your new fish!
These fish are reef safe and super friendly, and look amazing. The variety is overwhelming! What species of anthia is your favorite?
Do you have to feed them anything specific?
Anthias can be challenging eaters to start – but we suggest trying multiple options with them until you find the magic! They often respond well to pods and small particle foods – such as reefroids for corals and flake food. We have a package that has been a hot find with finicky eaters – it has several options for them to try and your other fish will be happy as well!! https://aquariumdepot.com/complete-food-pack-for-reef-aquarium-small/
I have anthias for years – there are so many that are stunning – and as a great schooling fish – they add so much color and movement to your tank – one of my fave fish for sure!!