The Lyretail Anthias (Pseudanthias squamipinnis, Peters, 1855), also known as the Scalefin Anthias, is among the most popular Anthias available in the aquarium trade today. This colorful fish is relatively hardy, active, and accepting of multiple environments and tankmates. Lyretail Anthias form very large aggregations in shallow reefs, where they spend the day picking small plankton out of the water. These fish need both room to swim as well as ledges or rockwork to hide/rest in. Given their activity level, a larger tank is preferred, with a 75 gallon tank being adequate for a single fish. Creating a harem consisting of a single male and multiple females, which is ideal of these fish, should be done in an even larger tank. In the wild, a male may have many females in his harem, though two or three in an aquarium is adequate.
Diet: In the wild, Lyretail Anthias will catch zooplankton throughout the day as it passes through the water column. To mimic their diet in the wild, it is best to feed a variety of meaty or prepared foods at least 4 times daily, in small rations. Suggestions include enriched brine or mysis shrimp, properly sized whole fish or shrimp, as well as Sustainable Aquatics’ own Hatchery Diet.
Physical: Lyretail Anthias are sexually dimorphic, meaning it is easy to tell male from female. Anthias begin life as females and transition to male as the hierarchy allows. The transition can occur as quickly as one or two weeks. Females are a bright orange from head to tail with a blue ring around their eyes as well as a blue stripe running horizontally from their eye to their pectoral fin. Males, on the other hand, are typically a bright red, sometimes with a splash of blue along the fins. Males will usually have an elongated dorsal spine as well. Though generally the female colors remain the same regardless of geographic location, the color and patterns of males differs depending on where it was collected. For instance, our male Lyretails from Kenya have an orange belly and red body, whereas our males from Fiji are essentially red throughout.
Temperament: In general, Lyretail Anthias are peaceful fish that will get along with other tank inhabitants, so long as they are provided a proper diet and enough room to freely swim about. When underfed or kept in cramped conditions, they have been known to become aggressive towards smaller, more passive fish. Also, if introduced to a tank as a group, they may fight to establish a hierarchy, the most dominant becoming the male, and all of the others remaining females.
Size: Males tend to be larger than females, and can reach a total length of 5 inches.
Distribution: The Lyretail Anthias can be found throughout the tropical Indian Ocean, as well as the western Pacific Ocean. Anthias for our Sustainable Islands division generally hail from either Kenya or Fiji.