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What Is The Fish Anthias?

Anthias is a small, colorful fish species commonly found throughout the reefs and open areas of the Indian Ocean, Red Sea, and the warmer parts of the Pacific Ocean. Its scientific name is Anthiinae, which is derived from the Greek anthos meaning “flower.” This is because of its spectacular display of colors, which range from orange to pink, purple, yellow and blue.

The Morphology of Anthias

The most abundant Anthias species can be found in the Indian Ocean, and their iconic colors easily identify them. Whether reef dwellers or open waters species, Anthias are typically small in size, and grow to be no bigger than two inches in length. Anthias contain two dorsal fins with short spines and several soft rays. Their anal fins also have multiple soft spines.

Anthias have a distinctive oblong shaped body that is laterally compressed. They have a single barbel on their lower lip and a long fleshy chin that extends below their lower jaw. The Anthia’s upper jaw contain several rows of narrow, bristle-like teeth.

Anthias Behavior and Social Habits

Anthias are known for exhibiting schooling behaviors, and are typically found in large numbers. During the day, Anthias form tight shoals or schools and remain close to sheltered areas or with other hiding spots. They are slower swimmers compared to their reef dwelling cousins, but can rapidly move to avoid predation. They are also known to nest around corals, rocks and other hard surfaces.

Male Anthias compete for territories and will display their attractive colours to attract females. This competition for territory and for the right to mate often involves displaying aggression towards other males, however, the aggression rarely turns into physical combat.

Anthias two

Diet of Anthias Fish

Anthias primarily feed on a variety of zooplankton that live in the water column. They consume a variety of zooplankton such as copepods and ostracod crustaceans. For their other dietary needs, Anthias supplement their diets with small amounts of floating plants and algae, although they prefer a carnivorous diet. Their soft gums and patterned teeth are designed to capture the small prey and keep them from escaping.

Anthias as Aquarium Fish

Anthias are a popular addition to saltwater aquariums and possess many desirable qualities. They swim in vibrant shoals, and due to their beautiful colors, Anthias can create an aesthetically pleasing addition to any aquarium.

Anthias require a medium sized aquarium, with a range of 25 to 50 gallons for the most commonly kept species. The aquarium water should always be well-oxygenated and clean, and the parameters should be kept stable to prevent large fluctuations in temperature, pH, and salinity.

Anthias should be provided with plenty of swimming space, ample hiding places, and plenty of live rock, as they are a reef safe fish species. The reef framework helps them to establish territories and interact with each other. They should be provided with plenty of live rock and coral skeletons to allow them to graze on the natural microfauna. As their diet relies heavily on a planktonic source of food, they should also be fed with plenty of either frozen or live food.


Anthias are a popular and stunning fish species that can add a great deal of variety, vitality, and beauty to an aquarium. With their unique colors and behaviors, Anthias make a great addition to many aquariums. However, it is important to ensure that the aquarium is fully ready before adding Anthias as they require clean, oxygenated water, plenty of swimming space and a varied diet in order to thrive. With the required conditions and plenty of care, Anthias can thrive and bring joy to both their environment and the aquariums in which they are kept.

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