There is nothing quite as beautiful as a healthy coral reef surrounded by anthias.
Anthias belong to the family Serranidae. There are several different genera within this family that are commonly called anthias (Pseudanthias, Nemanthias, and Serranocirrhitis). The most commonly seen anthias belong to the genus Pseudanthias, of which there are several different species.
There is a lot of color variation among the different anthias species. Often, anthias are orange, but are sometimes pink, purple, or yellow. Whatever their color, anthias are typically beautiful marine fish.
Although anthias are healthy in their natural environment, they are somewhat difficult to keep healthy in captivity and so they should not be kept by inexperienced saltwater aquarists.
In their natural environment, they feed on zooplankton. Zooplankton are microscopic animals that float in the water column that include larval stages of crustaceans, small crustaceans like daphnia, and radiolarians. In the home aquarium anthias should be fed vitamin enriched brine shrimp, other small crustaceans, and frozen meaty food for marine fish. They need to be fed fairly often. Sometimes new specimens are reluctant to eat when first brought into captivity. Offering them live foods will sometimes help them to acclimate to the tank. If they are reluctant to eat, try feeding them zooplankton since this is what they are most familiar with. You can buy commercially prepared zooplankton to feed marine fish that normally eat it.
You can keep them in a reef tank, except that anthias don't like a lot of light in their tanks. Anthias need dim lighting to feel comfortable. You also need to provide lots of rockwork and caves in their tank for them to hide in. However, there are some anthias species that do just fine with reef lighting such as the dispar anthias.
Unless you have a very large aquarium it is best to keep only one anthias in your tank as they tend to be somewhat territorial. However, I find that it is best to have a spacious tank so that you can house more than one. Because anthias like to congregate together on the reef it seems to me like they won't be happy alone. Don't keep them with aggressive tankmates.
Anthias have the ability to change their sex. The dominant female of the group will change her sex to male if there is no male present. In general, males are more colorful than females.
They are typically small fish that range in size from about 1.5-5 inches (4-13 cm) depending on the species.
Prices for anthias vary depending on the species, but is usually somewhere between $25-60.