Pseudanthias squamipinnisPETERS 1855
Type Locality: Mozambique
Range: Widespread in the Indo-West Pacific, Red Sea and Natal, South Africa to Niue, north to Japan, south to Australia
Taxonomic Troubles: Originally described as Serranus squamipinnis. Also known as Anthias squamipinnis, and the specific name is often misspelled.
Size: cm TL (6 inches) male, 7 cm TL (2.75 inches) female.
Preferred Water Chemistry: Tropical marine.
Difficulty: While no anthias are recommended for beginners, this is probably the hardiest of the group. Reef safe, but may eat small shrimps.
Tank Setup: Lots of live-rock nooks and crannies will supply needed cover, but this is an active fish and requires a large aquarium, preferably 70 gallons or better. Needs a good current and high oxygenation. Can be nasty toward small, docile fish.
Feeding: A planktonivore that needs frequent small feedings, preferably of live foods. Can usually be trained to take frozen foods and small pellets.
Breeding: This fish is a protogynous hermaphrodite, with the dominant female in a group becoming a male if the male is lost. Males are territorial and keep harems.
As is typical with fishes with broad ranges, there is some difference among populations, all basically variations on the theme of gold and red, with an orange/blue stripe on the cheek. Males are purplish. The fins attract as much attention as the colors, with the lunate caudal and full dorsal both more elaborate on the male, which also has a greatly elongated third dorsal spine.
Notes: This anthias is probably the best choice if you must have one. Be aware that all anthias need perfect water conditions and very frequent feedings—on the reef they feed constantly on plankton. They fail rapidly when not properly fed. Although often recommended to be kept in schools, single specimens often fare better, especially in smaller systems. Under no circumstances should you house two males in the same aquarium. If you purchase several females, one should eventually turn into a male.