News / Species Spotlight / Barber Perch (Caesioperca rasor) (03/14/18)

Barber Perch (Caesioperca rasor)

Species Spotlight - Barber Perch (Caesioperca rasor)
Caesioperca is a small genus, just two species strong, found exclusively in the temperate waters of Australia and New Zealand. As such, this is not a group which appears much within the aquarium trade, but these fishes certainly have much to offer. Mature specimens attain a size of 10-12 inches, with males boasting the sorts of extraordinary color patterns one expects in an anthias.

The Barber Perch, which Quality Marine was pleased to acquire for the first time recently, occurs all along Australias southern shores, as well as into Tasmania. Like most anthias, this species changes appearance dramatically with age. Juveniles are a pale pink and sport a darkened head. Females eventually lose the dingy head and develop a faint blue line under the eye. Eventually, the largest of these turn male, and its now that the Barbers Perch truly shines. Bright blue spots emerge on each scale, and those along the back coalesce into a beautiful caerulean splash. Additionally, a vertical black bar appears along the midbody and another horizontal bar on the caudal peduncle.

The only other member of the group is the Butterfly Perch (Caesioperca lepidoperca). This fish grows larger (12 vs. 10 inches) and, in addition to Australia, it also occurs further east, into New Zealand. Its colors are similar, but, in general, more muted. The base coloration stays a bit redder in tone, compared to the yellow hue found in the Barbers Perch, and a series of irregularly arranged red scales feature prominently. There is considerably less blue to the scales, and the black bars are represented by a single blotch.

Though Casioperca naturally occur in groups, often found feeding high above the bottom, a single specimen will fare fine in captivity. When kept singly, it becomes increasingly important to provide a dense rockwork into which they can hide. Given that these fishes originate from the cool waters of temperate Australia, a chiller is recommended, though this will naturally constrain some of the potential tankmates. Feed a varied diet of meaty foods.