News / Species Spotlight / Painted Anthias (Pseudanthias pictilis) (09/20/17)

Painted Anthias (Pseudanthias pictilis)

Species Spotlight - Painted Anthias (Pseudanthias pictilis)
The beautiful little basslets in the genus Pseudanthias are full of color and splendor, but few of the species in this highly diverse group can match the magnificence of the Painted Anthias (P. pictilis). Males sport a neon purple on the forebody that contrasts spectacularly against the crimson of the rear, with vertical bands of purple and white helping to add a bit of visual excitement. Females are a different beast altogether, adorned in a coat of magenta and yellow that calls to mind the similar look of P. bimaculatus.
Alas, the Painted Anthias is as rare as it is beautiful. The species has an interesting subtropical distribution, being found only in portions of New Caledonia (from whence our specimens originate), the southernmost portions of the Great Barrier Reef, and the isolated oceanic islands situated between these regions, like Lord Howe and Norfolk. Quite a few reef fishes share this range, and, almost without exception, these tend to be some of the more desirable species in the aquarium trade. Think of the famed Conspic Angel (Chaetodontoplus conspicillatus) or the Latezonatus Anemonefish (Amphiprion latezonatus) or Laboutes Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus laboutei). Together, these would make for an impressive biotope display.

Like most anthias, P. pictilis favors moderately deep waters, typically in the 10-40 meter range, where it can be found hovering about in harems. Aquarium care is generally no different than for others in this group, requiring a mix of small, meaty foods like mysis and chopped krill, preferably fed multiple times each day. Larger aquariums are certainly recommended, as males reach nearly six inches in length and are relatively active swimmers. As this species originates from somewhat cooler waters, a chiller may be required to keep temperatures comfortably in the mid-70s. Males and females can certainly be mixed, with multiple females being recommended for each male present.