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Common name: Lyretail Anthias, Squami Anthias, Pink Anthias, Scalefin Anthias, Jewel Anthias
Scientific name: Pseudanthias squamipinnis
Max size: 6 in / 15 cm
Temperature: 72-78ºF (22-26°C)
The Lyretail anthias is known under many different names, such as Squami Anthias, Pink Anthias, Scalefin Anthias, and Jewel Anthias. Lyretail anthias or Orange lyretail anthias are however the most commonly used names for this species. It is one of the largest anthias and it is also one the hardiest and most readily available species. You should usually be able to get a hold of this fish without too much trouble. It is a good choice if you want to try keeping anthias.
The lyretail anthias is unlike many other anthias species easy to care for and can be recommended to beginners that have an aquarium large enough to house them. They need large aquariums despite their small size as they have a semi-pelagic lifestyle and swim a lot.
The lyretail anthias is a species that shows extremely large variation. There are almost solid pink lyretail anthias as well as those who display a pink body whit a white yellow band across it. The band is about 1/3 of the body length of the fish. There is also a peach colored strain of this species. The females are yellow with a pink and purple stripe running from the eye towards the pelvic fins.
They can be somewhat sensitive when first introduced to the aquarium and the aquarium should if possible not contain any aggressive fish while your lyretail anthias are acclimatizing. The lyretail anthias should if possible be introduced to the tank before other species even if this is less important when introducing this species than for many other species. If you want to keep a group you should introduce all lyretail anthias at the same time. Once your anthias fish feel at home you can house them with more aggressive species such as dwarf angels. They do however do best without other fish species present.
The lyretail anthias is reef safe and will usually not be a hazard for ornamental shrimp and other invertebrates.
The lyretail anthias originates form the Indo-West Pacific. It can be found in the Red Sea and along the East African coast line all the way down to Natal in South Africa and eastwards to Niue. They can be found as far north as Japan and as far south as Australia.
Lyretail Anthias care and aquarium setup
A 50 gallon/200 l tank is enough if you want to keep a single lyretail anthias. If you want to keep a group with one male and several females you should consider a larger aquarium. I recommend one no smaller than 100gallon 400(350)L. If you want to keep several lyretail anthias male you will need an even larger aquarium. I don't recommend trying this in an aquarium smaller than 250 gallons / 1000L.
The lyretail anthias lives above coral reefs in the wild and your aquarium need to mimic the conditions they faces in the wild. This includes rapid current, hiding places and open water.
To provide them with a suitable environment you should make sure that the aquarium has strong circulation with a few calmer areas where tired lyretail anthias can rest. The aquarium should contain a lot of caves among live rocks. Try to provide them with a couple of large overhang where they can rest when they want to come out of the light. Feel free to include corals in the decoration. Make sure that you leave plenty of open space for your lyretail anthias to swim on when you decorate the aquarium. They prefer a not too brightly lit aquarium.
Ideal conditions for the lyretail anthias is pH 8.1-8.4, salinity 1.020-1.025 and temperature 72-78ºF (22°C - 26°C)
Feeding Lyretail Anthias
Giving your lyretail anthias a proper diet and enough food are two of the most important aspects of keeping this species. They feed on plankton in the wild and in aquariums you need to give them a varied diet. They might or might not accept flake food. They have very small mouths and need to be fed small food. Suitable food can for instance be mysid shrimps, vitamin enriched brine shrimp, and finely chopped sea food. You should feed your lyretail anthias at least 3 times a day. Feeding them color enhancing food can help make sure that they don't loose their color.
Breeding Lyretail Anthias
Sexing lyretail anthias is easy: the males are more colorful than the yellow females. The male also has a very elongated dorsal spine while females don't.
The lyretail anthias is a protogynous hermaphroditic species. This means that all lyretail anthias are born as females and only develop into males if there is a shortage of males. If the male fall prey to a predator the dominant female turns into a male in a couple of weeks. Once they have turned into males they can not turn back. If you buy a group of juveniles you will end up with a harem.
No one has as far as we know successfully bred lyretail anthias in aquariums.