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Anthias Care Sheet

Developed with and approved by a qualified veterinarian.

anthias care sheet

This care sheet covers a variety of anthias including:

  • Lyretail anthias
  • Dispar anthias
  • Threadfin anthias
  • Bartlett’s anthias
  • Evansi anthias
  • Sunburst anthias
  • Squareback anthias
  • Ignitus anthias
  • Sunset anthias



Pseudanthias squamipinnis, Pseudanthias dispar, Nemanthias carberryi, Pseudanthias evansi, Serranocirrhitus latus, Pseudanthias pleurotaenia, Pseudanthias ignitus, Pseudanthias parvirostris


Anthias are beautifully colored, schooling marine fish that bring calming movement to an aquarium. All anthias are born female, with the dominant female changing into a male when the male in the school passes. Male anthias are larger, brighter and more attractively colored than female anthias. Anthias typically form harems of one male and 5+ females. Anthias are lively and require a lot of room to swim, and they can be kept in both reef and fish-only aquariums.


Typical appearance and behavior

  • Males and females differ in color
  • They do better in odd-numbered groups of females
  • The dominant female in the group will change into a male once the male has passed
  • Anthias are a very active species and typically spend their day darting about the tank
  • They must be fed multiple times per day to support their energy levels
  • They like dark places and rocks to hide and rest
  • Some anthias have differing needs; research should be done prior to adding them to a tank
  • Anthias are excellent jumpers; a secure cover should be provided



Care Difficulty Intermediate to advanced, depending on species
Average Life Span Up to 6 years with proper care
Average Adult Size 3 to 7 inches, depending on species
Diet Carnivore
Minimum Habitat Size 75+ gallons
Water Temperature 74–80°F
Specific Gravity 1.020-1.025



Habitat size

Keep in an appropriately sized aquarium of at least 75+ gallons to allow plenty of space for swimming.


Building your habitat

  • Water health - Provide proper filtration to ensure optimal water quality to help maintain health. Strong water circulation, based on species, should be provided to mimic water currents found in the anthias’ natural habitat. Stable water quality (pH, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite) and water temperature are critical to the health of aquatic life. If you are unsure of your water quality, bring a sample to Petco for free testing. The addition of a protein skimmer can aid with maintaining great water quality and high dissolved oxygen levels. An aquatic heater should be used to stabilize water temperature, ensuring it does not fluctuate more than +/-2 degrees in a 24-hour period. The specific gravity should remain stable. Do not allow specific gravity to fluctuate more than +/-0.001 in a 24-hour period
  • Décor – Provide rock and décor for hiding places and plenty of room for movement
  • Live rock can provide a natural food source while also enhancing biological filtration



A well-balanced anthias diet consists of:

  • A variety of flakes, pellets, freeze-dried and frozen foods

Things to remember when feeding your anthias:

  • Feed small amounts 3 to 4 times daily, no more than fish will eat in 1 to 2 minutes
  • Thaw frozen food before feeding


Anthias care

Maintaining great water quality with regular water changes and adequate filtration is important to help keep your anthias healthy

  • Daily: Check filter, water temperature and other equipment
  • Weekly: Test water quality at least once a week
  • Weekly to monthly: Change 10–25% of the total volume of water every two to four weeks, or as needed; change filter media monthly

Avoid overcrowded conditions; this is a major cause of stress and disease


Where to buy anthias

Various anthias are available for purchase at Petco online and in store; availability varies by location. If visiting your local Petco Pet Care Center location, please call ahead to check availability.


Anthias supplies


Tank mates



Signs of a healthy anthias

  • Clear eyes
  • Healthy appetite
  • Bright, even coloring
  • Fins completely intact and undamaged
  • Free of parasites or disease


Red flags (If you notice any of these signs, contact your local aquatic specialist or aquatic veterinarian)

  • Loss of color or appetite
  • Spots or fungus on body or mouth
  • Erratic swimming
  • Labored breathing
  • Weight loss
  • Cloudy eyes or pop-eye
  • Bloating
  • Listlessness


Common health issues

Health Issue Symptoms or Causes Suggested Action
Health IssueFin rot Symptoms or CausesFrayed or disintegrating fins; the base of the fins usually reddens. Suggested ActionImprove water quality; consult your local aquatic specialist or aquatic veterinarian for treatment.
Health IssueBacterial infections Symptoms or CausesCloudy eyes, open sores and/or reddening of the skin. Suggested ActionImprove water quality; add freshwater salt and use a commercial antibacterial remedy as directed; consult your local aquatic specialist or aquatic veterinarian for treatment.
Health IssueMarine Ich or marine velvet Symptoms or CausesCysts on fins, gills and skin; labored breathing; excess skin mucus or pale skin. Suggested ActionQuarantine fish immediately and use a commercial parasite remedy as directed; complete a water change; freshwater dips can help dislodge the parasites; consult your local aquatic specialist or aquatic veterinarian for treatment.
Health IssueViral infection (lymphocystis) Symptoms or CausesWhite nodule growths on fins or body Suggested ActionImprove water quality; consult your local aquatic specialist or aquatic veterinarian for treatment.




  • What do anthias fish eat? Anthias are carnivores and can be offered a variety of flakes, pellets, freeze-dried and frozen foods.
  • Can you mix anthias species in an aquarium? Anthias have varying temperaments and a social hierarchy; it is not recommended to mix different anthias species together.


Additional care sheets


Notes and resources

Ask a Pet Care Center partner about Petco's selection of products available for the care and happiness of your new pet. All products carry a 100% money-back guarantee.

Because all aquatic life are potential carriers of infectious diseases such as atypical mycobacterium and salmonella, always wash your hands before and after handling your aquatic life and/or habitat contents to help prevent the potential spread of diseases.

Pregnant women, children under the age of 5, senior citizens and people with weakened immune systems should contact their physician before purchasing and/or caring for aquatic life and should consider not having aquatic life as a pet.

Go to the Centers for Disease Control at for more information about aquatic life and disease.


The information on this care sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care. If you need additional information, please contact your veterinarian as appropriate.