|Pacific Ocean: Philippines to Niue, north to the Ryukyu Islands.
|SG: 1.020-1.025, pH: 8.1-8.4
|Prefers a dimly lit environment so provide plenty of shady retreats.
|Reef Aquarium Compatibility
|Protogynous hermaphrodites. All start off as females, and the dominant fish changes to a male. Male fish develop a slightly protruding upper lip and become striped in red/magenta. Females with yellow snout.
Randall's Anthias is known from current-swept rubbly caves along steep drop-offs and channel walls, at depths between 15-70m (49-230ft). These beautiful fish gather in small aggregations amongst crevices, feeding on zooplankton in the water column, but always staying close to cover. Male fish are characteristically territorial and form a harem with a large number of females. This is a great species for the reef tank, and moderately easy to maintain. In the confines of the aquarium, it is best to keep either a solitary specimen, or else a group comprising of a single male and at least 8 females. Unfortunately, smaller groups will result in squabbles, where the weakest fish is likely to be picked on and prevented from feeding, eventually succumbing to being bullied by the others. These large shoals should only be considered if the tank is of XXL proportions "“ if the tank is of average size, it really is best to house a single specimen only. Adults can be kept with moderately pugnacious tankmates such as pygmy angelfish and medium sized tangs etc, as long as the Randall's Anthias are introduced and established first. However, be sure to avoid any large, aggressive species that would prevent the Randall's Anthias from venturing out to feed. These fish are usually perfectly safe in a reef set up, typically ignoring sessile invertebrates. Provide plenty of shady crevices and overhangs amongst the live rock so that these deeper water fish feel secure. Over time, they can become accustomed to brighter lighting, but they should be exposed to more intense illumination very gradually - this is why, when initially introduced, it is so important to provide plenty of refuges from the illumination of the average well-lit reef aquarium. A varied diet is a must to keep the fish in good health and for them to display their vibrant colouration. Ideally they will be fed small amounts several times per day (see below). Powerful filtration and protein skimming, plus a good maintenance regime are essential for maintaining optimal water quality despite the heavy nutrient input. As these fish inhabit areas of great tidal surge in the wild, they require vigorous water movement in the home aquarium - a high level of oxygenation at all times being of utmost importance. Randall"'s Anthias goes through one of the most remarkable colour changes of any Anthias species during the transition from female to male. Females are an overall peach colour on the flanks, which merges into yellow on the tail, around the eye, and on the snout. The dorsal, ventral, and anal fins usually have a very thin blue-purple margin to them. The fins will appear rounded and without filaments, with the exception of the third dorsal ray which may be extended in very mature females or in those females which are transitioning into males. In an aquarium population composed entirely of females, the extension of the third dorsal ray is a certain sign of sex change starting to occur. As a female Randalls Anthias changes into a male, a dramatic colour change occurs. The ventral fins develop a thick red band (as can be seen in the above photographed specimen which was undergoing transition) with yellow centre. At this time, the upper lip extends somewhat, giving the fish a slightly more fat-lipped appearance (this is fairly subtle but more obvious when a male and female are compared side by side). As the change progresses further, the anal, caudal, and dorsal fin tips become more angular and develop long filaments; the anal and dorsal fins turning red and magenta, and the caudal fin changing to a blue-purple hue. The iris also changes from yellow to purple. Much later into the transition, the fish eventually develops thick horizontal bands of red and magenta on the flanks. May also be seen on sale as Randall's Fairy Basslet.
In the wild, this species is constantly on the lookout for food, taking zooplankton from the water column. Due to their fast metabolism, they require feeding in small amounts several times per day (i.e. at least 4 times) if they are to maintain good health. Offer a variety of fine meaty foodstuffs such as Mysis shrimp, vitamin-enriched brineshrimp, finely chopped krill/prawns etc. in addition to zooplankton preparations (containing copepods and rotifers) which are often available in either frozen or refrigerated forms. Many will also take dried foods in time.
This species has not been bred in the home aquarium.
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