Fish Profile:
Lyretail Anthias,
Pseudanthias squamipinnis

Common Name: Lyretail Anthias, Blue/Purple Eye Anthias, Sea Goldie
Scientific Name: Pseudanthias squamipinnis
Size: Males can get at least 5”. Females tend to stay a bit smaller.
Origin: Indo-West Pacific. The specimens photographed in this article are specifically from the Maldives, except the far right image above. The slide show below is of a Maldive Anthias changing sex, from an orange female to a purple male.
Natural Habitat: They generally form large aggregations above coral outcrops in various locations (patch reefs, channels, outer reef slopes). Males are haremic and territorial, keeping many females under watch.
Feeding Requirements: As with most anthias species, Lyretail anthias feed constantly from the water column, on zooplankton, in the wild. In the home aquarium, especially after recent shipping and probable lack of food, these fish should be fed high protein content frozen/live foods in small portions many times throughout the day. Once settled and in possession of normal body weight and fat reserves, one or two extended feedings per day will suffice. Often they will accept dry foods at this point.
Difficulty Rating:
(1 = easy - 5 = hard)
With respect to other anthias species, their difficulty rating is a 1. With respect to most commonly kept reef tank fishes, they would rate a 3. They can ship poorly, can have feeding issues, and their complex social structure can be problematic in the confines of an aquarium.
Aggressiveness Rating:
(1 = shy - 5 = nasty)
Again, with respect to other anthias, they are a 4. They can be some of the more aggressive species available, especially with each other. With respect to other fish,they rate a 2. They can bully or intimidate small, passive fish such as firefish.
Captive Requirements: Due to their origins, these fish do best in reef tank type conditions, with clean, highly oxygenated water and significant flow. Standard reef tank parameters are fine, with temperatures in the upper 70’s to lower 80’s F. Specific gravity between 1.023-1.025 is ideal. While they can be kept in groups, they can do just fine alone or in pairs. Once acclimated, they are very hardy, and will swim out in the open most of the time.
Optional Requirements: Males get large (5 plus inches), and would be cramped in anything smaller than a standard 60-gallon tank (4 foot long). Multiple specimens should obviously be kept in even larger tanks; the larger the better.
Reef Tank Compatible: Lyretail anthias are perfectly suited to be kept in a coral filled reef display. They are open water swimmers that feed on zooplankton, ignoring sessile invertebrates. All but the tiniest of ornamental shrimps would also be safe. The only caveat to this is their food requirements. The increase in nutrient input to the display can often cause water quality issues in systems with insufficient filtration, or other husbandry inadequacies.
Notes: This is one of my favorite anthias species. Relatively hardy, they usually eat very well, and adapt readily to captive life. They are an excellent choice for the first time anthias keeper. Lyretail anthias are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning they all start life as females. The dominant fish will turn into a male, changing not only sex, but color and pattern. The male will keep a harem of several females. Because of this social dynamic, there is constant jockeying for dominance within the group. This can be problematic when individuals are of equal strength and size, since clearly dominant (large) and submissive (small) individuals tend not to fight. I have had excellent results with only pairs or trios, with one large male, and one or two smaller females. If two females are kept, then making sure they are also different in size has worked very well for me.
As can be seen in the following pictures, I began with a trio of female lyretails in my 115-gallon reef. The dominant female soon changed to a male. While the majority of the change was quick, the final details of color were not complete for several months. The male has also continued to grow, and is now over 5 inches in length. I lost one female to an unknown pathogen after about a year. The remaining pair has lived in harmony for almost two years, with no aggression between each other or other fish in the display. The male is most interesting to watch when the lights come on. He will flare his fins, and “flutter” around the tank. This daily ritual is one of the main concerns when I think of minimum tank size for these fish.
Further Reading: Fancy Sea Basses, The Anthiinae
Anthias Imposters! - The Genus Pseudanthias, Part I
Anthias Imposters! - The Genus Pseudanthias, Part II
Anthiinae - the Fancy Basses

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Note: All of the above information has been compiled from various sources and should be used as a guideline, not a hardfast rule. Use caution when selecting animals for your own tank and research as much as possible before purchasing any animals. Remember that certain corals and fish are very hard to keep if their special requirements are not met. The information contained here is to help you make an informed decision. The author assumes no responsibility for any consequences that may arise from the use of this information.

Fish Profile: Lyretail Anthias, Pseudanthias squamipinnis by Peter Martis -