Synopsis

  • Bicolor anthias larvae (Pseudanthias bicolor) were raised from wild-spawned eggs at 77-79F on cultured copepods and artemia.
  • The larval duration was 60 days.
  • First record of Pseudanthias sp. culture.

Background

Bicolor Anthias (Pseudanthias bicolor) juveniles were raised from eggs collected in coastal waters off Oahu’s south shore. This species is widespread throughout the Indo-Pacific from Mauritius to the Line Islands. It is generally found in harems near ledges and caves at depths of 15 to 200 feet. P. bicolor is one of the largest anthias species available in the aquarium trade and also one of the easiest anthias species to care for.

Adult Bicolor Anthias (Pseudoanthias bicolor) on a reef in Hawaii.
Adult Bicolor Anthias (Pseudoanthias bicolor) on a reef in Hawaii.

Culture and Development of Eggs and Larvae

P. bicolor eggs are pelagic, spherical and measure about 700 um in diameter. P. bicolor larvae measure 1.6 mm TL at hatching and begin to feed on small Parvocalanus copepod nauplii at 3 dph (3.3 mm TL). Preflexion P. bicolor larvae develop two specializations to pelagic life: intricate head spination and an elongated dorsal spine and pelvic fin rays. The critical flexion period occurs between 15-19 dph (4-5 mm TL). The elongated dorsal spine and pelvic fin rays become very long during the postflexion stage, with the former extending beyond the tail. P. bicolor settlement begins at about 45 dph (18 mm TL). At this time the body develops yellow and orange pigmentation and the extended dorsal spine and pelvic fin rays shorten. P. bicolor juvenile transition is complete by about 60 dph (25 mm TL). Early juveniles have an orange body and orange blotches on the dorsal, pectoral and anal fins. The blotches on the fins disappear as true juvenile coloration gradually fills in.

Bicolor Anthias (Pseudoanthias bicolor) larvae reared in the laboratory.
Bicolor Anthias (Pseudoanthias bicolor) larvae reared in the laboratory.

The P. bicolor larvae were raised entirely on cultured copepods. Newly settled juveniles were fed a combination of cultured adult copepods and newly hatched artemia. P. bicolor larvae are moderately difficult to raise. Overall, their rearing requirements appear similar to Centropyge larvae. This is the first documented larval rearing of a Pseudanthias species.

Further Culture Success

Tim Morrissey and Andy Hinrichs, working at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, Nebraska raised several juvenile Stocky Anthias (Pseudanthias hypselosoma) and Lyretail Anthias (Pseudanthias squamipinnis) in 2015. The team used eggs collected from the Aquarium’s live exhibit and thereby became the first to breed an anthias species from captive-spawned eggs. The fish were raised on the copepod Parvocalanus crassirostris in a Modular Larval Rearing System (MOLARS) –  a system designed by Dr. Andrew Rhyne  (Roger Williams University) specifically for larval fishes.