Carberryi anthias

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Like other fairy basslets, the Carberryi or Threadfin anthias lives in small schools composed of a dominant male and his harem of females. This species is found only in the Indian Ocean. It was described for science in 1954, one of 370 new fish species named by the famous South African ichthyologist J.L.B. Smith, who rediscovered the Coelacanth.

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Painted goldie anthias

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The Painted goldie anthias, also known as the Pictilis anthias, like other members of the sea bass family, are hermaphrodites. The brightly colored males can be seen battling for their harem of less colorful females. In the absence of a male, the most dominant female can become a male. Painted goldies feed on zooplankton and floating algae and often hide in crevices or caves in the reef.

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Blotchy anthias

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This fairy basslet is very rare in American aquariums, because it is normally found at depths of 600 to 900 feet, so is difficult and dangerous to collect. It has a wide range, from South Africa (where it lives with Coelacanths!) to Japan and the Palau Islands. It commonly swims upside down, beneath rock formations.

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Fathead anthias

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The Fathead anthias is also known as the Sunburst anthias because of the splash of yellow color on its face. It was originally described in 1949 and was placed in the hawkfish family. Its genus means grouper-hawkfish. These hardy aquarium fish generally prefer the protection of an overhang, or cave and can often be seen swimming upside down. Unlike their other anthias cousins, they have a deep body and elongate pectoral fins.

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Lyretail anthias

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The Lyretail anthias, also known as the Scalefin anthias, is found in the Indo-West Pacific, often in large aggregations. The brightly colored pink males and orange females can be seen feeding on zooplankton throughout the day. Like other members of the Serranidae family, the Lyretail anthias is hermaphroditic. Males choose a harem of females with which to mate. In the absence of a male, the dominant female will become a male. In this case, the female’s orange coloration will change to pink and her dorsal fin will become more ornate.

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Electric eel

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Not related to saltwater or migratory eels, this South American fish has an elegantly minimal method of moving through water. This is mostly achieved by a parabolic wave generated through the long ventral fin. The tiny pectoral fins may steer. Most of the body is taken up by electricity generating tissue. An adult may produce a 500-watt charge. The digestive and reproductive organs are confined to a small area just behind the head. Exhibited at New York’s Central Park Zoo more than a century ago, it has long been a popular aquarium display.

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