Anthias are very small saltwater fish that are part of the Serranidae family of fish, which includes groupers, soap fish, sea bass and sea goldies. Anthias are generally yellow, pink or orange.
As one of the most abundant coral reef dwellers, anthias school in large groups, but they form "harems," or small groups, with one dominant male, one-to-two submissive males and two-to-12 females. The dominant male and submissive males swim in U-shaped patterns around the harem to protect the group from attacks from other fish in the coral reef.
Anthias fish are hermaphrodites. They are all born female, yet the largest female in the harem can experience a sudden testosterone increase and change into a male when the dominate male in the harem perishes. This transition oftentimes creates disharmony with the submissive male members of the harem.
Anthias fish are one of the most popular saltwater aquarium fish. To keep an anthias fish in captivity, a large aquarium with at least 75 gallons of water is required to ensure the fish has enough room to swim. Groups of two or more anthias fish require at least 200 gallons to remain healthy and active. Anthias eat phytoplankton and brine shrimp when they are housed in aquariums.