Pseudanthias bartlettorum - Bartlett's Anthias
A Great Starter Anthias
For the intermediate saltwater aquarist interested in keeping anthias, the Bartlett’s anthias (P. bartlettorum) is one of the best species to consider. Colorful, small (to about 9 cm / 3.5 inches) and bolder than many anthias, the Bartlett’s anthias—sometimes called the Bartlett's fairy basslet or the redbloth perchlet—can be an excellent addition to a peaceful, community reef tank of at least 55 gallons.
From the Subgenus Mirolabrichthys
A member of the genus Pseudanthias, the Bartlett’s anthias is grouped in the subgenus Mirolabrichthys. The eleven species grouped in this subgenus are generally considered to be some of the best candidates for the aquarist considering a small shoal of anthias in a large aquarium. Of the species in the subgenus, the Bartlett’s anthias is relatively more aggressive, but it is also considered by many to be significantly hardier. As such, attempting a small shoal of Bartlett’s anthias can be recommended, so long as only one male is present in all but the largest systems.
Putting Together a Shoal of Bartlett’s Anthias
In most home aquaria, a shoal of Bartlett’s anthias should be comprised of one male and three or five females. “It is widely accepted that odd numbers are more appropriate than even numbers when putting a group of fish together,” says Blue Zoo Aquatics Director of Marine Ornamental Research Mark Martin. “But people don’t realize that applies to each group of fish. You have to consider male and female anthias as separate groups.”
In general, one Bartlett’s anthias per 40 gallons of aquarium size is the recommended stocking number for this species.
A Reef-Associated Tropical Pacific Species
In the wild, the Bartlett’s anthias is a tropical Pacific reef-associated fish ranging from shallow water to depths of around 30 meters. The fish usually occurs in large shoals with a few males and several dozen females and juveniles. It is capable of remarkable social mimicry when sharing the same habitat as dispar anthias (P. dispar), midas blennies (Ecsenius midas) and other species that can adopt a yellow coloration dorsally and a pink coloration ventrally.
Bartlett’s Anthias Husbandry
Bartlett’s anthias do best in a reef tank with plenty of live rock, strong water movement and beefy filtration (including excellent protein skimming capacity). A refugium is highly recommended when keeping any anthias species. The Bartlett’s anthias will appreciate plenty of swimming room in the upper third of the tank and plenty of live rock in which to hide in the bottom two thirds. This fish should be added early in the stocking order and should not be added to an aquarium which already houses aggressive fishes.
The Bartlett’s anthias is considered a reef-compatible fish, and it will not harm corals or other invertebrates. In some cases, the Bartlett’s anthias may be at risk from larger invertebrates including some anemones and crabs.
Like all anthias, the Bartlett’s anthias will feed on zooplankton in the water column. The fish’s near-constant activity means that it must eat several times a day, which is why an attached refugium is recommended. In the absence of a mature, productive refugium, the Bartlett’s anthias should be fed at least three times per day. Small bits of meaty seafood like frozen mysid shrimp are appreciated, as are many commercially prepared foods for carnivores.
The Perfect Anthias
In many ways, the Bartlett’s anthias is the perfect marine aquarium anthias for the marine aquarist looking to branch out into these active, colorful fishes. Understanding the species' husbandry requirements before purchase will insure the best chances for success. Whether kept in a small shoal or as a single fish, the Bartlett’s anthias is a highly recommended species.