About a year ago, the lesser known white bar anthias, Pseudanthias leucozonus, made a grand appearance in large numbers at Greenwich Aquaria. Not known to many in the trade, the extremely rare anthias is a deep water resident of the reefs in Japan and until recently, found and exported from Bali. Since then, the White-bar Anthias has been trickling in minute numbers into the trade, mostly into the Japanese market and recently, Thailand.
I managed to find one, of four P. leucozonus anthias that made it’s way into Singapore. This is the second time that the fish has appeared here, but as with the first, in very small numbers. My first encounter with the rare fish was about a year ago, where only a lonesome specimen arrived, mixed in with a bunch of Borbonius anthias. The fact that it was a single specimen which sold for an extremely low cost lead me to believe that it was an accidental catch.
This time, four specimens arrived and again, were sold at low costs but considerably higher than the first. Perhaps the divers in Bali are specifically targeting this species now. Although my white bar anthias specimen arrived in seemingly good health, only time will tell if this piece will succumb to the dreaded deepwater related maladies which can claim the lives of improperly collected specimens. Being denizens of the deep, collection of this species is often riddled with problems such as improper decompression methods and poor acclimation to the bright reef-tank settings. As such, success is very much often dependent on luck and fate, in obtaining a specimen that survives the collection and shipping.
Here’s a really incredible video of this anthias in it’s natural habitat swimming with Sacura magaritacea. The lack of photosynthetic corals should give you a rough idea of the depth in which these fishes live in.