Halichoeres bathyphilus may not look like much as a juvenile, but this deepwater Atlantic species is one of the most beautiful and elusive of its genus. In its initial phase, it is very difficult to distinguish from the many times more common H. sazimai and H. bivittatus. The adult form however, is tremendously beautiful as far as Halichoeres goes. This deepwater wrasse is so far collected exclusively by Dynasty Marine, and only a few pieces have made their way to the home aquaria.
H. bathyphilus displays extreme difference in coloration between the sexes. Full grown females are scarlet with beautiful yellow horizontal stripes. The females are very rare and have only appeared a handful of times in the trade, and all were collected by Dynasty Marine as far as we know. The even more beautiful male is almost unheard of and no living photos of it exists. The males are adorned with green and yellow bands coupled with a beautiful tail, and lends this species its common name of Green-banded wrasse. As mentioned before, the juvenile stages are very similar to two other common Atlantic species, and the three share a closely related species complex. H. bathyphilus however, inhabits deeper waters up to 490ft where the two shallower species are not found at. Those that are collected for the trade are often found at slightly shallower waters and not at those soul crushing depths.
Two other moderately rare basslets that appeared alongside H. bathyphilus this Dynasty Shipment were Serranus chionaraia and Gramma linkii. The Snow Basslet is small chocolate and white “Plectranthias like” fish that made quite a scene a few years back. These days, it is more obtainable but its appearance remains sporadic at best. The Snow Basslet does not grow too big unlike many Serranus, and has a peaceful temperament – perfect for any Caribbean biotope or a bass fanatic.
G. linkii is often teased as being the ugliest of the four Gramma species and is not often seen in the market. At best, the fish is a steely blue-grey with yellow war paint markings on its cheeks, and yellow centred scales sprinkled over its body; a rather unusual color combination considering the three other species are primarily yellow and purple themed. It’s care requirements are similar however and to the rare fish collector, makes for a hardy and charismatic pet. All three Dynasty Marine caught fishes have found loving owners and are doing great. Hats off to Iwarna Aquafarm for the pictures.