The Liopropoma basslets are one of the most interesting and widespread group of small fishes available to aquarist, and we think they’re not nearly as popular as they should be. Their coloration, pattern, behavior, personality and even their hardiness is something to be envied and for this reason we’ve written at length about nearly all species of Liopropoma that we have learned about, or get our hands on.
This last point is especially pertinent because these basslets are not your average fish, and while many of them may be very rare collector’s fish, there are a handful which you might encounter at a local fish store. With this thesis in mind, we worked with website sponsor Among The Reef to spotlight three different Caribbean Liopropoma basslets, at three different price points and levels of rarity.
The swissguard basslet (L. rubre), cave basslet (L. mowbrayi) and candy basslet (L. carmabi) are all inhabitant of Caribbean reef areas. These fish are all cautious fish that like to live in caves and overhangs, and varying levels of depths which sometimes exceed even the limits of diving advanced SCUBA equipment.
It’s this depth factor which dictates the prices of these three fish, with relatively swissgard and cave basslets being encountered down to 100 feet, but expensive candy basslets are usually found in abundance much deeper. Despite these varying depth preferences, the care for all species is generally the same – don’t keep them in super bright, very high flow or tanks that are otherwise very warm and they will reward you with lots of personality and both bold and subtle colors that only get better with maturity.
Two things that seem to hold true about the smaller of the Liopropoma species is that they live surprisingly long for such small reef fish, and it appears that almost any two specimens will form pairs. They can also get along with other species, establishing a moderate hierarchy but nothing approaching the interspecific aggression like we expect from damselfish and dottybacks, even surgeonfish and some wrasses.
Together all these positive attributes of the smaller Liopropoma has enabled us to house the three different small species of Caribbean basslets together in their quarantine tank, and in their future low light reef aquarium display. Big thanks to Among The Reef for making this fish grouping and video possible and stay tuned for the next video feature of these fish when they are placed in their forever home in a community reef tank.