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Odontanthias borbonius
Checked Swallowtail, Blotchy Anthias

 Age of Aquariums > Saltwater Fish > Checked Swallowtail - Odontanthias borbonius

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Odontanthias_borbonius_1.jpg (34kb)
Photo Credit: Mike

Name: Odontanthias borbonius
Size BehaviorReef
Origin: Japan
15 cm Social Safe


The Blotchy Anthias is rarely available to the American aquarium trade. It comes from deep Japanese waters and thus when it is collected, it usually stays in Japan. It is rarely exported to the USA or anywhere else. When it is available in the USA or Canada, it commands a very high price.

This Anthias is fairly easy to care for. It acclimates well to a captive environment, given that it has plenty of places to hide and that it is not picked on by already-established fish. It will eat pretty much anything you feed it without a fuss, although some people have claimed that this species can be a finicky feeder at first. Frozen mysis should be offered if your specimen refuses to eat because the Anthias can rarely resist this food. It should be fed a few small meals every day to stay healthy.

Once the Blotchy Anthias is established, it is a fairly active fish. It is always out swimming; however, it rarely ventures far from its favorite cave. It is a social fish that likes to check out the people watching it. It is also very shy and will go into hiding if there is too much activity outside its tank. It is peaceful towards other fish, except towards conspecifics. To defend itself, it flares up its spiky dorsal fin. The Blotchy Anthias that I picked up was in a holding tank at an lfs with three bigger Blotchy Anthias. It and one of the other three were picked on by the remaining two specimens. The two attacking specimens got along well together and were most likely a pair. This species of Anthias would probably do best if kept singly or in pairs (if you can find two that get along), but not in groups.

I personally do not keep my Blotchy Anthias in a reef tank; however, it is known to be safe around coral and invertebrates. My Blotchy Anthias is kept in my Seahorse tank, which is full of macroalgae. In fact, I prefer to keep the Blotchy Anthias in a planted marine tank because the caulerpa brings out the green blotches on this Anthias. It is often seen cruising through the caulerpa in the tank. When the anthias is resting or when it is scared by something, it hides in either a very large Red Algae plant or in an old hole that my Yellowhead Jawfish had construct. It eats frozen mysis very well, but always stops when it is full. Sometimes, this specimen even skips meals if it is not hungry. This a very nice trait considering that the Seahorse in the tank needs to eat a lot to stay healthy.

I highly recommend this species of Anthias to whoever can acquire one. It is easy to care for and very peaceful to watch.

Contributed by Mike

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