Lyretail Anthias Care – The Definitive Guide

Lyretail Anthias Care Guide

lyretail anthias care

Overview and appearance

The Lyretail Anthias, also known as the Scalefin Anthias or Jewel Anthias, is one of the most popular schooling fish available for a saltwater aquarium. It is a peaceful fish with striking colors and out of the different Anthias fish, the Lyretail is the most territorial.

Males will have more of a reddish color with a few purple tones. The females have a beautiful yellow-orange color with a violet hue around the upper portion of their eyes. They both have a thin orange line outlined in violet that runs from their eye to their pectoral fin.

Lyretails are known as hermaphrodites, meaning if a dominant male were to die, the largest female of the group will morph to take over in its place. They will grow to about 5″ in size and live only 5 to 6 years.

They are not considered to be a fish for beginners as they have specific needs to remain healthy in the home aquarium.

Temperament – Are Lyretail Anthias aggressive?

Overall, the Lyretail is considered to be a peaceful fish. They will get along with other peaceful saltwater fish provided they have plenty of swimming space and are fed properly. They get along well with other members of their own species as well.

They can become aggressive to smaller fish in situations where they don’t have enough space or are not provided a proper diet and feeding schedule.

Suitable tankmates

Many non-aggressive community saltwater fish make good tankmates for the Lyretail Anthias. They can live alone as a single species or kept in groups of 5-8.

If you decide to keep them in a group, it is best to house no less than 1 male and the remaining females in a 125-gallon aquarium or larger.

It’s important to only have 1 male in the group.

Habitat and tank size

Because of their size and natural schooling requirements, the Lyretail Anthis requires a large tank of 125 gallons or more. A single species can be housed in a 75-gallon tank.

In the wild, they are commonly seen in the western Indian Ocean, including the Red Sea, and in the Pacific Ocean in very large groups swimming at a depth of 35 meters schooling above the coral reefs.

The greatest chance of success with them in your saltwater tank is to keep them in groups with a ratio of 1 male and several females.

They will do best when kept at a water temperature of 74-79 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lyretail Anthias

Feeding requirements

If you plan to keep Anthias fish, it’s important to understand their feeding requirements. These fish are unique as they require several small feedings per day due to their constant activity and high metabolisms.

They should be fed three times a day, which can be a challenge for many saltwater hobbyists.

Lyretail Anthias are carnivorous and mainly feed upon zooplankton in the wild.

At first when added to your tank, they may be reluctant to eat. But as they adapt and become more comfortable in your aquarium, they can be fed a varied diet of frozen Mysis, brine shrimp, and other meaty foods.

They will accept high-quality flake foods offered in small quantities throughout the day.

It’s beneficial to have a refugium cultivating copepods and amphipods which will provide a steady supply of nutritious live food continuously.

Lyretail Anthias Disease

Lyretail Anthias are a hardy fish and are not generally susceptible to any particular diseases. However, because these fish are not captive-bred, they can potentially harbor viruses or bacteria when they’re first purchased.

It’s important to quarantine a new Lyretail in its own, smaller aquarium for a few weeks before adding it to your main tank to check for any signs of illness.

Fiji vs Indonesia

The most common talked about Lyretail are from either Fiji and Indonesia. The differences between the two are mostly in their appearance. The females from Indonesia are more colorful with a purple and blue line extending from the eye.  Females from Fiji are generally all orange.

The males from Fiji have more of a purple tone where the males from Indonesia have more of a red tone throughout.

They can be mixed and don’t need to be from the same place. For example, you may choose to have a male Lyretail from Fiji and multiple females from Indonesia or vise versa.

Are Lyretail Anthias reef safe?

Yes, they are considered to be reef safe, and you should not have any issues with them bothering corals. Lyretail Anthias are a popular choice for larger reef and FOWLR systems due to their lively nature as well as their amazing colors. 


If you want to keep a group of Lyretail Anthias in your tank, be prepared to pay more than your average saltwater fish may cost.

Most small to medium-sized females will cost around $40, and males will cost $50-60 each. It’s normal for females to cost less.

A group of 1 male and 6 females will cost you around $300.

Should you add a Lyretail Anthias to your aquarium?

The Lyretail Anthias is one of the most stunning and unique fish you can add to a saltwater tank. But they don’t come without a few challenges. If you can provide a large tank for them and can feed them multiple times per day, then you can have success keeping them.

Before you make that decision, make sure you can meet these requirements:

  • A large tank with plenty of swimming space
  • Unique feeding requirements
  • Male: Female ratio needed for groups
  • Keep them with non-aggressive tankmates

I don’t recommend these fish for beginners, but as long as you meet their needs you will love these fish!