Serranus tigrinus
Source: JJPhoto.dk
Serranus tigrinus
Source: JJPhoto.dk
Serranus tigrinus
Source: JJPhoto.dk

Facts

Latin name Serranus tigrinus - (Bloch, 1790)
Common name Harlequin bass
Family Serranidae - Serranus
Origin The Mexican Golf, West Atlantic
Max length 29.0 cm (11.4")

As aquarium fish

Minimum volume 400 l (106 gal)
Hardiness Hardy
Suitable for aquarium Suitable with care
Reef safe Reef safe with caution
Aggressiveness Aggressive towards similar species of same gender

Food

Recommended
  • Small crustaceans (Krill, mysis, artemia...)
  • Larger crustaceans (Shrimp, crabs...)
  • Other invertebrates
  • Fish

Aggressive

This species can be extremely aggressive towards other fish.

Be careful when keeping these fish together with peaceful or docile species. Regular feeding, plenty of hiding places and a lot of space can alleviate aggressive behavior to some degree.

Threat towards crustaceans

This species poses a threat towards shrimps and crabs etc., which are relatively small.

Can be a threat to small fish

This spicies might be a threat to smaller fishes.

Heavy load

This species eats a great deal and demands an aquarium that can tolerate such a heavy load.

Requires a varied diet

This species must be fed with an appropriately varied diet.

Hiding places

This species needs good hiding places, for example, between live rocks.

Can coexist as a pair

They can live as a pair provided they are introduced simultaneously.

Genus description (Serranus)

Serranus (Dwarf Seabasses) are a family of pretty predatory fish which are suitable to tank life.
They will eat small fish and crustaceans which can be swallowed, but are otherwise not a threat to the other animals in the aquarium.

Some species will be aggressive towards the more docile fish, but most are fairly peaceful. 

They are easy to feed and do not require live food, so a varied diet of frozen fish, crustaceans and the like is sufficient.
Needs to be fed once a day.

Family description (Serranidae)

The Sea Bass family (Serranidae) spans a broad spectrum with regards to how suitable they are to aquaria, as some are best suited to specialist or larger aquaria, while other are often seen in reef aquaria.

Below are described the five subfamilies one sees most often in aquaria. There are however other species one can also keep under the right circumstances, but these are for the most, large predatory fish.

Anthias (Anthiinae)
The Anthias species spans over many different genera, but the most common is the Pseudanthias genus. They mostly have an attractive orange or pink shade.

They are generally all reef safe and peaceful.
There is however a large difference to their food requirements, some species demand constant feeding, whereas others can get used to being fed once a day.

The easiest species are the following: P. bartelettorum, P. bicolor, P. dispar, P. huchtii and P. squamipinnis.

Anthias include among others the following genera: Anthias, Luzonichthys, Nemanthias, Odontanthias, Pseudanthias, Sacura and Serranocirrhitus

Liopropomatinae
This subfamily encompasses some of the smallest fish in the Serranidae family, they can be very colourful but shy. The Liopropoma genus encompasses many species which are suitable for aquaria, however they normally thrive best in a very peaceful- or nano aquarium.

Grouper (Epinephelinae)
These fish grow typically too large for most home aquaria. There are however some species that do lend themselves to the slightly bigger domestic aquarium. Several of the species look very impressive and often have a interesting personality, and they often recognize the aquarist and will become tame over time. 

Groupers are predatory fish and eat everything they can swallow; fish, crabs, shrimps and sometimes other invertebrates. Like most large predatory fish they excrete a lot of nutrients to the water, so one therefore needs a good filter system.

Groupers include among others the following genera: Aethaloperca, Cephalopholis, Chromileptes, Epinephelus, Paranthias and Pogonoperca

Soapfishes (Grammistinae)
These fish are like the Groupers predatory fish, but they do not typically, grow so large. They are relatively hardy, but some of the species demand a thorough preperation if one wants to be successful.

Soapfishes are generally very shy and will often hide under an overhang during the day, and hunt at night.

Soapfishes include among others the genera: Grammistes

Serraninae
The most common genera in captivity is Dwarf Seabasses (Serranus) and Hamlets (Hypoplectrus).

See the description of the individual genera below.

FishBase

Aquarium trade Yes
Distribution Western Atlantic: Bermuda and southern Florida, USA to northern South America; throughout the Caribbean (Ref. 13442). Including Antilles (Ref. 26938).
English common names Harlequin bass
Danish common names Harlikinbars
Spanish common names Serrano tigre, Guatacare rayao

References and further reading

About references

Scott W. Michael. 2001. Reef Fishes volume 1 - TFH Publications / Microcosm Ltd. - (English)
2009. Serranus baldwini - Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine - (English)
Edward A. Jackson. 2011. The Atlantic Chalk Bass Serranus tortugarum - Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine - (English)

Bob Fenner. The Basses, Family Serranidae - Wet Web Media - (English)

Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2014. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (08/2014).

Tags

aggressive territorial, eats shrimp, eats crab, eats fish, pair couple
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