Serranus tortugarum
Source: JJPhoto.dk

Facts

Latin name Serranus tortugarum - Longley, 1935
Common name Chalk bass
Family Serranidae - Serranus
Origin The Mexican Golf, West Atlantic
Max length 8.0 cm (3.1")

As aquarium fish

Minimum volume 300 l (79 gal)
Hardiness Hardy
Suitable for aquarium Suitable with care
Reef safe Always reef safe
Aggressiveness Docile

Food

Recommended
  • Zooplankton (Cyclops, pods...)
  • Small crustaceans (Krill, mysis, artemia...)

Requires a varied diet

This species must be fed with an appropriately varied diet.

Docile

This species is very shy and docile, so one should be careful when keeping it with more aggressive fish.

Hiding places

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

Thrives best in groups

This species thrives best if it is kept in a group of five or more individuals.

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: southern Florida (USA), Bahamas, Honduras and Virgin Islands; probably widespread in Caribbean reef areas. Including Antilles (Ref. 26938).
English common names Chalk bass
Spanish common names Guatacare colorao

References and further reading

About references

Edward A. Jackson. 2011. The Atlantic Chalk Bass Serranus tortugarum - Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine - (English)

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

docile shy, shoal group
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