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Rare deep water fishes from the Sea of Cortez - coming soon!

By Leonard Ho - Posted May 13, 2011 08:00 AM
Hobbyists are about to see - and have the opportunity to own- some rare deep water fishes currently being collected from the reefs of Baja California ('Sea of Cortez'). The Splittail Bass, Hemanthias peruanus, is one of the rare gems that will make its way into captivity, perhaps for the first time ever.
Rare deep water fishes from the Sea of Cortez - coming soon!

An impressive foot-long Splittail Bass (Hemanthias peruanus), available soon to the aquarium trade.

The Splittail Bass (Hemanthias peruanus) is a deep water species from tropical Eastern Pacific waters (from Baja California down to Northern Chili).  They are found at depths between 20 meters (65 feet) and 120 meters (400 feet!). This species is a mix of vibrant red and yellow, with a very pronounced third dorsal fin filament and an impressive red/yellow split tail - hence its common name.

This species (along with a few other rare Eastern Pacific deep water species we'll reveal this week) will be available for the first time in the aquarium trade through Cortez Marine (wholesale only).  The net-caught specimens require two days of decompression.

photo by D. Ross Robertson (www.fishbase.org)
photo by D. Ross Robertson (www.fishbase.org)
To the best of my knowledge and also that of the collector, H.peruanus has never been collected for live display.  Documentation on captive care is nonexistent.  On the Baja reefs, the Splittail Bass forms patriarchal schools and feed on zooplankton from the water column.  Hemanthias essentially behave like giant Anthias (Hemanthias are, after all, in the subfamily Anthiinae).

A fair warning to anyone interested in the Splittail Bass: Hemanthias peruanus grows up to 45cm (18 inches).  This fish would make a stunning addition to any larger aquarium.  Can you just imagine a school of Splittail Basses in a huge aquarium?

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.

Website: http://www.advancedaquarist.com.

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