Harlequin Bass are an easily identifiable, impressive species that are in the same family as groupers and sea bass, but at much more manageable size, never getting larger than around 4 inches. They are extremely hardy and great for beginners making them very popular within the aquarium community. Native to the tropical waters of the Western Atlantic, the Harlequin Bass spends a lot of its time hunting for crustaceans along the rock and scattered coral of reefs. They normally work alone or in pairs and get their name from their agility as well as their appearance, reminiscent of historical jesters with their contrasting, multiple black bars and lines that form irregular rectangular patterns along their bodies.
Provide at least a 75 gallon aquarium with plenty of live rock for a single individual. As the Harlequin Bass matures and grows, it may prey on any smaller fish or small crustacean tank mates. Although these fishes can boss around some smaller tank mates, they are not normally overly aggressive to dissimilar species. They do not normally take kindly to other Dwarf Sea Basses or even bottom dwelling fishes that occupy the same territory, so keep a close eye on them when mixing similar fishes or ones that occupy the same territory.
Food and diet:
Basslets adapt very quickly to frozen foods after just a few days. Carnivores they mainly feed on crustaceans found on the sandy bottom of its natural environment. In the aquarium they should be fed a variety of meaty food items such as live, frozen, freeze-dried, and vitamin enriched brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, krill, and silver sides. They will also readily accept carnivore/omnivore (Spirulina based) pellets. Feeding should be 1 to 2 times per day and only what will be consumed within a few minutes.
Level of Care:
Approximate Purchase Size:
Medium: 2" to 3"; Large 3" to 4-1/2"