Species group: Basslets and Grammas
Other common names: Chalk Bass
Scientific name: Serranus tortugarum
Bold and beautiful, the Chalk Basslet makes an excellent inhabitant of community aquariums and is suitable for novices and pros.
The Chalk Basslet ranges throughout the Caribbean Sea, where it inhabits coral reefs and rock piles.
Appearance / health:
The streamlined, 7.6 cm (3 in) body is orange and purple in color and attractively marked with vertical neon-blue bands.
Chalk Basslets are very hardy if acclimated to new tanks slowly and provided with a stable environment and proper care. They are quick and spunky, but may be injured by large fishes and aggressive invertebrates.
Behavior / temperament:
Chalk Basslets are quite active, spending much of their time in the lower level of the aquarium darting among corals and rockwork. They can hold their own with fish of the same or slightly-larger size, and will not trouble coral, but may harass small shrimp.
The Chalk Basslet requires a well-filtered 113 liter (30 gal) or larger aquarium, excellent water quality, moderate currents, and rock/coral caves and ledges. Groups get-along well if all members are introduced at the same time.
The following water quality parameters should be maintained in order to assure your Chalk Basslet’s long-term health: Temperature: 22.7-25.5 C (73-78 F); Specific Gravity (Salinity): 1.020-1.025; pH: 8.1-8.4.
The diet should be varied, and include chopped clams, mussels, scallops, and other marine invertebrates, live and frozen Mysis and brine shrimp, and flakes/pellets designed for carnivorous marine fishes.
Basslets are hermaphroditic. In most species, males construct a nest of marine algae within a cave or crevice, wherein the female deposits 10-100 eggs. The young hatch in 5-10 days, and usually accept rotifers and newly-hatched brine shrimp. Several species have been bred in captivity, but success with most has not been consistent.
Written by Frank Indiviglio