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General information

Taxonomically, "basslet" is really a poor name for these kind of fishes, but that’s the way they are often sold, so that’s how they will be described here. Taxonomy aside, basslets are generally related to the “true basses” (Family Serranidae) like the fishes from the Family Grammatidae, the so-called Grammas and Assessors, and the Dwarf Seabasses from the genus Serranus, which actually are from the Family Serranidae.

Basslets are found mostly in the Western Atlantic, and most commonly associated with coral reefs. Some of the species are found at depths of more than 90 – 100 m. Basslets are found on reef slopes close to caves, ledges, or coral formations. Most Basslets reach a size of 5 - 6 cm in length in an aquarium, and the largest reaches an adult size of 10 -12 cm in the wild.

Basslets are colorful, hardy, and generally peaceful, although they may become territorial. If more than one member of the species is added to the aquarium, add these fish simultaneously, as severe conflicts may arise. Most of the Basslets are observed as solitary individuals, and since they are not sexually dimorphic or sexually dichromatic and you can't visually tell the difference between males and females, it's best to maintain them alone. Offer these fish plenty of hiding places. When initially introduced into the aquarium, a basslet may hide for several days, or even a couple of weeks, before coming out to inspect their new surroundings. Depending upon the size of the aquarium, other inhabitants, lighting and décor, they will become bolder over time. Although they may never become as bold as a butterflyfish or clownfish, they will gradually become a more conspicuous part of your fish community.

Unfortunately, there are a good number of species available in the aquarium trade that are ill-suited to smaller to medium-sized home aquariums or are difficult to keep for other reasons. While many of the groupers (Family Serranidae) get way too large for the average home aquarium, there is one group of serranids, as well as some of their close relatives, that are ideally adapted to living in confined spaces.

Basslets are wonderful aquarium fishes. They are especially well-suited to the reef aquarium. This captive venue is a perfect home for the basslets because of the numerous caves and crevices that are typically found in the reef tank. The smaller species can be successfully housed in smaller-sized aquariums, the larger species will do best if kept in a medium to large-sized aquarium.

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