Like many fish fans, I have a real soft spot for juvenile fish and while this isn’t always a good thing for hobbyists or for fish survival, it cannot be denied that many species are quite adorable when they’re small. I think you’ll agree when you see this Lyretail Hogfish.
Lyretail Hogfish (Bodianus anthiodes) are widespread Indo-Pacific fish, found from six to sixty meters. Juveniles such as this specimen are often found sheltering amidst gorgonians, and I actually photographed this one when I was intending to shoot Longnose Hawkfish.
B. anthiodes juveniles look similar to their grown-up versions, but this is not guaranteed for other members of the genus. Many species have cryptic coloration as juveniles and as they grow adopt an adult coloration and often a more elongated body shape.
This is worth noting, not just for this species, but for many others. To put it simply: cute little fish can grow into ugly, brutish tankbusters that can cause both you and their tank mates a great deal of trouble. Of course, this is yet another reason why you should always do your research before you buy any animal for your aquarium. If hobbyists stop handing over cash for unsuitable species, it might encourage dealers to stop stocking them.
Can you keep B. anthiodes? Adults spend most of their time hunting for small crustaceans. In the wild they often associate with goatfish that are feeding and disturbing the substrate, and will reach about eight inches long, so feed them small meaty stuffs, give them a reasonably large tank, and ‘yes’ you can. Interestingly, in the wild, the juveniles often pick parasites off of other fish, but I can’t guarantee that behavior in captivity.