It’s settled! First captive bred candy bass, Liopropoma carmabi

by | Jun 1, 2012 | Aquaculture, Fish | 7 comments

After a staggering larval period of 126-143 days, three of the candy bass larvae at the Long Island Aquarium have finally reached settlement.  They still have not fully developed their characteristic stripes and they are still wielding dorsal filaments and sacs, but they have taken on a benthic existence and have begun eating frozen Cyclop-eeze and small mysid shrimp.  Considered by many to be the holy grail of the grouper family, this colorful little bass often retails for more than $1000 (US). Don’t expect this exciting news to have any impact on that price in the near future. Between the high larval mortality and a larval period around twice that of the closely related swiss guard bass, Liopropoma rubre, the candy bass is still a long way from commercial viability.  Nevertheless, I am considering this a victory and I will be celebrating accordingly with some Bombay Sapphire tonight.  For more details on the history of this project and spawning and rearing techniques, check out the summer issue of reefs magazine, or come hear about it in person at the MBI workshop on July 28th.

Check out some video shot by Peter Schmiedel of one of these larvae about a week before they settled: Candy bass video

  • Todd Gardner

    Todd Gardner is a professor of marine biology at Suffolk County Community College in Riverhead, NY. His life and his career have both been shaped by his passion for marine life and he has written numerous scientific and popular articles about his research and experiences collecting, keeping, and culturing marine organisms. Todd’s professional background includes work on a National Geographic documentary, commercial aquaculture at C-quest Hatchery in Puerto Rico, and an 11-year term at the Long Island Aquarium where he spent much of his time developing techniques for rearing marine fish larvae. To date he has raised more than 50 species. In 2013 Todd received the prestigious Aquarist of the Year Award from the Marine Aquarium Society of North America (MASNA). In his spare time, Todd dives, photographs marine life, runs marathons, and plays in a blues band.


  1. WDLV

    Awsome Todd. Congrats!

  2. Marc Levenson

    Congratulations, Todd. All those water changes paid off, eh? 😉

  3. masterswimmer2

    Congrats Todd, amazing accomplishment.


  4. Aqua Pro Builder

    Congrats and keep it coming please.

    What did you initially feed them-roti or copepods? or….

    I am still learning how to balance the greens(macro algae) and the reds(roti and pods). I constant have roti over populating my macro algae. LOL

  5. Todd Gardner

    All copepods, all the way through with this batch.

  6. Jesse Ramirez

    Hello Mr Gardner.

    Hope you are well. Was hoping you can help me. I’ve been trying to find info on web about sexing my Swiss basslet. How do you differentiate the male from female. I have one in my tank and am hoping to find it a mate.
    Any help will be appreciated. Thank you

  7. Todd Gardner

    Hi Jesse, these guys are hermaphrodites. In my experience, any two I have placed together have ended up spawning.


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