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Tobacco Basslet

(Serranus tabacarius)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Aggressive   • Maximum Size: 7"
• Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
• Diet: Carnivore   • Origin: Caribbean, Tropical Western Atlantic
• Family: Serranidae   • Species: Basslets   • Aquarium Type: Reef Compatible

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Tobacco Basslet native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

Tobacco Basslets are relatives of groupers and sea bass and can usually be found searching for crustaceans several inches above the sandy bottom in close proximity to the coral reefs of the Caribbean and the Tropical Western Atlantic. They are an attractive species and easy to identify as they have a white base color with a thick orange to burnt-orange, lateral stripe on each side (from face to caudal fin) with dark brown markings across the white on their dorsal side. Tobacco Basslets easy to care for and are a very hardy species, making them quite popular within the hobby as well as readily available from local retailers and online vendors.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Tobacco Basslet in the home aquarium.

Tobacco Basslets should be kept in an aquarium that is no less than 55 gallons as they can grow to 7 inches in length. They should be provided with plenty of live rock as well as sandy substrate where they can sift around for food. An aquarium with a hood is recommended as they can sometimes jump when startled (especially in the middle of the night). Quality biological and mechanical filtration should be used with the addition of a protein skimmer as they can be big eaters and have more of a biological impact on their environment than a similar sized fish.

Although they are normally considered to be "reef safe", it is with caution as they will eat small shrimp, fish and other live foods that look appetizing. The Tobacco Basslet will try to dominate smaller fish of the same species and multiples should be added at the same time and be comparable in size; if keeping more than one specimen, the aquarium should be 110 gallons or larger.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Tobacco Basslet.

The Tobacco Basslet is a carnivore and mainly feeds on crustaceans found on the sandy bottom of its natural environment; but 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 and flake foods. Feeding should be 1 to 2 times per day and only what will be consumed within a few minutes.

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