Basslets are a relatively peaceful and hardy species of fish, making them a popular choice among most marine aquarists. The basslet fish can be housed in any saltwater aquarium including reef and nano reef aquariums. As deep-water dwellers they prefer aquariums with plenty of coral and rock cover and subdued lighting.

Most species of basslet rarely exceed 2-1/2 to 3 inches in captivity and are known for their vibrant colors, hardiness, and peaceful behavior. They come in shades of red, yellow, orange, purple, tan, black and white.

Basslets are native to the Western Atlantic Ocean. Their bodies are bullet-shaped with a half-moon-like tail and are thus designed for sudden bursts of speed for feeding and defense. For the most part, however, they are leisurely swimmers who will school with their own kind.

If you wish to keep more than one basslet in your aquarium, it is important to provide them with ample hiding places and to introduce them to the aquarium simultaneously. Each one will claim a small territory including a hiding place as its own and will fight other basslets viciously for these territories.

When first introduced to the aquarium it is not uncommon for these fish to spend days, if not weeks, hiding in caves and crevices before feeling comfortable enough to explore their new habitat.

In the ocean, this species will live in colonies called harems. These colonies will hover over a chosen coral head feeding, a behavior they will readily exhibit in your home aquarium.

An interesting thing to note about the basslet is that it is what is known as a “sequential hermaphrodite”. All fish are born female and develop into males as they mature, with one “supermale” leading the colony until its death.


Meat is a must for these creatures. They prefer live food such as brine shrimp, but you can also feed finely chopped frozen shrimp or fish.