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The Red Candy Basslet

The candy bass is a Caribbean species of Liopropoma

By Jim Walters |

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The genus Liopropoma is the smallest member of the grouper family, with most of the species not obtaining a length greater than 3 inches. Many consider the candy basslet (L. carmabi) to be the Holy Grail of the basslet family because of its dazzling colors of yellow-orange, magenta and blue. It was once very rare in the hobby, but you can now find candy bass available with some searching. However, because of their preference for deep water (50 to 200-plus feet), they are not inexpensive.

There is now a new Holy Grail of candy bass that few are aware of: the red candy bass. The red candy bass differs in appearance by sporting a vibrant red body as opposed to yellow-orange and stripes that are more metallic blue instead of magenta. The candy bass is a Caribbean species of Liopropoma. The majority that enter the aquarium trade are collected from the deep waters surrounding Curacao at depths averaging about 200 feet, and averaging a size of just over 2 inches However, if a collection boat heads to neighboring Bonaire, the diving collectors have found that they find the candy bass population to be more abundant at shallower depths, and it is at these shallower depths in Bonaire that all except one of the known red candy bass have been found. The divers can’t search for this differently colored bass as they seem to be a "one in a million" color sort. Happening upon one is just pure luck. I only know of three specimens that have been offered for sale as of this writing (November 2010) in the United States and a small number of specimens that have made a fast sale to the Japanese aquarium market.

Red candy basslet
Red candy basslet. Photo by Jim Walters

As of this writing, we don’t know what causes this color aberration. Is it dietary? Could it be depth or water temperature? We just don’t know. All I can tell you is that I am one of the three privileged aquarists from the United States to own and display one of these unique dazzling basslets. I maintained it in a 25-gallon reef system where it was as red three years later as it was the day I acquired it. Hopefully, more of these incredibly colored red candy basslets will enter the hobby and the scientific community will be able to provide more details on these beguiling little jewels.

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The Red Candy Basslet

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Reader Comments

CaveCarp    Springfield, IL

6/26/2014 7:18:22 AM

Such an adorable fish. Great video!

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