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Chalk Bass - Serranus tortugarum

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The Chalk Bass (Serranus tortugarum) is a small hardy fish that is great for beginners or experienced aquarists. It has a bluish body with a series of brown bars along the dorsal area. Part of their scientific name comes from the tortoiseshell-like sheen of their body. They have a more peaceful temperament than many other basslets.

Basses and basslets from the Serranus genus vary in appearance and size but are similar in care and relative temperament. They are Reef Safe, spending much of their time perching in, on, and around rockwork and caves. They may become territorial and should not be kept with extremely small, passive or skittish fish. They also may prey on smaller crustaceans like shrimp and crabs.

These fish are generally not picky eaters and will accept a wide variety of foods. Some may eat prepared pellets and flakes with time but a varied meaty diet is best. They can be given frozen or fresh shrimp, clam, scallop, brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, krill and similar items. The size of the piece should be suitable to the size of the fish being fed.

Visit That Fish Blog for more information from our marine biologists on Bold Basslets, the Chalk Bass and more.


F91 0007 0043
That Fish Place
Common NameChalk Bass
Scientific NameSerranus tortugarum
Reef SafeYes
Invert SafeYes, with caution
Community SafeYes
Max Size (in inches)3
Min Tank Size (in gallons)20
Originwestern Atlantic
Specific Gravity Range1.020-1.024
pH Range8.0-8.4
Temperature Range75-82
Internal Id

State Restrictions
Armed Forces Americas
Armed Forces Europe
Armed Forces Pacific
Puerto Rico


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