Hello, Jason here. Every day I find a customer seeking a colorful fish that they can put in their reef tank. The decision can be difficult because so many of the fish are far from reef safe and many fish will pick at (if not devour) corals. One fish to consider for your reef is the Chalk Bass (Serranus tortugarum). This Caribbean fish occupies rubble and sand bottoms from South Florida to to the Bahamas.
Unlike many basses, the Chalk Bass does not grow to a large size, maxing out at approximately four inches. Their coloration is a light pink/orange color with bright blue aling the flanks and darker bars across the back from the snout to the tail. They make for a perfect addition to a reef aquarium in need of a little life and color. This colorful fish can be kept in a small aquarium as small as 30 gallons. Their diet, in the aquarium, consists mostly of brine shrimp, small pieces of scallop and pretty much anything else they decide may be able to fit in their mouth. Due to their relatively small size, they are generally safe with reef invertebrates, however, their ability to eat a shrimp or crab in your tank is something to consider before placing them in your tank. Make sure that the crabs or shrimp shrimp are larger than the Chalk Bass, and that there is plenty of rock for the inverts to hide in. They will be particularly vulnerable to a Chalk Bass during and shortly after they molt.
Chalk Bass are typically very peaceful fish and stay to one area of the tank, staking out a territory of the reef to hide in and defend. They tend to be shy and will flee from most threats, though for their size, they can and will defend territory from slightly larger intruders. They are avid eaters, too, and will venture away from the safety of the rock to investigate possible food items.
The Chalk Bass is an excellent candidate for many saltwater aquariums. With stunning blue color and compact size they are even worth the possible loss of an invert here or there in my opinion.