Dr. Seuss Soapfish
Dr. Seuss Soap Fish
The Dr. Seuss Soapfish is probably the most sought after rare fish at Marine Collectors; though, we are lucky to get two or three specimens a year. Like the majority of rare fish, the Dr. Seuss comes from the deep reefs of Micronesia and surrounding islands of the central pacific. It is often found at 150ft and below. the Species is thought to have an incredibly large region of occurrence, but are just out of reach for most common scuba divers.
The Dr. Seuss is one of the only two fish in its Genus; the other being the arrowhead basslet. Both fish are part of the Serranid family and are extremely closely related to liopropoma basslets. In terms of behavior and care, they are almost identical in every way to basslets. Being more cryptic in nature and preferring to stay near its den. Dr. Seuss also have extremely large mouths and will likely eat any tank mates that can fit into its mouth; best kept with peaceful tank mates the same size are bigger.
The character trait that sets this fish apart, is what gives them their name of "soapfish". When stressed or if the fish should die, they possess the ability to release a sudsy chemical through their skin that has a white appearance almost like soap. This chemical in other soapfish species has been known to cause significant harm to other tank inhabitants and the overall tank health. The Belonoperca genus however, seems less inclined to release this toxin and some studies have even suggested they are less able all together.
Ideally this fish should be kept in its own tank or as a bonded pair where the lighting isn't super bright and the temperature can be kept in the lower 70s.