Swissguard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre)

Swissguard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre)

Swissguard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre)

The Swissguard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Peppermint Basslet is found in the western Atlantic from Bermuda and the Bahamas, into the Gulf of Mexico where it ranges from the Florida Keys, the Flower Garden Banks, and on the Campeche Bank off Mexico, southwards throughout the Caribbean Sea.

The Swissguard Basslet is a solitary species that lives in the caves, crevices, and overhangs found on the outer walls of the deeper coral reefs at depths from 10 to over 150 feet where they feed on small fish, small invertebrates, and crustaceans.    Swissguard Basslets are very territorial and will seldom stray far from their home rock, cave, or ledge; only venturing out to defend their territory or to find food.

Swissguard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre)

Swissguard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre)

The Swissguard Basslet has a pointed head with a relatively large mouth and a moderately elongated and compressed body. The body color is red to yellow orange with five wide alternating horizontal stripes of black and yellow.   There is a large black spot outlined in pale blue on the rear dorsal fin and lower anal fin, and two black spots joined by a black bar outlined in pale blue on the caudal fin.

Although the Swissguard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre) is similar in size and coloration to the Candy Basslet (Liopropoma carmabi) and Swales Basslet (Liopropoma swalisi), it is less intensely colored.

The Swissguard Basslet is best housed in a FOWLR or reef aquiarium of at least 20 gallon capacity with a crushed coral or sandy substrate and plenty of mature live rock arranged into caves, crevices, and overhangs. Peppermint Basslets are reef safe and are compatible with most fish and invertebrates that are too large to be eaten.   Because it is found in the deeper waters of the Caribbean, it needs subdued lighting or several areas in the tank with lower light levels where it can hide from bright lighting.

The Swissguard Basslet is friendly and peaceful with tank mates close to it’s size, but is highly aggressive with their own species. That said, only one per tank is recommended.

Although the Swissguard Basslet has been bred in an aquarium environment, their larvae have not been successfully raised to adulthood. There is some evidence that they are protogynous hermaphrodites.

In their natural deep water environment, Swissguard Basslets feed mainly on crustaceans and tiny fish.   In an aquarium environment, they should be fed a variety of meaty fresh, frozen, or freeze dried foods like vitamin enriched brine shrimp, Krill, silver sides, Mysis shrimp, finely chopped shrimp, etc. They will also eagerly accept carnivore and Spirulina based pellets. Several small daily feedings are recommended.

Although the Swissguard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre) is rarely available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts in fish shops, they are available online from a variety of wholesalers and retailers, usually on a waiting list basis.  Prices for average purchase sizes of 1-1/2″ to 2-1/4″ vary from $129.99 to over $375.00.

Swissguard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre)

Swissguard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre)






Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef or FOLR
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Semi Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 72–78 °F, dKH 8 – 12°, pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max size: 3″
Color Form: Red, Yellow, Black
Diet: Carnivore
Compatibility: Excellent Reef
Origin: Western Central Atlantic
Family: Serranidae
Lifespan: 2 to over 4 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate

One Response to “Swissguard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre)”


  1. […] Candy Basslet (Liopropoma carmabi) is similar in size and coloration to the Swissguard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre) and Swales Basslet (Liopropoma swalisi) but is easily differentiated by its more intensely colored […]

Leave a Reply

Saltwater Fish

Featuring Clownfish

Aquarium Supplies

On-Sale Aquarium Supplies!

Saltwater Holiday Specials

Tropical Fish Keeping – Categories