The Banded Fessle is a carnivorous saltwater fish indigenous to the warmer areas of the Anasazi Sea on Terra. A popular aquarium fish, banded fessles in captivity have been bred to encourage docility and to accentuate their deep blue vertical stripes.
Banded fessles are identifiable by their ovular heads, protruding mouths, and deep blue and white longitudinal stripes. These stripes help them camouflage themselves among the seaweed and coral of their natural environment. They have squat, triangular dorsal fins, lowslung pectoral fins, and broad, strong tails. Their mouths are lined with two rows of small, sharp teeth which they use for grasping and consuming prey. Over a ten-year life cycle, a banded fessle can grow to between 40 and 50 cm long.
Behaviour and Ecology
Banded fessles are ambush hunters, preying mainly on smaller fish, macroinvertebrates, and zooplankton. They play an important role in their ecosystem, keeping worms and other creatures from over-grazing on vegetation and disrupting delicate coral reefs. When hunting, a banded fessle floats motionless among local environmental features until a prey animal passes about 5 cm from its hiding spot. It then strikes before its prey is aware of its presence.
At around three years of age, a banded fessle will begin to seek out a mate. Banded fessles form lifelong pairs. Each fish will protect the other from threats, assist in hunting, share larger prey, and fend off potential suitors. A banded fessle that has lost its mate sometimes refuses to seek another.
When they are ready to spawn, the pair seek out an appropriate spawning medium, usually a strong seaweed frond or sheltered coral surface. The female then lays a line of eggs and the male fertilizes them. They repeat this process until they have laid up to a thousand eggs. The parents guard their offspring until they learn to hunt on their own. About 1 percent survive to adulthood.
In general, banded fessles seldom venture more than 12 meters deep, although they have been recorded at depths of 15 meters when pursuing prey.
Prized for their pairing behavior and their vibrant, contrasting colors, banded fessles are one of the more popular aquarium fish in the UEE. They number among the marine life that can be raised in tanks alongside fish indigenous to Earth. Ideally, they should be kept in warm saltwater, about 24 to 25 degrees Celsius. Because they can grow to be up to 50 cm long, they should only be kept in very large tanks (750 liters or more per fish).
The banded fessle is not territorial, but as a carnivore, it can pose a danger to other fish in a shared tank. It is recommended that generous portions of food be provided to fessles so they do not get hungry and turn on their tank mates.