Dr. Suess Soapfish

Another Dr. Seuss has been spotted on the Facebook page of Filipino marine exporter RVS Fishworld Inc. One of the rarest and most sought after marine imports in the world this alluring deepwater species is known for its odd looks, Dr. Seuss moniker, and $6000 price tag. Full-grown at just 6.2cm/2 ½” that’s $1000 per cm!

Also known as the Dr. Seuss Soapfish or Red-spotted Soapfish, Belonoperca pylei is named in honor of scuba diver and ichthyologist Richard Pyle, who discovered it, and its found in the Cook and Marshall Islands in the Central Pacific at depths between 170 and 350 feet. There its bright red coloration isn’t red at all and it actually helps this predatory soapfish to blend into its surroundings.  

Only a handful have made it into the marine hobby although Senior Biologist Richard Ross of the Steinhart Aquarium in the Calfornia Academy of Sciences obtained a pair with a view to breeding them.

If the budget allows it seems they will cohabit and do have breeding potential. Keep lighting dim and on the blue side to replicate their deepwater habitat, feed copious amounts of shrimp, and make sure you put a lid on the tank!