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FAQs on Basses & their Relatives

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Serranus tigrinus juvenile, Cozumel.

bumblebee grouper in freshwater?      6/23/17
Hello Neale,
<Howsit Ben; will send this on to Neale as well>
Warm greetings to you and all the good people at WetWetMedia,
Yesterday I went to the fish shop in Jakarta, where I saw the horseshoe crab and the blind many-toothed goby. Unfortunately I was unable to find the guy who sold them. Many of the fish sellers went home to prepare for Muslim holiday, so the place was not as crowded as usual.
Nevertheless, I still saw some interesting fishes in other shops, such as these pair of lovely bumblebee grouper (Indonesians call it "Kerapu Emas"/gold grouper), which lives in a freshwater aquarium (pictures attached).
<Mmm; this "monster bass" won't live for long in freshwater. Tis an all saltwater species; that suffers internal damage otherwise>
This is very strange and interesting to me, I thought these groupers are sea fishes, but the fish guy swore up and down that he had these groupers for years in freshwater.
<I doubt this; t'would be huge or dead in this time>

He also told me that he had successfully kept a barracuda (he called it "Alu Alu", the Indonesian name for it) in freshwater for a long time, and he will show it to me the next time I visit his shop.
<I'd like to see this species>
I wonder how did they achieve such feat? Is it because of some kind of chemical tricks (which he did not tell me), or is it because those species in question does have a wide range of tolerance to different degrees of salinity?
<Many marine fishes do make forays up rivers, past river mouths where there is less salty conditions. Again, not permanently>
Thank you and Best Regards,
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Sick grouper; obvious iatrogenic... rdg.       1/17/15
I have a 6 in m
grouper had him for 1yr.He was the most aggressive eater in tank then a month ago he stopped eating .
<Happens... what have you been feeding?>
He will come out ready to eat then go back to his cave once the other fish start eating .He will swim from one side to other during feeding but not eat. Its been a month now he still looks pretty healthy just not plump. Fish in tank sns puffer  mappa
puffer volitian lion yellow tang Niger trigger foxface and Huma Huma .
<... these fish are not all that compatible. The Lion and Foxface are potent and probable pokers, envenomizers, the triggers bite, harass...>

All fish around 4in but lion 7in .225 gallon tank
<You know how large the Puffer gets?>
all levels good but high nitrates around 80.
<Too high for four times. See WWM (actually READ re)>
Feed silversides krill clams raw shrimp live
<Trouble: LOOK up the word "Thiaminase" on WWM: READ>

and even tried Molly's plain or soaked in garlic or vita Chem noting works please help . How long can he last without food and what to try next or what could it be
<Reading. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick grouper; and fdg. f'        
He is a coralhide grouper. Thiaminase seem like it could be it but what to feed then?. Sns puffer lion and grouper only eat meat I feed pellets to other fish there not interested. Will Zoe supplement help or u no some thing else. Any tricks to get him eating. Working on nitrates I have a 300 an 500 gallon tank connected in new fish room but 3 months away from
moving fish to there new home.
<No real magic necessary to getting groupers to accept non-living food. Have done so with at least two species in the past, as well as numerous carnivorous marine and freshwater fish. Most think with their stomachs. Patience on your part is crucial. Starve them for as long as needed, days, even a couple weeks if necessary (probably won't be). Perhaps start with a
safe live food (river shrimps for example) while also offering some dead shrimps while they're still on the mooch for more. Chances are they'll take these "second helpings" without delay. Over time reduce the amount of live food, increase the amount of frozen. These are smart fish and catch on easily. Shrimps (and mussels) are actually a terrible staple being rich in
Thiaminase, but squid, cockles, lancefish and white fish fillet (e.g., tilapia) are all good. Silvery bits of food thrown into water currents seem especially good at eliciting "strikes" from stealth predators; an old trick, worth trying. Yes, the use of vitamin supplements is always a good idea with carnivorous fish that aren't taking pellets. Do look around for pellets designed for carnivores though -- premium brand ones are particularly good, and usually accepted. Maybe ask for a sample from your
pet store or local fish club. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Cephalopholis/Epinephelus - which small species is best behaved, on average? 02/08/12
Thanks for setting my feeding objective. I've been researching Spectrum pellets, feeding practices, and will make it my strategy to wean the entire tank exclusively onto the pellets. Is this realistic for the specimens I have?
<Actually; yes>
I can't find much anecdotal evidence on whether puffers and eels can be completely, successfully weaned onto pellets.
<Have seen this done; but I would use other foods in addition>
Or, whether I should consider another eel species who may be more flexible to allow this (i.e., the porc puffer isn't as "negotiable").
This objective also causes me to slightly revisit the stocking. I had added the goatfish based on your advice and my concern about the messy eaters on frozen/prepared foods. However, seems the use of pellets may dramatically cut down on food waste on the substrate (am I correct?).
While the goatfish is a highly functional specimen to have in the mix, I'd rather not have it in the stocking plan if its sifting/bottom feeding wouldn't add much value in a pellet-fed tank. In other words, I'd rather give the others - all favorites of mine - more elbow room.
<Up to you. I am a fan of the family>
Also, in seeing success with angels on pellets, I'm now tempted to plan an Imperator or Koran Angel in the mix. Recap of stocking plan (in addition sequence) for my 180 gallon 6' long tank below. Am I already maxed out on psychological comfort, or do you think I have room for this one last fish? Does your advice change if I remove the goatfish?
<Doesn't make much difference. Again, an Emperor will become too large for this volume>
(1) Regal blue tang and bicolor goatfish together, (2) harlequin Tuskfish and red Coris wrasse together, (3) volitans lionfish, (4) porcupine puffer, (5) chain moray eel, (6) imperator or Koran angel, (7) v tailed grouper.
One last question. My wife and I have 4 young kids, an adoptive child on the way, a dog, and I have a very busy job. These fish have been swimming around in my head for 10 years, and amidst my chaotic life I rationalize moving my dream to reality by virtue of the excellent science/engineering/responsibility project this hobby will bring my kids (who at the moment, are ecstatic to participate/contribute to starting the tank). There is no shortage of planning the aspects of my system, both for long term success and to keep at a minimum both risk and maintenance. That said, do you think I have a hole in my head to start a this project with such a busy life? (Tongue is in cheek here, but please humor me, I'd love to hear the Fenner "fountain of wisdom "response to this question!).
<Mmm, either we both have such fenestrations or are both happily delusory re our over-time investments/participations in this interest>
What a pleasure it is to have your site and this exchange.
<Cheers, BobF>

Fishy Cooperation: Scientists Discover Coordinated Hunting Between Groupers, Giant Moray Eels 1/4/12
> Hello Marco, Bob,
> Thought this might interest.
> http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061206095317.htm
> Cheers, Neale<Have observed this association in the wild myself. B>
And now saltwater Piranha! I.e. some damselfishes! 1/4/12

Really? Sounds extraordinary.
Am watching a new BBC documentary called "Great Barrier Reef: Nature's Miracle". Some amazing footage. There's the Epaulette Shark, which apparently is adapted to the reef top. During low tide and when exposed to air, the shark can walk about on the coral from one pool to another, and even shuts down parts of it brain to conserve oxygen. Apparently this is its ecological niche, feeding at low tide when other fish and crustaceans can't move about or escape from pools of water.
There was also a White Damselfish, apparently the fish responsible for more attacks on divers than anything else on the reef. Not fatal ones of course!
If this show appears on BBC America, do watch.
Cheers, Neale
<Ounce/gram for ounce/gram, the toughest, most territorial animals I've ever encountered>

Eel with white coating on tail--what disease? 7/28/11
I have an eel (moray I guess).
See picture. I reduced the size so it may be hard to see the eel clearly, but his tail is still there, it's just coated in white slime? and he also has white dots higher up. The eel is still breathing
<... what other livestock is in with this fish?>
It's about 2 feet long and has been doing well for about a year. It is fed Formula 1 and 2 cubes and silversides, typically eating several cubes/fish every five days or so. It's always looked well fed.
Suddenly, in the past 24 hours or less, a strange white slime has started to cover the lower third of the eel. It is very sluggish sitting out in the open on the sand.
The same thing happened to another eel that was in the tank 6 months ago or so. That eel was dead within a day or so.
None of the other fish seem to be experiencing any problems. Water change was just done two days ago. Water parameters look good, my nitrates are generally a little high at 30-40 but this is FOWLR tank, 400 gallons so not overstocks even with 5 other big fish in it.
Has anyone heard of a disease that manifests itself with this white coating.
There are little spots also visible higher up the eel.
Any advice or does it look hopeless and I should get him out before the other fish starting picking at him. The other fish are red snapper, grouper, lion fish, blue tang, raccoon butterfly, Porkfish-all medium to large fish.
<I suspect the bass/grouper has picked on this fish... The Muraenid is likely doomed from the damage.
Bob Fenner>

re: Eel with white coating on tail--what disease? 7/28/11
Thanks Bob. You are correct the eel died and I removed it from the tank.
So you think the white slime is a physical condition or reaction to trauma from assaults?
<Indeed; almost assuredly... the "white dots" more proximal are little doubt from this Moray trying to escape its tormentor... dashing itself against rock>
The Red Snapper is huge, probably at least 12" and the Panther Grouper is not quite that large--both are aggressive and I have seen the Snapper fight with the eel over food.
<Yes... Chromileptis can "turn" abruptly>
I had another eel that died back in October 2010 that had exactly the same white slime on the body.
<Acknowledged. Saw your comment re previously>
That eel was 3' and this one was 2'. Could such large eels really be beat up that badly by a Snapper or Grouper?
<Yes; for sure. BobF>
re: Eel with white coating on tail--what disease? 7/29/11

Thanks Bob.
<Welcome Jeff>
While I have your attention, let me ask you whether you think any eels might be able to "handle" these tankmates?
<I don't think so. I would not try again>
Also, I'm surprised it is the grouper who is the culprit because by far the most aggressive acting fish in the tank is the big snapper. He routinely chases the grouper and the other fish away from food. He does seem to show a cautious respect for the Lion Fish however. LOL.
<Could be the Lutjanus sebae... is my "second guess">
I am sending a picture of it. He looks like an Emperor Red Snapper.
The thing is I have had him since January 2010 and he was already quite large when I got him, so maybe six months or more old then. Outgrew former owner's tank. But he still has the distinctive markings of a juvenile. Is that possible given he must be at least 2 years old by now?
<Likely so>
Or have I misidentified the fish?
<Don't think so>
Sorry if I started a new thread.
<No worries. All useful information. Bob Fenner>

Strange white faced groupers 6/13/10
Good day crew!
<Sorry for the delay in responding>
I own a small aquarium shop, and have recently noticed something a little alarming with a couple of my black spotted groupers. 2 of them have developed what appears to be "white faces". See the attached
photo for a reference.
<I see this in your excellent pix>
Any idea what could be causing the problem?
<Yes... "Neuromast destruction"... aka Head and Lateral Line "Disease"... HLLE...>
At first I thought it may be battle scars, but the uniform shape seems to match their skulls... They've been housed in a sale tank. We keep our S.G. between 1.017 and 1.020,
<Too low...>
and generally use no remedies or medications. Furan II is on hand, as well as Melafix
<Don't use this...>
and the other usual remedies, but none have been applied to the patients in question.
<Neither will help you here>
They are housed in a 70 gallon sale tank within a partition of about 20 gallons. To this point, they have shared a compartment with a Clown Trigger,
<Very stressful>
and a Stars & Stripes Puffer - but no others. They have normal ABS/PVC pipes to hide in, but they rarely use them.
We skim heavily, as well as use regularly replenished activated carbon for filtration. All in all - its a very clean tank with no nitrates or other contaminants (that we're aware of).
Thanks in advance for your help, time, and for providing such an amazingly helpful website.
<Please read here re this syndrome:
and the linked files above. There are a few inputs that can result in this erosive condition... Mostly water quality and nutritional issues... and the "cure" is the rectification of these issues. Bob Fenner>

Marine poisoning... Bass? -4/6/10
Dear Bob,
Would just like to get your opinion on this matter. My client has a grouper
<A Serranid...>
that he handled in his system and claims it excreted poison that wiped out his system within a few minutes.
<Mmm, not as far as I know... Was this a Soapfish, a Grammistid?>
Now he is not sure whether he needs a total water change or how to clean the system as he wants to introduce new stock arriving in five days.
Best Regards,
Manie van der Merwe
Windhoek, Namibia
<When, where in doubt, change it out. BobF>
Re: Marine poisoning, not a bass, but a Grammistid 4/9/10

Hi Bob,
Thanks. Yes, now that you mention it I believe its a soap fish.
Best Regards,
<Ahh! Yes, these can/do produce an exudate that is quite toxic. Please read here:
and the linked family coverage above. BobF>

Question about Anyperodon 5/11/09
<Hi there>
In Djibouti - depth 25 meters - I make photo of fish - looks very similar to Anyperodon - but have bright blue color and another dot pattern.
Can you help with Identification.
Pashkov Dimitri
<This species, A. leucogrammicus... does occur in this sort of purplish form at times, in places...
Please see here: http://img2.tapuz.co.il/forums/1_82558793.jpg
Bob Fenner>

trap for large grouper-- 05/09/09
Hello, I have a 5-6 in grouper that I need to remove from my tank. I have read about the pop bottle trap but it seems that it would work best on small fish. Any other ideas on how I can catch this big guy without tearing out all my LR and chasing him with the net like an idiot?
<Mmm, yes... two nets, perhaps a friend with two more.... but, really...>
I also have a Foxface in the tank with him and really need to be cautious.
I have tried catching him at night and when feeding but he is already hip to the net. please help
<Better likely to "bite the bullet" and get out a clean trash can or some other clean container (with a liner perhaps) and drain the water way down, move the rock... and catch the fish... This moving is not really a big deal after all... and you can use the opportunity to rearrange the rock, vacuum the substrate... Bob Fenner>

Basses and their relatives, Lions and Grouper interaction 9/3/08 Hello. <Hi> I am a first time tank owner. <Welcome to the hobby.> The first fish I got was a dwarf lion fish and three or so months later I got a panther grouper. <I hope this is a big tank.> My lion fish will eat anything. I have fed him rosy reds, feeder guppies and frozen plankton (on a feeder stick). <I would stop feeding the live fish immediately, you are opening yourself up to a bunch of problems. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fdgfdrartneale.htm . Marine fish need food of marine origin, I would try to train them to eat frozen or human consumption quality foods, such as shrimp, squid, clams, and a good quality pellet food.> Both of my fish were ready to eat as soon as I pulled out the net. One night I decided to feed my fish at 10pm or so. I usually put in 3 rosy reds so that the lion fish will fill up and give the panther grouper a chance to eat because my lion fish is bigger and faster than the grouper. The lion fish usually eats two rosy reds and the grouper gets full off of one. This time the grouper and the lion fish were going for the same rosy red and the lion fish swallowed the grouper head first. <Not good.> I chased the lion around the tank with the net he spit out the grouper the grouper was alive and had no visible damage and didn't seem to have any trouble swimming. The next day I woke up to see what was going on and to see if the panther was alive. He was fine I tried holding the lion back with the net to see if the panther could actually get one. But he wouldn't eat I have tried feeding him brine shrimp frozen plankton and rosy reds but he won't eat. <May need to get the grouper into a QT tank to see if you can get him to feed without the stress of the lion around.> The lion fish will eat fine though please help me I am worried that my panther will die of starvation. <Fish can go quite some time without eating, I would not be overly concerned until a week has passed. If he has not started eating by then it may need to be separated from the lion in a QT tank until it starts responding to food. I highly encourage you to rethink your feeding strategy, you are headed for trouble using live feeder fish. Also for future queries please spell and grammar check before submitting, otherwise we have to do this ourselves before posting.> <Chris>

Liopropoma carmabi 7/25/08 Can you guys suggest a source for this fish? <Mmm, perhaps write "Dynasty Marine"... Owner/mgr. Forrest Young recently had an excellent article in one of the hobby 'zines re collecting this genus in the Lower Antilles... They could tell you where they in turn sell them to/through as wholesalers... Their retail outlets, contact info. here: http://www.dynastymarine.net/> I've never seen one in person. Heck, I haven't even seen one online for sale!! <Deep water... not easily collected, but gorgeous, and hardy in captivity> I see on this page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/liopropomafaqs.htm under the heading "Looking for a Liopropoma Carmabi", that someone that goes by "J" may have a source. Brian Jenkins <Likely Dr.s Foster & Smith, Marine Center (.coms) can special order... Bob Fenner>

Starfish and Grouper Compatibility - 03/13/08 Hi, I love your website and the effort you put in with helping people. I have a question, I have a 240 gallon tank with a Miniatus, vtail, and a saddleback grouper. I saw this beautiful orange starfish and was wondering if it was okay to put in tank. Will the groupers attack it? I have over 150lbs of rocks. My tank has been set up for a year. Thanks for your help? <Mmm, have never seen/witnessed an incident of a Serranid bothering, ingesting an asteroid. Bob Fenner>

Bass... hlth. 12/2/07 Howdy crew...I have a Blue Lined Grouper (Cephalopholis boenak) <A gorgeous bass> in a 155 bow that has been in there for 6 or 7 months.....he's been doing awesome until today I noticed whitish spots (more like lesions) about 5-15 mm. each covering his body. <I see these blotches> Already in QT, what should I do next? one opinion I already have from someone else is Sporozoan, (aka apicomplex) which I have never dealt with .Any help is appreciated... there's also a photo attached Mitch <I don't think this is infectious or parasitic mediated... But "just" environmental or psychological... What other livestock are present? Anything relatively new going on? Is the blotchiness linked to some activity on your part... like water changing? Does it come and go to extents? Bob Fenner>

Re: Injured Cephalopholis 12/3/07 Thanks for the quick response Bob, I think you are correct, when I came in today, most spots are gone.... What spots left are really small(1-3 mm) and probably only 10-15 of them or so.... Looking almost back to normal now, so ill take him out of QT, seeing on how he's still acting fine, looking beautiful as ever, and eating like a horse. <Good signs> As far as any recent changes, I manage a LFS in Charleston, SC and it does get frequent water changes as well as fish coming and going. Maybe he misses the HUGE clown trigger (Balistoides conspicillum) we just sold that was in that tank for months with him. <Yikes, more like a relief!> As far as the other fish, Metallic Foxface (Lo magnifica) Full Size Small Blueline Trigger (Pseudobalistes fuscus) Zebra Moray (Gymnomuraena zebra) 38" Stars & Stripes Puffer (Arothron hispidus) fatty OLD Porky Puffer (Diodon holocanthus) And LOTS of rockwork <Mmm... all but the Zebra Eel could worry this bass. BobF>

How long can a fish go without eating? Chromileptis... 10/17/07 My panther grouper is rather large 9 inches or so long. It use to come and snatch food 2-3 times a week then retreat behind some rocks and just kinda chill. <Pretty typical beh.> Well in the last 3 1/2 -4 weeks it won't come and snatch food and has been more lethargic then usual. For the first couple of weeks it kinda just stayed behind the rocks coming out briefly then hiding again. This last week it has resumed it's normal routine except I don't see it eat anymore. It is possible it is eating some of the food that floats to the bottom, but this is a pretty big fish and I would assume it needs a substantial amount of food. Any ideas? <All sorts> It prefers krill, but I have offered silversides in hopes and squid and it shows no interest. It also seems very cowardly considering it is almost twice the size of most the other fish. I have had the fish well over a year and it has nearly tripled in size ( not surprisingly). . It shares the tank with a Picasso and Niger Trigger, and Lunar Wrasse. 170 gallon FOWLR. No new additions in over 6 months. I don't know if this has anything to do with it, but recently while doing a water change I flipped over some live rock and noticed a large amount of sponges growing on the underside of most of the rocks. I assume they are more beneficial then harmful just trying to give as much info as possible. Thanks in advance for your help <Might have damaged (esp. the mouth) itself, might bullied by the trigger/s... might have swallowed something that won't pass (e.g. a rock, hermit crab...)... I'd move the fish to other quarters if you have... and keep trying familiar foods every few days. Bob Fenner>
Re: How long can a fish go without eating? 10/17/07
Strangely enough I noticed that 2 of my large red hermit crabs have disappeared recently without a trace. Triggers stay away from the fish as he dwarfs them for the most part. He/She still looks healthy and fat I guess I will try a QT tank and see what happens. Thanks for your help <Ahh... hopefully this "too shall pass". Cheers, BobF>

Lion, Bass incomp. 8/2/07 Hi.. curious to see if a new addition; Leopard Grouper can be causing stress for the Lion Fish in the tank at my job. <Yes, and yes> I am very concerned; as I am their caretaker. We have 2 Lions Fish, Squirrel Fish, small Angel (forgot what type), snowflake eel. <In a tank of a couple hundred gallons I hope/trust> I have not noticed the Lions bothering or getting bothered by the Leopard Grouper; however since his introduction.. The Lion's are docile, staying in an upright position near the rocks/filter. They are also changing to a much darker burnt orange color; is this caused by stress? <Yes> Is there anything that can be done to alleviate the stress? <Remove the Bass> Usually when I come in the morning. they are happy to see me; they have not looked at me or anyone else for that matter in days. The tank is over 200 gallons with no over crowding. please help, I am so worried about them. Thank Nicole <This Serranid should be removed, pronto. Bob Fenner>

Red Emperor Snapper and a Sailfin Tang, comp. in a large tank 3/29/07 I have a 200gal (2'Wx2'Hx7'L) running about 3 years. I have a 40gal refugium, 3 XP3's, & a Coralife skimmer rated for a 220 gal. I have a Fox Face Lo 6", Spiny box Puffer 9", Sailfin Tang 10", and a Panther Grouper 16". I just got a Miniatus Grouper which is 11". <Some big basses... getting bigger!> My problem is the Sailfin is not happy about the Miniatus being in his home. (All the other fish could careless) The Sailfin won't let him out of the rock work (170 pounds+ of LR) Now I talked to the LFS where I got him and another costumer dropped off a 12" Red Emperor Snapper about a week ago and they would do a trade for the Miniatus. I saw the Snapper and he's beautiful. They got him (Snapper) in a 220 2'Wx 30"Hx 6'L. With 2 Dogface Puffers and some type of eel, a Naso Tang and another Miniatus. And they all look like they get along. The problem is that in my tank, there is a big ledge, and that's where my Sailfin retreats to, and that's where the Miniatus stays all the time, and that's where the fighting usually starts. But at the LFS, the Snapper is swimming at the top and doesn't look like he wants in the rock work. <Mmm, would, if threatened> Am I just asking for to much or do you all think my Sailfin might get along with a snapper who won't invade his ledge? <Not really any better than the Miniatus... If it were me, mine, I'd first get in the tank, move most all the present live rock around... make a new ledge on the other side, a cave sort of arrangement on the other... And see if this greatly diminishes the agonistic behavior of the Sailfin. It should. Bob Fenner>

Juvenile Panther Grouper - Mouth stuck open 2/26/07 Hey guys, fabulous web site. If not for your site, I would have shelved the whole saltwater tank idea years ago. <Yikes!> Quick question. I have a juvenile Panther Grouper (about 2.5") who I noticed yesterday was breathing pretty hard with his mouth open. This morning I noticed the same thing, his mouth is still open. I did some research on your site and called my fish store. Both sources talk about Lion Fish dislocating their jaws, but in the 'mouth closed' position. <Mmm, both fish species/groups can dislocate "open" as well> Do you think my Grouper has dislocated his jaw, but in the 'open' position? <Is a possibility, yes... but could be that something is "stuck" in it, or that this fish is "just low" on oxygen...> I am unsure of what to do. He is obviously unable to eat. He still swims around, but definitely not in the greatest of spirits. I do not see anything in his mouth when he faces the front of the tank. Is this something I will have to just wait out? Any other ways to get him to eat? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks! Neil <Mmm, well, due to the small size of the specimen (and the likelihood that it may starve "too soon"... I would be tempted to net it out, take a look for an obstruction (in the inner bones of the throat, and try to gently manipulate the jaws to close them... on either side, bending up toward that side, from the midline. Bob Fenner>

Grouper with a skin problem 2/7/07 Our blue spot grouper has recently come down with blackish blotches. <I see them... environmental likely> He's losing his color also. It appears as though he is swimming against the sand to scratch. Pictures are attached. Any ideas? Thanks, Vic <How much nitrate is present here? Something likely amiss with your water quality. Bob Fenner>

Queensland "Super" Grouper 8/25/06 First Fish To Undergo Chemo Dies At Shedd Bubba the Queensland "Super" Grouper Passed Away Tuesday (CBS) CHICAGO Bubba the Queensland Grouper was born a female but became a male. More remarkably, this Shedd Aquarium resident was the first fish to successfully undergo chemotherapy. Now, staff members at the Shedd Aquarium are mourning the death of a most "super grouper." Bubba died suddenly on Tuesday. Teams were mobilized to provide emergency medical care to Bubba, but efforts to save the fish were not successful. "The past twenty-four hours have been extremely difficult for our staff as Bubba was truly a member of the Shedd family," said George Parsons, director of the Fishes department, in a news release. "Bubba overcame some incredible odds over the years, and that's what made him so special to us. His story of survival inspired so many of our guests and the public that followed him." An initial autopsy revealed Bubba had health issues related to old age and a number of abnormal growths. A more extensive report will come back in a few weeks. Bubba was born a female, but later became a he because groupers can actually change gender as they mature because of social and other factors. Bubba was left as an abandoned pet at the Shedd in 1987. Bubba was diagnosed with a type of cancer and successfully treated in 2003, earning him the nickname "super grouper" by the media who followed his story. He became an inspiration to cancer patients and even has a tile in his honor at the Hope Children's Hospital oncology division in Oak Lawn, Ill.

- Panther Grouper Illness 8/22/06 - I have had a panther grouper for about a year and it has been acting funny lately. He hasn't been eating for a few days and he just kind of lays around and sits there with his mouth open and gills open as well. Please help, I don't want him to die! Thank you, Rebecca B. <Rebecca, it sure would help if you could tell us a little more about the tank this fish lives in... how large is the tank? How often is the water changed? Have you run any water tests on the fish tank? If so, what were the results. With a little more information, we'd be happy to do our best to help. For now, I'd suggest a 10-25% water change and see how that plays out. Cheers, J -- >

Feeding Miniata Groupers - 5/12/2006 Our LFS told us that Miniatus groupers should only eat three times a week or they will die from liver disease from over eating. <Mmm, this interval is about right...> It doesn't make sense.... if fish live in the ocean, why would they overeat? <... perhaps there is generally not enough food about to do so... maybe when one is getting too full it is more likely to not be able to catch/find other food... Over long generations maybe there is genetic selection for ones that don't get too full to be caught/eaten themselves...> There is 1-6" clown trigger and 1-4" sohal tang in a 240 gal. tank. He suggested feeding separate. Dale <Likely necessary as they get larger... Bob Fenner>

Hawk and Shrimp Mixing 1/17/06 Recently I've seen a fish sold as a geometric Hawkfish which is really a Perchlet (Plectranthias) <Yes they have been much more common around here as well lately.> at my local fish stores. Are these fish good aquarium residents? <There small size and level of activity, or lack there of makes them a good choice for many tanks. Due to their deep water collection they often do not recover from collection and shipping, but those that do survive acclimate and eat well in my experience.> I'm thinking about purchasing one for a 40g tank with numerous shrimp. <What type of shrimp, larger shrimps such as adult Lysmatas should be okay but smaller shrimps may be lunch.> Would the shrimp be a nice meal for the fish? <If they are small enough.> On the other hand would my Coral Bands enjoy hunting down the Perchlet. <Likely would be too quick for the shrimp to catch, though that isn't to say I haven't seen a CBS snatch a fish before.> Adam helped me a while ago with a P. ataenia wrasse. <I remember.> Let him know this fish is doing great and has become the family favorite. <Awesome.> Thanks for your help! <No trouble.> Myles Goldfein <Adam J.>

Non- raised white spots: Blue Line Grouper 11/23/05 So - I've e-mailed you before and your advice when I started this hobby a year ago, has been absolutely valuable. I have referred your website to a friend of mine who is building a 1500 gallon tank in his new home in Belize and wonder if you all have conversed. <I see> My new blue line grouper, I bought from the local aquarium purveyor has developed white spots that are not raised. There are no bumps, no lumps, no tufts of white. It almost appears like the pock marks of a trout. Squarish spots. During the past three days the amount has doubled, so I know this can't be it's natural pigment. Something is afoot in Denmark - or something. It has, in deed, been rubbing itself on everything. <Are stress markings... something not to its liking...> I have a Niger and a Domino with it, that have been there from the start and have no signs of infection. The blue line grouper has been in the tank for two weeks. <Mmm, these are likely the psychological source...> Any help would be greatly appreciated as I am totally bewildered, having searched through the sea of information with nothing really popping out as to what is up with my ferocious, small at five inches, beast. Mucho Gratitude, Ishan <Try moving out the Domino first... Bob Fenner>

My sick Grouper 9/30/05 Hello: Please help me. My 6 inch Panther Grouper is laying sideways. He won't eat and now has some type of parasite or scales on him. He was so cool. My roommate is an idiot and will let him die. Although he is not my fish, I take care of him while bad parent visits the world for months on end. What do I do with this fish. The tank is 200 gallons I guess. it's 6 ft by 18 inches. It has a puffer fish in it who is a hog eating all the food from the others to the point I have to hide it under the rocks. Two Nemo fish, 3 star fish and several crabs. Plus a large eel at about a foot long. The main food my roommate feeds is Krill. with only differentiating of seaweed pellets. Please Advise. Anne <Do you have idea's re why this fish is behaving this way? Water quality test kits? This species does at time "just" lay down, and will (for no apparent reason) go into a non-feeding strike... If good-sized, the Panther Grouper can go w/o food for weeks. I would check your water quality, execute a large water change, look into placing some chemical filtrant (e.g. Chemipure, activated carbon, Polyfilter) in the filter flow path, and offer some fresh/er frozen/defrosted foods... at both ends of the tank to keep some of it away from the puffer. Bob Fenner>

Keeping two groupers 9/19/05 I have a FOWLR 180gal system (6x2x2 ft) currently stocked with two eels; Whitemouth moray 15 inch and zebra moray 18inch, both brought back from Hawaii. Also have Lunare wrasse 5inch, Fiji damsel 2.5inch, and clown grouper 2.5inch. Like to get one or two big show fish to finish the system...something easy to feed and hardy and disease resistant. The LFS has a large 7-8inch miniata grouper and 7-8inch Argus grouper...both look healthy. Can I get both at the same time and expect everyone to get along. Or should I get just one and a large trigger of same size like a Pinktail? Have not had much luck with large angels and tangs...finicky eater and Ich-prone. I know I might have to take the Fiji damsel and clown grouper out due to their small size. I'm running a Top Fathom skimmer with a W/D filter sump. Also a large hang on power filter and Purigen to help lower the nitrogenous waste so filtering I hope is adequate.
<Your tank isn't large enough to keep that many larger fish. You will be asking for problems, being that the groupers grow at a very fast rate. Search the WWM, keyword, "stocking levels" for more info. <James (Salty Dog)>

- Chalk Bass Compatibility - Hi there! I've been looking through your FAQs and info, and as far as I can understand, chalk basses are from the same family as royal grammas... <Yes, both basses [Serranidae] although in different genera.> <<Mmm, actually Grammas are in a separate family, Grammatidae... but these families are not very distally related. RMF>> I have a well-established 32 gal reef tank with a chalk bass, green Chromis, ocellaris clown, Firefish and a few inverts (shrimp, hermit, etc...) They are all really peaceful and seem to do greatly together. I also have LPS and soft corals... My question is, will it be OK if I put a Royal Gramma with these guys? <I'd recommend against it only because your tank is full, livestock wise... the fish would likely get along given more space but I think this will put your tank over the edge both socially and biologically.> Will there be any territoriality/species problems with my bass? (I love this guy!! so bright and beautiful colors, and lots of personality ;) Thanks a lot!!! Ivan <Cheers, J -- >

Snowflake moray eel and panther grouper Hey again, I have one more question that I forgot to put on the last message. Will a {panther grouper} live with a {Gymnothorax tile}? Best regards, Miles <Likely so... as long as the Panther is not so much larger than the eel that it can swallow it. Bob Fenner>

Grouper Grudge Hello all. Sorry to be constantly asking you questions. I am a very curious person and you all seem to be one of the only well-versed and reliable sources available (not that I don't also like you and appreciate the work, but you understand the difficulty in finding reputable information I'm sure). Just a quick question this time. I have a four inch or so Huma, had him about a year now, and I was just wondering- when you say they are very very slow growers, exactly how long should I expect for him to take to become a sizeable specimen? It seems like he's only grown an inch or so. It's hard to tell since I see him everyday and it happens so slowly, even though he eats more than any other fish I own. My concern is that I acquired a small (maybe 2 inches at the time) Miniatus grouper who is rapidly putting on size, already about three plus inches. The trigger has completely dominated him thus far. Though they do not cause any harm to one another, the trigger has certainly asserted himself as the top dog (or fish) in the tank. I can see how this may become a problem as the bitter Miniatus has a mouth that will probably soon be able to fit around this long-term enemy. Should I be concerned? Is my grouper going to hold a grudge? thanks again. Reuben >>>Hello again Rueben, nice to hear from you. If you had a very small trigger, say 1", then it would be difficult for me to predict exactly what would happen here, but I can guarantee you it would be one of two things. One, the grouper, having been raised with the trigger, would grow larger and leave the trigger completely alone. Often, when a predatory fish is raised with another, smaller fish, (especially a more aggressive one) the predator will not consume the fish when it finally gets large enough to do so. It doesn't see the fish as food, just another part of it's environment. It's acclimated to the other, smaller fish's presence. The other possibility, things would be fine for a long time, then one morning you will wake up minus your trigger. Now, since your Huma Huma is already 4", you have little to worry about. Although they are a SLOW grower, as I said before. (about an inch a year, as you have witnessed) they are a tough mouthful. It will be quite some time before the Miniatus is large enough to even THINK about ingesting a trigger of this size, and your trigger will continue to grow. No worries. It would take quite a large grouper (by aquarium standards, say14"), to eat a trigger of that size I had a 3" Huma Huma with a 9" Miniatus for quite a long time. Cheers

Grouper, et al. ID, husbandry help... Hello again. I have a couple of new fish questions- The first: I saw a grouper, I am guessing it's Variola sp. because it has a lyre-shaped tail, but it has a white stripe down its face and small white margin on its tail. I thought it might be albimarginata for obvious reasons, but when I saw photos of juvenile individuals they did not look like this one (only three inches being generous, and already looking very red, with vertical bars, not horizontal). Is this correct? <Possibly. Take a look at the pix of this genus' members on fishbase.org> If it is, I couldn't find much info on this so-called "cherry grouper" and I was wondering what its maximum length would likely be (probably around 2 feet, right?)? <Something like this, yes> The second question: I actually read the literature on your site about this fish, but it mostly was written by other people. And I couldn't find any solid info about it after I identified it (even tried the Google search and didn't find the image you spoke of). It is Vespicula depressifrons, the leaf goblinfish, or more commonly seen as the Indonesian butterfly goby (although I know not why). <As Shakespeare gets credit for: "What's in a name?"> Can you give me some natural history on this little guy? <Mmm, none. Have not seen others experiences, had any of my own with this fish> I bought one (because they were only three dollars and if it dies it would be sad, but not like the death of an imperator angel or anything), it was being kept in fresh water like so many unfortunate, misidentified fish in the pet trade, so I put it in a freshwater quarantine for the time being, but I am more than suspicious that it is truly a brackish fish. I have added a little bit of salt, since it must be at least a hard water fish and should be able to tolerate it. I think I should keep adding, however. Am I correct? Thanks again. Reuben <Take another look on FishBase here. Bob Fenner>

Panther Grouper in 55 G?--Not (8/3/04) Hi, this is Blake. <Hi there, Steve Allen today.> I was wondering if I could put a Dwarf lionfish and a Panther grouper together in my 55 gallon aquarium. Its dimensions are 48x15x20. <Absolutely not. The Panther Grouper will grow to over 18 inches in length and needs at least 240 gallons. Not only that, but as a voracious eater, it will eventually out-compete the lion for food. The dwarf lion ought to be fine in your tank. Look for more suitable tankmates--ones that are too big too eat, but small enough to keep in this small tank.>

Blue cod grouper (SWEET) I think this 40 #er looks better than Koi in this habitat ! Mike <''}}}}>< <Watch that you don't fall in! Bob F>

BEWARE! The Grouper! Sage Warning This is advice you can pass on rather than a question... I know a divorced coworker who kept a 75 gallon tank in her recent settlement. Her ex apparently had a much larger tank that he took with him. Anyway, she didn't know a lot about fish and had a maintenance team clean it, etc. She told me the tank had some clownfish and an angelfish which turned out to be a mid-sized Navarchus (more on him in a sec). Last week she said she picked up a "cute" fat fish that "looked like a football with stripes". It didn't occur to me what it might be, so I shrugged it off. Yesterday she called me horrified and asked me to come to her house. The "cute fish" was a six-inch sexlineatus grouper that ate two small percula clownfish during the night and then, apparently craving a big breakfast, attacked her angel as she watched in the morning. She described that it kind of body-checked the angel into a rock senseless, then tried swallowing it whole, and unable to, kept smacking the protruding part into the rock to help force it down. Ugh. When I saw the grouper it was grossly swollen and laying between some rocks. She said that the angel was larger than the grouper, which may not have been true, but it perhaps could have been somewhat close to it in length. The reason I share this story is to have you remind newbies to NEVER trust a big-mouthed predator with something smaller than it. I myself had a sexlineatus years ago and it was a favorite "personality" fish of mine, but it swallowed a similar-sized Hawkfish when it was about 4". They have HUGE mouths, larger inch-for-inch than any grouper I have kept. >>Oh man! I have to chuckle, but poor woman. And now she knows (hopefully other newbies reading this will remember next time they see an animal they don't know much about), never buy a fish without first consulting her knowledgeable friend. Marina

Chalk Basslet Compatibility Question Hi, <Hello! Ryan Bowen with you today> I've been looking for information on the compatibility of a royal Gramma (Gramma loreto) and a chalk Basslet (Serranus tortugarum). <OK> Currently I have a royal Gramma in my 90 gallon tank, along with a Scopas tang, Foxface, Tailspot wrasse, Sharknose gobies, redhead gobies, Banggai cardinal, Firefish, lined blenny and bicolor blenny. All of these fish are fairly small (less than 2 inches) except for the first three which are about 3-4 inches long. Jeez, looking at this list I wonder if I should even be adding another fish. ;) <Just what I was thinking! It's possible, but would require lots of attention. You may want to trade in a few of your current residents for a small group of the Basslets. Doing something to this effect will take the stress off a single individual if aggression is a problem. Whenever you're unsure, have a QT tank on hand to be safe.> Anyway, I haven't had any problems with the royal Gramma so far. I mean other than the usual flaring of the operculum and fin shows when the Firefish gets too close to whichever hiding spot he has chosen for the day. Everyone pretty much gets along. However with both the royal Gramma and the chalk Basslets being from the same family (or at least related), I am wondering about aggression. Any thoughts?
<Could be a pricey mistake. Would be a stunning display of color if you pull it off. Ryan> TIA, Christy Falkenberg :)

Unidentified grouper you know that electric blue grouper, that you were not able to identify? This one (last one in list) http://wetwebmedia.com/basses.htm Just wondering if you were able to get anymore info on it. Thanks, Ron <Nope, not yet. Bob Fenner>
Re: unidentified grouper
Found it! It is Anyperodon leucogrammicus. Rarely seen in the hobby. Gets about 24" and its blue juvenile color changes as it grows. <Bingo! We have a winnah!!!> here is its intermediate stage: http://www.uga.edu/cuda/images/INnightwhitelined72.jpg and then here is its final adult stage: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=4922&genusname=Anyperodon&speciesname=leucogrammicus <I'll be... I have a pic, we have this species listed on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/basses.htm> The reason I was searching for it was because I just got one for free from a friend that is friends with an importer. Lucky me. Anyway it is doing fine, its a grouper so it is a hardy fish. I currently have in in a 60gallon, but when he gets a little bigger, he will look nice in my 310 gallon. -Ron <Sounds good. thank you for the input. Bob Fenner>

- Grouper Chemotherapy - I found this copied in the Philadelphia Inquire today, 12-26-03. Found the web version with goggle. Web article dated 10-15-03 so it may be old news to you, but I found it interesting. Thought I'd pass it along. Don http://www.centredaily.com/mld/centredaily/news/7023056.htm <Thanks for sharing. Cheers, J -- >

- Giant Mouth with an Appetite - Hi all! Just got done reading some more articles on your wonderful site, the last being about groupers and such. I have a "black tipped grouper" (Epinephelus fasciatus). It is about 7" in length. Knowing the general rule of "if it can fit in it's mouth...", I purchased another fish recently that I assumed the grouper could not eat. This was a particularly large damsel (about 4") and mean as can be imagined- if you put your face near the tank he would come charging and slam into the glass about 5+ times trying to get your eyes!.. same with reaching in the tank.. Anyhow, the groupers mouth opens fairly large- about the size of a quarter.. the damsel being nearly 3" tall not including fins obviously is much bigger than that. To make a long story short- the grouper apparently got mad about the damsel bugging him and is now in the process of digesting him.... So the moral of the story is if ya gotta grouper, make sure other fish are bigger than the grouper- I would have bet anyone or anything that there wasn't a chance of this happening - but the fin in the throat and the big fat belly prove it I guess. PS: can this kill AHHHHHH? <Doubtful.> PSS: My wife asked our two year old daughter to name it - she looked at it covered her eyes with both hands and screamed AHHHHHHHHHH at the top of her lungs. She does this whenever we ask her the fishes name. Thanks <Ah yes... thanks for sharing. Is a common tale, and one that few people think their little groupers are capable of duplicating. Cheers, J -- >

- Reusing Freshwater Equipment and Livestock Selection - I am a newbie to salt water aquariums, actually I am in the planning stage to set one up. So here it goes. I have a 100 gallon freshwater that I am going to convert to saltwater. For filtration I have 1 AquaClear 301, and a TetraTec 2. My question to you is can I use the same filters that I did for fresh water in my salt water. <Yes you can, but even in combination it's my opinion that this amount of filtration is woefully inadequate for a 100 gallon saltwater tank.> Money is tight, so I am going to try to use any equipment that I already have. <Can appreciate that, but everything about saltwater is more expensive, and most importantly the livestock which means you'd better prepare yourself.> I plan on trading in my 9" Arowana, and some large South American cichlids for some in store credit to help me buy what I'll need. <Don't think that will cover it entirely.> One more question, can you advise me on any fish that would get along with a Panther Grouper. <Actually, I'd advise you to skip the panther grouper - while a striking fish, these grow much too large to be safely kept with much of anything except a large puffer or trigger. All but a few groupers get quite large and can inhale just about anything including fish their own size.> Thank you for your time and expertise. Steve <Cheers, J -- >

Groupers!! can't get enough of them: Try to. 11/22/03 Hey guys, I was wondering if you might be able to name some groupers that get along with other grouper types? I have a miniata grouper and wanted to add another type (not any type of Soapfish either)... thanks for your time... <while I too admire the sea basses, they are predatory and highly territorial. It really would be a bad idea to mix any. Few will tolerate the competition. You will be safer to mix non-competitive organisms in like Angels, Tangs and Wrasses. Since you like 'em though... do go seek some pics on the net (fishbase.org, etc) of a Polleni grouper... my fave. Anthony>, etc) of a Polleni grouper... my fave. Anthony>

Extracting a Grouper Kevin, Any tips on getting the grouper out. <If the fish is friendly enough to you, try a clear container to capture it. Other methods include using 2 nets (one held by another person), netting while feeding, and using a barbless hook. For a grouper, the barbless hook idea may work great! -Kevin>

Basses for sale... how many? To whom it may concern I was hoping you might be able to help me find some information. I am working on a project and am trying to determine the market value of species of Cephalopholis and Epinephelus groupers to the aquarium industry. More specifically I would like to find out Import/export details (tons per year), what the going price for some of these species is, and what the annual value is for any of the species in these two genera? <There are some recent WCMC papers, compilations of data on aquarium fish by region, with some family level data by Elizabeth Wood...> I have been trying to search for the information on the internet but have not been very successful as there is an information overload and not much in the way of my questions. <Not in print as far as I'm aware> I would appreciate any information or links you might have to help me find the information, if you know of an importer/exporter that may be able to answer the questions I would appreciate contact details as well. Thank you for your assistance Jason Vasques <Not so much that the information you seek is proprietary, just not collected by CITES, other requirement... You might try (this has been done as with Tridacnid clams) doing a "market survey" of the larger volume marine livestock wholesalers... In Los Angeles, Miami, New York, TMC in the UK... re these Serranid genera... how many individuals of what size they deal in, what their FOB costs are from sources. Bob Fenner>

Setting the panther on the damsel <Hi Bill, PF with you tonight> Hello to my favorite fish crew, This isn't a joke. If I get a panther grouper. I like triggers ,but they nip at corals), will it get this damsel fish. It's 125 gal reef tank. With two tangs of good size. He become quite a pain over the years. I'm not tearing down my rock to get him. I've tried netting him, trapping him, and even fishing for him. He's gotta go! Thanks Bill <Well, I don't blame you for wanting to get rid of it, but a panther is not the answer. For one thing, they get to big for your tank (180, at bare minimum, but bigger would be better). I know you don't want to tear down your rock, but I think that is your only option. Damsels are fish that successfully defend their territories from much larger fish, heck, they even go after divers. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.>

Big Grouper... with mouth-size Butterflyfishes? Hello, MY cousin has asked me to safe keep his 1 foot long grouper for a while. My current tank consist of some adult size Butterflyfishes and judging from the wide body of Butterflyfish it seems the grouper will not be able to swallow them. Am I right? Also, what are the main menu for the grouper? <The butterflies will probably be ok if they can't fit in the groupers mouth. The grouper should eat anything and everything it can fit in its mouth. They usually like larger shrimp and fish such as krill or silversides. Cody> Regards Sugeng

Pix offer Bob, I got Plectranthias altipinnis, Rabaulichthys altipinnis, and Liopropoma pallidum. Would you like pics of them? I noticed all are missing from your site. -Josh <Yes, thank you. With the name you want credited. Bob Fenner>

Bass/es? I have a Question for you … Is a speckled hind and a strawberry grouper the same thing? <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cephalopholis.htm on our site re hinds, and back on to the basses in general (the link is at top, in blue) and fishbase.org re this/these fish/es Bob Fenner>

Re: Panther Grouper In a 120 gallon tank, how long will it take before my panther grouper starts to grow? <Immediately... faster with more feeding, regular maintenance> Also how long will it take before the panther has outgrown the tank? <Depending on other livestock (crowding), starting size, feeding/foods... months to a year or two> The water is perfect and he will be soon living in this 120 with seven other fish. <If they're small fishes, they may well be eaten (in time), if they're larger ones this system will soon be crowded. Bob Fenner>

Re: Clown Grouper Hi: I just got my e-mail fixed and read your reply !!! the fish I was referring to is on your page on basses & the fish is called Pogonoperca punctata aka (Clown Grouper) Thank you Ed <Ohh, of all things, species. Our pic, coverage is here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/basses.htm Bob Fenner>

Re: pantherfish (grouper) (feeding feeders) Happy New Years, We have purchased this fish about week ago, was not eating. We starting feeding it feeding goldfish, he or she love's it. Grouper is about 4 to 5" long. How many feeding goldfish would you feed it in day. Please reply. Thank You!!!!! <None. I would train this fish on to more appropriate fare ASAP. Goldfish are not good for it. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/goldfshfd.htm Bob Fenner>

"Killing him softly with feeders..." He or she will not seem to eat anything that is frozen but once a goldfish hits the water its gone in a second. Which to me point that it like live food. Since goldfish are bad what is a good substitute? (Feeder Guppy??) We have trying frozen Shrimp Brine, Marine Diet (Frozen Mixture) Please reply with substitute and how often it should be fed. Thanks, Rob <Try frozen/defrosted meaty foods like silversides, krill..., and formulated foods made for marine fishes. This will take time, to train an animal that indeed finds, eats live foods in the wild. Bob Fenner>

Clown Grouper Hi, I purchased a Clown Grouper about three weeks ago and it does not eat. Is that normal? Thank You, Ed <Not familiar with this common name. But no, not normal for all bass/grouper to go so long w/o feeding. Are you sure this is not a grunt/Sweetlips? Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/haemulid.htm Is the clown or harlequin Sweetlips look like what you have? If so, please read the linked (blue, at top) FAQs file... these fishes do very poorly in captivity. Bob Fenner>

- Which Herbivore? - Thanks Jason, <You are welcome.> I have wanted to add an herbivore as you mentioned, but is there one that I could add considering my present livestock?. I don't know of any that would be able to "survive". <Well... just how big is this grouper?> Maybe a tang? <Yes, although you will probably need to obtain one of size that would discourage the grouper from making a one-bite meal out of it. Groupers can be bad that way.> What about the little critters, is there something that I might have success with? <You might try an urchin... I've used Tuxedo urchins around more questionable fish, but there is still no predicting what that trigger will do. Might be worth a try, but a tang would probably be better.> Thanks again, Tim <Cheers, J -- >

Re: Indication of old age? Hi guys, <Hi, Brad, JasonC here...> I bought a 3 inch long panther grouper back in 1993. He's well traveled having accompanied me & career to 6 southeastern cities over the years. <Excellent.> Currently he's approx 14 inches & enjoys a 125 gal tank with an emperor angel (5"), queen angel (5"), Singapore angel (4"), & a hermit (3"). I figure my panther grouper (hereafter referred to as Gulper) is now at least 10 yrs. old.... has slight cataracts. Gulper's eating habits are consistent in that he consumes 3 cubes of formula one / once a day. His stomach appears full & this diet has been followed for many years. Recently I've noticed that he's developed a gaunt look along both sides of his dorsal fin. Do you think this could be due to old age? Or should I do anything different at this stage in life? <Well, although your fish is "old" for a captive fish, I'm sure they could live much longer so it's hard to say for certain that this is senescence creeping in, although it is certainly a possibility. Personally, I would lean towards a nutritional problem. As good as Formula One is, to eat only that for all this time is to eat a lop-sided diet. You should try to get some greens in there, in addition to some different meaty foods [clams, squid, shrimp, Mysis shrimp, etc.]. For a green food, try Pygmy Angel Formula or Spirulina Formula - all my fish eat this as readily as any other offering. The meaty foods will also give you the opportunity to get some additional vitamins in there, Selcon is a good one.> I give Kent trace mineral supplements once a week (for past 2-3 yrs). Gulper's appetite is still as ravenous as always... even chases down MYSIS shrimp the angels don't get to. <Then he's a good candidate for a well-mixed diet.> Thanks & Best Regards, Brad <Cheers, J -- >

Compatibility, Lion and Grouper Any thoughts re a small panther grouper (3 in.) and small lionfish (3 in.) inhabiting a 29 gallon tank together. I know they will both grow and am prepared to deal with that; however, curious as to your thoughts on how these two predators will cohabitate. Thanks. <for a short time they will co-habitate (less than 8 months). The grouper ultimately feeds too fast and aggressively and will outcompete the lion... not to mention drastically outgrow it. My advice would be to simply keep one (the lion) and enjoy it easily for more than a year in that tank. Best regards, Anthony>

Compatibility Any thoughts re a small panther grouper (3 in.) and small lionfish (3 in.) inhabiting a 29 gallon tank together. I know they will both grow and am prepared to deal with that; however, curious as to your thoughts on how these two predators will cohabitate. <Have seen these species kept together... often the bass will "steal" all the food intended for the Lion... and both/either get too big for a twenty nine gallon system. Need an eighty gallon plus just for these two fishes. Bob Fenner> Thanks.

Honeycomb Grouper Hi, I have searched for information about the honeycomb grouper, but I have not found any. Can you please tell be about the honeycomb grouper, what habitat it likes, what it eats, etc. THANKS <You might look here on fishbase.org: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Epinephelus&speciesname=merra or here on our site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/epinephelus.htm Or? Bob Fenner>

Panther Grouper Dear Mr. Fenner, <Anthony Calfo in your service while Bob attempts to break the world play dough eating record> I have a 55 gallon tank with a 4 inch spiny box puffer, 3.5 inch maroon clownfish, and a 3.5 inch dragon wrasse. I just got a 6 inch panther grouper today upon the recommendation of a local fish store. I wonder if this is a good combination to have? <overall it is a rough choice I must say. The grouper, boxfish and wrasse all get over a foot long each as adults. Without the grouper your tank will be overstocked within a year or two. Furthermore, the grouper grows so fast and the clownfish doesn't...lunch. And to make matters worse, the grouper is such a hardy and aggressive feeder that it may very well out compete the boxfish for food in the long run> I do not plan to add any other fish to the tank. I am pretty sure that the panther cannot fit the clown or wrasse in his mouth. I think the pet store did try to feed it live food but I fed it some krill and flake food and do not plan to continue any live food feedings. All of my fish are on frozen formula one brine shrimp, prime reef, Spirulina flakes and large krill. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. ~Thanks a million!~ Kelli <a bigger tank will help with all but the eventual clownfish murder... I'd remove the groper if a bigger tank is not in the future> P.S. LOVE your book! <agreed... CMA is a gem for aquarists>

Panther Grouper Hi again! :) <Cheers Kelli> My friend has an 80 gallon tank with a baby bamboo shark, and 2 lion fish. Would a 6 inch panther grouper be compatible in this environment? <aside from the fact that a pry bar will be needed to take any of them out in a year...hehe. No, I'm afraid that the two lions and the bamboo shark already will reach a cumulative 4-5 feet total as adults. The grouper is another 12-18". It would be a gross overstocking even in the two year picture. Only less than a year while small and not a cool thing to do (unless we eat the grouper at years end <wink>> Thanks so much, Kelli <quite welcome, best regards... Anthony>

Panther grouper G'Day to all, thanks Anthony on your reply on my question, I will endeavour to do the conversions in future. I have been searching for info on the panther grouper and more to the point its compatibility and behavior towards other panther groupers. <Have seen them in captivity more than one to a tank, and in the wild, not too distant from others> I have a 120gal FOWLR that I am going to make a predator tank. I wanted to have 2 or 3 panther groupers in it with one red emperor (Lutjanus sebae (I know they all get very big but as soon as they get to big for the tank I am going to release them I have reliable access to their natural areas -southern great barrier reef, Australia-my father runs fishing charters in this area.) so back to my question- can the panther grouper be kept in groups when small and would they be all right with the red Emperor all similar size fish of around 3-5 inches) <Should do fine if enough food to go around. Bob Fenner, who will be in Brisbane, Gladstone then Heron Island next week.>

grouper I wrote you a while ago about my panther grouper, who has not eaten for well over a month. He used to try and grab food from my two other fish ( Maculosus angel and black durgeon) but now he doesn't even seem to have the energy for that. He's also swimming (when he does swim, which is rare) with his head at a funny angle. Can I do anything for him? My pet store said to put copper in the tank but my other 2 fish are just dandy and I see no reason to do so (should I?) Should I just give the fish back? Thanks for the advice- Yaron Aronowicz >> >> Very strange for a Panther Grouper to give up feeding... and no to the copper... I would place it in another tank if you had one... or give it to someone who does... and offer it small live food items... to see if this is some sort of "psychological" problem. Bob Fenner

Swissguard Basslet I was just looking for some info on the Swiss guard Basslet. I reed books and they just have basic info on the fish. I would like to know some other things like habitat and wild food and other little known facts. Thank you >> This little Liopropoma lives under rocks out of the light... eats various types of worms, small crustacean zooplankton... and fish larvae... Maybe take a look through FishBase via your search engine(s) with the genus name... Bob Fenner

Above: a lovely Liopropoma in an aquarium

Eating problem Bob, I had a quick question about one of the fish in my tank. I have a panther grouper that has not been eating for about a week. At first it wouldn't even come up to the top to feed. Now it is doing that but after it eats a piece of shrimp, it makes some coughing motions or choking motions and spits out the food. It tried to eat it again but the same thing happened. All of the other fish are healthy as is the water quality. I was wondering if you had any idea what the problem could be and some remedies. Thanks for your time, Andy Reeser >> Does sound like something in the way of "gut blockage"... and as you know, with such eager eaters as this species, non-eating is a bad sign. However, if the animal has swallowed something lodged in its G.I. tract, or has some sort of growth there... about all you can/should do is "hang in there"... These basses can go for quite a while w/o feeding, and in all likelihood this problem will solve itself. Bob Fenner I'm going to be starting up a 55gal fish only set up. I'd like to have a small number of the more predatory fish (since I can't keep them in my reef tank). Is there any problem with mixing different species of groupers, and if so what would you recommend instead. Thanks, Joe <Not much problem mixing different species of groupers (many are territorial as they get older/larger)... except for the size differential consideration... Make sure the smallest won't fit in the mouths of the largest... Bob Fenner>

Fish compatibility I have a 50 gallon fish only tank is it safe to put a golden striped grouper , about 3 inches with a large true sebae clown? <The Golden Striped Grouper (or Soapfish) Grammistes sexlineatus? Yes, this should work out. This "bass" is actually pretty shy, so will hide a good deal of the time, but on the plus side, it does not grow very fast or to very large size... and so, shouldn't pose a predator problem for your clown. Bob Fenner>

Q: I have a 135 gallon saltwater tank with about 120 pounds of nice live rock and very good water quality (protein skimmer and significant wet/dry filtration). I have one Panther Grouper which is about two years old and is about 8 inches long. In our old tank he was very aggressive and either ate all the food put in the tank or intimidated our other fish. I suspect he may have caused the demise of some of our smaller fish. My question is "What can you suggest as to what other fish to add and what minimum size they should be?" Also "what suggestions do you have for feeding when one fish is so aggressive when food is introduced into the tank?" Finally "any suggestions for added live coral or other reef elements?" A: There are many species of "large enough", "aggressive enough" to go with that Panther Grouper. Angelfishes, other basses, morays, and many many more. They need to start out larger than mouth size, and preferably be introduced as the less aggressive species first (a little late now perhaps). For now, you might have some luck diverting the established fish's attention by moving the door on the day of new arrivals, and placing them in the early morning on a day when you can be around for close observation. If you have a quarantine tank, I'd switch out the new fishes for the Panther and leave him in isolation for a couple of weeks while the new fishes get settled in. Strictly speaking, due to its size, having fishes like Panthers (Chromileptis) preclude having a reef tank with corals; however I'd try s soft coral, some Zoanthids and coral anemones with that bad boy. Bob Fenner

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