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FAQs about the Basses called Hinds

Related Articles: Hinds, genus Cephalopholis, Miniata Grouper

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A Cephalopholis hemistiktos in the Red Sea.

Polleni Grouper; stkg./sel.         6/26/17
Hello Bob -
<Hi John>
It's been awhile. All of my tanks are doing wonderfully. Thank you for all of the sound advice over the last few years.
I've tried to read-up on the Polleni Grouper as I am considering adding it to my 265 gallon stocked with aggressive fish in FOWLR (and some noxious corals, i.e.; mushrooms, leathers). I do realize groupers create a heavy bio-load. Note that I have a very heavy amount of filtration (50 gallon sump), oversized protein skimmer, refugium with macro algae, oversized UV filter, 2 MP40 wave makers, ocean sand bed, and am quite regular with my water changes, filter sock, sponge, media changes,...etc.
My challenge has been that there's not a lot of information on the web about the Polleni Grouper.
<A beautiful animal, but not common underwater, especially when small; hence, not often sold in the trade>
I read in one of your responses that it's a good, hardy aquarium species for an aggressive fish set-up.
<This is still my take>
However, I read on a popular saltwater aquarium blog that some people haven't had as much success with them as maybe the Miniatus Grouper.
<Both aquarium hardy IMO/E>
They were theorizing it's due to the fact that the Polleni Grouper is often collected from deeper depths and its swim bladder doesn't adjust as well.
<Mmm; both are caught in "recreational scuba diving depths"... Only a few species are collected deeper for the trade. Too expensive to fish deeper; not enough time, too long decompression for both diver-collectors and catch>
I always take those blogs with sometimes "a grain" to "a bucket of salt" as you never know who's writing, their depth of experience, husbandry practices, ...etc.
<Me too; hence our lack of a bulletin board. Better the known/know-able, qualified input of one person than a slew of who knows who>
Do you view the Polleni Grouper as a long-lived, hardy specimen for a 265 gallon?
<I do>
Ever heard of them having issues adjusting due to swim bladder challenges?
<No. Will relate that most all species, individuals of fishes caught at more than a few tens of feet depth are "needled", but this fish is not difficult to do so, recovers quickly>
Also, and I know that I am "rolling the dice" a bit, but I am contemplating adding a 4" to 5" Polleni to this 265 gallon that includes a 4" Miniatus who's been in the tank maybe for 2 months. There are lots of caves available within the live rock. The Miniatus is not the most aggressive fish in the tank, but he's also certainly not intimidated with anyone in that tank at feeding time.
Thank you, John
<Just, as usual, have to keep your eyes on all. Cheers John. Bob Fenner>
Re: Polleni Grouper      6/27/17

Awesome! As always, thanks so much Bob!
<Certainly welcome John. B>

Two questions. NLS Quinine product; Cephalopholis stkg., sel.      2/11/15
hey bob,
I have read you are a fan of quinine based Meds for ich as opposed to hypo.
What do you think of the new life spectrum product "ich shield powder"? It is supposedly Chloroquine phosphate.
<Don't have any personal experience with this product, but know the owner of the company (Pablo Tepoot) to be an honest, competent person>
Also, I asked my lfs to bring in a bigger miniatus grouper a few weeks ago, and he brought in that's 6 to 7 inches.
Does that side grouper translate better than a smaller one?
<Mmm; no... a three-four inch specimen is ideal... Unless you have large/r tankmates already>
Also, does it really make a difference with them if they are indo pacific, vs. Sri Lanka or Fiji? Not concerned color wise, simply health and hardiness.
<Just not P.I. or Indo... all where else are superior. Bob Fenner>
Re: Two questions     2/11/15
Thanks bob. Is that quinine sulfate or Chloroquine phosphate you prefer?
<See WWM re>

I see it is not easy to get a hold of, wonder if the fish pHarm. crypto pro is any good? 
I will ask lfs if he knows locale of grouper. It came from quality marine, so he may not even know.
I can almost definitively say source is huge. My gray and blue angel from a month ago are doing well, as they were from Florida, caught and shipped. A year ago from California, dead in a week.

RE: skimmer question, C. miniata sel.        2/7/14
Ok so it sounds like the SRO 3000 may be the way to go.
<One way>
My father was just on the phone with a local place, I am sure you heard of, Champion Lighting, and the guy on the phone, said he would go with an ASM G3 skimmer. I looked them up and did not see anything good about them.
<See WWM re these Euroreef knock-offs>
Another thing I wanted to ask was regarding bio balls. In order to fit any decent skimmer in my sump, I had to remove the bio balls case which sits on rails. With it my foot print for skimmer is 7 inches. Without it becomes 20 inches. I spoke with Jeremy of reef octopus (the number for customer service) and when I told him I removed them, he said I needed them for surface area bacteria. I was under the impression I already had enough surface area between live rocks, tank, sump, pumps etc/ So, bio balls, to be or not to be?
<Up to you>
And lastly, one of my lfs has a minuatus grouper that he has had for a few months. It is 6 inches long, and when I asked if he knew where it was from, he said Bali, which I know is Indonesia. When the time comes, and that fish is still available, should I get that, or should I get one from Fiji or Sri Lanka? I know the indo's are usually cheaper. He wants 100 for this one, but because my other grouper was killed by trigger, he said he would let me have it for 60.
<Cephalopholis are about all the same wherever they originate. B>

Cephalopholis fdg. SW issues from FW comets?      9/4/13
I have an 11-year-old Miniatus Grouper that I occasionally feed live freshwater feeder fish
<A poor idea... Thiaminase, fatty issues... and more>

to.  90% of the time I feed frozen silversides, krill, etc.  I was recently told by another saltwater hobbyist that my grouper could get internal parasites from feeding him/her the freshwater feeder fish.  I know external parasites wouldn't be an issue, but what about internal parasites?
<Good question (among other reasons; I don't know). The worm issues I'm familiar with tend to be fresh or marine specific...>
 And what treatment could I provide to eliminate them if this really is a risk?
<Likely the usual mixed in antiprotozoal (Metronidazole) and anthelminthic (my choice would be Praziquantel) would "do it">
I have decided to not feed live feeders anymore.
<Ah, good>
 Thanks for any information/advice.
<Thank you for your query. Bob Fenner>

Cephalopholis/Epinephelus - which small species is best behaved, on average?     2/1/12
I am planning a 220 gallon FOWLR Aggressive tank, and considering a grouper/hind of the smaller (9"-13") varieties. I understand that single specimens will always exhibit their own unique personality (fortunately/unfortunately). That said, do you have any guidance on whether select species exhibit less tankmate aggression, relative to other basses, on average?
<Mmm, yes... what I personally know is mostly posted per these genera on WWM. I do like C. boenak... and C. cruentata is often available and doesn't get too big>
Below seems to be the list of the most popular bass candidates that fit the bill. In your opinion, which specimens are generally better behaved of:
<A fave for sure>
-White-streaked, or
-Summa (also, in your opinion, is the fish offered here properly classified:
The tankmates in my system will be (numbered by introduction order...requiring a bit more final review per my WWM research): (1) Zebrasoma tang and bicolor goatfish together, (2) harlequin Tuskfish and red Coris wrasse together, (3) Volitans lionfish, (4) porcupine puffer, (5) the grouper, and (6) chain moray eel. Appreciate your advice (on my specific question or on my planned tank/stocking, etc).
<Place the Bass last>
Thanks, Dave
P.S. Have been imagining/planning my dream system for about 10 years...having practiced smaller tanks at different points during this time...and of course, having read Bob's book several times and this site throughout that time...and have thorough gratitude for Bob and his crew!
<Ahh, thank you for your kind, encouraging words. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cephalopholis/Epinephelus - which small species is best behaved, on average?    2/3/12

Bob,  Thank you for this feedback. A follow-up question...
I will instead have a 180 gallon tank that is 6' long. Roughly applying your estimates for captive growth, I arrive at about  3 gallons per inch of livestock at adult age.
<Okley dokley>
I plan to follow all of your guidance in managing the heavy bioload for this tank (heavy skimming and water changes, Caulerpa refugium, etc).
However, I worry about psychological crowding. Can I trouble you for your opinion on this concern?
<Sure. I don't think this will be an issue w/ the species you've listed.
The mix is good in not-promoting uber territoriality>
Again, my planned specimens (in revised stocking order per your advice):
(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, and (6) v tailed grouper.
<The Lion and Eel may have to be especially hand fed... while drawing the rest of the crowd elsewhere... I'd be using Spectrum pellets as your staple>
Indebted to your service, Dave
<Tax free! Or at least I'm hoping so. BobF>
Re: Cephalopholis/Epinephelus - which small species is best behaved, on average?    2/3/12

Bob,  Thank you for this feedback. A follow-up question...
I will instead have a 180 gallon tank that is 6' long. Roughly applying your estimates for captive growth, I arrive at about  3 gallons per inch of livestock at adult age.
<Okley dokley>
I plan to follow all of your guidance in managing the heavy bioload for this tank (heavy skimming and water changes, Caulerpa refugium, etc).
However, I worry about psychological crowding. Can I trouble you for your opinion on this concern?
<Sure. I don't think this will be an issue w/ the species you've listed.
The mix is good in not-promoting uber territoriality>
Again, my planned specimens (in revised stocking order per your advice):
(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, and (6) v tailed grouper.
<The Lion and Eel may have to be especially hand fed... while drawing the rest of the crowd elsewhere... I'd be using Spectrum pellets as your staple>
Indebted to your service, Dave
<Tax free! Or at least I'm hoping so. BobF>

Stocking list II -- 01/29/10
So my stocking list is this:
x1 harlequin Tuskfish
x1 snowflake eel
x1 yellow tang
x1 blackspotted puffer
x1 Picasso triggerfish
I've decided I'll go with the snowflake. Now I was wondering if I could put in a V-tail grouper?
<Cephalopholis urodelus should be possible in terms of compatibility. However, your 150 gallon tank will become quite full. You'll need very good filtration and regular water changes to keep the water parameters in line as all these large fishes grow.>
Thanks again!
<Welcome. Marco.>

Stocking list; Cephalopholis urodelus -- 02/08/09
thanks I hold on that one too...I am going to take out the snowflake eel. Can I replace it with a V tail grouper? I have a 150 gallon tank. My
stocking list:
1 harlequin tusk
1 yellow tang
1 blackspotted puffer
1 Picasso trigger
Do I put the grouper last, or after the tang?
<Cephalopholis urodelus should be possible. You can put it in after the tang. Marco.>

Re Stocking list; Cephalopholis urodelus -- 02/08/10
For my 150 gallon, my list should look like this:
1 harlequin tusk
1 yellow tang
1 v-tail grouper
1 blackspotted puffer
1 Picasso trigger
You said that the grouper "should be possible"...Why is that if you don't mind me asking?
<All fish are individuals, chances are high a V-tail grouper will work with your other tank mates. However, there are no 100% guaranties with such animals and thus 'should be possible' is actually more exact than 'will work'.>
Thanks for the quick response!
<Welcome. Marco.>

Stocking list; Cephalopholis fulva -- 02/12/10
Thanks. I was scrolling up and down on the grouper page on your sight <site> http://wetwebmedia.com/cephalopholis.htm And it said that the Coney gets to 16" in the wild but like half that in captivity.
<Haven't seen larger ones than 11' in usual tanks.>
I'm pretty sure that it's correct but not everything is 100%. My tank is 150 gallons. My stocking list is as follows
1 harlequin tusk
1 yellow tang
1 Coney grouper?
1 blackspotted puffer
1 Picasso trigger
Could I do they Coney?
Could I add him/her there?
<Yes, should work fine. Just about the same care as for Cephalopholis urodelus, see our earlier correspondence.>
<Cheers, Marco.>

Stocking list; Cephalopholis urodelus -- 02/14/10
I just want to know the difference between Cephalopholis urodelus, and Cephalopholis urodeta? Are they the same fish (V tail grouper).
<Yes, it's the same species. Both species names are synonyms. C. urodelus is often used, but possibly C. urodeta is the better choice due to taxonomic reasons.>
I read that these fish come mostly from the Indian ocean.
<Not exclusively. It also is spread in parts of the Pacific ocean, even Australia.>
Is this good?
<Coming from the Indian ocean? '¦ Why not? Many nice places.>
Where should I try and this fish (best place)?
<Depends on where you are, what possibilities you have. I'd start at my local fish dealers and ask them if they can order this fish from reliable sources. Marco.> 

Bioload impact Miniatus v Snowflake  6/24/08 Thanks for your suggestions and advice in the past. It's very much appreciated. Here's a short one (to ask anyway); which is a greater bioload, and by how much, a mature Miniatus Grouper or a Snowflake Eel? <The grouper. It has roughly twice the biomass and similar, maybe even a little more activity. I recommend a much larger tank for an adult Miniata grouper than for a Snowflake moray.> I'm guessing the grouper due to its girth, <I agree.> but maybe the moray if it's more active <…No.> which makes up the size difference. Jeff <Cheers, Marco.>

Bass... hlth.    12/2/07 Howdy crew...I have a Blue Lined Grouper (Cephalopholis boenack) <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>

Miniatus Grouper Compatibility To Whom it may concern- <Bobby in GA> First off, awesome site! Very helpful, I'm always here and always recommending the site to friends. I currently have a 125 gallon saltwater tank with about 130 pounds of live rock. Right now, I have an 18" snowflake moray, a 5" niger triggerfish, and 5" purple tang. My LFS has a gorgeous 7" Miniatus grouper that I would like to add to my tank. I've read that these fish are territorial, but if a fish cannot fit in its mouth, it should be fine. On your site, it states that if I have enough hiding places, which I believe I do, and the other fish in the tank are differently colored and patterned, which they are, it will help to decrease aggression. I would really like to add this grouper to my tank, do you think that I can pull it off or should I not risk it? Thank you so much for all of your help, it's very much appreciated. Bobby W. (Savannah, Ga) <Well... temperamentally all this life is pretty evenly matched... but psychologically... You'll need more room... Bob Fenner> Opportunity to own 2 Polleni Groupers - Stocking and Compatibility questions   3/26/07 Dear Sir: <John> I am setting up a 500+ gallon FOWLR tank (120"L x 30"W x 36"H) and am in a long term planning mode of picking out livestock.  I have already purchased one of the subject groupers (~ 3 inches long) and have it contained in a 37 gallon quarantine tank. Circumstances are such that I am now presented with a rare opportunity to obtain another (~ 5" long) at an extremely good price. I'd hate to pass up this opportunity if I can make it work. Your advice would be most appreciated. <Mmm...> First of all, all of the fish in my existing show tank (a 110 gallon FOWLR tank 60"L x 18"W x 24" H) will be the initial occupants in the new 500 gallon tank. These are a 12" Lionfish, a 5 1/2 " Lunare Wrasse, a 5 1/2 " Green Bird Wrasse, a 5" Niger Trigger, <Do keep your eye on this species/individual... may cause trouble> a 7" Desjardini Tang, and a 24" Snowflake eel. I'll then move the 3" Polleni grouper into the 110 gallon show tank and grow him out to at least 7" before I put him in the main tank to compete with the Lionfish. <Will be able to in such a volume... easily> After I move the 3" Polleni grouper, if I get the 5" Polleni grouper and quarantine him in the 37 gallon aquarium for about a month or more, do you think the 110 gallon tank is large enough to house the both of them without serious quarrelling ? <I do not... nor would I suggest carte blanche, your placing the two of them even in the 500. I have encountered this Cephalopholis sp. in the wild... only as solitary individuals...> Or, would it be better to not stagger them in and just go ahead and introduce both into the 110 gallon at the same time  ? Or, do you recommend an alternate technique ? Or, would it be best to not try this at all ? <This last> Thanks for your advice, John <Unless you have the time, patience to separate them later, I would just keep one. Bob Fenner>

Cephalopholis miniata & Gymnomuraena zebra. Big fish and tank size. 07/04/06 Can a 100cm long Gymnomuraena zebra coexist with a 40cm long Cephalopholis miniata? <In a very large aquarium.> If so, what capacity tank would be required? <At a minimum, assuming there is no other livestock, somewhere in the terms of a 300 gallon tank with generous amounts of water flow, surface area and a VERY large protein skimmer...realistically I would prefer an even larger tank.> Apart from prawns and crabs, is there another kind of food that can partially replace the Gymnomuraena zebra's diet? <Any meat of a marine origin though I would avoid fish that are high up on the food chain as the main part of the diet.> Also Crustaceans are expensive! <Live ones yes...frozen, not so much.> Is a zebra moray in general much less active than most other commonly kept morays e.g. Gymnothorax tiles? <They tend to be more reclusive if that's what you mean.> Some sites state that a large tank is needed, but exactly how large, and what dimensions must the tank be? <To enjoy these animals and have them be comfortable into adult-hood I would like to see something with a lot of surface area...mmm maybe: 72"x48"x24"...that would be aprox 360 U.S. gallons, Adam 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>

Formalin frustration, Cephalopholis I have been trying to obtain a nice argus grouper for ages now. <Have just come back from a month in Hawai'i, where this Cephalopholis species was imported (from Polynesia) as a food and game animal... but is shunned due to complications with ciguatera>   I have gone through three now that never made it out of my quarantine tank.  They always scratch and flick (I'm guessing because my LFS is on a system where every fish scratches and flicks until someone decides to buy them and nurse them back to health).  The interesting point in the story is that regardless of what medication or other environmental manipulation I use the disease does not subside.  Instead I always end up using formalin (and I have even tried copper) since it has historically been the most effective.  But hours after use, every single one died.  Are they sensitive to formalin (yes, I'm certain that I didn't overdose them and pickle the poor things)?   <All like is sensitive to this biocide...cross-links peptides... but not basses per se as far as I'm aware> After death, which is sudden and sort of unexpected (though it's a pattern now) they have pale, blotchy mottling on their faces and opercles.  No marks up until they are dead.  What is wrong?  It's very frustrating. Thanks. Reuben <Could be the dosage. I generally do not advocate the use of formalin/formaldehyde in quarantine... only for dips, and not with all species. I would try chelated copper (if anything) in a quarantine procedure with this species. Bob Fenner>

C. argus cont. Thanks Bob.  I had read about the commercial introduction of this grouper sp. into Hawaii. <Ah, yes... that and the Tiape (Lutjanus kasmira)> I wondered if this was such a good idea (my home state of Florida is a prime example of such mistakes) <Yikes, aplenty> and was curious what the outcome of the endeavor was.  Groupers are pretty tough customers, though they do taste lovely.  Ciguatera you say?  Has the fish itself become a problem? <Yes... the locals won't eat it for fear of poisoning... and am sure it is/has displaced other biota... they are literally everywhere in shallow water... some quite large> I will try the copper again provided I ever find a good specimen.  Do you think they are already doomed by the time I get hold of them if they are already showing symptoms? <Possibly... cyanided... Is it possible to order one captured in Hawai'i? They're not targeted there for the trade, and generally are found in shallower, amongst large/r rocks... where collectors don't set their fence nets... but are taken incidentally (I have helped out for a few decades...). These can be simply pH-adjusted freshwater dipped and placed in a main/display system with impunity> Thus far I have obviously had no luck bringing them back to health, though they always seem relatively lively (eating, etc.) right up until they die. Thanks again. Reuben <As I say, quite unusual for Hinds/Cephalopholis... they're typically very good shippers, adjusters to captive conditions. I do think you may have something here re your source... Maybe a change. 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

Miniatus Grouper the tank is a 210, <Nice size!> so it is relatively large, though I'm beginning to think that may be even a little too small since I have a few more boisterous members in the community.  I do have one question- I e-mailed awhile back about finding appropriate tankmates for my fish because I wanted a trigger but was nervous.  so in the end I got some advice and picked up a Huma and a small miniatus. <Both beautiful fish, though they can be big when full grown.> of course no one at the LFS would try to persuade me in anyway from buying either fish, so they are all somewhat happily living together.  however every time I mention the word "miniatus" to anyone who has had marine fish I get this look and then a whole list of horror stories involving massacres at the hand of a miniatus. <I don't know about massacres, but I do see quite a big of full grown ones sitting at the LFS that had been dropped off by owners.> mine doesn't seem too bad, he's really the lowest man on the totem pole, but like I said he is small.  is he a monster in waiting or will he be alright? <These babies get big, like 16 inches long, and the trouble is that they like to eat and have a big mouth not to mention have no problem bossing other fish around.  Meaning that they will eat any fish they can get in their mouth and try others.  Another thing to consider is that when they get older the really like their space, extreme territorial fish.  They might pick a spot in the tank and not let another fish get near it. (hopefully it's on a side, not in the middle!)  I tell people if they have a large tank (like yours) and offer a lot of rock work and caves for the grouper to live in and call his own then you will have less trouble then a bare tank.  When they get older they really hate having other fish invade their space, and in a tank, there isn't a lot of space to work with.  I can't say that you will have a monster on your hand, but You could if you don't offer it enough food and the tank is over stocked.  I've seen some push other fish away so it hides nearly constantly.  I think if you have the trigger and miniatus in the tank together they should balance each other out.  Having a similarly aggressive fish might keep it in check.  Though, this is not a guarantee.  Keep a close eye on these fish, if it looks like problems are happening then move one or the other out.  Don't let it get to that point.  Personally I think that miniatus groupers should be kept in large tanks with very few, if any, tank mates.> thanks again. <another consideration for you is that they are very messy fish and when large can put a strain on filtration systems.  Good luck, and lets hope yours isn't one of those monster stories we hear about. -Magnus>

Miniatus Grouper turning color. Quick question.  I have had a 6-7" Miniata Grouper for about six months now and it changes color quite often.  From deep red to almost white.  Is this normal? Thanks!<Hi Siaty, I have to say in my experience I have seen them lighten in shade but nothing as dramatic as that. Could you tell me more about what he's in with, size of tank, and your water parameters? Do you think there could be anything in the tank that is stressing him or perhaps he is trying to camouflage with something?  Thanks, MacL>

Miniatus Changing Color Wow, you respond very quickly. <Thanks Jeffrey.> That's amazing.  I thank you very much.  Usually he hides himself under some large rocks with his head sticking out. <Very typical behavior> Occasionally, he would come out for a quick swim and that is usually when I see that he is pretty white. <It really sounds like he's blending in with the rocks he's hiding in. A camouflage technique.> When he is in the rocks, he is a very pale pink color. <Sounds like he's trying to blend in.> It is only when he swims a bit more than usual that his color returns to the bright red. <His natural color and a good sign he is able to return to color that quickly> He is a very aggressive feeder and only butts head with the niger when the niger swims into his little cavern. <The niger is competition for foods, the tangs really couldn't compete with him very well.> Oddly enough though, the tangs seems to swim through his home and sit directly in front of his doorway while he is in there without any problems.  Watching him now, I suppose he is not really white, but just very light pink. <Whew that makes me feel a lot better and much more sure he's just trying to hide. Perhaps waiting for prey to swim by if he were in the wilds.> It is not his entire body either, his dorsal region and head is pretty much the bright red.  Its just mainly the ventral and tail regions that are very light pink. Thanks again for your help! <It sounds perfectly natural to me now that you've described more fully. Sorry to have scared you but its always best to get the entire picture. MacL>

Miniatus Grouper Hi MacL: <Hi Jeffrey>Thanks for the quick response. My system was just upgraded to a 175 gallon FOWLR with a bed of white sand and white coral. His tankmates are: 3- 4" yellow tangs, 1- 6" niger trigger, 1- 4" porcupine puffer, 1- 7" lion fish, which we will be getting rid of soon. In about another year or so, the tank will be upgraded again. We just phased out our wet/dry unit with a refugium that we built stocked with live rock and algae and an AquaC protein skimmer and UV sterilizer. The water quality is: 0 nitrate, 0 nitrite, 0 ammonia, specific gravity = 1.022, temp 78F. All the fish get along very well, with the tangs occasionally chasing each other around the tank, the grouper sometimes butts head with the niger, the lionfish does absolutely nothing and sits at the bottom, while the porcupine is its usual self: obsessed with one wall of the tank. <So is the turning white episodes concurrent with something? Sitting on the bottom on the sand? OR fights with the niger?  Perhaps sleep? Is he trying to blend in? Does he seem at all stressed when he turns white?  Its just so unusual. Thanks MacL>

90 Gallon Tank- Good For A Grouper? I just wanted to ask if you think my Miniatus Grouper would be alright in a 90 gallon; I'm moving into another apartment soon and I wanted to get something big enough to fit my giant filtration system under, but not too big where it's unreasonable to have in an apartment.... So pretty much I'd have a wet/dry that could filter 250 gallons on a 90..lol <Well- you asked- so I'll give my opinion here. I really think that this tank is far to small for this fish. As it reaches a large size, and produces copious amounts of waste material, this fish is just not suitable for anything less than a 200 gallon tank, IMO. They need large volumes of water, and sizeable aquaria in which to swim. Sure, this fish can be maintained on a temporary basis in such a tank until a larger one is ready, but the problem seems to arise when that larger tank is not available. Think long term here...Regards, Scott F>

Miniatus Grouper With a Niger - Can it be Done?  >I have 180 gallon tank with live rock and in I have a Niger trigger fish. I have been told that triggerfish are fast growers, is this true?  >>Hhmm.. not exactly.  >I would like to have a slower growing fish and I was looking towards a grouper. I believe groupers will go excellent with triggers, right? Are groupers fast or slow growing fish (I know it depends on how much you feed, but just generally speaking)?  >>Generally speaking, the growth rate of a grouper will be comparable to the speed of light in regards to triggers. J/K, but still, they can grow very fast. Choose something that doesn't exceed 18" and you should be alright.  >Will the miniata grouper make a good display fish or will it stay hidden and never come out?  >>If you provide good cover, it should get on famously with a more timid Niger (assuming yours is). A miniata (Cephalopholis miniata) would JUST meet that limit. Take a look at other groupers as well, as there are other true beauties out there that don't get quite as big. Coloration is part of the issue here, anything red is generally either nocturnal or deepwater-dwelling. So, something like a blue-lined grouper might be less inclined to hide. Check out fish like C. fulva, C. formosa for instance. Marina  >Thanks for your time. 

Coral Cod? Hi there, I was wondering if you could give me any info on the coral cod? <Coral cod... as in Cephalopholis miniata? Or one of a few other bass species listed by this common name on fishbase.org? Try plugging in the scientific name of the fish you have in mind> I couldn't find anything on your site. I have an eel and a lionfish with plenty of room for some more fish, but I'm thinking of just adding one more... a coral cod. Any general info would be very useful and much appreciated. Regards, Andrew Ickeringill <Be chatting mate. Bob Fenner>

-Introducing last two fish, no thanks to the grouper- Hi, Crew hope everything is well I had a situation which surprised me during my last acclimation process to some extent. <ooo, do tell> Let me Explain,  I have successfully set up a massive 220 gallon display tank in wall, home made wet dry mud Tonga rock, oolitic sand etc.  I have successfully stocked the following: miniatus grouper, hippo tang, dog face puffer, lime wrasse, yellow tang and a pink tail trigger. All have acclimated well to tank life almost one year come October.  The last two tank members I wish to add are harlequin tusk and a queen angel. <Lots of personalities in there, do be careful> My intention was to add them at the same time, due too the aggressive nature of one miniatus grouper due to lack of finding these two fish at the same time, I elected to introduce a 5 inch harlequin to said tank the grouper attacked him viciously and virtually tore off his tail in less than 6 hours, I pulled him out once I noticed the wrasse was not going to have an opportunity to acclimate, hide in the rocks etc he is now in a 20 gallon quarantine recovering all is well eating, swimming and healing. <That's good to hear> Now my question, I don't want to break down a newly established tank <Newly established, with that fish population?!> to get rid of the grouper and or swap out the harlequin via the quarantine and put the grouper in say for week what I would like to do seeming I have the harlequin (the harder of two to find) would I be so bold to introduce both the queen and harlequin once he is fully healed say in about 7-10 days or should I add the angel , but put the harlequin in a clear container settled on the bottom of the tank for a period of time so that the fish can see him but not hurt him. <You could try putting the tusk in a clear container with copious amounts of holes for water circulation until the grouper calms down, but it's not foolproof. Your best bet would be to yank the grouper, toss your two last fish in there, then reintroduce it in a few weeks later. The only way you can guarantee that the new fish isn't going to get trashed is to get the grouper out of there, any other way still poses a risk. Hope this helps! -Kevin> sorry for the length I just wanted to be thorough. Oh by the way overall sizes of the fish average about 6 Inches all around. Thanks, Frank

Shy Grouper Greetings gentlemen - I am a bit perplexed by recent developments regarding a C. argus I have had for several months. Right now he is about 3-4" long, and in a 20 gallon quarantine tank (I'm waiting for him to grow large enough to include in my 120 gallon fish-only tank that currently houses a Naso Tang, Yellow Tang, Huma Huma Trigger and Lunare Wrasse). <That's gonna be a pretty full tank when he grows up! You'll ultimately need larger quarters for him and the other fishes> Up until a week or so ago, he was doing great - eating like crazy!  Unfortunately, now he refuses to eat.  Even more troubling is that instead of his deep blue color, he has faded to a mustard-gold color. <Do review some of the literature on this fish. You will find that the fish is predominantly a gold colored fish with the blue confined to the pectoral, ventral, anal, caudal, and part of the dorsal fins. Granted the "fade" came rather suddenly, but this seems to be more in line with the common color characteristics of this fish.> About a month ago, I added a midas blenny, pygmy angel (with a divider!) and porcupine puffer to the same quarantine tank. I have since relocated the blenny and angel to different aquariums, so only the grouper and puffer remain.  The puffer is doing great- he seems to have picked up where the grouper left off, in regards to feeding.  Any ideas what the problem is with my grouper? <Well, this fish is actually a very shy species, and in many instances, spends most of its time hiding. In the confines of a small tank, the shyness is multiplied. As a side observation, while I do commend you on quarantining your new fishes (an outstanding move on your part), I think that you had a few too many fishes in this 20 gallon tank at one time, and perhaps the rather aggressive eating habits of the puffer (and the other fishes, when they were present) made things a bit uncomfortable for the grouper. Do a check on water quality- this can really slide in a small QT with a messy eater like a puffer. Perform more frequent (twice weekly, in small amounts) water changes, and make sure that circulation is strong in this tank.> Should I just "watch and wait"?  I would really hate to lose such a beautiful fish! <I understand and appreciate your concern! You may want to consider removing the puffer to another tank, or providing substantially more cover (pvc sections, flowerpots, or other inert materials) for the grouper to hide in. Try a variety of foods in order to tempt him to eat. Keep observing for any possible disease, and act quickly and decisively if the need arises. Good luck! Scott F.>

Symphorichthys spilurus Dear Mr. Fenner, <<Actually, JasonC today - Bob is still away diving, taking pictures...>> I spent a lot of my time on your excellent site wetwebmedia. I have a question on a magnificent species that I have in my aquaria for about 12 months. It's Symphorichthys spilurus. This fish was beautiful, with 5 very elongated ray at his dorsal fin but last week a Cephalopholis miniata with which it share's his aquaria since 8 months has eaten theses elongated rays. <<You're lucky the grouper didn't eat this entire fish.>> Do you know if the rays can regrow, become elongated again ? <<Yes they will, but it will take several months - and may just as quickly get eaten again - those miniata groupers are well known for devouring their tank mates, especially as they get larger.>> Sorry for my poor English and thank you very much. <<No worries.>> Pascal Romans <<Cheers, J -- >>

Miniata Grouper Mr. Fenner, <<Actually, it's JasonC this time...>> After reading your article on the Miniata Grouper, I'm both impressed and concerned. <<Oh?>> I had the mis-fortune of getting a small grouper (5 inches) and he destroyed everything in his path. I was wondering if you ever heard of this happening. First off I had a 120 Gallon long (6 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet), and large tankmates (10 Inch Queen Angel, 6 Inch Loin Fish, 6 Inch Panther Grouper, and a few more). Well to make a long story short my very attractive friend killed everything except the Panther Grouper in about a week. At first I didn't know what was happening, his tank mates just kept dyeing at night, then I sat up and watch one night, as he attacked the panther grouper (which was the last one). I sadly had to get rid of the beautiful fish. <<I don't know if I'd be that sad after such extensive losses... they are lookers, but also predators. Sorry to hear of your loss.>> Have you very heard of such a thing? <<Oh yes, many times.>> Is it rare? <<Not at all - these are groupers after all.>> Bill Goff <<Cheers, J -- >>

Cephalopholis literature snub, snob? Nay! Hi Roberts, I saw your web page on Cephalopholis, It is strange that you ignored 7 of my peer reviewed papers on these species. <Sorry to have missed them. Not many of my "pet-fish" articles have much other than general and husbandry citations. Are these papers somewhere I might place a link for others perusal? Bob Fenner> Dr Shpigek Muki

Groupers I have a 125 FOWLR and a deep sand bed. Things running well. I have two dwarf lions and a flame angel. I would like to consider a Miniatus or blue line grouper. Any advice or suggestions?  <Both good animals... though might make it harder to feed your Lions.> Would either dig too much and destroy my DSB?  <Perhaps... but you could fit a small screen beneath the upper inch... Please read over the article, other coverage of these species on our site... An entry: http://wetwebmedia.com/c_miniata.htm> Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Jeff <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: Groupers Thank you for the information. Whenever possible...speak to an expert! Jeff <And to children, animals, yourself, the world. Bob Fenner>

Miniatus Grouper Bob, First of all I'd like to compliment you on the tremendous information source your site has been for me. I recently (2 days ago) purchased a Miniatus grouper (small guy... about 4 inches or so). I read on your site that it is not uncommon for them to hide immediately upon introduction... which he did. Two days now and he's swimming around a little, but he still refuses to eat.  <Ah, not to worry (much) here... this specimen will very likely go back "on feed" in a few days more... try some live brine shrimp perhaps.> The tank is approximately 6 months old. It is a 55 gallon tank. All levels are normal and every other fish is flourishing. PH is 8.2, SG is 1.022, no ammonia, no nitrites. All seems well, but the Miniatus grouper doesn't want to eat. His tankmates are as follows: a cleaner wrasse, a coral beauty, a panther grouper, a lunar wrasse, and a bursa trigger.  <Yikes... you are going to need a much larger system... soon> I did have a yellow blue stripe snapper that was a serious bully (e.g. terrorizing any new introductions to the tank) and have since taken him back to the store for a credit. The snapper gave the Miniatus a great deal of harassment, so I had to remove the snapper. Today, I put some feeders in the tank and he seemed interested, but he still did not eat them. Is this part of the initial shyness, or is something wrong with him?  <The former, combined with the psychological crowding in your system and harassment by the Snapper> He's not hiding as much now, but he still doesn't swim around much. Not a very energetic fellow. He is breathing normally and there are no visible signs of stress. The snapper did a little damage to one of his side fins, but it is minimal. I know groupers are supposed to eat like crazy... so I'm just wondering if there is anything wrong with him. I hate to think of the money I spent going down the toilet for this beautiful fish. Is this just stress due to a new home, or something wrong with him? Is there anything besides feeders that I could try feeding him to whet his appetite a little? Any insight you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Let me know if you need any more info. <Best to just be patient at this point... there is an exceedingly small chance that this Miniatus will not resume feeding. They can/do go w/o apparent feeding for weeks w/o consequence. Patience my friend. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Jon Beeson

C. miniata distribution.....any favourites Hi Bob, Many thanks regarding the FO set up. Much obliged. I think I am quite happy with those ideas :-) <Ahh, good> One question, regarding the Miniatus grouper (C. miniata). I have looked them up, and have found out their natural range .... "Indo-Pacific: Red Sea to Durban, South Africa and eastward to the Line Islands; including most islands in the Indian and west-central Pacific oceans". With colour and general quality in mind, would you recommend any particular region to try and source one from (via TMC) ? <A great choice of suppliers... the best in the world) <The Red Sea for sure... though most of these Cephalopholis come out of the Philippines (where they are also generally excellent)... the ones from the Red Sea are superlative.> Or are they pretty much the same world over ??? I would in particular like one with intense red colouration. Cheers, Matt <Bob Fenner>

miniata grouper Dear Mr. Fenner, I have a Miniata grouper (named "Rapidash") about 3 inches long. I got it since it was 2 inches long 3 months ago. A few weeks ago, it started to have holes around his nostrils (as if the nostrils are enlarged 7-8 times). I tried some " hole on the head" medicine for a week or so...but it didn't work. It feeds great as if nothing happens, and its got beautiful orange red color. It does scratch its body once in a while against the rock, but that's pretty minor. I really wish to heal Rapidash because he's got pretty good temper since day 1....you know how mean Miniata can be! This one never show me nasty face when I look real close to him. Would you please tell me what causes the problem? and any suggested treatment? I have a 55 gal tank with only 2 fishes in there, Rapidash and a yellow Golden eel from Brazil. They get along well. I use nothing else but an Emperor 400 for filtration. Your advise is highly appreciated. Best Regards Eddy Liu <Thank you for writing, and the miniata grouper (Cephalopholis miniata) is one of my favorites as well. I do suspect as you do, that the observed erosion is due to the condition HLLE, Head and Lateral Line Erosion... and do think that it's likely of a nutritional source in your case. Do look through the environmental disease sections of the marine index on our site: www.wetwebmedia.com for steps to supplementing the foods you're feeding the grouper. Likely a prep. of iodine and vitamins (these are made for fishes as Selcon, Microvit and more, or you can devise one from human designed materials. Bob Fenner

240 gallon FOWLR fish list. Hello again I would like to thank you for your advice on my reef tank. It is up and running great. I am now setting up a 240g FOWLR.  My uninformed friend bought a grouper for his 45g tank. I am considering taking it off his hands because I have a much better environment for the fish. I just do not know what type of grouper it is. It looks like a C. Argus but is brown with small, numerous bluish/white spot which cover every part of its body. It does not fade to stripes on the anterior part of the body like C. Argus does. I looked in a id book at a local book store and the book had a picture that looked like this grouper and they named it a Cephalopholis species, starry grouper. Any idea what this might be and how big it might get?  <Hmm, take a look at the hind pix (Cephalopholis) stored on our site: Home Page , maybe C. cruentatus?>  Finally what do you think of this Fish list for my 240G. a Harlequin Tuskfish, the above grouper if he stays at a foot or so, a niger trigger, a emperor/map/scribbled angel (cant make up my mind), a chevron tang, a Sailfin tang/purple tang, Naso tang, and a snowflake moray eel. I will buy all fish at 4-5 inches in length. If the tangs get aggressive I will not add all three. At adult size will this be to many fish for a 240g 8' by 2' by 2' tank? <S/b fine>  I enjoyed your website. I just found it after your post on reefs.org. Well thanks for your time, Everett West, <Ah, good to know. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Miniata groupers Hi Bob, I wonder could you shed a little light on this species for me. I have read you chapter about groupers in the conscientious marine......., but there isn't really any specific info about these beauties. I am hearing conflicting info about them, and wonder could you verify what I believe to be true. I have a 84"x18"x18" tank.  I believe that: 1) They get about a foot long.  <Good to hear from you... About twice this length in the wild> 2) They are quite retiring fish, not very inactive, but do spend some time swimming around.  <Yes, good desc.> 3) They are territorial, but not outright vicious. Suitable to be housed with anything they cannot eat.  <I agree> 4) Will take a couple of years to reach this size. <Affirmative> I have also been told that (which I think is less likely ???): a) They will reach over 18". <Possible in captivity, but only in very large systems> b) The are nocturnal, and will hide, only to be seen when there is food about <Not so... with time, some food training, in view most all the time> c) Territorial, aggressive, belligerent, vicious, will attack anything and everything, only to be housed with other rough fish like large tangs, puffers, triggers, lions, morays etc. Not at all suitable for tanks containing smaller tangs like the yellow, and regal, or angels like the queen or emperor. <Not mean, or very variable in their behavior in my assessment... Not to worry> d) Will rapidly outgrow all but the largest systems, and will reach max size in less than a year. <Grow pretty quick for their first several inches... but then slower... again, not a real problem in the vast majority of cases> If this species is quite reserved, as I expect, and only defends his cave from trespassers, then I thought it would be a good addition to my tank, as he would not really affect the swimming space, despite being quite big.....since he would spend most of his time out of the angels way. Would this be a poor assumption ??? <No, they are more "show" than "go" in the way of being aggressive... and I very much doubt that a miniata grouper would bother an angel that it couldn't outright inhale as food... They live fine with pomacanthid species throughout their range.> As you can see, I am left in a bit of a dilemma, and have so much info that I am left confused, and unsure as to which set of info is correct. If you could clarify at all, I would be very grateful. Thanks, Regards, Matt (Co. Cork, Ireland) >> <I'll try to add some/the pix to the part of my URL that covers the genus... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cephalopholis.htm thx for the prompting. Bob Fenner>

Hello, I have some hermit crabs and snails in my fish only tank. I was wanting to get a Miniatus grouper, would it attack the snails and crabs or would they be alright together.  Thanks  >> Probably not... especially if kept fed (once to three times a week) regularly... A spectacular, though reclusive aquarium species... that is fine with anything that is bigger than mouth size in the way of fish, shrimp companions... Bob Fenner

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