Here I want to focus on the subfamily Epinephrine, specifically on the smaller, aquarium -suitable representatives that are easily obtainable in the hobby. The subfamily includes some true monsters that are best left in the ocean, but there are also plenty of species that can be housed in a 200-gallon-plus aquarium, and some are even small enough to make do with slightly smaller accommodations.
As with all common names, this is purely arbitrary, and the hinds were at one time groupers in good standing. I’ll lump the hinds and groupers together here, as their care, general morphology, and behavior are more or less identical.
It’s very important that the aquarium is realistic when considering buying one of these specimens at his or her local fish store. Though they are stunning animals, they are often victims of classic impulse purchases by aquariums with accommodations that are far too small.
This is both to provide the needed swimming space and to make sure dissolved nutrients are kept at reasonable levels between water changes. While small individuals are often offered for sale, they can grow quickly, and you shouldn’t get one thinking you can get a bigger tank down the road.
As mentioned above, 200 gallons is a good minimum target if one is planning on keeping a grouper with a handful of other appropriate fish, but a few of the smaller species such as C. Formosa or E. Angus can live quite comfortably in a 120-gallon or larger community aquarium, whereas larger species such as the lyre tail grouper Various lout, the spotted coral grouper Plectropomus maculate, and the tomato hind Cephalopods sonnet all need accommodations of greater than 300 gallons. The aquarium should steer clear of narrow show tanks and look for aquariums with a front-to-back measurement of at least 24 inches for most species.
Additionally, out of sight is out of mind with regard to territorial disputes, and plenty of rocks will mitigate aggressive interactions with tank mates. A small 3-inch coral hind or miniature grouper C. minima is easy to accommodate in a 40-gallon tank, but shortly down the road you’ll have a fish on your hands that has outgrown its quarters and then some.
At a single feeding, a fish this size can easily eat two 8-inch squids whole, and a proportional amount of waste is produced as a result. Every tank is different with regard to the bio load it can sustain, but it is likely that the husbandry practices employed to handle the waste loads of say a few dam selfish, a six line wrasse, and a flame angel will not suffice when dealing with a grouper or two and the companions that are likely to be kept with it.
How much and how will often depend on the bio load and the filtration being employed on the tank in question, and this can range as high as 50 percent every week! Groupers are resilient fish and thankfully handle shipping well, so most specimens are still in fine shape by the time they reach your local store.
When introducing a grouper into your display (after a six-week quarantine period, of course), it’s a good idea, if practical, to rearrange the decor in order to break up existing territories in the tank. A grouper is often very shy initially, frequently dashing into a cave or crevice, the keeper seeing only glimpses of it for a number of days.
Contrary to what you may have read elsewhere, if the tank is at least in the 180-gallon range, it’s often possible to keep two or more groupers together, even those belonging to the same genus (note: not the same species!) This way the fish in question are again on equal footing, neither has an established territory, and both are somewhat disoriented at suddenly finding themselves in new surroundings.
The established fish will invariably be irritated at the new arrival in his territory, and will hold the upper hand in the inevitable confrontation. This displaying, gaping, chasing, and ritualized combat starts out rather intensely by both individuals, and decreases in frequency and severity over a matter of hours.
While this might seem a straightforward consideration, these fish can surprise you in this regard, so err on the side of caution when picking tank mates. When selecting tank mates, keep the likely adult size in mind for all species that you’re considering, as well as the growth rates of all fish concerned.
An often-overlooked aspect by lazy keepers, variety in the diet is essential, and every effort should be made on the part of the aquarium to make sure the fish in his care receive a varied array of food offerings. It should be noted, however, that all predators, be they reptiles, birds, cats, or fish, need whole food items in order to obtain all the nutrients they require, not just meat.
Additionally, there are frozen preparations available that are already vitamin fortified, which make excellent food for these fish. If you have the space and want the most beautiful, hardy, long-lived, and interesting centerpiece fish around, don’t hesitate to give the groupers a look.
Hardy, long-lived, charismatic, and beautiful, a more rewarding marine tank inhabitant is hard to find! Some grouper grow to over 500 lbs, and can often be caught with a simple hook and sinker style rig.
By the end of this article, you’ll be extra prepared for your next grouper fishing trip. As with most predatory fish, using live bait for grouper will be your best bet as long as local regulations allow.
If you’re targeting a rock pile or wreck, anchor your boat up current and throw some old cut bait in the water. This technique works great for both bottom fishing and spearfish, as long as you have a solid pair of free diving fins.
We like using a 6 to 7-foot long heavy action rod paired with a bottom-fishing reel and 50 lb test braided line. Like we mentioned earlier, we usually fish for grouper off the coast of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, so these are the species you’ll most likely encounter there.
They are gray and brown and love living close to coastal rock piles and underwater wreckage. Gag groupers will even hang in water only a few feet deep if there are structure and bait fish nearby.
Their massive size means you need to fish with an extra heavy-duty set up in order to stand a chance. One of the first mistakes amateur grouper fishermen make is keeping their drag at a normal level.
This is a big mistake when fishing for grouper due to their tendency to retreat back to rocky holes and tunnels after they take your bait. IF your drag is set high, it will be much harder for them to make it back to their rocky hideouts before you can reel them away.
Drifting allows you to cover more water and get your bait in front of more fish than if you anchor your boat. Since oftentimes the difference between catching a grouper and not is just finding them, drifting allows you to maximize your chances enticing them to bite.
As long as the current isn’t too strong and your lures aren’t down too deep, you should still be able to keep your live/dead bait right where you want it. Since they live at deeper depths than other sports fish, they still enjoy feeding when the surface bite is off.
This is why it’s always a good idea to have a bottom fishing reel and rod ready for off days. Now that you know what the proper grouper bait is and how to fish it, you’ll be prepared next time you get out on the water.
Most Groupers will grow well over 12 inches in captivity and need a large tank full of swimming room and hiding places to thrive. Groupers can be kept in reef tanks, but will eat smaller fish and shrimp given the chance.
Like all groupers, it will eat any fish that they can swallow whole and behave aggressively towards tank mates that intrude into its preferred hiding place. Therefore, a meaty diet such as enriched chopped fresh fish or shrimp flesh, and/or frozen carnivore foods should be fed.
And because these are not overly active fish, their metabolism is somewhat low, so feeding once every other day should suffice nicely. May be difficult to feed in the early days in the aquarium and if so, (if small live marine fish are not available) live glass/grass shrimp and/or small crabs, e.g., fiddler crabs may be needed to sustain the fish. Level of Care: ModerateAcclimaton Time: 2+ yourself Compatibility: with caution Approximate Purchase Size: Small 2” to 2-1/2 Medium 2-1/2" to 4" Large 4" to 6" Large 6" to 8" Small$199.99Medium$249.99Large$349.99XLarge$449.99Aquarium ConditionedBlue Spotted GrouperCephalopholis Argus YouTube Video of the Blue Spotted Grouper Description:The Blue Spot Grouper is a common favorite among aquariums with Fowler (Fish Only With Live Rock) aquariums.
Blue spotted Groupers are found living near coral reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific where they hunt for small fish or invertebrates to consume. The Blue Spot Groupers body is a mottled brown and tan color with six article white bands running from just behind the pectoral fins to the tail fin.
The white bands can appear anywhere from very prominent to almost completely faded depending on the aquarium environment and the fishes current disposition. Tank Recommendations: While this fish is considered easy to keep, it does require excellent water conditions in addition to a large aquarium to be properly housed.
Since Blue spotted Groupers eat large meaty items, they create a lot of waste products, therefore it is important to have a very strong biological filter setup to handle the load this and other large predator species put on a filter system. Therefore, a meaty diet such as enriched chopped fresh fish or shrimp flesh, and/or frozen carnivore foods should be fed.
And because these are not overly active fish, their metabolism is somewhat low, so feeding once every other day should suffice nicely. May be difficult to feed in the early days in the aquarium and if so, (if small live marine fish are not available) live glass/grass shrimp and/or small crabs, e.g., fiddler crabs may be needed to sustain the fish. Level of Care: ModerateAcclimaton Time: 2+ yourself Compatibility: with cautionApproximate Purchase Size: Small 2” to 2-1/2 Medium 2-1/2" to 4" Large 4" to 6" Large 6" to 8" Small$49.99Medium$79.99Large$129.99XLarge$169.99Aquarium ConditionedBlue line GrouperCephalopholis formosaDescription: The Blue Line Grouper, also known as the Abenaki Grouper or Blue-lined Hind, is light red with multiple vertical blue lines.
As Blue Line Groupers eat large meals they end up producing a lot of waste products, which means they need excellent filtration (especially biological and mechanical) in order to keep the water quality high. Therefore, a meaty diet such as enriched chopped fresh fish or shrimp flesh, and/or frozen carnivore foods should be fed.
And because these are not overly active fish, their metabolism is somewhat low, so feeding once every other day should suffice nicely.