Can You Keep Groupers

Earl Hamilton
• Monday, 23 November, 2020
• 14 min read

Beautiful, charismatic, and robust, the groupers of the family Serranidae offer much to those with enough space to accommodate their basic needs. Easy to keep and full of personality, one is hard-pressed to name a more trouble-free, interesting, and rewarding group of fish for the larger home aquarium.

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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 toucan 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.

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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.

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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! Here I’ll be digging into the best species for aquariums, as well as diet, tank setup, tank mates, and breeding.

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Groupers are saltwater fish in the subfamily Epinephrine of the Serranidae family (in the order Performed). This fish group is varied, but some of the most popular species that are kept in aquariums are swallowtail sea perches, hamlets, and bassets.

Groupers are incredibly different from another, with some species being just a few inches in size and others being over 9 feet in length! The majority of grouper fish can be quite difficult to sex as there aren’t many external differences between males and females.

The biggest male groupers usually control harems that consist of up to three to fifteen females. If a smaller female grouper changes its sex before it can form a harem as a male, then its fitness will decrease.

This reproductive strategy is related to groups spawning high amounts under habitat cover. As I mentioned earlier, most groupers fish are not particularly exciting to look at, coming in a dull brown or green color.

These more pretty specimens can come in bright red, blue, orange, green, and black, adorned with equally beautiful patterns. The largest hook and line captured Goliath was found in Florida and weighed 309 kilograms.

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A lot of grouper species in the Epinephrine subfamily are popular in home aquariums, so these are the fishes I’ll be focusing on in this article. If you ’re thinking of keeping a grouper, then here are some varieties that are suitable for home aquarium life.

Some grouper species can make good pets, while others are not suited to a life in captivity. Species such as the giant grouper definitely don’t belong in aquariums as they can grow to a huge size.

Compared to other saltwater fish species, grouper scan grow pretty big and need a large tank. While this shouldn’t be an issue for experienced aquariums who are knowledgeable about keeping saltwater fish, it could be problematic for those new to the fish keeping hobby.

Additionally, groupers are marine fish, so their care is a little more complicated than freshwater or Goldwater species. If you ’ve never kept fish before, I’d advise setting up a tropical or Goldwater tank first to help you get to grips with things.

Most grouper species are robust and hardy fish, so they don’t typically have any problems during transport or added to an aquarium. Unlike some fish that are notoriously sensitive and difficult to keep, groupers are fairly tough.

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Groupers are carnivorous predators by nature, which makes them truly fascinating fish to watch feed. Atlantic Goliath will also eat octopuses, baby sea turtles, barracudas, and even sharks.

You should feed them a variety of meaty foods to ensure they get all the nutrients they need for a long life. You need seafood; scallops, squid, shrimp, halibut, and snapper are some excellent food options to keep your groupers satisfied.

Bear in mind that these fish, like all predatory animals, require whole food items to thrive. Whole Meal You ’ll need to make sure you offer a type of whole animal item at least once or twice a week to your grouper.

It’s also a good idea to soak your grouper’s food in a fish-friendly vitamin supplement a few times a week, too. When it’s time to feed your groupers, toucan simply throw their food into the tank and let them eat.

You also need to be aware of the ideal water parameters to provide optimal living conditions for your pet. Before you bring your grouper fish home, you ’ll need to make sure your aquarium has everything they need to live comfortably.

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Sandy substrates such as granite sand or crushed coral are best for grouper tanks. Gravel isn’t generally used in marine tanks as it lacks buffering capabilities.

If your filter lacks strength and power, it won’t be able to effectively clean your tank water. As a general rule of thumb, your filter should be able to clean at least four times the volume of your aquarium.

For example, if you have a 200-gallon grouper tank, then you ’ll need a filter that has a flow rate of at least 800 gallons per hour (Mph). You ’ll need to use an aquarium heater when keeping grouper species to ensure your tank water remains at a consistently warm temperature.

Unless you ’re keeping corals and live plants, you don’t need an overly strong lamp. An aquarium light will help replicate a natural day and night cycle for your groupers.

If you want to keep corals and live plants, then you ’ll require a more powerful light with the right color spectrum. Groupers need plenty of hiding spaces in their tank, so make sure their aquarium has a variety of caves and crevices they can retreat to.

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Adding live plants to your grouper tank can also help them feel more comfortable and at ease. As groupers are carnivores, they won’t pay any attention to live plants, so you don’t need to worry about them destroying your aquas cape.

If you want to house a grouper in a reef tank, you ’ll need to select your tank mates carefully to ensure they don’t become (expensive!) Many grouper scan grow pretty big and long, so they require a decent-sized aquarium.

Before keeping a grouper, make sure your tank’s capacity is big enough for their adult size. Additionally, if you want to keep two or more groupers together, then you ’ll need a larger aquarium than the minimum tank size for each species.

Like all species of fish, groupers require specific water parameters to survive in the home aquarium. As groupers are marine species of fish, they require salt water to survive.

As I mentioned earlier, groupers have pretty high bio-loads due to their big appetites and messy feeding habits. If your tank is small and under stocked, then you ’ll need to perform larger and more frequent water changes.

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You ’ll need to make sure you have a fish tank heater to keep their environment at an appropriate temperature. Scallops, crayfish, halibut, and whole shrimp are some foods that toucan feed them two times a day.

Health In addition to feeding your groupers, you ’ll need to check their behavior every day and watch out for any signs of illness and disease. Checking your aquarium equipment for signs of damage and testing your tank water are other tasks to complete regularly.

If you want to keep a grouper in a community aquarium or reef tank, then you ’ll need to choose their tank mates carefully. Some tank mates that work well in a grouper tank include trigger fish (with caution), large marine angelfish, tangs, lionfish, and rabbit fish.

This is an important step if you have another grouper or aggressive fish already present in the tank, like trigger fish and marine angelfish. Doing so removes established territories and puts all your fish in unfamiliar surroundings, which helps prevent any aggressive reactions towards your new grouper.

The Best Time To Transfer Additionally, introducing your grouper to your community tank in the evening when the lights have been off for a while can also reduce aggression. However, if you want to keep more than one grouper in a tank, you ’ll need to make sure you have an extremely large aquarium.

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In fact, most groupers are kept alone in captivity as housing multiple ones together requires an incredibly big aquarium. Grouper scan develop illnesses or diseases that can affect their quality of life and lifespan.

Grouper scan develop illnesses or diseases that can affect their quality of life and lifespan. A healthy grouper will have a strong appetite, bright eyes, good coloration, and generally be active around the aquarium.

Identifying possible causes behind your grouper’s poor health is crucial for the right course of action and treatment. This organism is naturally found in many tanks and is exceptionally resilient, making it hard to control.

Fish suffering from marine velvet will often have symptoms like bleeding or inflammation of the gills, difficulty breathing, lethargy, rubbing against tank objects, and destruction of lung tissue. Unfortunately, by the time these golden spots appear, the gills are usually irreversibly damaged and treatment is no longer effective.

As marine velvet progresses, the gills and lung tissue will start to die off. This can result in the fish gradually being unable to transport oxygen to the gill membranes, eventually leading to suffocation.

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It is important to note that copper is lethal to fish in high doses, so make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and dosage guidelines carefully. The exact cause of Hole in the Head Disease isn’t known, but it has been linked to poor water quality and nutritional deficiencies.

Common treatment methods for this disease are proper nutrition and water changes. You should offer your fish live and frozen foods with vitamin supplements and fresh vegetables.

Improving the water quality in your aquarium is also mandatory for treating Hole in the Head Disease. At this point, the fish will usually display red streaks on the body (which often points to internal hemorrhaging), dark swollen lesions, cloudy eyes, red spots, lethargy, poor appetite, and respiratory distress.

It’s also important to note that fibrosis can be transmitted to humans by contacting infected fish, though this is quite rare. If you ’re dealing with fish infected with this disease, make sure you avoid touching contaminated tank water and any cuts or lesions.

The breeding process for groupers varies between species, but many seem to spawn offshore on shelf and shelf-edge reefs. Their pelagic larvae stay in the open ocean for around 40 to 60 days, at which point they will reach inshore nursery grounds.

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The larvae turn into small juveniles and stay in the inshore nursery grounds for a fairly long period. For example, male Atlantic Goliath are considered mature once they are over 7 years old and are at least 45.5 inches long.

Spawning for Atlantic Goliath tends to happen during July, August, and September. Goliath's prefer to spawn in isolated patch reefs, shipwrecks, and rock ledges.

After around 25 to 26 days after hatching, the pelagic larvae transform into benthic juveniles and are just 1-inch long. Fry have tiny yolk sacs when they are newly hatched, so they will begin to eat almost instantly.

These fish are slow growers and require at least 7 months to reach adult coloration. As I mentioned earlier, most groupers are monastic protogynous hermaphrodites, which means they have the ability to change sex.

Many groupers of species can be bred in captivity, though not a lot of information is available on how to breed them in home aquariums. Groupers are incredibly hard to sex as there doesn’t appear to be any external differences between males and females.

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If you want a unique and hardy centerpiece fish for your marine tank, then groupers are well worth considering. Fortunately, a lot of the more colorful and vibrant species are suited to home aquariums.

These fish have huge appetites and heavy bio loads, so good filtration is key. They are carnivores, so feed them a good variety of meaty foods such as scallops, whole shrimp, mussels, and squid every day.

As long as you have the time, space, and experience to keep a grouper fish, I think they’re a great species to add to a saltwater tank. Groupers are an incredibly diverse species of fish that contain a huge number of variations.

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