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Miniatus Grouper Living Condition, Breeding & Disease Prevention

picture of a young miniatus grouper
Miniatus Grouper, better known as Rock Cod or Coral Grouper is a type of saltwater fish that belongs to the Serranidae family (which includes the bass anthias).  They are predatory species which will eat smaller reef fish including other invertebrates and thus should be kept in its own aquarium, preferably without any companion. Even when mixed together among its own species, the male fish can show high level of aggression which will readily defend intrusion into its territory. However despite the negative image, the fish remains a favorite among saltwater enthusiast mainly because of their attractive and beautiful coloration on the body. The fish is a popular choice especially for those people who prefer having solitary setup rather than a community environment comprising of different types of species which often complicates things due to compatibility issues. And for that reason, the miniatus grouper fits in nicely fulfilling the criteria not only in terms of aesthetic reason but also on the ease of care. The groupers are the type of fish which rarely move around but when they do, you will be surprised upon seeing their quick reflexes which are trademarks of its predatory instinct.

Before we proceed further, it is good that we should first understand the general behavior and other specific care details. The first topic that we shall discuss is the habitat and then we will move on further to understand other requirements.

The Recommended Aquarium Setup
First of all, the fish loves to hide among reefs’ openings and for that matter, you should ensure that arrangement of the corals and live rocks will permit your pets to do so. Although not necessarily a must, this requirement actually mimics the natural setup in the wild and it helps newly acquired fish to acclimatize to the artificial home aquarium environment. Between a perfectly healthy and less healthy coral grouper you can actually spot the difference in terms of color intensity whereby a healthy one will exhibit brighter orangey red. As for the water parameters, the requirement on water quality should be similar like any other saltwater fish but somehow the ideal pH should be adjusted around the region of 8.2 to 8.5. Anything lower than that will expose your fish to negative long-term effects but somehow miniatus grouper is known to adapt well when it comes to sudden or brief changes in water quality. As long as you can readjust back the condition to normal range, your pet fish would not show any complication. Thus, it would be a good idea to provide some kind of natural buffering effect in the tank or if you have the extra cash to spend, you can actually consider installing a pH adjuster with a probe or sensor to take the current reading. The device will then automatically dose in alkaline solution to raise the pH. The groupers are hardy fish which can tolerate imperfection with low mortality rate but even for that reasons, bear in mind that constantly neglecting their needs can kill even the hardiest fish. Read up more on "how to properly set up saltwater tank" and "benefits of having marine live rock".

Diet and Feeding Schedule
Your pets will appreciate offering of meaty meal and they have a hearty appetite which can eat non-stop as long as the foods keep on coming in. A good feeding schedule should be at least twice a day, once in the morning and another round during the evening. They love market fish, which you can either slice it or chopped into smaller pieces or you can just feed to them in chucks depending on the size of the mouth opening, which of course larger adults will need less attention. From time to time, you can provide crustaceans such as shrimps which you can introduce to the tank and let your pet fish hunt for them. However, be forewarned that any introduction of live foods even shrimps have to undergo proper quarantine procedure or else you will risk introducing unnecessary disease into the aquarium. Thus, a better approach is to set up an invertebrate tank to cultivate live foods for your grouper.

Strategy on Disease Prevention
As mentioned earlier, coral groupers are hardy fish which will rarely show any sign of complications unless they are severely mistreated and forced to live in poor water quality. They are relatively disease resistant and if for any reason that you notice signs of fungus infestation especially presence of white spots and fluffy growth on their gills and body, you can opt to use any conventional chemical treatment to counter the infection. Watch out also for parasites such as isopod, bristleworms or other marine worms which can inadvertently introduced to the tank when putting in new batch of corals and if you notice these pest around, make an all out effort to remove them. You will probably need to set up a trap and for those fish which you have found with the isopod attached to it, you can easily remove it by gently catching your pet with a net and then remove it using tweezers. It is an ugly job but nevertheless needs to be carried out to prevent other complications and uncontrolled infestation.

Breeding and Reproduction
Successful artificial propagation to produce the fish in bulk has been reported but somehow in smaller aquarium environment, it can prove to be more difficult. The tank obviously needs to be as large as possible with at least minimum 300-gallon capacity and one thing which you need to know about is that the fish can change sex from a female to become a male. Upon reaching maturity age, the grouper is automatically a female that produces eggs and it can mate with another male grouper. However after a certain period of time depending on other factors, the female can change its sex to become male. This is one of the traits that ensure survival of the species.

To entice your pet fish to breed, provide plenty of meaty meal and ensure that the water remains clean throughout the whole period. Upon successful courtship, the eggs will actually scatter everywhere and float to the water surface and these will hatch in about a day or two. During this period, you should adjust the aquarium filter flow rate in order to prevent the fry from getting sucked into the inlet pipeline. As for the parents, you should remove them to another tank in order to prevent cannibalism of the young fry. Constant supply of brine shrimps will ensure that the small fish achieve a healthy growth rate and usually under proper care, you can see them attain reasonable size of at least an inch in less than a month. An adult miniatus grouper is known to grow up to 17 inches in length and that is considered huge for any common saltwater marine fish.

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