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FAQs on the Panther Grouper

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Tumor on Panther Grouper?     7/25/12
Hi! My name is Pablo Torres from Mexico and I've been reading WWM for a while now and it has helped me a lot with my hobby and for that I thank you.
<Welcome Pablo>
I write because this is the first time I've had an issue that I couldn't find something similar on the FAQ's. I have a Panther Grouper in my big tank and today something on it's body appeared that I can't be sure if it's a tumor or a parasite or what.
<Looks like a sore to me... from a trauma, a bite...>
 I'm not sure it's a tumor because I believe those would appear small and grow over time, wouldn't they?
<Usually, yes>
 And this appeared overnight.
<Ahh, more weight/proof to this being a sore>
 I'm attaching a few photos so you can see what I mean, it's some kind of black ball just over its gill. I tried to take the pictures so you can see it is a bump (like a mole) and not just one of it's natural black spots and close enough so you can see it's not perfectly shaped but rather granulated. If you need to take a closer look I can send the images a lot bigger, I just tried to follow your "few kb" rule. The guy looks happy swimming all over the place as usual and eating like crazy.
It's tank mates are a medium volitans
<Could have easily been poked by this fish>
 and a domino damselfish
<Or bitten by the Domino>

 in 150 gal.
Ammonia and nitrites are in cero, nitrates 40,
<Do what you can to get and keep this under 20 ppm>
 ph 8.3 temp 82f. The other day during feeding time the volitans bit the grouper by mistake, they were both chasing the same fish, the grouper was there first by a split second and ended up with half its body inside the volitans, the volitans spit it out immediately and nothing happened; I checked the grouper after the incident and all seemed ok and this was like a week ago and the tumor, or whatever it is, appeared today so I don't think it's related but maybe I'm wrong.
By the way, as you already read, I feed them live fish since I've tried lots of tricks to get them to eat other stuff and they're just not interested,
<You've just got to keep trying... not give in... they won't starve>
have tried frozen, shrimp and other sea food, pellets, etc. and nothing.
Thank you for your help and for your great work with WWM.
<Certainly welcome. I would not treat the fish, the system... this damage spot will clear up on its own in time. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tumor on Panther Grouper?     7/25/12
Wow that was fast! Thank you Bob!
<Welcome Pablo. BobF>

Re: Blue head wrasse can't close his mouth... Now Chromileptis fdg.    3/14/12
Thanks for your response.  Will take care of the wrasse.  Now about the grouper.....if last time trying to get him to eat pellets it wound up being a 2 1/2 week hunger strike
<Saw this last writing>
 how long can he go without eating?
<Depends... weeks more... mix pellets w/ other foods... slowly reduce other/s>

 If he absolutely will not eat pellets is there something I can soak the shrimp in so that he gets the nutrition he needs?
<Read where you were referred. B>
 I really don't want him to starve to death but he is a very, very stubborn boy!

Panther Grouper system, FO stkg.   5/18/10
Hello Crew! I got a new 220 gallon system cycled and running smoothly with a 45 gallon trickle filter and a turbo twist UV sterilizer. I currently have two fish in here. They are a 3.5 inch volitans lion and a 3 inch emperor angel. I have noticed that my angel hides a lot and breathes quite heavily from time to time.
<... how "new" is this Pomacanthus? Did you "rest it" in quarantine, isolation ahead of placing it in the main/display system?>
But is bright colored and looks healthy with no visible signs of parasites. I have had him a little over a week now.
<Oh, it's very new>
I have a list of fish that I would like to stock in here with them, but want to run it by you guys first and get your opinion before I make any mistakes. I am wanting to stock a yellow long nose butterfly, a tank raised hippo tang, a blue throat or Picasso trigger, and a panther grouper.
<This last will get very large... faster than all else that will get bigger>
All within the 3 inch range. I would not add anymore than these six fish for about six months or so. Just to give the system more time to mature.
The only one that concerns me is the panther grouper. When I think grouper, I think,
eats everything and produces alot
<No such word>
of waste! My girlfriend loves them but I need to know if it can be housed in this tank long term and safely with other fish.
<Likely half to a full year you should have no problem/s>
I would like to pick your brain one more time if you don't mind. She would like to have a queen angel in there too if possible.
<Not good to mix w/ the Emperor, or alternatively, better to crowd with other Pomacanthids, marine fishes if so>
I didn't know if a Pomacanthus and holocanthus would coexist together in this size tank.
Thank you for all of your help,
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Panther Grouper, sys.  2/22/10
hey guys... amazing site... quick question.. how long will a 2" panther group last in a 75 gal?.. its been established for almost a year with LR and more then adequate filtration.
<A couple of months. These fish grow incredibly fast (they are food fish, after all). My specimen doubled in size within six months, and within a couple of years it had outgrown the 200 Imperial gallon (240 US gal.) system we were maintaining it in. Fantastic fish, but to be honest, I don't consider it a viable fish for home aquarists. Cheers, Neale.>

Bruiser compatibility, Chromileptis   9/18/09
Hello again friends.
I have a 125 with a 30 sump predator/rough-house setup. Let's just say I'm at or exceeded the limit of bad boys in this tank, but for now it is sure entertaining. Nobody's killed anyone so far but there's a lot of those
looks boxers giver each other before the bell rings.
Anyway, I have noticed that my 2 -1/2" Panther Grouper is most often front and center of the aquarium putting on a dazzling show of its swimming maneuvers which are impressive by the way. But bold as ever. He'll go to the surface and cut between two Triggers that are 4-6" long for some freeze dried shrimp. The
Triggers will occasionally dart at the Domino Damsels just because they can, but they always leave the majestic Panther alone. I don't quite get that.
<Am wondering if some sort of Batesian mimicry is involved here... The "dots" and behavior of the Chromileptis... being so bold... What is this fish "mimicking"? Perhaps a less than palatable to venomous Boxfish... O. cubicus?>
Not only is the Grouper a slower fish with plenty of swaying "finnage" to nip at, but he's much smaller in size. The only thing I can come up with is it's coloring of the white with black dots maybe suggests "toxic" to the
others who might think of snacking on him. I know Groupers are near top predator as they increase in size, but this guys' just a little thing.
Wo! The Toby (puffer) just snuck up behind the Picasso and tried to  sample its tail fin. Doesn't he realize the Picasso runs this tank?
<Do you realize the Banks run the corporations and governments? And in turn citizenries?>
The Picasso turned around quick and said, "that's enough of that" in his own way. No harm-no foul....yet.
Thanks, Jason
<So goes the screen of our consciousnesses... Tension as evolutionary pressure... Customary practice. BobF>

Panther Grouper/Feeding/Systems 4/15/09
I have a Panther Grouper. He is about two to three inches.
<Just hatched:)>
I have had him for about a month and he has not really grown. I am feeding him half a cube of frozen mysis shrimp almost every night and he is eating like a madman. He is in a 40 gallon tank.
<Will be the same as locking a German Shepherd in a closet. Are you aware these fish grow close to two feet in length?>
The only other thing in the tank is an unhatched shark egg. I am fairly sure that the levels in the tank are fine because I do a four gallon water change every week.
<Yep, I gas up my car weekly and I'm fairly sure that in doing so, all my other levels are just fine.>
I know that I will have to upgrade in tank size and I am looking at an upgrade now.
<Yes, more like a 240 and upwards.>
Do you have any ideas to why he is not growing?
<Proper nutrition likely, and soon, too small a tank. These guys will eat anything that won't eat them, try soaking foods in Selcon or a similar vitamin complex, vary the diet.>
Could he be a dwarf panther grouper?
<No such thing but do read here and related articles/FAQ's.
Thanks for your time.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Sick panther grouper, fdg., reading, English    9/28/08 hello sir. thank you for this site! here is my problem. for a week now i have had a panther grouper that isn't eating. <Unusual> i was gone for three days, to come home to a panther grouper sitting on the bottom being supported by the wall, or a piece of coral. i fed him 3-4 silversides from tongs. <Too much> he ate all of them. the next day, he threw them up. his tailfin was red, and appeared to be chewed on. a passer angel, niger trigger, bursa trigger, one blue damsel, a clown fish, and batfish, a clown wrasse, and a Foxface are his tank mates in a 600 gallon tank. <Neat> he has been eating silversides, and krill since ive had him. <These are an incomplete diet nutritionally... see WWM re> my water quality is good <?> with a 20 percent water change every two weeks. i saw you mention garlic and Spirulina in an old post, should i try to feed him some of that in case there is some blockage? <Okay> i am anxious for a response, but i knew i should have contacted you a while ago! thank you for your time. i have had the grouper for about 6 months. <... More real data, a photo... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/maintindex.htm the last two trays... part. re Vitamins. Bob Fenner>

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>

Very Sick Panther Grouper 6/6/07 My name is Nicole, and my husband and I have had a saltwater fishtank since about September 2006. We got a very small panther grouper around November I think, and he had been doing fine until about a month ago. We noticed that he was breathing very heavily and his color changed. We thought maybe he was just aging, because that was what the pet store told us happens when groupers age. <Mmm, not in this instance... this fish (Chromileptis) lives several years...> However, now our panther grouper is very, very sick. His color has changed from creamy white (with black spots) to greyish black with black spots. He remains on the bottom of the tank, usually on his side, and he is breathing very heavily. His fins are deteriorating and he has red spots all over him, including his head and mouth area. We purchased Paraguard from the pet store, as well as Melafix, <Worthless> because the person at the pet store said the fish may have parasites and possibly a bacterial infection <Does nothing for these> as well. He said something about a bloodstream infection too. We have been medicating the fish since Sunday and it is now early Tuesday morning, but he does not seem to be making any progress. We think we may have given him a little too much Paraguard last night as well. We put him in a quarantine tank, but we had to take out any rocks we had put in with him because there were worms all over and in them. <Not likely related> I found this out when I saw one floating in the water and decided to take a small rock out, put it in a little container, and dump Paraguard on it. <This product IS efficacious> The worms started crawling out of the rock, some very very tiny and long, some pretty large and pinkish red. So now the fish, whose name is Guapo, <Si, estoy muy guapo!> has nothing to hide under in the tank, which is what he had been doing previously. Please help us. We don't want our fish to die, but we just don't know what to do. What we've been trying doesn't seem to be helping. Have we just not given the medication enough time to work? <It/this is not the medication...> Will removing the rocks stress the fish out or help because they are no more worms in the tank? What do you think is wrong with our fish? Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated. <... Need more info... the set-up, maint., water quality tests, the other tankmates (what they are), foods/feeding... Pix if you can... Bob Fenner>

Re: Very Sick Panther Grouper -- 06/07/07 Thanks for the quick reply. Unfortunately, our panther grouper did in fact die yesterday afternoon. However, we would still like to try to figure out what caused him to die so that we can make sure our other fish don't get the same thing. I can send you a picture of him before he died, but I'm not sure if it will be too big (I noticed there was a size limit on pictures). <Are very large, but we have more room recently...> The other fish in the tank are a yellow tang, percula clownfish, two damsels, and a red tomatoe clownfish. We had an anemone, but it retracted into a small ball a couple of weeks ago and hasn't opened since. We have five small hermit crabs, and a relatively large, hairy, red hermit crab. <Keep your eye on this... too predaceous...> There is also a very small clam on one of our live rocks a very small snail which probably came on one of the live rocks as well. We had a starfish, I think it's called a serpent starfish or a brittle starfish, but it died on Monday. We had tested the water quality before and our ammonia had been a little high, <Should/must be zero> but the pH was fine, as well as the nitrite. I had taken some water to the petstore to get tested and the guy said the nitrates were high. <How high is high?> This was before the panther grouper, Guapo, died. All of the fish are in a 30 gallon tank. <Much too small...> We are in the process of getting a protein skimmer, but we have a filter, and a water heater. We did a 25% water change about every month. We had been feeding Guapo raw shrimp and brine shrimp. <Mmm, nutritively deficient> I have attached 5 photos of Guapo that I took late Monday night and early Tuesday morning. I was told that the medicine we really needed to use would have been too powerful to mix with the Paraguard. It was a medicine that would treat flukes I think. The petstore guy had said that Guapo probably had a bloodstream infection. What do you think was wrong with Guapo? <Mmm, no... too many possibilities... but given your reporting of what else is in the tank livestock-wise, I do believe this is a long-term internal complaint... likely parasitic rather than infectious... and NOT likely "catching"> Would we have been able to mix the medicines? <Mmm, yes... likely something similar to the ingredients in the Paraguard itself...> Was Guapo just too sick to treat to begin with? <Appears so> Sorry all my info is a little jumbled in this message. Thanks for all your help, my husband and I really appreciate it. Sincerely, Nicole <Do wash your hands thoroughly after they've been in this tank and either keep them out or wear long gloves if you have a cut/break in your skin. It is possible that this is a Mycobacteria-source problem. Bob Fenner>

Re: Very Sick Panther Grouper... and Mycobacteriosis, Homo... -- 06/08/07 Dear Mr. Fenner, <Nicole> Thanks for letting us know about the Mycobacteria. We are going to be very careful about putting our hands in the tank and washing them after we do anything with it. Can't say I wasn't a little alarmed when I read that though. As for the rest of the info I need to give you... the guy at the petstore tested the water in the quarantine tank on Monday and he said the nitrate level was at 40. <Much too high...> We had put half main tank water and half new water in the 10 gallon quarantine tank (we didn't have time to put any sand at the bottom because we were rushing to get Guapo out of the main tank). He told us the nitrate level was probably like 80 in the main tank. If the nitrate level was at 70 or 80, could this have been the cause of our panther grouper's sickness/death, or at least a have played a large part in it? <Yes and yes> What level should it be at and how do we get it to the right level? <This is posted...: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm Scroll down to the appropriately yellow tray...> As for the hermit crab, do you think we should consider getting rid of him? <Yes> All of our fish are very small, accept the yellow tang, <A thirty gallon system is too small for a Zebrasoma to live happily, long...> who is about 3 1/2 inches long. All the other fish are only about an inch to 1 1/2 inches. We previously had a 75 gallon tank, but very recently switched to the 30 gallon. What would be a good number of fish to have in this tank? <... please see WWM...> We have considered getting rid of one of the damsels (the larger of the two, and more aggressive as well), and possibly the yellow tang. I didn't know if you had gotten a chance to look at the pictures I sent. I understand if they were just too big. I looked at the size limit after I sent them and realized they were way over the limit. Sorry about that. For the future, although we are not thinking of adding any new fish to our tank any time soon, what would be a good diet to feed a panther grouper? <Also archived... see the Serranids...> Sorry about all the questions, but we really want to make sure no other fish die. Honestly, I've been pretty upset about losing our panther grouper because I know it was our fault; we just weren't responsible enough and did not know enough about saltwater tanks. <Yes... though it appears you (now) have the requisite interest, concern to dedicate yourself...> I guess you could say we're trying to set things right as best as we can so this situation does not happen again. It's just not fair to the fish. Besides, I don't think I can take losing another fish, as pathetic as that may sound. <Does not smack of apathy> Anyways, sorry about the emotional interjection... I had also wondered about the live rock I took out of the tank. I put it all in a bucket of tank water and put Paraguard in the water because I had thought the worms were bad. Now it's been in that water for a few days, and we have regular rocks in our tank now instead of live rock. Should we get rid of the live rock we have or should we eventually put it back into the tank? <I would keep, use it> and long-term internal complaint? <That this is not a pathogenic situation that can/will spread to other livestock... However the root of the problem (environment) is an issue, as you seem aware> Sorry, I don't think I really understood exactly what you were saying, or maybe just exactly what you were referring to. <Sorry for the lack of clarity> I am going to test the water again sometime tomorrow (Ammonia, pH, Nitrite, Nitrate tests). I can let you know what the results are afterwards. <Please... read instead> All our fish seem fine now, although when we were doing a water change on Tuesday night the tang had lost a lot of his color. He looks completely fine now though. Sorry about the long email. Thanks for all your advice and input; it's greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Nicole <Bob Fenner>

Panther Grouper Not Eating   5/24/07 Good Morning, <And to you> Just purchased a small juvenile panther grouper (aprox. 1.5 - 2 inches). It's only been 3 days but he doesn't seem to be interested in food (considering what I've heard about their appetite this seemed unusual to me). Tried frozen krill, silversides, squid... didn't even acknowledge it. He spends most of his time hiding under the ledge of a small rock (which I've read is normal). <Mmm, just takes a while to settle in. I would not panic here> Tried live ghost shrimp. this finally brought him out of hiding but, he would hover over the shrimp much like a lionfish, then made a couple snapping motions but seemed to miss each time and eventually lost interest. the shrimp seemed to be nearly motionless so certainly the fish could have caught him/them. Could he be having trouble seeing? <Possibly> his left eye does look slightly swollen but nothing major. He's alone in the tank with the exception of two Crocea Clams (and live rock). I acclimated him for well over an hour before release. Have run mostly just the actinic lights since introducing him to keep lighting somewhat subdued. Temp did fluctuate between 76 and 80 because of a broken heater which I replaced yesterday (would this contribute?). <Could, yes> its now at a steady 80 degrees. Tank parameters are: Temp 80, PH 8.2, SPG 1.021 Nitrite 0, Ammonia 0, Nitrate 30ppm <Yikes... this last is unacceptably high... IS definitely contributing... I would read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm and as much of the linked files above to gain an understanding of sources, solutions here... keep this under 20 ppm> Size: 150 gal, 75 pounds of live rock, 2" sandbed, 2 magnum 350 canister filters, 30 gal sump, CoraLife 220 Super Skimmer. Any ideas? Thanx, Jameel <Time going by, fixing the Nitrate, modifying the sump (turning it or part of it into a refugium... with DSB, live macroalgae... possibly upgrading the skimmer... Bob Fenner> Grouper Vs. Tang, Naso Tang and Panther Grouper   4/26/07 First, thank you for providing such a great information source. <Welcome.> I read your articles often, and it is a huge help.  I have an established tank with a Panther Grouper, juvenile, about 2 ½ to 3 inches. <He won't be for long!> He was the only inhabitant until recently when I introduced a Naso tang, about the same size if not a little bigger.  The grouper, almost immediately and often, follows and chases the tang around. <Uh-oh.>   He comes at him fairly quickly and sometimes nips, but doesn't look like he actually lands any bites.  The tang doesn't swim away very quickly; he just turns around and goes the other way, like it doesn't bother him.  Should I be worried? <It's likely not an issue at the moment but could become one as the animals grow and get larger (what size tank is this btw?), the problem you may run into is that the grouper will grow much faster than the tang, and even if the grouper isn't able to consume the tang he will at the least be able to do some damage, if through stress alone.>   I don't want the tang to get all stressed out his first few days in my tank... John <Adam J.>

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> Panther Grouper Help... Ridiculous mix, crowding... iatrogenic troubles    02/17/07 I have a panther grouper in a 65 gallon tank. <Too small in time> I bought him a week ago. He is swimming funny when he swims? <Is he?> Like he is standing on his head and almost flipping over and hides most of the time but if I touch him he takes off with alot of energy. His tank mates are a lion fish and niger trigger and saddle grouper. <Ridiculously over-crowded... trouble... now> No one picks on him but he a little smaller then the rest? All other fish are fine but he wont eat? Any ideas? Any help would be more then appreciated. Thanks Rick in Clearwater  FL <You have an incompatible mix... and a time bomb on your hands here... Read re the needs (Systems) and Compatibility of the species you list... on WWM, elsewhere... and trade in all or get another much larger system... Now. Bob Fenner>

Re: Panther Grouper Help... Ridiculous mix, crowding... iatrogenic troubles  - 02/17/2007 When you say incompatible mix? Do you mean the fish or size of tank? Thanks Rick <Both my friend... read, don't write. BobF>

- 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 -- >

Panther Grouper ~ compatibility  - 01/23/2006 Good morning, <Yawwwwnnn!> I'm building what will be about 165gallon tank into my basement wall.  I will have a pretty nice aquarium room when all is complete. <Nice!> I will a custom tank built with the following dimensions:   5 1/2 ft long, 2 ft tall, 2 ft wide.  I do plan to have some rock work in a few of the corners as well as a mound of liverock in the middle.  I noticed you don't have much on your website with respect to Panther Groupers, <Not yet... did finally get around to making a separate FAQs file for Chromileptis... but haven't gone through the extant "Bass FAQs" to copy, move... Maybe you'll write an accompanying article?> and I really don't know much about them other than they are entertaining and a great species as long as the other tank inhabitants aren't bite sized.  Will 5 1/2 ft provide adequate swimming room for the panther grouper? <For a few years, yes.... will eventually grow too large...> I am also wanting to purchase: either a zebra or snowflake moray lionfish trigger angel dragon wrasse <Mmm be careful re which species of trigger...> Do you have a preference over zebra vs. snowflake eel? <By "L'Oreal?"... nope, like them both> I hear they are both excellent more peaceful morays to keep.  I do want a trigger, but some reading material has suggested that a trigger may pick on the eel or lionfish because they are slower and not so active, do you share this opinion? <Yes I do> Final question, I know dragon wrasses are most commonly around only 3" when first bought.  If I am getting a juvenile grouper, do you think the wrasse would become food?   <Not if about the same size... Novaculichthys are smart... and fast> I've heard wrasses are quite quick and one smaller fish that usually avoid becoming dinner to larger fish. Thoughts would be greatly appreciated. <I think you've been studying... and are well on your way. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Two Questions: Compatibility related, of course  11/17/05 Hello WWM Crew - I have two questions for you to answer, one being a little more difficult than the other. I recently picked up a complete used system from a fellow reef enthusiast who was being forced out of the hobby. I initially was only looking for a new tank and stand to upgrade an existing set up, but was given an offer that I could not refuse. For the price that the stand alone would have cost me, I received a tank, stand, 96w Power compact fixture, heater, BakPak skimmer, HOB filter, Canister filter, HO overflow, fuge, live rock, live sand, clean up animals, and 3 fish. The fish are a Gold-stripe Maroon clown, Coral beauty, and a yellow-tail damsel. It also included 15 different species of corals and other sessile inverts.  <Wow! Great find!> Unfortunately, the previous owner had informed me that the tank included a Koran angel rather than a Coral beauty. Other than the obvious difference in the cost of the fish, this created a more immediate problem for me. I already have a mature Coral Beauty which has been in my main tank for well over a year.  This leads me to my first question:  Are there any steps that can be taken that will maximize the success of keeping two coral beauties in the same tank? I know that it is notoriously hard to keep more than one species of dwarf angel together, but I know that people have had success keeping multiples of the same species. The Coral Beauties would both be in a 40 gal tank, that is aquascaped to create multiple territories through the use of coral and "sand spurs". (Sand spurs are open areas between coral banks that divers follow in reefs.)  <I would say that you may have some chance of success in a very large tank (greater than 180gal), but I have a hard time recommending even a single coral beauty in a 40 gallon tank... two in such a small tank is out of the question.> My second question relates to the reason why I was upgrading my tanks in the first place. I have a juvenile Naso tang and a juvenile Panther grouper which I purchased when they were both around 3" in size. I was well aware that these are both large growing species and require large tanks, however since I knew I would be upgrading my system in the NEAR future I figured that the juveniles would be ok. I watched the Naso and the Panther very closely to make sure that neither outgrew their current tanks and to make sure that I had an appropriately larger setup available. Initially I planned on putting both the Naso and the Panther together in their larger tank, but I am beginning to worry that this is destined to be a major problem. At this point the Naso is approximately 4.5" long and the Panther has reached a little over 5". I am pretty sure that these two fish would not have any problems, however I am concerned that the panther might go after the other 3 tank residents. There is a 4" coral beauty, 3"+ Gold stripe Maroon clown, and a Blue Devil damsel. I am not concerned about the damsel as the Grouper has been around damsels without incident for the entire time I have owned it. There are plenty of hiding spaces in the tank which they could easily get into but the grouper could not.  <Hmmm... I would not be so confident in the safety of any of these smaller fish. Anything that can fit into the groupers mouth is likely to become food at some point.> Knowing that it is generally advisable to put in the most aggressive fish last, I have held off introducing the Panther grouper. My initial thought is that I should place it in an internal fuge to see its reaction to the other fish. If its highly aggressive, I may be better off keeping them separate.  <Aggression and predation are different phenomena. I wouldn't expect the grouper to be especially aggressive, except towards other similar predators. It is, however very likely to be predatory on the smaller fish, especially as it gets larger.> What is your opinion on the possibility of successfully keeping such an aggressive fish with those other tank mates. I already hand feed the grouper to make sure that he is well fed at all times and with one questionable exception involving a wrasse, he has never "disappeared" any tank mates. Thank you. Art  <All of our aquarium keeping choices require some compromise. If you want to keep your grouper, the compromise is to exclude any fish small enough for it to eat, or live with the fact that they may very well be eaten. Best Regards. AdamC.>

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