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Grunts & Sweetlips
Min. Tank Size
Other Common Names
Atlantic Porkfish, Canario, Catalineta, Mercador
The Atlantic porkfish is from the Family Haemulidae, and fishes from this family are commonly referred to by aquarists as grunts. They are called grunts because they make a “grunting” noise using their pharyngeal teeth and swim bladder (some sweetlips “grunt” as well). Grunts from the genus
, like the Atlantic porkfish, are known as the smallmouth grunts, and the Atlantic porkfish does have a very small mouth. While its mouth may be small, the Atlantic porkfish can grow to 15 inches in length. The adult fish will need an aquarium of at least 175 gallons with plenty of swimming room.
The Atlantic porkfish inhabits rocky bottoms and reefs and so should be kept in an aquarium with plenty of live rock and a cave or two in which to retreat. This fish also appreciates plenty of swimming room, especially as it grows. While many grunts prefer to be kept with other members of their species, the Atlantic porkfish has been known to be aggressive toward conspecifics when the tank is too small. Do keep juveniles with other peaceful tankmates, as they can easily be bullied. If you plan to add an adult Atlantic porkfish to a community tank with aggressive fishes, add the porkfish toward the beginning of your stocking order.
In the wild, the Atlantic porkfish feeds mostly at night on a variety of bottom dwelling crustaceans and other small creatures (e.g. echinoderms and annelids). In the aquarium, it will also eat small invertebrates including ornamentals such as hermit crabs. Juveniles are facultative cleaners and will pick parasites off other fishes. Offer the Atlantic porkfish a varied diet including meaty bits of marine flesh (e.g. raw table shrimp, squid, scallops, etc.) and prepared foods (pellet and frozen) for carnivores.
Mark's Species Tip
Juveniles do not have the distinctive black bars or the yellow and blue stripes of the adult.
Porkfish, Small: over 2-2.5", Western Atlantic
Porkfish, Medium: over 2.5-4.5", Western Atlantic
Porkfish, Large: over 4.5-6.5", Western Atlantic
Due to availability and individuality of each species, colors and sizes may vary.
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