Panther Grouper

Polka Dot Grouper, Barramundi Cod,
Humpback Grouper

Picture of a Panther Grouper or Polka Dot Grouper
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I have a grouper I just purchased. It's pink and it is not doing well. I have a 150 gallon tank. I noticed today it has a weird white mossy looking stuff growing on... (more)  Derek Melton

   The Panther Grouper, Polka Dot Grouper, or Barramundi Cod will reach 20 inches in length in the wild! This grouper is suitable for very large aquariums only!

   This is a predatory fish that should be fed meaty foods and live fish. Don't keep the Panther Grouper, Polka Dot Grouper, or Barramundi Cod with smaller fish like damsels and small clowns unless they are intended as a meal!

For more Information on keeping this fish see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Marine Aquarium

Humpback grouper or Panther Grouper (Cromileptes altivelis)
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Video of a juvenile Panther Grouper in captivity.

Often purchased as an adorable 2" baby, the Panther Grouper can grow 2" per month, so putting them in a 180 gallon tank is best. They swim around nose down with their big pectoral fins constantly wiggling and moving, which is one of their endearing qualities. They learn who their owner is and will perform for food! This little guy will grow to 27" in the wild, but closer to 20" in captivity and will only become a threat to any fish or crustacean that can fit into their mouth! Add them as the last member of the tank as juveniles.

Barramundi Cod!! Panther Grouper (Cromileptes altivelis) Awesome!!
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Video of an adult Panther Grouper wild catch and release near Australia

The gentlemen in the video refers to the Panther Grouper as a Barramundi Cod, and acknowledges they are a protected fish and will be letting it go. The great thing about this video is that it gives the aquarist a real VISUAL of how big these fish will get. The size of the mouth is also an indication of proper tank mates! Housing them in a 250 gallon tank is widely suggested, though older literature says 180 gallons. These groupers seem to swim more than others, which would explain the need for a large tank. They are smart fish and get to know their owners!

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Maintenance difficulty:    The Panther Grouper, Polka Dot Grouper, or Barramundi Cod is easy to keep. They are extremely hardy and have a voracious appetite.

Maintenance:    Feed all kinds of live and frozen protein foods. Try squid, clams, shrimp, chopped fish. Live foods like guppies and goldfish are also appreciated and can be fed occasionally.

Habitat: Natural geographic location:    Panther Grouper, Polka Dot Grouper, or Barramundi Cod are collected in the Indo-Pacific.

Foods:    Like most groupers it is a meat eater that preys on small fish.

Social Behaviors:    This fish is a solitary predator that hangs out among the rocks waiting for prey.

Sex: Sexual differences:    Unknown.

Light: Recommended light levels:    No special requirements.

Breeding/Reproduction:    Unknown.

Temperature:    No special requirements.

Length/Diameter of fish:    Panther Grouper, Polka Dot Grouper, or Barramundi Cod adults can grow to 50 cm (20 inches).

Minimum Tank Length/Size:    A minimum 60 gallon aquarium is recommended.

Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong    No special requirements.

Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom    No special requirements. Provide rockwork large enough for the fish to hide.

Availability:    This fish is generally available from time to time.

Author: David Brough. CFS.
Lastest Animal Stories on Panther Grouper

Derek Melton - 2013-02-07
I have a grouper I just purchased. It's pink and it is not doing well. I have a 150 gallon tank. I noticed today it has a weird white mossy looking stuff growing on him and it's not swimming just laying in sand opening and closing its mouth. Help I like the fish just want to get him right.

  • Anonymous - 2013-02-08
    White mossy stuff sounds like a fungus of some kind. Get a medication designed for fungus. It can't hurt to also use an anti-biotic as long as you check for ammonia and keep it down with Amquel if it rises. Gasping may be a sign of low oxygen, increase aeration or surface water flow. Gasping, or opening and closing it's mouth, may be normal though.
Dian - 2010-10-27
My panther grouper is about 7 years old now. Over the last couple of weeks he kind of stopped eating, he now seems to be in a stuck position of being bend kind of sideways. He can maneuver about and all fins are working fine - other than being stuck in this position he is kind of o.k. - but is probably ill - Parasite? I know he is old, but how long do they live in captivity? He has been a special pet to me - like a dog in a fish tank, does anyone know if there is anything I can do - or do you think it is time?

  • CosmicOps - 2012-10-31
    Well it can't be swim bladder disorder, since groupers don't have one. It could be some kidney disorder caused by improper (long term) salinity:if you have the (bad) habit of keeping your fish at 1,021 to 1,023. Most Groupers can live several decades. As a rule of thumb: keep your fish only tank at the same salinity as reef tanks, 1,025-1,026 should be fine. Of course small or crowded tanks may please the keeper but prove to be lethal to the inhabitants. There should be less excentrism and more responsability in the hobby (which applies to all). Of course your grouper could also encounter liver damage caused (amongst other things) by a blood worm diet or other. Blood worms are considered to cause fatty degeneration in fish's liver. So any food with a fatty concentration should be avoided. Good Luck!!
  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-10-31
    Have water conditions changed at all?   Maybe try feeding dried krill with tongs?  Added any new tankmates in the past couple weeks??
some fish lover! - 2009-10-24
I have a panther grouper with a pink-tailed triggerfish, a clown triggerfish, a picasso triggerfish, and a yellow tang and they get along fine. I have them in a 30 gallon tank and they hardly ever fight. I love mine so you should to!

  • mike - 2010-06-14
    I had a panther grouper with a blue trigger and he has bit all the top fin off and I had to pull it out to die rather than let him eat it as he kept rolling on top of it shame in a 33 gallon tank.
  • CosmicOps - 2012-10-31
    Great News... However they are all huge fish (15 to 50 inches). You should encompass the idea of setting up a 200 gallon tank... minimum... (no joke). Man would they ever be happy!
  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-10-31
    Do yourself a favor and get a much larger tank.  These fish will get very large.  They may not be fighting but they will not be able to be maintained for long.
Andrew - 2012-03-16
Had mine for six months in my 120 gal. It grew fast! Bought it around 4 inches and now it's reaching 8inches! However if you want to get one of these beauty, try to get him last. This is a semi-aggressive/territorial fish and it will chase, nip and swallow any fish it can fit in its mouth. Otherwise the panther grouper is a moderately hardy fish and great for FOWLR system!