Clown Grouper

Bearded Grouper

Family: Serranidae Picture of a Clown Grouper or Bearded GrouperPogonoperca punctataPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
Latest Reader Comment - See More
My clownfish Killah is a very personable fish. I was at first reluctant to get him because of the possibility of him contaminating my entire tank if he gets sick... (more)  Missa-naples fl

   A very handsome grouper. You can see by its' strong markings why the Clown Grouper or Bearded Grouper is called a "clown"!

   The Clown Grouper is also called the Bearded Grouper because of the extra piece of skin on its bottom lip. A typical grouper that is hardy and hungry.

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

Geographic Distribution
Pogonoperca punctata
Data provided by
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Perciformes
  • Family: Serranidae
  • Genus: Pogonoperca
  • Species: punctata
Spotted Soapfish (Pogonoperca punctata)
Report Broken Video
Juvenile Pogonoperca punctata.

This video shows a very young Spotted Soapfish with the spectacular coloring that makes them one of the most sought after soapfish! This little guy will eventually grow to just under 14" and will need a 125 gallon tank and tank mates that are longer than they are, or they will end up as lunch! Soapfish become quite tame and exhibit interesting behaviors! Do not house with aggressive fish, since they can release a toxin into the water that will kill themselves and their tank mates. These fish are best added directly to the main display as the first fish. Do not quarantine this fish.

Clown Grouper, Leaflip Soapfish, Spotted Soapfish (Pogonoperca punctata)
Report Broken Video
Adult Pogonoperca punctata

This fish has many common names. Spotted Soapfish is probably the most accurate, though many people call them Clown Groupers or Leaflip Soapfish due to the appendage on their bottom lip. Though they are peaceful to fish they cannot fit into their mouths, they are often shown as aggressive, but this only includes fish that are as long as they are or smaller and shrimp and crabs. They will not bother corals and most other inverts, including starfish. Provide a tank that is at least 125 gallons and with very good filtration. Do not house with overly aggressive Clown Triggerfish or aggressive Moray Eels.

Popular Searches

Maintenance difficulty:    The Clown Grouper or Bearded Grouper is easy to keep, mainly because it always gets its share of food and eats everything!

Maintenance:    Feed all kinds of live and prepared meaty foods: squid, clams, shrimp, chopped fish, lancefish, or silversides.

Habitat: Natural geographic location:    Clown Grouper or Bearded Grouper are found 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:    Clown Grouper or Bearded Grouper grow to length of 35 cm (14   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 rarely available.

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

Missa-naples fl - 2009-08-19
My clownfish Killah is a very personable fish. I was at first reluctant to get him because of the possibility of him contaminating my entire tank if he gets sick or dies. For 3 months I saw him at the store and took a chance. I love him! He is a very personable boy, and follows me around the room from inside the tank. He is hand-fed, and actually likes it when you rub his side. He is THE most gentle fish I have in the tank and right now I have a snowflake eel, a coral beauty, a volitans lionfish and a comet. Killah spends most of his time staring at me from the corner of the tank, and swims with his forehead sticking up from the top of the water. He is the largest fish by far in my tank and has not once attempted to eat any of his tankmates, and actually gets along very well with the coral beauty and the comet.

  • Clint - 2010-03-07
    How big is Killah? I heard they grow 5-6" and also heard 12-14" It`s a good looking grouper, but I want one that will stay on the smaller side
carl - 2004-05-19
Beautiful fish which spend alot of time swimming near the surface of my tank. Prefers live food, but will eat frozen prawns. Has to watch the food for a bit before eating and will often not eat food which stops moving (falls to the sand or live rock) before it attacks.