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Barred Hamlet

(Hypoplectrus puella)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Semi-aggressive   • Maximum Size: 5"
• Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-79° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
• Diet: Carnivore   • Origin: Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Bahamas
• Family: Serranidae   • Species: Hamlets   • Aquarium Type: Reef Compatible

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Barred Hamlet native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

The Barred Hamlet (Hypoplectrus puella) is native to the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, where it is found inhabiting rocky reefs. They are more active in the evening, using their large eyes to spot prey in the dimly lit night waters. During the day they spend much of their time in deep rocky caves and crevices resting and looking for small crustaceans and invertebrates to prey on.

They adapt well to aquarium life, and will also become used to the bright aquarium lighting given time. It is important to provide them with plenty of caves and large crevices in which they can retreat from the bright aquarium lights. Hamlets are somewhat unique in that they possess both male and female reproductive organs.

They are also known for breeding in larger aquarium systems and in commercial breeding facilities. Their brilliant white and yellow base coloration combined with brown bars and blue highlights, medium size and semi-aggressive temperament make the Barred Hamlet an excellent aquarium species.

They can generally be thought of as mini groupers or sea bass, with a somewhat overall less aggressive nature due to their smaller size. at about 5 inches in length as an adult, Barred Hamlet are the smallest species of Hamlet commonly collected for the aquarium hobby.

Barred Hamlets are not quite as widely distributed as some of the other Hamlet species found within the aquarium hobby; therefore, they are not as commonly collected for the aquarium hobby. They do show up in fish stores from time to time, and can usually be ordered online from fish wholesalers and distributors.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Barred Hamlet in the home aquarium.

Barred Hamlets do well in the home aquarium if provided some basic aquarium and water parameters. They should be housed in an aquarium that is close to 55 gallons or larger in order to provide them with enough swimming room and with enough water volume to accommodate the bio-load they produce.

In the wild Barred Hamlet establish themselves in a particular area of the reef where they will live their entire life assuming conditions permit. They should be provided with both areas of open swimming space and live rock formations that include plenty of caves and crevices.

They will establish an area of the aquarium as their territory and will protect this area from similar sized fish species and other Hamlet specimens. Barred Hamlets should be kept one to an aquarium in most situations, with groups being suitable in large aquariums (200 gallons or more) being large enough to create enough territory to house multiple specimens.

Well fed Barred Hamlets should not show too much aggression towards small fish species or cleaning crew invertebrates, but it is possible that they may try to eat very small fish and small crabs / shrimp. Barred Hamlet are one of the more peaceful species of Hamlet, and are the best choice for keeping a Hamlet in a traditional community aquarium setup.

Their moderate size and carnivorous diet puts a fair amount of bio-load on the aquarium, thus the aquarium should have excellent mechanical and biological filtration. An addition of a well planted refugium will also help with nitrate removal and lessen the amount of water changes required to maintain lower nitrate levels and overall water quality.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Barred Hamlet.

In the wild Barred Hamlet feed on shrimps, small crabs, small crustaceans and the occasional small fish. They are a carnivorous species that should be fed a variety of meaty foods. Barred Hamlet should be fed 2 to 3 times per day an amount of food that they will consume within a few minutes.

Good food choices include: high quality commercial pellets, frozen carnivore formulas, mysis shrimp, clams, squid, frozen marine feeder fish (silver sides), live glass shrimp and other similar marine based meaty items. Overall Hamlets are not picky eaters, but they should be fed a high quality and diverse diet as proper nutrition ensures that the fish maintain a healthy immune system.

Lastly, proper nutrition effects the coloration of the fish, with healthy well fed specimens exhibiting brighter and more brilliant coloration.

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