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Moon Grouper

(Variola louti)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Aggressive   • Maximum Size: 30"
• Minimum Tank Size: 300 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
• Diet: Carnivore   • Origin: Indo-Pacific, Red Sea
• Family: Serranidae   • Species: Groupers   • Aquarium Type: Predatory

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Moon Grouper native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

The Moon Grouper, commonly referred to within the hobby as the Red Louti Grouper and the Lyretail Grouper, is a large, vividly colorful and hardy species that can be found among the coral reefs throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific and the Red Sea. Moon Groupers, like their similar, Miniatus cousins, are also one of the most colorful groupers within the hobby and can be identified by their intense base coloration of bright red to orange, covered by a multitude of pink to purple spots; they also have bright yellow at the rear sections of all their fins. The yellow marking on their caudal fin resembles a crescent moon, which is how they initially earned the names of "Moon" and "Lyretail".

Moon Groupers have strong, pharyngeal teeth that line their throats, which they use to crush prey that are stopped in their tracks and held fast by their many sharp, curved teeth. Moon Groupers are aggressive and can become quite territorial, they should be added as the last inhabitant to their desired aquarium to ensure their tank mates have already established their territories. Moon Groupers are readily available within the hobby, from local and online retailers alike.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Moon Grouper in the home aquarium.

Moon Groupers should be provided with an aquarium of at least 300 gallons (they grow to 30" and can be around 17 lbs.) and plenty of live rock structure (securely placed so it will not be knocked over in the future) to provide sufficient territory as well as refuge. They are known diggers and may cause structural disaster if their rockwork is not secure; live rock should be "twisted" in place to the bottom of the tank. They are also known to be big eaters and will reach a very large adult size; it is essential that they be provided with a high quality protein skimmer in addition to strong and efficient biological and mechanical filtration as well as scheduled maintenance and water changes.

They require open space where they can swim around freely and should also be provided with a decent amount of water movement. Moon Groupers are very large when mature and will show territorial aggression to conspefic and heterospecific tank mates. Tank mates should be similar sized, aggressive species that will not tolerate harassment. They are not recommended for a reef environment as they will eat almost anything that will fit in their large mouths, including smaller fish and invertebrates. They are ideally suited for large, aggressive FOWLR environments, housed with similar sized tank mates.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Moon Grouper.

Moon Groupers are carnivores that feed on various fish and motile invertebrates in the wild. In the aquarium, they should be offered a wide variety of meaty foods such as live, frozen, freeze-dried, and vitamin-enriched brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, ghost shrimp, bloodworms, blackworms, krill, silver sides (possibly treated with selcon), squid, crab meat, fresh fish, chopped clams, and other meaty marine foods. They may also accept carnivore/omnivore pellets and similar prepared foods (e.g.; Formula One RDF and Special Formula VHP). Their feeding frequency should be 3-5 times a week.

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