The Grunts belong to the family Haemulidae in the order Perciformes. Fishbase currently lists 150 species divided into 17 different genera. The family Haemulidae is closely related to the family Lutjanidae where you will find the Snappers.
Grunts belonging to the subfamily Plectorhynchinae are commonly referred to as Sweetlips.
Grunts in the aquarium
Quite a few species from the family Haemulidae have been successfully kept by aquarists. A grunt is typically a non-aggressive creature and will not attack members of its own kind or other species. Grunts should be kept together in small groups in the aquarium, not solitary.
Grunts should ideally be fed when the aquarium light is off. They will appreciate live and fresh meaty food, such as brine shrimp, but can also learn to eat prepared foods. Do not keep your grunts on a diet of prepared food only. Try t mimic the natural diet of the Grunts by serving them invertebrates.
When you move grunts to a new aquarium it is important to provide them with dark areas in the aquarium where they can seek shelter 24 hours a day until they feel at home again. It is also advisable to feed them enticing live food since they might loose their appetite when moved.
Geographical range, habitat and habits
Grunts live in the Atlantic, Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. They are chiefly marine, but some are brackish and a few species live in freshwater.
Adult grunts are typically night active or crepuscular (active at dusk and dawn). During the day, they will seek shelter near or under ledges. The can also form schools during the day and soar over rocky reefs without eating. When it gets dark, the school will disperse and each fish will head for the sandy bottom to search for food on its own.
Grunts feed primarily on benthic invertebrates. When the content of grunt bellies have been investigated the researchers have found food items such as clams, polychaete worms, shrimp and other crustaceans.
Grunts are pelagic spawners; the female fish will release a larger number of eggs into the water and the male will fertilize them. Grunts do not guard their offspring.
Porkfish – Anisotremus virginicus