There are 150 different types of grunt fish in the world today. However, very few have made it to the aquarium hobby.
Grunt fish are those fish species that can produce a grunting sound by grinding their teeth together.
So let’s learn about these fish in more detail.
14 Fish That Can Grunt
1. Black Margate
The black margate is a grunt fish species and is also known as black bream, black thicklip, Mexican bull, or thicklip grunt.
It’s native to the western Atlantic Ocean.
This fish has a greyish-silver body, darker on the anterior than the posterior half.
The dorsal fins are grey, and scales have black centers, while the anal and pelvic fins are the darkest.
It’s one of the largest fish species in the grunt fish family, reaching lengths of up to 30 inches and weighing up to 13 pounds.
This fish is a nocturnal feeder and is active at night. The black margate feeds on crustaceans, mollusks, urchins, and small fish.
2. Bluestriped Grunt
This grunt fish is also known as boar grunt, golden grunt, or humpback grunt.
The bluestriped grunt inhabits the waters from South Carolina to Brazil, including Central America.
It’s a stunning fish with its golden yellow color and bright blue stripes. It also sports the same red mouth as some other grunts.
The bluestriped grunt can grow to a maximum length of 10 to 14 inches and weighs around 1.7 pounds.
This fish takes shelter in the rocky areas during the day.
It forages the sea-grass beds and mangroves at night, preying on crustaceans, bivalves, and small fish.
3. Crescent Banded Grunt
Check out what this fish looks like over here.
The crescent banded grunt is a grunt species.
It’s also known as crescent grunter, crescent perch, spiky trumpeter, thornfish, or tiger perch.
This fish inhabits the waters of the Indo-Pacific ocean.
It has a pale brown, silver color with a white underline and dark nape.
It also has 3 to 4 crescent-shaped dark brown bands from the nape to the rear of the body till the tail.
This species can grow up to 9.8 inches in length.
However, the longest recorded fish is 14 inches in length. This grunt fish reaches maturity at 5.1 inches in length.
The crescent banded grunt is mainly a marine species but can be found in freshwater rivers.
However, it returns to the marine environment for reproduction.
4. Yellowbanded Sweetlips
These grunt fish inhabit the coral reefs of the western Pacific Ocean.
They’re also known as oblique-banded sweetlips, diagonal-banded sweetlips, or dogfish prientalis.
Yellowbanded sweetlips have a light grey color with a white belly.
They have prominent yellow eyes, and the upper part of their body is marked with a series of large, broken, diagonal black stripes.
The fins are yellow with black spots on the anal, caudal, and dorsal fins and red spots on the pelvic fins.
On the other hand, their fry have a few horizontal to slightly angled dark brown bands.
This species can grow up to 21 inches in length. However, the longest recorded fish is 33.9 inches in length.
5. French Grunt
French grunt fish is also known as banana grunt, gold laced grunt, or open-mouthed grunt.
This fish is found in South Carolina, the Northern Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, Bermuda, and Central America.
These fish come in various colors, from white to blueish or yellow. Their body is covered with vibrant yellow to orange colored stripes.
The French grunt can grow to a maximum length of 6 to 8 inches and weighs around 0.5 to 1 pound.
Like other grunt fish, they’re active at night when feeding and stay in a school during the day.
French grunts feed on clams, shrimp, krill, and small hermit crabs.
6. Oriental Sweetlips
The oriental sweetlips are also known as the Indian Ocean oriental sweetlips or oriental blubberlips.
This fish inhabits the waters of the Indian and western Pacific oceans.
The adult fish have light grey color that fades to white near the abdomen.
They have alternating black-and-white stripes. The black stripes are broader on the upper body than on the lower body.
The fins, snout, and forehead are yellow. The anal, dorsal, and caudal fins have black spots.
The oriental sweetlips have fleshy lips that swell more as the fish age.
This grunt fish species can reach a maximum size of 72 inches in length.
It’s known to forage at night, preying on small invertebrates like crustaceans, gastropods, and small fish.
7. Painted Sweetlips
The painted sweetlips are a species of grunt fish native to the coral reefs of the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean.
The adults are silver-white with dark brown spots as patterns on the head, back, flanks and fins.
Their dorsal fins have a large black spot and bright red spot on the pectoral and pelvic fins.
The young painted sweetlips are white on their bellies and black on their backs.
This species can reach an average size of 28 inches in length, but there are records of this fish growing up to 33 inches.
The adult painted sweetlips are solitary.
They seek refuge in a shelter during the day and forage at night, preying on crustaceans, mollusks, and small fish.
Check out what this fish looks like over here.
Pigfish is a grunt fish species and is also known as piggy perch, hogfish, or redmouth grunt.
These fish inhabit the waters of the western Atlantic Ocean.
This fish has a mottled brown or gray body with irregular vertical bars and small orange-brown stripes that run along the back and flanks.
They usually range from 6 to 12 inches in length, but some can reach lengths of 19 inches and weigh from 1 to 5 pounds.
This fish is called pigfish because it squeals like a pig when caught.
Young pigfish mainly feed on planktonic crustaceans.
However, the adults feed on large crustaceans, mollusks, polychaetes, and smaller fish.
Porkfish is also known as the Atlantic porkfish sweetlips, dogfish, or paragrate grunt.
It inhabits the waters of the western Atlantic Ocean.
These fish have a compressed body, a short, blunt head, and a high back.
They have a dark bar from the top of the head to the mouth, yellow and silver stripes, and bright yellow fins.
Porkfish can grow up to a maximum length of 16 inches.
However, the average size is 9.8 inches in length, and they weigh around 2.05 pounds.
Porkfish primarily feed on benthic invertebrates such as crustaceans, mollusks, and polychaetes.
The young porkfish act as cleaner fish, eating ectoparasites from other fish bodies or gills.
10. Spotted Sweetlips
The spotted sweetlips is a grunt species known as harlequin sweetlips or clown sweetlips.
This grunt fish is native to the Indo-Pacific region.
The adult fish has a greyish background with dark brown spots.
On the other hand, the young spotted sweetlips are brownish with white blotches that develop brown spots as they mature.
The spotted sweetlips can grow up to a maximum length of 28 inches.
However, the average size is 24 inches in length, and they weigh around 15 pounds.
The spotted sweetlips are a predatory species that forage at night, preying on benthic invertebrates like crustaceans, mollusks, and small fish.
11. Striped Sweetlips
The striped sweetlips are also known as fourbanded sweetlips or silver-banded sweetlips.
This grunt fish species is native to the eastern Indian and western Pacific oceans.
Young striped sweetlips display a striking contrast of colors: black, white, yellow, and red.
As the fish mature, these patterns and colors change into horizontal black and white stripes.
The striped sweetlips can grow up to a maximum length of 16 inches.
They’re a carnivorous species that feed on benthic invertebrates like crustaceans, mollusks, and small fish.
This fish is also known as brown grunt and is a species of the grunt fish family.
It can be found from North Carolina to the Gulf of Mexico, Central America, and Brazil in South America.
Tomtate has a body color of gray to tan on the back, with a brown or yellowish stripe from head to tail.
It also has a bright orange mouth and a dark spot at the base of the tail.
It’s one of the smallest fish species in the grunt fish family, reaching lengths of 5.5 to10 inches and weighing up to 1 pound.
Like other grunt fish species, tomtate fish are nocturnal feeders, setting out in schools foraging the reefs and preying on small invertebrates.
They also feed on algae and plankton.
13. Two-Striped Sweetlips
This grunt fish is also known as giant sweetlips.
It’s found in the Indo-Pacific region, from the coast of East Africa, the Red Sea, into Polynesia.
The adult male has a dark brown to grey-brown coloration on its back and sides, and the pectoral, pelvic, and anal fins are blackish.
The lower lobe and tip of the tail fin are black.
Two-striped sweetlips are known to reach a maximum length of 39 inches.
They’re predatory fish, mostly living off benthic crustaceans, worms, and small fish.
14. White Grunt
The white grunt is also known as the common grunt.
It inhabits the waters from Virginia to Brazil in South America, including the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.
This fish has a silver-gray body with blue and yellow stripes covering its head and body.
It’s also called redmouth and ruby red lips for the bright red color inside its mouth.
This fish species can grow up to a maximum length of 15 inches and weighs around 1.5 pounds.
White grunt is a nocturnal and predatory creature that feeds on mollusks and echinoderms.
It also eats annelids and benthic crustaceans.