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High Hat – Pareques acuminatus

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The High Hat is found along the western Atlantic Ocean. It has alternating black and silver horizontal stripes and a black dorsal fin like a top hat on its head. Like other grunts or “drums”, they can make a low drumming or throbbing sound when threatened.


Grunts and Sweetlips are interesting choices for a home aquarium, but are not fish that should be kept by beginners. Sweetlips get their name from their large, fleshy lips. Grunts get their name for their ability to make grunting noise, which is produced by grinding their teeth or vibrating their swim bladder. Most Sweetlips are found throughout the Indo-Pacific region, while Grunts are mainly found in the Atlantic. Both Grunts and Sweetlips go through a drastic change in coloration and pattern from the juvenile to adult phases. Grunts are almost always found in large shoals, and depending on the age, Sweetlips are often seen in small groups or as solitary individuals.

Most Grunts and Sweetlips are nocturnal in nature. During the day, they can usually be found hiding within the rockwork or at the bottom of an aquarium. At night, they come out to hunt for food. Most Grunts and Sweetlips adapt to the aquarium setting well, but special care is required for some species to start feeding. Small ghost shrimp work well to entice the fish in this family to start eating in an aquarium. It is suggested that you try to wean them onto frozen food. Their diet should consist of frozen foods, as well as flake, pellet, and vegetable matter. They are relatively hardy, but are considered more difficult to maintain than many other fish. Some are sand-sifters and can be destructive to corals due to large size and sand-sifting behavior. They are generally relatively peaceful but will prey on crustaceans and smaller fish.

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