Chromileptis altivelis (Polka - dot grouper)
CCromileptes altivelis (Valenciennes 1828), the
Panther Grouper to the hobby is the Humpback Grouper to
science. Western Pacific distribution. To twenty eight inches
in the wild. A hardy animal with a large appetite and
mouth to match. Monotypic genus. The big black dots will get
smaller and increase in number as the fish grows. Below are
some information about Basses (to which the polka - dot
Selection: General to Specific
Look for newer arrivals with good color and outgoing or
at least "curious" personalities.
Know this; that most members are best
purchased as sub-adults and moved as few times as possible.
Adaptability reduces with growing size and captive moves.
In the mood for travel? All specimens are
wild caught. Many in traps, some barbless hook and line.
Types that can be driven into hiding can be "goosed" with a
wire/rod poker with finesse into a hand-net. You have to be
Though identified as premiere bully-boys,
the group spends most of it's time hiding, skulking and, not
to be too anthropomorphic, sulking. Provide plenty of caves
and other dark spots for cover. To elaborate on the note
above in Acclimation; alter the particular favorite "hiding"
space minimally. That is leave that shell, cave as is.
As far as captive marines go most basses
are very tolerant of minimally "poor water quality". Any
stable tropical temperature, mid specific gravity
(1.022-1.023) is fine. I would suggest artificially
supplementing the buffering capacity of the system with
baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) or commercial preparation
for the same. Rationale? The introduction and processing of
so much proteinaceous foods tends to drive down alkalinity.
A pinch of bicarb. every week or so will go a long way to
maintaining a pH slightly above 8.0, with no deleterious
Adequate and rigorous to handle large
tanks and occasional large wastes.
At least two distinct rock/coral cave
hide areas; low lighting.
As a generalization, the family is "one
to a tank", intolerant of same species or other similar of
near size. Most species gather together in pairs or
aggregations only for spawning, or group predation. The
notable exception are the tukas, subfamily Anthiinae, which
live in great aggregations. We'll give them a seperate
Agonistic displays against new-tank
members, and wanna-be challengers to their alpha position is
not uncommon. Such charging and wide-mouthing generally
passes without serious incident. Leaving the lights on in
the system for a day and night or two usually cools things
Though most basses as species and
individuals are not overtly "mean", they are still
predaceous, and will swallow any tankmate smaller than their
Simultaneous or synchronous
hermaphrodites, little boys and/or girls at the same time or
one then the other. For simultaneous species, taking turns
during courtship to be female/male.
Pelagic young hatch out in a matter of a
day or two.
Capable of great bursts of speed as
catch-mechanism for prey and avoidance of predation.
Frequency, Amount, Wastes
Along with water quality, diet is
primarily important in determining serranid health and
I find that authors, like Campbell in the
late seventies, plug the use of live freshwater organisms as
suitable food formats. I still don't. Live goldfish may be
nutritionally acceptable to some, but the behavioral
consequences of your livestock dashing about, equating
fish-like stimuli with hunting/eating satisfaction sounds
like a bad idea. Besides, feeders are expensive and
inconvenient. Alternatively, I encourage the use of whole or
formulated, preserved-frozen foods. Even the finickiest
eater can be trained to accept these with gusto.
On that same note, if your bass doesn't
eat for a while, for no or any apparent reason, don't sweat
it. They have been known to go "off-feed" for days, weeks,
Disease: Infectious, Parasitic,
Nutritional, Genetic, Social
Except for many of the Fancy Basses/Tukas
(subfamily Anthiinae), basses are relatively disease
resistant and hardy.
Hey! Where are the Fairy Basslets, aka
the Dottybacks? Sorry, you've fallen prey to the pseudo-bass
trap; in this case the Pseudochromidae is a seperate family.
As is the various grammas, royal or not, in the Basslet
family Grammidae; not to mention the Pseudochromidae,
The true basses are long-lived,
color-fast if changeable, interesting in their activities,
extremely interesting in their behavior; yawning, playing in
bubbles. And keeping almost all of them is not difficult.
the permission of Robert (Bob) Fenner webmaster of WetWebMedia
Photos by Mike Iannibeli