Blackspot Goatfish (Parupeneus spilurus)

blackspot goatfish - Parupeneus spilurus 4

The blackspot goatfish (Parupeneus spilurus) is one of the hardiest marine fish that can be kept in an aquarium without too much effort, as long as its environment is met with care and consideration. But before we look at how to care for it, let’s first take a look at what makes the blackspot goatfish unique and what sort of traits it has that make it so easy to work with.

It should not be confused with its relative the dash-and-dot goatfish (Parupeneus barberinus) which has different markings and coloration of the spots on its body and fins.

The Blackspot Goatfish can be found in tropical waters throughout the Indo-Pacific region. They have been introduced to many areas where they have established self-sustaining populations.

Goatfish belong to the family Mullidae, which are part of the Perciformes order along with perch and many other fish types that are popular choices in aquariums and ponds worldwide.

The blackspot goatfish is an omnivorous fish found in the Indo-Pacific, but they have yet to be fully discovered by aquarists.

What are blackspot goatfish?

Blackspot goatfish is a beautiful tropical fish that will add color and interest to your saltwater tank. The best thing about these fish is that they are incredibly hardy, so even beginner aquarists can easily keep them. As long as you have a well-established tank with stable water parameters, these beauties can thrive.

While their care requirements aren’t difficult, there are several things you should know if you’re thinking of adding blackspot goatfish to your aquarium.

Origin and descriptions

blackspot goatfish - Parupeneus spilurus

In large parts of Indonesia, Thailand, and Sri Lanka, they are used as food fish. They are also common in aquariums. There are three known species of goatfishes: Parupeneus cyclostomus, Parupeneus barberinus, and Parupeneus milberti.

The blackspot goatfish is better known as Parupeneus spilurus, which was first described by Marcus Elieser Bloch in 1792 under its current name. Parupeneus comes from paru-, meaning side, and pene- from penna (feather), thus on both sides lined with feathers. Spiluris comes from Greek σπιλος or spilos for spot, referring to its spots.

Species profile

blackspot goatfish - Parupeneus spilurus

The Blackspot goatfish, Parupeneus spilurus, also known as grey mullet or tinker goat, is a species of fish in Parupeneidae. These fish are reef-associated and feed on algae and benthic invertebrates. These fish live in pairs under ledges.

Blackspot goatfish size

The Blackspot goatfish is a moderately large fish and can grow to be up to 20 inches (50 cm) long.

Blackspot goatfish tank size

An average tank size is 100 gallons. They are better suited for a tank of 125 gallons or more due to their adult size. A blackspot goatfish can grow to be 15 – 20 inches in length, which makes them a large fish that requires a large environment. Due to their aggression and size, it’s essential they are housed with other blackspot goatfish only.

Tank set up

Blackspot goatfish need a tank that is at least 100 gallons. The more room they have, the happier they will be. Use sand as substrate and decorate with rocks, shipwrecks, and piles of live rock to make it look like a natural habitat.

Put your heater on one side of your tank and your filter on another side to maintain stable water temperature and prevent clogging of either device. A powerhead or two would also be useful for agitation. Test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate regularly. Do not overstock your tank: Keep at least two fish per twenty-five gallons of water.

Feed them daily; their diet should consist mostly of vegetable matter such as lettuce or spinach. Rinse under warm tap water before feeding them; do not leave any residues from chemicals used for cleaning on their food source!

Blackspot goatfish tank mates

This fish will eat anything it can fit in its mouth, so tank mates should be chosen with care. Even slow-moving fish are at risk. Some larger fish like grouper and lionfish may be able to control a small blackspot goatfish, but anything smaller than these species is likely to meet an untimely end. If you keep more than one goatfish, make sure there is enough space for each one to avoid squabbles over territory and food.

Breeding

blackspot goatfish - Parupeneus spilurus

Blackspot goatfish are hermaphrodites, meaning they have both female and male reproductive organs. Therefore, a blackspot goatfish does not need to mate with another in order to produce offspring. This makes them easy fish to breed in captivity.

However, it should be noted that an individual’s sex can change as it grows older, so some may start out female and later become male — though how often that happens is unknown. Because of their hermaphroditic nature, one blackspot goatfish must be removed from each breeding pair if you wish to avoid unwanted cross-breeding; otherwise, your fish will quickly hybridize and you won’t end up with purebreds.

Captive-bred fish are recommended over wild-caught whenever possible since they tend to be hardier due to generations of captive selective breeding. It also eliminates any concerns about disease or parasites that could affect wild populations.

Are Blackspot goatfish peaceful or aggressive?

The Blackspot goatfish, Parupeneus spilurus, is a generalist predator and will take most small fish. It is aggressive and should not be kept with anything smaller than its own size.

Blackspot goatfish care

blackspot goatfish - Parupeneus spilurus

Blackspot goatfish are very easy to care for. They are found in moderately deep, sandy areas near coral reefs and rocky terrain where they spend their days hunting for food or hiding. Although, it’s said that if you find one, it will usually be rather active and out in plain sight. They usually won’t hide unless they feel threatened. Blackspots can sometimes be a skittish fish, so don’t touch them right away, give them some time to adjust to their new environment.

What do Blackspot goatfish eat?

They are omnivores but prefer meaty foods. Feed them a diet of meaty foods such as Mysis shrimp, cyclopeeze, brine shrimp, frozen krill, and other meaty seafoods. They should also be fed vegetables like blanched zucchini or kale, although these foods should only make up 10% of their diet.

Foods that contain carotenoids can turn their coloration orange and will help with longevity in captivity. These include red pepper flakes, spirulina, astaxanthin, and marigold petals.

Water parameters

blackspot goatfish - Parupeneus spilurus

One of its defining characteristics is a wide tolerance of water conditions and it can be maintained in fresh, brackish, or fully marine aquariums. Salinity should vary between 1.009 and 1.023sg with a temperature range of 23 – 27 degrees C (73 – 81 degrees F).

Provide a highly oxygenated water column with frequent partial water changes to keep nitrate levels down. The addition of marine salt mix will help to maintain electrolyte balance when kept at full salinity.

Blackspot goatfish lifespan

The blackspot goatfish can live up to 8 years in captivity, though it is not unheard of for them to die after only one year. Captive life span depends heavily on diet and tank size. In order to ensure your blackspot goatfish lives a long, healthy life, make sure they are fed a well-rounded diet consisting of shrimp pellets and fresh seafood such as squid or krill twice a day.

Parasites and diseases

Some goatfishes are more susceptible to diseases than others. Parasites include protozoans and worms; they’re not common in fish that are captive bred, but they can occur in wild-caught specimens. You may want to quarantine new fish for a month or so before introducing them into your main tank. Some of the parasites and diseases of the blackspoot goatfish are flukes, velvet disease (caused by parasites), ichthyosporidium flagellates, and algae parasites among others.

Do Blackspot goatfish make good pets?

Yes, the blackspot goatfish is a great addition to any tank.