Bicolor Goatfish

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Parupeneus barberinoides - (Bleeker, 1852)
Bicolor Goatfish

Like others in the family, this small goatfish needs plenty of swimming room. Scott W. Michael


This handsome species is one of the better goatfishes for the reef tank because of its smaller size. One beneficial behavior of this goatfish is that it will grub in the substrate and help stir up detritus that has collected there.

Family: Mullidae

Other common name(s):

  • Half-and-half Goatfish
  • Swarthyheaded Goatfish

Native range:

Habitat: Found in protected waters such as bays or lagoons in the vicinity of coral reefs, or in deeper outer-reef areas. Inhabits mixed sand, rubble, and seaweed covered bottoms.

Maximum length: 25 cm (10 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 380 L (100 gal)

Water: Marine 24 °C (75 °F) - 28 °C (82 °F)


Feed a varied diet of meaty foods, including chopped seafood, mysid shrimp, and frozen preparations. Will also feed on infaunal organisms in live sand. Live black worms may be useful in getting newly acquired individuals to start feeding. Young fish should be fed four or five times a day.

Aquarium Compatibility

It should be housed with nonaggressive tankmates. It will eat ornamental crustaceans.


This species may become progressively thinner in captivity, even if well fed, often because of intestinal worm infections. Longevity records for this species vary greatly.

Reference: A PocketExpert Guide to Reef Aquarium Fishes
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: SWM