Equetus punctatus

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Latin name Equetus punctatus - (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)
Local name Spotted drum
Family Sciaenidae - Equetus
Origin The Mexican Golf, West Atlantic
Max length 27 cm (10,6")
As aquarium fish
Minimum volume 700 cm (185 gal)
Hardiness Delicate
Suitable for aquarium Experience, preparation and extra care required
Reef safe Reef safe with caution
Aggressiveness Docile
Recommended Small crustaceans (Krill, mysis, artemia...)
Larger crustaceans (Shrimp, crabs...)
Mostly Zooplankton (Cyclops, pods...)
Other invertebrates
Beware of
Can be a threat to small fish

This spicies might be a threat to smaller fishes.

Threat towards crustaceans

This species poses a threat towards shrimps and crabs etc., which are relatively small.

Searches through sand for food

This species searches through the sand for food, which can make the water cloudy and shakes up detritus.

In an aquarium their natural food source in the sand is quickly exhausted.

Feeding of Drums/ Croakers

These fish are very difficult to feed, they demand live food, although occasionally they can get used to frozen foods. Live zooplankton (eg. Artemia or Mysis) or small living shrimps can be an excellent way to introduce them to eating in captivity.

They eat slowly and it can be a challenge to feed them if they are together with fish which eat the same food but are fast eaters.

Keep in mind
Sensitive during transportation

This species is very sensitive during transportation and acclimatizing into the aquarium.

Acclimitises best as a juvenile

This species will better acclimatize to the aquarium`s condition if introduced, when young.

Very small individuals can be very delicate.

Likes to hide at first

These fish may well hide themselves for a while, whilst getting acclimatized.

Do not disturb the fish while acclimating because it will prolong the process.

Well established aquarium with pods

This species thrives best when there is a sufficiently large amount of micro life (copepods, amphipods or similar) in the aquarium, so that the it can always find their own food.

Frequent feeding

This fish requires feeding several times a day, especially when newly added.

When the fish can find its natural food in the aquarium it requires less frequent feeding. 

Can coexist as a pair

They can live as a pair provided they are introduced simultaneously.

Hiding places

This species needs good hiding places, for example, between live rocks.


This species is nocturnal and therefore the most active when the light is dimmed or turned off.


This species is very shy and docile, so one should be careful when keeping it with more aggressive fish.

Descriptions and further reading
Family description (Sciaenidae)

Drums/Croakers (Sciaenidae) communicate with each other by making noises in the water, hence the name.

They will normally look for their food in the sand by digging it with their snout.

Drums/Croakers are easily stressed during transportation, even from one aquarium to the other. It can be difficult to get them to eat, and they should therefore not be kept with food competitors or aggressive species, as they will not get a sufficient amount of food.

They normally hide under overhangs or holes during the day and hunt at night.

Aquarium trade Yes
Distribution Western Atlantic: Bermuda, Florida (USA), and Bahamas to the Antilles (Ref. 26340) and Yucatan (Mexico) (Ref. 26938) to Brazil.
English common names Spotted drum
French common names Curate
Monsieur l'abbé
Danish common names Plettet rytterfisk
References and further reading

About references

Scott W. Michael. 2004. Angelfishes and Butterflyfishes (Reef Fishes Series Book 3) TFH Publications / Microcosm Ltd. - (English)
Bob Fenner. Drums, Croakers: High Hats and Jackknifes, Family Sciaenidae - Wet Web Media - (English)
WWM Crew. FAQs about Croakers, Drums, Family Sciaenidae - Wet Web Media - (English)