Plectorhinchus vittatus

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Facts
Latin name Plectorhinchus vittatus - (Linnaeus, 1758)
Local name Indian Ocean oriental sweetlips
Family Haemulidae - Plectorhinchus
Origin East Indian Ocean, West Indian Ocean, Australia, Indonesia, Central/West Pacific
Max length 72 cm (28,3")
As aquarium fish
Minimum volume 2000 cm (528 gal)
Hardiness Delicate
Suitable for aquarium Experience, preparation and extra care required
Reef safe Reef safe with caution
Aggressiveness Docile
Feed
Recommended Small crustaceans (Krill, mysis, artemia...)
Larger crustaceans (Shrimp, crabs...)
Other invertebrates
Fish
Beware of
Grows fast

This species grows very quickly if fed well.

Difficult to provide the correct nutrition

Hard to give this species the correct nutrition and is therefore hard to keep alive.

Poses a threat towards small fish and invertebrates

This species can be a threat towards small fish, shrimps, small bivalves, worms, snails and the like.

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.

Demand a very large aquarium when fully grown

This species needs a very large aquarium when fully grown.

Exactly how big the aquarium should be is hard to say, but the size of this species is such, that it cannot normally be kept in a home aquarium.

Keep in mind
Requires a varied diet

This species must be fed with an appropriately varied diet.

Heavy load

This species eats a great deal and demands an aquarium that can tolerate such a heavy load.

Sensitive during transportation

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

Live food

There is a greater chance of success with this species if one can supply a living feed to allow it to adapt to the tank.

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. 

Hiding places

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

Requires plenty of space for swimming.

This species revels in swimming and requires an aquarium with ample space.

Docile

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

Descriptions and further reading
Description

These fish are brown with white spots which are edged with yellow when young, but these become white/blue with black stripes. When adult their fins become yellow.

It is still being debated whether P. orientalis is a separate species, or a synonym for this species.

Family description (Haemulidae)

Fish within in the Grunt family do not often appear in private aquaria, but can be kept in a very large tank under proper conditions. They are predatory fish and mostly live off benthic crustaceans, worms and fish.

There can be a big difference in appearance when the fish is young and fully grown.

This family can divided into two groups: Plectorhinchinae (Sweetlips) and Haemulinae (Grunts).
Aquarists normally find Sweetlips to be the best looking, but they can be difficult to feed and it can be problematic giving them food containing enough nutrition. Grunts are more hardy and quicker to start feeding in aquaria.
It can be a good idea to have live food, Mysis or small live freshwater shrimp, in case these fish don't begin to feed.

One should not acquire these fish with the intention of selling them on when they get bigger. This is, not only because they grow quickly if fed correctly, but also because they are difficult to sell on to domestic buyers.

Sweetlips include the genera of Diagramma and Plectorhinchus.
Grunts include the genera of Anisotremus and Haemulon.

FishBase
Aquarium trade No
Distribution Indo-West Pacific: East Africa (Ref. 33390) to western Indian Ocean to Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia.
English common names Indian Ocean oriental sweetlips
Oriental sweetlip
Danish common names Indisk gryntefisk
Orientalsk gryntefisk
French common names Gaterin bagnard de l'Océan Indien
Gaterin bagnard
Peau d'âne canal
References and further reading

About references

Bob Fenner. The Grunts Called Sweetlips, Family Haemulidae, Subfamily Plectorhynchinae - Wet Web Media - (English)

Scott W. Michael. 2004. Angelfishes and Butterflyfishes (Reef Fishes Series Book 3) TFH Publications / Microcosm Ltd. - (English)
Bob Fenner. Indonesian Grunts & Sweetlips, Family Haemulidae - Wet Web Media - (English)
WWM Crew. FAQs on Grunts, Sweetlips, Family Haemulidae - Wet Web Media - (English)