Visitors who've wandered through the Aquarium's Thinking Gallery likely saw these giant residents: goliath groupers. This video shows you just how big they are. See if you can spot some other "helpful" fish in the exhibit, too!
(There are groupers in the Giant Ocean Tank, too! Listen to grouper grunts on this GOT Divers Blog entry. You might also like to see neat video of what Mero, the GOT's Warsaw grouper, does during a gravel bath!)
Those small fish in the video are gobies and they have a mutualistic relationship with the groupers, meaning both the gobies and the groupers benefit. The gobies, sometimes called cleaner fish, benefit by getting an easy meal of parasites, mucus, and dead scales. The groupers benefit from constantly having their bodies checked and cleaned of parasites!
Unfortunately, groupers are currently listed as critically endangered after being severely over-fished. One of the reasons they were so easy to fish is that even though they can become a huge fish they actually don't travel around a whole lot. As they mature and become an adults, they tend to find a small territory (often the opening to a cave or often using a wreck), where they wait for food to come to them. Due to this small home range they became easy fishing targets, especially spear fishing targets. That's because if a diver found one, the chances were good that they could return with a spear gun the next day and find the same fish in the same spot. With new protection regulations, fisherman are not allowed to harvest these fish.
Learn how your seafood choices, at restaurants and at home, can affect fish in the sea by visiting our Celebrate Seafood Program. You'll find tips on choosing seafood that's good for you and good for the oceans. It's all part of a blue lifestyle!