p Native Fish Australia

Coal grunter

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Scientific Name
Hephaestus carbo

Other Common Names
Black grunter

Generally 200 mm and 300 g, up to 330 mm and 1.5 Kg

Conservation Status
Not threatened

Prefers clear, flowing water over a sandy bottom, but is sometimes found in turbid water with a muddy bottom.

Coal Grunter distribution areaFound in a relatively small number of streams in Queensland and the Northern Territory adjacent to the Gulf of Carpentaria.  Also found in southern central New Guinea.  Cannot tolerate water temperature below 15°C for any length of time.



Not well known.  Samples of ovaries taken suggest that the female produces several thousand eggs.  Spawning probably occurs during summer and autumn.  The non-adhesive, demersal eggs are around 1.5 mm in diameter when water hardened.

Carnivorous, with crustaceans forming the bulk of its diet, although it does eat small fish as well.

Not well known as an angling species.

On the table

In the aquarium
H.carbo has makes an excellent aquarium display fish.  It is active, hardy and attractive and is easy to maintain on a diet of a variety of live and frozen foods.  Like most fish from the teraponid group however, it has an aggressive nature and if kept in a community tank it should be a large one with other larger species.  Does best if the water is maintained above 20°C.