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The Oriental Sweetlips are found in the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific region ranging from East Africa to the Western Coast of Australia. As Juveniles they will spend time in tidepools and areas populated with sea grass as adults they will venture out into the shallow coastal reefs not much deeper than 25m.

Much as their name may suggest they are very distinguishable by their lips that swell with age. Throughout their life like many colourful fish the Oriental Sweetlips changes both in pattern and colour. As Juveniles they are made up of lots of black splodges that merge together and from a distance look like a slightly longer version of a clownfish. As they grow these splodges start to form into long black lines that run down their light blue body. They also develop a yellow colouring off their fins which are populated by tiny black spots.

Oriental sweetlips tend to live off a diet predominantly of small crustaceans and invertebrates but do sometimes eat small fish. They are nocturnal and will forage through the night for food. Some people refer to Oriental Sweetlips as a “grunt” as they have been known to grind their teeth together when caught giving out a loud grunting noise.


Fish: Colourful reef fish

What do they eat?

Invertebrates and crustaceans


Max 72cm

Water Type

Salt Water

Where are we?

Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean

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