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The Purpose of Parrotfish

Posted by Lacey Hagler on Friday, November 22nd, 2019 at 9:46am.

Known as one of the prettiest fish on a Florida reef, parrotfish have vibrant patterned scales of green, blue, purple, yellow, and red. If you’re diving on one of our local natural or artificial reefs, you’re bound to see a few of these gentle beauties grazing on the bottom.

While being beautiful should be reason enough not to bring a parrotfish home for dinner, many people bring home parrotfish to keep in their aquarium for this same reason. However, there are many reasons we must leave this gorgeous grazer in the ocean!

Parrotfish spend up to 90% of their day eating algae and dead coral- basically cleaning the reef! This is so important, because without their help, reefs would be smothered by growth and die.

To top it off, after eating all of that waste, parrotfish expel fine white sand producing up to 700 pounds a year! They’re basically pretty little waste management factories!

In recent years, parrotfish numbers have been depleting, sending algae levels soaring and suffocating reefs. The marine ecosystem is so sensitive, that we must leave these flamboyant-colored fish where they belong to maintain homeostasis.

So please, come to Florida, dive the reefs and enjoy the beauty surrounding you, but say no to catching or buying parrotfish.

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