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Grouper or Lapu-Lapu Culture

By pinoyfarmer | January 31, 2008
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Grouper or Lapu-Lapu Culture
(Epinephelus spp.)

Locally known as lapu-lapu, grouper has been cultured in ponds and cages in Southeast Asia for more than a decade. It is one of them most expensive fish in the market and is valued because of its texture and taste as well as its great potential in the aquaculture market. The demand of the grouper in the international market is fast growing particularly in Hongkong, Japan, and Singaore.

In the country, grouper culture in cages have been succesful in Pres. Carlos Garcia, Bohol. The Sto. Rosario Fishermen’s Association of this municipality has established market links with buyers based near Cebu City. The Cagay Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Roxas City has also been succesful in culturing grouper. Raising grouper is therefore another significant earner for the country.

Grouper Species

There are about 40 species of groupers distributed in tropical water and there are 2 species cultured commercially. These are:

1. Epinephelus coioides or Orange-spotted grouper – They have yellowish-brown dorsal body, shaded to whitish on the side of the belly, and they have numerous brownish orange or brownish-yellow spots unevenly scattered on head, body and fins. Whitish or creamy white chin or underside of the head and belly.

2. Epinephelus malabaricus or Black-spotted grouper – Body color is light brown on the upper part o the body, belly and ventral side light grey. The body has 5 distinct broad dark brown oblique bars which tend to bend. The head and the body with numerous small well-separated blackish spots on the chin. The fins are also has small black spots.

Source of Stock

At present, supply of grouper fry for commercial cage/pond production still depends on the wild. However, institutes like SEAFDEC/AQD and other progessive finfish hatchery operators are refining their broodstock and production techniques.

Grouper fry are collected in nominal quantities using various devices, eg scare lines or brush piles. The size of fry varies from 1-9 cm and is collected by fish traps from coastal waters near mangrove areas. In the Philippines, the major source of grouper fry are in the provinces of Pangasinan, Cavite, Mindoro, Quezon, Masbate, Bulacan, Cagayan, south Cotabato, and Negros Occidental.

Site Selection

The site should:

a. Be in calm water like sheltered lagoons, coves, islets, bay, behind an island or a river mouth. This is to avoid damage caused by strong winds, waves and current.
b. Have salinity ranging between 32-34 ppt
c. Have water depth not less than 3 meters during low tide.
d. Have good water exchange to maintain good water quality
e. Be relatively free from any source of pollution and protected from environmental hazards such as typhoons, floods, erosions, etc. It must be accessible but secured from vandals and poachers.

Cage Specification

A floating cage is usually composed of 4-12 compartments supported by a framework. Consider the following when putting up a cage:

1. Cage frame – made of bamboo and durable enough to withstand stress caused by wave action and increased weight during culture operation.
Cage dimensions – it should be 5m x 5m x 3m x 3m x 3m x 3m.
2. Maintain water column at 2.5m
3. Sinkers – Use small concrete blocks as sinkers suspended by ropes, placed at the bottom of the 4 corners of the cage for rigging.
4. Catwalks – Attach lumber to the framework to serve as walks.
5. Floaters – Use plastic drums as floaters on each side of the cage between the bamboo pipes. Tie the drum to the cage frame using a rope 5 mm in diameter to stop the drum from drifting, especially during strong wave actions.

Cage Netting

Nets are placed like an inverted mosquito net or hapa. Each cage is supported with polyethylene rope (5 mm) inserted along the sewed borders of the net and held using a clove hitch with overhand knot.

Each cage should have double-layered nets to avoid loss of stock due to tearing and other mechanical damage.


The rope length from the floater to the anchor should be the same as the water depth at high spring tide. The raft structure needs 14 concrete blocks (0.5 – 1 ton each) with 8 placed at the ebb end (ebb tide being stronger than flood tide), 4 at the flood end and 2 in the mid-section.


Groupers need a place to hide; unlike other fishes. To provide a place for groupers to hide, use sawed-off bamboo, 5 cm in diameter and 15 cm in length (for nursery cages) and 10 cm in diameter and 30 cm in length (for grow-out cages) tied in triangular bundles and suspended in strategic areas inside the net cages.

Nursery Cage Operation

Use nursery cage for fry 2-10 cm long. Stocking rate should be 60-100 fish per cubic meter. Feeds include shrimps and/or finely chopped trash fish given at the rate of 10% of the average body weight per day. Divide the feeds equally and give 2-4 times each day.

Install a 50-watt incandescent lamp (hover type) inside the cages, about 0.5 m above the waterline at night to attract live food like mysids, copepods, and other smaller fishes.

Grow-out Cage Operation

Use a grow-out cage to stock sizes of more than 10-15 cm in total length. Stocking rate should be 30-60 fishes per cubic meter. Give trash fish at the rate of 5 percent of the average body weight per day. Divide the feeds equally and give twice a day.


Take a few samples of the stock every 15 days to determine feed requirement and growth rate of grouper stock. Scoop out 10-15 samples and measure the weight and length of each sample. Always inspect the nets for tears. Remove dirt, debris, and fouling organism attached to the nets. Repair or replace damaged nets.

Health Management

It is recognized that many diseases in fish culture are often associated with stress. Stressed fish can easily be infected with disease-causing agents and this affects growth. The following tips may minimize stress on fish and prevent disease outbreaks:

1. Observe any unusual swimming behavior, especially during dawn or late afternoon. Fish gasping for air usually indicates low levels of dissolved oxygen. Should this happen, thin-out stocks by transferring some of them into another compartment.

2. Weak fish – those refusing to school with other fishes and those losing balance while swimming should be separated from healthy stocks immediately. Stocks found to have sudden loss of appetite and with red spot-like wounds on the skin and fins are likely to have a bacterial infection. Use a Povidone-iodine solution (eg. Betadine solution) at 15 parts per million for 5-10 minutes for 3 alternate days, as an effective treatment for bacterial infection. Methylene blue can also be used by swabbing. Transfer treated fish to a new compartment.

3. Maintain a distance of 1 meter between compartments to ensure easy and continuous water flow and maintain ideal water quality for the fish.


Starve the fish 24 hours before harvesting. Harvest depends on the demand of the local and export market.

Post Harvest

Scoop live marketable size groupers (400 g and up) from the cage. Hold grouper temporarily inside the conditioning tank and provide aeration for about 1-2 hours. Adjust water temperature gradually to 18 degrees Celsius by adding packed ice. Place 3-5 fish inside an oxygenated double-sheet plastic bag, with water at 3-5 cm or at least covering the nostrils of the fishes. Place crushed ice on top of plastic bags to maintain the water coolness during transport.

Place plastic bags inside the styrofoam with carton cover having a tag “live fish” and then ready for transport.

Before transporting harvested stocks a “freshwater dip”, or short bath in freshwater for 2-10 minutes is advisable. The dip will not increase parasite infection and lessen the incidence of disease and mortality during transport.

Source: Grouper Culture in Floating Cages BFAR; Livelihood Options for Coastal Communities, IIRR and SMISLE Publication

Topics: Aquaculture | 41 Comments »

41 Responses to “Grouper or Lapu-Lapu Culture”

    March 31st, 2009 at 8:40 pm



  2. Sal Ajoc Says:
    August 7th, 2009 at 11:49 pm




  3. ronald quintana Says:
    November 12th, 2009 at 6:02 am

    is there a school here in the phil. that teach the method on breeding lapu lapu?

  4. Scott Says:
    August 1st, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Where can we buy orange-spotted grouper fingerlings?Any supplier near davao city?here’s my email address: chocnut008@yahoo.com.ph
    Thank you?

  5. Tim Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    where can i buy fingerlings of lapu-lapu here in Davao?

  6. lucky john llaguno Says:
    August 22nd, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    saan ako makakabili nang live grouper kasi live ang kailangan ko…

  7. christopher don tolentino Says:
    September 10th, 2010 at 10:38 am

    bka pwde po makahingi ng contact number ng mga breeder o harvester ng lapulapu sa bicol at pangasinan o kung saan meron.interesado po ako.thank you.God bless!

  8. Franklin Berjamin Says:
    October 20th, 2010 at 11:34 am

    sa del gallego, camarines sur mraming ngculture ng mga lapu lapu.ano bng email ad mo?

  9. Franklin Berjamin Says:
    October 20th, 2010 at 11:41 am

    just email me n lng sa slick_3172004@yahoo.com to know kung anong kelangan mo.thanks

  10. Arman G. Reyes Says:
    November 17th, 2010 at 9:05 am

    meron po ba kayo contact number ng mga breeder or school na ngatuturo ng breeding ng mga grouper? maari ko po bang mahingi intresado po ako sa ganitong uri ng negosyo..maraming salamat po!!!

  11. Arman G. Reyes Says:
    November 17th, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    kung meron po paki email na lang po ako, ito po email add ko spanky_asshead@yahoo.com ..maraming salamat po ulit!!!

  12. al Says:
    November 25th, 2010 at 6:31 am

    naghahanap po ako ng buyer ng live grouper email me at alshane2003@gmail.com

  13. Arman G. Reyes Says:
    November 25th, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    meron na po ba kayo contact# na puwedeng tawagan? salamat po!

  14. Marvin Z. Medina Says:
    January 11th, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    meron kami cultured & wild na lapu2… cnu interesado ? 09218488528 cp number k…

  15. emily abrenzosa Says:
    January 12th, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    hi cnu po ang gustong bumili ng lapu lapu fish grouper dito po sa eastern samar sa guiuan eastern samar po marami pong may mga lapu lapu fish cage dito kulang lang po ng buyer kaya po kung may gustong bumili just txt or e mail us cell 09089853510 09064436336 or 09186786099

  16. emily abrenzosa Says:
    January 12th, 2011 at 7:14 pm


  17. Marvin Z. Medina Says:
    January 12th, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    txt/call me if you want live lapu2… meron kami wild and cultured lapu2… fingerlings and goodsize… we deliver. hers my number.. 09218488528.

  18. Pen Patarasa Says:
    January 13th, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Dear Armand Reyes,

    there are agencies provided training for the interested parties on grouper culture and hatchery operation in the country. one is SEAFDEC, BFAR and other NGOs

    there are also supplier of lapu-lapu fingerlings, just wanted to know if how many pieces would be the order in case, also the kind of lapu-lapu.

    looking forward,

    Pen Patarasa

  19. Julita T de Villa Says:
    February 18th, 2011 at 2:21 am

    Dear Lapulapu or grouper Breeders,
    I thank God for your life and keep on praying for your life. God is good all the time and all the time God is good. You are blessed, highly favored and extremely blessed!!!
    I am very interested to know and do business on breeding grouper and lapulapu. Please help me!!!
    Regards and hope to hear from you. Praise God halelujah!!!

    Julita T de Villa

  20. al Says:
    May 18th, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    hello naghahanap po ako ng supplier of lapu-lapu fingerlings.

    June 10th, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Mr.PenPatarasa, sir gud afternoon, can i have a contact no. or the place where can we get red garoupa or lapu-lapu. probably for export. contctno.#639391522277OR SEND EMAIL TO MY EMAIL ADD.IM LOOKING FORWARD FOR YOUR KIND RESPONSE.HILA

  22. joshua v. escaran Says:
    August 3rd, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    kahit saan bang BFAR pwedi mag provide nang seminar about grouper culture?taga cebu po ako interesado ako sa ganitong negosyo,,,maraming salamat..GOD BLESS US ALL..

  23. Paul Says:
    August 14th, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    I am planning underwater (sea floor) cages for lapu-lapu. about 30ft below. it’s kind of difficult to install and maintain but i have no choice since we only have an open sea and no other natural barriers.current and waves are not calm on the surface. I have drafted some designs and feeding equipment, would also employ my friends to dive using scuba gears. What can you comment/suggest re this?

  24. April Saquido Says:
    August 31st, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Dear Sirs,

    Maari po ba magtanong kung may alam kayo na buyer for good size live lapu-lapu?

  25. amir Says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 11:21 am

    gud am.. currently we are on the experimental grouper raising, we just learned it informally from other fisher folks. my bus. partner and i want to undergo proper training. do you have program or at least can you recommend training institution where we can formally learn scientific raising? your rply will be much appreciated. God speed..

  26. Silver Cepeda Says:
    September 11th, 2011 at 12:09 am

    To Any supplier,

    I am working for a restaurant in Mactan Cebu. We need live lapulapu and tiger lobster. we can give a good price. Please contact me asap @ silverceps.tia47@gmail.com or 09323289436


  27. Silver Cepeda Says:
    September 11th, 2011 at 12:10 am

    @April Saquido I can buy that.. contact me @ 09323289436

  28. Silver Cepeda Says:
    September 11th, 2011 at 9:32 am

    I am interested for a large order of live LapuLapu. pls contact me at 09323289436. I am in Cebu.

  29. ovie Says:
    September 23rd, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    We supply live wild grouper fry in Manila.we also supply live eel fry. pls. contact phone No. 09102115116 email; myguxi@yahoo.com

  30. anchie villanueva Says:
    October 13th, 2011 at 6:51 am

    I want to buy tateh artificial lapu lapu feeds. I need to know the supplier of tateh feeds in oriental mindoro.

    October 26th, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    TO APRIL SAGUIDO AND ANYONE, i need a supplier of live TIGER, BAMBOO ,GREEN lobster , and RED,PINK, DARK ORANGE garoupa(SENIORA OR SENYORITA lapu lapu)IF ANY ONE WHOS INTEREDSTED. PLS CONTACT RICO MARASIGAN.#09391522277 OR EMAIL TO ang elmine@yahoo.com or escauriagamila@yahoo.com.

    October 26th, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    CORRCTION LANG PO SA email its angelmine@yahoo.com or escauriagamila@yahoo.com. pls contact rico marasigan for details.09391522277

  33. Merlan Nazareno Says:
    October 31st, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    I am looking for buyers of live Lapu-Lapu in Metro Manila…please contact me at 09498425288 or email at merlan32@yahoo.com

  34. reed salaum Says:
    November 26th, 2011 at 10:56 am

    naghahanap po ako ng lapu-lapu fingerlings please contact me at my email: reedime@yahoo.com

  35. junn gutierrez Says:
    January 3rd, 2012 at 9:05 am

    we have a five hectare area for lapu lapu culture and we need a technical assistance asap pls we need your asap response somewhere in quezon bondoc peninsula thank you 09156009044 my cp

  36. Al-kreil Says:
    January 24th, 2012 at 9:40 am

    hello po may cages po kami ng lapu lapu kaso lang maliit gusto makahanap mg …financer sana mapaguusapan ang hatian kung sino man may gusto……contact me

  37. Al-kreil Says:
    January 24th, 2012 at 9:41 am

    heres my email


  38. pactor Says:
    January 24th, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    ihave a good size of red snaper at any size, sino po itiresado please call me @ 09295591467.

  39. cherry Says:
    March 14th, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    i am looking for the supplier of tiger grouper..brown suno..good size only…. red suno good size and over size minimum order 300 kilos any interested pls call me 09156829356 09479769561

  40. cherry Says:
    March 14th, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    i need live lapu lapu
    thank you very much

  41. Nenita Says:
    April 16th, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Any grouper supplier that cane deliver to general santos city? Can be freshchilled – no need to be live. Good freshness.
    Big volume needed and consistent supply. Pls email me at nenitagensan@gmail.com or txtbat 09177154890 / 09238285326. Tnx