Skip to content



The hottentot is a small bronze-grey seabream with small dark fins. Its mouth is packed with five rows of incisors which allow it to fulfil its omnivorous diet. As a generalist, it feeds on seaweed, algae, crustaceans, small molluscs, polychaetes, and will prey upon small fish and squid if able.

It occurs along the coast of Angola, Namibia and the South African West Coast to Cape Point and is an important commercially fished species in the Western Cape. It forms small shoals in kelp forests and over rocky reefs. Juveniles are restricted to kelp beds.

What is a sea bream?

Fish of the family Sparidae are often referred to as "sea breams", "porgies" or "sparids". These approximately 100 species are all deep-bodied, compressed and have small mouths on the bottom of their heads, i.e. there is a large distance between their eyes and their mouths. Their tail fins are usually forked.

Sparids are generally dull silver, brown or reddish colours. When rare coloured patterns are present, the most common layout is a series of horizontal stripes that become duller with age.

Most species have some form of molar in their mouth which can be used to grind the shells of molluscs and crustaceans, and all have some sort of grinding apparatus in their pharyngeal jaws. They also all have small canines or incisors to supplement the molars.

All "sparids" are carnivores, feeding on bottom-dwelling invertebrates and fish. Because of their dependence on the sea floor, they usually inhabit shallow waters. They typically prefer temperate or sub-tropical waters and are found in greatest diversity along the African coast - 41 of their 100 species are native to South African waters.

Most sparids are gonochoristic which means that their species has two distinct sexes and that individuals are biologically one or the other. In a few rare species, they display sequential hermaphroditism, where they start as one sex and change into the other with age.

Other examples of porgies and sea breams that you can often find at the Two Oceans Aquarium are the zebra, santer, black musselcracker, seventy-four and dageraad.

Hottentots grow up to 50cm and 3kg.
Hottentots are a delicious, green alternative to many unsustainable fishes on the market.