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FAQs about Pistol Shrimps & Goby Biotopes  

Related FAQs: Alpheid Systems, Pistol Shrimps 1Pistol Shrimps 2, Alpheid ID, Alpheid Behavior, Alpheid Compatibility, Alpheid Selection, Alpheid Feeding, Alpheid Disease, Alpheid Reproduction, & Shrimp Gobies, Shrimp Gobies 2, & Marine Shrimps 1, Marine Shrimps 3, Shrimp Identification, Shrimp Selection, Shrimp Behavior, Shrimp Compatibility, Shrimp Systems, Shrimp Feeding, Shrimp Reproduction, Shrimp Disease, Cleaner Shrimp, Banded Coral Shrimp, Dancing Shrimp, Harlequin Shrimp, Saron Shrimp, Mantis Shrimp, Anemone Eating ShrimpCrustacean Identification, Crustacean Selection, Crustacean Behavior, Crustacean Compatibility, Crustacean Systems, Crustacean Feeding, Crustacean Disease, Crustacean Reproduction,

Related Articles: Pistol Shrimp and Goby Biotopes, Alpheid Shrimps, Shrimp A Few Common Shrimps for the Marine Aquarium by James W. Fatherree, Shrimp Gobies

Larger, not too much commotion, a mix of fine and coarse/rubble substrate, a refugium... for foods et al.

Pairing gobies     2/18/19
Hi crew, I currently have a large (6") pink spotted watchman goby in a 6 foot 150 gallon aquarium. His territory takes up the left 3rd of the tank, he never ventures to the other side.
A friend is selling a 3" 'blue spot' watchman goby (which I believe is just a different colour variation of a yellow watchman goby?) with a red banded pistol shrimp.
<Might be the Cryptocentrus cinctus. See my pix here:
I am curious what you believe the likely outcome would be if I added this goby and shrimp to my setup.
<Likely will get along, possibly pair up!>
A. The two gobies would pair and/or share a cave. B. The new goby would setup territory on the right hand side of the tank and both gobies would ignore each other or C. The existing goby will harass or kill the new goby.
I have read a lot on pairing watchman gobies and I believe they would pair if they were both pink spots or both yellow but really haven't been able to find any info on two different watchmans pairing.
Thank you for your assistance on helping me make my decision :)
<Were this my system, set up, I'd try putting all together. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pairing gobies     2/19/19

Thanks so much Bob, you give me confidence :). I will give it a go and let you know the result.
<Thank you Nicole! BobF>
Re: Pairing gobies     3/21/19

Hi Bob, it's been a few weeks since adding my ywg and pistol shrimp and I said I would give you an update.
<Ah, good>
While the two gobies did not pair up there has been 0 issues housing them together. Honestly I am not even sure they know the other exists lol.
<These "meeting up" affairs often take time; just "happen" all at once at times. Patience>
Thank you for giving me the confidence to try it!
<Thank you for your report Nic. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Pairing gobies     3/21/19

That would be great if they paired eventually but all I really cared about was that they could coexist, so I am happy either way!
<What would our late mum state? (Just) Wait and watch... B>

Wrong id: Shrimp Goby POTD; and Alpheid comp. q.      5/27/17
Hi guys,
<Dr. Andrei>
Was browsing WWM for some answers.
Noted on http://www.wetwebmedia.com/SWPOTD722.htm
The first photograph tagged "Amblyeleotris latifasciata, the Red-banded Shrimp-Goby. Western central Pacific in distribution. To a little over three and a half inches in length. Occasionally imported as an aquarium species. Bali 2014" shows an Amblyeleotris diagonalis pair with a single Alpheus bellulus. No A. latifasciata in there.
<Ah, thank you for this correction>
Now to jump to the my pain:
I have formed the forth Amblyeleotris latifasciata pair and managed to form a Alpheus bellulus to go on the same team.
They've went through a six weeks quarantine with an Alpheus bellulus shrimp, then moved in my RSM130.
All was well for a week. This video is from yesterday https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooPVVypqxXY and as you can see they were a happy quartet.
This morning, one of the shrimps was displaying erratic behavior (leaving the nest type), going around the edges and swimming into the open, ignoring any goby protection offer. An hour later, he was fully fitted inside one's goby mouth. The other goby was picking pieces, so finally the shrimp was successfully swallowed.
Now it's job as always, with a pair of Amblyeleotris latifasciata and only one pistol shrimp.
<Mmm; I'd stick with this arrangement, having just the one Alpheid>
The tank is a RSM130, is six months and two weeks old, livestock is - pair Amblyeleotris latifasciata with (now) one Alpheus bellulus, 1x Ecsenius stigmatura, 1x Ecsenius pictus, 1x Lysmata amboinensis, 4-5x Paguristes cadenati, 2x Cypraea tigris, 5x Monetaria annulus, 6x Turbo fluctuosa, 20+ Nassarius vibex (20 adults and now countless babies), 3x Nerite sp, some Stomatella.
Last water parameters (from yesterday):
- temp 27.5°C (termometru JBL)
- pH >8.0 <8.3 (Salifert)
- Alk 9.3 dKH / 3.30 mEq/L (Salifert)
- NO3 25 mg/L (Salifert)
- Ca 380-390 mg/L (Salifert)
- Mg 1200-1230 mg/L (Salifert)
- SG 1024.6 (Hidrometru Tropic Marin)
- PO4 - no clue, I run some Rowaphos in a sock though and have no algae growth on the glass anymore
The tank journal link is http://www.acvariu.ro/forum/posts/list/80/36966.page , unfortunately the forum is in Romanian, also littered with NSFW photos (my forum members appreciate everything natural and beautiful, not restricted to fish) - :blush:.
I do not know what to make out of this, but my previous pair of A. latifasciata consumed both their shrimps at the same time within a week of being moved in the same RSM130 tank from a smaller tank where they've lived peacefully for a lengthy (+ two years) amount of time (see here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNJ1z6DDuk8 ). Needless to say, I've lost that pair sometime after the incident (upon return from a ten day holiday in January 2017, the girl stopped thriving, became emaciated and wasted away, the male followed a week later - stopped eating upon the death of his partner). Video prior to introduction https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8gSh6hCBIQ with very excited gobies and soon after introduction in the tank https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpblO17FYfU
My theory around these killings is that the Amblyeleotris latifasciata as a species is developing more marked attachments then other Amblyeleotris species and upon being left they become jealous. I feel these fishes suffer when I'm not taking some time near the tank as they are always attention seekers and this goes beyond begging for food (if I just throw the food and neglect them they keep flashing). Also, they cannot stand being left by their shrimps as it sometimes happens and upon no other alternative, proceed on consuming them. I must also mention that they do not hide when I introduce my hand in the tank and that all the transfers (from the LFS bag to tank and from tank to tank) have been made by hand.
Please feel free to import and use the photos and videos from my YouTube channel and from my tank journal at your own will.
Kind regards,
<I'd offer a bit more meaty food/s more frequently... pipetted directly to their area; and hope for the best here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Wrong id     5/27/17

Hi Bob,
<Dr. A.>
Thank you for the quick answer.
<Certainly welcome>
I'm aware there is no clear cut answer, just wanted to leave a trace of this unusual behavior.
<Ahh; good>
I'm currently feeding them (and my other four nano tanks) a mixture of frozen food (Gamma Marine Quintet: Mysis, brine shrimp, krill, seaweed, razor clam) at each meal with some occasional dry food snacks to calm down the begging. They are not slim by any standards.
<I see>
I'll come back if there is any progress or progression on this.
<Thank you>
Kind regards,
<And you, BobF>

Pistol Shrimp and Sexy Shrimp Question; sys. and comp. respectively       3/21/15
Good Evening,
A little while ago I purchased a yellow Pistol Shrimp e had made lots of tunnels digging. When I did my weekly water change I noticed some/most of his tunnels collapsed. Will my pistol shrimp still be ok?
<I do hope so.... see WWM re Alpheids... should mix larger, smaller materials together to prevent such cave-ins>
can he dig his way out?
<Maybe yes/no>
I have not seen him digging like I used to before the water change was completed, or will he be hiding somewhere? I have not seen him visibly since the water change. I know I didn't suck him up by mistake as I checked before discarding the water.
Can I keep a orange spotted blenny with sexy shrimps or will they get eaten?
<Likely the latter; unless the Thor are protected by a stinging Cnidarian host>
Also if the orange spotted blenny and sexy shrimp are ok together what other small fish can I keep that won't eat the sexy shrimp. I would like them to breed so would like the babies to survive.
I look forward to your reply in due course.
Kind Regards
<Keep reading! Bob Fenner>

Experiences with Cryptocentrus cinctus and Alpheus bellulus       1/26/15
Hi :)
<Hey Borja>
Just adding data points to the success/failure rate of goby and shrimp pairing. In my case it was clear that the right species were involved, I wonder if some of the failures are due to species mismatch.
<Undoubtedly your statement is correct. I'd throw in "mis-introductions"; the use of too small a system, insufficient habitat, mis-matched sizes even>
I have a goby shrimp nano running for four years now. The first pairing was done when I set it up (after leaving it be for two months in order to stabilize) and I had no issues. Although both Toby and shrimp came from the same store, I didn't add them at the same time. There was no trouble and the pair got along perfectly.
A couple of months ago the goby passed away and the Alpheus was alone in the tank. I immediately noticed that it was much harder to see it, except of course when I added food to the tank.
And this last Friday, visiting my usual LFS, I noticed something that immediately put me in "rescue" mode. A ragged, thin and small Cryptocentrus cinctus was swimming around an hexagonal tank, close to the surface, in circles. The tank had some small Perculas and several blue damsels, although I didn't witness any aggression. Anyway I was planning to bring a new flat mate for the shrimp, so I purchased it.
After acclimation I released the goby into the tank. The behavior was so different, which can only stress how critical is to provide the right environment.
<Ah yes!>
After the stress of being netted twice, transported in a bag, etc, the fish got much calmer immediately upon being released on a sand bed. No quick gasping, no frantic movements, just resting.
In a minute or so it turned around, had a look at the tank, noticed one of the burrows made by the shrimp and it got inside. No trouble, no clicks, nothing. And in 10 minutes I could get a quick shot of this domestic scene.
The Alpheus is visible again, the fish keeps really calm, and it gorges with my generous feelings of krill Pacifica, mysis and Masstick.
So much for aberrant "phone booth" and similar tanks featured in disgusting TV shows, pretending that some kind of magical, professional skill will prevent fish stress.
<Uggh.... both Tanked and the Kings/FLA artificial coral shows are such poor over-dramatic representations>

I must admit I was worried because the goby is smaller than the shrimp (it's a young one) and it's rather thin, and I read that thin gobies perceived as "too weak" could sometimes be attacked by the shrimp. But so far so good, the only "violence" I've witnessed was a lot of pushing when the shrimp was trying to release a lot of sand held between its pincers and the goby was standing in the middle of the way, actually quite funny.
<Thank you for this report; sharing. Bob Fenner>

Red pistol shrimp... comp. match for a Yasha?        12/13/14
I was wondering if this pistol shrimp will be ok with my yasha goby.... I was told that this would be ok at the lfs. Thank you
Below is a sample pic of the exact shrimp. He is about 2 inches.
<Mmm; I do think this will work... I would introduce them slowly... in an uncrowded setting of at least a few tens of gallons... with pieces of small diameter (1/2" likely) plastic pipe dipped into the substrate for both to find, hide in. Bob Fenner>

Shrimp goby pr. help, buried?     9/25/11
Hi I have a question I cannot find an answer to. Recently acquired a shrimp goby pair (Randall's). They have been fine and acting normally. Then I made a mistake of moving some coral, and without thinking, rearranged/dug some sand near their hole entrance. I have not seen either now for a couple of days. I am sure the shrimp is ok, but is it possible I have collapsed the tunnels onto the goby or trapped him in there somehow?
<Mmm, possibly crushed...>
if so what is the outlook? starting to worry, so any advice would be appreciated. thank Scott McCarthy
<I would move the corals, rock away from the area... hope for the best. IF alive, they will dig their way out in a few days. Bob Fenner>

Yellow Watchman Goby Brings Buddy Along 2/4/09 <Hi Rachel> I didn't find much on Google for this - only someone that asked something suspiciously familiar here on WWM. Last night I received a hitchhiker in the most interesting of ways. I went to the LFS and picked up a Yellow Watchman Goby to replace the High-Fin Goby that jumped the tank about a month ago (apparently, he didn't like the new aquascaping layout). At the store, the Yellow Watchman Goby was paired with a pistol already, and though I didn't want to break up the pair, I figured it would probably happen anyways and my pistol shrimp needed a new buddy. After acclimation, the goby was put into the tank. At first, he stayed near the glass, which is when I noticed that his mouth looked funny. I got up right in front of him, and lo and behold, there's a pistol shrimp tail sticking out! I can only imagine that the yellow watchman goby decided to bring his buddy with him and wasn't going to eat it (otherwise I assume he would have swallowed it by that point). By the time I thought to grab my camera, the goby had retreated to a much more secluded area of the tank. Has this behavior ever been documented before? <Not to my knowledge, but thank you for sharing your experience with us. James (Salty Dog)> Cheers, Rachel <<... VERY interesting indeed. RMF>>

Pistol Shrimp/Shrimp Goby Compatibility 2/3/09 Dear WWM Crew, <David> Thanks for all the help over the years, you have been an endless source of great information and advice. <You're welcome.> Recently I acquired a Yellow Watchman Goby and Randall's Pistol shrimp pair from my local LFS. I put them in my 55 gal tank, set up for about a year now, whose other tankmates include a Firefish and a false percula clown. All parameters are as follows: Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, Specific Gravity 1.026, PH 8.3, Temp: 80, (both the YWG and Randall's quarantined for two weeks). A few days after they were put in the display tank, I woke up to see the YWG on the complete other side of the tank from their home, and no evidence of the pistol shrimp. After a couple days of this, with no clicking or other evidence that the pistol shrimp was still around, I got another Randall's from my LFS. <Based on the behavior my pistol shrimp exhibits, I'm betting he is still in the tank somewhere.> The two hit it off pretty quickly (I've had luck with non-paired gobies and shrimp in the past), and everything seemed ok. Well, as it turns out, the other pistol shrimp emerged a week after all this occurred, <Aha!> and now I have two Randall's. After looking at them closely and looking at some pics/information online I figured I would try to get these two together and see if I could have a male/female pair of shrimp to live with the goby. Amazingly, this turned out to be the case, and the two lived together for about two days. Now, the larger of the two shrimp has kicked the other out of the burrow, <Not unusual.> and other attempts to get them back together have been unsuccessful. Is there any chance that these two will ever live together again? <I'm thinking it is rare for two pistol shrimp to share a burrow. Bob may input here based on his diving observations and invertebrate expertise.><<They may, may not. RMF>> I can take one of the shrimp back to the LFS if I need to, <I would return one of the shrimp.> as the goby seems to be pretty confused as to which shrimp he should be living with, and I wouldn't want the aggression to become more severe resulting in the death of one of the shrimp. <The Randall's Pistol Shrimp are generally found with the Stonogobiops or Amblyeleotris Gobies, and may be why the goby and shrimp haven't bonded yet. The Yellow Watchman Goby is a Cryptocentrus cinctus. Doesn't mean they won't bond as I have a Yellow Watchman Goby that bonded with a Randall's Pistol Shrimp. It took a couple of weeks before the bonding occurred, but now have been sharing the same burrow for two years.> Thanks for your help. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Sincerely, David

55 Gallon Reef Question, power outage input, Gobiid-Alpheid species pairing  12/29/08 Good Evening Crew, <Dean> I have a couple of questions I am hoping you can help me with. <I as well> The first one has to do with my aquarium in general. It has been setup for over a year, but a few weeks ago we lost power for five days and my backup plans were, quite frankly, inadequate as it turns out. I live in an apartment and cannot have a generator, but since my disaster have updated my plans. I now have a power inverter, additional battery operated air pumps, and quite a few hand warmer packs along with a thermal camping blanked that reflects heat. People in this area have had good success using the packs and blanket - over several days. <Thank you for this input> Unfortunately my system crashed. I have an Anthelia sp. coral left, and a few shrimp. I have a 55 gallon reef (36x18x20); 40 gallon sump, 25 gallons in two refugiums, Tek 6x39 watt T5 fixture, EuroReef RS 80 Skimmer, pH 8.3, Ca 420, Mg 1280, Alk 12 dKH. ATO with Kalk reactor. Eheim 1260 return pump and 2 Koralia 3 pumps on a controller. Six inch DSB and 70 pounds live rock. If I ever get past the Dinoflagellates and Cyano breakout in the tank, which is only getting worse with five 15-20 gallon water changes over the past two weeks (the refugiums are pristine), I will be restocking. One of my survivors is a pistol shrimp. I have not identified the species yet, and he is too reclusive to let me snap a picture so far. After reading your FAQs, is my understanding correct that I am unlikely to successfully pair a watchman up with my shrimp? Is any species more likely to pair than another? <Mmm, well... many species will/do match up with Cryptocentrus et al. "watchmen" genera in captivity... that aren't found together in the wild...> My second question is about a watchman goby and a Jawfish sharing the same tank. There is some ambiguity in the FAQs as to whether Jawfish and watchman can cohabitate. <If there's room... can be done> Some replies say it is possible, some say it can be problematical as they are both benthic feeders and may see the other as competition. If you can clarify this point it would be great, Also, do you see an issue between a Jawfish and the pistol shrimp? <Is a possibility... but, again, if the space is large... a few square feet per each> When I do begin to restock, the Jawfish/watchman will go in first and be allowed to settle down alone. My plan is to add a purple Firefish, a fairy wrasse, maybe a pair of cardinals, maybe a pair ocellaris clowns. And corals. Is this a reasonable mix? <Mmm, yes> Thanks, and Happy New Year to everyone on the Crew Dean <Thank you Dean. To all the planet I say, let's move forward... put emphasis where emphasis lies. Bob Fenner>

Pistol Shrimp and Goby... sys., comp.  -- 09/08/08 Thank you folks so much for your website. I can usually find an answer to my questions by browsing through your extensive "library" of information. However, I haven't seen this one! I bought a pistol shrimp (very small, about 1/2") for my Randall's Goby and they hit it off right away. The shrimp dug out a burrow in the four to five inches of fine sand I have in a 28g aquarium. The Goby moved in but then I actually observed the shrimp pinch the Goby on the lip. <Yow!> Then I noticed the tail fin of the Goby shredded. <Ooooh, trouble in paradise> The Goby seemed to stay away from the burrow for a while and it caved in. I thought the pistol shrimp expired. The shrimp showed up about three weeks later in another burrow and was now about 3/4" in size! The Goby seemed to "forgive" him for the rough behavior and moved in to the new burrow. One day I saw my Red Firefish backed into the same burrow. <Mmm, Microdesmids really need more room than this... and this is a social/paired species> I then noticed the tail fins on the Red Firefish were "trimmed" a bit. Then the Goby's tail fins suffered the same fate once again. Again, a cave-in of the burrow and the Pistol has not been seen in over a month. However, the Goby has taken to reside near the back of the tank <No place else to get away> and he was almost missing his entire tail last week but, doing fine health-wise if you don't count the exertion it takes for him to swim quickly! I am wondering if I should be feeding the Pistol Shrimp something specific so he doesn't "pick" at the Goby? <I would try, yes...> I feed a frozen commercial reef fish food that includes fish meat and vegetation, pellets, brine shrimp occasionally and just started feeding mysis shrimp after reading your articles. Do Pistol Shrimp lay dormant or hibernate for a period of time? <Mmm, do become cyclically "slow" during molts/ecdysis periods> If the "cave-in" occurs from the fine sand, can the shrimp dig its way out or can it suffocate? <Should be able to dig out... but I would mix in some larger rubble material... in at least part of the bottom here... that these animals will incorporate...> Should I add a more coarse substrate to an area of the tank to facilitate some type of habitat/food source? <Ah, yes> If the tank did reach 83-84 degrees a time or two this summer could it have killed the shrimp since we have not seen him? <Mmm, doubtful> I hope the Pistol is still alive but, my girlfriend isn't happy that he beats-up the Goby that is one of her favorites! <These animals really need to either be placed in a much larger (let's say a minimum of four foot long) system or separated period> Thanks for any help for me and maybe a few of your other readers with similar questions. Gary Yorba Linda, CA <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Shrimp Gobies: Sand Too Fine? Pistol Shrimp/Systems 2/23/08 Good morning WWM Crew, <Good afternoon TIA> Well, I'd like to get a pair of Amblyeleotris wheeleri or Stonogobiops nematodes and a corresponding pistol shrimp. However, I have a roughly 2" sandbed of CaribSea Arag-Alive Fiji Pink sand. Is this too fine for the shrimp to dig in? <Nope, they will excavate under a rock and bulldoze the sand out. James (Salty Dog)> TIA, Random Aquarist

Goby And Pistol Shrimp Pairing 2/19/08 Hello WWM Crew! <Hi Mike> First let me mention how much I appreciate the time and effort you all give in order to provide one of the best marine information resources on the web. <Thank you.> The reason I am emailing you today is I have recently been offered a small, one inch pistol shrimp that hitchhiked into a friend's tank by way of his Caribbean live rock. I volunteered to adopt this pistol shrimp in hopes of the shrimp pairing up with my small Valenciennea puellaris goby, which is approximately 2.5 - 3 inches in size. Here's where my questions begin: The health and well being of my goby is of the utmost importance, as his crazy antics and silly personality have made him like family to me. Is there a reasonable chance that the Pistol Shrimp could harm him? <No.><<Mmmm, actually... these animals being from disparate seas, this is a very real possibility. RMF>> I've searched online and haven't seen any indication that it might attack a goby, but I rather be safe than sorry. Also, what are the chances of this goby pairing up with a Caribbean pistol shrimp? If I remember right V. puellaris is an Indo-Pacific goby. <Yes, and the Coral Sea and Sri Lanka. I'm thinking the pairing up would be slim, but you never know. Pistol shrimp generally pair up with Amblyeleotris or Stonogobiops Gobies.> Thank you so much for everything you do and I appreciate any information you can provide me. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Best Regards, Mike Didn't think a Pistol Shrimp would harm a goby that size. Regards, James <These Alpheids can pack a real punch... enough to really damage even a human hand. B> Yes, I do have one (Alpheus bisincisus) that is paired up with a Yellow Watchman Goby.  I can tell when something is disturbing him has you can hear the clicks throughout the house, but has not harmed any fish or other inverts in the two years I've had. Jim


Pistol shrimp/gobies in new tank Hello, I am in the process in setting up my reef tank (75 gallon). I have 100 pounds of live rock and 25 pounds of lace rock. I am wondering if I can add two pistol shrimp and a wheeler watchman goby and a Randall prawn goby (or should I just stick with one pair pistol/goby combination) with the following list of wants of livestock. want to add (over a period of time) 2 fire shrimp 2 cleaner shrimp 1 banded coral shrimp emerald crab (x2) 2 Percula clowns (w/anemone and anemone crab inside) 2 sand sifting stars sally lightfoot crab 4 green Chromis 50 bumble bee snails various red/blue hermits blue "hippo" tang (small) button and star polyps green stripe mushroom hairy mushroom Bullseye mushroom have a sl-150 miracle wet/dry (Rio 2500 pump 720 gph) two Fluval 404's Berlin xl turbo skimmer 4 VHO 110 watt lights aragonite sand (75 pounds or so) what needs added for the goby/pistol relationship to work. Thank you for you time and consideration. its hard to find good advice when starting out your new aquariums and ideas for livestock Jeff Morningstar <Mmm, the fishes you list and the non-crustaceans should pose no problems... but the other shrimps... might be consumed by or consume the Alpheids if hungry... I would start/do what you propose... go with just the one pair first (either), and see how they fare. If it were me/my system, I would acclimate the new mutuals in an all plastic specimen box (like the ones used for housing small amphibians, lizards, bugs... available at pet shops) on the bottom for a few days ahead of releasing them. Bob Fenner>

- Symbiotic Gobies and Circulation - Hi Crew!! <Hello, JasonC here...> First off, I have been reading TONS on your site and have learned an incredible amount.  I read something today that has me concerned, regarding water flow and soft corals.  I have a small (2-3") brown star polyp colony in my tank.  The water motion in their present location is mostly in one direction.  I can put them almost anywhere in my tank, which would mean potentially less flow but a more changing direction.  I have had this colony about 4 weeks, and they are doing great, even seem to be growing nicely. Do I fix it if it's not broken (move them)? <I would... do consider perhaps another power head in the tank to help stir things up some more - variation in flow is very important for long term success.> My next question has to do with a Pistol Shrimp - Goby tank I am considering for the office. What is the ideal substrate for burrowing? <Sand.> Best (most likely to bond) Goby? <Chances of getting a non-paired set to "bond" is lower than winning a high-stakes lottery. Unless you obtain both as an existing pair, it's not going to happen. Alpheids are incredibly diverse, and the pairing between the goby and a particular shrimp is very specific. You can't put a random goby and random shrimp together and expect them to get together... unless you get them as a pair via expert collection, even then one or the other probably wouldn't make the trip... it's just not easily feasible.> Because they are both low in the tank suggestions for other occupants? <Based on the size you mention... I wouldn't put anything else in this tank.> What is the best clean up crew for this tank, I know pistol shrimp are formidable hunters? <You would be the best clean-up crew.> Any other sound advice for this concept? <Learn to dive and go see them where they live... not to be crass, but it's just not realistic in a captive system.> BTW, this tank will be a smaller, probably ~20g, and dedicated to this idea. Thanks again for offering such sound info time after time, Bill <Cheers, J -- >

-Goby shrimp w/out a shrimp goby!- Crew Person: <Kevin person here tonight> I was able to get a "paired" Randall's Prawn Goby (Amblyeleotris randalli) & Pistol Shrimp.  Unfortunately, a week into QT, the Goby died.  Now I am sitting here with a pretty expensive shrimp (that looks more like a lobster).  Anyway, my question is this:  can I get another fish to pair up, or am I up shrimp's creek without a Goby? <Haha, I suppose that would depend on the goby. Shrimp/goby pairs are actually very easy to set-up, so I hope you didn't pay too much for the luxury. I would just get a hold of another Randall's (after making sure what happened to this one won't happen again) and you've got a pretty good chance it will pair up. Make that a 95% chance.> It doesn't sound likely, but I had to ask the pros.  If the possibility exists, can I get any species of shrimp goby, or stick with Randall's? <The Randall's are pretty promiscuous as far as shrimp are concerned, so I'd go with that one. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks for all you do, Rich.

- Shrimp/Goby Pairing - I recently got these [Yellow Watchman Goby and Red Pistol Shrimp] and they don't seem to be pairing up... maybe the goby just doesn't know where the pistol has made his home at.  But I have read the FAQ's and didn't read much about the red pistol shrimp type.. but that most watchman will pair up with these kind.... Do you have any idea what might be taking so long... <Need to ask the Goby... no exact science here, so no exact answers.> Also I haven't noticed the pistol coming out of his home, does he just come out at night. <Yes, mostly nocturnal without the help of the Goby.> Thanks: -Roger <Cheers, J -- >

Substrate for Goby/Shrimp combo. 8/9/05 Mornin' Bob <Cheers... Anthony Calfo here in his stead> First let me apologize if this has gone to the wrong place, I found your link while perusing the Goby section on your excellent pages! <Welcome!> I'm considering making a return to the hobby after a break of quite some years and of course a lot's changed since then! While researching current thinking on Reef systems I've got bogged down on the BB/SSB/DSB/Plenum issues and this is compounded by the fact that I'm very keen to house the Goby/Shrimp combination and the obvious effect this will have on substrate choice, plus the fact that I have a very large quantity of  (dead) Oolitic sand which I would like to use in what will be a reef system with very few reef-safe fish, small clawed crustaceans( Lysmata, Thor, Saron) etc. I think I'm now up to speed re. Live Rock, Skimming, Carbon, Phosphate reduction, Turnover ,Lighting etc. I would like the Goby/Shrimp to be able to exhibit normal behaviour, hence my problem. The system will be integrated within the main tank as I have no space (nor desire) to run a sump. Would their digging spoil a DSB or even release anoxic toxins from a DSB by digging? <Not at all. If the DSB is kept healthy with adequate (proper and necessary) strong water flow above it so that solids do not accumulate excessively... then all will be fine. And this is easy to accomplish. Seek to produce random turbulent water flow as with closed loop manifolds (you can fid some neat and current links/pics on this subject over at Reefcentral.com)> You mention adding tubes to the substrate, ( I can't find the link) which I'd thought of. <Yes, excellent idea. Just bury under the rocks/in the sand and let them do the rest> Would a 1" substrate with tubes covered with sand be better? <That's not deep enough for the shrimp and goby or efficient DSB activity (NNR)> In either case I could never run a system B/B. <I too very much like deep, fine sand beds. I think your oolitic sand is a best bet. Do enjoy at 4-6" (10-15 cm)> Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer cos I'd prefer not to proceed rather than get it wrong! Kind Regards, Steve. <kindly, Anthony>

Pistol shrimp and rock stability   8/31/06 Hello WWM Crew.  Thanks for always being there. <Welcome> I have a question about pistol shrimps.  I would like to add a watchman goby and a companion pistol shrimp to my tank.   My concern is this 'I have a 72 gallon tank with about 100 lbs of LR.  Some (30% - 40%) of the rock is sitting on ½ to 1 inch of substrate, and rest is sitting on the glass bottom.  There are many places in the tank (not under the LR) on which there is 3 to 4 inches of sand that I believe will be sufficient for their habitat. However, I am concerned that the prodigious burrowing behavior of a pistol shrimp may make my rock unstable.  Should I abandon this idea or is this not a valid concern? <Is a valid concern... however these Alpheids are "smart"... hopefully smart enough to realize the better/best areas to do such digging... and can/do sense imminent cave-ins. I would not be overly concerned here if the majority of your rock stacking is placed securely as you state. Bob Fenner> Thanks very much for your help. Ellen P.

Pistol shrimp/goby joy  8/13/07 Hi guys. For once this isn't a panicky question about an aquarium disaster. We just wanted to thank you for all the information on the site about shrimp gobies and their shrimps. We (rather naughtily) bought a "tangerine striped goby" from our LFS yesterday, having gone there intending to buy a Copperband (they didn't have any). Admittedly, this goes against your golden rule of never buying anything on a whim and without reading up on it first, but our trusted LFS manager said it should be fairly easy to keep. We got him home and found that he's really a Randall's Shrimp Goby, did a bit of reading, and decided we'd try to find a shrimp to keep him company. Today we've brought home a tiger pistol shrimp, and within an hour of putting the shrimp in, the two have become completely inseparable. It's amazing to watch, and the shrimp is very entertaining to watch as he tries to build a burrow. Just felt we should share this with someone! Jim+Jo <Greetings. A while back I kept a whole tankful of snapping shrimps, and it was one of the most fun tanks I've kept. It's funny, but things like snapping/pistol shrimps and mantis shrimps are often written off as pests by reef keepers, but when the focus of their own tanks, become engaging pets. Snapping shrimps are incredibly hardy (these were, at least) and because of where the tank was set up, water changes were something that happened once a month, if that. It was the most basic aquarium imaginable: undergravel filter, no chiller (these were coldwater shrimps), and certainly no skimmer or living rock for water quality management. But they thrived! I can't be sure if they bred, but they certainly grew, and their numbers seemed to remain steady. The noise that came from the tank was quite eerie sometimes, like crumpling leaves. Anyway, all this is by way of saying I'm glad you're trying something a bit different, and wish you every success with your new pets. Cheers, Neale>

Pistol shrimp/goby nano tank set up   12/11/07 Hello Crew, I'm still reading and researching, but am in the process of setting up an 8 gallon nano for the purpose of keeping one of the shrimp/goby combos available from my LFS. The tank will have a refugium made from an AC 70 (with LR rubble and Chaeto), and about 8-10 lbs of live rock. Lighting will be CF (2x18w) with about an inch of sand and LR rubble in the display. <I'd increase this by at least double... to allow tunneling> I expect the AC 70 to flow around 150-200 gph as modified. The footprint of the tank is 9"x 15," and I plan on keeping a simple mix of either mushrooms, zoos (not sure of spelling), or just utilizing green star polyps with a few accents. Am I on the right track? Thanks, Stan <Pretty close. BobF>

Pistol Shrimp... A Soldier I Will Be...Two Pistols On My Goby 12/4/07 Hey guys, <Got a gal today.> I really relish all the info on your site and had a question of my own for once. <Glad you have found the site helpful.> I was considering buying a Randall's shrimp goby (Amblyeleotris randalli) and a snapping shrimp (Alpheus bellulus) for my 20gal. <OK.> Then I saw a video of two snapping shrimp working for one goby and was like sick!!! <Heehee! Sweet!> How do I get two shrimp to work for the same goby? <Have you heard the idiom "You can leading a horse to water"? You can provide the environment/circumstance but you can't make the shrimp do something that it doesn't have a mind to do. Best you can do is try it.> Thanks for doing this for everyone! <On behalf of Bob and the crew, all are welcome. Mich>

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