FAQs on Shrimp/Watchman Gobies
Related Articles: Shrimp Gobies, Marine
Scavengers, Alpheid (including
Related FAQs: Shrimp Gobies 1, Shrimp Gobies 2, & Shrimp Goby Identification,
Shrimp Goby Behavior, Shrimp Goby Compatibility, Shrimp Shrimp Goby
Systems, Shrimp Goby
Feeding, Shrimp Goby
Disease, Shrimp Goby
Reproduction, & Alpheid (including Shrimp)
Gobies, Gobies 2, Goby
Identification, Goby Behavior,
Goby Selection, Goby Compatibility, Goby Feeding, Goby Systems, Goby Disease, Goby Reproduction, Amblygobius Gobies,
Clown Gobies, Neon Gobies, Genus Coryphopterus Gobies, Mudskippers, Sifter Gobies,
Best to buy Shrimp Gobies with their symbiotic
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
<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.
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.
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>
Yellow Prawn Goby 1/22/17
Good evening guys,
60g shallow tank, two Picasso Clowns, Rippled Coral Goby, Cleaner Shrimp, a few
snails, and hermit crabs... I've had a Yellow Prawn Goby in my 90g reef tank
years ago, and I felt it was fairly easy to introduce and keep. That particular
Goby when introduced, went straight to the bottom of the tank (lights were off),
hid for the rest of the day, and by the next day when lights were on it did what
Gobies do. I've just now acquired a Yellow Prawn Goby for this 60g reef tank,
and it did appear on the smallish side to me at 2" total length and slender, but
the fins all looked to be in good shape, he was a bright healthy looking yellow,
and I watched him aggressively defend his territory at the store vs. a small
Firefish. To me, it was a healthy little Goby. I had seen these small Yellow
Prawn Gobies at the LFS two weeks ago so I know it's not a fresh off the plane
Goby. I picked the best of the three, floated him for 40mins, and dripped in
tank water, etc...
turned off the lights, and he swam to the bottom but didn't hide. He hung out in
the middle of my aragonite bed out in the open. My clowns checked him over, but
didn't touch him. Fast forward one day, lights go on and the Goby
decides he'd like to swim in the mid-upper level of the tank,
and was sucked to the outer protective foam of my Vortech MP40. I quickly turned
off the MP40 and he swam away. He still insisted on swimming the upper half of
the tank vs. scooting along the bottom. My Clowns checked him out some
more, but they weren't nipping at him or anything. Goby swims to one side of my
Innovative Marine SR60 with dual overflows where the Clowns hangout, one Clown
gets a little too close and the Goby swims into the narrowest slit for my
overflow and into my filter sock. I immediately intro the sock to the tank, Goby
swims out in the mid-upper level of the tank. I turn off the lights, and he
settles down to the bottom. When the lights were on, I did notice that where his
torso turns to tail, there is a whitish patch (stress related?).
<Maybe; or a physical injury>
He swims fine, but I don't perceive he has the strength to escape the suction
from the intake/foam for the MP40 (which has remained off). My quarantine tank
has been up and running without lights for 2months, and it's a 20g with hang-on
filter with the appropriate salinity and temperature. I do intend to double
check the water quality there with a water test, etc in the morning. No, I
didn't quarantine because one of your articles indicated the Gobies are hardy,
and tend not to carry harmful bacteria/parasites, etc.
<And often being quarantined is worse for them than not>
I figured as the only bottom dwelling fish (my Coral Goby remains mid range
within my very porous live rock) he would be
best suited for an established system with nothing to bother him on the bottom
except a few snails. Did I acquire a Goby that is too small/delicate at 2"? I
really don't get the lights on/mid-upper level swimming at all. Thoughts?
<I'd give this fish a bit more time. Do you intend to introduce a prawn/Alpheid
here? Bob Fenner>
Re: Yellow Prawn Goby
It's now early the next morning, and lights are still off, and the Goby seems to
be just fine at the bottom of the tank - but the lights will turn on in about
4hrs, and I'll be sure to watch him closely to ensure he doesn't turn into
Michael Phelps again.
<Heeee! Hopefully not that BIG an ego; it wouldn't fit in the tank!>
I'm open to the Pistol Shrimp, I've had one in the past with a Diamond Spotted
Goby... but that Shrimp feasted on all
my hermit crabs. If I am to introduce a Shrimp for him, I'm guessing I should
wait until the Goby is a little bigger? Or, do you feel that he'd be less
stressed out with a Shrimp at his side?
<Much more re this last... they really protect each other. Bob Fenner>
Re: Yellow Prawn Goby 1/24/17
Thanks for your insight. Now, introducing a pistol shrimp am I sacrificing
hermits, some snails, and eliminating my wish to add a banded serpent star?
<Possibly the first two groups if they venture too near... Bob Fenner>
Re: Yellow Prawn Goby 1/25/17
Yellow Watchman's still alive and kicking. Even with the white blemish where his
torso meets his tail, he sure swims in the open water a lot - I don't think it's
an injury. I haven't seen him feed as of yet, and his tank mates are leaving him
alone thus I've left him in the system. I wonder if he knows he's a goby?
<Again; unusual... hope it's not looking for a place to leave the tank. Bob
Goby compatibility 1/21/12
Thanks as always for the great website. I had a compatibility
question and have read on your website extensively, but I wanted to run
it by an expert before purchasing a new fish. We have a 90 gallon
reef that has been established for about 5 years. Corals are at a
minimum actually since the tank just holds a few leftover bits that
didn't fit in our 240 reef when we upgraded a few years ago.
Fish inhabitants are a Clarkii clownfish and Yellow tang. We lost
the female Clarkii clownfish about three months ago to presumed trauma
based on unilateral eye damage and a slow demise over the next few
weeks. Sand bed ranges from 2 to 6 inches depending on
location. Live rock is low, only about 50 pounds, although the
tank is plumbed in line with the main reef, sump, fuge etc. making
about 600 gallons total water volume and about 300 pounds live rock
throughout the entire system. So the first question is should we
replace the Clownfish mate?
<You could try... best to get one about half the size of the present
male... allow/have it turn into the female>
We have no particular desire to unless you think it's
stressful to keep a solo Clownfish.
<It is not>
If we need another, I assume we go small and hope to avoid an all
Second, would a Golden head sleeper goby
(Valenciennea strigata) fit in this mix?
<With what you list, yes>
Third and last question I promise. We have a very peaceful
240 reef with a Vlamingii tang (I know too small tank, was rescue from
another tank), Yellow tang, Ocellaris clownfish pair, Aiptasia eating
(not) filefish, Threadfin butterfly fish (serious Aiptasia eater!),
Double barred Rabbitfish, and two Green Chromis. Would a Pink
watchman goby fit in this mix?
<It should as well>
We may add a Mandarin dragonette in the future if that affects
the answer on the Watchman.
<This will go here as long as there's sufficient food
Thanks again for the advice.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Midas Blenny Aggression/Shrimp Goby Questions
Hey WWM. First of all, thank you so much for all the great
information that I have received doing research on your website and
questions you have answered directly. Really appreciate it! I am
really going back and forth about which fish to put in my tank so I am
looking for an opinion. It is a 30 gallon reef. I already have an
Ocellaris Clownish, and I know that I am going to add a Springer
Damselfish. After that, I have come up with two choices. I could add a
Blenny as my 3rd and final fish, or I could do a Tailspot Blenny and
some sort of Shrimp Goby (possibly a Watchman).
<Mmm, not and... One of the Ecsenius... and a good deal of potential
compatibility depends on the individual personality here... T'were
it me/mine, I'd go w/ the Tailspot>
I would just go with the Midas but am a bit concerned about how
aggressive he will be towards my other fish.
Any opinions? If I go the Tailspot/Shrimp Goby route, I have some
questions about the Shrimp Goby. What would you say is a good first
shrimp goby for me?
<Likely the more common Cryptocentrus:
IF you're getting an Alpheid to go w/, make sure they are paired
Too likely troubles trying to get them to get along in such a small
Also, does, say, a Watchman Goby do okay without a Pistol
<Yes; most specimens do>
Also, if I do get a Pistol Shrimp, are there any that will not
attack my 2 inch Cleaner Shrimp, snails (including Nassarius) and
<Not if the shrimp is hungry and these get too close>
I have heard that the red-striped (randalli) are the most reef safe
because they stay so small. Finally, is it a problem that my sand
bed is 1-3 inches thick and my rock is not resting on the glass?
<Could be... w/ burrowing. I'd scoot the rock about till it is
resting on the bottom>
Does the behavior of the goby change if he is with a shrimp?
<Good question... I'd think/guess so; perhaps a thesis for
Also, is there any way to at least try and get him to make his
home near the front of the tank?
<Yes... pre-making a "cave" out of a section of emplaced
PVC pipe or such may do the trick>
Is he more likely to stay up front if I give him a pistol shrimp buddy,
or does that not really affect it?
<Don't think it would effect this in such a shape/size
Those are the only questions I can think of for now. What do you
<I've got to wake up... at least a bit more. Cheers, Bob
Another Shrimp Goby Question-12/22/2007 Hello
Crew, <Paul> Thank you for all the help as I now have a full
blown reef going great with minimal maintenance. I have been
researching for a long time now and still am not sure about which goby
is most likely to form a symbiotic relationship with my pistol shrimp.
The species of shrimp I have is the exact same as pictured here
(http://www.bluezooaquatics.com/productDetail.asp?cid=84&pid=1215&did=2) an Alpheus species. <Mmm, notice that the ad states this animal is
from the Caribbean?> I have narrowed down the list to yellow
watchman (Cryptocentrus cinctus), High Fin Goby (Stonogobiops
nematodes), Flaming Prawn Goby (Discordipinna griessingeri), or Yasha
Hase (Stonogobiops yasha). Am I correct in assuming Indo Pacific is
considered Caribbean or am I totally in the wrong ocean? <... the
latter> I have tried fish base but when searching such a generic
area as "Caribbean" it is not very helpful. Any suggestions?
Thanks in advance. Paul <Well... there are in-print works on
naturally occurring relations... And Alpheids can/will often pair up
with "dissimilar" symbionts... I would go forward with the
choices of fish hosts in the order of preference you list. Bob
Pistol Shrimp/Goby Pair? 7/19/07 Hi
crew <Hi Adam! Mich here.> Question from Australia :),
<Cool... Answer currently coming from the Pocono Mountains of
Pennsylvania, USA> I will definitely be getting a shrimp/goby pair
for my 24x18x18. <An awesome dynamic to observe!> I was wondering
if I could have 2 pairs? <I would look for a mated pair of gobies
and their symbiotic shrimp. This is the best situation> different
sp.? <You may be OK with different species. I would avoid getting
two of the same species unless they are a mated pair.> have read a
lot on these symbiotic relationships and really like them. <It is
quite captivating... Hours of entertainment!> Also finding a
suitable substrate. The opinions differ again. Is it species
orientated? <Each individual fish can be different. Best to provide
a variety of options. I would place a couple of small piles of rumble
of varying degrees of coarseness about the tank. You will also want to
make sure you live rock is placed directly on the glass and not on the
sandbed as any borrowing fish could be accidentally crushed. And you
will also need a well cover tank as these Gobies can be jumpers.>
This is the whole aim for this tank, to have a shrimp/goby symbiotic
relationship. <Very nice! You will surely enjoy!> Only keeping
soft/LPS corals and fish that will live in harmony with my shrimp/goby
pair. <Very good!> Thanks <Welcome... If you write again
please don't forget to use proper capitalization. Mich> Adam
Seahorse tank set up/sand sifting gobies
7/17/07 Hi! I am in the process of setting up a 56 gal. tall tank
for seahorses. I am in the cycling stage right now and only have the
substrate (CaribSea Arag-Alive Indo-Pacific black ) a protein skimmer
and a refugium with live rock on the tank (will add algae end of the
week). I also added Turbo Start 900 to help seed the tank and speed up
the cycling process. <The LR will do this...> After my water is
correct I will begin to add copepods to the tank and refugium and then
livestock. How long should I wait to add the livestock after the
copepods? <A week, few weeks> I am planning on adding snails
(Cerith and Nassarius) and dwarf blue legged hermits to be a clean up
crew, and I would like to add a sand sifting goby to keep the sand nice
and clean. <Mmm, not much surface area here... will likely keep the
system "too clean" of the copepods...> I am not planning
on putting any live rock in the tank-just some fake corals to be used
as hitching post for the seahorses. What would be the best goby to use
and when is the best time to add it to the tank? I like the V.
Goby, and V. strigata
Sleeper Goby, but I am not sure if either of these are the best choice
for my tank. <I would not place a genus Valenciennea goby here...
again, too big for the amount of substrate...> I've read that
you should keep a pair (M/F) of both of these species of goby as they
do better, how can you tell what sex they are? <Much happier in
pairs... but you don't have enough room> Thanks for the help.
Your site has been a great help to me in the past. Laurie <Likely
the Hermit, Nassarius species will do about all that can be done to
turn, clean the gravel here. Bob Fenner>
Re: seahorse tank set
up/sand sifting gobies 7/17/07 I forgot to mention that
the skimmer is not running right now. I will turn it on with the
addition of livestock. <Real good. BobF>
Watchman-Pistol Question Dear Bob: You have been so kind in
sharing your knowledge with me. I have one more question before I buy
my Yellow Watchman Goby and (Tiger hopefully) Pistol Shrimp. Do I need
to buy an already established pair, or would any Watchman pair up with
any Pistol Shrimp? I don't want to buy them and be disappointed if
they don't "pair up." Thanks, Janey <Better to buy
them together... but they do often "pair up" in captivity as
well. Bob Fenner>
Gobies and shrimp Hi Robert, I'm sorry to email you here,
but I don't know how to post on WetWebMedia.com. I hope you can
provide guidance: <Will try> I want to buy a pistol shrimp and
Goby. I have my eye on two gobies. One is the Stonogobiops nematodes. I
read on your site that he would most likely pair up with the Alpheus
randalli. I can not find the everyday name for this shrimp.
<"Randall's Pistol Shrimp", named in honor of Dr. John
(Jack) Randall of the Bernice P. Bishop Museum> Is it just a common
pistol shrimp (I have a friend who wants to sell me his pistol shrimp)?
<Mmm, I consider none of these to be "common"... all
species are hard to come by in the trade, hobby.> -not sure if
its a wise move on my behalf)? <Know nothing about wisdom>>
The other goby that I am considering is the Pinkbar Goby (Cryptocentrus
aurora). Do you know which shrimp he would best pair with? <There
are lists of which species are associated in the wild... Often, captive
conditions can form "strange partnerships" though> Is
there a general rule of thumb for encouraging symbiosis between the
two? <Lots of space, good husbandry, mix of fine sand and rubble of
depth, peaceful tankmates...> What is the best way to ensure
symbiosis if you cant but the two already paired up? <Buy them
together, evidencing their association in advance> Do you have any
recommendations for which types to purchase for a small (30 gallon) set
up? <Mmm... please read through the "Shrimp Gobies"
section and related/linked files on www.WetWebMedia.com> Would I
have to get rid of my decorator crab if I got a P. shrimp/goby?
<Possibly... if the system is small... the crab hungry, could be
trouble.> Thank you once again Bob. Your time and effort for all of
the work that you do on your webpage is much appreciated. <Thank you
for your kind words... many hours of my own, friends devoted as you
state. Bob Fenner>
Shrimp question Hi, <cheers> I just got a yellow
watchman goby for my tank. How do I put a shrimp with it, and which
shrimp do I get? <commensal pistol shrimp generally must be
collected with their watchman goby to be compatible. Even when that is
not the case, one usually needs to match the exact natural partner
species with the goby. You need to get an accurate scientific name for
your goby first... then research the commensal species for this goby.
It is very unlikely that you will be able to find a compatible match
without having obtained a collected pair.> My tank is a 38 gallon
with only fish, and a starfish. Thanks, Dyanna <do tell us if
you find a species that works. Kindly, Anthony>
Randall's goby with lawnmower blenny Hi,
Thanks for the great site, I send lots of people to it. Normally I can
find my own answers, but this time I want yours. In a 37 Gallon "
oceanic corner tank" I keep 25 lbs liverock, four inch deep sand
bed. Fish are a pair of percula clowns pair of yellow tail
blue damsels, and a lawnmower blenny, with about 10 mixed snails,
10 blue leg hermits, and 6 asst mushrooms. Recently a friend
gave me a 1 inch Randall's pistol shrimp. All is fine 2 weeks
later, and I am wanting to add a Randall's goby or a yellow
watchman goby. In this set up, do you think the goby and blenny would
get along? <I give you good odds. Salarias, Atrosalarias
blennies are generally only feisty with algae eating competitors>
And if so which goby would be a better choice? Tank has been set up a
years as is now. Thanks for any reply, Roger <The Randall's
if you want to see interaction with the Alpheid... The Watchman if not.
Re: Randall's goby with lawnmower blenny Thanks for the
quick reply, I keep an emperor 400 and the live rock, DSB
for filtration, forgot to mention the emperor
400,again, thanks. <Sure, No problem. I would
suggest a protein skimmer if you don't have one
Watchman Goby Hi, We have had a Yellow Watchman
Goby for about 6 months. She was very small when we got her - is now
about 1 1/2". I feel sure it is a female because the coloring of
her body is much duller than her face (creamy yellow instead of
bright). We would like to get her a mate, but the LFS doesn't carry
them and you can't specify sex when ordering online. If we ended up
with 2 females, would they fight? Thanks, Doug <Hello Doug.
They won't fight, but they won't be hand and hand such as
clowns. James (Salty Dog)>
Pistol Shrimp/Goby Hi I am interested in getting a shrimp
goby and pistol shrimp but have a few questions, more like concerns. I
am interested in a orange spotted goby, what pistol shrimp would go
well with him? Would a randalli pistol be ok? <Here is some
suggested reading. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpgobies.htm>
Also are they like mantis shrimp? Will they crack my glass and is the
noise really loud that it will be a nuisance to me listening to
it? <No, they won't crack your glass. You will rarely hear
them unless someone is infringing on their property.> I have a
lobster which I have had for 6 months and rarely see but know he's
there because when moving a rock he was discovered to still be alive.
My tank is 180 gallons, will this shrimp get lost where I will never
see it? Will the pistol shrimp hide all day and is this a waste?
<You don't see them too much. I see mine at dinner time.>
Will this shrimp fight with Jawfish? <Shouldn't>
Please let me know so I can make my mind before making a hasty purchase
and regretting later. <James (Salty Dog)>
Stocking/Selection 7/25/06 Hi WWM Crew
<Howdy> Sorry for all the questions, but you guys have all the
answers, and you guys always reply really fast. I was wondering what
would be a good, exciting, personality, colorful fish to add to my 30
gallon fish only with live rock, right now it only has Ocellaris
Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) and a Fridmani Pseudochromis
(Pseudochromis fridmani). Thanks for your fast reply as always and I
promise this is my last question. <A Watchman Goby/Pistol Shrimp
combination is interesting. Read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpgobies.htm