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FAQs on Amblygobius Gobies, Disease/Health

Related Articles: Genus Amblygobius Gobies

Related FAQs:  Amblygobius Gobies 1, Amblygobius Gobies 2, & FAQs on: Amblygobius Identification, Amblygobius Behavior, Amblygobius Compatibility, Amblygobius Selection, Amblygobius Systems, Amblygobius Feeding, Amblygobius Reproduction, & True Gobies Gobies 2Goby Identification, Goby Behavior, Goby Selection, Goby Compatibility, Goby Feeding, Goby Systems, Goby Disease, Goby Reproduction, Clown GobiesNeon GobiesGenus Coryphopterus Gobies, Mudskippers, Shrimp Gobies, Sifter Gobies

Rainfordi update         7/2/15
I forgot to report about my "Amblygobius rainfordi with ex-sunken belly 11/9/12". Unfortunately it died around December 2014. It looked fine, but it begun to look fatter than usual and slower. After around a month
of decay it died.
<Ahh; very common source of mortality... slow wasting... need a vigorous refugium, a good deal of other endogenous source of live foods to do well in captivity>
I'm not sure about the usual lifespan for them and, of course, I can't know how old it was when it arrived in Summer 2012.
<Cheers, BobF>

Sand-Sifting Goby (Starved Due To Old Age?) -- 04/07/10
Hello Eric,
<<Hiya Gene>>
Just a follow up on a different topic.
My sand sifting goby died today. I had him for about 2 years.
<<Mmm, died of old age perhaps... Some species only live a couple years with many going only a couple to a few more than that. And it seems the smaller the species the shorter the lifespan>>
He did a wonderful job keeping the sand in good condition.
<<Ah yes'¦ I am fond of Amblygobius phalaena for this purpose as it seems less prone to 'dust' my corals 'though it is still a prodigious digger that can disrupt a DSB'¦and gets too large (easily to 5' in captivity) for all but the largest home systems, in my opinion>>
He began getting thinner and thinner
<<I have noted this with several fishes I thought to be getting 'long in the tooth'>>
-- I tried target feeding him some Nori -- but it just wasn't enough. I really don't know if he died of old age or starvation. How likely do you think is was starvation?
<<If it was not provided supplemental feedings (New Life Spectrum pellets are great for this), this is always a possibility. But'¦ I have seen fishes that were/are seemingly well fed begin to 'waste away' in their old age. I'm not sure if this is a result of a loss of ability to metabolize foods or the loss of ability to simply 'compete' for foods 'either way'¦'old age' does seem to play a part in the fishes 'ability to get enough nutrition' to maintain body weight>>
I would hate to buy another one only to see it suffer.
<<In my experience, these fish are generally hardy aquarium inhabitants that will eat almost anything. There could be a myriad of reasons for a fish to starve to death...anything from inadequate foods/feedings offered, to bullying, to parasites 'and yes, maybe even just old age. If you have the proper environment and the fish is fed/accepts several small feedings daily of quality food items (I very highly recommend the NLS pellets for ALL your fishes) then I think there is little chance of another similar fish is going to 'suffer'>>
<<Happy to share'¦ Eric Russell>>
Re: Sand-Sifting Goby (Starved Due To Old Age?) -- 04/07/10
Nice reply!
<<Glad you think so!>>
I will be looking for another based on your comments.
<<Very good>>
And will add NLS pellets to his diet.
<<Ah yes! All your fishes and inverts that will accept/ingest this excellent prepared food will benefit>>
BTW, my tank is a 125g mixed reef with 30g refugium.
<<Ah good 'though most are not exceedingly large, I do think these Gobies enjoy a bit of real estate to roam and 'chomp' upon. The refugium is also an excellent adjunct to your system, for many reasons, not the least of which is to help keep your substrate populated>>
<<Cheers'¦ EricR>>
R2: Sand-Sifting Goby (Starved Due To Old Age?) -- 04/08/10
Can't readily locate the golden head sleeper goby in the Atlanta area -- so thinking of trying the orange spotted goby. Did some reading and the V. puellaris seems to be a good alternative to the V. strigata. What'da think?
<<Hi Gene'¦ These two Valenciennea species are similar in size/captive care requirements. V. puellaris may be a 'bit more delicate,' but if you can find one that will accept the NLS pellets, I give you good odds. EricR>>

R3: Sand-Sifting Goby (Starved Due To Old Age?) -- 04/09/10
Well, the Valenciennea puellaris was much too small for my tank.
I finally purchased a Dragon goby (Amblygobius phalaena)
<<A hardy choice, in my experience/opinion 'and much less prone to 'crop-dusting' your corals than the Valenciennea species>>
-- did not seem to be as prolific at sifting
<<It will do the job'¦ These Dragon or, Bullet Gobies as they are also called, just don't 'travel as they sift' like the Valenciennea do>>
-- but could do the job.
<<Mine was able to keep up with a 375g display, just fine>>
Only got one but may add another unless they don't get along well.
<<Can be problematic re'¦I recommend you stick to just the one for the size system you have>>
<<Cheers'¦ EricR>>

Amblygobius phalaena Death, mystery    3/23/09
Hello WWM Crew,
My Banded Sleeper Goby died tonight and I have no idea why. To start off with, I've had the fish for about six months. It has been in its current tank for about three months, with absolutely no problems until now. Its
current tank is a 90 gallon reef tank. Tank members are as follows: cleaner shrimp, 3 blue-green Chromis, 2 ocellaris clowns, six line wrasse, coral beauty, Longnose Hawkfish, Acanthurus japonicus, and assorted corals. The fish all get along and never fight. This afternoon I fed the fish as I usually do, and the Goby ate like pig and seemed to be its usual self.
Later that afternoon I cleaned the glass panels and performed a 10% water change. After the water change I observed the tank and noticed that the Goby was resting on the sand and mouth breathing. I also noticed that there were a few white patches around its head. Over the course of the next 2-1/2 hours the mouth breathing continued until the fish was belly up and dead. I am completely puzzled on how over the course for 3 hours my Goby could go from seemingly in perfect health to dead. All other corals and tankmates appear to be in perfect health and show no signs of stress or illness. Also, all water parameters are great. I've attached a few post-mortem pictures that show the white spots. Also, you can see reddening of the caudle fin. If you have any thoughts as to the cause of death, please let me know. Thank you in advance for your response.
<Mmm, not possible to state exactly, but I can/will speculate as to what might have been a/the cause here... of predatory possibilities, the Six Line Wrasse... is most likely, perhaps the Cleaner Shrimp, particularly if it is a Stenopid... This Amblygobius could have "accidentally" gotten stung by the corals... it might have injured itself by jumping, being startled and swimming into something hard... Lastly, it might have had something internal wrong... that led to its demise in other ways... This fish does appear to have been "chewed" about its head (your photos are excellent), but this could have occurred "after the fact" of its demise. Bob Fenner> 


Skinny Rainford, Chances of Recovery   1/29/09 Hi, <Hello there> Thank you for taking time to answer my query. I'm no stranger to gobies, and I keep a goby specific QT stocked with liverock, sand, algae and contains numerous small crustaceans running at all times. Since I researched the diet of Rainford and its congeners, I added large amounts of various hair algae species to the QT and made sure that other live food sources had sufficiently developed before the Rainford's arrival. I observed the Rainford eating at store, though it did look slightly pinched ventrally and slim laterally, he did not have an arched posture. Even though the fish is eating live critters and prepared foods (enriched brine shrimp, Cyclop-eeze, brine nauplii, and prawn ova), it still hasn't accumulated significant body mass in about one month. <Unfortunately all too typical> It has however, become more colorful and active. <Good signs> Despite those positive signs, I'm concerned that my Rainford Goby maybe too emaciated to fully recover. <Also very common> Based on your experience, does this fish seem as though it has a chance or are my efforts only prolonging the inevitable? <I am not a fan of giving up... perhaps too stubborn for my own, others good at times... I would "hang in there"... keep trying, adding refugium life, more frequent, soaked (HUFA, vitamin) foods...> Thank you for your time, SI <And you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Amblygobius hlth.   12/23/08 Thanks for the prompt response Bob, <Welcome Nick> I've just ordered myself an Amblygobius phalaena which will be going into QT for 2 weeks so my fingers are crossed that these are just bumps and scrapes. <I do think they are... do keep an eye on the Goby... both to make sure it isn't getting too skinny... and to assure the top is on so it doesn't jump out! I am a fan of just dipping, summarily placing this genus in main displays> Have a merry Christmas! Nick <Happy holidays to you and yours. BobF>

Bump on Bullet Goby's Mouth - Help!   10/8/08 Wet Web Media Crew, <Howdy> My wife and I would like to offer a sincere thank-you for providing such a wonderful resource in your website and all of the services you provide. <Welcome> About 2 months ago we purchased a bullet goby from a reputable retailer, in an attempt to help moderate our algae situation. A few weeks after bringing him home, we noticed a little pink bump under the bottom lip - since he digs and rearranges the gravel every night we suspected a physical injury. Over the past 2-3 days, the bump has become significantly bigger and is now pinkish at the base and whitish at the surface (see blurry pic). <I see> In our 55g tank (established for about 15 months), we have a couple of snails, a peppermint shrimp, a clown fish, and some hermit crabs (and of course live rock and adequate amount of bottom media). The problem is difficult to observe because he hides under some live rock whenever we get too close. His appetite seems normal, breathing does not appear labored, he swims around a lot and sifts the gravel as he always has. Can you suggest some causes / treatments for our friend? <Mmm, yes, can, will... I would not treat this growth directly with any "medicine" per se, but do what you can to indirectly boost its chances of healing... by adding vitamin/HUFA prep. directly to the water and foods (e.g. Selcon, MicroVit), and keeping the system water quality stable, optimized. Bob Fenner> Many Thanks, Laura & Josh

Parasitic Disease: Tough Treatment Choices Well, unfortunately, the passer didn't survive through Thursday night...  Not sure if it was Amyloodinium or Brooklynellosis, but it was pretty fast...less than 2 days from first sign of any symptoms to death. I suppose I should have done the freshwater dip to try to verify which parasite it was. Might have made a small difference... Happened so fast... <Sorry to hear that...Scott F. following up for Marina today> My concern now is the Ranford...extreme sensitivity to copper and other meds...Do I just wait and see, let nature take it's course?  (can you see me cringe?)  Or is there another course of action for these little fishes?  I can find so little written on treatment, that I'm stumped...the disease/parasite might kill them, but the medication will kill them too. Thanks. <Well, you could use a medication containing Formalin. The fish may have difficulties with it as well, but it may be worth the shot if it is very sick. Marina's treatment advice was right on. Unfortunately, at this point, you may be compelled to use a medication to save the fish's life. I suppose if I had to weigh the risk of losing the fish to an aggressive disease or possibly killing it with treatment, I'd rather go down "with guns blazing", as they say, and try to intervene. Knowing the potential risks, you'll be going in with your eyes wide open. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

How to do the Q/T on the Ranford >You guys (and gals) rock!  Bob, when ya comin back to northern California?   Recently, I got a Ranford goby( Amblygobius Ranford) for my 90 gallon soft reef.  Great fish, and will find lots of pods and even some hair algae to munch on once it makes it through the quarantine period.  My concern is it's survival in the quarantine tank.  So far, (a little over a week) it has shown little interest in flake or frozen foods, and I'd really hate to see it starve.   >>I'm sure! >While I am a firm believer in the 4 to 6 week quarantine period for ALL fishes, I have read in your goby FAQ's that some of the smaller gobies might not do well with a typical quarantine, but instead would be better with a shorter one to make sure there are no obvious problems, then right in the main tank.   >>Well, I don't know that I'd shorten the q/t without trying a couple of things first.  I would try siphoning water from the display from the pod-rich areas.  I might try placing some cured live rock in the q/t for him to pick on.  I'd also try to get a hold of some live Mysis. >Would this require a freshwater dip first?  Maybe a "medical" bath with formalin or Methylene blue or something similar?   >>I like to dip most fish in freshwater with Methylene blue pre and post-quarantine anyway.  So the additional requirement specific to this situation doesn't really apply.  However, I will add the caveat that there are some fish I don't like to dip - those that create a heavy mucus/slime coat - mandarins, cowfish/trunkfish are those that immediately come to mind. >Also, are you familiar with what are being called "tulip anemones"? Seeing them again this year on Reef Central.   >>Only in reading posts about them.  Not sure what they are exactly, but if they're Majanos they sure are purty! >Here's a link:   http://wwwreefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=256164 >Some of the pics sure look very much like the majano anemone that we all fight with from time to time, but in a nicer color. http://www.hivemind.com/fish/pics/tulip.jpg >>Agreed.  May be a nice thing as long as they don't reach plague proportions. >Thanks for all you've done for me and everyone else.  The best aquatic site around!  Neil >>You're most welcome.  Glad we're of help.  Marina

Why are my fish dying in QT?   2/1/06 Well I just had another fish die in QT. A Randall's goby.  It was 4 weeks along.  It died over night. <This is too long to quarantine Amblygobius... or most small gobies, blennies... the stress, starvation is way worse than the small risk of disease introduction after a week or two> My QT setup is a 20G with 2 Aquaclear HOB filters; a 30G and a 20G. So I have lots of filtration. I set the bacteria population with BioSpira. I have used this in the past with good results. Tank has been used for 3 fish now and was bleached out in between fish. Well rinsed out. Other 3 fish lived and are in the display. Temp control through a titanium htr with controller. Separate digital thermometer to keep tabs. I also have a ph probe constantly on to monitor ph. Lighting by a 96W VHO. Couple pieces of PVC for caves. Using Copper Power proactively just for the last 2 fish. <Not always a wise precaution...> I seem to have this issue with fish getting in distress at about the 3-4 week mark. <... opinions vary (to put this euphemistically)... but I am a big fan of two week limits here...> I do WC every week and siphon out every couple days. My problems seem to coincide with algae growth starting. The past 3 fish that lived flasher wrasse, laboutei wrasse and royal Gramma) also seemed to be in some distress about this time. I did 100% WC and they pulled through. The fish start hanging out at the top of the tank near the most water turbulence. This time the goby went back down and seemed to be ok. Not breathing heavily. No visible spots etc. He did stop eating that I could see about a week ago. He's never been a big eater but he could have eaten when I wasn't looking. He did eat earlier in the QT. My theory is oxygen deprivation and the fish are having trouble breathing. I do scrub the algae out but seems if anything to make it worse. I have added an airstone in the past not this time) but doesn't seem to help. Since the fish die overnight I'm thinking this lends more credence to the O2 theory since with lights out the algae won't be contributing O2. But I'm not sure what would be sucking up the O2? The water while not as crystal clear as starting wasn't too bad. I had done a 30% WC day before and cleaned out the filters. I never measured any NH3, temp 78C ph 8.3 SG 1.026. I have done lots of reading on QT and the things that seem to trip up are ph, SG, NH3 due to inadequate biological filter. I have not run across any accounts of the fish having issues breathing without visible signs. Not at the 4 week mark. Any ideas? I'm tired of losing fish. I lost others when my QT was a 10G in similar fashion. This is the first I've lost since moving up but all the fish seemed to have trouble 3-4 wks in. Sorry for the long email. Thanks, Phil <No worries... please see my articles on quarantine... especially for the sorts of fishes you list, two weeks is about the "magical breaking point" for getting more value than damage. Bob Fenner>

Seriously Obese Goby  - guidance needed  1/25/08 Greetings WWM, <Charleen> I'm hoping you might be able to assist and/or advise me on what I should do about my seriously obese goby. Everything else I've read on your sight is about sand sifting gobies getting too skinny, not too fat. Additionally, I'm not sure what kind he is. I've checked FishBase and it looks like he may be either a Byno Goby (Amblygobius bynoensis) or Amblygobius stethophthalmus (no common name listed). What do you think? <The latter> Just a little background on the tank, in case any of it matters. I had a 55 gal set up in South Florida. I moved to North Georgia this past May. I moved the tank, all live rock, sand, fish, and all the existing water to a co-workers house to be looked after until I got a house in Georgia. In August, I drove back down and collected everything except the existing water, only enough to keep everything fully submerged on the 700 mile trip to their new home. Several weeks before my planned trip, I special ordered a 155 gal bow front in order to have everything set up and ready to go upon my return. Unfortunately, the stand came in broken twice, and the final stand did not come in until the day after I returned. The live rock, sand, and all the fish sat in 3 large Rubbermaid pails, with powerheads keeping the water circulating for almost a week -- in the middle of my kitchen floor. <Yikes. Trying> Miraculously, everything survived and is now thriving. Fish include 1 yellow tang (3-3.5"), 1 4-stripe damsel (1.5-2"), 1 yellow tail damsel (1.5"), 1 blue/green Chromis (2"), 3 yellow belly blue damsels (1.5") **2nd question about these to follow**, an urchin of unknown type, and my super fat goby (4"). There is also a Kenya Tree coral and a few zoos. I've been into fishkeeping for about 15 years but only into marine for the last 2.5 years. I'm still a bit of a novice it seems as, in my stupidity, I figured my new well water would be far superior to my old Florida chlorinated city water. I know, I know, couldn't be further from the truth. Well, I know that now. Just about every surface in my tank is covered in the ugliest algaes, don't know which, probably all the nuisance kind. I did purchase an RO system about a month ago (after my last correspondence with you), but no change as yet with the algae. <As you state/hint... "takes" a while> In fact it has gotten much worse since I added a heater to the tank to bring it up out of the sixties. With as much volume as I have, it seems like it will be a few years before the phosphates and nitrates come down enough to see a difference in the algae. <Yikes. Let's hope it's not this long... perhaps chemical filtrant use...> I mention the algae problem only because all the fish eat on it from lights on until lights off. As a result, I was only feeding them once per day. <Likely fine... can/will forage on the rock otherwise> Since August (about 5 months now), the goby has doubled in size. I don't mean length, only girth. With his welfare in mind, I have reduced feeding the tank to every other day. I don't want to starve the other tank mates but the goby looks like he could explode at any time. I haven't figured out a way to put only HIM on a diet. <Try Spectrum/New Life, pelleted food> Is there anything that I can / should do for him? Am I truly dealing with an obese fish or is something else the cause? <Could be some sort of gut blockage, sex product storage, tumour...> Since he is a sand sifter, is it possible that he's actually ingested some of the sand, and if so, what then? <Patience really... hopefully will pass, dissolve in time> I have the Seaflor Special Grade Reef Sand which they list to be 1-1.7mm grain size. Now on to the other question about the yellow belly blue damsels. There are three, one of which is definitely a female. She will lay what appears to be thousands of eggs on a fairly regular basis. She did it in the 55 gal in Florida and continues now in the 155. I've never seen anything come from the eggs so I'm assuming that they probably are not being fertilized. Is there any way to differentiate male from female with this kind of damsel? <Mmm, not easy to discern. Some folks claim they can sex Chromis species on the basis of "sheen", "tint" of color. All else being equal, males should be smaller, slimmer.> I thank you in advance. I'm sure you will have great answers for me just like you do for all those other folks out there. Charlie, Athens GA <Here's hoping these are passable. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

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