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FAQs on Neon/Cleaner Gobies, Genera Elacatinus & Gobiosoma spp.

Related Articles: Neon/Cleaner Gobies,

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

A Elacatinus randalli in captivity.

Keeping a group of Green banded gobies.    7/23/11
Hello! I am currently
researching for what will hope fully be a 20 gallon long reef tank
(30"L,12"W,12"T). I have been very interested in the Green banded gobies (don't know the proper Latin name).
<Elacatinus multifasciatum>
My hope was that several could be kept in a 20 long reef as the only inhabitants,
<Mmm, 3 or 5...>
and that they would display more natural behaviors being kept in a small group. From what I have read they have the ability to change sex either way (male to female female to male) and in nature there is typically one male that has several females in it's territory, and the male will tend for the eggs (which is apparently very easy to have happen in aquaria).This is what I would like to recreate in the aquarium. My question is how many do you think could live in a 20 long reef (as the only fish inhabitants) without wreaking havoc on the bio load? Also is my above information correct (about one male to several females and changing sex's both ways)?
<They're sequentially hermaphroditic>
This would be assuming it is a reef tank where water conditions need to be ideal, but there are also the typical things adding to the bio load before the fish are added, I.e.. corals, small crabs, snails, feather dusters, etc. . on (for example) 20Lbs of live rock and 15Lbs of live sand. If this is just a crazy idea let me know!
Thanks in advanced! Sean.
<Can be made to work. BobF>

How many gobies? Comp., Gobiodon, Gobiosoma    11/15/07 Hi all, We're thinking of adding some cleaner gobies and maybe a clown goby and I had some questions for you. We have a 60g tank with two clowns, a Banggai cardinal, two cleaner shrimp and some snails and hermit crabs. We're looking to add more cleaners to stave off ich and the like, also because from what I hear and read, gobies are good tank additions. <Some...> My question pertains to quantity and getting along between goby species. I've read up a bit on your site and just wanted to see if my plan holds water. I'm thinking that maybe a small group of neon gobies could be added, maybe 4-6? <Mmm, I'd stick with two. They are territorial, might fight. Two will do all the good cleaning-wise any other number might do here> And then maybe one or two clown gobies. <Do you have live Acropora for them to feed, live on?> Do you think this is too many gobies for our tank? These different types of gobies will get along in our tank size, yes? <Should, yes> That'd probably be it for fish in our tank. We're big on not overstocking. Also, we are using crushed coral at the moment, this isn't bad for them, right? <Not important... but other habitats presence is...> And the cleaner shrimp and cardinal shouldn't be a bad compatibility mix for them, right? <What species is/are the cleaner shrimp? Stenopids might consume these> And while I have your attention, do these fish get their food from the fish cleanings? <Mmm, the Cleaner gobies to a good extent. Gobiodon spp. mainly consume SPS polyps in the wild> Meaning that they could starve if the fish don't let the gobies clean? <Mmm, no... should be fed purposely... A refugium... with all that it implies is best here> I think I read that they also eat brine shrimp and such, but wanted to make sure they will in fact eat regular foods like formula one, Mysis, brine, krill, things like that. <Usually, yes> Thanks! ~Ashlin
<Welcome. BobF>

Elacatinus multifasciatus   8/19/06 Hi I was wondering if you wonderful people could identify this goby for me, I purchased two little guys from LFS who said they were Christmas nano gobies. <Okay...> I cannot find any reference to such fish they are approx 1 inch long and have not really grown in length since I got them which was approx 5 months ago (they have however got fatter) They live in my sump tank and seem very content I just wish I had a name for them. Thank you for your time in this matter. Rache Hill (England) <A beauty. Please see here: http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=12444&genusname=Elacatinus&speciesname=multifasciatus and elsewhere on the Net with this scientific name.
Bob Fenner>

Cleaner Shrimp/Neon Goby Compatibility  6/20/06 Hello, I have <Hello Paul> A question regarding compatibility of cleaner shrimp and neon Goby.  My son is new to salt water aquariums.  In his tank are a tang, fire fish, neon goby, 2 clown fish, several turbo snails, 2 peppermint shrimp and a cleaner shrimp.  About a month ago, the peppermint shrimp ate the neon goby (yes, my wife saw it in it's mouth).  We got rid of the peppermint shrimp and bought another neon goby.  Now my son is worried the cleaner shrimp is going to eat the neon goby.  Should he be worried?  I don't think the shrimp were under fed but they were voracious eaters. <None of the shrimp you have are known to attack/eat live fish.  I'm guessing the Neon Goby was already a goner.  In that case, the shrimp(s) will scavenge/eat dead fish.> Thanks for your help. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Regards, Paul M. Goby Compatibility  4/29/06 Hello - <Hi Nate> After learning the ropes on a 20 gallon reef tank for a year or so, I am thrilled that I now have a 65 gallon tank that has been up and   running for 3 months now as well. <Great!> Quick question for you... In addition to my coral (mostly SPS, a few LPS), I would like to have   a number of "small fish" to populate the tank.  In particular, I would like to add a number of green-banded and red-head gobies   (Elacatinus multi. and fasciatus), <Did you mean multi?  The Red Headed Goby is Elacatinus puncticulatus and the Green Banded Goby is Elacatinus multifasciatus. The Red Headed Goby is territorial and may quarrel with others of its own kind unless they are a mated pair.  The Green Banded Gobies get along well with each other and are generally kept in groups of three or more but I have been unable to track   down any information as to whether they do better when kept in odd or even numbers... what say the Gurus of WetWebMedia? Thanks! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Nate Laziness, Neon Goby dis.    4/12/06 Hey Crew thanks for all the help so far. I'm fixing to start up a 75 gallon SW tank i was wondering if neon gobies can get ick, because I was planning to get a blue hippo tang. Also what would you suggest for some companions with the tang and gobies?        Thanks for all the help!!!!!!! <Can, read on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Greenbanded goby  - 02/27/06 Hi Bob. I have been looking into getting a greenbanded goby (Elacatinus multifasciatus) formerly know as (Gobiosoma multifasciatum). I have not been able to get that much information on these little guys. <Unfortunately, not often offered in the trade> I am hoping you might be able answer a couple of questions I have about them. While reading up on them I have been finding very different information/advice. Are they a cleaner type goby or not? <To a smaller extent than others of the genus, yes> My tank is 72x18x20 and I would like to get a group of 5.  Do they do well in groups or should they be housed one per tank? <Groups are how they're found in the wild> (unless a matted pair of course). I did find out this fish is tank bred. Which makes me wonder why they are so rare. <Less demand than oceanops mainly. The "flounder" effect"> I would also like to know if they will get along with a banded sleeper goby (Amblygobius phalaena). I think it will but, since i am not totally sure about the information I have, could you enlighten me. <I would not mix these goby species> Any other information/advice you have on the care of them please let me know. i know others have asked about this guy but did not have the correct scientific name. I am hoping this might help them out as well. thanks for all your help with this and for all the help you have given me in the past. thanks for everything, with your guidance I have avoided some common issues and am calling upon your expertise once again to avoid possible future complications, Gary. <Do relate your experiences here. Bob Fenner> Nursery ... Lysmata, Neon Gobies repro.   2/22/06 Hello aquarium gurus!  <Hello Norris.> I have a question (obviously) I have a 46 gallon bowfront tank with the following inhabitants -2 false percula clownfish -2 neon gobies -2 skunk cleaner shrimp -3 yellow tailed damsels -1 yellow tang - lots of live rock -various corals (including mushrooms, button polyps, and a pumping xenia) -cerith snails -Nassarius snails -red legged, reef hermit crabs -a few Trochus snails -1 margarita snail I have reason to believe that one of my shrimp is carrying eggs in the little fan-like flippers on her abdomen. <Very likely.> I also think one of my neons is pregnant. It has "bloated", and is now either obese or full of little eggs. This was all very exciting, but I've been reading (largely on your site) that the other fish (and I'm looking at the damsels as I write this) will promptly gobble up all eggs, larvae, and fry that dare to be born. <Yummy, yummy, yummy I've got eggs in my tummy...> So... I was already thinking of buying a 20 gallon refugium/sump, with compact fluorescent lighting for my tank... I'm thinking that I could place the future mothers in the refugium, allow them to give birth, and then put them back into the main tank. Could the refugium be used as sort of a nursery? I don't have a quarantine tank... a crime to be ashamed of, if I've gotten anything out of my readings. Is there something wrong with this idea, or is it worth a try? <You would have a difficult time to say the least, providing the right kind of food to rear the shrimp.  Neon gobies have/are bred in captivity and the same problem goes along with a proper food supply.  Do read FAQ's on this subject here.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gobyreprofaqs.htm> AND If I do get a bunch of healthy shrimp and neon gobies, what should I do with them? Where can I sell them? <If it ever develops to that stage I'm sure local shops would take them off your hands for a fair price.> Also, I'm thinking of layering an additional inch of finer, live sand over my current substrate, loose coral rubble. I want either a mandarin, a diamond watchman goby, or a sleeper banded goby, and they need a nice, sandy bottom. Sound OK?  <Yes other than the mandarin is going to require a well developed tank with plenty of live rock and copepods to survive.  Very few adapt to prepared foods.  James (Salty Dog)> Humbly yours, Norris, OR

Multiple Neon Gobies, Magnetic marvels, pyramid hats, rambling...  9/19.5/05 Hi there, <Hello> Upon the suggestion of something I read on your site or elsewhere, I had purchased 4 neon gobies for my 55 gallon tank.  Before that they were in QT for a month and during that time, I tried to determine the sexes.  I then released them into the 55 to see if any would pair up and I could remove the 2 left overs as I did read one 1 or a pair can remain. <Yikes... good luck>   In a short few weeks, only 1 remained.  I have determined that they will seek out and kill the same sex until one remains.  Is that true? <Happens at times... but generally no... are pretty social animals in the wild, stocked in good numbers in transition in the trade> I asked a LFS and they said that you can have several in the same tank and they will be fine.  Well, I think that is a bunch of poo, because it seems EVERY salt water creature can only be a mated pair or ONE in each tank (with the exception of clowns with their own anemone in a large tank). <Mmm, not so> My question was, since I do have the BLUE NEON, if I added a GOLD, would the blue attack and kill it as he/she did the others?  Or would the color variation prevent that? <Should be fine to mix...>   I do have a cleaner shrimp as well (the tangs like him and my solar fairy likes the goby)  I did notice the goby will go after and take off any Lympho (unharmful white stuff ...bacteria or non-fatal protozoan....I just can't remember the name) off the wrasse whether the wrasse likes it or not! lol!   I was told that the cleaner shrimp do NOT eat the crypto/Oodinium, but only the neons do, which lead me to buying one of each, but like I said, I WOULD like another, but not if he will kill the gold.  Thanks for your time!!!! Oh, slightly off the subject: I do highly recommend to anyone with a salt water tank, an ionizer!!!!!   I have tested calcium and mag. right OUT of the ionizer and the levels were higher than the tank.....so it is great for keeping levels up.  I know it is basically a magnetized method, right?   <Are you referring to the product the EcoAqualizer? Is magnet "driven"> I have had NO illnesses, NO ich.......and since I put one in, and yes you will hate this.....I do not QT new fish because this ionizer kills ich, and prevents microalgae issues etc. <... how?> Unlike a UV, it does not take out the good stuff. And between my goby and shrimp, I am not worried.  I can always PUT them in QT if an issue arises. <Too late...>   I don't know what your thoughts are on the matter,  and maybe I have been fortunate, but once I move to my 150, I will probably QT then.  I really think a F/W dip for 15-20 minutes with Meth. blue (PS: Meth. blue will kill royal grammas...any other fish it is harmful to <No...> and the ionizer is the BEST and easiest, and least stressful for the fish instead of being in a QT....as most people only have a 20 set up and have to do a ton of water changes if coppersafing as it kills all good bacteria. As time goes on, we all learn something new.  I almost lost my scooter blenny in QT as there are no copepods to eat!  I put him in my main display and he fattened up.  (I have a supplier who I buy copepods off of....now I have a fat mandarin as I supply him every month with new copepods, this was after trading in my scooter)  Thanks for your time and I do appreciate being able to voice my experience thus far.  Have a great weekend! <Thanks... and I won't limit you... have a great lifetime. Bob Fenner>

Neon Gobies 8/18/05 Hi,     I have a 55gal. saltwater tank. I would like to  know if I can add a neon goby with the following tank mates. 1- 3" Yellow Tang 1- 1" Hippo Tang 1- 4" Blue Headed Wrasse 1- 3" Coral Beauty Angelfish 1- 2.5" Falco Hawkfish 1- 1"  Tomato Clown 1- 1"  Fiji Blue Devil 1- 1.3" Green Chromis we would like to get a few more green Chromis We have about 25 lbs. of live rock. <... well, your system is already way over-stocked... but adding one or two Neon Gobies will actually very likely be of benefit here... in reducing stress... Do be looking (and soon) for a system of at least twice this volume. Bob Fenner> Rose BTA injury, moving Gobiosoma Hey there hi there ho there! <Is this Annette Funicello chiming in? 'Bout time!> Just doing some reading on BTA in your web and BOY it is fascinating! I had acquired a "yellow" sebae and it started looking bad right away......I wrote about it. LONG story short, I took it BACK (still alive and browning, but it was a malu and NOTHING takes to it, so that was the reason the LFS gave me full credit! (their bad advice) I got a small rose BTA that was there for 3 weeks or more and eating several times a week.  I brought it home and today fed it 1/2 a small silverback (that is how they feed it) Anyhow, I was observing my neon gobies and they had slightly frayed fins with white on them. (NOT on the body) so in my attempt to remove the little darlings to a QT, the rock that the BTA was under came dislodged and he was hit with the rock below, but at the same time I grabbed the rock, so I don't think he got whacked too hard. He shrunk a little on the side that was bumped and 1/2 dislodged from the rock. I looked at his foot and there is no tear, just a few "tiny sheets" of rock (or what was on the rock between his foot and the rock). He spit out his breakfast, as I assume is a defense mechanism (already 1/2 dissolved.. ewwww). Anyhow, I put the rock back how it was. Most of his tentacles are fine, the spot of the "injury" though I see NO sign of one, (maybe just trauma) has a couple tentacles shriveled. Now, this JUST happened. Will he be okay???? <Maybe. Hope so> Catching neon gobies with live rock is a PAIN! <Best to plan on removing all LR> My yellow tang and white molly had no sign of fraying, but my royal Gramma did and he is now in QT as well. I have 2 of the 4 gobies with him. I am using an antibacterial (negative), so I couldn't treat the tank. How do I handle the rogue gobies with out killing anything!!?? Thanks! Carrie :) <Carefully... set out containers to contain the rock... remove... Bob Fenner>

Stalking Gobiosoma Hi! Thanks for the quick email.  I got one more rogue goby out, but the fourth, even if I take the rock out of the water for a second, he sticks inside.  I took most of the rock out and caught my tang, as "bubbles" (is the name) had some fin stuff going on as well.  I have decided that I will sneak up on the genius neon goby and suck the little sucker out with a big siphon tube......can't be anymore stressful than chasing it!  BTA looks great, BTW!  Thanks again! Carrie :) <Welcome and... good fishing! Bob Fenner>

Quarantine Tank Permanent Resident Thank you for you fantastic site. Recently I read one of the articles on the site about the great benefit of a cleaner goby (Elacatinus oceanops). So, I decided to add one to my FOWLR (had some problems with tangs and ick) tank, which I have had up and running for about 5 months now. I did the research and thought the goby would be compatible with the Niger trigger, well my research was faulty and I was completely wrong. <Perhaps a meal instead...> I have rescued the little guy and put him in my 20 gal. QT with my scopas tang who is almost completely cured of his ick problem. My question is, since the trigger wants him for a snack, can the goby become a permanent quarantine tank resident (if he eats flake food) or should I invest in something like a hang on refugium. The fish is very interesting and since I had to order him the LFS won't take him back. I refuse to allow him to become trigger food. And yes, I am using copper to treat the tangs ick. <Mmm, such small gobies could live in twenty gallons... but not in continuous contact with copper. Your idea of adding a refugium is excellent... more volume, filtration, stability... a great home for the goby and more interesting possibilities for you as an aquarist. Bob Fenner>  - Fish and Food Selection - Hi Aaron here. First off I would like to congratulate you on THE best fish website I have ever come across. I have a 29 gallon FOWLR with one firefish goby (These fish are awesome!), a few hermit crabs and about 25 lbs of live and base rock (Rock that will eventually turn "live"). I traded in my domino damsel and yellow tang after reading of the firefish's passiveness and seeing my fish chase him. Unfortunately part of his tail fin is missing. Will this grow back?  <Yes, in time.>  In another e-mail question to your site someone gave possible tankmate suggestions that I really liked. I wish to get two or three neon gobies (What amount would be better?), an algae or bicolor blenny and a mated pair of clownfish; ocellaris or sebae, still deciding.  <For the neon gobies, two in a pair or just a single individual. I've seen same sex neon gobies seek each other out for battle in a 180 gallon tank. If you can get a pair, great. As for the rest of the fish, I'd limit your picks to one clownfish and the blenny or just the clownfish pair. With a 29 gallon tank, you don't want to push the limits too far.>  Also, not too far down the road I plan to get some PC lighting and a protein skimmer so I can add coral. The main question is what types of foods should I purchase for these above fish to have a healthy diet? I currently have frozen krill, freeze-dried brine shrimp (I know this food is HORRIBLE for a fish's diet), and those sheets of dried seaweed you can get. Any info would be greatly appreciated.  <All the fish you list will do well with a meaty diet - I'd stock up on some Mysis shrimp, and if your krill is whole, run it through a food processor to reduce the particle size. You might also try some of the New Life Spectrum pellets as these are very well made and an excellent food.> Thanks for all your help in the past and I'm certain in the future. <Cheers, J -- > 

Cleaner Goby et al. Compatibility I want to try to keep a cleaner goby, but what risks do I run into by keeping it with a porcupine puffer and a Sebae anemone. <Besides the risk you're already running with keeping those two, very unnatural tankmates together? I would stay away, never know when the porky might get hungry...but if you have plenty of rockwork should be fine.  I would definitely find a new home for that Sebae anemone though> I read your FAQs and don't want to use a cleaner wrasse and shrimp would possibly become a treat for the puffer.  What is your opinion on what I should do. <I wouldn't worry about anything...and either turn your aquarium into a species tank for the porky or the anemone, not both.  When you've done this, then add a neon\cleaner goby :) - M. Maddox> Neon gobies into overflow Bob, <Hi Lee, MacL here with you today, I believe Bob is in Hawaii and diving.  Sigh sigh sigh I really need a trip there ha ha ha .>    I keep having a problem with my blue neon cleaner gobies going into my tank overflow. And if I put a screen there, then it will disrupt the water flow. Any other better ideas?? <Well, Lee, there are different types of screening with different hole sizes and that might help. Meaning if you get a larger screen size it shouldn't disrupt the flow quite as much.  My engineer gobies did this on a regular basis and I continually had to get them out of my canister filter. Amazingly enough they finally learned NOT to do it. The only other thing I can think of is to put some type of block in front of it so they have to go up and over and it might be enough to make them stop and not travel into it. Good luck, MacL> Thanks Lee

Neon Gobies Hi Crew, Wonderful site!  Read most everyday. Have learned a ton here. My question is about some neon gobies (oceanops) that I have in quarantine. I've had 6 of  these guys in my quarantine tank for almost 3 weeks now. All 6 eat voraciously and seem alert and active. My concern is that 2 of them lack almost any color at all. Just a hint of a lateral black line and no blue at all. Even the little black color that they do have is very patchy. When I received them from the LFS they all lacked color, I assume from stress. Four of them gained their color back within a day of quarantine. The other 2 have never regained their color.  The water prams are excellent (no detectable ammonia or nitrite,  ph=8.1, spg 1.022, temp 82 F)  I perform a 10% water change daily, 50% with water from my 120 gallon reef tank and 50% with newly mixed salt water. Should I be concerned about the 2 gobies that still have no color? thanks! Jim >>>Hello Jim, I wouldn't be concerned, they may just be the subdominant fish. They should color up once in the display with enough territory and cover. Cheers Jim<<< <RMF would separate these pronto.> Looking for Neon Gobies Aloha, <Hello from the mainland> Thanks for the great site.  I was wondering if you or any of your many readers are able to tell me how to get a neon goby.  I've been to the local stores and looked on the internet and have had no luck. Apparently no one wants to send them across the ocean.  Seems like a tough ticket to get over here on the rock.  Appreciate your time, Rich <Mmm, shouldn't be that tough to get... the genus Gobiosoma (Neon Gobies) has a few species that are regularly aquacultured, and are a popular group due to their size, hardiness, beauty and utility as facultative cleaners... Have you asked your retailer/s to order them? From your greeting, it sounds like you may be in Hawaii... On O'ahu contact Randy Fernley (Coral Fish Hawai'i) in Aiea... on the Big Island Bill Stockley (of Stockley Aquarium in Kailua/Kona), otherwise, a bit more expensive, they can be ordered through etailers like DrsFosterSmith.com, MarineCenter (.com), MarineDepot... Bob Fenner> Neon goby Hi crew, <Hey there Angela, MacL here with you today> I have a 72" inch 90 g. tank with following inhabitants: 4 turbo snails 4 micro hermit crabs 1 neon goby 3 3" firefish 1 3" valentini puffer 1 2" flame angel (currently in quarantine, acquired last week, 2 weeks to go) last addition (to come): 1 small yellow tang <So exciting> I had purchased the neon goby early on for my future angel and tang, but fell in love with the Toby and decided to add him to the family. The problem: the neon goby dances on the Toby at least once a day; most times "Nurmul" the Toby stays perfectly still or moves away from the goby, but recently he's been puffing up slightly every time the goby lands on him. The other day I actually saw Nurmul puff up— huge, like a bullfrog— the rare occasions I've seen him puff was minimal compared to this). I'm not sure if the goby irritated him that time, but it's likely. I'm hoping when I add the flame angel and the tang, the goby will focus his attention elsewhere. <Its possible but they seem to love to pick at puffers and its really not good for the puffer.> The goby also cleans the firefish (another scaleless fish!). The goby also gorges himself with the Firefishes' food. He's really got a gut on him, he eats anything. It can't be healthy. Should I bring the neon back to the LFS? I can't get a cleaner shrimp for the others because Nurmul will most likely eat it. <Definite possibility but I really think you'd be best taking the goby back, he will pester continuously the puffer.  Good luck, MacL> Thanks much + terrific site, <Gracias> Angela

Cleaner Gobies Needed? Thank you! I already have 6 Lysmata shrimp in the tank. Two peppermints, two skunk cleaners and two fire shrimp. The shrimp are about the same size as the fish and the fish don't allow themselves to be cleaned!!! Would they allow a cleaner goby to approach them? << I think they would.  It often takes a few days, but eventually they do.  Plus the captive raised gobies are just so much healthier and do so well. >> I can't thank all you guys enough! Narayan <<  Blundell  >>

Goby availability, invert. and algae books? Hi!  First let me start with again saying thank you ever so much for all your help & advice.  You have helped me immensely in the past and I'm hoping you can help me again.  My first question is: I have the Scott Michael book and wanted a fish that I saw in there, he calls it a Sharknose Goby, I looked it up on Fishbase.org and they too call it that, however, my LFS has never seen one or heard of it, also I have been looking online and haven't found any place that carries them.  Is there another name for them, the only other thing I can find is Cleaner Goby but I've had the same results using that name.   <There are quite a few species of Gobiosoma, and this one is every now and then imported, and has been aquacultured... but it is rarely offered in our interest, and when so is often simply labeled as "Neon" or "Cleaner" goby...>        My second question is this: Is there a book of references like the Marine Fishes book that just gives a picture and name, feeding advice, stuff like that on inverts & types of algae? <There is a new companion book to the Pocket Guide by Ron Shimek (Microcosm) that is due out any day... am sure it will be excellent. And Anthony Calfo and I have a title from last year (Reef Invertebrates) in the Natural Marine Aquarium series which has considerable practical husbandry information on invert.s and macroalgae of use in aquaria. You can find info. on both these books on the Net.>   I have Bob's CMA book and it is wonderful but I wanted a pocket guide type thing.  Thanks so much in advance for any help you can give me! Amy <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Neon Goby Post-QT >Hi all, >>Hello. >I am hoping you can help me out.  I love your website and read it daily.  Anyway, I have a 30g reef tank with 20lbs live rock, 30lbs of sand, 2 cleaner shrimp, 9 turbo snails and about 20 blue legged hermit crabs.  All water parameters are perfect.  I had my fish wiped out a few months ago with ich!  I decided to set up a QT and put my new fish in there for a few weeks.   >>Best move. >Anyway, I let the tank go fallow for about 2 months then purchased my first new fish a neon goby.  It pretty much stuck to the bottom or the sides of the tank and would eat on a regular schedule for 3 weeks in the QT.   >>I always prefer a full 30 days for quarantine. >Last night I put him in the display tank and left the lights off all night.  I could see him exploring and resting on the live rock.  This morning when I turned my light on and fed the tank he started swimming erratically.  He's been doing this all morning.  Seems stressed.   >>ONLY once you fed?  This is unusual. >Just swimming up and down from top to bottom and almost bouncing around the tank.  IT's completely opposite from how he behaved the weeks in QT.  He really didn't eat when I tried to feed him.  Is this normal or should I be concerned. >>You should be concerned, and may be better off removing him back to the QT ASAP until you can figure out what the problem may be.  My first thought is improper acclimation.  Make absolutely certain all parameters are well-matched, ESPECIALLY pH. >Thanks for your help. Shannon >>Much welcome, hope he recovers.  Marina

Gobiosoma bosc Hi,     I've recently returned from a vacation on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and have tentatively identified a goby I found in a cenote as G. borc.  This is mainly due to it's  distribution and approximate size ( 4 " ).  Other information is extremely lacking,  I would be very grateful if you could provide some background information.  The fish was black in colour and was inhabiting the sink hole with an Astyanax species and also Thorichthys, Gambusia and Mollies.  Thank you, Glenn Owens. <Mmm, well fishbase.org has a bit on the species (see above spelling correction)... otherwise it's "off to the library"... a college with a bio./zoo. dept. will have a reference librarian who can help you search the literature, including the original description... Bob Fenner>

- Livestock Questions - Hi all. A few questions for you: I have a 25 gallon FOWLR setup (the tank/lighting/filtration system is an eclipse 3 version if you've heard of it) with ~13 lbs of live rock and a few pieces of dead rock with pretty holes to swim through. My current inhabitants are two true percula clowns and a neon goby, plus my cleanup crew of 3 tiny hermits, 3 snails and 1 enormous scarlet hermit who is currently in solitary confinement so he won't eat the others (plan to return him later). What is a good ratio of hermits/snails to gallons? <For a tank like yours, a half-dozen or so.> I plan to add a pair of skunk cleaner shrimp to this setup, but I have heard that they cannot tolerate high nitrate levels. Is my reading of 5ppm considered high? <I wouldn't consider that high... the shrimp should be fine.> Next--Can a flame angelfish be added to this setup without problems? <No... I predict problems.> I read the article on flame angels http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/centropyge/loricula.htm and saw that the should be kept in a larger tank than the one I have. If I got one, <A larger tank?> would he be able to live a natural and healthy life & be able to get along with everyone? <Not in your existing tank.> Also, would I be pushing the bioload with this addition? <Yes.> Next question--I watched my neon goby for about a week at the LFS to make sure he was in good health before buying him, he looked great, actively swimming about, darting away when I came up to him, and eating. The only thing about him was that he did not have the characteristic 'neon' blue on his sides, more of a white color. I followed the advice of a book I read that said not to judge a fish by the color it displays in the LFS tank and bought him, as they are supposed to be much more vibrant after they settle down into a more permanent home. Is this right? <For some fish... with these gobies, sometimes there are hybrids available which are typically crosses of the yellow and blue gobies, and the offspring of these are often pale blue.> Can I expect the goby to live up to his name? <Maybe... give it some time.> Thanks for any answers <Cheers, J -- > - Goby and Damsel Compatibility - Hello Mr. Fenner and Crew, The other day I was at my LFS and spotted a really neat looking fish.   The guy helping me out told me it was a greenbanded goby. <Gobiosoma multifasciatum, a lovely fish.> I asked if it would be safe in a tank with a Percula Clown and a Yellow-Tailed Blue Damsel.  He said it shouldn't be a problem at all. After getting him home and having him in the tank for a the first few days, he mostly stayed hidden under or behind some of the live rock.  Today it started getting a little more comfortable, and swimming around.  Tonight as I was looking in, I noticed that the yellow tailed damsel was constantly on the look out for the goby.  Always swimming over to where the goby is at, and chasing him if he was out in the open.  I've looked online quite a bit and can't find any info on compatibility for the goby, other then that they are quite calm themselves. <Neon gobies are compatible with just about anything that won't eat them... the damsel is what you have to worry about here.> I do know the damsel can be a bit territorial. <'A bit' is an understatement. Damsels are well known to attack scuba divers - things considerably larger than them to defend their territory. They are fearless and persistent in this regard.> And they both have picked the same rock to hang around in.  He almost seems to be taunting the damsel.  Constantly swimming right under it.  Should I be concerned for the goby? <I would be - if there aren't other places for this fish to hide, the damsel can and will kill it in time.> Or does this sound like more of a territorial kind of thing that might work itself out? <Will only 'work itself out' if the goby finds another home that the damsel does not consider its space - the damsel was there first.> Thanks for your reply and all the other info I've found on your site. Regards, Jeremy <Cheers, J -- >

Gobiidae question Dear Crew, I had a goby hitchhiker in my (Florida) Gulf of Mexico live rock.  I have identified it as a tiger goby, Gobiosoma macrodon.  It is about 1" long, and I understand from Humann's Reef Fish that this about as big as this guy will get, which is just perfect for the 20 gallon mini-reef he's in.  Anyway, there is no info out there on his specific dietary and social habits, that I can find, anyway.  He seems to be quite a trooper, and smart enough to have evaded 2 mantis shrimp that came in with him (I got them out with a little ingenuity, if I do say so myself).  Do you have any leads I could follow, or do I just follow standard neon goby info? <Yes... all members of the genus have similar husbandry> Since they are different species, I didn't want to assume anything.  Does he like a same-species buddy, or a specific shrimp? <Don't know. This from fishbase.org: "Inhabits rock faces and tidepools (often under red algae), pilings and surfaces of large sponges"> Any info you have would be greatly appreciated to keep this little guy happy and healthy.  (This goby has been in the tank for about  3 weeks now - tank is 5 weeks old.  I guess he hasn't starved so far.) Thank so much! Erin C. <Bob Fenner>

- Breeding Gobiosoma - Hail to the Crew: <Hello, JasonC here...> First, I would like to thank all of you for the outstanding assistance you guys and gals provide. <I'm glad you find it useful.> I do not make a move without checking here first!  I am interested in breeding Gobiosoma species.  Originally, I was going to try G. oceanops, but lately my LFS has been stocking G. randalli, and I find the gold color irresistible.  Do you think the randalli species would be as "easy" as the oceanops? <Oh sure - both are bred and raised in captivity with regularity... featured by ORA as part of their tank-raised offerings.> I was thinking of a 20 gallon long for them to breed.  I don't expect you to provide me with all of the answers in one neat email, so do you have any other resource (or link I missed on your site) you can point me to regarding substrate, lighting, etc. for my endeavor? <These hyperlinks should give you a good start: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/reproduc.htm http://www.breeders-registry.gen.ca.us/Articles/v4_i1_brown/gobies.htm > Thanks a million, Rich. <Cheers, J -- >

New Goby on the Block? Crew of the Millennium: >Which one? Okay, so I have researched the "Lime Stripe" Goby (LFS name) from my previous email, and it turns out to be a Green banded Goby (Gobiosoma multifasciatum), and I have attached a picture.   >WOW!!!  Those are some BEAUTIFUL fish.  I can tell you right now that I, personally, have *never* seen these fish.  Gorgeous, just gorgeous.  Now that we have taxonomical nomenclature, let's do some research, shall we? This is the one that was referred to as "rare".  I understand the LFS is in the business of selling fish, and this sounds like a commercial that says "quantities are limited" or something like that.  It is a beauty, and I have never seen it in my limited experience, but is it rare?   >From my research, I would have to give you a resounding NO.  Check the links! Also, the other fish  is called a White Ray Shrimp Goby (Stonogobiops yasha) (picture attached too)!  Do I really need a shrimp to go with it?   >It really would be best to get one that is already paired up with its own little shrimp-buddy.  Sometimes fish like this can be artificially paired up, but it's difficult and RARE. Anything else you can add to these two choices for my 55gal FOWLR/DSB + inverts, I really appreciate it.  Thanks, Rich. >You're welcome, let's see what links I can dig up for ya, Rich. >This first hit on the S. yasha (general Google) specializes in rare fish, FYI. http://www.cosmos.ne.jp/~acropora/l/l91.htm  this is the hit for the White Ray shrimp goby, and according to the little I can decipher (most of this is in Japanese, Bob and my sister Michelle are the only Japanese speakers I can lay my hands on at the moment) it is only very recently described. http://www.fishbase.org/Nomenclature/FamilyRefList.cfm?FamCode=405 http://www.aquatic-specialists.com/Catalog/gobies.html >Only two pages of hits for the S. yasha, and now for the G. multifasciatum... http://aq-designs.com/LS_Salt.html  LOOKY HERE!  You can buy it TANK RAISED!  (WOO HOO) http://www.fishbase.org/Country/CountryFishList.cfm?Country=Trinidad%20and%20Tobago&Group=aquarium http://www.thereeftank.com/article/januaryarticle.htm PS: if I pray for RI book to arrive at my door, will it come any faster? >NO!  LOL!!!  But don't let me dissuade you from the power of prayer.  Press runs being what they are (aside from last minute tweaks) there's just no telling. Seriously, however long it takes, we will wait patiently! >Me, too, my friend, me too.  Marina

Cleaner goby in a seahorse tank? (03/03/03) Hi, <Hello! Ananda here today...> I an  putting together my first salt water aquarium. It is a 20 gallon extra tall.  24" tall to be exact. I will be putting seahorse in it when cycled. My question is can I also put a Gobiosoma oceanops in it as well? <Yes, it should be fine.> Would there be any draw backs to my chose or would another species of goby do better? <None that I can think of... you might need to feed a bit more, which might mean more frequent water changes.> Thank you Lisha <You're welcome. Do check out the seahorse-centric web sites and discussion boards -- we have a small one in the WetWebFotos chat forums. --Ananda>

Shy Neon Goby Greetings WWM Crew. <Hi there! Scott F. with you!> Needless to say once again your site is wonderful. I have a question about a Neon Goby. After reading through countless articles on this site, I thought a Neon Goby would be a perfect addition to my 54 gallon tank. After a painstaking search to get one here in the Bay Area ( I understand they are seasonal as with most fish ), I had one of my LFS special order one for me. He/she was a lighter shade than black when I go it, with 2 bright stripes going through the top from front to back. It actually didn't look like a traditional Neon Goby at first, but has since darkened a bit ( now it looks black ). Anyway, I've had the Neon for a week now, and all it does is sit on one of my powerheads in the tank ( seems to be his spot ). <Not an uncommon behaviour- many times these fishes will "hang out" in a given area and go on "excursions" from there.> He's not hiding because the powerhead is out in the open. He moves around a bit, and I've spotted him eating a few times when I feed ( he doesn't seem to eat all the time like everyone else ). I have yet to witness any of my other fish ever bothering the Goby either, nor my goby attempting to clean any of the other fish - seems oblivious to each other . My question was , is this normal behavior for the Neon Goby? Is it possibly sick or stressed? Will it ever begin to swim around the tank? As always, any help is much appreciated. Best Regards, Rao. <In my experience with neon gobies, I have seen them behave in this manner many times. They will often "settle down" a little slower than most other fishes. I'd give him some time to adjust. Make sure that some food comes his way when you feed the rest of the fishes. Several other neon gobies may also help bring him out a bit more. Keep a close eye on this little guy. I'm sure that he'll come around! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Fang Blennies, Gobiosoma, Gobiodon Will M. grammistes and M. atrodorsalis get along in the same tank?  Do these fish do as well alone as in a group? <Alone. Not a good idea to mix any species, specimens of the Nemophini. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sabertoothblens.htm> Also, I was contemplating a Cortez Red Head Goby.  If I can't afford to get more than one, should I wait?  Would two be enough?  I'm not interested in breeding them, just interested in their general health. <This fish is fine singly or in its species company> Last, I heard the Green Clown Goby occasionally picks on SPS corals from Scott Michael's book.  Any experience with these guys? <Yes. And yes, they do... if have enough Acroporids present not a big problem. This is where and what they live on in the wild> Would they make a good addition to a reef tank with lots of Dartfish, blennies, and other gobies? <If there's enough food, not-aggressive types as tankmates, sure.> Cheers, Chris (aka newkie) <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

- Neon Gobies and Cleaner Shrimp - Hi! <Hello to you. JasonC here...> My question for right now is - Will a Neon Blue Goby attack a cleaner shrimp? <Not in my experience.> I was under the assumption that they would get along (especially in a 38 gallon tank), but a guy at my LFS said that pretty much any goby or blenny would mess with any kind of shrimp. <For the most part untrue, but could happen due to territorial matters. Or perhaps if was a fang blenny, which are worth avoiding anyway.> That leaves me with a choice to make, if he is correct. <No worries.> I really would like to have both, but am now confused if they will co-exist. <Buy them both.> Thank you very much. - Alex Mills <Cheers, J -- > - Cleaner Shrimp Compatibility - Ditto for a Firefish Goby. Will it get along? <I think so, sure.> Thanks.  - Alex Mills <Cheers, J -- >

- Neon Gobies & Seastars - Hello Crew, I have a few questions today... <Greetings, JasonC here...> I have a 55gal FOWLR with the following inhabitants:  a maroon clown, a green brittle star, a purple pseudo, an x-mas wrasse, a striped damsel, a pink and green cucumber, a pincushion urchin, a small red starfish, two peppermint shrimp and some turbo and Astrea snails.  On this tank, I run a CPR backpack skimmer 24x7 and have two power heads for circulation.  First, I am interested in neon gobies and am double-checking to make sure they will fit in with these tank mates. <I don't trust that green brittle star too much, you probably shouldn't either. They are known to prey on small fish.> Could I add 2 or 3? <Probably only one in a tank of this size unless you had a definite male/female pair. In spite of their size, neon gobies can be relentless on the low man in the pecking order, even in large tanks.> Can I put different neon gobies together? <You mean like yellow vs. blue? I don't think so... same problem would result.> I have possibly overlooked it, but I don't see anything on WWM about their feeding habits. <They will eat pretty much anything.> I currently feed my tank once daily and offer a wide variety of foods (frozen Mysid shrimp, finely chopped krill, Nutrafin flakes and granules, freeze-dried daphnia and plankton, dried seaweed and shrimp pellets, all soaked in Zoe.  Will this routine work for the neon gobies? <Perfectly.> Also, in what I've read, I gather that neon gobies do not really require quarantine periods.  Is this true? <No... all incoming fish should be quarantined.> Next, my red starfish doesn't seem to move around much and I never really see him feeding.  Is this normal behavior?  His physical health looks ok, he is just not very active and I worry that he may not be eating well. <Hmm... the description 'red starfish' doesn't really tell me enough. By any chance do you have the common name or even Latin? It would help determine whether or not it's care requirements are being met.> Any particular food items that this little guy would prefer? <Hard to say. What did you try?> I don't find much info on the web about the red starfish in particular. <Perhaps that's because that's not its proper name.> Finally, I am also thinking of adding a cleaner shrimp to this mix and want to make sure he'll be ok with the peppermints. <You could try, but you are coming very close to the edge of being overcrowded. Everyone in the tank has established territory which they will see as being under threat as you add more life to the tank. Do reconsider...> These are all of my questions for now.  As always, I sincerely appreciate the time and effort put in by all of you to educate and support the amateurs.  Thanks a million!! <You are quite welcome. Cheers, J -- >

- Re: Neon Goby & Red Seastar - Thank you so much for the prompt response. <My pleasure.> Maybe I'll forego the neon goby and opt only for a cleaner shrimp.  OR, maybe I'll move the brittle star to my 120 gallon tank where the smallest fish is a blue banded sleeper goby. Would removing the brittle star and adding one neon goby and a cleaner shrimp even things out enough? <Well... seastars by themselves do little to the bioload; there really so little to them. My comment about crowding has more to do with available space rather than bioload. A seastar wouldn't impact this, but a cleaner shrimp would likely [and by accident] infringe on the territory of the peppermint shrimp and that could be the end of the cleaner shrimp. Not a certainty that this would happen, mind you, but something to consider.> Would the green brittle star be ok with the young snowflake eel that's in my 120 gallon tank? <I think so.> Also, I believe the proper name for what my LFS calls the "red starfish" is Fromia Milleporella. <Ahhh... that helps enormously.> Maybe I am being neglectful as far as his feeding is concerned because my experience with starfish is limited to the green brittle star, who actively comes out at feeding time and takes whatever he can get his hands on, and a chocolate chip starfish, who actually comes to the top of the tank at feeding time and turns himself over, letting me feed him shrimp pellets directly by hand. <I wouldn't expect the Fromia to do this on auto pilot. You might try offering it a pellet directly.> I do not see the red starfish making any moves toward food at feeding time or actively scavenging at all. <You may not have enough fauna growing on your live rock. These seastars tend towards bacterial detritus as their primary food source. That doesn't mean it won't eat a pellet, but it might need some convincing.> Does this info help you at all in assessing my concerns? <Yes, and having the Latin name will help you find more information about it on the Internet. Here's a good place to start: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seastars.htm > Again, thanks for the information and support. <Cheers, J -- >

Grim Holidays battling ICH Bob, Thanks for the getting us in the right direction, we have lowered the main to 1.018 spg at 84 degrees per your recommendation.  Looks like the fish in QT are getting better by the day, especially the yellow tang which has no more white dots.  I guess almost everyone has to learn quarantining of new livestock the hard way. But I do have a couple more questions.  We are planning to get a cleaner for the tank (once we are back in order).  We were leaning to getting a neon goby, since the cleaner wrasses are best left in the wild.  Will a good sized (1.5" and above) neon goby survive with a 2.5" Dwarf lion "inhale" habits? <I give you good odds (more than 80%) here. Most fishes, even those from areas where these Gobies don't occur, recognize them as allies> Cleaner shrimp I guess would be out of the question.  How about cleaner hogs? <Only small ones... for a large system. I would stick with the Neon Goby choice> Thanks for all your hard work all, Robert      <You're welcome. Bob Fenner>

Name that Goby It's a lousy pic, but anyone got a name for this little bugger? <It's Elacatinus puncticulatus. Pls see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/neongobies.htm> -Zo
<Bob Fenner>

Attacking Ich! Hello Ladies and Gentlemen of the WWM Crew, Who do I have the honor of chatting with this morning? <Scott F.- honored to be with YOU!> The crazy seahorse lady here who has extended her addiction to Puffers.....Egads what's next? <Breeding pygmy angelfish, soft corals, stony corals, non-photosynthetic gorgonians...no stopping here!> I am curious about cleaner goby behavior. I have a little story before my questions...... I have a wild caught Gobiosoma randalli. I have been battling ich in a FOWLR tank for quite a while now. The 2 Dogface Puffers clear up for a couple of days and show symptoms again, on and off for 5 to 6 weeks. I tried everything that has been recommended........a specific gravity of 1.010 and a temp of 83,  garlic laced foods,  pepper based solutions  and Kick ich. They all seemed to help but not for long. I refused to go the copper route.  I was at my wits end. Out of desperation one day I decided to do something most would consider rather drastic. I removed all the substrate. I siphoned it out during a water change. I added a few large pieces of cured LR to  off set the loss of the bio filter I removed with the sand. The water quality has remained stable, without any spikes. The hyposalinity, elevated temp, removal of the substrate, running a UV 24/7, diatomaceous filtration 4 to 8 hours every few days, the addition of a cleaner goby, and daily FW dips for 30 min, which btw they loved they even ate in there had the most impact. My fish are finally free of any  signs of ich for about 2 weeks now. <There is a very good basis for what you did. Without going into a lot of detail here, it is theoretically possible to eliminate ich in a bare tank with nothing but massive daily water changes, siphoning from the bottom of the tank. The thought process here is that the ich "cysts" can be siphoned out of the tank as they enter their free swimming phase, and never get a chance to re-infect the fishes...It's not entirely that simple, but there is some merit to the idea...> I am nervous though, because the cleaner goby still spends time on the puffers. It is really pretty amazing to watch and  certainly a very interesting interaction.  I got a few really good photographs, should you be interested in posting any. The goby lays on top of these 2 big fat fish (well big and fat by comparison) and just picks or nibbles. The Puffers become almost motionless and just quietly hover in the water, absolutely still, almost like they are in a trance. The goby occasionally burrows inside the gill opening. 1/2 of his little body disappears and it looks like he is going to get lost in there. The Puffers do not appear to be bothered by the cleaner at all, as a matter of fact they look like they are enjoying it. <amazing behaviour to watch!> Do these little cleaners pick at more than parasites? What other parasite will they consume? <I couldn't give you an exact run down, to be quite honest, but let's assume that they could consume whatever parasites they could fit into their mouths...> Should I assume I still have a problem in my tank. There are a couple of other small fish who never showed any signs of ich and the cleaner never goes near them. So I am curious if they only clean infested/infected fish? <Tough call here. Even though your radical idea is effective at reducing ich, I'd have to say that the "infestation" is still in your system. The cysts can be in the rock, and lots of other possible "hiding places", if you've removed the substrate. I really think that the most effective simple technique for reliably reducing the parasite count is to leave the tank "fallow", without fishes, for a month or so, as the parasite population will crash for want of hosts. Not 100% perfect, but very, very effective!> Is the diatom filter effective in removing any other pathogens, besides the free swimming stage of ich? <Well- "pathogens" is a pretty broad description...Let's just say that it can do an effective job of eliminating the tomonts after they leave the fish and settle on the substrate, if you siphon from there> How long do you think I should wait before adding new substrate? I am planning on using one of the commercially available bio active sands...like Natures Ocean. <All depends on when you feel a "cure" has been achieved...One month, two months...really hard to predict, unfortunately> Do you have any idea if the old sand could safely ever be reused? I rinsed in for a long time in FW, until the water ran clean and clear. Then I laid it thinly spread out on cookie sheets to dry in the sun.    <Some people would even go so far as to bleach it, put it in a tank with chlorine remover, change water, and filter with PolyFilters, etc...If it were me- I'd treat it like toxic waste for some time! Certainly a wasteful thing to do, I know- but, as you are aware- once you've been through an ich battle, you'll do just about anything to avoid having it happen again!> Thanks so much for your time and help, Leslie <And thanks to you Leslie- for stopping by! Good luck with your treatment efforts!>

Neon gobies feeding question Hi WWM crew, great site! <Hey, Gage here this evening.> I was future planning for maybe 3-5 neon gobies in a 40 gallon tank with a maroon clown, purple Firefish, and 3 cardinals, will this work out ok? And I don't live anywhere near an LFS that sells frozen foods, so will the neon gobies eat flakes if I crush them up a little bit? <I would leave out the Maroon Clown, in the long run it will get too large and too aggressive. I am not a big fan of flakes, in my personal experience they tend to do more harm than good. They neon gobies will likely starve over time. How far away is this store, you could stock up on a variety of frozen foods. Have you considered making your own frozen food? Best Regards, Gage>

Cleaner goby Hi I've been reading your FAQs pages. Very informative. One quick question. Will my 6 inch long porcupine puffer chomp on a cleaner goby?  <does a bear bring a readers digest into the woods?!? Er... I mean yes. Quite possible... even likely in time> Or will he realize the goby's role?  <even natural relationships are warped in captivity.. many strange behaviors in the confines of a small aquarium> The tank is 55 gal with 40 lbs of rock and only a yellow tang as the other inhabitant. Thanks and I'm sure you can guess why I want a cleaner goby ;) <ahhh... because puffers and tangs are ich magnets?!? Do be sure to have the equipment for a proper Qt tank on hand too. And a second heater in the main tank is a fine idea as well... unstable temps are a common cause of ich in such fishes. Best regards, Anthony>

Gobiosoma Species Dear Bob, Anthony, Steve, Jason, and Crew... Following the excellent advice of the WWM crew in reacting to a recent outbreak of ich in my 150 gal FOWLR cum reef system, my fish are in a hospital tank and are responding excellently to copper sulphate. Meanwhile, the main system has been fallow for two weeks now (I'm letting it go for about a month and a half). I will now institute full one month quarantine on EVERY fish added to my system now and forever!! <You're coming through loud and clear! Congrats on your and your fishes therapy> Anyways, after much research and re-reading WWM FAQS and the CMA, I am thinking of adding a several Neon gobies to the system when it's ready to re-populate again to serve as a "supplemental" line of defense against potential new parasitic outbreaks. <Mmm, how big a tank? Likely one (tank-raised is better) individual "will do"> My question is this: Since I still have about a month to go before re-populating the main system, is it advisable to quarantine the new gobies with the existing fish population in the "hospital tank" I have set up? <One to a tank is likely best here... unless they are quite small (an inch max.)... as there can be "fights" amongst the members, species of this genus> Or would I be better served setting up another quarantine system for them?  <Put one in with the present fishes... separate them (even in just perforated plastic containers to keep them separated) if more... or in the other quarantine tank/s> I have, of course, been running copper in the hospital tank, and I have heard that these gobies might not react so well to copper. Is this correct?  <Smaller fishes in general are less tolerant to copper, more susceptible to copper poisoning> And further, would I be exposing my newly-recovered fish to potential new infections from the gobies even in a tank with therapeutic copper dosage? <Not much likelihood of this. Most Gobiosoma are clean, from culture facilities. Even wild-caught ones are generally "good to go"> Thanks once again for being such a great resource. Anthony- I fully credit you with helping me save my treasured fish population from my own mistakes! You are all doing a wonderful service to the hobby and the animals we love so much! <Will send along to Antoine... am sure he has the same sense, using the Net here to aid others. Bob Fenner> Regards, Scott F.

Treatment for an Ailing Gobiosoma Hello (I assume to JasonC) <<JasonC, hello to you...>> I mailed awhile back about my neon goby having been stressed out and breaking out in ich. He did better for a few days, and I thought he was on the mend. Then our power went out again!! <<that is unfortunate.>> He looks worse. I am afraid of my other fish contracting Ich. <<may also be stress from the dark time.>> My question is two-fold. 1) Will he be the only one infected because he is weaker and more frightened? <<one would hope so, but if this is a genuine parasite, then you have many and not one, so in time, everyone will become infected. >> 2) I have a bad feeling that if I move him he might die. <<and this is a good assumption at this point>> Is it okay for him to recover in the tank without harm coming to my other fish? <<well, you probably know from one of my previous answers that he may unintentionally infect his neighbors.>> He did eat this morning but swam back to his hiding spot. Any advice?? <<I always like eating as a sign. It's not a guarantee, but it's better than some of the alternatives.>> - If anything I am in desperate need of reassurance at this point. I hope you can help! :) Thanks for your time! It means a lot to me. Josie <<well then, hold tight and just let things happen. Neon gobies are surprisingly tough for their small size - I'm a huge fan of them, they're neat. If you haven't already, you should read up on Bob's thoughts about the Gobiosoma: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/neongobies.htm - Cheers, J -- >>

Neon Goby Under the Weather JasonC, I hate to be a bother to you! Especially when you are taking over so much of Bob's work! Your advice in your reply to me brought up some more questions. Perhaps you could help. Please know there is no rush in getting back to me. <<then you will forgive me for taking so long to get back to you...>> My Goby looked worse last night. I set up a fresh water dip with Kent Rx-P (doubt it was the best choice but I had to do something) He took that well and I was able to net him in one try which is a amazing feat. :) <<good stuff>> This morning he still looks bad (still eating). <<thumbs up!>> I do not know what ich looks like (only drawings like the one in TCMA) If I explain it could you give a tentative answer if you agree to the diagnosis of ich? <<will try>> He has whit spots on his fins and upper parts of his body. They look like raised bumps on this flesh. Also it appears like smears of white on his belly that slough off in tags. <<sounds ick-ish. I do have a neon goby down-cellar who is suffering much like yours. I bought him a cleaner shrimp. That seemed to work best - no treatments, no dips. But again, if you read that link, then you know what Bob thinks and certainly something I've observed: neon gobies are much tougher that their tiny selves might indicate. I'm sure yours will pull through. Give it some time - week or two. Should be easy if it's eating.>>  If I keep him in the tank and it is ich how long could it take for the other fish to show signs? <<days - weeks, not way to know>> If you do believe it is ich (or will diffidently cause harm to my other fish <yellow tang, green Chromis, false clowns>) I will pull him out as well as the other in my QT and let the system go fallow until the new year. <<too late. Not to scare you, but the spots that people use to describe ick are more like scabs - a sign that the parasite has been there.>> Thank you for the much needed help! You are doing an excellent job!! Josie <<Very nice of you to say so, thank you. Cheers, J -- >>

Substitutes for a Gobiosoma - No Live Rock to be had in Hawaii (?) JasonC, I am actually interested in live rock. Believe me if I can get it then I would definitely use it but according to state law it is illegal to take live rock and coral from the ocean and to import/export it. <<ahh, Aloha to you then... didn't realize import was illegal too>> So I'm stuck with using fish. My LFS said that they get neon gobies depending on the season. They don't have any now but they have Catalina gobies. Will the gobies mix well with the fish I intend to get later on (snowflake, marine Betta, dragon wrasse)? <<Yes>> How many gobies should I get to cycle the 55 gal. tank? <<one>> Thanks <<You are quite welcome. Cheers, J -- >>

Neon Goby Update Mr. Fenner, I am writing to give you an update about my Neon Goby. I doubt you can remember ( it was six weeks ago) but you gave me some much needed advice about an outbreak of Ich. With your help and that of JasonC (he talked me through quarantining while you were away) my Goby "James" is looking wonderful! <Good to read> He has gotten big (I spoiled him with Selcon soaked food while he was being treated) and is so much more active then I can ever remember. He is back to cleaning his two clown take mates. I have added 2 cleaner shrimp to help keep him in shape. <Okay> I just wanted to thank you and JasonC for all of your help and support. We (the fish and I) are very grateful. <Will send your note to him as well. Be chatting. Bob Fenner> Josie

Re: Neon Goby Update What great news to start the day with. Good stuff. Cheers, J -- <Ah, yes. Bob F>

Neon Goby Mr. Fenner, I had a heater malfunction on my 30 gal FOWLR SW tank, and now I am restocking. My stepmother has her eye on some neon gobies, but our LFS says they are schooling and that we should get at least a couple. I am nervous about adding a bunch of fish at once (and money is an issue), so would one be okay by itself with a couple of clowns and a lawnmower blenny for a month or so until we can get another one? <One would be/is fine in such a system as yours. In point of fact, most Gobiosoma sold are cultured (i.e. not wild-collected), and not really schooling fish/es (there are several species) at all. I would just have/use one in a thirty gallon system. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Laura Rushing

Shy Goby Dear Bob, I bought a cleaner goby 1.25” long for my 65gal-fish/LR only tank a week ago. The goby is hiding under one of the rocks ever since. It is eating and only travels about several inches around that rock and would not go any further. Every time a fish swims by it will retreat right way. Is this kind behavior normal?  <Yes, normal, typical... give this animal time...> I don’t think I have any extremely aggressive fish in the tank. A red spotted hawk 3” long. <Yikes... this animal may be "an influence" here> A yellow tang 3.5” A blue tang 3” A flame angel 2” A coral beauty angel 2.5” How do I make it to come out of the rock and do some cleaning? Do you have any suggestions? <Time, patience. Bob Fenner> Your help always be appreciated. Thanks Wayne

Neon Update JasonC, <<Hello>> Just thought I would drop you a line and give you an update about my icky Neon Goby. He looks 85% better today. He was looking good yesterday but today he swam around much more and I could only see a few spots on him. He even cleaned my green Chromis! :) I just want to thank you again for all of your help and advice. It helped a great deal! Josie <<Ahh... glad to hear this. Am glad I could be of service. Cheers, J -- >>

Neon Goby Hello Mr. Fenner. I hope you are doing well. I have a question to ask you. It's a short one thankfully. :) I have added a Neon Goby to my reef tank. He is the most charming fish I have ever known! He has a secretive way about him, but he is a buddy to all of my reef inhabitants. <Yes, you are a "charmed" person, enlightened with the sense to appreciate such matters> My question is about what I have witnessed in the last three days. My Tang will swim to the rock he loves to perch on. He (the tang) will shift his side to him and become quite still. I swear I can hear "I've got an itch a little to the left. could you get that for me?" The goby will work that side over and then the tang just swims off. Is it not unheard of for a fish to ask for a cleaning??  <Actually quite common... some change color, orientation... behavior such as opening mouth, gill covers, erecting fins...> It was the most amazing thing I have seen in this tank in my many months of caring for it. If you could let me know I would be pleased. I know that the fish do recognize him as a helper, but to demand his assistance. LOL I love this hobby!! Thanks for your time Take care Josie <Ah, a pleasure my friend. Bob Fenner>

Neon Goby Hello again Mr. Fenner, I wrote to you about a week ago concerning my neon goby. I asked if I should be afraid that he had not made an appearance in my tank after I put him in the day before. I just wanted to let you know that since adding 7 blue-green Chromis he was out swimming finally. He ate some brine shrimp today as well. I am very pleased! <Ah, good to read> I have a few questions if that would be okay with you. There would be no hurry getting back to me. 1) My seven Chromis do not school often (100gal. tank). They are spread around, with two that are happy to rut around on the bottom of the tank. They will school when they become frightened but not much after that. Is this because the are new (four days in the tank) or is this just how they are going to be? <Mostly because they are new. Give them time> 2) I do notice that they chase each other around and look like they are attacking but without the damaging each other. Are they establishing a pecking order? <Yes> Also there is one fish that is the smallest of the group who is chased more often. That fish looks like on the top of its head, above it's eyes, to have a pale blue patch there. Not white (very pale almost white) but it almost looks like it's a scar. I looked over disease and infection on your web site and I can not see any resemblance to what was mentioned there. Do you think you could, without looking at it sadly, lend some incite on what it could be? <Likely a transient "owee" from transport. No worries. Scales, color will regenerate.> 3) My last question is about the goby. Now that he is feeling more secure, how long might it take (or if ever) for him to start cleaning my fish? <Likely is already... when you're not looking> I'm sorry for the long post and all of my questions! I hope you don't mind. Please tell me if you do. Best wishes and tank care Dawson <No worries. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Where did it go? Hello Mr. Fenner, I hope everything is going well for you. I would like to thank you for your wonderful website and for all it has done to help me. I am in need of some reassurance if you have the time. <Certainly> This morning I bought a Neon Goby (about 1 1/2") for my 125 gallon algae tank. By algae I mean I have over forty forms of algae, mainly Caulerpa growing in my system.  <Neat> 130lbs of LR and a DSB. I have a heavy duty skimmer working full out as well as 400watt PC lighting going. I call it my fat and sassy tang paradise. I have three tangs, all sorts of hermits and snails. A few cleaner shrimp. A pearl bubble coral, some finger leathers and mushrooms. Lots of polyps of all sorts as well as a frogspawn and xenia. <Sounds very nice> I turned down the lights for my new arrival to one blue. <Good idea> I haven't seen him at all today. I know there are many places to hide but I thought maybe I would catch a glimpse. Nothing. It is near my bed time and I am already getting ready for nightmares of my bubble coral having a goby snack. Should I worry if I don't see him for a few more days or should I be concerned now? <No... a typical acclimation. As you can appreciate, such a small animal in a new setting would/should hide at first> I don't think my tangs would go after him, but I do have a yellow that might take a nip. Your thoughts are gladly welcome. Thank you in advance. Greg Showen <Not to worry. This fish will show in a day or two. Bob Fenner>

SOS (more ich) Bob, Man my show emperor's secondary infections from ich has gotten worse. I added about 7 cleaner gobies. They were all cleaning him well. And at one point he look like he was winning the battle. But now the table has turned against him. Anyhow My Emp. was the ONLY fish in the infected 240 gallon tank. I scooped him out. He's in one of my 50 gal. quarantine tank. I have 2 in the garage up and running in case of emergency situations. <How nice> Now since the cleaner gobies are the ONLY fish left in my 240. Can I do the "run the tank with no fish for a month"? Or do the gobies have to come out as well? <You can try leaving the Gobiosoma in... but they can/do act as vectors. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Linstun

Cleaner/Neon Gobies oh Bob, one more thing. I bought 3 gold stripe neon cleaner gobies. They clean my emperor. WAY better than my cleaner wrasse ever did. I'm very happy for your website. Because if it wasn't for your sight. I would of never known about the neon cleaner gobies. Oh I made sure that the 3 I bought were wild caught, and not captive breed. Because I heard that the captive breed ones are no good, they don't tend to clean the fish. Anyhow thanks' <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner> Linstun Lee

Re: ich problems Hi Bob, Just an update. It's been a week since I began copper treatment in my quarantine tank. The tang looks a lot better, but we lost the goby yesterday.  <Gobies don't like being moved, copper...> Amm, Nitrite/trate, was 0, and copper was 0.25 (test kit literature recommend 2ppm!!!). <You may have the "wrong" test kit... are you using a chelated copper product? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/coppertestfaqs.htm> We are sad and very surprised, since he looked really good, was eating and getting FAT, but I guess the prolonged copper exposure did him in. As for the main tank, since it's been fallow for several weeks, the 'pod population has exploded. I've also noticed something I was hoping you could ID. It's about 1/4" long, translucent pink with a small red dot in it's "head". It's shaped like an egg sliced in half, with a tale (square with a V-notch). It swims pretty fast. Any ideas?  <A copepod (of thousands) species of some sort. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Khoi

Neon gobies Bob, I was reading the FFexpress notes on neon gobies. They say that captive breed neons don't really show cleaning behaviors, and that the wild caught ones do. Is this really true? Thanks <To some degree. Bob Fenner>

Fish compatibility I have a 90 gallon FOWLR with 125lbs. of live rock, and 100lbs of live sand. My filtration consists of the rock, sand, a Berlin Turbo hang on skimmer, UV sterilizer, AquaClear power filter, 4 270gph. powerheads, and a wet/dry filter (without bio balls). The fish that are currently in the tank are: a 4" Emperor Angel, a 4" Harlequin tusk,5" Green Bird wrasse,3" hippo tang, and a 3-4" Black Volitans Lion. I also have about 30 turbo snails, 2 burrowing stars, 1 Blue Linckia, and 1 General star. I wanted to add a couple more fish, the fish that I am thinking of are a blonde Naso tang, and either a flame or other centropyge angel, and a flame hawk. Will the lion eat the angel, or the hawk? <If it's small enough to fit in its mouth, possibly> I wanted to also add a cleaner goby or two, will they get eaten?  <I give you fifty fifty odds... if recognized as "helpers" may be left alone... The Hawkfish is the best candidate as a predator here> The Tusk and the bird wrasse already ate a 2" algae blenny. I would like some kind of trigger, is there one that wont bother my stars or snails? Thanks! <Not really. Bob Fenner>

2 quick questions (microdesmids, Gobiosoma) Hi Mr. Fenner, Two quick questions tonight. First, will the Firefish Nemateleotris magnifica sometimes, or ever launch themselves out of the tank, or is it more the Dartfishes? <Both... launches itself out of the tank all the time, and IS a member of the family Microdesmidae> Second, does the neon goby Gobiosoma Evelynae always stay bluish with a yellow head, or can they become like the Gobiosoma randalli, and turn only with the yellow markings? <Not as far as I'm aware...> I ask this because I think one of the local LFS is selling G. Randalli as a sharknose goby, and is charging $20.00 more then the G. Oceanops that they also have. Should the sharknose be more expensive? Greg N. <Where's my Gobiosoma specialists when I need them!? Have seen (and yes, identified), G. randalli as G. evelynae (sigh) myself... Think I've finally had them sorted out on the WWM site. The non-oceanops gobies often sell for quite a bit more, not being widely cultured (that is, instead being wild-collected. Bob Fenner>

Ich on Neon Gobies Good Afternoon, I have a simple question regarding two of my neon's. Do neon's clean other neon's or will a cleaner shrimp. <More likely a cleaner shrimp will do the job, though Gobiosoma gobies do clean each other... have seen this in the wild and in captivity... though these gobiid species can be quite territorial in aquariums.> The reason I' am asking is that they both have ich, but my Foxface knows to go to the cleaner shrimp when needed. No one has been able to give me a straight forward answer. I have tried to get the neon's out but with the porous live rock it is almost impossible. <Agreed... best to "bite the bullet", remove all but the substrate, lower water level to remove them if necessary.> The Foxface seems fine. I have always had success with fish and cleaners. But I have never experienced this problem. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. If anyone can answer this I know you can. I have a 55 gallon reef system with a mandarin, Foxface, shrimp, crabs, etc.. Environmentally the tank is sound. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Take care my friend. By the way you have written some amazing books. I enjoy reading them. Thanks Ryan H. <Thank you my friend. Please read over the WetWebMedia.com site re other approaches to controlling, eliminating ich and other marine parasites. Bob Fenner>

Yo Zo... (Neon Gobies) I've just really wanted to say that - apologies to Robert... <Heh. He addresses me like that too. Don't sweat it. :-) > I just spotted some neon gobies at the LFS and I had been thinking I would put one in my FOWLR as a bio-cleaner, but it would be about food size for the current big-fellas [puffer and harly-tusk]. Not that the tusk would care off the bat, but the puffer has taken shots at everyone in the tank including a 4" Huma trigger which I traded in so I could take the tusk; certainly a neon goby can fit in the tusk's mouth. I had been considering trying to sneak in a cleaner shrimp overnight, but that too seems terribly flawed... that $30 could buy a fair amount of fish food. <Doesn't sound good. If you've got some good crowded rock areas, where the Gobiosoma can hide... maybe. But if your puffer already has that attitude, it's pretty risky. Same for a Lysmata shrimp... -Lorenzo> What to do. Those gobies are small. TIA. Cheers. J --

Something on a neon goby Dear Zo, Lucky Bob - thanks for filling in. <Hmm, asked Zo-ster to look this over... but will do so as well...> My system is 9 months old, Bob has guided me since the planning stages. Total 140 gal. including 20 gal. refugium full of Caulerpa. All water parameters are perfect with 25 watt U/V at 200 GPH, large mechanical, carbon, Turboflotor, substrate and live rock. I have SPS and soft corals, shrimp, small hermits, snails, and 8 small peaceful fish. Nitrates and phosphates are undetectable since the refugium filled up with macro algae. I have not yet lost an animal but see a problem with the neon gobies. <Really?> I will see one with a scaly? coat. Looks a bit like the pictures of "fin rot" but all over the fish. Then in a few days it is gone. No problem with their eating. No hiding. No way I could ever get these little guys out for treatment but I am very curious as to what this is and if I can do anything to prevent it. All other fish look fine. The only environmental problem I have had was a spike in sp. gr. to 1.029 when a pump in the auto top off failed while I gone. I restored the level to 1.025 gradually. Have not used any vitamins, antibiotics, or other additives other than K, Mg, and St. K stays about 380 or so. Howard <Interesting... the term to describe this appearance is "ascites", or a more descriptive one I like: "Pine cone disease"... various causes of... fluid buildup/pressure behind scales causing them to lift... but would not treat for or do something other than what you're doing... the high spg may have triggered it.... should pass. Bob Fenner in Singapore.>

Gobies / Elacatinus Dear Mr. Fenner, I just came across your web page on gobies of the genus Gobiosoma and Elacatinus. While I am grateful that you have useful information on these wonderful gobies on the web, I wish to point out a basic flaw with the information on your page. <Please do so... there are regrettably many...> You use both Gobiosoma and Elacatinus, stating that Gobiosoma contains 29 species and Elacatinus contains 7 species. The problem is that Jordan described the genus Elacatinus in 1904, using Elacatinus oceanops as the type species for the genus. Thus, by the rules of taxonomic nomenclature, you can only use the genus name Elacatinus if you include E. oceanops as a member of the genus. On your page, you use Gobiosoma oceanops. While this is not necessarily incorrect in and of itself, the name becomes unavailable for E. puncticulatus and the other six species you include. Thus, they would all be recognized as the genus Gobiosoma (i.e., Gobiosoma puncticulatum (note the change of the last letter of the specific epithet to maintain the proper gender combination). If you use Elacatinus oceanops, then E. puncticulatus is valid, but all the other species you list on your page should also be listed as Elacatinus (i.e., E. randalli, E. evelynae). <Yes... a crude compromise (made consciously nonetheless) to serve the extant hobbyist literature (still using the nomen nudum Gobiosoma, sometimes as a "supergenus"...) and the fishbase.org standard (for lower tax. which I default to)...> Gobiosoma is still a valid genus but, if you choose to recognize the genus Elacatinus, would contain only a few species (e.g., G. bosc, G. robustum). <Yes... have seen this recently... in going over this group...> I know you'll merely have to take my word for this, although significant research on your part would show that I am correct. I have considerable training in systematic biology, and am currently working on my Ph.D. at Louisiana State University on the genus Elacatinus. Note that I recognize the genus Elacatinus as valid. Right now, Elacatinus contains 26 described species in two subgenera, Elacatinus and Tigrigobius. All of the species listed on your page are currently recognized in the subgenus Elacatinus. At least three additional species of Elacatinus, all in the subgenus Elacatinus, are being described. <Outstanding... Will review what you have so valuably provided here and add your comments and insights to the slight coverage offered on the WWM pages on the genera of "Cleaner Gobies" of the genera Gobiosoma/Elacatinus> -=- On another minor note, the all yellow specimen that you have listed as E. evelynae (left photo) is in fact either E. randalli, E. xanthiprora or E. figaro. I can't tell from the picture which of the three it is.  <Perhaps I can post a better resolved larger version when I'm back on the mainland. Visiting in Hawai'i currently><<In reviewing the originals have this identified in honor of Dr. Jack...>> Note how the blue stripe on the right photo of E. evelynae (correctly identified) fades into a yellow "V". The all yellow form of E. evelynae also has a yellow "V" on the snout and not a separate vertical bar. If you have access to Bohlke and Robins 1968, they clearly show the different snout patterns among the different species (except for E. figaro, which was not then described). Pat Colin's Ph.D. dissertation, published by TFH as "The Neon Gobies" also clearly shows the differences for all the species, again with the exception of E. figaro. <Ah thank you.> By the same token, the E. randalli individual (left photo, duplicated at the top of the page) looks like E. evelynae. It's hard to tell for sure from the angle whether that is a V or bar on the snout. You could swap the two pictures and no one would be the wiser, I'm sure. <Hmm, again, will check> Finally, the "Elacatinus evelynae" photo at the top of the FAQs on Neon/Cleaner Gobies is also E. randalli, E. xanthiprora or E. figaro and NOT E. evelynae. <Yikes> Please do not hesitate to ask if you have additional questions. Thank you for listening. <And thank you again for your help. Please make it known if I may be of assistance to your work in turn. Bob Fenner> Mike

Where Art  Thou Gobiosoma? Hello Robert So sorry to bother you again today. In my previous email I forgot to ask you about a Goby. In one of your e mail replies you stated that there is a certain Goby (Gobiosoma) that would be a nice addition to a reef system to rid the tank of parasites. <There are actually several in this genus... Which is detailed on... www.WetWebMedia.com> Can you tell me the names of these( this) Goby? I would really like to add one to my reef tank. Sorry for bothering you again. Does FFEXPRESS have them? Take care and thank you <All outlets regularly stock at least the most common species... they are tank-bred in good numbers in Florida, Puerto Rico, the UK, places in the Far East... I saw a hybrid species (purposeful) that had been cultured just yesterday at a LFS in San Diego. Bob Fenner>

Neon gobies Hello Mr. Fenner: About a month ago I wrote you with an ick problem. My Catalina goby, Black Cap Basslet (the culprit) and Yellow head Jawfish died. My reef tank had been running for 2 years, so somebody suggested to me just to let the tank keep running and that the fish that I had in there were hardy Yellow coris Wrasse, Dwarf lion, bicolor blenny, male and female scooter blennies). I added a cleaner shrimp and the fish never showed any white spots after the infected fish died. I plan on waiting one more month before adding any other fish, so my question is: even though the fish that I have don't show any sign of ick could they still carry the disease????? Also I plan on adding another biological cleaner neon goby). Could these fish contract ick??? <Good questions... and thanks for the considerable background information. Yes, your fishes might still be "carriers"... and definitely your system is infested (still)... How to say what needs to be said here? Please do read over the "Three Sets of Factors that Determine Livestock Health" on the www.WetWebMedia.com website... very worthwhile model of how the universe works.... Many folks seem to display an "arithmetic" version of disease processes... with "A" leading to "B", resulting in "C" (let's say host, stress, ich)... what really is going on is a constant "balance" between the system (big categories here), dynamics of the livestock, their genetic and developmental physiologies... and the presence/pathogenicity of infectious agents...  IF you can keep the present system optimized and stable, and IF you can introduce organisms/livestock that are relatively hardy, sturdy from the get-go... then the present entrenched problems will likely not manifest themselves as parasitic disease... Bob Fenner>

Re: Neon gobies Thanks for replying to my message Mr. Fenner. Seeing that my fish might still be carriers should I lower the salinity in my tank and raise the temp for two weeks?? I really don't want to use any medicine. Will this work in leaving my tank ick free?? <A good idea, practice... but this won't completely make the system "ich free" (rarely do such absolutes exist...), though it would substantially reduce the resting stages numbers, infectiousness.... I would definitely do this...  It has been demonstrated that the daughter cells of Cryptocaryon can "rest" for several months w/o fish hosts...  Bob Fenner>

Neon gobies hiding Dear Bob, The reef looks great after 7 months effort. Water is perfect. Temperature is now 77 plus or minus a half degree with the new Aqua Logic chiller and Medusa controller. I have added a hard coral and some mushroom polyps to the reef and the clown and blue damsel now have the company of tiger sleeper goby and a royal Gramma. No sign of any strife. hey all get along fine. You are high on the neon gobies in your book and on the web but I am disappointed. Three weeks in the quarantine tank they were a joy but when I introduced them to the reef, they disappeared in the rocks and I haven't seen them in 4 days. If they are eating, they are finding food that falls behind the rock work. Howard <Yes, likely... Gobiosoma species are shy at first... in time it/they will come out more of the time. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine Tank Bob, Thanks for the reassurance. I'd lowered my salinity in my reef tank to 1.019 from my normal 1.026, and raised the temp to 80. The Tang still has some spots and powdery splotches, and my Flame Angel has a couple of spots on his tail. I have 4 Lysmata Cleaner shrimp in this tank. I had bought 2 of them for the quarantine tank at the same time I first spotted (pardon the pun) the ich. I tried to get some Neon Gobies but no one has them (including FFE). Now my Colt Corals are melting. I've brought my salinity back up to 1.023 on the advice of my LFS. They said better to loose a Tang than a reef. They are recommending CoralVite to help with the ich. What do you think? Your student, Marty Wigder >> Hmm, hopefully time/rest will cure your Tang... and don't think the CoralVite will do any harm... Hang in there. Those Gobiosoma gobies should be available year round... they're tank-bred and raised in the Caribbean, Fla and the UK! Bob Fenner

Neon Goby Hi Bob, We are fairly new at this. We have a 40 gal tank. So far we have two damsels and one maroon clown fish, 2 snails and 4 small hermit crabs. We have heard that the neon Goby is good for ich and other parasites. Then we heard from one store that they can be mean and aggressive. We are trying to have a peaceful tank and as natural as possible. What is your opinion. Thank you. Brenda >> My gosh, my sis's name is Brenda... Oh, Neon Gobies (genus Gobiosoma) being aggressive?! No... some of the more/most peaceful animals in the oceans... Especially the vast majority of those offered in the trade which are tank bred and reared. Do get one, or two if you'd like... very comical, and helpful. Bob Fenner

Fish Question Hi Bob, I hope you can answer a quick question for me. In the past, you recommended getting some Gobiosoma gobies to treat some parasitic diseases, so I went out and bought two fish which were sold as gold neon gobies. In my recent net-surfing, I have seen many pictures of different neon gobies, but I can't seem to find the ones that I have. Most of the pics I see show fish with colored lateral stripes down the entire length of their flanks. The ones that I have are about an inch long, with solid gray flanks, and gold markings on their heads. They spend most of their time stuck to the sides of my tank. My parasite problems have cleared up (mostly) long ago, and these little guys are certainly welcome in my tank. I was just wondering if they are really Gobiosoma, and will they help if I have any future outbreaks of parasites. Thanks in advance, Dan >> There are several species in the genus Gobiosoma, and I do think these are amongst that group... They do have different colors, markings depending on species. Bob Fenner

Quarantining and Feeding newly acquired neon gobies Hi Bob, Just got 6 neon gobies from FFE. I am a dedicated quarantine man and am wondering if I use standard quarantine procedures with these itty bitty creatures? I am pretty paranoid about parasite outbreaks and want to soon throw some cleaner shrimp into the mix. Any advice on feeding the gobies, they are so small I am a little intimidated? I truly appreciate your advice, there are so many conflicting opinions in this hobby. Dennis Blauser >> And I'm probably just as guilty a party in the confusion... I generally "just" pH-adjusted freshwater dip small gobies, blennies... for fear that the stress, lack of feeding is worse than the possibility of their bringing in an external parasite problem... but/and these species (Gobiosoma genera) are almost all tank-bred and reared nowadays... and on the one hand, are typically specific pathogen free, and on the other, quite hardy... readily accept all types of foods (though they are small)...  Don't feel bad about quarantining them if you are concerned at all, nor about whether they will eat. Bob Fenner

Re: Quarantine Tank I guess I should have waited until this morning to send that last email. My purple tang and flame angel were dead this morning when I woke up. That leaves 1 percula, 4 Banggai, 1 Lawnmower, 1 six line Wrasse. Losses: Purple Tang, Colt Coral, Flame Angel, Four Bar Gobie,1 Percula, 1 Kole Tang. All caused by the Kole, and the ammonia spike when I put him in quarantine. I guess FF will be getting more business when I get this mess fixed. BTW, FF never did get any Neon Gobies in. I think they should give me a discount on my restock. If they had sold me Neon Gobies, I might have avoided some of this. Although I gotta tell you, my wife is getting frustrated. I think I'll need several beers tonight... >> Yikes... maybe there's a shortage... of Gobiosoma gobies... Back to self-discipline in receiving, quarantine protocols... It's not the Kole's, ffexpress' "fault" your animals were lost... look closely at that beer bottle glass... who do you see? Bob "brewski" Fenner

Cleaner Goby Use Bob: Sorry to write again on this subject, but I thought it prudent.  It seems that the squirrelfish has an "on again/off again" problem with the clear bubble over only his right eye. What I mean by this is that the bubble will appear, go away in about a week, then reappear in perhaps three weeks, go away in a week, reappear, etc... In your prior response on this topic, you stated that the squirrel likely bumped his eye on something, and that it would take some time to heal. I am just wondering if this consistent reappearance/disappearance is indicative of something else. He eats fine, and looks great. My thought is that when I feed krill to the porcupine puffer, the squirrel gets very excited and tries to snatch some krill from the puffer's mouth. Perhaps in his zeal to get some krill, the squirrel gets too close to the puffer's quills, and this is the cause of the exophthalmia. <It's possible... as are a few other causes... but would not let this bother you... as it obviously doesn't bother the Squirrelfish> Also, would you recommend the presence of neon gobies in any marine aquarium, whether or not any parasites are present? If so, how many should I keep in my 95-gallon tank? <Generally yes... just one or two in such a system... often, even though these are small animals only one or two will persist anyway... > As always, I look forward to your words of wisdom. Thanks, Mitch  >> Always glad to render my scant opinions. Bob Fenner, who's bushed from diving today, arriving from the States to the Maldives.

Neon Goby Species I have a panther grouper and have noticed that the black spots are breaking up. Is this normal? Also, my local fish store says there are two kinds of Neon Gobies (Fiji and red sea) The red sea one is blue and the Fiji one is black and white. Mine is black and white and looks exactly like the picture of a marine catfish in my book. What do you think I have? It has no whiskers. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. >> ... Well... patterns on Panther Groupers (Chromileptis altivelis) do sort of break up and re-coalesce into definitive spots with early growth... And there are many species of neon gobies (Gobiosoma)... but if yours doesn't look goby-like... and is more like a Plotosid catfish, you may well have a convict cat/goby/blenny (though it is none of these) of the genus Pholidichthys.... most likely P. leucotaenia. Take a look at the images of this species by searching the genus on www.fishbase.com Bob Fenner, who has yet a few other tricks up his sleeves

Cleaner gobies I was considering the addition of Gobiosoma oceanops, cleaner gobies to my 125 gallon tank. Since the tank has a panther grouper and a black durgeon trigger, I am a worried that the cleaner gobies will be eaten. Will they be safe? Also, should I get a group and how large should it be? >> Two or more would be better, and the size doesn't matter much...they're all small to start with... And do float them for a couple of days in an all plastic (or glass and plastic) container so your two potential predators can see that what they are, and not immediately mistake them for food additions... The Panther Grouper may make an error but the Melichthys niger (a circumtropical species) will most likely queue up for a cleaning!

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