Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs on Gobies & their Relatives 1

Related Articles: Gobies & their Relatives, Dartfishes (family Microdesmidae), Psychedelic "Gobies"/Dragonets/Mandarins, Mudskippers

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

Bryaninops tigris on a Whip Coral in the Red Sea.

The Case of The Disappearing Goby Hi, <Inspector Scott F., here> I wonder if you would be willing to help me try to puzzle out the disappearance of a fish? <Will try!> The fish in question is an Orange Diamond Watchman Goby, approximately 4" long. The two prime suspects are a medium-sized Zebra Eel and a medium (5") Harlequin Tusk, because it's doubtful that my Yellow Tang, Longfin Bannerfish, Australian Flame Hawk or small Niger Trigger could have disposed of a largish Goby. The eel has coexisted with the Goby for months now, but recently seems to have become more comfortable hunting the tank and has learned to relish an occasional crawfish, which it initially refused. Also, while it had previously ignored several hermit crabs in the tank, they too seemed to disappear in recent days. The Harlequin Tusk was added to the tank this week, has adjusted very well, and has shown no aggressiveness toward its tankmates. On the contrary, it seems happy to allow the slightly smaller Tang to get the upper hand (fin?) in their occasional territorial skirmishes. The Goby recently abandoned his subterranean lair on the left side of the tank to hover about the right side, closest the Eel's cave, and I saw the Eel make one or two tentative passes at it when stimulated by my feeding the fish. I was concerned about it but the wisdom in the literature says that Zebras are fish-safe. <This is the conventional wisdom, true> I could locate no Goby remains. Moreover, my Remora Pro skimmer shows no signs of increased activity, which leads me to believe that the Eel is the culprit, since he leaves no "crumbs". <It's always a possibility, despite it's reputation as a docile, easygoing fish. His movements towards your goby may simply have been a reminder that the fish is in his territory, but you just don't know> My tank is a live rock aggressive with substrate, so the Goby was integral to my cleaning arrangement. It was the sifter recommended as big and hardy enough to hold its own with aggressive fish too small to swallow it whole. The Eel was not supposed to be a problem, since it is a crustacean feeder. I would really like to add another sifter, but now I don't know what to think. <Well, the fish that, at least in theory, would be most likely to eat the goby should be the Tuskfish. Although largely peaceful, it is possible that he may be your culprit. They can and do eat small fish on occasion. By the way, I think that your declining hermit crab population is the work of the hawkfish, trigger, and the wrasse! Questions to ask yourself as you attempt to solve the mystery: Are your eel and Tuskfish eating well? Was the goby eating well before he disappeared? Were the "suspect" fish eating well? Could the goby have jumped out of the tank, however unlikely that seems? The hawkfish is most likely not the culprit, but do note that they can be aggressive to other bottom dwelling fishes, and harassment leads to stress, which can lead to worse things. Do keep an eye out-there is always the possibility that the goby is alive and could reappear. Just keep a sharp eye out> Any of your insights would be greatly appreciated, as I am at a loss. Besides being beneficial, the Goby was an interesting and likable character and he will be missed. Thanks in advance, Thomas <Don't give up hope, but I think that this mystery will stay in the "unsolved" file a while longer..>

Engineer Gobies <<Greetings, JasonC here...>> I wanted to ask a ? about engineer gobies but didn't really know where to post it. Most info I've found about them say they get 7-9" and pretty peaceful in a reef tank but I've seen a couple of posts where they can get up to a foot long and nasty and you have to worry about them eating other fish, shrimp, and crabs in the aquarium. But more posts saying how docile they are. I'm trying to find correct information on these fish and hoping maybe you could shed some light on this or send me to some sites with good info on them. I do know they dig and build. A LFS I go to has some young ones (tank raised) and was curious about them. She's very good when it comes to fish and corals and pushes tank raised animals but I like to back up my info just incase.  Thanks a lot, Karla Steves <<Karla, I think with these fish their proclivity for eating other things you'd rather they not eat comes with size/age, but I not sure any of them get much larger than six inches or so, most around three or four max. Have you checked out Bob's article on these gobies? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpgobies.htm - do read this and the FAQs beyond. Cheers, J -- >> 

Engineer Blennies  Hi All, <cheers, dear> When I was browsing through the Daily FAQs I came across the email regarding this fish. Jason commented that most don't get larger than 6". In my experience, right when engineer gobies reach 5-6" they start changing from their juvenile pattern to their more blotchy adult pattern.  <agreed> The first one I had grew to almost 9" in a 30 gallon tank (no lies, I measured him). <I believe it and have seen the same... most aquarists never get to see this amazing color change and size> Currently, my two (that I have hoped have paired up) are almost at 8" and they have only been mature for a about 6 months. As for reports of eating crabs and shrimp, mine seem to have a hard time eating whole krill, and they haven't ever bothered my hermits (I can't keep shrimp with my hawkfish). Plus they really hate to leave their home completely, if they can't reach food that is in the water column they won't chase it. Is there any other sites that have information regarding this species since from what I have seen is very limited? Kim <much appreciation for the clarification... indeed not a lot of info out there on them. Do keyword searched for "Worm Goby", "Convict Goby", "Convict Blenny" (listed as a blenny in Burgess). Best regards>

Gobies I have been importing a small tan goby from India that has iridescent blue spot on its sides. Any idea what they are? <I would search on http://www.fishbase.org/search.cfm for your fish's identity.> They are sold as dwarf neon gobies. Pete Mang, The Fish Place, New York <Happy hunting! -Steven Pro>

Catalina gobies Hi Bob (or Lorenzo or...), I came across an interesting display the other day at the LFS. the guy had pairs or single Catalina gobies placed throughout his reef section. I figured he was victim of a terrible shipment mistake since he is shown to be (thus far) rather knowledgeable. I asked him & he said: "no, no mistake. I ordered them all." I asked why, since they are all going to go to ill equipped homes, as very few people set up cold water aquariums. He said that these were aquacultured or tank raised (I forget which) and as such, are actually accustomed to warmer water. I have a small tank running @ 76 degrees and was tempted, but it sounds sketchy to me. Is this TR story really BS? <Mmm, as far as I'm aware folks don't raise Lythrypnus dalli in captivity (yet)... though other Gobies are in good numbers (Gobiosoma species). These folks might want to check their invoices, with their supplier... These animals might live at 76 F. for a while... if collected during the summer (the surface temp. off of San Diego, approaches seventy or so, but at depth... it's much cooler (low sixties...)... not a good gamble. Bob Fenner>

Rainford Gobies hello I'm Huig from Belgium.  <Cheers my friend from far away! Anthony Calfo in your service> you'll probably get a lot of emails and I hope you will find the time to read and answer mine. I'm very interested in biotope aquarium, but it's hard to find information on this. I'd like to combine species from the same geographical region which require the same care. if possible species that live next to each other and do not occupy the same niche. and if possible species that have a chance of being reproduced. some info found is contradictory. one of my favorite species is Amblygobius rainfordi.  <yes... a very beautiful fish!> almost everywhere I read it lives on sandy and muddy substrate but in Korallenriff aquarium from Svein Fossa it is told that they occur over stony substrates and pick on algae and crustaceans. as I have a 350 l aquarium decorated with live rock and live sand. I previously stayed away from them but with this new (maybe false) info I'd like to add them to my tank. as I read in one of your articles you observed them in the wild. I hope you can tell me about their preferred zones in nature. thanks <Rainford's goby is notorious for being very difficult to keep for long in captivity and this is largely because of its seemingly strict dietary requirements. The nature of its substrate is truly secondary to this dietary need as they have been observed on both hard and soft substrates as you have noted. For many years the common denominator to their success in captivity has been a constant supply of hair algae (Derbesia or like species have been "employed" perhaps inferior to turf algae) Since such algae is generally considered to be unsightly and a nuisance... many Rainford gobies are not kept healthy for very long. Turf algae species are really perhaps more appropriate and their recent popularity in algal scrubbers and subsequent methods for cultivating a continuous supply may help keep species such as the Rainford goby. Ironically, it may not be the algae at all that they need to feed upon but rather the zooplankton attracted to the dense mats of algae. Regardless... are you really prepared to turn your 350l display into a field of algae for this fish? Most people would not be willing, but you have said that you are interested in a biotope display. If so, I hope I have reassured you that you need not worry so much about the nature of the substrate and rather to focus on cultivating turf algae and incidentals within it for keeping the magnificent Rainford goby. Best regards, Anthony>

Imperial Goby Dear Mr. Fenner: My friend has a 125 gallon tank with a new addition of what the pet store owner called an "imperial goby." It digs tunnels in the coral and seems to sift the sand and pop its head up to say "hello." It is really beautiful and resembles a bamboo shark in a kind of khaki with black pattern. I can't seem to find any information on this type and I am wondering if there is another name, perhaps scientific, you may suggest for me to search with or if you have any personal advice regarding the care of this goby? <Don't see such a descriptor on fishbase.org, nor my files. Do take a look on WWM starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gobies.htm and the links beyond to see if you can come up with the genus... then off to www.fishbase.org for possibly identifying the species.> Thanks so much for your time and patience, Kelli <You're welcome. Bob Fenner>

Sleeping fish..... (... missing) Greetings, I recently purchases an Orange Spotted sleeper Goby. After coming from LFS, placed in QT Tank. All was good at that time. I then moved him to my show tank after 3 weeks with no signs of anything. My show has a 3-4 inch sugar sand substrate. It had been 1 1/2 weeks since I have seen him in my tank. Last night I even started moving some of my live rock around to try and find him, but that was becoming very hard to do with the amount that I do have. How worried should I be at this time that he has died or been crushed under sand (haven't noticed any rock avalanches in a long time)? Or, how do I get him to come out if he is just hiding? I expected him to hide a little, but this is a little beyond expectations. <I am a bit concerned here. This is too long to go unnoticed. I strongly suspect that this fish has either "jumped out" of your system (check about on the floor or for a smiling cat), or perished in the system and subsequently either dissolved or been consumed...> Advice for next fish would be appreciated too. Currently, 110G reef, 100+ lbs live rock. Substrate above. I currently have 2 cleaner shrimp, 1 regal tang, 1 Ocellaris clown, 1 hiding fish (see above ;)), and one Christmas wrasse. Pretty much open to anything, but looking for something that would compliment the environment. <Let your fingers do the walking through the survey pieces, others input in the accompanying FAQs files stored on WetWebMedia.com> Thanks for the great site and information to all of us. CV <A pleasure to serve. Bob Fenner>

Freshwater gobies Hi, I hope you can help identify some freshwater gobies that I recently bought. <I'll try> They are typical gobies, with sucker pelvic fins, about 2.5 inches long, with snaky cylindrical bodies. Olive green with yellowish transverse bands. So far pretty ordinary, except that they are algae eaters, scraping away at the bog wood in the tank. They also attempted to breed (or possibly just wrestling) though with no success in a community tank. I have searched the web at length and checked through all my textbooks for more information, but no success,. Naturally the dealer had no idea where they come from! Any ideas? <My best... to refer you to the folks/site: www.gobiidae.com for help. The description doesn't "ring a bell" right off... freshwater? Please do send your note along to Naomi R. Eventual Editor - International Goby Society Staff - Gobioid Research Institute Bob Fenner> Brian Ward

3 goby/Gobioid questions Hi and thanks in advance for tolerating my three questions at once - I cannot imagine anyone else who could actually answer all of these, otherwise I wouldn't trouble you amazing fountains of information... 1. Should green clown gobies have a freshwater dip after their 3 week quarantine before being added to the main tank? I understand some fish have no slime coating and shouldn't be put in fresh water... <I would likely skip the dip here... on such small, sensitive fishes... after such a long quarantine interval> 2. I am unfortunately very enamored of the Catalina Goby. I would like to try to create a tank just for them, I have a crazy idea about creating a "chiller" in my crawl space which is a constant 55-60 degrees year round. What is my target temperature, and what are some appropriate small tankmates (fish and invert) for this project? Can our usually available live rock thrive at coastal California temperatures? <Yes to the regime of temperature you list as reasonable all year round (during the Summers in Southern California surface temperatures do approach and at times exceed the 70's F.. No to using "conventional live rock". Different organisms, outside thermal ranges entirely... Look for works by Dave Wrobel re "coldwater reefs"> 3. I have a beautiful Firefish I have had for about a year. Ten days ago he was seriously injured, I have no idea how but have to assume he was attacked (unless a rock fell on him somehow?). His tail and back end were frankly mangled. I removed him and placed him in quarantine and have added only Melafix to his tank. Somehow he has healed COMPLETELY. I am somewhat astonished and now am wondering what in the world to do now. There have been no recent additions to the tank, he has lived with the same companions the whole time I have had him. They are: Flame Hawk Percula Clown Clown goby x2 Yellow goby Engineer goby x2, about 10" long Watchman goby Bicolor blenny Lawnmower blenny Cleaner wrasse Serpent star During the day, the only fish in his "airspace" so to speak is the cleaner wrasse (he is the only fish who seems to tolerate being cleaned, everyone else hates the poor stripey thing, who fortunately eats everything). At night he hides in areas presumably competing with everyone but the Percula clown, who "sleeps" wiggling by the filter intake. I am not sure the time of day he was injured. I have been very careful to try to maintain a peaceful tank, but perhaps I have too many fish who sleep in holes on the bottom? This occurred about 2 weeks after a major rearrangement of the rocks, perhaps there was still some quibbling about beds? <Mmm, hard to say/determine. I would "put the fish back"> Who do you think did this?  <No way to tell... no notable characters> Would reintroducing him now be a mistake? Do I have to rearrange everything again? (Aahhhhhh!) Is a fish likely to sustain such serious injuries getting stuck under something, etc., or am I right to assume this was an attack? Any thoughts would be appreciated. <Mmm, I would simply re-acclimate the specimen and re-introduce it. Bob Fenner> Tracy :)

Unidentified Goby Good Morning, I have recently set up a 30 gallon brackish water fish tank. I live in south Florida and have a canal that runs through my backyard. There are many types of invasive tropical fish species in these canals and they are my main source of fish. There are a number of small fish which I believe to be some sort of goby. The fin underneath there body is fused together to form one large fin which they do use to hold themselves along the bottom or on rocks or clay pots. I have searched many WebPages and have been unable to find the type that we have. The fish has a large crest on its head and are a tan and black spotted pattern. They occasionally show small blue spots on the fins parts of body. The distinguishing feature that these fish have is the head crest, this I have not seen on any other goby p photos that I have viewed. Any advice you can provide would be fantastic. Thanks, Jess <Mmm, I would guess you may be looking at a Gobiesocidae, a Clingfish... maybe Gobiosox punctulatus. Go to fishbase.org and take a look see at their description, pix. Bob Fenner>

Unidentified Goby - Lophogobius cyprinoides (Note: post link  to Mar. Links and family files) Hi Mr. Fenner, Your site is well designed. I happened to be scanning the "Today's Questions and Answers Page" and a questioned titled "Unidentified Goby" caught my attention. Judging by the description of the fish (head crest) as well as the origin (brackish canal in Florida) I am fairly certain that the species in question is Lophogobius cyprinoides. <Thank you for your kind, and quick (!) identification. Will post (and the link to your academic association). Bob Fenner> Cheers, Naomi R. Eventual Editor - International Goby Society Staff - Gobioid Research Institute www.gobiidae.com

Purple spot goby??? I work at a fish store and someone recently dropped off what they called a "purple spot goby". I have been trying to find more information on this fish but I can't seem to find any. No one I know knows what other name, if any, this goby might be called. Someone suggested purple cheeked goby but I ran into a dead in there as well. I have been dealing with fish for years but have never seen this before. Do you think you can help me? Thank you, Carlena Frith <Well... neither I nor www.FishBase.org recognize either common names. You might try looking through our Gobioid materials: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gobioidmars.htm and if you can narrow down the possibility to the genus level, go to fishbase, input it and sort through the couple of thousand species... they have pix of many, Google links to many more. As they say in the biz, good luck. Bob Fenner>

Goby hi my name is Marshall Hill I have a yasha hashe goby can you give me a site I can visit to get more info or do you have any pages I can view thanks Marshall hill <Please read through our root web: www.WetWebMedia.com or use the search feature there. Bob Fenner>

Snail Population Bob, and/or Crew I have enjoyed both this site and the book CMA. It has made the setup and maintenance of our 55g salt water reef tank enjoyable. I have two questions for you. First, I have a plethora of small snails in my salt water tank. The snails are pearl color and some of the shells are white with brown stripes (kind of reminds me of a zebra). I would not mind them, in fact I would have thought of them beneficial except there are so many of them throughout the tank. When I turn off the light in the tank they really come out in full force. The snails look like the turbo snails that I currently have. What are these snails? <Can't tell definitively by your description> And with there so many how do I get rid of some of them. <A wrasse species would be my first choice here... of a type that will get along with your other livestock, system> Currently in the tank is 1-coral banded shrimp, 1-cleaner shrimp, royal , Gramma, ocellaris clown, 3-scissor tails and a variety of hermit crabs. I also have some button polyps, White clove polyp, colt coral, and a Derasa Clam currently in the tank. Is there something I could add to help with population control of the snails (fish, or invertebrates)? <Perhaps a Cirrhilabrus, Paracheilinus species... these are detailed on WetWebMedia.com> My second question is my LFS has some Signal gobies (Signigobius biocellatus). I was wondering how hard are these little guys to keep and ultimately to feed? They have two but they are not a mated pair. Should I get two or just try one? <Should only be kept in pairs or more in a large-enough system... Not a really hardy species... easily lost by the less than diligent> Thanks for all your help that you guys have done in up keeping a great site full of information. I realize I still have a lot to learn. Thanks again. Sean H. <We all do my friend. Bob Fenner>

Question regarding Blueband Gobies <<Hello, JasonC here sitting in Bob's chair, working on Bob's computer, and hoping I can answer your question.>> I am new to marine aquariums, and have enjoyed many of the fascinating things that happen in a reef tank. <<is an endless subject for study.>> My aquarium is 150 gallons, and stocked with one Percula clown, one cardinal, one mandarin goby, and two Blueband gobies. I also have several different corals including a hammer, brain, several mushrooms, and a leather. My question is regarding the two Blueband gobies, lately one of them has been hiding most of the day, and the other has become very defensive when it comes to the first one. I noticed to day that the goby that has been hiding is also getting quite large. Is she about to have young? <<certainly sounds like it.>> Are they egg layers or live bearers? <<they are egg layers/substrate spawners>> anything special I should do form them? <<let them do their thing.>> Any help that you might be able to give would be great. Thank You Mark <<You are quite welcome. Cheers, J -- >>

Eel Goby Not Eating <Actually family Bythitidae, Order Ophidiiformes... What's in a (common) name? RMF> Any ideas on how to get my yellow eel goby (Brotulina fusca) to eat. Tried brine, flake, etc. and nothing seems to interest this fish??????  < Anthony Calfo and Steven Pro in for Bob: a moderately hardy fish... try frozen mysids, Pacifica plankton for starters. Collect copious amounts of natural plankton (amphipods) fro a filter pad on a system with live rock like a reef (LFS, Friend, society member). Last resort... Selcon soaked live brine shrimp. Best of luck to you.>

Seeking Goby Info Hello ~ <Hello. My name is Steven Pro. Anthony Calfo and I are helping Bob out while he is away.> I recently purchased two threadfin gobies, Stonogobiops nematodes. They're in my 20 gallon seahorse tank along with two Randall's pistol shrimp, Alpheus randalli. I am interested in determining their gender, as well as finding out whether they have been successfully bred and raised in captivity. My online searches in general as well as at the breeder's registry and fishbase.org  <Hmmm, these were going to be my suggestions.> have not yielded much information in that regard. I read somewhere that there are no external differentiating characteristics between the sexes. <I have found the same thing said in my references; no external differences and not bred in captivity, yet.> Do they change gender like clownfish? Would six of these fish do well in a 20 gallon tank? <If these two are living together comfortably already, you may just have lucked out and gotten a pair.> Please point me in the right direction as to where I can find comprehensive information (beyond what they eat and optimum tank conditions) on these delightful little fish. <There were two articles written in the January and February issues of Aquarium Fish Magazine, but I do not remember these giving any more information that you already seem to know. Definitely worth a read anyway.> Many thanks, Sherri 

The last question I will ask this year!! (Missing Goby!) Hi bob one quick one, I have (had) a pair of scissor tail gobies in my 135 gal. reef tank now I have one!?...The thing is he has been missing for three days now...He did this once before for about six hours but three days ...could he be hiding in the rock. sick?? <Yes, or jumped out...> giving birth??  <Not this> Or did my rock or bubble tip Anemones sneak a snack without my consent?  <Perhaps> Thanks again for so much help and a great site...PS I will be sending you and your crew some scuba compasses and a few scuba pressure gauges please enjoy for I enjoy your advice and so I will give a little something in return! <Wow! Please don't go broke. My ScubaPro compass "bit the dust" a few months back, and have been missing one. Thank you. Bob Fenner> Thanks again Joe Grunstad Goby Id - Black Prawn I am designing a website and I can the correct identification of the attached goby photo. Common name and Scientific name <Looks to be a Cryptocentrus cinctus. Please see here: http://wetwebmedia.com/shrimpgobies.htm  Bob Fenner>

Goby Id -Peach Goby? I am designing a website and I can the correct identification of the attached goby photo. Common name and Scientific name <Another color variety of the one just sent... see the same section of our site: http://wetwebmedia.com/shrimpgobies.htm  Bob Fenner> Thank You

Goby ID - White Stripped Prawn Goby???? I am designing a website and I can the correct identification of the attached goby photo. Common name and Scientific name <Mmm, please peruse the references listed where you were sent, and fishbase.org for the genera of shrimp gobies listed on WWM. Bob Fenner> Thank You

Goby ID - Spotted Prawn Goby??? I am designing a website and I can the correct identification of the attached goby photo. Common name and Scientific name <Please peruse the surrounding/linked articles on WWM here. Bob Fenner> Thank You

Mostly gobies Hi again... :-) >I don't know what the "butterfly gobies" really are, but they definitely aren't true gobies. They look sort of like miniaturized dwarf  lionfish, mottled brown and beige and about 1" long, and nothing like the marine butterfly goby, Amblygobius albimaculatus. Do you know if this fish is a sculpin, or a Scorpaenidae, or is it something else entirely? ><Beige mostly? Maybe Stigmatogobius: >http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brgobioids.htm> Believe me, this was one of the first places I looked! It isn't a Stigmatogobius sadanundio; these guys don't look like knight gobies at all. <Well, thought I'd try an easy choice!> Saying they're an inch long is being generous... one of them is a half inch long plus tail, and they haven't gotten bigger in the months I've had them. They're smaller than my bumblebee gobies in the same tank. The pelvic fins are separate, not fused into a cup shape. The front dorsal fin has three spines; the back dorsal fin is similar in shape to an Apistogramma's dorsal fin. <Mmm, many possibilities... including (likely) hundreds of as-yet undescribed species>> A bit more research later, and I'm inclined to believe this is a sculpin or sea robin of some sort. <Really!? And this small (at this point)?> It looks quite a bit like the "leopard sea robin" on http://www.awod.com/gallery/probono/isi/fieldgid.htm, but they don't show a good side view of the fish.... (fishbase.org isn't helping much, since a lot of their Searobin entries don't have illustrations). <Yes... they rely on "collaborators" to supply images (for gratis, I am gladly one)> - - - Meanwhile, I'm trying to mix up some soil like you suggested: peat, African violet mix, and laterite. The African violet mix has some white floating particles -- vermiculite? <Yes, likely... or perlite> -- and I'm wondering: should I take the floating bits out, or leave them in? <I'd take them out> The tank that needs the plants the most (it has the most brown algae) is the one with the sand substrate. I'd like to keep the sand, since the gobies are sand-sifters and love to bury themselves in the sand. How should I set up the soil and substrate in this tank? <Either make the sand deep enough over the substrate and soil bed, or better, place a screen mesh (plastic, like sold in large hardware store outlets) betwixt the two layers. Bob Fenner> many thanks, Ananda

Green banded goby Thanks about the advice on the green water, I found it was a phosphate problem. That has been sorted out and the water has started to clear. I've started to think to think about a sand sifter, and in a local shop, there is a green banded goby for sale, but I can't find any information on it. Could you tell me about it and what size it grows to? Are there any special requirements for it? My tank is 180l. <Yikes... any chance of a scientific name here? There are many fishes that fit the common name offered. Please take a look through our Gobies sections: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gobioidmars.htm and Sand Sifter FAQs: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsiftfaqs.htm Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance, James Matthams

Citron Clown Goby ? Hi Bob, would greatly appreciate some advice on a Citron Clown Goby I purchased from FFE two weeks ago. He doesn't eat much and seems pretty thin to me. All the pics I've seem of these guys show they are more plump than my little guy. He swims out and grabs a couple of pieces of whatever I'm feeding, brine shrimp, other chopped up stuff (soaked in Zoe and Zoecon) and that's it. He seems alert and perches on the corals (just softies). His tankmates are two false Percs, a yellow tail and humbug damsel, two cleaner shrimps, and a sally lightfoot. But no one bothers the little guy. I read in your facts that sometimes you won't see them eat, they eat plankton from the substrate at night. Will his appetite pick up as time goes on? Did I just get an anorexic fish? <Hopefully will improve in "plumpness"... as other behavior sounds good. I'd keep trying different small, meaty foods (do you culture anything like in a refugium?) and not worry.> Thanks so much for helping me, and your contribution to the hobby. <You are welcome my friend. Bob Fenner> Phyllis SC

Citron Gobies et al. Good morning, Dr. Fenner, Long time since the last time we chatted, uh? I hope all is well. I decided to drop this quick in view of late opinions I have heard about Citron Gobies (Gobiodon citrinus) and their kin (Gobiodon histrio and others) regarding their food choices. Some aquarists are reporting that their little guys are eating SPS polyps and I was under the impression (perhaps mistaken) that they would only do this at times of mating. Could you provide more info on these guys eating habits and preferred choices? The tank I am planning does include these little guys as well as an emphasis on SPS corals. <The genus Gobio does live in very close association (the only place I've ever seen them in the wild) with Acropora species (ones that look like "table tops"... I wouldn't be too surprised to find that they might nip, eat them, other SPS polyps... Ones in captivity I've seen eat most all small meaty foods, live and trained to take dead. Just must be small in size (to accommodate tiny mouths) and moving. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gobies.htm Bob Fenner> Thank you and have a great day! Mary.

Blenny / Goby / Angel Compatibility Hi Bob, I want to thank you for answering my dwarf angel question. It is great to see someone who is willing to share their time and expertise with others to advance a hobby. <Glad to be of service> Here's my question: I want a tank where everyone gets along, or at least tries to; The Tank of Tranquility.  <Mmm, more like a mini-sea of detente... Natural environments are only seemingly peaceful at times> I have a 300 gallon tank with a lot of live rock, live sand, and a plenum. The footprint is 96 x 24 inches. It has 5 big cleaner shrimp, some hermit crabs, and some emerald crabs. I have a bicolor blenny. I want to add a lawnmower blenny, a orangespot blenny, a dragon goby, a neon goby, a mustache Jawfish, and either a blackfinned shrimp goby or a spottail shrimp goby. We read a lot about certain blennies and gobies not caring for fish with similar body shapes, colors, drivers license numbers, or what not. Do you think these guys would get along with each other and their backboneless tank mates? If not, who do you suppose the trouble maker would be? <The fishes should all get along okay together... but the shrimps may be consumed by some of the new fishes... particularly the Jawfish> By the way, the bicolor blenny and the flame angel spend * a lot * of time swimming along side-by-side literally touching. What do you think those two are up to? <Being pals in my/our anthropomorphic view. This between-species behavior is quite common... in the wild as well as captivity. Bob Fenner> Thanks so much, Dale M.

Atlantic shrimps and fish compatibility Mr. Bob Fenner Has been sometime since the last contact with you. It was about my home made Ca reactor.... it is working fine.... alk is 12 and Ca about 450. <Yes I remember your name. Excellent> This time I need your advice about the possible introduction of two animal species in my main tank : 100 gallons ; half a dozen of soft and hard corals; a lot of small Atlantic Hermit crabs (Calcinus spp?)  <Perhaps> two Lysmata amboinensis and 3 fishes: purple tang, blue damsel and pigmy angel. Other fishes, like 1 Z. Flavescens, 1 Mandarin and a Clown have died with Amyloodinium (probably), four weeks after the introduction of an apparently healthy, but now also dead, Leucosternon. <A shame> In another tank I have for several months 5 gobies, Gobius paganellus and a lot of small shrimps, Palaemon elegans, all collected by myself here in Madeira Island. They look great an growing and I am thinking to put some of them, may be two gobies and two small shrimps, in the main tank. Are there some known incompatibility between this shrimps and the Lysmata? This kind of shrimp is very fast moving in the water, so I think that may be they could escape from the damsel in the first contacts. I am tempted to try the cohabitation but first I want your opinion <Don't know of any such incompatibilities... not specific predators on each other, occupy similar but distinct food, space niches... as you likely know, having collected them> Mr. Fenner, thank you in advance for your reply Fl?io Ribeiro <You're welcome my friend. Bob Fenner>

Citron goby Good afternoon, Mr. Fenner, I have recently purchased a citron gobies and have read in your book that they need a peaceful home. <Yes> I have a 55 with a Foxface, coral banded shrimp, cleaner shrimp, two convicts, one mandarin, and one cleaner gobies. Are any one of these specimens a problem? <Convict what?> I have not seen him eat yet. My tank has been up for about 2 years. my specs are ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 18 ph 8.3 salinity 1.24 and my temp is 80 degrees. My ORP reads during it low point about 240 during the day and back up to 300 during the night. If you see any possible problems please let me know and I will return him soon. <Nothing obvious... you are unlikely to see this animal eat... at least for quite a while... this is a reclusive species that feeds on small plankton... that are likely rising out of the substrate by night.> .Thanks once again. Ryan. PS: If your ever in New Orleans let me know I'll buy you a few pounds of crawfish... <Yum, ditch bugs... Procambarus clarkii... have a few favorite recipes myself. Bob Fenner>

Clown gobies Mr. Fenner, Love your web site, so much information. I have a few questions. What are you thoughts on keeping two clown gobies citron) with two perculas (true)? <A good choice. Both very easygoing, eat about the same foods... Gobiodon are aware of what these fish are about...> I have a 58 gallon tank, wet dry filter, protein skimmer, live rock, devil's hand leather coral, toadstool, several mushrooms, and some green star polyps. I was considering the two perculas, two clown gobies, a flame hawk fish, one preferably lattice butterfly or lemon, and a desjardinii Sailfin. maybe a Pseudochromis too. your input would be appreciated. <Hmm... well, do look for tank bred Percula clowns and Pseudochromis (much hardier, less aggressive, more disease free... I'd maybe use another species of tang... the Zebrasoma gets pretty big, rambunctious... maybe a Ctenochaetus species... Bob Fenner> Thank you, Rick

Gobies Hi Bob, I have a small (5 gal) tank I have set up with a pair (unsexed) of dwarf seahorses (boy are they cute!). I've had them about 6 weeks and they are doing great, have gotten nice and plump. The tank contains aragonite sand seeded with LS from my 80 gal tank, some small chunks of LR, some Halimeda and Caulerpa hitching posts also some gorgonian skeletons to hitch on, xenia, button polyps, small shrooms, and cabbage coral. I feed heavily with BBS and added some Nassarius and Cerith snails to keep the glass clean and eat up dead BBS, there are also some pods and mini brittle stars (that's about all the detritivores I can safely add with such small residents). <Sounds like a very neat set-up... need some sort of magnification to enjoy all, see close enough to sex those horses> Now on to the main question! Last week my LFS had these really cute little gobies. They called them green gobies and said the were the Gobiodon sp?  <Yes, the genus perhaps. Look here: http://wetwebmedia.com/gobies.htm Maybe G. rivulatus> family. Great, I looked them up on your website :) and they match the description of the citron gobies (except for color and blue stripes). You site said they would be good in seahorse tanks, yeah! so I bought 2. They are less than 1". They are eating the BBS (good) but should I be adding something else for them? I do enrich the BBS with Selcon to make it as nutritious as possible. I did add a couple of live adult brine shrimp, but they ignored it (maybe to large for little mouths). Should I try some flake and or small bits of frozen? <Yes... but not too much (of course you don't want pollution). Likely only small moving food items will be of interest... and happily you do mention having other small life forms present> Thanks so much for you help! P.S. You had a question from someone who is the proud parent of some Banggai fry. I put up a page with some info about my experience raising them (have 10 survivors at 4 months :) ) Here is the link if you would like to forward it: http://www.users.qwest.net/~mkm4/Banggais.html I haven't updated it recently (something I need to do) I've learned a bit more as these fry have matured and think I will have much better success with the next batch. <Thank you for this... Wish the present status of passing on e-addresses was more assuredly safe... would post people's for other folks interactions... Hopefully more will avail themselves of our new ChatForum feature: http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/... and make their ideas available there for input> This fish raising really gets addictive! I've now got some 5 day old pink skunk clown larvae. This is about the 7th spawn and the 1st time larvae have survived to this length. There is another spawn on their spawning site that should hatch next Sunday. I've also got a page up for them (spawning in action) if you'd like to see it, it's at: http://www.users.qwest.net/~mkm4/clowns.htm Keep up the great work! Kathy <You as well! Bob Fenner>

Brackish to fresh (goby id) thanks so much for the help. Her fish is a Goby I found out but fishbase has about a hundred Goby types so she'll have to look there and identify. Thanks again. <Ah, you're welcome my friend. Bob Fenner> Dan

Gobies Hello again. I have been wondering something. My yellow headed sleeper gobies and yellow watchman gobies are now starting to share the same hole. They are very close to one another now. Is this normal? They look rather cute. <Not unusual or harmful. Bob Fenner> Lianne Carroll :)

Stonogobiops MIA Recently, I added a High Fin Gobies (Stonogobiops Nematodes) to my 29g tank. Established in the tank already was a Blackcap Basslet (along with a True Percula). The Basslet has it's home in a cave in the live rock on one side of the tank. The gobies immediately took to the opposite side of the tank and settle right in. The gobies had no visible signs of stress, was eating and was even becoming protective of it's cave towards hermits and such. (Yikes... these gobies are very easygoing,,,, and live in groups... and the Basslet is not a sharing sort... especially in such a small system...) For about a week now, there is no trace of the little guy and my Basslet has taken up residence in the Gobies old home. The Basslet would never venture far from it's old home, but now seems to swim freely about the rock work. (Doesn't sound good...) Is there a chance the Blackcap killed the little fella? I have found no remains and my skimmer is not producing abnormal amounts of "crud". I have no ORP meter but ammonia levels are zero. Or do you believe the Stono. has been hiding out all this time? If so, do you believe it will produce itself and eat anytime soon? I would hate for the little guy to perish because of being bullied. What to do? (Count this as an expensive lesson for you, a deadly one for the Stonogobiops) Thanks in advance for your help!! I am sure I'm not alone when I say you are a tremendous benefit to this hobby! (Wish we would have e-chatted ahead of your trying this combo... Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner) Concerned about my citizens, Kurt

Feeding my Goby Dear Bob, Thanks for the quick answer regarding stocking. The Hawaiian Yellow Tang will be next. <Ah, a good choice> Following your writings regarding Valenciennes puellaris, I am concerned that my beautiful 4 inch Goby may not be getting enough to eat. No visual problem, he seems fat and happy, digging through the substrate several time a day and occasionally laboriously paddling to the top of the wall and diving back down. He has tunnels under the rock work to hide/sleep in. <Sounds good... it he getting thin?> 1/4 of the substrate is 2 inches of aragonite gravel and 3/4 is undulating average 3 inches deep fine aragonite (1/2 put in "live") tank is 7 months of age. While he has been going through the sand a lot I worry 'cause I don't see how he gets any nourishment from it. I tried dropping in finely chopped raw shrimp and also dry shrimp pellets but the crabs, shrimp, and other fishes grab them. <Yes... perhaps some other food source would provide more continuous supply... my fave choice would be/is a refugium type sump... with live sand, rock, Caulerpa... and continuous or alternating light/dark (with your main system)... > Now each week after cleaning the glass I am using long forceps to bury dry shrimp dry krill pellets about 1/2" under the sand. Will this be enough "fauna" to sustain him. Your advice, as always, would be appreciated.  Howard <The only "answer" is to observe your livestock... if this Goby is getting thin, you will definitely be able to see it. Bob Fenner>

Re: Feeding my Goby Dear Bob, I don't understand how the refugium will provide food for the Gobioid but I already have on under construction. <It will be a "breeding/production ground" for all sorts of crustaceans, worms and other creatures that will make their way (through the overflow) to the main system, and provide important molecules that will improve "water quality"... all in all benefiting your Goby> I will be using a 3 gallon plexi box located above the sump with a 100 gph line tapped off the filter circuit and an overflow back into the sump. It replaces the blue ball box that I used before adding live rock and getting everything in balance (shut it down after reading some advice to others on wetweb..  <Ah, so gratifying to read> I will plant it with Caulerpa attached to live rock junks (I'm cultivating some in a spare tank, both grape and blade). I will light it 24 hours a day with a spare 20 watt aquarium fixture left over from fresh water days. <Very good...> Any suggestions would be appreciated. Is this enough light for a 10 inch deep refugium? What "color" light tube should I use? Many colors are available for this All Glass fixture. <Yes, enough light, circulation... a good plan overall... look for a full spectrum (5K temp. or higher) lamp... a Vita-lite would be ideal. Bob Fenner>

New Mini Reef Set up. Lost Goby... Bob, boy I must have a problem, I just lost my Goby, and I haven't a clue why.. and I don't believe its due to ick or anything like that. Right now my ammonia is 0, my nitrites are 0 and my nitrates are about 10ppm, the pH is 8.4, I raised the tank temp to 82, and lowered the salinity to 1.019-20 to help get rid of the ick, white spots or what ever, either way, the goby never had a spot on him, he did have a little of what I thought was tail rot, but I had been feeding the fish antibiotic fish food for 10 days to help get rid of the ick, and take care of the fin rot that looked like it was getting better as of yesterday, well, today, he wouldn't come out and when he did, he barely ate and was breathing heavily, then about halfway through the day I notice that his front dorsal fin was always down, and then finally about an hour ago I noticed that his body around the front dorsal fin, about a half inch total had become very pail and almost looked sinking in a little, he basically came out of his hole to die about 15 min.s ago, and well then he did..... it was so quick I've never seen a fish die that quickly, after I've noticed symptoms, the other fish seem to be fine. My only best guess is I notices that one of the two baby anemones in the tank had opened up near one of the places he hangs out, do you think it could have stung him? he did look a little paralyzed and wasn't swimming normally at the end? I got no idea... what do you think it could have been? DAVE <Sorry to hear of your loss. Maybe the Goby was stung sufficiently by the anemone(s), but this sounds like a case of an internal disorder... You don't mention how long you had this fish, but there are parasitic disorders that can rapidly bring about these fishes deaths... I don't suspect that the root cause is "catching" though. Most fish internal parasite problems are pretty species specific. Bob Fenner>

Re: New Mini Reef Set up...Goby Loss I had the Goby for about 6 weeks, he was real healthy, eating, a lot, doing goby things, my only other guess was that he was choking on a shell.... ehhh who knows... just, I don't think my fianc?can take fish deaths, a little emotional. <For me as well> ok well I think I'll give the tank a little before I try to replace him. well I got to go, thanks DAVE <Where's the direct object? Okay to waiting (as in tempus fugit)... and hopefully to the culture of more interstitial life forms for such fishes to forage. Bob Fenner>

Spawning Banded Gobies? Hi I purchased two banded gobies from FFExpress about a year ago, the tank they are in is a 55 gallon with live rock, Tangs, clowns and some anemones. I noticed a large egg mass underneath of a large piece of live rock, which one of the gobies is guarding and fanning with its tail constantly. I realize the survival rate in a tank like this would be null but I was wondering if this is common with gobies? Thanks John Halliburton >> Congrats. Only a matter of good care and feeding... Take a look through the success reports posted on Gobies on the Breeder's Registry: including links, articles on culturing food organisms... do this soon. Bob Fenner

4-Wheel Drive Goby question Bob, I'd like to ask for one more piece of advice.... Recapping the contents of my 40 gal. mini-reef: 50 lbs. Fiji live rock 1.5" live sand (with shell debris, "GARF grunge", etc.) cleanup crew (hermits, snails, black banded starfish) 1 Clownfish 1 Yellow mimic tang Small pink crab, came w/birds nest (now dead) Decorator crab 2 Pacific cleaner shrimp Green star polyps Large Yellow leather coral Large Colt coral  Button polyps Very little green algae Lots of Coralline algae on rocks, side and back glass I do have good water movement (2 Maxi Jet 1000s, Knop Skimmer, Fluval 203 Canister w/spray bar). Nothing new has been added for over 6 months.  I'd like to add a 4-Wheel Drive Goby to stir the live sand and, most importantly, because they're way cool. FFE hobby notes on this fish states that they must be kept in pairs as adults. Do  you agree? <Yes, rarely live as singles> What do you think about adding a pair of these guys to the above mix. Could there be a problem with the decorator crab? <Could be... if it's large, hungry> He's a fairly big one, about 2-3" in diameter. (He's one of our favorites- covered with bits of rock, button and star polyps, etc). I know I'm getting close to the capacity of this 40 Gal. tank, but would like a cool/beneficial bottom-dwelling fish. This will be the finale, as far as fish go, to this tank.  I do plan to also gradually add more soft corals. Thanks for your advice and have a great weekend! Dave >> <Thanks will do/am doing so. Bob Fenner>

Catalina Goby Lifespans Just one quick question. Is it true that Catalina Gobies have a short life span? >> Lythrypnus dalli? Historically, in captivity,,, yes... Probably ninety some percent die within a month of collection.... These are cold/cool water animals... can be kept in a biotopic setting (California coast line)... In the wild, they live a few years... Bob Fenner

Diamond Goby I have had a fair amount of trouble with Diamond Gobies. At different times I have had one and each lived about 6 to 9 months. During that time each seemed quit content to swim around, dig homes, and ate anything and everything I fed the fish. They sifted the sand happily and continued to swim around. The problem with each was that their skeleton continued to grow while their body did not keep pace. Eventually their head was too big and you could see the skeleton shape and they died. I have since talked to 3 other aquarists that have had the same problem so it seems to be something we are, or aren't, doing in relation to keeping these guys alive. I personally have a 125 gallon with lots of live rock and sand. I run a trickle filter, a mechanical filter, and a protein skimmer. Ammonia and nitrite are negligible and nitrates are also low. I really like the antics of these guys and the way they keep the sand white. Can you provide any information that may help? Thanx. >> Thank you for the input, your query, and caring enough to help others. Am very, painfully familiar with the scenario you relate so well... A type of nutritional deficiency syndrome... The best information I can offer is to reply that I have seen these and other "sifting" species maintained for longer periods, and in better, fuller health and color... only where there was "sufficient" live rock, mud/muck filtration that allowed refugium type growth of mysids, amphipods, caprellids, likely other small crustacean, and worm life that affected system water quality, and provided habitat for adequate types and amounts of food organisms. Bob Fenner

New Goby Environment  I have a 30 gallon tank with damsels, and live rock What is the best way to add gobies to the tank ???  >> Hmm, if I understand your question... to investigate the types, species of gobies you might be interested in. Possibly quarantine/harden them for a good two weeks (without medications of any sort unless absolutely necessary... they're sensitive)... and making sure they're getting plenty to eat... Gobies are typically starved through the whole transfer process... and then a freshwater dip to your main tank. Particulars on the issues of quarantine, dipping, and the Gobioid fishes can be found archived at the URL: www.wetwebmedia.com Bob Fenner Catalina Gobies Thank you for your QUICK response about the "fish capacity". You mention the green brittle stars are fish predators. Are the brown brittle stars fish predators as well?  Also, you mentioned that the Catalina goby is a cold water fish. How cold?? Very Respectfully, Wayne  >> Less so, but still yes, the Brown Brittlestars are predatory. Catalina gobies (Lythrypnus dalli) collected during the summer months... when the water temp. is a balmy mid to upper sixties will live in water in the low seventies for some time (about half live a month)... the ones collected in other seasons have to be kept in a system with a chilling mechanism. Bob Fenner Foods for gobies I have a LOT of live rock in the tank; probably 35 - 40% of the tank volume. However, the tank is only about three months old, so there are a fair amount of copepods, but not a lot of other misc. life in the sand. Unfortunately, I do not have a tank that could provide better substrate as I have recently overhauled all of my other aquariums. Am I just out of luck? >> Hmmm, maybe not. How about good relations with a livestock fish store? One that cures their own live rock. Make a deal with them to collect the "muck" etc. on the bottom of their sumps... and chop up those bristle worms et al. and see if your gobies will accept this material.... freshly prepared. You can store unused matter in the frig. till it's needed. Bob Fenner

Goby Compatibility Hello again Mr. Fenner thanks for your reply on my puffer question. I have a strange but true situation, about 2 months ago I purchased a small watchman goby. As soon as I put it in my tank (reef) he went to the top and fell in the overflow box. I looked for it like crazy. I gave up on it and purchased a medium sized diamond goby. Well tonight I was cleaning my sump under my tank and to my surprise there was my watchman goby fat and healthy. Now my question will a watchman goby and a diamond goby get along. thanks in advance >> You're probably okay with putting these two together. Much more often, blending two or more of the same species, about the same size, at different times is a problem. Here, I'd wager that the original Watchman is and will stay much smaller... I'd try them, and pull one or the other if WWIII seems to really be going on. Chasing and flaring fins doesn't count. Be chatting,
Bob Fenner 

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: