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FAQs on Gobies & their Relatives 2

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

Related FAQs: Gobies 1, Goby 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

Goby and copepod parasites in N. Sulawesi (ouch!)

Eviota Gobies     10/16/19
Couldn’t find much information on this subject anywhere so thought I’d ask the guru’s ;)
I have a small group of 4 Eviota nigriventris in my 20 cube. Is there any way to tell the difference between the sexes with these guys?
<Gobies like many other marine fish, don't display sexual dimorphism, they start their lives as females and the most dominant becomes a male, in the case of the Red Neon Goby, the most noticeable difference is that adult/mature males have larger dorsal fins, I believe your gobies are still juveniles so, only with time you'll see which one will be the male, there is usually only one male and several females in a group… hope this helps. Wil.>

Re: Eviota Gobies    10/17/19
Thanks!!! That helps a lot!!
<Great, Kathy!>
My group includes one that is showing that longer dorsal fin you speak of, and some darker shading on the ventral fin area. The others three all look the same.
They are super pretty little fish, really surprised more people don’t keep them.
<I am surprised too...these are really neat fish!>
They are much better colored in person than many of the photos I’ve seen of them online.
I’m including some pics I’ve captured of mine in my aquarium.
This last photo isn’t mine but this is similar to the color and dorsal fin length of the one I suspect is the male in my group.
<Thanks for sharing. Wil.>

Thanks you and 2 pictures. Priolepis nocturna   4/22/08 Hi Everyone, <Amanda> No question today. Just a big thank you to everyone who's answered a question for me in the past. You all do a wonderful service for fish keepers and too many times you answer questions for no reward or thanks except someone being rude to you because they got an answer they didn't like. So thank you. <Welcome> I also thought you might like to see a picture of my Priolepis nocturna. I found him hiding in my live rock when I had to break my tank down. I never bought him. He must have been a hitch hiker that somehow made it through the tank cycling and over 3 years of me being oblivious to his existence. <Wow!> Now that I know he's there I don't know how I missed seeing him in the past. He's very camera shy, however, and it's taken me nearly 3 years to get a 'decent' (not the best, but at least you can tell it's a fish) picture of him, I usually only manage to get his tail as he retreats back under the live rock. If I ever do manage to get a better picture of him I can send it on to you if you're at all interested. He's the oldest fish in my tank (despite the fact I didn't even realise he was there for over half the time I've had him) at nearly 6 years. He's got heaps of personality and always adds fun to a party....."ok, now if you look in under that piece of live rock there. No....not at that angle! If you look in from the corner of the tank there..... Now see that sticky outie piece, behind that...no no...not that sticky outie piece, the little one to the side of that, near the calcareous worm tube...see, upside down, just there? The striped goby.....what do you mean you can't see him....are you even looking under the right piece of live rock?" I'm sure my husband coaches all his friends before they come over to humour me and just nod and say they actually did see the elusive fish. Thank you again for all the work you put into answering questions. Cheers!
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Circus Goby or Black Barred Convict Goby, Priolepis nocturna, gen. care, sys. , fdg.  - 08/31/07 Hey guys, I recently purchased a small goby for my nano tank at work. They had him listed as a circus goby. Live Aquaria shows him as a black barred convict goby. <Is a Priolepis nocturna. A little more here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gobyidfaqs.htm > He's a really beautiful fish and a great size for my tank (9 gallon cad lights). <As always, bigger would be better, 20 gallons or more is generally recommended. A cleaner goby, either Gobiosoma oceanops or Gobiosoma evelynae would be better in a tank of your size.> I saw him eat frozen food in the store before I bought him. <Good.> I put him in the tank on Friday and he immediately hid behind a rock. A few minutes later he moved over to a more secluded place, and after 30 minutes he was only visible with a flashlight because of the place he was hiding. When I came into work on Monday he was nowhere to be found. I checked all around the desk and floor and am confident he didn't jump out. <But can and does happen.> I read one post from a guy who had one in a 14-gallon nano and never saw him unless he was aquascaping. My question is how am I supposed to feed and care for a fish that I can't see? <Challenging, but possible.> He's in the only fish in the tank, so he won't be able to eat the leftovers from other fish. <He shouldn't' have to worry about leftovers if he's the only fish there, all will be fresh meals for him.> I'm tempted to move my rocks around and look for him, but I know he'll just hide again in the future. What do you think I should do? <Well, this is what many gobies do. They perch and hide, seldom swimming in the water column. Is hard to recommend any other fish in such a small tank.> Thanks, <Welcome, Mich> Josh

Ascension Goby, care   8/9/07I recently purchased an Ascension Goby (Priolepis ascensionis) which is doing VERY well in my tank. I verified his identity through the Meerwasser-lexicon site. This little guy is great, he swims, sits on rocks, feeds and just exists upside-down. My dilemma is that I cannot find ANY husbandry info for him. Can y'all give me any insight. BTW, I have an excellent pic of him if desired. Thanks, Mitch <Mmm, an animal with a very restricted range: http://fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=59392&genusname=Priolepis&speciesname=ascensionis Did yours come from the St. Helena Islands? I imagine this species care is similar/the same as that of other small gobies... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gobies.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Priolepis ascencionis Update    01/13/2008 Hi Bob, <Mitch> I wrote in August, regarding my Priolepis ascencionis and was pleased to get a reply and to see my message in the WetWebMedia information. I still don't find much of any information about the little guy, but wanted to give an update on mine. He is doing very well, feeding on frozen Cyclopeeze and Reef Plankton, and I notice a pattern for popping out to grab a little bite, then running right back to his perch. He free swims (upside-down) but not as much as when he was introduced to the tank. I believe he was exploring. <Well put> This is an inactive fish, not too social but not reclusive by any means. The Ascension Goby is not nocturnal, but tends to disappear for a couple of hours when the Metal Halide lighting first comes on. He spends most of his time either on the bottom of my corner overflow box, or the bottom of a rocky overhang just below it. I feel that these are his comfort zone. He is not aggressive to others who go there, but is most comfortable there. I hope this update in welcome. Thanks, Mitch <Thank you for this further info. Bob Fenner>

Round and Tubenose Gobies, invasive species in the Great Lakes  3/16/07 Dear Mr. Fenner,                           <Kelly>    I am a student at Derby Middle School. I am doing a report on Round and Tubenose Gobies. Could you please tell me what the harmful effects they are having on the Great Lakes? I was also hoping you could tell me was happening to stop anymore from getting into the Great Lakes? Thank-you very much!  Could you please email me at XXXX                        Thanks again,                            Kelly <I know exceedingly little re this situation. However a search on Google reveals: http://www.google.com/search?q=Round+and+Tubenose+Gobies.+Could+you+please+tell+me+what+the+harmful+effects+they+ are+having+on+the+Great+Lakes&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-Address&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7PCTA I would delve through these citations. Bob Fenner>

Priolepis Gobies...A Dearth of Information Available - 10/10/06 Hi folks -- Thanks for the awesome resource! <<Quite welcome>> I saw a juvenile goby labeled "Priolepis goby" at my LFS.  A bit more investigation led to the following details -- "yellow Priolepis goby from Eastern Asia."  That was literally all they had on it. <<Does make it difficult to research, eh?  Though drilling down to the specific species is not always necessary, you can probably determine husbandry requirements based on the genus>> It looks like it may be the P. aureoviridis< http://filaman.ifm-geomar.de/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=56809> or yellow-green goby. <<Hmm, though fishbase.org disagrees, according to konacoastdivers.com this is a Hawaii endemic>> Unfortunately, I can't find any further info about it, from the Web or other reefers. <<Rare in the trade I think...but care would likely be similar to P. nocturna (also rare, but seems to have a "smidgen" more info about)>> It looked attractive as a juvenile, but I don't know what adults really look like (outside of the fishbase pics, which are always a bit lame... err, pedantic?). <<Mmm...and this is not much better: http://konacoastdivers.com/toby.jpg >> I was also wondering if these are shrimp gobies, as the same LFS had a pistol shrimp I'd love to get too!  :) <<Does have that "look" but I really don't know...worth trying I think>> Thanks as always! ~Tim <<Regards, EricR>>

Goby Information: Myersina lachneri    3/19/06 Good afternoon, First I would like to thank you all for making such a wonderful and informative website.  This is the first time that I have come across a question that I have not been able to answer with a thorough search of your archives.  I recently came across a small goby at a local fish store.  It was sold as a shrimp goby, however I cannot remember what common name it was sold as.  As it looked healthy and was eating in the store I bought it as a future resident for a 38 gallon tank I have recently set up.  I made a quick search of all the websites I could think of when I got home, but could not find any pictures that looked like my goby.  Today I found a picture with a Genus and species name: Myersina lachneri .  Even with this information I have not been able to dig up any other information about this particular species or the genus as a whole (Even on Fishbase) <All they have: http://filaman.ifm-geomar.de/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=27567&genusname=Myersina&speciesname=lachneri> and I was wondering if any of your crew could enlighten me on this species (Especially about whether or not this species forms a symbiotic relationship with pistol shrimp).   Thank you again, Paul <I see a pic here: http://uri.sakura.ne.jp/~dd/g/eg-212.htm but have not seen this fish in person. I do not think this is a shrimp/goby symbiont. 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>  Engineer goby Aaron here, Real quick. I have a 29 gallon tank with one engineer goby and a Banggai cardinal. First off are neon gobies and engineers gobies the same (I believe they are but not sure)? <Not the same species...> Also could I add another engineer goby? Or do they fight like the neon gobies would (same fish?). What are some other possible tank mates for these fish. I have a chocolate chip star and some hermit crabs as well. I wish to add some color to the tank. The goby add enough personality as it is. Thanks much, Aaron Loboda, Central NY.  <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm scroll down to gobies... read. Bob Fenner>

- Suicidal OS Goby - Dear Sirs <Did someone knight me while I was sleeping?> Firstly may I take the opportunity to congratulate you on a great resource that is WetWebMedia, only came across it recently (where have I been!). Secondly I just don't know how you guy's find the time to answer so many questions, but immediately know one day I too would be writing one! And it's today! Ok to the point. I lost an OS Goby recently which decided in less than 24 hrs after introduction to get out of the tank into the space above the glass and aquarium lid, found it in the morning when feeding. I have covered all the gaps where the inlet/outlet pipes come into the tank with cling film, mainly to prevent evaporation, so was perplexed how this fellow made it out. So after some thinking, and the fact I like these chaps & that in all the time I have had the tank set up I have not lost a fish before due to jumping out went for another OS Goby on the it must be a one off bit of bad luck! He was introduced to the main tank today and after some initial attention mostly from the Blue-streak Devil (Abudefduf oxydon) all calmed down. He made a little dug out in the sand at the back behind a rock and seemed fine. Lights out at 11pm. I am on WetWebMedia and the computer is only six feet away and I hear this bang crash sound from inside the hood of the tank at 11:45pm. Yep you guessed it. It's our little friend out of the water and inside the lid. Lucky I was on hand to ease him back into the water. The only slight gap is where the skimmer puts water back into the tank. I have just tried to reduce this gap further still, but it must have taken some working out that it was there in the first place clever chap! Do you think he is being harassed by some other fish in the dark? Other tank mates; Lipstick Tang, Three Domino Damsels, the Blue-streak Devil, cleaner wrasse, Tassel Filefish, plus a cleaner shrimp.  I am working tomorrow so need to get to bed soon, otherwise I would stay on night watch. I am expecting the worst in the morning.  If we get through the night any ideas? <Not really... you've already tackled this about as well as can be done - these fish jump, no surprise there - so you have to use whatever means necessary to block any route of escape. You might want to look for fiberglass bug screen, and use this to help shield any odd sized areas.> Guess this is a tall order. <Yeah... the nature of these fish... you might want to spend one of your evenings watching to see who's hassling this fish - they typically don't make these leaps unless they think their options are better elsewhere.> Kind regards Gary <Cheers, J -- > 

- Suicidal OS Goby, Follow-up - Dear J I think all you guys deserve a Knighthood! I am writing to you from England, so will try and put a word in. <Please give Her Majesty my regards.> Thank you so much for your reply.  <My pleasure.>  The good news is the Goby is still alive and well 'inside' the tank.  <Excellent.>  Since that night I don't think he has attempted another break out, yet!  He now seems quite settled and has set up home at the front under a large chunk of ocean rock. During the day he is out and about on his business so it may be any initial attention from the other fish has relented. I will try and sit up and see who may be doing the bullying if there is any further occurrence. Also I will see if I can do anything else to make the gaps more secure as per your suggestion with fiberglass. <Specifically, would be non-metal window screen - not sure how prevalent this is in the UK, but here in the states, few homes come without screens on the windows to stop bugs from entering the house. There are many types/materials - you just want to make sure you don't use a metallic version.> Take care and thanks. Gary <Cheers, J -- > 

- Keeping Twinspot Gobies Alive in Quarantine - Dear Crew, HELP!!! This is DianeV. and I have ick in my 40 gal. semi-reef (inverts but no corals). It has been present for some time now but other than an occasional spot or two on my Royal Gramma there seemed to be no real adverse reactions and the other fish never seemed to be bothered. In the tank I have 1 Royal Gramma, 1 Yellow Watchman, 2 Ocellaris Clowns (largest one 1.5 inches), 2 Twinspot Gobies, and a prize Golden Angel (Centropyge aurantia). Now the confession.  I needed my 10 gal. QT tank for the angel so an Orange Finned Tang went in the 40 early. Well, three days ago when the lights came on and I was doing my first check of the day and saw that the tang was COATED with ick. However, no one else had any spots that I could see and with no time, I went to work.  When I got home the spots were gone. Next morning though it was the same, lots of spots, then nothing when I got home. But yesterday morning I noticed that my babies, the Twinspots, had it bad and it does not go away! I dashed straight out and bought 4 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp but they hang in the back and the gobies hang in the front. Now, what I want to do, (I think?), is move everyone out, freshwater dips for all and then into sterile tanks for at least 4 weeks, preferably 8?, for treatment and to let the 40 remain fallow.  <Four to six weeks should be sufficient - and given your concerns for their feeding, you don't want to go longer than is practical.>  Which brings me to the subject of the title. My Twinspots only sift sand at this point, it is live sand and I feed among other things frozen Cyclop-eeze and small frozen Mysis which has been soaked in Selcon and they do get some of that but it is incidental and I'm worried that they will starve in QT without the live sand.  <Actually, I think they'll do fine with the Cyclop-eeze on a bare bottom. Sand sifting is their primary mode of gathering food, but they should make the adaptation pretty quickly when they realize they don't have any sand. Would still keep your eyes on things though and consider your options if they stop eating all together.>  I have available 3- 10 gal. tanks and 1- 20 gal. so I can give them a tank to themselves but if they don't eat I don't think they can last long,. they're not even 2 inches yet. Any ideas. I do have also a 125 gal tank with a 6 inch sand bed can I take bits from this?  <I wouldn't - if you have to treat the gobies with anything, the sand will interfere with that treatment so better to leave the sand where it is for now.>  Thank you  DianeV. <Cheers, J -- > 

Blue cheeked goby needs bulking up Dear Bob, <Michael> I have written you before, and thanks for the response. I have a new question. I was at a pet store looking at a blue cheeked goby, aka yellow headed sleeper goby. When the clerk found out that I had interest in the fish, she pleaded with me to take it, she even gave it to me for free. <!> Apparently they had requested a different fish, but were given this one as a replacement, and they were not prepared to keep this fish.  Since it was such a fussy eater and they did not have the proper system, and a tank for itself, they couldn't feed it properly, and it was slowly starving. I took it and promised I would try my best to recuperate this poor fish. I have live sand which it is sifting, and I read a suggestion of mixing food (Mysis, brine, or chopped shrimps) into the sand, which I have been trying. I am also, as soon as time or whether permits (at the moment I am in the middle of the nor'easter in the northeast US, going to get live rock for my tank. <Good> Do you have any other suggestions, tips, and/or tricks I can use to get this fish healthy again? Thanks, Mike <Do soak whatever small, meaty foods (whole or chopped) in Selcon or such for a good ten, fifteen minutes and when you have time, use a plastic "turkey baster" to carefully squirt some of this (mixed in water) toward the area where this fish is sifting. Bob Fenner>

What kind of goby? Just got a 4 inch goby that has beautiful coloration:  salmon-colored top fins with black spots on them; body is yellowish-green with brown bands; sprinkling of neon blue "freckles" around head/neck and near tail; tail is pink/salmon with some lavender in it;  "foot" fin is large and totally black. What kind of goby is this and what part of the world does it come from? Glenda Schill <The true gobies are the largest family of marine fishes... some 1875 nominal species, with many more to be found, named. You might have some luck looking through fishbase's listing: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/FamilySummary.cfm?ID=405 Left click "show species", but I can't discern your species from the description. Do you have a photo to send along? Bob Fenner>

Re: what kind of goby? Thanks so much for the link -- I'll see if I can find something. Appreciate your help. <Real good... and as stated, do send an image along if you have one. Bob Fenner> Glenda Schill

Update regarding my Hector's Goby. 1/5/05 Adam,  My tank has barely been fallow for 2 weeks after an ich outbreak and the Hector's goby hasn't eaten in days and has started to look worse than the picture on the WWM website showing one that's too thin. So I put him in the display, since he was not going to survive another 6-8 weeks in the QT! Hope I don't regret this too much... <I hope so too.  QT for these fishes is difficult since QT conditions don't provide the security and substrate necessary for normal feeding behavior.> Since technically my tank is infested with ich and there is a potential host in there now, I've decided to not add a second fish. So the 1.5" goby will have a 72Gallon tank all to himself, until he needs to be fished out for some reason and the tank has a chance to go fallow for at least 8 weeks! <The problem with this strategy is that even without obvious signs of infestation, your little goby probably will keep enough parasites alive to cause a new outbreak ++when more fish are added.  This is especially true since your goby may develop natural immunity which your new additions will not have.> Do fish need to interact with other fish to feel more 'comfortable?'  Narayan <Not this one.  Some shoaling fish are more secure in groups, but most are happy or happier alone.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Randall's goby with lawnmower blenny Hi, Thanks for the great site, I send lots of people to it. Normally I can find my own answers, but this time I want yours. In a 37 Gallon " oceanic corner tank" I keep 25 lbs liverock, four inch deep sand bed. Fish are a pair of percula clowns pair of yellow  tail blue damsels, and a lawnmower blenny, with about 10 mixed snails, 10  blue leg hermits, and 6 asst mushrooms. Recently a friend gave me a 1 inch Randall's pistol shrimp. All is fine 2 weeks later, and I am wanting to add a Randall's goby or a yellow watchman goby. In this set up, do you think the goby and blenny would get along? <I give you good odds. Salarias, Atrosalarias blennies are generally only feisty with algae eating competitors> And if so which goby would be a better choice? Tank has been set up a years as is now. Thanks for any reply, Roger <The Randall's if you want to see interaction with the alpheid... The Watchman if not. Bob Fenner>

Re: Randall's goby with lawnmower blenny Thanks for the quick reply, I keep an emperor 400 and the live rock, DSB for filtration, forgot to mention the emperor 400,again,  thanks. <Sure, No problem.  I would suggest a protein skimmer if you don't have one already.  MikeB.>

Neon Pink Goby Dear Sir, <Myles... interesting spelling... is this (like Miles Standish) derived from the Latin, miles, miletis?> I wonder whether you could help identify a 1" bright pink/fuchsia goby with silver swimbladder/main organ sac. <Yikes!> I have no other information other than he is marine tropical and charismatic. <Well, that's a start> I realize this isn't much help, but I've gone through all the families on your excellent site and I cannot for the life of me find any creature that resembles it/he/she! I would greatly appreciate any help. P.S. I can try and image it if that helps. <Please do... the gobies are the largest family of fishes... take a look on fishbase.org, and if you have LOTs of time, start scanning their pix... There are some Japanese books on gobies and their relatives that are fantastic in their scope, photography, but I don't recall ever seeing a pink goby... It might have been purposely dyed (this happens) as a "novelty"... to enhance its sale. Bob Fenner> Many thanks, M. Oakes (BSc. Env.St.)

Re: Neon Pink Goby Thanks for your reply, <Welcome> I'm pretty sure its not dyed, mainly because it hasn't died, yet! <Heee! Like those homonyms> Its obviously a sponge dweller and now its settled in its more orange than pink, although I'm still having trouble fathoming out what it is. <Me too> I need to send you a picture, I'm trying but the little blighters so small! I have a blue-spot cave goby that's been eyeing him up for days now, it could only be a matter of time! <Maybe make a digital pic, enlarge, crop...> many thanks for your reply and I'll try and image him/her, Myles Oakes <Real good. Bob Fenner>

Stocking a 10 gal Love the site, great info..... I've spent the last few weeks searching for the answer to this question, and humbly apologize if I just missed it somewhere (I'm sure you'll put a link here, lol).  I need suggestions for stocking a 10 gallon fish-only marine setup.  Gobies are probably my best bet, but are different of gobies species compatible? << Yes, just about all of them will do well together.  Feeding them is the biggest challenge. >> I've read that most don't do well with their own kind.  I'd love to find a way to fit maybe 3 fish in there. << I think 3 different kinds, and hardy types are best.  Maybe a Chromis or damsel would be a better choice for such a small tank. >> Thanks in advance.     BC <<  Blundell  >>

Signigobius biocellatus -nope, take a pass 11/27/04 Hello crew! I have a 58 saltwater setup, reef with a crushed coral  substrate base about 3-4 inches deep. I have noticed with some species of fish  (signal goby etc) that it states their natural eating method is to suck in sand  and filter out what they need, then exhume the sand through their gills. In a  setup like mine where there is no sand substrate, would it be a bad idea to put  a fish like this in the tank even if the food is available? Thanks a lot for the  help. Kenn <kudos to you my friend for taking the time to investigate this animal's needs before buying it. Too many folks buy on impulse and it leads to a sorry end. It would have in this case too. Indeed, signal gobies would not be able to forage and feed properly on a coarse substrate like this. Moreover, they are a categorically difficult fish to even keep alive in captivity. Had you said you had a 6 foot long, mature tank with deep fine live sand, I still would not have recommended the fish. Many better gobies to pick from. Blue-spotted yellow watchman's are handsome and hardy. Phalaena dragon/bullet gobies are famously hardy. Etc. Anthony>

Gobies/shrimp relationships I just picked up what is a suspected pair of Mexican red head gobies.  I had never seen this goby before but fell in love with them on site.  I am trying to figure out what would be a good shrimp to pair up.  I few facts: Three (3), yes three gallon, micro reef tank with: the two gobies, a small feather duster, two mushrooms (one red one purple), 5 sand sifting snails, one black turbo snail, two astrea snails, two small hermit crabs (one all white, and the other white with orange spots {yep, I know he will get probably get big just did not want him destroying my large reef tank}.  I think that is it, oh wait.  I am running 3 watts a gallon and all water params seem fine. I guess I am also wondering if I need a shrimp per goby or will they be nice and share? <I'm not familiar with exactly what goby you have.  Any way you can attach a pic of it?  Try searching fishbase.org to see if you can come up with the genus or species if possible.  The only red headed goby I've heard of does not live commensally with a pistol shrimp.> Mario Nickerson Spawning, rearing Eviota gobies I really appreciate the answers from the previous questions I had.  This one should be pretty simple.  I have three gold neon headed pygmy gobies (Eviota pellucida).  I would like to breed them.  Any clue how? <Not directly, but some ideas on how to proceed. I strongly suspect that this gobiid has a similar life history to the very popular Gobiosoma gobies... whose tank breeding and rearing is well known. I would seek out this information on the Net (e.g. the Breeder's Registry) or in written works (e.g. Frank Hoff's). You will need to become familiar with and set-up some live food culture systems for supplying the young... Please keep good notes re your efforts and share your experience/observations. Bob Fenner> Philip More on Sleeper Gobies Hi I was just wondering if yellow headed sleeper gobies needed a lot of sand, <An inch or two of more fine material is good. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsiftfaqs.htm > because I was thinking of getting a pair I have an extremely thin layer of sand on the bottom of my tank, I currently have a pair of tomato clowns, flameheaded Dottyback, lunar wrasse, coral beauty and a green lined wrasse I have no corals yet but I am getting some for Christmas. And is the Sarcophyton species good for a beginner? <Yes, most are hardy soft coral species> Sorry I cant say how many gallons my tank is because I'm Australian and I don't know how to use gallons but its 180 litres <A liter is a bit more than a quart... so four liters is about a gallon. Divide liters by four to get gallons. Bob Fenner>Thanks

Community Goby Tank I have a large diamond watchman goby and neon gobies in my 100 gallon peaceful community. Will they get along with a few of the similar golden neon gobies? With the red head gobies (Gobiosoma puncticulatus)? <I would typically think fighting would break out- But this is a large tank with lots of hiding places.  You may want to keep one of each in a specimen contained prior to releasing them into your system- It will give you a first look at their actions (and the way they are treated) before you commit.  Good luck! Ryan> Howard

Midas Blenny Dive Bombing into the Sand (5/9/04) Hi Carson, Leslie here this evening.> I have a Midas blenny that looks great eats everything in sight <That's Great!> and sits around watching the world go by. <Pretty cute aren't they.> Then for no reason that I can see he or she will start dive bombing the sand bed, it never hits any rocks just the sand. If anything can be said to trigger the action it is feeding time, but then it is a very active eater anyway. It will continue doing this for about 5 minutes. There are other blennies, gobies, a flame angel and a few Chromis in the tank but none of them care to join in.< Party Poopers :)>  The fish is not new it has been in the tank for 5 months and just recently (last 2 weeks) started acting this way. There has been nothing new (other than water and additives) added to the tank for 2 months. I have examined it with a good lens and there is no visible problems. <Good sign!> Any ideas?? <Well, if the scratching is just against the substrate and not against other decor, then perhaps it is a move to hopefully expose some food in the substrate. I would recommend continuing to closely observe the fish for any signs of a parasite infestation like rapid gilling, the salt grain like spots of ich or patches of pigment loss.> Thanks Carson <Your welcome, Leslie> Yellow Head Sleeper gobies - what ails 4/25/04  Hi everyone, haven't need your expert opinion for a while but as everything, some crisis will always arise! Anyway, my sleeper goby's mouth is stuck open. It appears that he was doing one of his huge opened mouth yawn and one side of his mouth appears to have locked in the open position.  <hmmm... rather odd. At least, odd that yawn would cause it. If you did not see it, there are much more likely causes. Really one glaring one: dietary deficiency over time in this notoriously difficult fish to keep alive. Its common misconception that many such delicate fishes do not eat well in captivity, and that once you get one that does, you are home free. The truth of the matter is that most such fishes eat and even eat well... but still die (nutritional deficiency). Lockjaw is a symptom of this and if you've had your fish for more than say 6 months on a diet that includes brine shrimp (or otherwise limited fare)... then you likely have your answer>  He hasn't eaten or sifted in 3 days and I am getting worried. He won't even let me really look at him, every time I try to see he dips into one of his hiding spots (he is not usually so timid). Any suggestions? Watching this is killing me. Thanks for any  advice you can give me and thanks for your site!  Jayne Flynn, Neptune NJ  <frankly, my friend... this is one of the very few fishes that I think should be left in the ocean by most everybody. In all of my years/experience... I simply do not know of a way to keep these fishes alive for anything close than a full natural lifespan. Sure... a few folks can get them going for a couple years... even (rare) 3-ish. But beyond that is extraordinary. I recall hearing Mike Paletta burying Mysids in the sand twice daily to try to keep his alive. I kept some of my earliest pairs in the early 1990's in a display tank with 700lbs of live sand flown up from Florida (!) which had very few other fishes in it (500 gallon reef system)... and I could not get mine past 3 years old. In light of their natural lifespan/potential... I'm hoping you will agree that these fish are best left in the sea. If this is what afflicts yours presently, the prospects are not good. You can try adding Selcon to the water and soaking any foods taken with it. Still... it takes a while of eating a very limited diet to get to this point. I wish I had better news. For our education and future reference/readers... may I ask what the diet is that you are feeding? We'll learn from mistakes and progress alike. kindly, Anthony.>

Goby Grub! (Feeding Question) Sorry to bother you, but I have a question with which I'm having trouble getting an answer. I have a 40 reef tank, a couple small corals, probably 30 lbs live rock, two Clownfish, a Flame Angel, a couple of snails, and two sand sifting star fish. Also, two cleaner shrimp, and probably hundreds of baby shrimp in the rock. I have recently added a diamond back goby. Just like in the picture on your web site, however you use the scientific name.  Basically he is white with orange diamond shaped spots up and down his back. My question is about food for the goby. What specifically will he eat, and how often should I feed him. I am concerned about him running out of substrate and starving. Any information you could provide will be appreciated.--Thanks--Bill <Well, Bill- I guess I'm not 100% certain which goby you are referring to, so my answer will have to be kind of general. A picture would help! Most of the gobies that seem to fall into the category that you are describing can proof difficult to feed. They require copious amounts of small crustaceans, such as Mysis or amphipods, as well as other life forms typically found in a healthy, established sand bed. I'd provide frozen Mysis, enriched brine shrimp, and other fine "meaty" foods of marine origin. An established, productive refugium would be a big help, and could assist in providing your fish a continuous supply of the necessary foods. Either way, keep him well fed (like twice daily), and observe him carefully to assure that he stays in good health! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Goby On An Eating Binge? Hi All, <Scott F. here today> Thanks for your site! You helped me many times save many lives by reading the resources along the wonderful books. I've looked but didn't find help with this one. I have a 240 gal. that's been up for one yr. I have many fish that eat Nori, (tangs, angles). I noticed my diamond goby looking pregnant last night. I've had this fish for nine months. This goby is the only sand sifter in the tank. He always eats well, from both the sand and frozen Mysis, krill and live brine. He has tripled his size and has a thick body. I fear he has eaten a rubber band that I noticed was missing. Is there any I can do for my little guy? Is there any hope for him? Tonight he's not sifting very much, although he had a lot of live brine. He is out and about, but swimming a little less than normal. Any help would be great. Thanks, Quinn <Well, Quinn it's hard to say what's up with this guy. I'm willing to bet that he didn't ingest a rubber band, but it's certainly possible. However, I certainly would not discount this. A good sign is that the fish was eating. If he has some sort of intestinal blockage, there may be nothing that you can do, unfortunately. I suppose the best thing that you can do at this point is to watch the fish carefully, and see if he takes on food. It may simply be that he ate a lot of food or ingested other matter that lead to his swollen appearance. Hopefully, this will have just been the result of a "binge", and he'll pull through fine. Keep your fingers crossed. Regards, Scott F.>

Bullet Goby in Refugium? Good day crew!  I just read on Aquacon.com that bullet gobies are the #1 form of algae control for hair algae and blue-green "algae".  Is this correct -- will bullet gobies eat Cyano? <Indeed they will, but like most of Aquacon's wildly upbeat claims about NEARLY EVERY animal on their site, I find the assertion that they are the "#1 form of algae control...." to be a bit exaggerated.> I continue to struggle with a huge Cyano problem in my refugium and I am considering trying a bullet goby if it will eat Cyano. <These fish are reported to eat Cyano, but I would not count on them for this duty.  Do consider improved water movement, skimming and maintaining high pH and redox as a control.> My concern is that I am using my refugium to build-up my 'pod population in order to keep two mandarin dragonets.  Are bullet gobies purely herbivores or do they eat 'pods like other gobies? <I suspect that they will be mildly predatory given easy opportunity.  They will also eat some critters as they will happen to incidentally be hiding out in the algae being eaten.> I have searches fishbase.org but I have been unable to find anything called a "bullet goby". <See here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amblygobius.htm  You will see that there are two distinct "complexes" in this genus.  The rounder, vertically barred species are often generically referred to as "bullet gobies".  All are fair bets for your use.  The other complex is typified by A. rainfordi. They are thinner, have pointier heads and are striped horizontally from head to tail.  These fishes are decidedly more predatory and their need for tiny living crustacean prey is exceeded only by mandarins and other dragonettes.  These are best avoided by most aquarists except for large peaceful aquaria, preferably with refugia.> Thanks for the help!--Greg <Glad to! Best Regards, Adam>

Keeping Catalina Gobies - 4/13/04  I was wondering about Catalina Gobies. <OK> I have been searching on the 'net, and I found some places that said they are impossible to keep, <What??? If kept at reef temps then yes> nonetheless breed in captivity <They do breed in captivity and were actually some of the first fish farmed in the 70's. They tend to spawn in the summer months (water tends to often be colder than normal due to upwelling> (recommended temp 72-75 F there) <This temperature recommendation would cause extreme stress on this small goby and there is notoriously high mortality rates associated with this goby when kept in a warm water environment> and another said they were one of the best coldwater fish, and are quite easy to breed in captivity (temp. 66-72 F) <At the Monterey Bay Aquarium we keep the water temp around 58 to 60 degrees. We don't often see mating behavior but we are able to keep them full term (approx. 2 years) with very little to nil in the way of disease and mortality. Do quarantine them thoroughly though. Also, be sure to get them from a reputable dealer> I know the second temp is correct, <60 degrees is a good number to shoot for> but what is "proper care" for this awesome species. <Very striking when kept in small schools, the small Catalina Gobies will dart in and out of the rockwork and perch on their favorite lookout in the coldwater reef aquarium. It is not usually an aggressive fish, but may quarrel with con-specifics if housed together in a small tank. An aquarium of 30 gallons or larger is usually suitable.  Although it will tolerate a tropical water temperature, (76 to 78?F will result in higher than normal mortality), the Catalina Goby thrives in the cooler temperatures associated with the island where it is found, Catalina Island, off the coast of Los Angeles, California. Temperatures there range from 58 to 72?F. In fact, it is quite hardy and disease resistant if kept in the proper environment.  In the wild, the Catalina Goby eats small pieces of fish and plant material. In the aquarium, it will consume almost any prepared foods for carnivores, Mysid shrimp, table shrimp, and vitamin-enriched brine shrimp. It should be fed twice per day.> BTW this is Robert from the 900+220 tank. <Glad to meet ya Robert> I would like to have 8-12 blennies <Do you mean gobies?> in the 220, with lots of rock, anemones, crabs, small fishes, Nudibranchs, <careful> 'cukes, <Again, be careful here> macro, LS, and an eel (JK) <Hahahahah. Sounds about right> Thanks in advance. <Thanks for being part of it all. ~Paul>  Robert

Bacteria question 4/5/04  I have a 10 gallon saltwater tank for 8 months. I replace 1 gallon a week. It has a firefish goby, a rainfordi goby, a clown goby, 4 dwarf seahorses, snails and hermits and a peppermint shrimp. As long as I leave it alone all the numbers are good except for nitrates which are about 20. But when I change the filter insert (penguin mini) everything goes up. I assume that I am losing a lot of bacteria by changing the insert. Is there any way to minimize the affect. It seems to take two weeks to get back to normal.  <I am assuming you mean that you get some ammonia and nitrite when you clean the filter element in the penguin. This is likely due to the die off of some of the bacteria in the element, especially if you expose it to fresh water. A good practice would be to wash it in the water you take out when you do a water change.>  A few weeks ago when I got the rainfordi I asked you about his not eating and you recommended patience. I still do not see him actually eat but at least now he does his thing which is sifting sand into his mouth and out his gills. Hopefully he is finding nutrition there.  <Rainford's are 'pod specialists. They often will not eat prepared foods. If they do, chopped Mysis shrimp is a good choice. Brine shrimp can be used to get them to start eating, but is not nutritionally adequate for long term use. These fish do best in large well established reef tanks where they can constantly forage for tiny crustaceans. Best Regards. Adam>

Starvin' Marvin the Bluebanded Goby >Hi all, >>Hi. I have a Valenciennea strigata that has been in QT for a little over a month and it seems to be losing a lot of its girth. It has been eating the omega one flake I have been feeding it, it seems to love this stuff, really tears it up. I am wondering if that is all it is doing, with the amount of food (flake) it is consuming it should not be this skinny. Does this fish need another type of food, I thought omega one had sufficient protein for this fish, or does it just sift it thru its gills and break into tiny little pieces w/o digesting it. I had had exceptional luck with this fish accepting the flake food so i am assuming it would easily accept other types. Should I try something else to fatten it up, and if so what do you recommend? >>Check out this site: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=6575&genusname=Valenciennea&speciesname=strigata It outlines part of what this fish feeds on.  Another issue, unfortunately one that cannot be solved if such is the case, is possible exposure to cyanide.  This poison destroys the gut in such a way that any food eaten cannot be utilized.  I do hope it's more a matter of providing a better/different variety of foods that better mimic its natural diet, rather than cyanide exposure.  Best of luck to you, Marina >Thanks, Ryan A Glance is a Flash is a Bounce - Et Deux >Thanks so much for the reply.  Your website has been most helpful for many of our fish problems. >>Very welcome, tis truly a team effort! >Would the parasite be transmitted to other tankmates?   >>Parasites of vertebrates, most likely, yes. >They consist of a flame hawkfish, a yellow tang, a sand-sifter goby (who we are struggling to keep from losing weight), a small yellow goby (non-sandsifter), and a blue regal tang. >>Ahh.. the sandsifter will be troublesome, especially for those not well-seasoned in this hobby.  Without a refugium and a very well-established system with LOTS of live rock, I would wager your troubles might continue.  On to the question at hand, it doesn't really matter what species of fish you have, they're all susceptible.  Some are more likely than others to succumb, so I will recommend having hospital quarters set up.  Do search our FAQ section on marine parasites.  Marina Glenda Schill

Gobies MIA -- Did the Brittle Star Get Them? (2/23/04) I have green Brittlestar with arms about 12 inches across. I bought 2 yellow Watchman Gobies, one small one and one pretty good size.  The big one I had for 2 days--now can't find them. Is it possible the brittle ate them? <Indeed, rather likely. This species (Ophiarachna incrassata) can and will eat gobies. The one you have is quite large--shouldn't have much trouble sneaking up and ingesting a "pretty good sized" Yellow Watchman, the maximum length of which is not more than 3 inches. On the other hand, they may simply have burrowed somewhere out of sight. If they don't turn up soon, then I'd write them off as expensive brittle star food. If you want any sort of small or Gobioid fish, I'd give the star to someone who only has nice big fish rather than what this brittle star takes for piscine Little Smokies. Perhaps your LFS will take it.>  thanks for help <You're welcome. Steve Allen>

- Dealing with Jumpers - Hi to everyone at Wet Web Media <Hello to you.> I contacted you last year regarding a problem I was having with my lovely gobies preferring the living room floor to the comfort of their tank!  After loosing two gobies in rapid succession and subsequently reading up about their habits on your website I decided to call it a day as far as goby keeping was concerned! I lasted about 5 months before deciding the tank (or should I say the sand) just wasn't the same without one.  I racked my brains to think of a way to keep the goby in the tank and think I have managed to find a solution.  My current goby has been in the tank for 2 months now and so far (touch wood) is thriving - the sand is sparkling and he is quite happy to swim round all day with the other inhabitants and gobble up brine shrimp. I know you have had many e-mails from people with the problem of jumping gobies so I felt I should contact you with my idea so others may benefit from it! My problem was that I had many different sized cut outs in the back of my hood to allow access for the many tubes and pipes from filters, protein skimmers, heaters etc. and I assume it was these holes through which the gobies made their escape! I purchased some blocks of children's modeling clay, which is soft and pliable and can be molded into any shape, and made sausages and balls of the correct size to block up each of my holes.  I then wrapped each one in black polythene (cut from black dustbin liners/refuse sacks) and then with black electrical/insulation tape.  This ensured they were waterproof so would not dry out and also matched the black hood.  Each little package was then stuffed into the appropriate hole!  as far as I can see there is now absolutely no way for even the smallest fish to get out! So far this is proving successful but it has only been 2 months and my first goby lasted 3 months before making a nocturnal dive onto the floor!  It will just be a case of time will tell, but even then how am I to know if it was my hole blocking that stopped any escape or a very contented goby who made no attempt to escape!  Suppose I will never know but that doesn't really matter - so long as the goby does stay in the tank!! If it doesn't then I really do give up! Thank you very much for listening (reading?!), I hope this suggestion may be of help to any other goby lovers. <And thank you for sharing.> Gemma <Cheers, J -- >

Starving Goby (1/27/04)   hey guys- I have a watchmen goby who appears to be starving to death. <signs & symptoms?> the only food I can offer is staple flake enriched w/ Selcon and a refugium (newly set up). <Why not frozen foods?> I read on your articles advising of nutritional deficiency and was wondering if there is anything I can do to nurse sally back to health. thanks again Justin Barstow's <A new refugium is not likely to be putting out anything useful yet. Some of these gobies will take flake/pellet foods. Others will not. Are there competitors in the tank that eat everything before it gets down to the goby? I'd suggest target feeding with frozen Mysis shrimp or other frozen marine foods. The Selcon is a good idea too. Hope this helps, Steve Allen.>

Reproduction in Watchman Gobies Just wondered if there is a sex difference with yellow watchman gobies.  Is it the dorsal fins i.e. male spiky and female smoother?  Also how hard are they to breed? <Mmm, maybe there are secondary sexual characteristics in this species... please see these areas on the Breeder's Registry: http://www.breeders-registry.gen.ca.us/cgi-bin/swishsearch.pl?Cryptocentrus+cinctus Note that size is mentioned in the one account, but that the sexes were about equal in length. If you have data, please present it to Stanley Brown. Bob Fenner>

Chalk Face Goby - I Can't Really Help >Hi >>Hello. >I have 45 gallon marine tank with about 20 Kg of live rock. Livestock consists of a Yellow Tang, 2 Regal Tangs, 2 Clowns, a Mandarin and a Chalk Face Goby. There are several Turbo snails and about half a dozen red and blue legged hermits. These have all been living happily together for the last 15 months with no significant problems however, the Goby appears to be getting very thin and I am worried for his health. >>I wish I could help, but my searches are finding nothing for "chalk goby" (I need a genus and species name, here) nor "chalk face goby".  I will toss out a link to a chalk bass, but I've not heard of these being particularly difficult in their husbandry.   http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Serranus&speciesname=tortugarum >I am not currently feeding him anything other than the frozen food that goes into the tank. This hasn't been an issue before. >>So, you're saying the animal has been fat and healthy the whole time you've had him?  If so, over what period of time would you guess this weight loss  has occurred? >I have taken the precaution of moving him to a qt to remove the competition for the food but would value any help you could offer. Thanks, Darren Coughlan >>Well, that was your best move.  I will caution you to provide good cover for him, gobies tend to be happier with some cover (whether or not they use it).  You haven't mentioned whether or not he's actually taking the food offered.  If he IS, then I suspect an internal parasite.  In that case, please use our site's Google bar on such - there are a couple of us who have dealt with these and have offered treatments to others in similar situations.  If NOT, then I suggest offering him more meaty foods (all soaked in Selcon) - Mysis shrimp, bloodworms, small bits of krill, other shrimp, etc. (These may require a trip through a blender to get small enough bits for him - since I don't know exactly what you have, I cannot be more specific.)  Be sure to watch water quality during this time.  I'm very sorry I can't be of more help here, but if you can lead me in the right direction, also with a bit more information, maybe we can find a solution.  Marina Gobies in a Nano Hello crew members <Hello! Ryan with you> I have a 20 gallon long and I would like to add a few real small gobies. <Gotcha> Can all different species in the goby family live together or will they fight. <Likely fight in this small a space> Would they fight with a blenny too? <Perhaps> I thought that since they were so small they would be good for a  nano tank and like 4 or 5 of them would not be a big bioload if you stay on top of water changes. <Most successful nano-reefers I know stick to one species per tank.  In such small confines, it's difficult to contain aggression, and weaker fish have less coverage in which to hide.  2 Gobies of the same species would be my selection. Ryan>

Missing Engineer Goby Hello, <Hi there> I'm not sure if I'm asking my question in the normal format, but I just got an engineer goby two days ago.  It was a juvenile and the only fish in my 30 gallon tank.  The first night he settled into a cave under a large rock.  He hung out there most of the next day, but when I got home from work yesterday I could not find him anywhere, and I mean anywhere.  It looked as if some tunneling had been done underneath another large rock.  So I squirted a few live brine shrimp into each of the caves just in case and still no sign of him.  I tested my water parameters and everything is as it should be.  Should I keep putting food in there for him if he is still alive, or move the rocks around to find him???  Would he actually be living in a tunnel where I could not find him? <Could be... but I would look around on the floor (very good "jumpers")... Do you have a cat? Is s/he smiling? Honestly, the fish may be in the tank, just hiding in a nook/cranny or the substrate in a tunnel, but if there is a large enough opening on the top, it may have left the tank. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Shelley

- Small Goby Compatibility - Hello crew members I have a 20 gallon long and I would like to add a few real small gobies. Can all different species in the goby family live together or will they fight. <Certain different species of gobies could live together, but same-species and even some within the same genus of gobies would fight unless you got definite male/female pairs.> Would they fight with a blenny too? <Probably not.> I thought that since they were so small they would be good for a nano tank and like 4 or 5 of them would not be a big bioload if you stay on top of water changes. <That would work, but tank size is a big factor in determining the comfort zone between any fish, regardless of size. I would consider a broader mix of small fish, not all gobies. Even then, probably not more than two or three. Cheers, J -- >

Blue cheeks breeding! Dear WWM crew, <G'day> Tonight I discovered that my blue-cheek gobies have made a new nest under a rock and that one of them is inside guarding a bundle of yellowish eggs. What should I do, will they hatch, and if so, how long?  When they hatch what should I feed them? Should I separate them, when they hatch? Does this happen often in captivity? Thanks in advance, James Matthams <I'd love to help you here James but have no idea what species you are referring too. It underscores the need for using scientific names with common ones. Are you referring to the marine or brackish species (or a FW one)? Do look yours up on fishbase.org and follow links for reproduction/breeding... and also look up your species on the Breeders Registry  too (many spawning reports). kindly, Anthony>

Brown Banded Goby 1/8/04 Hello & Happy New Year! My question is this, I have a 37 gal. show tank.  Going by Scott W. Michael's Marine Fish book, I purchased a brown banded goby in hopes to keep my sand bed clean. the fish is definitely an over achiever,  and is doing a magnificent job, but in doing so, it seems to create small sand  storms throughout the tank, giving it a cloudy appearance. <these fish are often over achievers in this regard as well as another...  They can eat all of the life out of a live sand bed pretty quickly.  If you are trying to maintain a good population of worms, pods, etc.  they can eat them down to non-sustainable numbers.> My concern is this, I plan on keeping LPS corals, will these sand storms irritate any corals? I  did have a considerable amount of algae on my sand bed, will this pass over after it's through? I do have a Brain, Green Maze - Platygyra species, should I  be concerned? <A few grains of sand is unlikely to be a problem, but heavy sedimentation will harm corals.  The algae may or may not come back depending on whether you have addressed the cause.> Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!   <Always our pleasure!  Adam>

Goin' For Gobies... Hey Crew, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today> I am just wondering if you can give me some suggestions on my stocking plan for my 90 gallon FOWLR, soon to reef. It has been running for about 10 months now and have just recently pulled the bio-balls and added another 26kg of live rock giving me a total of 72kg and I have started doing water changes to reduce my nitrate, which is currently at 30 - 40 ppm. <Keep 'em up, and I'm sure that things will continue to move in the right direction. You've taken some good steps with these moves, and with continued husbandry "tweaking", things should keep going well for you.> At the moment I have 2, 3cm Ocellaris clowns, 2.5cm six line wrasse and a 3cm lawnmower blenny which have been moved back to the quarantine tank so they weren't in the main tank if there was another cycle when adding the live rock, which there was. <Good heads-up move on your part!> So onto my question, finally. After I add these guys back into the main tank in about a week, I was thinking for my final additions I would like to add a group of 5 clown gobies (Gobiodon okinawae).  I am unsure about this because it says on your site that they live together  in groups of 5 - 15 but everyone else says they will fight with their own kind. Do you think 5 will be okay together and how sensitive are they to Nitrate? <These little guys can become "chippy" with each other at times, but if added at the same time to a tank with lots of room to roam, I have not personally experienced any problems. Which is not to say, of course, that your fish won't battle constantly, but I have not personally seen this in years of keeping them. With regards to your nitrate question- nitrate is not, in and of itself "toxic", but it is a "yardstick" to help measure the overall water quality of your system. Low or undetectable nitrate levels in the tank will only help your fishes thrive. With delicate inverts and corals, low to undetectable nitrate levels are of great importance. All the more reason to shoot for the lowest possible level of nitrate in your system> Also is it okay to add them before I start adding corals to my tank or should I wait until all the corals are settled in? The corals I plan to get will be mostly Acropora species as I know that the gobies live on them in the wild. <I would probably let the corals settle in first, if it were me. I have seen these little guys pick on Pocillopora species, so this may be one coral you want to avoid if keeping these fish. This is a personal observation only, but worth considering. Usually, the "munching" seems to occur on an injured or damaged specimen only-this may be part of the "cue" to "sample" the coral...Who knows? Two other hobbyist friends of mine have made similar observations as well, so it's something worth mentioning to you as a friend. I wouldn't worry about the Acropora, however.> I am really looking forward to starting a reef tank but am having a really tough time finding good coral books, especially Anthony's book, in Australia. < Bummer. This is pretty much THE hands-on hobbyists guide to coral husbandry- and worth every penny, IMO! Anthony's book is found on a number of e-tailer's websites, and I would even try Anthony's site direct to see if he could get a copy of it you, or advise who carries it Down Under: http://www.readingtrees.com > Can you recommend some other books to search for on corals as I want to make sure I am ready and able to care for the corals before purchasing them. <I'd be remiss if I did not mention Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals", which, along with Anthony's "Book of Coral Propagation" would be the ideal beginning of a good coral reference library. Also worthwhile are some of the "Modern Coral Reef Aquarium" books by Nilsen and Fossa, as well as Sprung and Delbeek's "The Reef Aquarium" series. Veron's coral books, although not specifically geared towards the aquarist, are excellent general reference/ID books, and offer a lot of good biotopic information on many coral species> Sorry for being so long. <No problem at all...We're happy to be here to assist> Thanks for all the help you've given me and everyone who writes to you. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Down Under. Damn it's hot down here. :) Dave. <I guess that Fall can't be too far away, though, mate. Hang in there! And a very healthy and happy holiday season to you from us in the Northern Hemi! Regards, Scott F>

Goby/Shrimp Associations: Is 3 A Crowd? Hey, I know the 2 things I'm going to ask are completely opposite but I would appreciate a response... <I'd be happy to...Scott F. with you today> I just got my 55 gallon tank yesterday and I was curious as to what HOB filter you would recommend -- I was thinking of the Penguin 330 since it can  handle up to 55 gallons and it Isn't too expensive. <The Penguin is a fine filter, although I would be inclined to recommend a protein skimmer as well. There are hang on the tank varieties out there. Whenever you are utilizing a mechanical filter for your primary filtration, I encourage you to clean/replace the media often, so that accumulated organics trapped within the media do not degrade water quality> My second question has to do with gobies. I saw a website, http://www.aquaticretail.com , I believe, selling pairs and trios of Yashia Hashe gobies---if I got the kind of shrimp that bonds with the goby, would the gobies fight over who gets to watch the shrimp? <It all depends, many times, it's one shrimp to one fish, but I have seen a number of associations between two gobies and one shrimp. Generally, this seems to occur in mated pairs of gobies, but I suppose other "arrangements" are possible.> Thanks in advance. Mike <Glad to be of service, Mike! Regards, Scott F>

Blue cheek gobies breeding 12/13/03 hi crew, do you have any info on what to do as my gobies have suddenly started breeding!!! <hmmm... there is actually a book on Neon Gobies and breeding (by TFH) that has much insight I am sure for this family and your endeavors to breed goby kin> its only a small tank by all accounts (40uk gallons) I took out all my other fish as I have just set up a 90 (UK gal) tank so I just have the two gobies in there and a couple of feather dusters, in the 90 gal I now have a long legged urchin, an Atlantic anemone, 1 flame angel, 1 yellow tang, 1 batfish, 2 scooters, and 2 clowns, I removed these in case they ate the fry???, <yikes... your biggest long term risk to fish and invertebrates alike is and will be the batfish> however this then upset the gobies which ate what I presumed to be eggs (dirty yellowish) will they breed again on there own or have I upset the balance by removing the other fish? <they will likely breed again with continued good feeding and water quality> how long does it take to hatch? <not sure here, but I wonder how much fishbase.org has on the topic. Do take a peek over there... often you can find reproduction info and more importantly, links in the references to more in depth papers and articles> and finally if they do breed again how often is the breeding cycle? many thanks crew great site keep it up well done. Jim Millar <best of luck, Anthony>

Bad Meanie! >Hi, >>Hi. >I read your guy's posts but never had to post one of my own till now.  I have an established tank w 4 gobies in it. 1 engineer 1 red Firefish 1 purple Firefish 1 green spotted mandarin <- I think that's what its called? >>Yeah, that's one common name. >They all get along great. >>Hhmm.. cool, but I'm wanting to not have to retype the lack of caps, etc. >I wanted to add another colorful goby and did some research about bar gobies.  Everything I read told me they are peaceful community fish.  I never even read a post that said they were mean. >>Interspecific aggression among some gobies is not unheard of, that's for sure.  Also, not commonly known or addressed, as most folks don't have quite the specialized type of setup you do, my friend. >So I went to the pet shop and brought home a 4" bar goby.  First thing he did was attack my poor mandarin, bite at my starfish, and chase both the Firefish around.  Now I fear I made a huge mistake.  What should I do?   >>I'd return him, ASAP.  What'd the mandarin ever do to HIM??  Compete for food, maybe?  I don't know, but maybe something like neon or clown gobies might be better.  Btw, this "bar" goby, is it also known as a scissortail goby?  I have to find my goby site for ya..  hold on!  Awright!  Here you go -- http://uri.sakura.ne.jp/~dd/g/einfn1.htm  (This site is SO COOL if you love gobies!) >If I got another bar goby would they "play" with each other and leave my other fish alone?   >>Ohhh.. I sure wouldn't want to try to count on that, you just don't know, it could get worse. >Or would I be wasting money and bringing two bullies into my tank? >>You could, yes. >I hope I hear from someone soon cause the bar goby is about to get kicked out of the tank.  I don't think its fair to the original inhabitants who've been happy until now.   >>Agreed. >I'm scared he'll kill them. >>I'd worry, too.  Remove that thing.  Marina >Thank you very much, -P.L.

Gobies hey, I am starting up a 55 gallon reef tank and I had a question about gobies I've been looking around and decided that the only fish I want in the tank are gobies suck as prawn gobies, etc- the small species<Hmm...I like gobies but I would keep other fish because some gobies do not like other gobies lol> people have told me the following and I am very confused on what is right: 1) you can put up to 10 gobies in the tank with no problem<It depends which kind you are referring to> 2) only 2 gobies should be put in (about 30 gallons each)<Again this depends on the species as well> 3)no matter what they will fight and you should only add 1 <I would just go with your favorite goby> as you can see I am very confused as I have heard totally opposite things please let me know the truth <I would just find your favorite goby...and then I would find some other fish that you like. Good luck, IanB> thanks a lot Mike

Gobies ok, the gobies I wanted to add were as follows: yasha haze goby, orange spot prawn goby, possibly a Catalina ( some stores are selling them saying they are accustomed to warm water such as Aquacon.com), and maybe a bar goby<these fish may be compatible depending on how much space they have. You can always try it out. and pull the aggressive fish. or the one that is getting picked on :(><<There are no such warm-water Catalina Gobies... RMF>> what other colorful fish would you suggest? <My favorites is a mystery wrasse, peppermint hogfish, golden pygmy angelfish, there are many other colorful fish, just look inside your LFS...then find the name of the fish and research the fish before you purchase it...it sounds like you are on the right track, Good luck my friend, IanB> thank you for all the help Mike<your welcome and happy holidays!>

Gobies (12-14-03) hey again,<Howdy, Cody here today.> what are your thoughts on the following: if I got lets say 3 different pairs of "matched" goby and shrimp sets, with each goby being a diff kind, would the shrimp fight?<Unless you have a large tank I would stick to just one pair.  I think that it would be too crowded with all of them on and "in" the sandbed.  Although you may be able to pull this off if you had a large surface area.  Cody> thanks Mike

The Eye Has It...Or Does It? I recently bought a 4" bluespotted watchman goby.  I have had it for about 3 weeks, and he has been my favorite fish since I added him.  I went away for the weekend, and came home to find this goby in distress.  He usually hides out in a certain cave under a piece of live rock.  When I came home, he was out of his cave, sitting on another piece of rock.  One of his fins looked like it was ripped, so I took a closer look.  His eye was also injured, it is cloudy looking, and has a small tear apparently from some physical injury.  Should I pull him out and put him in QT, medicate with something? <Well, a physical injury can be healed by simply providing clean water conditions in many cases. If an infection is manifesting, then other procedures may be necessary.> Is the eye likely to heal on its own?  What could have caused these injuries?  The fish appears to have some abrasions on his body, as well as the one ripped fin and the eye injury. <Hard to say- usually happen from handling, abrasions with rocks, etc.> I have him in a 55 gallon with two percula clowns, a coral beauty, a clown goby, and a banded coral shrimp. I once saw him appear to get in a stand-off with the shrimp, but this seems like an unlikely suspect, as he is a shrimp goby (shouldn't they be friends?). <Usually-but anything is possible> I am new to this, and am not happy to see injuries.  I was sick of fighting after having a cichlid tank for years, and am trying to build a peaceful community tank.   When I got the goby, his eyes had a green holographic like tint to them. I thought this was weird, but saw pics on the internet of this fish that looked as if its eyes also had this.  Any advice would be appreciated.   Thanks, -Ken <Well, Ken, at this stage of the game I'd take the easiest approach. I'd simply maintain scrupulously clean water conditions and observe the fish closely. If the condition seems to be worsening, then I'd consider isolating the fish for possible treatment. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> The Eye Has It- Or Does It? (Cont'd.) Sorry to send this first message without being fully prepared. I just panicked when I saw the state of this fish.  I did some more looking, and noticed that the white "wound" on his eye was moving around the eye pretty quickly, as if it was something crawling around in there.  Then I noticed that his body had similar lumps on it (though much more subtle). I looked around your site, and think it might be some kind of Gas Bubble Disease.  I have had a micro-bubble problem lately, and have been working to address it. It has gotten a bit better, but I had to run my skimmer hang-on (remora pro) which did still produce micro-bubbles.  I got a new sump on Friday, and moved the skimmer down into the sump tonight.  The micro-bubbles are totally gone now.  Do you think he will just get better on his own?  Is the moving bubble on his eye an indication of GBD, or could a parasite behave like this?  Is there anything I can do?  I have been very careful when buying livestock, and have quarantined everything.  No other fish show signs of any illness.  Thank you very much for your valuable advice. -Ken <Well, Ken- this is a tough call at this point. I'm still thinking that it may be best to simply observe the fish for a while to see if the condition clears up without intervention. If it does not show signs of improvements in a few days, we probably need to look into some possible medical treatment. But, in the interest of keeping the stress level of the fish as low as possible, let's continue to take the "wait and see" approach first. Hang in there! Regards, Scott F>

Hungry Goby? I have a yellow headed sleeper Gobi (Valenciennea strigata) and he is acting fine and sifting like crazy, but he is loosing a lot of weight fast. I had this problem with a Kole tang about 4 months ago and 4 year old blue damsel. However, my mandarin, cleaner shrimp and Mustard Tang are fine and seem to be thriving. Tank 55 gal Wet dry Skimmer 70 Lb LR Can't seem to figure this thing out. Primary source of food is Mysis and whatever they can scavenge. Mysis is feed every 2-3 days and water parameters are right on. Perhaps a parasite? Peter <Well, Peter- internal parasites are a definite possibility. Many fishes do harbor these organisms, and the problems can manifest in your tank. These fishes tend to waste away in captivity if high protein foods are not eaten regularly. My best suggestion here would be to see that food is placed where he can easily get to it (like on the bottom of the tank). This will help assure that he gets his fair share. In all likelihood, there is not enough infaunal life in the sand to sustain him, so keep the food coming his way. Hopefully, this should fatten him up a bit. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Breathless Pink-spot Watchman Goby - I am sure I shot myself in the foot by telling my wife that my 55 gal FOWLR tank has been running smoothly for months with no dilemmas because as soon as I said that, a dilemma popped up. I have several fish ( a B&W Heniochus, 3 PJ cardinals, a percula clown, a royal Gramma, and a pink spot watchman goby) in my tank with 40 lbs LR which appears very healthy as my water parameters are all where I like (pH=8.2, NH3=0, NO2=0., NO3=<10, Salinity 1.025, temp=79, and ALK=11).  The tank has been established in my house for 14 months after my move and I haven't added anything new to the tank in several months and quarantine all new arrivals in a separate quarantine tank for 3-4 weeks.  My pink spot watchman goby did not eat yesterday (usually sits on top of a piece of LR and waits for dinner at 7:00p.m.) and is breathing very heavy with approximately 70 gill movements a minute which is a drastic change for him as he usually barely moves his gills.  I immediately thought my water chemistry was off but as my testing above indicates, everything is right where I like to see it and all other inhabitants appears very wealthy with active appetites and normal breathing. I have not used any weird chemicals in my house such as cleaners, paints, cooking oils, or solvents that would lead to contamination of the system. Could you provide any guidance as I am stumped?????? <Well... given what you've detailed about your system and your husbandry, I agree that this probably isn't the usual suspects, Cryptocaryon or Oodinium. Honestly though, it's very difficult to be 100% certain what this problem is. It could be an internal parasite - cestode, nematode - that has only recently developed to the stage where it causes problems. It could be a genetic defect or tumor which is just now expressing itself. It could also be old age. As I said, there are many possibilities, but I don't have one silver bullet answer for you.> I don't suspect a parasite as I have not added any new carriers and I have not had any heater failures or other changes in environment that would lead to stress. <Still, would be wise to go through everything a second time to make certain - sanity-checks are just that... it's good to be certain.> Could you reply to all so I get the message at home as well. <Uhh... there was only one email address to respond to.> Thanks again as your continued support as I always feel like I have a source of valuable information through the Crew. Thanks, Ray <Cheers, J -- >

- Breathless Pink-spot Watchman Goby, Follow-up - I didn't see any guidance.  DO you have any suggestions as to what could be ailing my goby as I don't see any spots that suggest ick? <Very odd... your emailer might have snagged some of my comments as HTML - not sure. Your question and my answer are posted on our Daily FAQs, and here's a cut and paste of my reply: "Well... given what you've detailed about your system and your husbandry, I agree that this probably isn't the usual suspects, Cryptocaryon or Oodinium. Honestly though, it's very difficult to be 100% certain what this problem is. It could be an internal parasite - cestode, nematode - that has only recently developed to the stage where it causes problems. It could be a genetic defect or tumor which is just now expressing itself. It could also be old age. As I said, there are many possibilities, but I don't have one silver bullet answer for you. Still, would be wise to go through everything a second time to make certain - sanity-checks are just that... it's good to be certain." > Thanks. <Cheers, J -- >

A Lone Goby I'd like to get some opinions on the best way to handle a bad situation. <Sure! Ryan with you>  I used to have one pair of bar gobies in each of two tanks.  One of the four jumped out through an incredibly small hole in the top and died.  I've eliminated the small hole, and now I want to make the lone bar goby happy.  The pairs in the past were ALWAYS together, and I hate to leave this one on his own.  I've got three options: 1.  Leave one pair together and a single goby mourning by himself. <How sad!> 2.  Put the single into the tank with the established pair. <Could be a violent ending for his sad story!> 3.  Purchase a mail order bride for the widower, or even a pair, to bring them back to a pair or a triple. <Probably your best bet at this point.  If you stick him in with another male, there will certainly be problems.  Best of luck! Ryan> Thanks for any advice as always, Ken Kiefer

Sleeper Goby - Valenciennea puellaris Eye Problem Hello All, <hey, Howard... what's shaking [a rhetorical question/greeting by the way <G>]> My 160 gallon system is 2 1/2 years old with perfect chemistry, 78 F, ORP 350, 1.024 S.G., all controlled and built in the Fenneresque/wetweb manner including ozone, Ca, and two refugiums. <sweeeeet. And if you want it to be Calfoesque, simply add a garlic or olive fragrance to the room> I have never had a diseased animal in this system. (Lost a blue Naso tang to ich in the quarantine tank once. A flame angel and two small gobies simply disappeared.) Now my beautiful sleeper goby (Valenciennea puellaris) is ailing. He has been hiding most of the time in his cave area and shows up with a sore left eye. (other eye is clear). The eye has a milky film over it and is slightly swollen. <this is almost certainly caused by blunt force trauma... something startled the little bugger into a hard surface. It is not contagious and may not even be infected (time will tell). You can safely add to your reef 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt per five gallons to help that eye heal (search the archives with a google keyword search of our site for more on "Epsom salt"). If it doesn't recover after 3 days... it may have a bacterial infection and need food meds> There is no way to get him out of the reef tank. I have had this fish for over 2 years with never a problem. The community is peaceful - no other fish bothers the goby. <hmmm... some would say that it is amazing that a sleeper lived even this long in a 160. They need unbelievable tracts of deep fine sand. I had a pair in a 500 gallon reef that went almost 4 years (with 700lbs of live imported sand!)... and they still died of attrition (albeit slowly)> He does sift the sand when he is out and there is lots of pod food for him. He is a big fish, over 6 inches, seems plenty fat as always. <good to hear... but still some concern of dietary deficiency (composition issue... not quantity). It is possible that you are looking at a symptom of a weakening fish. In good tanks, they can hang in for a year or two. Most sleepers should not be kept in captivity, however.> What causes this? What can I do to prevent it in the future? <your system sounds outstanding (with the two refugium ... especially if they are properly fishless and without corals/predators on plankton). Let's hope that this is just a black eye and that your fish will beat the odds> Howard <kindly, Anthony>

Pink Spotted Shrimp Bully - 08/14/03 <Hi Anj, PF on call today, in the still electrified PNW> Hi! I started 72 gal reef about three months ago. After I added several snail and hermits, I added a Pink Spotted Shrimp goby. I recently saw him attacking a hermit crab. I have also noticed some of my hermits may be missing but can't really tell for sure. The other thing I noticed was 2 large pink claws with black tips laying by themselves at he bottom of the substrate. They are definitely to large to have come from any of my hermits. they look like they may have come from a crab or even a small lobster. they may have come from some on the LR. Is the pink spotted shrimp not compatible with inverts? <Well, they are regarded as aggressive, or maybe it just doesn't like hermits. Have you pulled the claws you found out? They might be sheds, you could have an impressive hitchhiker lurking in your tank. Most shrimp gobies, are, ironically enough, predacious on small shrimp (such as peppermints). Your hitchhiker could well be eating your hermits too. Not sure what else to tell you Anj, have you tried checking your tank late at night? Get a flashlight with a red filter (red crepe paper will work) and take a look four or five hours after lights off, maybe you'll spot the culprit.> Please let me know what you think. Thanks Anj <Hopefully this will help, have a good night Anj.>

Nocturnal Goby Gymnastics (Jumping Gobies) Please help, this is a bizarre one and is puzzling us but maybe its a common occurrence! Here goes! <I'm ready...Scott F. here for you> After unsuccessfully trying to keep chalk gobies (deteriorated despite all efforts after approx 2 months) I tried my luck with a blue cheek goby. All was going well, goby looked healthy and was eating and sifting well. One morning I came downstairs to find the goby lying dead on the floor next to the tank.  The tank has a marina hood with 2 lift up flaps for feeding, but both were closed.  There are also several cut out sections at the rear of the hood to allow access for equipment (filter, protein skimmer and wires for heater).  The largest of these holes allows for the intake section of the protein skimmer.  I concluded that as the water level was quite high, it was possible that if chased, the goby may have leapt onto the supporting glass ledge and flapped its way out of the hole.  I found this quite unbelievable though as whenever scared the goby would retreat under a rock! <Well, they are capable of surprising escapes...I've had gobies push through some of the smallest holes you could imagine, to make themselves "reef jerky"!> (On enquiring at a local retailers as to why this could have happened we were told "oh, they do do that"!) <They do!> The only other possible explanation would be the cleverest and most fish obsessed of my 2 cats jumping onto the hood and managing to lift the flap and fish the goby out of the water.  Again I am unable to believe the goby would be in a suitable position for this to happen! <Well, once again, gobies have some of the most surprising habits (and skills), when it comes to slithering in and out of spaces on the reef, so it's really not surprising that they can also slither in and out of trouble...or your tank, for that matter!> Also my cats, never to my knowledge, even attempt to get onto the tank.  They would also have to have shut the flap after themselves and there were no salty looking paw prints on the hood. <I doubt that you'd find any...Acquit the cat!> After recovering from the shock and eventually laughing about it with friends who couldn't believe it could happen, we put it down to a freak accident. I blocked up the holes with cloths and decided to try again with another blue cheek. All was going well and although this goby was not as brave and adventurous as the  previous and did not sift nearly as much, It was still readily coming out of hiding to feed. This morning, approx 1 month after purchase I found this goby dead on the kitchen floor - taken into the kitchen by a cat I would assume due to teeth marks.   <Well, the cat got it posthumously, IMO> Again I am very shocked, upset and confused and at a loss as to how it has got out of the tank, especially as all but the smallest of gaps in the hood are blocked up and the water level is considerably lower. The goby was in a tank with several damsels (domino, humbug and neon blue) a small yellow banded maroon clownfish, a powder blue tang and a cream angel! <Seem like compatible tankmates to me...> Information available on gobies is quite limited so I am wondering if you can possibly answer a few questions I have to try and explain why this has happened, and to help me decide whether I should try again. - Have you ever heard of this happening before and if you have was it ever established why it happened? <I certainly have seen this before, both in my own experience, and with others. Hard to explain why it happens...Could be just simple curiosity, attraction to light, or a desire to escape something...> - Do gobies come out more at night and possibly even swim/float around towards the top of the tank (to support the cat catching theory)? <Most seem to hunker down in bolt holes and crevices at night for security...> - Are gobies particularly sensitive to increases in water temperature? -we are experiencing some rather unusually good weather at the moment and the tank temperature is creeping up but none of the other fish seem distressed! <Not overly so...They can be found in tidal pools and other environments which undergo fairly significant changes during the day...Sure, if a fish is in distress, it is quite possible that it "launched" itself out to  escape....> I must apologize for the long explanation and thank you for taking the time to read it,  but I am desperate to find a suitable explanation to this mystery so I hope you can help. Thanks again in anticipation of your reply Gemma Marsh <Well, Gemma- I must say that it's not possible to be 100% certain what caused this behavior. However, I think that some of the ideas that we discussed could be possible reasons...Short of hooking up a video camera with a night-vision lens (hey- that's a cool idea) you'll have to speculate more on this...The answers are out there....Good Luck! Regards, Scott F.>  

Nocturnal Goby Gymnastics (Pt.2) Hi Scott. Gemma here from the still surprisingly hot and sunny UK. <Hello again, Gemma! Glad to hear that you're getting a bit of summer weather there!> Just a quick note this time to say thank you very much for the speedy reply to my desperate and babbling email, that was a somewhat knee-jerk reaction to the discovery of my second goby's suicide mission. <Not desperate and babbling, at all. It is sometimes hard to understand why a perfectly healthy and seemingly adjusted fish decides to go for a jump...One of those things that we can only try to rationalize!> After sending the email I spent some time searching your site and was amazed and I must say a little relieved and comforted to find that others have shared my experiences (both with goby hunger strikes and escape attempts!) <Not at all uncommon, unfortunately!> We did actually jokingly discuss the night vision camera idea after the first blue cheek 'went over the wall' so now I wish we had bothered to follow it up (hind sight is a wonderful thing). <Ain't it? LOL> After reading all the stuff on your site (if only I had stumbled across you sooner) and your response to my questions I might call it a day as far as goby keeping is concerned.  This is a shame because I do think they make an interesting and useful addition to a tank, but the trauma (and expense) just isn't worth it. <I hope that you try again- perhaps with a different species of goby. They truly are interesting fishes and worth keeping...Don't get too discouraged> Although I may try to fashion some sort of complete nook and cranny free cover, just in case I succumb to one of my usual fish buying impulses! <That NEVER happens, does it?> I must commend you on your excellent website.  It is a veritable treasure trove of information, especially on subjects that up until now I have had little or no success in finding anything about. <Really glad to hear that! We have some very special people here who work very hard trying to provide the most accurate and unbiased information possible! Thanks for your support!> Thank you once again Gemma <A pleasure, Gemma....Feel free to email us again any time! Regards, Scott F> (wasn't such a quick note after all was it?!)

Disappearing Gobies Being a quiet observer for about 2 years now... I finally came up with a question that wasn't previously answered (OMG you guys have so much information!).. so here goes my story.   I have a 60 gallon with about 60 pounds of live rock, 4inch sandbed, MH lights. 2x175, and VHO for what there are worth...(not much IMHO) my live stock is as follows. 1 feather duster, very healthy 1 BTA 2 (ok this one is rough) something that looks somewhat like a BTA, but has pick "spot" at the end of each tentacle, (not Condys,)  they are brown/green/pink in color with a definite pink spot on tips...) anyhow not the point 1 pistol shrimp 20 or so blue leg hermits 20 or so astral snails. 2 percula clowns attached to all 3 inverts. 2 ? trumpet corals frags? moved in with live rock last year but they seem healthy tank stats are good all the way around. phos, alk, ph, nitrates, etc..... I dose b ionic, iodine (rarely) and am a religious changer of water so now the question I recently cannot find my Firefish goby ( though I hear they aren't gobies) watchman goby and neon goby. all gone , no bones no bodies no nothing.. what is eating my fish, I'm down to my clowns. someone said isopods and I do have little things that hide under rocks and stuff that move quickly but I thought arthropods not isopods.. any suggestions? where should I look? tank is closed off and all pumps/skimmers have no remains!!! I can't figure it out!!! <hmm, sounds like you may have a live rock stowaway called a Stomatopod; aka: Mantis Shrimp. By doing a quick search on google, you can see what they look like. Then, after the lights go out in the tank, try watching with a flashlight to see if you can catch a glimpse of it. Best, Chris>

-Bullet-proof gobies; take 2- Kevin: Regarding "bullet-proof" gobies, it is my understanding that the Orange-Spotted Sleeper Goby (Valenciennea puellaris)--or Maiden Goby per WWM--often slowly starves to death in most tanks.  It requires a substrate with lot's of life. I was told to wait at least a year before considering one. I do not know about other species of this genus. <Yes, you will indeed need a large surface area of healthy sandbed to keep these critters fat and happy. If the tank is running a deep live sand bed, it will have to be very large to accommodate a fish who's entire life is devoted to consuming the very critters that you strive to populate your sandbed with. In smaller tanks, their effect can be extremely damaging to the sandbed fauna populations, and ultimately to the goby itself. While doing this, they will sift sand all over the rocks and sessile inverts in the tank. My advice; stay away from sand sifting gobies if you wish to have a healthy sandbed. -Kevin> Steve Allen.

Goby Quarantine Period Bob: I was at a seminar that you gave in Brooklyn, NY on May 9, 2003. I came across some notes I took from that day, and it seems that you said Gobies do not need a standard quarantine period. I wrote down "a few days". I wanted some clarification, since I just purchased a 1" Yellow Clown Goby (Gobiodon okinawae) and it is currently in my quarantine tank. Thanks, Rich (*bursting* with anticipation on RI). <Thank you for writing. I do stand by the general statement re a foreshortened quarantine period for most (small) gobies and blennies... for what quarantine is worth, any more than a few days presents a "bad trade-off" with loss of weight, overall health> Ps: Did you cut your hair yet? Every time I forget what you look like, I think of Sam Kinison, sans hat! ;) <Ha! Did have some trimmed off, but am adamant to keep my neck warm... and besides, Sam.K is dead! Bob Fenner>

Sexing a signal goby <Hi Anita, PF here tonight> About a month ago a purchased a scooter goby, well I thought I did.  Thinking that my biggest problem would be getting him to eat, was easy as he is a little pig. but due to stress I have had problems with him getting white spot and fin rot. I have treated him but no progress in health and one of his fins is half gone and seems to still be a problem.  Thinking it was my water I did all the tests possible and all was ok.  He is in a tank on his own with a star fish and pistol shrimp.  Now I have found out that the shop gave me a two spot goby and he is probable fretting for a mate.  How can I sex him as I need to get him a mate for company. Anita <Well, in all honesty Anita, I don't know how. From looking the pictures over, and searching on the web, it looks to me like only they know. Sorry I can't aid you more, PF. Maybe someone else here has a better idea?>

Goby Compatibility Greetings Folks, <Hi Quinn> I never run out of questions for you folks.  Can I adopt one of you so I always have someone to ask on hand? <Uhhh, you'll have to submit a financial statement, answer a few questions....you know, the usual adoption stuff.  How are your house rules? Do you have large parties? How big is the NEW tank going to be?> I am setting up a 150 gallon display tank, with a 50 gallon sump/fuge, 17 gallons of which is the fuge.  I will be using a fair bit of live/base rock, approx. 200lbs.  I am considering a mandarin in the future, and will certainly be keeping a bi-colour blenny.  Should I be concerned that the two will conflict, being fairly similar animals? <Likely not.  They also have some room.  Give the system time to mature before adding a Mandarin and enough time for grazing for the Bi-color.>   Also, I have written in the past concerned Plotosidae lineatus, I am wondering if a trio of convict blennies, provided I can obtain them, might be a better choice, as they are not venomous, and display some of the same behaviour (schooling near substrate).  Would convict blennies hassle a bi-colour blenny or a mandarin? Cheers, Quinn <This is individual, but some gobies will do better together than others and some, as you probably know, are not gobies. I would stick with dissimilar types (IE: bi-colors eat algae and Mandarins pods) so they aren't in competition for food.   Craig>

Goby In Trouble? Aloha WWM Crew, <Howzit? Scott F. with you today!> Thank you very much providing the best service on the internet.   I have written a few times before regarding my 55 FOWLR.  Last night I noticed that my neon goby had the dreaded white spots.  I battled ick a few times since I setup the tank.  The neon goby is the only one showing symptoms of ick so I was planning on putting him in a q-tank and treat him with copper. Here are my questions. 1) Will the copper hurt the goby in any way? <Well, you do run the risk of possibly shocking the fish. Remember, the purpose of a FW dip is to cause a form of osmotic shock to attack the parasites. Fish will find the procedure somewhat stressful, but they can handle it a lot better than the parasites can!> 2) Can I treat him freshwater dips? - I think I saw something that said  you shouldn't dip small scaled fish. <Actually, I'd feel better trying the FW dips with these guys for a while before attempting copper...Copper can be a problem for some small scaled fishes> 3) If I can't treat with copper, what type of treatment do you recommend. <I'd try the FW dips first (once a day for about 3-4 days) and see how they go. Also, observe the display tank carefully, because you want to make sure that the parasites are not in that tank...Otherwise, you may need to get everyone out and let that tank go fallow for a month...Keep a close eye here> Mahalo Nui Loa Jeff <A 'hui hou to you! Regards, Scott F>

New Gobies? >To the best crew in the Northern Hemisphere: >>Now *that's* a compliment to write Mom about! >I was visiting my LFS tonight and saw a few gobies of interest that I cannot find information about.  One they called a "lime stripe", which has light green stripes going vertically and was about 0.5" long.  The other they called "Yashi" or "Yashu" or something (I usually bring my pen and paper into the store), also very small.  I didn't speak to any employees because I was in a rush, but every time I pass the store I have to pop my head in!  I was hoping you guys/gals can shed some light.  One of them was referred to as "rare", but I don't remember which one.  Thanks, Rich. >>Ah, the bane of common names.  Part of the problem is that many blennies are confused for gobies, and vice versa.  If there is *any* way you can get them to give you the actual taxonomical names of these fish, then I can further help you.  Personally, I've heard of no fish going by those common names.  Pics, perhaps, may be of some help, but that taxonomical name is the ticket, truth be told.  If the shop has a marine I.D. bible, they should let you peruse it (assuming that it's a good shop, eh?).  Let us know!  Marina

Re: orange diamond goby compatibility with Pseudochromis fridmani and yellow-tail damsel? Just had a question on possible compatibility with an orange diamond goby with my Pseudochromis fridmani + a yellow-tail damsel (both have been in my 60g for about 2 months now). It seems gobies in general aren't compatible with the last two mentioned species, but I thought since the orange diamond is fairly large (4-5 inches) and stays near the bottom, perhaps they would get along? Have you seen this combination work out ok in tanks before? I am looking for a fish that would sift sand that would be compatible with my other fish. Thanks guys! < They should be fine since that species of goby is larger than most others and the fridmani is usually peaceful. Cody>   Best,

Sick Goby? Hi there! <Hi! Scott F. with you tonight> I have a fish health problem. Nine days ago I bought a 1 1/2" Stonogobiops xanthorhinica or nematodes goby. <Wow! One of my favorites!> The fish was recently imported and hadn't been in the fish store for very long. I saw it eat though. It took three days until it did anything else than press itself to the bottom of my tank. After that it started to behave normally. Sometimes bit shy if not brine shrimp was offered, but always eager to come out when fed. Yesterday I noticed some light red markings on the gill covers. Today parts of the black stripes also seems pale. The fish also twitches, sometimes holds it's mouth open and rubs itself towards the rock. It is still interested in food and is curious. I just managed to catch it from the main tank and will put it in a separate tank. <A good idea...I wish you would have quarantined him first, but at least you can observe him now in the separate tank...> Should I take the chance to give it a freshwater dip? <Well, freshwater dips work on lots of parasitic diseases...If it's something other than parasitic, it may be less effective. Worth a shot, though. Observation, clean water, and food is my recommendation at this point. Keep an eye on him before turning to medication.> What kind of medication do you think would be appropriate? When can I consider my main tank disease free? <I'm very conservative...I like the one month "fallow" period. It usually works for most parasitic diseases, but it certainly doesn't hurt if it's bacterial, either, IMO.> Ammonia and nitrite levels are OK, the fish is the only fish in the tank and my shrimp, hermits and various live rock hitchhikers seem OK. Thank you. Thank you also for the quick answer you gave me when I asked you a stocking question a month ago. Anders <I'm really glad that you enjoy the site! Keep a close eye on this little guy, and scour the WWM disease FAQs to try to zero in on the disease that you might be dealing with. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Sick Goby (Pt. 2) Hi <Scott F. with you again!> I just wanted to add a picture to the question I asked yesterday. I tried a freshwater dip today, but the breathing of the fish has become heavier. Can it be Amyloodinium? <Well, difficulty in breathing is a symptom of Amyloodinium...It's very similar to ich in appearance, but tends to be a bit "finer" in size; more like "dust"...and it's a lot more dangerous than ich...It can spread like wildfire and kill with horrifying rapidity. Treatment is very similar to ich- but very rapid action is necessary in order to save the infected fishes lives'> Thanks for everything. Anders <My pleasure, Anders- identify what you're dealing with, and treat appropriately! Take care! Regards, Scott F>

Re: Engineer Goby Need some info on their breeding habit, have two large, about 9 inches acting very funny and one is very heavy can you give me any info on them breeding             thanks <Need to refer you to fishbase.org and the consequent citations there. Bob Fenner> TheWolfer  

You say Potatoe Goby Bobster... What's the diff between Stonogobiops Stonogobius? Are they two different genera or is one misspelled/dated? <Mmm, well... Stonogobiops is a valid genus (of gobies), but there is no Stonogobius (there is a Stenogobius)... perhaps a misspelling (looks easy to do!). Bob F> Thanks bub

A Goby by Another Name?  3/2/03 Sorry to bother you again Phil<No problem!> but I know what fish you are talking about by description only I am lacking their scientific or common specie name? Care to throw me a bone ;)<Sure, here's the scoop.  There are two "Orangespotted" Gobies.  One is Amblyeleotris guttata.  A fine marine animal to 3.5 inches requiring a 20 gallon tank.  It should have a alpheid shrimp in the same tank.  As they will pair together and share the same cave together.  This goby is tan w/ orange spots along it's body.  The other goby is the "Orangespotted Sleeper Goby". A not so fine animal to 5.5 inches requiring a 55 gallon tank full of live rock and live sand.  It is difficult to keep, most starve to death.  It is also tan but has more oval shaped orange spots on it's upper body.  From it's lower mouth to it's lower tail it has a orange line .  Near it's mouth are a few oval shaped neon blue spots.  Hope this info helps!  Phil>

Gregarious Gobies (Pt. 2) Thanks for the prompt reply.  I purchased one of these fish and put it in my tank before thinking about what all its habits were.  I now have one goby that can go from one end of my 65 to the other without ever seeing the light of day. Unfortunately I also never see him. <Bummer! But think of how happy the goby must be...!> Is it possible to add two more now that the one is established?  Is it likely to make any difference to how much I see them? <It's worth a shot...Hard to say if you'd see the fishes more, but I'll bet that you would...> Thanks again. Fred. <Have fun imagining what those gobies might look like! Regards, Scott F>

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

Re: orange-spotted goby Do orange-spotted gobies need a substrate of 100% sand? or can they live with 50% crushed coral and 50% sand? <Yes, can live happily in mixed size substrates> I have a 75 gallon tank with a substrate of crushed coral and I would like to keep a goby, so I need to know. There are already fish and invertebrates including 2 Clark's Anemonefish, 3 assorted damsels, 20 snails, and a bunch of live rocks. Can I add sand to an already established tank or not? If so, how would I do it? <Yes. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsubstr.htm and the related FAQs files (linked, in blue, above). Bob Fenner>

The Goby and The Mystery Star! Hello all! <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I wrote a while ago about a golden headed goby that wasn't eating, and soon after that email (in an act of desperation, and in hopes of getting to keep the little guy) I bought some dried blood worms and whole frozen mysids.  He loves them, he darts out of his hole every time I open the fridge to get out the mysids or pick up the bright red can of worms, he has filled out quite a bit since he started eating the things I put in, but he's still too skinny to stop worrying, will he fill out completely on this diet or is there something else I should start offering him that will fatten him up faster? <Well, I think frozen Mysis are one of the best all-around foods for many marine fishes. You can "enrich" the Mysis with additives, such as Selcon, which provides highly unsaturated fatty acids, or VitaChem, which (as it's name implies) provides extra vitamins. There is also brand of frozen Mysis by Piscine Energetics, that is already enriched. Other foods to try would be foods like Hikari "Mega Marine Angel", which does have some marine worms as part of it's formula, and is actually "extruded" during the manufacturing process so that it resembles worms. It's very high in vitamin content, and many fishes like it, despite its "Angel" title. > I was told to put him in a friend of mines more established tank, but I'm really fond of this character, with him eating like the other fish will he be ok now or should I still pass him on? <Well, I hate to give up on a fish, myself...Since he seems to be coming around now, I'd stand by this little guy and watch him begin to thrive!> I have one last question.  I have a starfish that was labeled as a "sand shifting star"  but my problem is that all the pictures I've seen of the sand shifting stars aren't pictures that look much like my guy, and unlike the descriptions that say they can't climb, he can.  He has suckers and although he doesn't seem too interested in climbing, from time to time he'll camp out at the water line.  I looked through one of your pages of starfish identification and he wasn't there either, he's cream colored with darker brown stripes, but he doesn't have those longer spines edging his rays that the sandsifting stars in the pictures have, his are very short.  Do you know of any sites that have pretty complete lists of the species that are sold in pet stores? <Well, based on your description, it sounds like this might possibly be a brittle star (genus Ophioderma)...I have one that is cream colored with dark bands...On the other hand, if it does not have other characteristics of a brittle star, it might be any one of dozens of possible species. I'm not aware of a web site, off hand, that specializes in Echinoderms, but you could certainly do a search on one of the larger search engines on the 'net, to see what's out there. You also will definitely want to order a copy of Bob, Anthony, and Steve's upcoming book, "Reef Invertebrates", due out in March!> I was just curious, I didn't know if this guy is maybe different from the sand shifting species altogether and maybe he'd take a liking to a special diet instead of the leftovers he's getting now.  Thanks for all your help!                                    Sincerely, Rachael <Well, Rachel- I think it's great that you're hanging in there with the goby. Your tenacity has paid off for both the fish and you! And I love the fact that you're concerned enough to be researching the dietary requirements of your animals! What a great habit to get into! Keep up the good work! Regards, Scott F>

Re: Bar goby Following what you said about trying a goby, I obtained a bar goby. This species is not Ptereleotris zebra but I don't know the species or even genus. This is a true goby, and I don't know the species. I think the animal is Cryptocentrus but there is a brown barred goby in Amblyeleotris. But this is a slender animal by comparison to A. phalaena, Now the question, as I cant find him under the rocks or in the substrate, or on the floor near where the skimmer comes out and the cover glass doesn't fit the tank, is whether his burrow would leave an external trace. Although if I cant find him alive at least I have not found him dead. <Okay... so you have an unknown Goby species... it is likely either still hiding or has jumped out and you haven't located it yet... alive or dead. You might see a burrow entrance or not. Bob Fenner>

Your best Lythrypnus vertical Hi, guys! The photo we had slated for our next cover (Lythrypnus dalli), when blown up to cover size, revealed soft spots, and the face was out of focus. So, we need an instant replacement. I really would like to run a Catalina goby, and it needs to be a vertical shot, or one we can crop to be vertical. Alternatives would be other cool to cold water species. If you have anything that might work, please let me know ASAP, and we'll discuss getting it in time. Thanks, and have a Happy Holiday! David. --
David E. Boruchowitz
Editor, Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine

Identity of "dwarf neon gobies" Hello Fish people I was going through the goby FAQs and came upon one which mentioned an unknown goby of Indian origin with blue spots going by the name of "dwarf neon goby".  I too have seen fish of that name and origin, and some months ago sent several formalin preserved specimens to Helen Larson, an expert geobiologist at the museum in Darwin, Australia. The following is what she told me:   "They are Amoya, as I suspected - a convenient catch-all genus for things that look like Acentrogobius but aren't. There's at least 27 nominal species and nobody has ever reviewed the genus. These look like griseus/gracilis type things but I can't put a name to them for sure. They're not A. moloanus or A. gracilis. I won't be able to identify them without first sorting out what all the species in the genus really are. I've seen most of the type specimens but a number were destroyed in WWII and so we have to guess from the original description what Herre had.   First we need to properly define Acentrogobius, Amoya, Arenigobius, Yoga, Yongeichthys and Aulopareia, then we'll be able to solve this problem!" So at this time no one can say exactly what they are (and this kind of problem is by no means unusual in Gobiidae taxonomy!)  However, they seem to be good brackish aquarium fish - easy to feed, although somewhat vulnerable to bacterial infection after shipping.  Mine have not yet spawned. Cheers, Naomi Eventual Editor - International Goby Society Staff - Gobioid Research Institute <Thank you for this information. Will be posting. Bob Fenner>

Jumping Gobies! Good Afternoon (or whatever time it is when you come across this email). <Afternoon here- Scott F. with you> This pertains to recently purchased Gobies. I have tried 3 times to keep a Maiden Goby (Valenciennea puellaris) or sometimes called Diamond Goby. Each time it leaves the comfortable surroundings of my tank for a much harsher environment - the carpeting. I have lost 3 of the same type Gobies this way. The last one, which jumped last night, lasted less than 12 hours. A little tank information: I have a reef set-up 45 gallon tall. I currently have a little over 13 tank turnovers per hour but my oxygen level is still low so I plan on adding another power head to bring my turnover rate to near 20/hour. <The low oxygen level is of concern...do add more circulation and surface agitation for gas exchange> I have removed the top on my aquarium in order to bring the O2 level up with little success. My skimmer is properly sized and working great. After the first Goby committed suicide, I purchased and installed a section of egg crate (louver) over the approx. 4" open section behind my light (light sits directly on top of tank). The second Goby found a way out of this so I decreased some of the cutouts (for HO Skimmer and the like) where there were no openings larger than the 1/2" X 1/2" squares. My 3rd Goby worked his way out of this last night. I even tried a night light that was suggested. My question is this: I like the Goby and it's sand sifting properties. Is there anything I can do other than covering tank with screen like material and/or buying a Goby larger than the 1/2" openings? <Unfortunately, I think that using a screen like material is your best bet (Fiberglass, not aluminum), short of covering the whole top with acrylic or plastic. If the fish wants to get out and become "reef jerky", as they say, about all you can do is make the task more difficult for it> Are there any other Gobies or Goby like fish that sift like the Goby but that don't like to jump? <Unfortunately, a lot of these types of fishes (sand sifting gobies and Tilefishes) tend to have the jumping habit. Personally, I have always used brittle stars to do the job. In actuality, there are a lot of people who argue (and I think quite correctly, in many cases) that sand-stirring creatures are not needed in most well-maintained sand beds, as they tend to decimate the sandbed fauna that contribute to the function of the sandbed.> I hate to have to switch to the sand sifting stars. They aren't nearly as fun to watch. Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks, J.T. Craddock <Well, J.T.- I think your best bet is to use the screen material, or to simply discontinue the use of these types of fish in your tank. Wish there was a better solution I could offer, but I think that your options are kind of limited in a situation like this. Good luck! Scott F.> 

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