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FAQs on Goby Stocking/Selection

Related Articles: Gobies & their Relatives, Amblygobius Gobies, Genus Gobiodon Gobies, Genus Coryphopterus Neon/Cleaner GobiesShrimp/Watchman Gobies, Sifter/Sleeper Gobies/ValencienneaSleeper Gobies/Eleotridae, Mudskippers,

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

Coryphopterus signipinnis.  Look for brightness, and signs of no damage...

I'm back in the hobby! Query re stocking, mixing sand gobies      12/9/18
<And ladies...>
It's been a long time for me - but, I'm back in the hobby in a much
<Ahh! Welcome back to the fold>
Used to follow threads on your website faithfully.
I have a 45g AIO tank with a Rainford Goby. He's cute and active - but really can't keep up with the sand sifting that needs to be done.
Question: Would it be wise to add a Golden Head Goby - or would there likely be too much territorial fighting? I realize each tank (fish) is different - but, in general is this a bad idea?
<They'd likely get along fine, but if it were me, mine in such a size, shape system, I'd go with either two Rainford's or two Golden Head gobies. More interesting behaviorally.>
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>
Re: I'm back in the hobby!     12/9/18

Thank you so much. That seems like a wise recommendation. I’ll get another Rainford.
<Cheers Gene. BobF>

Sandsifters and grain size     4/10/18
Hello to the WWM expert crew,
<Hey Sunny>
Firstly a BIG thank you for all your passion about this hobby and the help you provide. I watched everything I could find on BRSTV and found the MACNA videos. Of my 3 favorites 2 were by Mr. Bob Fenner (the other is Sourcing, Quarantine & Acclimation by Austin Lefevre).
Despite having read a fair bit on your site and still have heaps of questions as I am planning my first reef tank. I have other topics I will write on in the future sorry;(
<No worries>
Out of cost, quality and convenience / time I am going to sacrifice convenience and time. I have a tight budget and after my initial layout only want to spend EUR50/mth on equipment and stock. The benefit of this approach probably means myself (and my tank) are better prepared and researched for each new addition.
<Am very glad to find that you are aware of costs (including utilities like electric and water) and have set a reasonable budget for ongoing>
Onto my questions. After a few months I plan on adding a Goby (probably Stonogobiops nematodes) & Shrimp pair and later I would like to add a pair of sand sifting Gobies. The display tank is a peninsula about 100G - 120cm x 50cm (60cm high) with an extra 30cm at the back for a refugium / internal sump. I will add pods, algae and refugium mud to the refugium after cycling.
Q1 - Which sand size? - As I want to (eventually) have a mixed reef tank I have Gyre pumps - so the flow will high at the top and then mild along the bottom - but flow is important and I anticipate adding more Wavemakers. I would like to get ATI Fiji White Sand. There are 2 sizes I’m considering - S (0.3mm-1mm) and M (1-2mm). They say "Because of his significantly higher density than a comparable Aragonite sand is the Fiji White sand considerably heavier and remains so better be at flow”. Would a 1” bottom be sufficient?
<Mmm; perhaps with some area (can be circumscribed or just mounted) for your burrowing life; e.g. the Stonogobiops. I would go with the 1-3mm nominal sand grade here>
and will the M be ok for Sand sifters or am I better off going with the smaller grain size?
<It would, but again, I prefer a bit larger, to stay down on the bottom, do all the substrate does... looks, function wise>
Also can I add pieces of shell I have collected from the beach or would this make sifting harder?
<Assured they're clean biologically, that'd be fine. I would add them for interest>
Q2 - Is there an easier pair of Gobies than Signigobius biocellatus that are suitable in a pair for a tank my size that can sift the sand?
<Oh, a bunch! Some larger species, like Valencienneas, are tougher... see WWM re all substrate sifting, shrimp gobies>
I would simply prefer a hardier fish that I won’t have to constantly hand feed. It seems all the Valenciennea species would be too big in a pair for my tank so is the most sensible option to forget about a pair of sifters and get a Valenciennea?
<Ah yes; not too large for a 100 G>
Q3 - Should I clean the sand ever assuming I will add the sand sifters? Should I buy other creatures that will clean the sand? I’d prefer after I get the sifters not to have to clean the sand too much.
<You can wait, look/see if much/any algae, particulates are accumulating on the sand surface. I do like to stir (with a wood or plastic dowel) about half (left or right) the substrate every water change interval (weekly). Vacuuming may prove unnecessary. Cleanliness is not sterility>
Thanks so much. Your site has been wonderfully helpful with my planning on multiple topics and I hope, as many of your other Q and A’s have done for me, this helps others ;)
<Thank you for writing, sharing. Bob Fenner>

Mixing Gobies    9/10/12
Hello, I’m new to your site and love all the great knowledge! I have a 4 month old 150 gallon tank and wondering if you can help in my choices! I would like to add 3 Engineer Gobies, 3 Cleaner (Neon) Gobies, and a diamond Goby.  First I would like to know if all of these would get along?
<In this size, shape system, likely so>
Secondly if the numbers of each are suitable? 
Thanks ever so much, Nikki
<I give you good odds here... do set your rock on the bottom or other stable structure (not just on the sand), and you burrowing gobies will be tunneling under. Bob Fenner>

Coryphopterus Personatus 11/10/08 Hello again, <Hello there Matthew.> I'm sorry for this stupid question but It's something I'm going to ask anyways. I am looking at getting a few masked gobies (Coryphopterus Personatus) I want to get 5-6 of them in a 20 long. Now I know that most gobies fight unless they are a mated pair, so I looked around for a few hours online. I have found all kinds of information an all types of gobies except these. Can you tell me what you think? Matthew <Keeping them in groups is fine with this particular goby. Scott V.>

BioCube stocking  9/25/08 Hello Crew, <Michele> Thanks as always for the advice and the great website! I have a stocking question regarding a nano tank and apologies ahead of time if this is well covered in the archives and I missed it. We have a 14 gallon BioCube with upgrades (auto top off, MaxiJet powerhead, 10 gallon fuge, bioballs removed, mesh to prevent "jumping" to the back compartments) with about 1 1/2 inch slightly coarse sand (one size up from fine) and about 10 pounds live rock in the display. The tank was used as a QT and has since sat fallow for about 8 months. It's amazing to watch the growth in the tank without fish predation! <Ah yes> We harvest macroalgae from the nano for our tangs in our larger tanks. A small green clown goby (Gobiodon atrangulatus) was added about a month ago because a fight broke out in our 90G. We mistakenly thought we had lost our goby and ordered another one. The first one appeared and WWIII broke out! <Oh yes> Question 1: Is this a sufficient home for a clown goby? <Mmm, can be... in the wild, on an Acropora patch, this can be about all the space one is "allotted"> There is a large Zoanthid colony and a few mushrooms, but obviously no SPS for this fish. <Have seen Gobiodon kept w/o> We have other tank options for the fish, but leaving him would certainly be the easiest. Question 2: The original plan for this tank was to add a shrimp goby pair. Assuming weekly water changes and basic husbandry, is this tank large enough to support a pair of Stonogobiops nematodes with their shrimp? <Mmm, could> Would a pair of Stonogobiops yashia be a better choice? <About the same... in terms of hardiness, space requirements. IME S. nematodes settles in easier> Question 3: If you give approval for the goby pair, would you move the clown goby or am I still ok bioload/psychologically? <Could, would see if they learned to live with each other here. Likely the Gobiodon stays, will stay "higher up" in the system than the Stonogobiops> Question 4 (last one I swear!): I have a massive population of some pretty big bristleworms in the tank now....is this a concern with any of these tiny fish? <A possible one, yes... I would trap out, remove large species, specimens> Thanks again! Michele <Thank you for sharing, writing so well. Bob Fenner>

Signigobius biocellatus'¦Another Example of Why You Should Do the Research 'Yourself', And 'Before' You Buy -- 06/17/07 Boy do I feel stupid. <<Mmm'¦been there'¦>> I purchased a Crab-eye/twin-spot/signal goby (Signigobius biocellatus) today, on the word of the LFS that it was an 'easy' typical shrimp goby. <<Hmm, I wonder what their reasoning is? As you have discovered, this fish is difficult to maintain in captivity, though like many 'delicate/difficult' species, can prove quite hardy once established 'the problem is getting it to that point. These fish are problematic to feed adequately and also seem to suffer from lack of social interaction (a mate) thus acquiring as a mated pair can be beneficial to long-term health, assuming the system is large enough to accommodate such>> I brought it home placed it in QT, started doing some research, <<Ahh, this is 'backwards' you know 'research 'before' a purchase>> and found out they were far from easy, and required fine sand substrate. <<Indeed 'perhaps you can return this fish and try to educate your LFS otherwise>> While the substrate in my DT fits the bill, my QT is bare bottomed. <<I see>> I know gobies are relatively disease free, so my question is, is this fish a suitable candidate for an abbreviated quarantine, like say a Mandarin might be? <<If you are not going to return it'¦ In my opinion, yes 'this is a case where a lengthy stay in QT may actually prove detrimental to the fish>> Thanks, Clyde Hudson. <<Happy to share. Eric Russell>>

Signal/Twinspot Goby, sel.    5/21/07 I am interested in buying a Signal / Twinspot Goby that I have seen for sale. It is small at the moment (1 and 1/2'' inch long) Some reports that I have read say this one is difficult to keep and therefore would not normally consider it, but this seems to be feeding quite well. <It has been my experience that this fish/species is actually quite hardy once acclimated... Though it does better kept as it occurs in the wild, in pairs> Also if I did buy this is it the type of goby that lifts the sand into the water and sprays it all over corals and rock, its small at the moment and does not appear to have this habit Thanks Graham <Perhaps it has learned that this behavior is not necessary to acquire food in its present circumstances. Bob Fenner>

Twin spot gobies Sel., sys.    4/13/07 Hello there, <Afternoon> Simple question. I have a 12 Gallon AP. I want to add 2 small fish to my tank (twin spot gobies) I can really do with just one, but heard that they usually are paired and I would not want to break up a relationship here. If I can just find one alone do you think it best that I just get the one? Or since they are pretty small do you think I can get away with two? The tank is well established, with 17lbs of coralline encrusted live rock, 2 inch fine sand bed, some Zoo's, Rics, etc.. I do water changes religiously on the 10, 20 and 30th of each month. <Nice routine> I run Purigen, and filter floss along with CL-150 chiller and Blueline hd-20 pump. Heat is not an issue. I do not believe having a skimmer on this small a tank since the total volume of water is like 9 gallons, maybe 10 is a necessity. <Never a necessity, always a viable option> However, add the fish....Hmmmmm.. What do you think? <If you could obtain a mated pair then you could add the two, however, this Goby (Signigobius biocellatus -- I'm presuming) will take time and aggression to form a pair from two individuals and in a tank this small this may be a problem. Also I would increase the sand bed further in your tank if you wish to keep a 'sand-sifting' fish, however this will further reduce your already minimal water volume. Look for a mated pair or, presuming you have a quarantine area, try to allow two to pair in here over their 4-6 weeks period if it is of similar or preferably larger volume> I appreciate your time and hope this one gets posted quick. Thanks again! <Thanks and should be posted daily, Olly>

Survival of gobies, Sel.  3/28/07 Hi there, <J and G> I'm about to order a sleeper goby  and read on your site that the Valenciennea puellaris frequently dies of starvation due to a lack of fauna in the substrate. Would you say that the  Valenciennea strigata has got better survival chances in the aquarium? Thanks for your advice, regards, Jana.. <I "score" these two congeners about the same for utility in captivity... Both easily suffer for a lack of suitable infauna, substrate to sift through/for. Bob Fenner>

Which Goby  3/16/07 Dear WWM Crew, <Jan> Thanks for being there! <And you> We have a 72G reef tank with about 80 lbs. of LR.  Our water parameters are (Temp=77deg F, Sg=1.025, pH=8.3, Ca=380ppm, Mg=1290ppm, dKH=6.75, Ammonia & Nitrite=0ppm, NO3= 2ppm).  The tank was set up and cycled last May.    For about the last six months our live stock has consisted of a pair of clowns (A. ocellaris), a fat mandarin (S. splendidus), and a school of 9 Chromis viridis.  15 various corals (representing 12 species), 2 tube worms (Protula magnifica) 2 turbo snails and some (+/- 8) blue legged hermit crabs.  In addition to this we have 3 peppermint shrimp (L. wurdemanni) & 2 fire shrimp (L. debelius) and 2 common cleaner shrimp (L. amboinensis).  We have a beautiful baby Hawaiian Yellow Tang (Z. flavescens) in quarantine. In 2 weeks we'll be bringing this fish up to the main tank. <All sounds/reads good thus far> We're looking to get what will be our last fish for this tank.  We'd like a goby.  Given the livestock that we have, especially the mandarin, which of the gobies listed below would you recommend as the best choice (if any) to add. 1. Cryptocentrus pavoninoides, Blackfinned Shrimp Goby 2. Cryptocentrus leptocephalus, Pink-speckled Shrimp Goby 3. Cryptocentrus cinctus, Golden Watchman Goby 4. Amblygobius decussates, Orange-striped Goby 5. Elacatinus puncticulatus, Redhead Goby <Mmm, likely one of the Cryptocentrus... the cinctus is very sturdy, relatively available... You really don't need another cleaner...> As always, thank you for help and excellent advice!! Jan & Ellen P.S. We've attached a recent photo of the tank so that you can see what we're up to. <Mmm, unfortunately wouldn't open. Bob Fenner> <Ah, Michelle was able to open, recover. RMF>

Which Sand-Sifting Goby?   6/19/06 Hello help crew, <<Vincent>> The sand in my sand bed is roughly 1mm to 1.5mm sized.  What kind of goby will fit to that? Thanks, Vincent <<Most all of the sand-sifting/sleeper gobies will do fine.  My favorite is Amblygobius phalaena...  Regards, EricR>>

Potential Nano Tank ... Stonogobiops nematodes 10 gallon Tank  - 05/19/2006 Hi Crew, <Hey Michelle.> I would like to run a potential tank by you. <Sure.> Would a 10 gallon tank make a healthy home for two Stonogobiops nematodes (blackray shrimp goby) and their shrimp? <No there would be some territorial issues.> 10 gallon saltwater 2 NO florescent lights Live Rock 2 inches sand bed Aqua Clear filter (modify for refugium) <Cool.> To include a Firefish, what is the minimum size the tank should be for all three fish? <I'd say a 20 gallon long, minimum, but while the tank is biologically large enough for all three of these fish, there may yet still be territorial issues with the gobies and their respective shrimp pairs'¦.I would, personally, make another choice and only go with one pair.> Can coralline algae grow under NO lights? <Sure will, in a tank of this size. Just keep calcium high and alkalinity/ph, etc. . in the appropriate fields.> Will this setup allow mushrooms to thrive in it? <Some, not all 'research exact species.> I'm thinking about coming back to salt, but don't want a full blown reef tank. <If this is your first time back to salt in a while you may want to stay away form something and unstable as a 10 gallon nano.> I'm interested in your thoughts on this tank set up and if you think it will be successful (happy and healthy inhabitants). <Just see my comments above.> Thanks a million for your great website! <Your welcome and thank you.> Michelle

Stonogobiops nematodes 10 gallon Tank, RMF's go  - 05/19/2006 Hi Crew, I would like to run a potential tank by you.  Would a 10 gallon tank make a healthy home for two Stonogobiops nematodes (blackray shrimp goby) and their shrimp? <Mmm, a bit small... with the inherent risks therein... instability, psychological crowding... but possible> 10 gallon saltwater 2 NO florescent lights Live Rock 2 inches sand bed Aqua Clear filter (modify for refugium) To include a Firefish, what is the minimum size the tank should be for all three fish? <... depends on the species of Firefish/Microdesmid... 29 or more gallons IMO> Can coralline algae grow under NO lights?   <Yes> Will this setup allow mushrooms to thrive in it? <Possibly> I'm thinking about coming back to salt, but don't want a full blown reef tank.  I'm interested in your thoughts on this tank set up and if you think it will be successful (happy and healthy inhabitants). Thanks a million for your great website! Michelle <Thank you for being part of it. Bob Fenner>

Gobius bucchichi...Not For Tropical Systems - 05/14/06 Thanks is advance as your answers are always helpful :) <<Very welcome>> Dear WWM, I just bought a sand sifter goby that was supposedly tropical, but I come to find it is actually a Gobius bucchichi which I have learned is a subtropical fish. <<Indeed it is, and doomed to a shortened life-span if kept in a tropical system...much like the unfortunate Catalina Goby seen in the (tropical) trade>> Is this in fact a sand sifter (resources on this fish I find to be very limited). <<Not sure...but its habitat (mud/sand grass beds) and food items (polychaetes/amphipods) would seem to indicate so>> Will it jump out of my tank and is it ok if the tank is around 78 - 80 degrees F. <<I would not expect the fish to survive the long-term at these temperatures>> Any other info on this fish will be very helpful. <<A bit of info here ( http://www.fishbase.se/summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=46334), but like you say, doesn't seem to be much else out there>> Many thanks again!, Adam <<Regards, EricR>>

A Quick Response Appreciated!! (Sand-Sifting Goby) - 12/11/05 Bullet Goby or Diamond Goby?  Is there a major difference? <<Bullet Goby/Genus - Amblygobius...Diamond Goby/Genus - Valenciennea...similar in habits/feeding.>> I wrote to CREW asking for a recommended critter that would eat algae dust from our sand surface. <<Yes...was I...EricR here again.>> Per your recommendation, was told to get a Bullet Goby. <<Correct>> I sent my husband in search of a Bullet Goby and he came back with 2 small Diamond Gobies, being told they would work equally as well and told we needed more than one because they are small. Tank: 180 gallon. <<Mmm...likely Valenciennea puellaris, the Orange-spotted Goby.  Have had these in the past...can/will do a good job sifting the substrate.  This goby will get large (6" or more), compatibility issues aside, two might be too much for your tank...possibility of not being able to keep both adequately fed.>> Are we ok to add them or should we take them back and hold out to find a Bullet Goby? <<Up to you.  If you like the looks of the Diamond Goby then give it a try...though I'm hesitant to recommend two at this stage.>> Scrambling here, I can't find any differences other than keeping more than one may create an issue, <<Maybe, yes>> thus don't know if I should return both or one, or continue to ready them as new additions to our tank. <<If you decide to add both make sure you do it at the same time, though I would be inclined to only add one of these fish. We house live rock, Naso Tang, Green Bird Wrasse, Fox face, Yellow Tang, Percula Clown, Coral Beauty, Royal Gamma, 3 Blue Damsels, 3 Striped Damsels, 1 Six Line Wrasse and 1 Black Brittle Star along with a host of Crabs that enjoy the night life. Debi Stanley-Viloria Mission Viejo, CA <<Regards, EricR>>

Decorated Goby, Istigobius decoratus, as a sand sifter? Yep  11/12/2005 Greetings, crew. <Howdy Dan> I have a 120 gal FOWLR (plus 30 gal sump with 24" HOT refugium) with the following inhabitants: - Dwarf fuzzy lionfish - Flame angel - Christmas wrasse (Halichoeres ornatissimus) - Purple tang - Longnosed Hawkfish - Three small damsels - Asst. snails/hermits <Mmm, the wrasse may eat these last> The tank is stable and happy. Water is "perfect" as per standard measures (nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, phosphate all zero; pH 8.2; calcium 350; Alk 3.0 meq/l; temp around 80). The only issue is the substrate (4+" DSB w/ plenum), which could use a cleaning, due to algae. The tang and angel do a great job clipping anything off of the rocks or above the sand, but I need something that will turn over the top 1/2" of the sand and keep it "sparking white".  <I see> I am hesitant about putting a "dedicated" sand sifter (e.g. diamond goby) in the tank for fear of (1) starving the poor critter after it  (2) decimates the fauna in the DSB. <Not likely in this size, type set-up> I have heard that I. decoratus was a "part-time" sand-sifter that also eats meaty/frozen foods from the water column. Sounds like a winner to me. Do you guys/gals have any experience with these fish? <Yes... a very worthwhile species, genus. This or a Valenciennea species would be my choice. Cheers, Bob Fenner> 

Twin Spotted Goby 10/12/05 Hi Crew,  <Hello Danielle> I just purchased a twin spotted goby and am very concerned about feeding it. I thought a majority of gobies were beginner fish, but have come to learn that the one I bought, isn't (figures).  <This is why we need to research our fish before we buy. We need to know their requirements/needs.>  I have a 55 gallon tank that I started about 6 months ago. When I first started the tank, I saw a ton of copepods crawling about the live rock and sand. I don't see as many now days and am concerned for my goby. I know that the gobies primarily feed on copepods and am afraid I am going to starve the poor goby to death.  I know that from reading your site I can purchase copepods, however, I have only read that the copepods should be placed in a refugium. I do not have a refugium and was wondering if it would be ok to place the copepods directly into my tank.  <Sure it is but chances of them reproducing will be slim and none.>  I apologize for my ignorance but even though it has been 6 months, I still have many things to learn.  <You will never be done learning. OK, the Twin Spot or Signal Goby as they are sometimes called require a live sand substrate where some or most of their nutrients will be found. They need to be fed live foods, vitamin enriched frozen brine, Mysid, live black worms etc. Not a difficult fish to keep, the difficulty lies in getting them to eat prepared foods. Some will accept prepared foods, 50/50 chance here. Hang on refugiums are not that expensive. Might consider getting one, add small pieces of live rock and try and get some pods in there. Good luck. James (Salty Dog)>  Thanks so much for your time. Danielle 

Twin-Spot Goby Pairs 10/11/05 First of all, a huge thanks to your crew! Because of your wonderful assistance, I've avoided many of the ills that befall a new aquarium, and know how to stop them if they do attack! <Ah, good> I'm bothering you again with a question about a twin-spot goby. I currently have 1 in a 75g tank, with live sand and 70lbs LR, adding more gradually. The tank is cohabitated by : 2 percula clowns w/ Macrodactyla anemone 1 large frogspawn coral 3 rocks with Rhodactis mushrooms 1 cup coral 3 Ricordea floridensis 1 Ricordea yuma 1 short spined urchin assorted macroalgae aforementioned goby. I very much love my dear little goby, he has been with me for four months now, and I feed him a variety including Cyclop-Eeze, live blackworms, zooplankton, Mysis, and squid. He does not look emaciated, and the flesh under his eyes does not pucker in. He was purchased on his own from my LFS, as he had no mate at that time.  Recently, my LFS received what appears to be a female of his species, and what I want to know is if he would form the beneficial pair with this individual if she was added to our tank, or if this would cause problems. The LFS is holding the goby for us until I have found out if this will work or not, and all the information I have found as of yet has not mentioned adding a second, simply buying as a pair, so I'm asking for your expert advice. Thank you in advance. Benjamin Kratchmer <Mmm, well... can be kept in a setting as yours... Our bits on this species here:  Best to purchase and keep as pairs (this is the only way I've encountered this species in the wild). Bob Fenner>

Twin-Spot Goby Pairs 10/12/05 Okay, thanks Bob. I took a look at that FAQ, but I'm still a little confused. I understand that these fish do best in pairs, but I'm not sure if they need to be mated pairs, and if so, what he chances are of my adding this second fish and the two getting along. <I don't know either... the few times have seen in the wild, there is apparent dimorphism... one larger/smaller... and have seen accounts of folks keeping them (aka "Crab-eyed Goby) in captivity singularly...> If they do not form a pair, will this be detrimental to the existing fish? I am not sure if these gobies are sexually dimorphic, but on the assumption that they are the new one would be of a different sex, as it has a larger build and is about 1/4" longer than the one I have now. <Worth trying either alone or mixing if you have room> I guess the best way to ask this is: AM I better off adding the second, slightly larger goby, or should I leave things as they are? Thank you for your time, Benjamin <If there is an otherwise uncrowded four plus square feet of bottom, I'd risk the purchase, trial at pairing. Bob Fenner> 

Gobies, blennies, and the Maldives 7/25/05 Hi, <Hello there> I would like to first say thanks for helping this great hobby. I have a Maldives biotope setup. It is a 135 with about 100 lbs of live rock, Tunze stream, a 55 gallon sump, and skimmer. At present I have a 3" powder blue tang, a 3" yellow tang, <Mmm, this last not found in the I.O. at all...> a 2 1/2"emperor angel. a 3" coral beauty, a couple of blue-green Chromis, and a 6-line wrasse. I am considering adding the citron goby and bicolor blenny to "complete" the fish stocking. Would it be possible to add 3-4 of the citron gobies and 1 of the Bicolors to this set up? Thanks for your time and effort! Steve Nichols <You should be able to add these numbers to a system of this size, type... and their interactions with each other will be worthwhile. Bob Fenner>

One More Fish! Hello all, <Hey there! Scott F. here today!> Thank you in advance for your help.  I have a 40 gallon tank (36x15x17) with a Coral Beauty Angel, Yellowtail Damsel, Lawnmower Blenny, a variety of Nassarius, Turbo, and Astraea snails, a Sand Star, 50 lbs live sand, and 35 lbs Fiji live rock. Ammonia and nitrites are 0, nitrates are generally 0-10 ppm; the tank is filtered by an Emperor 280 and skimmed by an Aqua C Remora.  I want to add a refugium with a DSB, Chaetomorpha and maybe a little Gracilaria or Ulva. However, I cannot drill the tank and do not want use another overflow box that will lose siphon and... "make a mess on the floor," so I was looking at the CPR Hang-on Refugiums.  I am looking at the largest size, 25 inches long, but that won't fit on the tank with my filters, would it be a problem to hang the Emperor or Remora off the back of the refugium? <The potential problem that I see is that the skimmer pump may draw more water out of the refugium than is being brought into it! Ideally, you'd want to hang either one of these units off of the display tank itself.> Additionally, would changing the Rio power head for a Maxi Jet 1200 provide too much water flow. <If you are referring to the skimmer, I think that the pump substitution is a valid one. "Too much" is a relative term!> Is 65 watts of PC enough light? <Fore a small refugium, that should suffice.> I also have a stocking question: Is my tank too crowded to add, say, 2 or 3 Firefish or some other small goby?  Thank you very much for your time and help. Elvis <Well, Elvis- I think it would be better to go with a smaller goby species, ideally one that inhabits the lower strata of the tank, so as not to be overly harassed by the active damsel. I think that the Firefish, although suited for a tank of this size, is too passive, IMO to work in conjunction with the fishes that you have in there. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

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

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>

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>

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>

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>

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  >>

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

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

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