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Related FAQs: Part 1: Amblyeleotris, Part 2: Asterropteryx, Cryptocentrus & Ctenogobiops, Part 3: Mahidolia, Stonogobiops, Tomiyamichthys & Vanderhorstia), Shrimp Gobies, Shrimp Gobies 2, Pistol Shrimp and Goby Biotopes, & Shrimp Goby Identification, Shrimp Goby BehaviorShrimp Goby Compatibility, Shrimp Goby SelectionShrimp Goby Systems, Shrimp Goby FeedingShrimp Goby Disease, Shrimp Goby Reproduction, & Shrimp they associate withShrimp IdentificationShrimp Behavior, Alpheid (including Shrimp) GobiesTrue GobiesGobies 2Goby Identification, Goby Behavior, Goby Selection, Goby Compatibility, Goby Feeding, Goby Systems, Goby Disease, Goby Reproduction, Amblygobius Gobies, Clown GobiesNeon GobiesGenus Coryphopterus Gobies, Mudskippers, Sifter Gobies

Related Articles: Gobioids, Marine Shrimp, Marine Scavengers, Alpheid (including Shrimp) Gobies, 

/The Conscientious Reef Aquarist

Shrimp or Watchman Gobies

By Bob Fenner

Amblyeleotris randalli

Shrimp-Goby Symbionts

The Pistol or Snapping Shrimps of the genus Alpheus, family Alpheidae really "live-together" with fishes. Gobies in the genera Amblyeleotris, Cryptocentrus, Ctenogobiops, Istigobius, Stonogobiops and more form mutualistic symbiotic relationships with these crustaceans; the shrimp digging their shared burrow home, the goby keeping a sharp vigil against predators. Partner gobies eat micro-fauna they find near the bottom, the shrimps feed on what they find in their burrowing.

The shrimps are virtually blind and use their antennae for partner goby communication at all times at the surface.

These partner, prawn, shrimp or watchman goby fish/shrimp associations make for fascinating presentations. Successful habitats call for broken rubble and coarse sand of two or more inches depth, or an artificial PVC pipe burrow (See Michael), a single or pair of gobies matched with an appropriate Alpheid. See Fishbase.org re likely matching symbiont species.

Genus Amblyeleotris: twenty three described species.


Genus Asterropteryx:


Genus Cryptocentrus: Twenty two species.


Genus Ctenogobiops: Six species. 


Genus Mahidolia:


Genus Stonogobiops: Five species; one common in the pet-fish trade


Genus Tomiyamichthys: Three described species


Genus Vanderhorstia: Nine described species


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