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FAQs on Shrimp/Watchman Gobies Compatibility

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

Related FAQs:   Shrimp Gobies 1, Shrimp Gobies 2, & Shrimp Goby Identification, Shrimp Goby BehaviorShrimp Goby SelectionShrimp Goby Systems, Shrimp Goby FeedingShrimp Goby Disease, Shrimp Goby Reproduction, & Alpheid (including Shrimp) GobiesTrue Gobies Gobies 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

CBS symbiotic?      6/25/18
<Hey Dani>
I have a nano with a well established yellow watchman. I also have small purple coral banded shrimp, Stenopus tenuirostris, who has been close to the YWG. The YWG usually runs off anything that comes close but doesn’t seem to mind the CBS. I didn’t think CBS went into symbiotic relationships, other than cleaning stations on a rare occasion? Is this unique?
<The shrimp you have isn't widely used in the trade, but have encountered a mix of symbiotic relations with shrimp gobies. Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Recent experiences with Cryptocentrus cinctus and Alpheus bellulus.     8/1/17
Hi :)
Just sharing a curious experience. A year or two ago I inherited an unlikely pair from a fish store that was closing down.
An Alpheus bellulus and an Istigobius sp. I say unlikely because obviously, despite the claims of the LFS guy they were not symbiotic, although the Alpheus never attacked it. Anyway, I brought them home and added them to my
tank (330 litres, 10 cm DSB).
<Various shrimp gobies DO associate w/ diverse shrimps in captivity... outside of pairings that are known to occur naturally>
Of course the Istigobius never paid any attention to the Alpheus (as expected) and the only thing it has done
is to triple its size (it was tiny when I added it, it's really fat now and it has reached 10 cm).
However I was surprised by the Alpheus. First, I didn't have a symbiotic goby in the tank at the time, but I have
a group of three Ptereleotris zebra. They of course burrow in the DSB. What was curious is that they didn't seem to bother when the Alpheus invaded their burrows. The Alpheus also ignores them except for a protesting click
now and then, I guess it does it when one of the "hakes" (I call them hakes because they are rather large) blocks
its way.
Everything has been peaceful since I introduced them. So, first curious observation, as far as I know there
hasn't been any aggression despite being a reef tank with several fish species and a Stenopus hispidus. I guess
the Alpheus doesn't venture far from its burrow anyway.
<Some don't>
The second phenomenon happened two weeks ago. I found a Cryptocentrus cinctus at a LFS and brought it home.
From my past experiences I assumed that it would settle peacefully upon finding a proper sand bed and an Alpheus burrow. Surprisingly, a couple of hours after introducing it I found it in panic, circling the tank close to the surface. There were no torn fins nor any signs of aggression. It was clearly stressed, having turned almost white.
I just let it be assuming that it would eventually explore the bottom and find the burrow. Next day, however, I found it in the sump (which means it jumped but, thanks to a net covering the tank in order to prevent Ptereleotris incidents, it fell into the overflow). I insisted and put the fish into the tank again, this time luring it with my hand trying to guide it to the Alpheus burrow.
And that's been it, I have seen no signs in two weeks, so I assumed the worst. I couldn't check out the burrow easily because it was oriented in the wrong way, I couldn't peek inside. Until today! The Alpheus has decided to do some renovations (I find their sudden renovation sprees rather amusing) and the burrow was oriented towards the front glass. And, surprise! Inspecting with a flashlight, a calm Cryptocentrus was staring at me from inside the burrow.
I hope it will venture out more when it grows (it is tiny, 6 cm or so).
Adding food to the tank I've also seen it feeding rather aggressively (frozen Mysis and krill) so i guess it's well
settled now.
The good thing is, I have a goby-shrimp pair again and it seems they are doing fine with their tankmates.
However, any clues about that initial panic reaction?
<Not from here. Don't know what might have been going on>
As I said, my tank has a DSB and less than one third of the sand surface is covered by rocks. The sand surface is really obvious.
For the record, the tank mates are: 1 Zebrasoma flavescens, 1 Centropyge bicolor(*), 4 Sphaeramia nematoptera,
4 Chromis viridis, 1 Pterosynchiropus splendidus, 1 Pseudocheilinus hexataenia, 3 Ptereleotris zebra, 1 Gobiodon
histrio, 1 Istigobius sp, 1 Chryspitera hemicyanea, 1 Acreichthys tomentosus,
(*) The same bicolor mentioned in my messages from 2011.
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Follow-up Cryptocentrus panic and additional observations     11/13/17

Hi :)
Just a follow-up about the panicking Cryptocentrus (8/1/17). It settled nicely. I hardly see it once in a week because the burrow is in a really secluded location, but when adding food late in the evening it uses to come out with full color and the fins completely extended. It is really skittish though, more than one I had for several years in a small tank.
<Likely will become less so with time>
Now, this is curious. That burrow must resemble the (in)famous Marx brothers cabin. Sometimes up to two of my Ptereleotris zebra get into it, which means it’s two large zebras, the Cryptocentrus cinctus and the Alpheus bellulus.
<Oh, yes; they do share... in the wild and captivity... have even seen very large Bristleworms in their caves/tunnels>
I haven’t seen any squabbles at all, they just seem to ignore each other. Although it must be quite uncomfortable inside the burrow when the zebra brutes decides to turn around.
<And you, BobF>

Goby compatibility       5/2/17
Hello Crew,
Today on a fish shopping trip I came across a pink bar/aurora goby. I really really like it, it was all I could do not to bring it home but I learned a long time ago impulse buys are not suitable for this hobby.
<You are wise here>
I am wondering what you think of the compatibility with my current pink spotted watchman? He is quite large (5 or 6 inches) and the biggest of 3 pink bar at the fish store was about 3-4". My tank is a 75 gallon, 48".
<Mmm; well; I wish the tank was six feet in length; but I still give you good odds these would cohabit>
Also anything else of importance you could tell me about the pink bar would be appreciated (I'm quite familiar with gobies so any out of the ordinary facts that might make me not want one.)
<I know naught more re the genus, species than we have archived on WWM>
I have attached photos of both my goby and the gobies at the fish store so there is no confusion with the common names.
Please feel free to use my images.
Thank you
<Cheers Nic. Bob Fenner>

Cryptocentrus feeding/ compatibility conundrum      11/29/15
Much gratitude from myself and my fish...Firstly, I have a little something to share. I have a yellow watchman goby and Randall's pistol pair living happily under a mushroom rock in my 55. They both eat well and I would say that little yellow guy guards his shrimp at least as well as my dog guards my home. So I believe I have mostly read...and read, and read....that YWGs are carnivores. Some have called them omnivores leaning towards carnivores.
So I feed NLS pellets, NLS flakes, others, frozen: emerald entree, mysis, Cyclops....sometimes fortified with Vita Chem. I have other foods, but those are the staples. The YWG eats whatever floats past his little cave, never venturing more than 5 inches from the entrance. I have almost fully recovered from a bout of green hair algae, (compulsive over feeder in recovery) with the exception of the back glass. This is mostly because I haven't cleaned it off in 6 months or more, not out of laziness, but an outdated concept of leaving the back glass alone.
<Which I'm still a fan of!>
Today I decided to gradually clean it off, slowly, over time, as not to pollute my water with 3" strands of green hair. I thought I had all my pumps off....I didn't ..took a swipe with a sponge..and much of the algae went swirling around my tank. Thankfully, it wasn't a whole lot. But oddly, at least to me, my YWG went crazy. He started darting out of his cave, gobbling up every piece he could, even the largest ones. And he just ate a half hour ago. I have never seen him so excited over any food. I have never seen him pick at algae on rocks or algae anywhere. I guess, at least in my tank, a YWG will eat green hair algae, so long as I offer free delivery.......
Now my question. In my 55 gallon, I have the YWG/ Randall's pistol shrimp pair, a bicolor blenny, and a royal gramma. Inverts....two peppermint shrimp, about 10 dwarf hermits, two jumbo Nassarius (travel together...cute!), about 6 Nerite snails, one green mushroom and two small Palythoa colonies. No signs of chemical warfare, but I'm watching.....
In my 30 gallon, I have a tail spot blenny and a black Ray (yellow rose ) goby. Inverts.....5 dwarf hermits, 5 Nerites, 4 small Nassarius, and two small Zoanthid colonies.
Both tanks are peaceful and I don't NEED to add any more fish to either one. See....I ought to just stay out of the LFS because now they have a cute little aurora (pink bar) goby and in the very same tank, a YWG.....black and white kind (juvenile) with a tiger pistol shrimp. I've watched this tank several times, and neither goby seems to mind the other but I know what I've read about YWG...they don't tolerate other shrimp gobies.
<Not usually>
I assume this tolerance is due to the YWG being a juvenile as both gobies have been in this tank for two weeks together. I can find little info on the aurora goby as to whether or not he will tolerate other shrimp gobies.
<About as readily as any other of the same genus... which is to say; not typically>
I did find a photo online of a black Ray, yasha, and aurora sharing a borough. So my question is this.....do you think it possible that either one of my tanks could accommodate the aurora and a tiger pistol shrimp?
<It is possible.... I'd have a floating/plastic colander ready to isolate/separate the resident goby if WWIII breaks out>
The YWG in the 55 is stationed all the way to the left of the tank. I have a "two separate piles of live rock" style aqua scape. One pile is on the right, the other is on the left. Could the pink bar possibly live on the right, given careful, purposeful placement and ample live rock?
<Yes; could possibly>
The LFS has another tiger pistol, goby less, in another tank. Would the shrimp possibly help to keep him on the other side of the tank?
<Again; a gamble... I'd be sinking at least two, three small lengths of PVC tubing with the end above the gravel>
OR..in the 30 gallon....would the black Ray, which I have read will sometimes share his borough with other gobies, possibly welcome the aurora and pistol into his hole?
<This is more unlikely; a smaller possibility>
If I put them in together, might the black Ray think the aurora just part of the price of gaining a pistol shrimp?
<Even smaller potential>
I ask because I can't find any info on whether or not auroras will tolerate other shrimp gobies...aside from the aforementioned photo. Am I just asking for trouble either way? Thanks so much! Alyson R.
<There is margin for good/bad to happen with these additions... better done using screw cap plastic containers w/ holes in them (drilled is better vs. melted; ask your dealer/LFS if they have some to lend.... to keep all the new parties separated, but in view, smell of the established, for a few days. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cryptocentrus feeding/ compatibility conundrum      12/5/15

Thanks so much for your advice. I decided to forgo the aurora goby and shrimp and instead just got a tiger pistol shrimp for my lonely black Ray
The two paired almost immediately. I have to say that the tiger pistol is less shy than the Randall's (in another tank). He spends much more time outside the burrow than the long established Randall's.
<I've found that Alpheids are far more "individualistic" in their behavior than limited by species>
And he bulldozes large amounts of substrate at a time. Anyone concerned about too much digging would be better served to go with a Randall's over a tiger. But the tiger earns his keep in greater entertainment value. I never had this much fun when I kept a tank of larger fish...tangs, triggers (20 years ago). Thanks again for your great service the hobby and fish alike!
Alyson R.
<As my mum used to quip: "The more you look, the more there is to see".
Enjoy. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cryptocentrus feeding/ compatibility conundrum      12/5/15

So I may have a shy Randall's and/or a bold tiger?
<Heeeee; one way of putting it/this>
Interesting. I can imagine that the attitude of each's corresponding goby may also impact the shrimp's behaviors.
<Ah yes; of a certainty>
The YWG is very protective of his Randall's. If any creature comes within say 5 inches of the cave entrance, he issues a quick retreat. He doesn't seem to mind my face inches from the glass, though. He is the only fish in my 55 that appears to understand that I can't "get him" from outside the tank.
The black Ray is much newer...and in a smaller tank. I think he would like the tiger to be more cautious. Sometimes it seems like the tiger ignores his warnings, even pushes the goby away in favor of sand moving. There is nothing in that tank to actually threaten the shrimp so it's only comical to me. Maybe the better scenario would be the opposite pairing.....Black Ray with the Randall's and YWG with the tiger. I'm not going switch them because breaking up is hard to do.
<A fave olde song>

And it would create an awful mess in two tanks. But thanks again for taking the time indulge me in my fish storytelling. Alyson R
<Thank you for sharing Aly. BobF>

Nano stocking question     8/25/14
Dear Crew,
I have just started setting up a 16 Gallon, Innovative-Marine, all-in one tank in my office - finally fish where I spend most of my time! I added an ATO
<Mmm; do keep your eye on this, the spg... very easy to get into trouble w/ such automated gear on small volumes>
to help keep the salinity stable and have added a generous amount of Matrix to try to maximize the biological filter. I also intend to use frequent water changes, Purigen and Chemi-Pure to keep the water quality high and stable. With the 6 lbs. of live-rock, 10 lbs. of sand, pumps, etc., its effective water volume is about 12-13 gallons. I intend to stock it with Zoanthids, Ricordea and maybe a Doughnut
<The Zoanthids last... a few months after the others>
My question is, would it be appropriate to have a pair of Hi Fin Red Banded Gobies (Stonogobiops nematodes) and one Orange Stripe Prawn Goby (Amblyeleotris randalli) in this tank?
<I'd skip the former (don't really go in small volumes though they themselves are tiny), and not mix the genus w/ Prawn gobies anyway. The simple/r statement would be just to stock the PG; w/ or sans the symbiont Alpheid>
I really like the Goby but am having trouble understanding Goby computability, and I do not want to over-stock. If this is not wise, and assuming that a pair of Hi Fin is appropriate, can you suggest another fish
that might work with the Hi Fins?
<All sorts... do the long read on WWM or borrow a copy of my later work on stocking small marine systems (on Amazon)>
Thanks in advance, and thanks for WWM - the best resource on the Internet bar none!
<Ahh, thank you for your kind words. Bob Fenner>

yellow prawn puberty      5/28/13
Hey everyone!
Once again thanks for all the great info and dedication!  You guys and gals are a true aquatic blessing!:)
So I've been searching all over and can't seem to find an answer to my question, hopefully you guys can offer some input. I recently purchased 2 yellow watchmen (prawn) gobies! one is significantly smaller than the other and of course the larger one is bullying the smaller one, but my hope was that one day they would pair up, the smaller one is probably a little over and inch, while the larger is about an inch an a half, the larger is a little more yellow so its probably a male( i know its not an absolute but I'm going with the odds) since I've heard the males are more likely to stay yellow. The smaller one is a little darker so presumably a female, they are currently in a 29 gallon biocube, my question is at what age/length i guess do they reach sexual maturity.
<Mmm, only a guess, but I'd say at three inches to 3.5" overall length>

 I ask because maybe if I'm right and they are the opposite sex, maybe the male hasn't accepted the female because she isn't sexually mature. (Or they will never get along and ill get rid of one).
<They will likely pair... if both persist... a 29 cube is not much space>
Also there is a tiger pistol shrimp in the tank for obvious reasons and they haven't found him when his burrow is literally right next to one of the gobies burrows…any idea how to expedite the process?
<Insert a piece of 3/4" ID PVC pipe with the tip out of the sand... nearby with part stuck under the rock>
Nothing is going right haha! Thanks in advance for your quick reply!
Eli Ramos
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: yellow prawn puberty      5/28/13

Thanks for the quick reply as always! I will definitely try the PVC pipe, and as far as the bullying goes they don't really seek each other out so it is peaceful most of the time, aggression seems to only happen when they cross paths. But of course if I see any damage, one of them will be out!
Thanks again for your help! If I'm lucky ill get a mated pair with the pistol! Fingers crossed!
Eli Ramos
<Do keep us informed please. BobF>

Blenny-Goby comp     3/18/13
Hey folks, quick question:  Would any of the Ecsenius or Meiacanthus blennies be okay with my Yellow Watchman in a 50-gallon system?
<Likely either genus' members would be fine w/ a shrimp goby as long as there's sufficient decor/habitat. Bob Fenner>

Randall's goby attacked by Neon gobies?      1/9/12
Dear WWM crew, Unfortunately my Randall's shrimp goby has lost most of its fins, they look like they've been nipped off. It is past the point of help I think, but would like your advice to try and prevent the same thing from happening again. I recently bought two Neon gobies (G. oceanops), about 1 inch long each, and one Randall's Shrimp goby (A. randalli), about 1.5
inches long, from my LFS on the same day. I thermally acclimated them by floating the bags for 3/4 hour in the Quarantine tank (QT). All lights were turned off. I carried out 25 % water changes in each bag, three times, using QT water, with an hour in between each change. The pH and salinity in the QT are 8.2 and 35 ppt. Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate
<How is NO3 rendered thus?>
 are all 0, temperature is steady at 25 degrees C, and the QT has been set up for about 3 months. During acclimation, all fish seemed calm. After acclimation, I carried out a freshwater bath (FWB), 10 minutes in the bath for each fish, separately, in pH and temperature adjusted RO water, about 1 degree C warmer than the QT, with enough Methylene blue to turn the water deep sky blue (about 5 to 6 drops in 1 US gallon). The fish all seemed fine during the bath, settled down, swimming, and didn't look stressed by the procedure, which I took as a good sign. The QT is a 30 gallon tank, with a Fluval 105 filter (~ 1000 l/hour), about 6 kg of left over live rock from my display, arranged at the back of the QT, a Kent Marine Nano skimmer, and a Koralia Nano (900 l/hour). The heater is a Rena smart heater, 200 W, which is in the QT (no sump). After introduction, all fish hid in the rockwork,
<Something likely hiding there... crustacean, worm... Not the Gobiosoma as cause>
and I left the lights off until the next day (day 2). All fish fed well for the first few days, with the Neon gobies clearly pairing up and bonding.
Day 4, the Randall's didn't come out of the rock work, and didn't eat anything. I thought it may just be hunting critters off the live rock, and wasn't overly worried at this point, but the next day, it didn't come out again, and I could see some of his fins appeared to be smaller than they were. Obviously I was worried by now. Day 6, today, and the Randall's was out of the rock work, with most of his fins gone, apart from the dorsal.
Still breathing, though looking pretty past it. Both Neons are still absolutely fine, frequently swimming, eating a surprising amount for their size. No fin damage on either Neon, and no signs of disease. Are the Neons the obvious culprits?
<No; as stated, likely something else...>
I never saw the Neon's bothering the Randall's, though I find it odd that they are both fine. Could it be something else that attacked whilst the Randall's was sleeping?
There are some bristleworms in the tank, though none that are more than an inch or two long as far as I know, and a few large (1/3 inch) amphipods, but no hermits, no other fish, no shrimps etc. I'm writing as I am now worried about(a) the well being of the Neon's in the QT, nothings happened yet, but....(b) the eventual introduction of the Neon gobies into my display, 90 gallons, which just has a single Yellow Tang in at the moment fish-wise. Can I trust them?
<I would; yes>
(c) whether there is some sort of compatibility issue between the Randall's and Neons. Should I try again with another Randall's if keeping the Neon's?
<If you'd like. Isolated w/o the live rock>
 Any thoughts or advice?  Sorry this has turned into a very long email, Best wishes and thanks for the excellent site, Ben.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner> 
Re: Randall's goby attacked by Neon gobies?    1/11/13

Thanks for your reply, I really appreciate your time and feedback.
Unfortunately, the Randall's didn't make it, but both Gobiosoma are still doing fine. Its great news they are not the prime suspects, they add a lot of colour and energy for such little fish! I checked Ammonia and Nitrate in the QT again last night, using Salifert kits, and both are still 0.
"<How is NO3 rendered thus?>" -  I can only assume the sparse feedings, water changes, skimmer and live rock help to keep the nitrates undetectable?
there is some macro-algae growing on the live rock. No chemical media are used other than a bit of activated carbon in the QT filter.
<<I see. Thank you>>
Anyway, I'll take your advice about quarantining without live rock in the future, and will investigate further to see if I can spot any unwelcome guests tonight using a red light.
To safe guard the Gobiosoma, I will start removing some of the live rock, just a bit every week, to guard against a tank crash. The filter already has some ceramic media in and I will add some synthetic resin rock for habitat (marine safe!).
Best wishes and thanks again,
<Cheers, BobF>

Wrasses and Gobies, comp.      5/30/12
Good Evening Crew!
I have a 120 gallon reef tank (48x24x24) with a Cirrhilabrus solorensis male in it among other fish. I would like to get a female solorensis and a pair of Halichoeres chrysus to add. (I have a ton of LR arranged in a semicircle in the middle of the tank that has another ton of additional rock behind the semicircle with pillars at either rear corner) I only found a few FAQs that mentioned mixing these two genuses <genera, pl.> and they were promising. However before I purchase these fish (female first then Halichoeres pair next) I would like a more definitive opinion : ). I also have a regularly reproducing pair of Lysmata amboinensis and some Lysmata wurdemanni floating around there somewhere.
<These should all go fine together... the Peppermint shrimp might get munched when molting though>
On a similar note, in the same tank I have a pair of Valenciennea puellaris that are well established and a bit territorial to everyone including me if I sit on that side of the tank. I have fallen head over heels for a pair of Amblyeleotris latifasciata that are doing very well together at my LFS. I would like to have both including the shrimp for the potential new pair. I am very skeptical given the personality of my current gobies. I have no issues keeping my current pair fat as I have a penchant for gorgonians and feed a whole cube of Cyclops several times a week along with oyster feast and P.E. Mysis. I also feed spectrum Thera pellets, omega one veggie flakes, enhanced brine shrimp on occasion, and Nori (not all at once though XD ). I really want these other gobies with their shrimp partners but if they're just going to be harassed I'll contain myself.  
Thank You for Such an Invaluable Site!
<Mmm, about a fifty fifty chance of the engineer and shrimp gobies getting along... And a royal pain to remove if not... Bob Fenner>

Randall Goby and Pistol Shrimp Pair    5/5/12
Hello --
<Hello Joshua>
I had a 20-long which housed a pair of Pistol Shrimp and a Randall Goby.  (It actually also had a Yashi Goby with a shrimp, but Randall stole the other shrimp).  I was constantly able to watch the goby with his two "pet" shrimp.  Or is it the other way around?
<A mutual agreement between the two.  The shrimp excavates a place for both to hide while the goby provides a warning if danger is nearby.>
I set up a 54-gallon reef, and decided to move the gobies and shrimp into this tank.  It's been about two weeks now, and I haven't seen the shrimp, though I know they're in there (I can see their excavations, and hear them).  The Goby is visible, but he hasn't found his shrimp again yet.
Any ideas on getting these three back together?  Do I just have to wait it out?
<Will have to wait it out but eventually they should reunite.>
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Sun tail goby pair and Bicolor blenny compatibility  3/22/11
Hi guys, I was wondering if I could keep a pair of Suntail Gobies <Amblyeleotris aurora> in my tank as well as my Bicolor Blenny <Ecsenius>?
My tank is 75g with a 28g sump/fuge and about 40kg of LR, I have a pair of Ocellaris clowns, a scooter Blenny, Chevron Tang, Banana Wrasse, Royal Gramma and a Bicolor Blenny all of whom get on really well. Can in introduce the Suntails, or will the Bicolor kick off due to them being a similar shape? I've reserved them but won't get them until I get the all clear from you lovely folks at WWM
<I do think you'll be fine here... in this volume, type of set-up, with the fishes mentioned. Bob Fenner>

yellow watchman goby... Sys., mis-stocked 10 gal., not following WWM directions    2/14/11
Hi, I recently introduced a small yellow watchman goby to my ten gallon tank
<Needs more room than this>
about 3 weeks ago, and I have just noticed that something appears to be wrong with his bottom lip. It is a little red in color and look like it may be torn a little bit.
<Very likely a physical injury... from panicking... bumping into something...>
I only had a clown fish, a serpent sea star, an urchin, and some hermit crabs in the tank with him until yesterday when I got him a candy striped pistol shrimp to pair up with.
<... don't necessarily pair up. You have an untenable situation. Either secure larger quarters (at least three times this volume) or return the Alpheid, Cryptocentrus and Urchin>
The two have not taken to each other and live in separate caves so is it possible that the shrimp did something to my goby and hurt him? Or could the goby have some sort of disease? He does not act sick and is still eating normally. What should I do? Thank you.
<Read... on WWM; start here:
search re the names of this life as you were asked to... Bob Fenner>

Cryptocentrus cinctus & Amblyeleotris aurora Dilemma    2/1/11
Hello WWM Crew- let me start by saying that I love your site and use it on a daily basis! After searching high and low on your site I am unable to come up with a definitive answer to my dilemma. Let me give you a little background on my situation, I have a 24 gallon all-in-one Nano cube tank that has been set up for three years now. For the past two years I have had a Cryptocentrus Cinctus (Yellow Watchman Goby) and Alpheus bellulus (Tiger Pistol Shrimp) pair living in my tank without any problems. About 6 months ago I noticed that in the back chamber of my tank where the pump is located there was an unusual amount of sand getting sucked into my pump and back into the main tank. After going through two pumps and attempting to siphon the sand out of the back chamber daily, I figured out there was a crack on the interior wall that separates the display part of the tank from the filter section of the tank, so it was impossible to keep the sand out of the back chamber. I also have another 15 gallon all-in-one Nano tank, that housed my mantis shrimp Neogondactylus wennerae for about a year
and a half.
Unfortunately in late November or early December of 2010 the mantis shrimp passed away. I left the 15 gallon tank up and running as I was planning on replacing the mantis when I could find another one. During the last week of December 2010 I took all of my livestock out of my 24 gallon (which included the Yellow Watchman Goby and pistol shrimp listed above as well as a Ecsenius bicolor - Bi-Color Blenny, and a Amphiprion ocellaris - Clownfish) and moved them to the 15 gallon for short term holding until I could fix my 24 gallon tank. After about 4 days of being in the 15 gallon tank the Yellow Watchman Goby went missing, the Pistol Shrimp would come out of the burrow but not the Yellow Watchman Goby. I decided that the move was too stressful for the Yellow Watchman Goby and it passed away providing a nice meal to the Pistol Shrimp. After a week and a half I moved all livestock back in to the repaired 24 gallon, with still no sign of the Yellow Watchman Goby in the 15 gallon tank. 2 and a half weeks later I ended up purchasing a Amblyeleotris aurora (Pinkbar Goby) to hopefully try and pair up with my Pistol Shrimp, which they have not paired yet after a week of being in the same tank together. I also purchased another Mantis Shrimp for my 15 gallon, which I believe is another Neogondactylus wennerae, but it is so small right now I can not get a positive ID.
Last night I was adding fresh water top off to the 15 gallon tank that contains the Mantis and next to the pump in the filter chamber I see the Yellow Watchman Goby alive and well. Somehow about a month ago it jumped the back wall and hid from me while searching for it prior to buying the Pinkbar Goby. So here is my dilemma, I can not put the Yellow Watchman Goby in with the Mantis Shrimp as I do not have a positive ID on it yet and I do not want to tear apart my 24 gallon tank and stress out my other fish further to catch the Pinkbar Goby to return to the fish store, and I really don't want to get rid of the Yellow Watchman Goby as I have had that fish for over two years and am a little attached. Are the Cryptocentrus and Amblyeleotris species similar enough that they would attack each other in such a small tank or is there a possibility that they will be able to co-exist together?
<There is not much chance of the two living together here... but if this is your only possibility (other than giving the Amblyeleotris away), you could try placing them together... Stranger partnerships "have happened" and the two gobies may cohabitate>
And how likely is it that the Yellow Watchman Goby will survive after living in the filter chamber for a month?
<Oh, very good chance here>
Sorry such a long email for only two questions. Thank you very much for your
<Do the introduction during an early AM on a day when you can/will be home all day to observe. Bob Fenner>

Watchman Goby And Hermit Crabs 10/21/10
Hi Crew,
<Hello Lea>
First, I'd like to thank you all for your devotion to this site and being knowledgeable and attentive! You have all helped me set up my tank and avoid a nervous breakdown during various "downs". Currently experiencing "ups", which I think is largely due to all of you.
<You're welcome and glad you are on an upswing.>
I have a 24gallon Deluxe JBJ that I've retrofitted with a HydorFlo Rotating Water Deflector. I've got about 35lbs of live rock and about 1" of live sand (need to add more - it keeps getting sucked up when I do a water change). Livestock include:
Cnidarians: 1 small toadstool leather, a few Ricordea florida heads and 1 mushroom Corallimorph head
Clean up crew: 4 turban snails, 1 Nassarius, 4 small hermit crabs Misc.: 2 feather dusters (based on size, I think they are Bispira sp., but am not positive)
Fish: 2 False Percula (Amphiprion ocellaris) and 1 Yellow Watchman goby (Cryptocentrus cinctus)
I think I'm done with animals, though may add some fancy algae later on.
<Yes, you are at your limit as far as fish stocking.>
I perform weekly water changes, usually replacing about 2 gallons instead of a strict percentage. Water parameters are (perhaps surprisingly) stable and considered normal.
<Why "surprisingly", it's the goal.>
The Yellow Watchman is the latest addition and is a great joy to watch.
He's settling in nicely, having taken over the "depths" of my live rock structure. For the past couple of days he has started acting strange in regards to the hermit crabs. He alternates between "yelling" at them
(opening his mouth super wide and then snapping it closed after a few seconds), laying on his side next to them (almost trying to get under them) with his mouth open (kind of looks like he wants them to clean him), and perching on their shells.
<Likely defending his lair.>
I can't tell if he's being aggressive toward them or if he's a really confused watchman goby and has formed a symbiotic relationship with them due to a lack of a proper pistol shrimp. Any ideas?
<Normal behavior for this fish.>
After seeing this I was tempted to get a pistol shrimp for him, but don't know if that'd confuse him even more.
<It would be a great addition and an interesting combination. The Tiger Pistol Shrimp (Alpheus bellulus) would be a good choice.>
Thanks again for your help!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Watchman Goby And Hermit Crabs 10/21/10 - 10/22/10

Hi James!
<Hello Lea>
Thanks for the advice.
<You're welcome.>
Stable water parameters are *perhaps* surprising due to the small volume. While I find it relatively easy to keep them stable (maybe because I have access to nanopure water so my source is always the same chemically), I was warned about how hard it can be. Vigilance pays off, too.
Yes, definitely requires more attention. I'm glad I can add another critter, even if it's not fish! You suggested A. bellulus (Tiger Pistol), which is great. I was wondering how you felt about A. randalli (Red Banded).
<Also good.>
I prefer to buy my livestock from LFS so I can see it first, so thought I'd ask in case one is available and the other isn't.
<The latter likely easier to find.>
And are they compatible with cleaner shrimps (e.g., Lysmata amboinensis, L. debelius)? I need to get one for my tank, but am worried about the Pistol shrimp preying on the more peaceful cleaners.
<Shouldn't be a problem providing the Pistol Shrimp gets his share of food.
They rarely expose their entire bodies so you must ensure food gets in or very near its burrow.>
Finally, any suggestions on acclimating shrimp are also appreciated. I tried a few peppermint shrimp when I started out and had zero luck (all seemed OK, but would molt within 2 days and then die soon afterwards). I figure it's probably my acclimation procedure. It includes: keeping in LFS water, but in tank for 15-30min to acclimate to any temperature change and then incrementally dumping out LFS water (down drain) and adding my tank's water until it's at all my water in 20min intervals (based on volume removed and added - obviously I can't ensure all traces of LFS water are gone) - usually takes about 60-80 min. Should I change anything?
<Yes, shrimp are sensitive to changes in water parameters and must be drip acclimated. Supplementing iodine/dide will help in making the molting process a little easier.
Inexpensive drip acclimation kits are available from several etailers.
Take a look here.
As always, thanks for your input!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Randall's Gobies Mated Pair And A Shrimp?/Shrimp Gobies/Pistol Shrimp 8/25/10
Hello FAQS crew!
<Hello Eli>
I Got to say I love ur
<Oh please, no text type messages.>
website its my online marine bible!:) I wish it was an app for the iphone!
<Mmm, Bob, may be an idea worth looking into.><<Already exists as part of the "Net"... will be becoming much more intuitive "interactive" soon. B>>
Well I've been looking for a while and can't seem to find anything that can directly answer my question. I know you all receive a lot of mail a day so I'll try to keep it short and sweet. Well, basically I am in the process of cycling a 27 gallon marine tank so far it has about a 3-4 inch sand bed and 15 Ibs of live rock (more on the way) I'm not going to consider adding any inhabitants for at least a month.
<A good plan. Patience is a virtue in this hobby.>
Not until the water parameters are good and stable! But onto the question, I'm really interested in the Randall's Goby! I would like to have a mated pair and possibly a shrimp but I haven't been able to find much about a pair of gobies and a shrimp. Do you think given the size of my tank and the amount of sand that I have that it would be ok?
<Sure, but do complete your live rock addition.>
Also is there any kind of shrimp in particular that is more likely to "hook up" with this particular goby?
<The Randall's Goby also known as the Orange Stripe Prawn Goby (Amblyeleotris randalli)
will generally form a symbiotic relationship with any pistol shrimp.>
I would rather have this particular tank revolve around the gobies and shrimp and of course the corals I will be adding much later but for now do you foresee any problems with this?
And if so would it be alright to have one goby, one shrimp, and possibly a Midas blenny?
<The Randall's Goby is not aggressive towards other shrimp goby species but may occasionally quarrel with conspecifics if kept together. You may also want to try putting a pair in your system. The male Randall's Goby is easily identified by the fan-like dorsal fin that bares a dramatic eyespot.
The Midas Blenny gets a little too large (six inches) for your present system and would not recommend. Do consider the above or choosing another shrimp goby and possibly adding an additional pistol shrimp.>
Any help is greatly appreciated! And once again amazing site!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Best regards

Watchman Goby Compatibility   4/17/10
I have a 90 gallon display tank up for 3 months (was actually already running, I bought it used). Bob helped me through an ICH dilemma, and I'm now cycling a 20 gallon QT tank to start slowly adding fish. Current residents are a 3" Blue Tang, A Pink Spotted Goby, and a yellow tailed damsel. I have about 100 pounds of live rock, and a 4 inch DSB. Would a yellow watchman goby be compatible with the pink spotted goby?
<In a tank this size, some four foot of bottom surface area, maybe>
If not would a Firefish be okay,
<Depending on species... may be social... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/drtfshselfaqs.htm
and the linked files above>
or will it starve in a tank with the tang who is an incredibly enthusiastic eater (i.e. he eats anything and everything as fast as he can!) My current goby eats well as long as I make sure food floats toward the bottom. My other thought would be a flasher or fairy wrasse, or a trio of B/W Chromis.
<See WWM re these>
I'm planning to place an order for fish soon. Can I QT two sharknosed cleaner gobies, a royal gramma, and maybe the watchman goby (or Firefish) in a 20 gallon together?
<Not the two Gobiosoma... they will likely have to be physically separated... Perhaps a breeding trap, or all-plastic floating colander>
In the QT tank I do have a thin sand bed of new packaged live sand (and two cups of actual live sand from a reef club member's disease free long established tank),
and 2 smallish pieces of live rock I QT'd in a separate container for 6 weeks (from my tank which had ICH). Its running with an emperor Biowheel HOB filter, and I've been using stability for a week on the tank. (I will remove the sand and rock if I need to medicate the QT'd fish).
Thanks for the help, Pam Speck
<Welcome. BobF>

Sick Watchman Goby... Injured by an Alpheid?   3/11/10
Hi Guys!
Sad say over here. I have a sick yellow watchman goby. I am wondering if I have a bacterial infection?
<My gosh; this fish is virtually decomposing>
Here is a picture, and what he looked like a week ago.
Tank parameters are:
30 gallon tank
3-4" sand (sloped)
40 pounds LR
Warner Marine H1 skimmer
Circulation is ~ 20x
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
dKH: 9
pH: 8.2-8.3
Temp. 78*
SG 1.025
2 Yellow Watchman Gobies, Cryptocentrus cinctus (pair)
1 Tiger pistol shrimp, Alpheus bellulus
<Maybe the beginning of the trouble here... from a physical trauma>
6 assorted hermits
Tank was finished cycling about a month ago. The gobies have been in it about 3 weeks.
<Too soon>
I haven't seen them much, which is in my experience, quite common with yellow watchman. In my 90, the yellow watchman was a no show for 11 weeks after he was introduced. Haven't seen much of the shrimp, but the sand is getting excavated constantly so I am sure he is there.
<And may well have "punched" the one Cryptocentrus in the face>
I haven't been that worried about not seeing them. I have been feeding and doing water changed every week, about 4 gallons, RO/DI water mixed for a week. The fish were fine a couple of days ago. The other goby is absolutely fine. Saw her (?) today.
The sick one I assume is the male, being smaller/more slender. Can you advise me - anything I can do?
<Not at this point... other than hope. I would not add any other bottom fishes here. Bob Fenner>

Re: re: Sick Watchman Goby  3/11/10
Thanks Bob,
<Welcome Dean>
I should have said that the LR in the tank is all mature; sitting in tanks for at least a year. So it was walked across the room; no shipping or die off to worry about or deal with. The sand was seeded from my seagrass tank.
This is not the classic startup scenario.
As far as adding fish, no more bottom fish planned at all. Nothing for six months was the plan; except for snails.
Thanks again.
<I do hope this fish recovers... but it's doubtful this injury will heal. BobF> 

Mixed Goby spp. comp.  1/7/10
Hi, I was wondering whether a high-fin goby would share a burrow with my yellow watchman goby and candy pistol shrimp, or would the yellow watchman goby chase it off?
<More likely the latter>
I've read that a high-fin goby sometimes will do this, but I didn't know if the pair I currently have would accept a high-fin goby or not.
<Not likely. Bob Fenner>

Goby Compatibility/Stocking Level 1/10/10
<Hello Jordan>
this is the 3rd time I've came to you guys for help, and you really helped me a lot.
I know the last question I asked was about whether a High Fin Goby could live together with a Yellow Watchman Goby and Candy Pistol Shrimp.
I now come to you wondering whether I could get another pair except with a High Fin Goby and Candy Pistol Shrimp instead of a Yellow Watchman Goby.
The tank is a 10 gallon with a pair of ocellaris clowns, 1 Peppermint Shrimp,1 hermit crab, and 2 Astrea Snails. I only wanted to do this until I have my 37 gallon completely cycled
<Would be too many fish for that volume of water. Best to wait until your 37 is cycled.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Observation on pistol shrimp and gobies  11/28/09
Hi WetWeb,
First of all, thank you for being there and taking the time to answer so many questions.
I have a 55 gal DT with a 15 gal sump that I started in May, 2009. It is coming along well and right now I am in the stage of mostly watching what is happening in the tank with the various coral, invert and fish inhabitants. It's so fascinating.
<Ah yes!>
One of the things I really wanted when I started this was a shrimp/goby pair. It was frustrating at first. I acquired a Randall's pistol shrimp and a Yasha goby to start. The Yasha died after 3 weeks. Later I tried a 2nd Yasha and it died in 2 days. The tank was fully cycled at the time and the animals appeared healthy at the outset; I was confused and sad. I didn't want to be responsible for any more Yasha deaths, so I let the shrimp be alone for a few months. I was his surrogate goby and fed him by putting food near the burrow.
It seemed to work as he thrived.
About 2 months ago, I bought 2 more shrimp gobies, thinking perhaps this shrimp has preferences over what species he lives with.
<Could well be>
So, I got one Randall's goby and one Stonogobiops nematodes. For at least a solid month neither paired with the shrimp. They lived on opposite sides of the tank and equidistant from a resident Jawfish.
All the burrowers were eating well and healthy, but unpaired. Then, a couple of weeks ago (the tank is now
6.5 months old) the Randall's paired with the shrimp. Success! It happened overnight. He lived with the shrimp for a week or so and then, again overnight, the partners switched and now the Hi Fin goby lives with the shrimp.
Do you have any insight you can share as to why this happened?
<Perhaps like cats and some men/women... "they" go live where/with whomever "feeds them better">
Do you think the fish or the shrimp has the
dominant opinion in these matters?
<I suspect both are free parties in the matter... that this, in human view is a mutually beneficial, perhaps in the wild, obligate relationship>
What seems strange, is that the tank seems so quiet at night fish-wise.
<Indeed... a prophetic statement of worth: "Things are not often what they appear">
They seem to be asleep. And yet, these behaviors and partner switching things go on.
Mostly just wanted to share, but any insight is appreciated!
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Valenciennea Genus Compatibility With A Stonogobiops Yasha  11/28/09
Hello WWM Crew. I hope you are having a wonderful Thanksgiving.
<Hello Korrine, Thanksgiving was enjoyable.>
Currently I have:
29 gallon (set up since March of '09)
About 30 lbs of live rock with about a 4" sand bed
H. melanurus wrasse
<This fish will get a little too large for a 29 gallon.>
S. yasha goby with it's pistol shrimp
4 Peppermint Shrimp
2-3 astraea <Astrea> snails
7 Nassarius snails (6 large; 1 small)
2 Blue Leg Hermits (just recently witnessed the larger hermit eating my 3rd hermit right out of his shell!!)
Zoa's, Paly and candy cane
Koralia 2 (600gph)
Dual Bak Pak Skimmer
100 or 150w heater (78.2F)
250w MH just changed over a week ago
Last water readings:
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
Alk 8
Quick question for you. I have been wanting a goby to clean and turn over the top layer of sand for me. I've had a bit of Cyano on it for a little while now.
The goby rarely leaves his burrow unless it's feeding time. Usually sits in the entrance of the burrow watching the world go by. My question is if a Valenciennea goby (looking at the diamond..puellaris) will be to terrorizing to my yasha goby and it's pistol shrimp??
<This fish will not do well in a 29 gallon tank. Is much better to fix the root cause of the Cyano rather than to mask. Read here and linked files in header. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm>
I've attached a photo of my tank after cleaning it and of what it looks like in about a week's time. I've been siphoning off the Cyano with water changes (about 4gal a week), but something to help me would be nice.
ps. I do run a bag of Rowaphos in the return center section of my dual Bak Pak skimmer. Not as helpful as a reactor, but it's a sumpless 29g and I don't have the room to add a reactor.
Thank you for your help,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog) in Michigan>
Kj in South Dakota

Yellow Watchman Goby/Goby Compatibility 11/3/09
Hi all
I have a Yellow Watchman Goby in my 6ft x 2ft x 2ft aquarium.
My question is, I would like to introduce a tiger pistol for the watchman.
Would I also be able to introduce another goby and shrimp pair, a wide band goby and tiger pistol shrimp.
Would this be ok?
<Shouldn't have any problems here. James (Salty Dog)>

Randall's Goby and a Neon Goby 10/20/2009
Hi :-)
<Hello there>
I have been reading your website on and off secretly as a n00b for a few months.
I have a 75g tank which has been setup for about 18mths or so, although I bought it and then moved it to my house August 2009
All my parameters seem to be OK apart from nitrates <10ppm according to a Salifert Nitrate Test, as in Nitrites & Ammonia 0ppm - PH: 8.1 to 8.3 - I do a 20ltr water change twice per week.
My current stocking in a 3�x2�x2� tank (with 3� sump, APF600 Skimmer and a Vortech MP40W, 150w Halides x 2, T5 x 2, Reactor with Phos �n� Doc remover):
Pistol Shrimp x 1
Yellow Tang (about 2.5�) x 1
Tomato/e Clown x 2
Scooter Blenny x 2
Randall's Goby x 1
Copperband (about 4�) x 1
My Copperband has Lymphocystis and as I understand it should recover given the right water conditions, I was aware of this when I bought him 3 days ago. Yes I know, but I felt so guilty for him in a very small tank at the LFS and mine waiting for one to cope with the Aiptasia etc and at £17 I thought I could give him a better home and a much better life.
My question is, from reading this site, the CB could do with the aid of a Cleaner Shrimp or a Neon Goby, what do you think the chances of a Neon Goby getting on in the same tank as a Randall's?
<Good odds I grant. Gobiosoma/Elacatinus gobies are well-tolerated by most all fishes>
Many thanks for help / suggestions.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Shrimp / Goby Pair   7/18//09
Hi everyone,
<Hello, Josh here.>
I'm new to this website so bear with me here. I've been reading the FAQs about shrimp gobies/shrimp bonding and just had one or two more questions.
I released a black-ray goby (the LFS said it was an Antenna Goby) along with a candy stripe pistol shrimp about 3 days ago.
<Were they purchased as a pair, or did you just buy one of each?>
The problem is, they went to separate sides of the 29 gallon aquarium almost immediately and I barely see the goby and haven't seen the shrimp yet. Is there anything else I can do to "match-make" or am I going to have to just see how it all plays out?
<Likely you will have to just wait, make sure to spot feed each of them if they are acting to nervous to come out and eat.>
Or should I have put them in the same bag to get acclimated together first?
<If they were purchased as a pair, this likely would have worked. But if not, a bag would have been a stressful place to introduce them.>
I'm still relatively new to this hobby, having only setup the tank about 4+ months ago. That being said I'm sure I'm asking some sort of stupid question here.
<Not at all.>
<Your very welcome
Josh Solomon>

A 'Grumpy' Yellow Watchman Goby--Can ��Grumpy' ever be happy again? -- 06/12/09
Hello Fish gurus!
I've perused the Q & A here, which has been very helpful thus far, but I have a couple more questions/concerns about Grumpy, our Yellow Watchman Goby.
Grumpy is, well, grumpy. He used to live in a 14-gallon BioCube but has been moved to more luxurious quarters--a nice 55-gallon corner tank with a nice reef and plenty of caves to hide in and sand to burrow in. But Grumpy hasn't been happy for some time, even before the move.
Grumpy survived a move from Arizona to Northern California with his pistol shrimp buddy, Bulldozer.
<Oooh, good name>
But Bulldozer died within six months, presumably from shifting rocks in the nano tank. An attempt at beginning another relationship for Grumpy failed (not sure if the new pistol shrimp died or was eaten '¦).
Ever since Bulldozer died, Grumpy has been increasingly territorial and underwent the well-described color change. Grumpy has also attacked and eaten tankmates, including a Clown Goby and a Cleaner Wrasse (while in the nano tank).
<Too crowded...>
Grumpy's current tankmates are a pair of Percula Clownfish that accept hand feeding (one's obviously become female) and a personality-plus bicolor blenny, with a peppermint shrimp, six turbo snails, about 10 to 12 hermit crabs in various stages of maturity, a starfish and a sea cucumber. The hermit crabs, starfish and sea cucumber came with the aquarium set-up.
Grumpy will 'charge' at us when we walk by the tank, and exhibit what I perceive as aggressive behavior (well, as aggressive as
you can be when you are 3 inches long!). He (She?) takes mouthfuls of gravel and spits it out through the gills. He'll rest on the bottom of the tank, pull his tail fins close to his body, and curl toward us, maintaining a stare.
<All sounds like good behavior for the species>
We offer a diet of flaked food and a couple of times a week a thawed frozen bloodworm treat.
Is there any way to make this fish happy? Should we try to introduce another pistol shrimp? A second yellow watchman goby? Or is Grumpy destined for a life of unhappiness?
<Mmm, these could be tried in this size/shape system... I'd release during the/a day in the AM when you can be present to separate if WW III seems to be breaking out>
Thanks for any help you can offer Grumpy and me.
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Shrimp Goby/Compatibility 4/14/09
<Hello Jay>
For the last 4 months or so I have successfully kept a Stonogobiops Nematodes (High Fin Banded Goby) with a Pistol Shrimp in a nano reef with live rock and corals. Having not seen the Goby for some weeks and searching high and low for him, I came to the only conclusion I could and that was that he had died.
I went to my LFS and brought a replacement, but it turns out this is a Stonogobiopes < Stonogobiops> Xanthorhinica (Yellow Nose Prawn Goby) having got him home within a day he has happily paired with the shrimp....
Whilst doing my regular water checks I came across the Stonogobiops Nematodes still alive happily swimming in the back filter compartments of my River Reef tank!
My question is, will the two Goby's live happily together or can I expect some fighting... should I remove one of them... which is easier said then done!!!!
<In my experience, the Stonogobiops Xanthorhinica (also called the High Fin Red Banded Goby) is not aggressive towards other shrimp gobies and may even share a burrow with another species. Being territorial, it may occasionally quarrel with conspecifics if kept together, or if the tank is too small.
I'd keep together and observe. You may want to add another pistol shrimp to your nano if fighting for the same burrow occurs.>
Many Thanks in advance
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Jay Driscoll

Pistol Shrimp/Shrimp Goby Compatibility 2/3/09 Dear WWM Crew, <David> Thanks for all the help over the years, you have been an endless source of great information and advice. <You're welcome.> Recently I acquired a Yellow Watchman Goby and Randall's Pistol shrimp pair from my local LFS. I put them in my 55 gal tank, set up for about a year now, whose other tankmates include a Firefish and a false percula clown. All parameters are as follows: Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, Specific Gravity 1.026, PH 8.3, Temp: 80, (both the YWG and Randall's quarantined for two weeks). A few days after they were put in the display tank, I woke up to see the YWG on the complete other side of the tank from their home, and no evidence of the pistol shrimp. After a couple days of this, with no clicking or other evidence that the pistol shrimp was still around, I got another Randall's from my LFS. <Based on the behavior my pistol shrimp exhibits, I'm betting he is still in the tank somewhere.> The two hit it off pretty quickly (I've had luck with non-paired gobies and shrimp in the past), and everything seemed ok. Well, as it turns out, the other pistol shrimp emerged a week after all this occurred, <Aha!> and now I have two Randall's. After looking at them closely and looking at some pics/information online I figured I would try to get these two together and see if I could have a male/female pair of shrimp to live with the goby. Amazingly, this turned out to be the case, and the two lived together for about two days. Now, the larger of the two shrimp has kicked the other out of the burrow, <Not unusual.> and other attempts to get them back together have been unsuccessful. Is there any chance that these two will ever live together again? <I'm thinking it is rare for two pistol shrimp to share a burrow. Bob may input here based on his diving observations and invertebrate expertise.><<They may, may not. RMF>> I can take one of the shrimp back to the LFS if I need to, <I would return one of the shrimp.> as the goby seems to be pretty confused as to which shrimp he should be living with, and I wouldn't want the aggression to become more severe resulting in the death of one of the shrimp. <The Randall's Pistol Shrimp are generally found with the Stonogobiops or Amblyeleotris Gobies, and may be why the goby and shrimp haven't bonded yet. The Yellow Watchman Goby is a Cryptocentrus cinctus. Doesn't mean they won't bond as I have a Yellow Watchman Goby that bonded with a Randall's Pistol Shrimp. It took a couple of weeks before the bonding occurred, but now have been sharing the same burrow for two years.> Thanks for your help. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Sincerely, David

Goby Eating Jawfish 1-22-08 Good morning all... <Hello. Yunachin here.> I had the strangest thing happen overnight. I have a 90g reef tank with the following inhabitants: 2 False Perculas Fairy Wrasse Kole Tang 4.5" Yellow Watchman Goby (he's huge... was huge) Yellowheaded Jawfish (one small, one large) Yellow-tail Blue Damsel Coral Banded Shrimp Some soft corals... <Nice collection you have.> I was a little tentative about adding the Watchman Goby back into the tank after having spent 5 months in another tank to let my Jawfish settle. Bob gave me 50/50 odds if the Goby would be a problem sharing the bottom with the Jawfish. The first week proved a little tense, a lot of open mouth head shaking by the goby... and the small Jawfish would always move. The larger Jawfish was more or less left alone. I never realized the teeth on the Jawfish before... impressive for a small skittish fish. <Indeed, I have two myself.> Anyhow, last night my goby was acting weird... jumping around on the bottom. I couldn't get a good look at him at first, but I kept watching... only to see the small Jawfish had appeared to have been swallowed mostly whole. The tail was still out of the mouth and it looked like the fish was still alive. <Oh my'¦> I used tank tongs to disturb the goby hoping maybe he'd spit up the fish... but the goby just moved into one of the caves in the tank. I figured at that point to let nature take its course hoping at least the large Jawfish could hold his ground. This morning, the little Jawfish is at the front of my tank in his burrow... the large Jawfish is also in his burrow at the opposite end of the tank. I looked around with a flashlight to find the goby... my large Coral Banded Shrimp and a hermit crab is on the carcass of the Yellow Watchman Goby. <I am sorry to hear that.> I never in a million years would have thought to have seen that outcome. Is this surprising? I couldn't see the body to well and didn't have time to fish it out before work... but I have this vision of the little Jawfish getting swallowed mostly but fighting/biting like mad within the goby? Is it possible that it did enough internal damage to the goby that it was eventually able to escape? Like eating him from the inside so to speak? <Two things could have occurred in this situation. One, the Jawfish could have indeed, ripped the goby from the inside. The more likely explanation is the goby choked on the Jawfish trying to swallow him and actually died, then afterward the Jawfish was able to wiggle out and escape.> All I have to say is... WOW. <As do I. --Yunachin> David Brynlund

Yellow Watchman Gobies... repro.    9/12/07 Hello Crew! I searched the goby FAQ's and didn't find the answer to my question. I purchased two yellow watchman gobies at the same time <Mmm, of the same sex if the same color...> and introduced them into my 75G aquarium. The only other inhabitants are two Ocellaris clowns that are 9 months old, 1 peppermint shrimp, one pistol shrimp, two "transparent shrimp", two red sea stars, one serpent star, some button Coral Polyps, mushroom corals, 1 "dung" cucumber, <Mmm, what species?> and some snails and hermits. I introduced the gobies at the same time, one is grayer and larger, the other is yellower and smaller. <Oh! I take it back... separate sexes> I have had them for months now and the bigger grayer one keeps chasing the smaller one around the tank. <What they do> The gray one will open his mouth VERY wide and advance on the smaller one. I have never seen a bite land, the yellow one always runs faster and as long as they are out of sight of one another all is peaceful. There are enough places to hide that the yellow one is not constantly on the run but it has me worried. I wanted to create a breeding pair but do I have two of the same sex? <Nope> I read an extensive article on Advanced Aquarist by someone who has raised gobies and they said that the larger gray one is always the female, and the smaller yellow one would be the male. <This is my understanding, though Fishbase simply states that this species comes in two color variations: http://fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=7208&genusname=Cryptocentrus&speciesname=cinctus> Should I return one of them for a different one? If so which one? Thanks for your help! Paul <Might be better if they were closer in size... but if there has been no actual damage, both are eating, appear not-too thin... I'd wait out the two you have. Bob Fenner>

Re: Pink watchman goby and ich, now Firefish comp.  -- 07/26/07 Hi Bob, Thank you for your kind words. I've had a bit of an emergency and am perplexed as to what to do. I woke up this morning and my firefish has a wound (appears white) at the base of the anal fin and her fins are frayed. At night she goes into a hole in the live rock and I know there are things living in there but is there anything that could have attacked her?.. or could it have been the goby or mithrax crabs? <Easily> Actually the real question is should I put her in a quarantine tank until that wound heals? <Better to move, remove the probable cause/s> She is swimming, eating and breathing just as normal as she was yesterday. Thanks.. Jennifer <Do keep a sharp watch... doesn't take much for further damage... BobF>

Re: Pink watchman goby and ich -- 07/26/07 Ok, thanks Bob. I have a feeling it was the goby...he has a guilty look. I'll continue keeping a sharp eye on the firefish...I've had her the longest so I'm rather partial to her. Thanks for your help....again! Jennifer <Real good. BobF> Pistol Shrimp/Goby Pair?   7/19/07 Hi crew <Hi Adam! Mich here.> Question from Australia :), <Cool... Answer currently coming from the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, USA> I will definitely be getting a shrimp/goby pair for my 24x18x18. <An awesome dynamic to observe!> I was wondering if I could have 2 pairs? <I would look for a mated pair of gobies and their symbiotic shrimp. This is the best situation> different sp.? <You may be OK with different species. I would avoid getting two of the same species unless they are a mated pair.> have read a lot on these symbiotic relationships and really like them. <It is quite captivating... Hours of entertainment!> Also finding a suitable substrate. The opinions differ again. Is it species orientated? <Each individual fish can be different. Best to provide a variety of options. I would place a couple of small piles of rumble of varying degrees of coarseness about the tank. You will also want to make sure you live rock is placed directly on the glass and not on the sandbed as any borrowing fish could be accidentally crushed. And you will also need a well cover tank as these Gobies can be jumpers.> This is the whole aim for this tank, to have a shrimp/goby symbiotic relationship. <Very nice! You will surely enjoy!> Only keeping soft/LPS corals and fish that will live in harmony with my shrimp/goby pair. <Very good!> Thanks <Welcome... If you write again please don't forget to use proper capitalization. Mich> Adam

Yellow Watchman Goby 1 - Hermit Crab 0, adding "corals"   6/23/07 Bob, Thank you for your quick reply. My company is about to make the big switch ourselves and I'm am definitely not looking forward the fallout. Enclosed is the original email. <Good> Thanks again for all your help, Matthew Hello WWM crew, Thanks for all your past help! The weirdest thing just happened. A small hermit crab was walking past my Yellow Watchman Goby's cave when the Goby came flying out grabbed the crab and carried him back into his hideout. I couldn't believe what I saw, I did lots of reading about YWG and hadn't seen anything like this. 30 seconds later crab came out of the cave and was about 3in away when the Goby grabbed him and hauled him back in. I was able to count the crabs later and he was still alive. Did a search of WWM and couldn't find any accounts of something like this happening. Any thoughts would be appreciated. <These gobies are carnivorous... will capture, consume crustaceans like Hermits...> One other question while I've got you here. On a completely different topic'¦ coral. Never worked with coral before so I've been doing lots of reading. I have a 40T Eclipse system. I've seen reports of people having success with smaller Eclipse systems but haven't seen anything about a 40T type setup. I just have the standard Eclipse equipment with 2 power heads, crushed coral substrate and live rock. Stock wise I have the Yellow Watchman Goby 1 Clownfish. 1 Cleaner shrimp And a hermit crab/snail clean up crew Still in the stocking stage and thought I should look into whether or not coral was an option and begin to tailor my stock list around that. If possible I'd be looking beginner level with bright colours. Would this be possible without the addition of hardware? If not would it be possible with the addition of hardware? Thanks for all your help, Matthew <Well... there are a few groups of what folks call "Corals" (not the true softs (Alcyonaceans) or hard/stonies (Scleractinians)... these would need more light, filtration...) that you can/could consider... Please take a cursory read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm By group... re Systems, Compatibility, Feeding... Bob Fenner>

Fish Compatibility Question Dear Bob: I have a 75 gallon tank with deep sand bed (3 to 4 inches) and about 75 pounds live rock. The inhabitants are as follows: royal Gramma, flame angel, black sailfin blenny, cardinal, and one tank bred ocellaris clown. I also have one rock with brown button polyps, some green mushrooms, Haitian anemone, green bubble tip anemone, clove polyps, and one small squamosa clam. There are various snails, 2 cleaner shrimp, and a few scarlet hermits. I would love to add a yellow watchman goby and a pistol shrimp. I have had different opinions as to whether the goby and the blenny would be compatible. Also would the cleaner shrimp and the pistol be okay together? Would I be overstocked if I added them? Thanks in advance for you help...... Janey <Always "calculable gambles" in mixing livestock in different size/shape/type set-ups... but I give you good odds here. I consider that these animals would likely mix, and not be too over-crowded. Bob Fenner>

Killer Randall's Shrimp Goby I have a Randall's Shrimp goby and his shrimp friend in a relatively new 180 gallon fish and live rock tank. They are a fascinating pair and, until recently, my favorites. But I am experiencing something that I cannot find in any of the books. Last weekend, a friend was over to give me a few pointers, and we noticed that the Randall's had a yellow neon goby sticking out of its mouth. It spit out the neon, but the neon did not survive the day. I figured that the neon must have decided to check out the Randall's lair and paid the consequences. <Yes, this happens> Today, however, I was watching a blue neon goby minding its own business when the Randall's appeared out of nowhere and grabbed it from behind. The Randall's then darted back to its nest with the neon in its mouth. It is now back out again looking very full. <Hmmm> I had 9 neons and can now find 3. I suspect the Randall's. This sounds very strange based on what I have read about the shrimp gobies. Any ideas? <Not strange... they are opportunistic... and will eat small fishes like gobies for sure. Bob Fenner>

Marine questions, Shreemps, brittle stars, goby diffs! -Can I keep a pistol shrimp which is living in a symbiosis together with a Cryptocentrus cinctus (yellow goby) together with a peppermint shrimp, or will they start fighting? <My pistol shrimp have killed cleaner shrimp.> -My brittle star have got a lot of small brittle star babies, will a new brittle star eat them, and what shall i feed them? <The small brittle starfish are probably a different species. These mini brittle starfish are detritivores and do not need target fed.> -Do you know how i can see the difference on a yellow goby? -Arne <I am guessing you mean "difference" in the sexes of the fish. There are some subtle differences in size and girth of the belly when you see an obvious pair together. Baensch "Marine Atlas: Volume 1" was an in depth description. -Steven Pro>

Pistol shrimp/gobies in new tank hello, i am in the process in setting up my reef tank (75 gallon) i have 100 pounds of live rock and 25 pounds of lace rock. i am wondering if i can add two pistol shrimp and a wheeler watchman goby and a Randall prawn goby (or should i just stick with one pair pistol/goby combination) with the following list of wants of livestock. want to add (over a period of time) 2 fire shrimp 2 cleaner shrimp 1 banded coral shrimp emerald crab (x2) 2 Percula clowns (w/anemone and anemone crab inside) 2 sand sifting stars Sally lightfoot crab 4 green Chromis's 50 bumble bee snails various red/blue hermits blue "hippo" tang (small) button and star polyps green stripe mushroom hairy mushroom bulls eye mushroom have a sl-150 miracle wet/dry (Rio 2500 pump 720 gph) two Fluval 404's Berlin xl turbo skimmer 4 VHO 110 watt lights aragonite sand (75 pounds or so) what needs added for the goby/pistol relationship to work thank you for you time and consideration. its hard to find good advice when starting out your new aquariums and ideas for livestock Jeff Morningstar <Mmm, the fishes you list and the non-crustaceans should pose no problems... but the other shrimps... might consume the Alpheids if hungry... I would start/do what you propose... go with just the one pair first (either), and see how they fare. If it were me/my system, I would acclimate the new mutuals in an all plastic specimen box (like the ones used for housing small amphibians, lizards, bugs... available at pet shops) on the bottom for a few days ahead of releasing them. Bob Fenner>

Watchman goby and pistol shrimp Hello, <Hi, Chad... Anthony Calfo here answering mail while Bob extracts sand from various orifices having returned from a dive trip to Mexico> I have a Watchman Goby and he has already set up camp under some live rock. Today I bought a pistol shrimp and it went to the opposite side of the tank as soon as I dumped it in. Do you know how long it might take to get the two to sense each other and start their Symbiotic relationship?  <absolutely,... never. Thanks for asking> Is there a way to speed up the process? <nope> Will they chemically know the other and just start a new home.  <nope again> Should I capture both of them and put them in my 10 gal refugium for while until they connect? <they will either continue to ignore each other or punch the living daylights out of each other> Also, the shrimp has a few legs missing and it's left front claw. Will these grow back well enough giving time or should I be worried?  <no worries...they will grow back nicely within a few molts> My tank is a 46 gal reef tank. I have added some calcium plus three (iodine, strontium?, and magnesium). Should this help my shrimp's legs grow back any better? <the iodine, yes!> Thanks a lot for answering my many questions. <thanks for putting up with my humor, bud. The truth of the matter is that the relationship between shrimp and goby is very specific and at times precarious. For starters... shrimp species known to pair with receptive goby species cannot be interchanged with other tolerant species of either group. They are VERY specific to their dedicated commensal partner species. Furthermore... some will not even reconnect quickly or at all even with the correct species assuming you know it (rare info to have). Typically... the only way to enjoy the sight in captivity is to purchase them as a pair that were collected together...a very hard find. With kind regards, Anthony>

Goby-Shrimp association, non-native associations Hi Bob, PF again (sorry to be a pest today, but I have to take advantage of the mind cranking along at max while I can ;) ) I was wondering if the Florida snapping shrimp (Alpheus floridianus) would form a symbiotic relationship with Goby's other than the Atlantic Orangespotted shrimp-goby (Nes longus) and the Spotfin goby (Gobionellus stigmalophius)? <It's possible, yes> I was thinking such as a Randall's or Filament finned prawn goby? <Maybe...> Would a stocking density of 1 per 4 sq/ft of tank bottom be appropriate?  <About right... these fishes can be quite territorial...> I'm leaning more and more towards my 300g being primarily Floridian/Caribbean in makeup, with a few oddballs from out biotope, such as clownfish, some corals, tropical abalone (from FFE) as cleaners, etc. Can Orangespotted and Spotfins be mixed, or stick to one species? <In a large system, they can be mixed> or do the same species fight?  <If overly crowded yes> Thanks for your patience, according to Amazon I should be getting your books by Friday at the latest, I'm looking forward to it. Have a happy Fourth! Mike <You as well my friend. Peace. Bob Fenner>

Re: Goby-Shrimp association, non-native associations I've done a little more digging and found that the local Floridian Goby's are considered endangered in the Keys not sure if they're on the CITES list or not), are they available in other parts of the Caribbean, and if so should I be able to order them either an online or LFS dealer without violating CITES reg.s? Thanks again! <Hmm, according to fishbase.org these fishes have a wider range than Florida... don't know of anyone who collects them though... not easily/economically caught... And not CITES organisms as far as I know... definitely not Appendix I... Bob Fenner> Mike

Pistol Shrimp & Gobies Pairs How are you guys doing? <Very well!> Fine I hope. How aggressive are pistol shrimp? <Mine only bother someone who tries to hide in their burrow.> Looking to buy a goby/shrimp combo but I don't want him eating more expensive dinners than I do.     <Given enough room and hiding spots, they are pretty peaceful, keeping to themselves, but mine have killed about a half dozen animals over the course of the four years I have had them. Two Cleaner Shrimp right after they were introduced darted down into the Pistol Shrimps' home. Snap, snap, snap, I never saw the Cleaners again. Also, a few small fishes when I have been rearranging rock or adding corals, basically disturbing things. The fish got scared and tried to hide on the other end of the tank. Note, that mine shrimp do not have a Goby living with them. Perhaps the Goby would have prevented the other fish from entering the cave. -Steven Pro>

-Goby shrimp w/out a shrimp goby!- Crew Person: <Kevin person here tonight> I was able to get a "paired" Randall's Prawn Goby (Amblyeleotris randalli) & Pistol Shrimp.  Unfortunately, a week into QT, the Goby died.  Now I am sitting here with a pretty expensive shrimp (that looks more like a lobster).  Anyway, my question is this:  can I get another fish to pair up, or am I up shrimp's creek without a Goby? <Haha, I suppose that would depend on the goby. Shrimp/goby pairs are actually very easy to set-up, so I hope you didn't pay too much for the luxury. I would just get a hold of another Randall's (after making sure what happened to this one won't happen again) and you've got a pretty good chance it will pair up. Make that a 95% chance.> It doesn't sound likely, but I had to ask the pros.  If the possibility exists, can I get any species of shrimp goby, or stick with Randall's? <The Randall's are pretty promiscuous as far as shrimp are concerned, so I'd go with that one. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks for all you do, Rich.

-Shrimp gobies without their goby shrimp?- Crew: I often see Randall's Prawn Goby (Amblyeleotris randalli ) <My favorite shrimp goby!> and other shrimp gobies at my LFS without their shrimp.  Is this okay? <Absolutely> Can they live long lives alone? <Just like clowns and anemones, they only need to be together in the ocean. It's a dog eat dog world out there...> Are there any shrimp gobies to be avoided without their shrimp?  <Not that I can think of. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks, Rich

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

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.>

Purple tang and shrimp goby questions Hello there. I've had great fun reading and learning from your wonderful site. <Me too> Basics: we (my fiancé and I) have a healthy, vibrant reef tank: one-year-old 55 gal, lots of live rock well-covered in coralline algae, several inches of live sand substrate, very good water quality checked regularly and maintained religiously. As far as hardware, we have a CPR BakPak skimmer, three burly powerheads to move the water around (one agitates the surface -- FAQs!) , and a small AquaClear filter that gets its media cleaned several times per week (FAQs!). Lighting is about 200W of mixed color-temp (one yellow-er tube, one purple-er tube). Fish: A. melanopus clown w/green bubble-tip anemone, purple tang (young adult, 3-4"), red fire goby (yeah, I know, not the best match, got it when the tank was "gentler"), and a big royal Gramma. Everyone seems to be getting along fine. Inverts include various hard and soft corals (pulsing xenia, galaxy coral, mushrooms, plate coral, torch coral, daisy coral, etc) plus a good number of snails and a few hermits. Two big peppermint shrimp. Oh, and a Randall's pistol shrimp, more on him in a sec. We feed a combination of Mysis shrimp, Cyclop-eeze, and assorted San Francisco Bay brand frozen prepared food (meat- and veggie-based). I've also been throwing in some Nori for the tang (FAQs again!).  Questions (finally!): (1) The tang is constantly hungry and has cleared out virtually all greens in the tank. It's also nibbled a lot at the xenia which is irksome as it's our favorite coral. We are wary of over-feeding as we have had phosphate spikes related to overfeeding which gave us Cyanobacteria problems (all better now -- FAQs!). Between the tang and the clown (we named him "Piglet") all food thrown in the tank basically vanishes. How much food should we give? In particular, how much Nori for the tang? <To the point the fish doesn't appear concave... thin> Also, in what form: one big hunk, diced up small, etc? I've been feeding about 1-2 square inches per day of the Nori, playing around with a few big hunks versus chopped fine. It all seems to vanish. (2) We bought the Randall's pistol shrimp in combination with a Stonogobiops yasha (white-rayed shrimp goby or "Yasha Hase" goby). They lived together for a while then decided to move apart. Then the goby decided it liked the carpet better and we got expensive reef jerky :( The shrimp is still happily maintaining and expanding his burrow. Three weeks ago we got him another friend (same species of goby). The goby backed into the shrimp's hole -- and was never seen again. Perhaps reef jerky again? <Or a shrimp meal> Never found him -- maybe the cats did. In any case, we have secured the tank with taped-down screen and are ready to try again. Do you know what species of goby are compatible with this shrimp? <Mmm, there are in print lists of naturally occurring hosts... but in captivity, many if not most "shrimp gobies" can/will learn to associate... See WWM re the various genera, species here> In particular, is Randall's shrimp goby? <Yes> (Seems likely from the name but you never know). Any other recommendations based on availability, personality, compatibility, maintainability? <Nope> (3) Lastly, would a six-line wrasse be a good match for this tank? I love those guys. <Perhaps, but may work your alpheid woe. Bob Fenner>

Goby/Prawn Association...The Best-Laid Plans...  09/13/2005 Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!>     I bought a Randall's Shrimp Goby about 2 weeks ago, and it hasn't been hiding very much. It picked a great spot right in front of the tank in a small cave to make its home. It has been making a little burrow for itself and I decided to add a Tiger Pistol Shrimp. As soon as I dropped the shrimp into my tank, the pair took off together to the back corner of the tank and were digging a tunnel within a minute. <Amazing behavior, huh?> Now, I can't see them except in a small reflection on the glass, and am wondering if I can do something to get them to move, it has only been a few hours now... Thanks for any help you could give me <Unfortunately, this is just another one of those cases where the fish are "calling the shots"! Despite our desires, they'll do exactly what is best for them, without regards to the aesthetic issues for the hobbyist! Unfortunately, I really don't have a course of action for you. Attempting to get the animals to move would be cruel and disruptive. In a way, this is a neat situation. Let me explain: Some of the best aquariums that I've ever seen have lots of little pockets of life and activity throughout that make for fascinating viewing experiences. Very natural and very interesting! I say just enjoy it...Part of the allure of this hobby is the little things that you see in a well-established tank...Surprising little discoveries that keep our hobby exciting and fun! Enjoy it! Regards, Scott F.> Pistol Shrimp and goby info 9/8/05 Hello I have a Hi Fin Red Striped Goby (Stonogobiops nematodes) and I was wondering what species of pistol shrimp it will host with.  <As a general rule, most commensal shrimps will pair with most commensal gobies.  We know that you have a commensal goby, but outside of the common shrimps, it is often hard to be sure.  The ultimate test is to see if the shrimp evicts the goby.  In rare cases, an especially aggressive shrimp may actually kill an especially insistent goby, so keep a close eye!> I was also wondering if you could help me Identify a pistol shrimp I have gotten.  I ordered it from Etropicals but  am not sure what it is.  After looking at the pics it looks more like the Japanese Pistol Shrimp on Liveaquaria.  But I don't remember it having red and white claws and tail (on the tip).  It also reminded me of the Bull's Eye but it didn't have dark purple looking pincers and it didn't have the brown bull's eye on the sides.  I'm sorry this isn't very good info but its really all I got I didn't think to take a pic of it while acclimating and as you know its hiding lol.  So any help at all would be appreciated. <Unfortunately, this is often difficult even with a picture.  If you are a member of a local aquarium society, ask if anyone has back issues of "Aquarium Fish" magazine.  Scott Michael wrote a great series of articles on these fish/shrimp pairs a couple of years ago.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Goby and corals 8/24/05 Dear Bob, As if you haven't given me enough help and advice I need a bit more. My yellow watchman goby has been hanging out mostly at the top of my tank. <He's beat... from appearance and behavior evidence> I noticed that his fan dorsal fins and tail are frayed (see pic). Is this fin and tail rot? <Mmm, no... not directly...> If so what is the best medicine to use for saltwater tanks. <Find out who/what is beating this fish> He does disappear during the day under rock work but is usually around the top. I also have a few soft corals (i believe see pic) <Only beat fish shown> which were doing fine until one morning i found them pinned by a rock. Where it was pinned it had turned all white and dead looking. One piece I had to amputate because it was hanging by a thread. The one I had to amputate is brown underneath and still has polyps out? will it regenerate? Thanks for your help. Jason
<Will regenerate in good care. Bob Fenner>

Goby and corals Part 2 Dear Bob, <I have another friend named Babylon btw (Babble-On, Kevin, in HI)> Thanks for your quick response. <Welcome> I have noticed my Chromis blue damsel pushing him around and out of his hiding places. Its not everywhere he goes, but it is a place he frequently  visits. What is the best way to deal with this? should i remove the damsel, because i refuse to ditch the Watchman Goby. <I'd take the Damsel out> My fish in their are 2 percula clowns. 1 yellow tail damsel, another type  of damsel (yellow top, white body and blue fins), mandarin dragonet and a yellow tang. No other fish seem to bother him though. Thanks for your advice and help Jason <Bob Fenner>

Valenciennea puellaris and Amblyeleotris guttata compatibility  11/17/05 I had a Valenciennea puellaris that jumped from my tank, so I had my LFS order another, but his supplier sent him Amblyeleotris guttata instead.  <Not unusual to have suppliers mix gobies up> My questions are: 1) would these 2 fish be compatible in a 135g system?  <Mmm, yes, should get along> Since the diamond watchman and the spotted prawn look so similar, I didn't know if that might cause them to fight.  <Not likely> 2) I believe I had sufficient 'pods for the puellaris (they are -everywhere- both amphipods and copepods, very easy to find all over the rocks, glass, sand, any time of day). I have about 3-4" of sugar-sized sand throughout, and the live rock offers a lot of places for things to hide (very porous and stacked to make crevices). My concern is if they both eat 'pods that I would not have enough. I planned to add a refugium within the next 2 months, but do not have one yet. Would these two fish compete for food? <Not to the point of starvation here> 3) I know the puellaris likes finer sand than the guttata - would it be possible to put some more coarse sand/gravel on one side for the prawn goby and keep just the finer sand at the other end for the puellaris to encourage them to stay on different sides of the tank? <I would not add, mix the substrates> Thanks! Scott Hardin <Try as the system is currently. Should be fine. Bob Fenner> 

Stocking List: Marine Compatibility  10/20/05 Will the Yellow Watchman Goby get along with another goby in the same tank? <Depends on the exact species, may quarrel with other substrate dwelling gobies.> I'm also interested in a Copperband Butterfly.   <This fish has a lot of trouble adjusting to captivity and captive foods, and this too may be to large for your current system.> I know they can be difficult to fed but would it get along with everyone I have in the tank now? <Generally yes but remember its never a 100% guarantee.> Any opinions on Anthias?  I was thinking about the Square Spot Anthias. <Suffers from poor collection but usually does well (in my experience) in comparison to its relatives, feed three times a day as this is a planktivore and research, this fish too can grow considerably large.> One more question..............my Yellow Watchman doesn't seem to like flake food.  He does like brine shrimp but I know that isn't really that great for him. <No it isn't, mostly composed of exoskeleton and water.> Any other foods I should try? <Frozen Mysis.> THANKS! FAQ Crew <'¦And this time I WILL remember my name, Adam J.>  

Re: Firefish MIA ... Cryptocentrus predation  - 11/05/06 Hello all from San Francisco. < Greetings from Tejas, Emerson with you today > I normally don't pose questions if I can find it on your WWM site.  After two years into this saltwater hobby, through some painful trials and errors and always reading through your forums on any potential animals, I thought I had set up a peaceful community of animals in my reef tank. < The Maroon Clown can be a very aggressive fish. > Oh well, came home today to see my shoals of firefish missing one member! They are always out together in the center of the tank.  No one been sick, everyone eating well. I recently added a Pink spotted watchman goby (Cryptocentrus leptocephalus)  4 in.  He look kind fat in the belly, he did chowed down on frozen Mysis previous night. I am thinking can't be him, a cannibal right? < Not likely. > My setup is about 22 months old:  72gal rectangular tank, reef style setup, 80-90 lbs live rock Fiji and Tonga with LPS, zooanthids, and mushrooms.  Running with protein skimmer, chemical filtration of Purigen and Phosban, 175wMH with power compacts actinic, 12x volume water circulation.   < Sounds good. > Haven't check my water, but all the animals are doing well. Tank citizens: 6x green Chromis  1 in 5x pajama cardinal  1.5 to 2.5 in 5x firefish 1.5 in but now four! 1x maroon clownfish 2 in 1x longnose Hawkfish 2.5 in 2x garden eels 7-9 in 1x scooter blenny 1.5 in < Your tank is growing towards overstocked. The Chromis and cardinals can grow to 4". At their current sizes you may be ok, but as these fish grow you will run into trouble. > and new Pink spotted watchman goby (Cryptocentrus leptocephalus)  4 in a black spiny brittle star, rarely seen but about 8-9 in across coral banded shrimp 2 in pistol shrimp (purple clawed orange) 2 in Longspined sea urchin, tuxedo urchin, fanworms, a few snails and small hermits tank is not covered, didn't see the firefish on the floor though. < Firefish will jump from an uncovered tank at the drop of a hat. It may have fallen somewhere unseen or been consumed by one of your pets with legs and fur. > Would putting aquarium glass cover affects the light spectrum for the corals, if not maybe I'll do that. < If you get a low-lead glass cover it shouldn't be a big issue as long as you keep it clean. > I was thinking maybe the brittle star or the pistol shrimp could have gotten to the firefish when he locked himself in under a hole for the night. < Unless you have the famed green brittle star it is unlikely, and  your pistol shrimp would do no harm. > I like to find the troublemaker, any suspect here? < Many possibilities. It may have jumped, been a victim of aggression or illness and been consumed by your tanks cleaning crew. > Since I got you guy, I'm considering adding a small group of Banggai cardinal 2-4x and one of these canary blenny, sixlined wrasse or the Hawaiian fourline wrasse).  Any potential problems here.   < Afraid your tank is full as it is, and the wrasses will likely eat your shrimp in the long run. > You guys run a great and informative site. < Thank you for the kind words and best wishes. >
Well, I don't believe it, but here is a picture of my new Pink spotted watchman goby (Cryptocentrus leptocephalus) 4 inch with a firefish in his mouth.  I don't know if this was after the firefish had died but nevertheless I thought watchman goby don't' eat other fish. <Mmm, does/will if small enough. RMF>

Re: Firefish MIA   10/30/06 Well, I don't believe it, but here is a picture of my new Pink spotted watchman goby (Cryptocentrus leptocephalus) 4 inch with a firefish in his mouth.  I don't know if this was after the firefish had died but nevertheless I thought watchman goby don't' eat other fish. << The Firefish looks to be recently deceased, probably less than 24 hours when the picture was taken. I have found no accounts of Watchman Gobies taking fish this size as food items, but that doesn't mean it couldn't happen. More likely the Watchman is eating the remains of the dead Firefish. - Emerson >>

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