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FAQs on Shrimp/Watchman Gobies Disease/Health

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 Compatibility, Shrimp Goby SelectionShrimp Goby Systems, Shrimp Goby FeedingShrimp 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

What is killing my gobies     7/10/18
Hi guys,
<Hi Chris>
I hope you can give me some advice. I have a new 50g reef tank that is 2 months old with only a few tankmates - 1 Anthias, 3 small Springer damsels, 1 cleaner shrimp and a cleanup crew, all very peaceful.
<You didnĀ“t mention your tank equipment and water readings/parameters.>
I really want to keep a yellow watchman goby, but I've had 3 now and every time they mysteriously die within a few days I acclimate them slowly and for a few days they seem very happy, eating and burrowing, not bothered by any tankmates, then suddenly they just die for no apparent reason.
<Do you quarantine fish before placing them into the DT?>
The only thing I add to the tank at the moment is a small daily dose of Nopox, don't know that could perhaps cause a problem. Can you give me any idea what could be causing their deaths?
<If it were me/my tank, I would stop dosing Nopox and try more natural means to deal with nitrates and phosphates; a DSB refugium with Chaeto algae will give you better long term results.>
I'm ready to give up on gobies. Thank Chris

White ulcer on Watchman Goby     7/25/17
Hello and thank you so much for taking the time to help me with my question.
I have 136 gallon reef tank with a clownfish, a Potters Angel, a basslet, a ghost eel and a Watchman goby.

My parameters are:
ph 8.2,
SG 1.025
Ammonia and Nitrite 0
Nitrate about 5.
The tank is 6 months old and I've had the goby about three months. His behavior is normal for a goby, but about three weeks ago, l noticed a white blotch on his left side back by his tail. The next day he had similar spots by his eye and face. The spots on his face cleared up and the spot on his side was shrinking, but then I noticed a new large spot on his right side today.
I searched the web, but couldn't find anything that looked like this.
<These marks are resultant from "something" traumatizing this fish... maybe another fish; perhaps a hidden crustacean or Bristleworm>
Other than the spots, he is eating and being a normal fish. In addition, the ghost eel was added about a week or two before the spots appeared and the goby was extremely put out about his new tankmate, but the eel keeps to himself and ravenously eats his krill.
What could this be? Is it contagious? What should I do?
<Stay observant; not pathogenic... well maybe secondarily bacterial; no treatment required. Bob Fenner>

Re: White ulcer on Watchman Goby     7/25/17
Thank you so much! You have no idea how much effort I put into my tank to make sure it's a safe, clean and conscientious environment.
<Ah, good. BobF>

Yellow Prawn Goby    1/22/17
Good evening guys,
60g shallow tank, two Picasso Clowns, Rippled Coral Goby, Cleaner Shrimp, a few snails, and hermit crabs... I've had a Yellow Prawn Goby in my 90g reef tank years ago, and I felt it was fairly easy to introduce and keep. That particular Goby when introduced, went straight to the bottom of the tank (lights were off), hid for the rest of the day, and by the next day when lights were on it did what Gobies do. I've just now acquired a Yellow Prawn Goby for this 60g reef tank, and it did appear on the smallish side to me at 2" total length and slender, but the fins all looked to be in good shape, he was a bright healthy looking yellow, and I watched him aggressively defend his territory at the store vs. a small Firefish. To me, it was a healthy little Goby. I had seen these small Yellow Prawn Gobies at the LFS two weeks ago so I know it's not a fresh off the plane Goby. I picked the best of the three, floated him for 40mins, and dripped in tank water, etc...
turned off the lights, and he swam to the bottom but didn't hide. He hung out in the middle of my aragonite bed out in the open. My clowns checked him over, but didn't touch him. Fast forward one day, lights go on and the Goby decides he'd like to swim in the mid-upper level of the tank,

and was sucked to the outer protective foam of my Vortech MP40. I quickly turned off the MP40 and he swam away. He still insisted on swimming the upper half of the tank vs. scooting along the bottom. My Clowns checked him out some
more, but they weren't nipping at him or anything. Goby swims to one side of my Innovative Marine SR60 with dual overflows where the Clowns hangout, one Clown gets a little too close and the Goby swims into the narrowest slit for my overflow and into my filter sock. I immediately intro the sock to the tank, Goby swims out in the mid-upper level of the tank. I turn off the lights, and he settles down to the bottom. When the lights were on, I did notice that where his torso turns to tail, there is a whitish patch (stress related?).
<Maybe; or a physical injury>
He swims fine, but I don't perceive he has the strength to escape the suction from the intake/foam for the MP40 (which has remained off). My quarantine tank has been up and running without lights for 2months, and it's a 20g with hang-on filter with the appropriate salinity and temperature. I do intend to double check the water quality there with a water test, etc in the morning. No, I didn't quarantine because one of your articles indicated the Gobies are hardy, and tend not to carry harmful bacteria/parasites, etc.
<And often being quarantined is worse for them than not>
I figured as the only bottom dwelling fish (my Coral Goby remains mid range within my very porous live rock) he would be
best suited for an established system with nothing to bother him on the bottom except a few snails. Did I acquire a Goby that is too small/delicate at 2"? I really don't get the lights on/mid-upper level swimming at all. Thoughts?
<I'd give this fish a bit more time. Do you intend to introduce a prawn/Alpheid here? Bob Fenner>
Re: Yellow Prawn Goby    1/22/17

Hi Bob,
It's now early the next morning, and lights are still off, and the Goby seems to be just fine at the bottom of the tank - but the lights will turn on in about 4hrs, and I'll be sure to watch him closely to ensure he doesn't turn into Michael Phelps again.
<Heeee! Hopefully not that BIG an ego; it wouldn't fit in the tank!>
I'm open to the Pistol Shrimp, I've had one in the past with a Diamond Spotted Goby... but that Shrimp feasted on all
my hermit crabs. If I am to introduce a Shrimp for him, I'm guessing I should wait until the Goby is a little bigger? Or, do you feel that he'd be less stressed out with a Shrimp at his side?
<Much more re this last... they really protect each other. Bob Fenner>
Re: Yellow Prawn Goby      1/24/17

Thanks for your insight. Now, introducing a pistol shrimp am I sacrificing hermits, some snails, and eliminating my wish to add a banded serpent star?
<Possibly the first two groups if they venture too near... Bob Fenner>
Re: Yellow Prawn Goby      1/25/17

Yellow Watchman's still alive and kicking. Even with the white blemish where his torso meets his tail, he sure swims in the open water a lot - I don't think it's an injury. I haven't seen him feed as of yet, and his tank mates are leaving him alone thus I've left him in the system. I wonder if he knows he's a goby?
<Again; unusual... hope it's not looking for a place to leave the tank. Bob Fenner>

Re: Yellow Prawn Goby      1/28/17
Hi Bob,
Just one last thought here... the goby is feeding aggressively, which is a great sign.
Everything else seems normal and he's spending more time on the bottom of the tank.
<Ah good>
I've still rescued him from the overflow twice in the past three days (seven times in the past 6 days). I'm wondering, if my aragonite uncomfortable for him?
<Very probable. I'd make an area, even just set a dish of a couple inches depth (glass or plastic) of finer, or mixed substrate in the system>
Most of the coarse pieces seem to have worked their way to the top of the bed, leaving the sandier substrate under a half inch of crushed coral.
Thoughts? Pic attached.
<As stated. B>

Watchman Goby ulcer?      10/31/16
Hello, I have a 30 gallon 2 year old saltwater tank, and I have a watchman goby who isn't looking so good (I have attached pictures). At first it looked like the dorsal fin was worn away possibly from rubbing up against the live rock but then it developed into an ulcer where the flesh was being eaten away to the point where I could see his tissues and possibly bones?
<Agree as to root cause... a physical trauma of some sort; microbial decomposition...>
I began seeing this on Tuesday, and on Thursday, I put him into a quarantine tank and began dosing with erythromycin. It looked worse on Saturday- black border along it- but today its looking better. His appetite has been great and his swimming and behavior are normal. My question is should I continue the antibiotics for another dose?
<Yes I would; and additionally I'd lace foods with vitamins, HUFAs with a product like SeaChem's here:
http://www.seachem.com/vitality.php,  and triple dose the system water with an iodide-ate compound every three days:
http://www.seachem.com/reef-iodide.php  >
And also, will the tissue ever grow back?
<Hopefully most of it... Some may not; and there may be a discolored area>
I have tested the water and all the values are perfect: nitrates are zero, pH is 8.2, salinity is 32. As far as the inhabitants of the tank: live rock, cardinal fish, feather duster worm, emerald crab, scarlet cleaner shrimp, and a few snails and scarlet legged hermit crabs. Thank you so much!!
<Do keep your eye on that crab. Mithraculus eat more than algae>
Fleur Ferro
<Bob Fenner>

Spiral swimming     3/1/13
Hi crew!
 I purchased a Yellow Watchman Goby on Wednesday. I put him in the QT and he seemed to do ok.
<Mmm, most all goby specimens (all species) are best expedited... along w/ blennies and other groups, these fishes take more than a beating, stress, starving being waylaid in quarantine...>
 Of course he didn't eat Wednesday or Thursday.  I did a 2 gallon water change Thursday (20 gallon QT) and checked water parameters. Ammonia and Nitrates were 0. Nitrites were .25.

This morning he was listing on his side and swimming in spirals.  He would then stop, lying on his back. Then swim again in spirals.  I quickly made up a container with water from the display tank, matching pH, salinity and temp, put an air stone in it and moved the fish.  He died within minutes. 
What could this have been?
<In a word, stress... too much threat from capture to handling, to being in too small a volume w/ no sand to hide/burrow in>
I searched WWM and the Internet and came up with no answers.  Was this my fault or did he have something wrong? Thank you! Jennifer
<... as stated. I would have even skipped dip/bathing and place this fish in the main/display. Bob Fenner>
Re: Spiral swimming     3/1/13

Hi Bob,
 Thank you for getting back to so quickly:)  I did have a container with sand from the main tank. I figured if he needed to be treated I could just take the container out.  The LFS had just received him that day...guess I should have let him stay there a while and rest up. 
<Yes; this resting IS the most important aspect, gain to be had from initial "isolation" (quarantine)>
As far as the nitrites I have read that marine fish can withstand much higher concentrations with no ill effects.  Lesson learned.
<Ah yes>
I am extremely wary of placing anything in the main tank.  I had a outbreak of either Ich or velvet and just put fish back into tank on Wednesday after 2 months fallow.  I even have a pair of Banded Coral Shrimp in a QT. That being said would I/they be better off going into the main tank now?
<Yes... Gobioids, Blennioids are generally/by and large bereft of external parasite problems on arrival. Again, if this were a commercial concern (importer: wholesale, transship... to retail) I would be batch processing most all new fishes with dips/baths per the protocols detailed on WWM... to greatly reduce the likelihood of pest, parasite introduction>
  Thank you again Bob! I have learned so much from you:)
<Ahh, a pleasure to share, aid your efforts Jennifer. BobF>
Re: Spiral swimming    3/1/13

I didn't think dips were recommended for Gobioids.
<Dips (or short duration baths) generally w/o any irritating additions (e.g. Formalin) are okay usually... One has to "do triage" on opening bags, to determine the likelihood that such procedures are worth more than not>
 I did quite a few dips an baths while dealing with the disease outbreak in January so I feel pretty prepared to do so going forward.
I'm not sure if your "yes" was to putting the pair of shrimp into the main tank or to putting the Goby into the main tank.  Jennifer
<The shrimp in the main tank AND the Goby. BobF>
Re: Spiral swimming    3/1/13

Understood and great info!! The shrimp will go in main tank today (Goby did not make it). Thank you again and I will let you get back to whatever incredible expedition you are on:) Be chatting soon:) Jennifer
<At home cooking for hash groups! Cheers, B>

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> 

Yellow Watchman Goby/Health    10/24/12
<Hello Brent>
My yellow watchman goby has been put into the new main tank. He seems to be ok for the most part. He seems to be breathing fine. He is curious and moves around the tank. I've seen him eat a little. My main concern is about its color and its behavior. I am finding it swimming along the water line.
He swims around the tank water line. Swims into the aeration bubbles and rides the current. Not exactly the kind of behavior I would expect from the watchman goby. Is this normal behavior?
Should I be concerned?
I've included a pic showing some of his behavior and a pic to see if you think he looks normal. I guess I thought he would look more bright yellow like I see in so many photos.
<The first pic doesn't look good, pale looking, lethargic.  Do you have a sand bottom with small caves near the sand?  They are much more comfortable in this type of setting.  Healthy Watchman Gobies rarely expose their entire bodies with the exception of feeding time where they will jolt out to grab morsels of food.  Might want to eliminate the photoperiod for a
couple of days and see if that doesn't help.  Are there any bullies in the tank that may be driving him up from the bottom?
Thanks again,
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>


Re Yellow Watchman Goby/Health 10/25/12
Thanks for the reply.
I have set up a number of caves and hide always in a wonderful sandy bottom.
We designed some area with him totally in mind. No one has bullied him, in fact they have paid him even any attention. We saw him for a little while last night. Seemed to be okay, except for the occasional journey to the top of the tank. The last I saw of him, he was hiding away in one of the tunnels we created. See attached photo. I'm concerned because I have not seen him all day. Not sure where he is or what I should do? Any suggestions?
<Observe, not unusual once a Watchman has found a home to stay out of sight for a while although he should pop his head out occasionally.  I would squirt food in the cave he calls home.  May want to consider adding a Pistol Shrimp for a mate.  Did you do an ammonia test since adding the Goby?  Looks like a pretty new tank to me and you may have had an ammonia spike.  I would check this out.>
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re Yellow Watchman Goby/Health 10/26/12

Hello James,
<Hello Brent>
Here's an update on my hello watchman goby. He popped his head out for a few minutes yesterday. His color looked better. He came out from the rocks
and ran a few other fish away.
<Now your talking'.>
I saw him eat a little, but then he disappeared again. Early this morning when I got up he was once again swimming on the surface of the water. I watched for a little while. The other fish aren't even paying attention to him. He has lots of sand and hide always created, but still swimming on the surface. The temperature is 79, ammonia is .20, which I would expect having a new fish in the tank.
<That is your problem. Ammonia should be 0 fish or no fish. It will need time to catch up. If it goes above .20, I plan to add Amquel ammonia blocker.
<I would add it now, .20 is lethal to most fish.>
The Nitrite and Nitrate are all good. the pH is 8.0. Salinity 1.025. Still unable to determine why he is either hiding or hanging at the surface of the tank?
<Neutralize the ammonia and the goby should improve. I'm thinking your tank wasn't done cycling before you started adding fish.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

goby sick?     6/7/12
hi bob,
I'm looking forward to the day that I *don't* need to write to ask a question. I was just taking a look at my shrimp goby, and I just can't remember if he had these two dark spots when I took him home a week ago.
<They're natural markings, coloration. See pix of the species... even on WWM >
He definitely seems a little less alert and about in the QT, which was the reason why I took a closer look. I'm not sure this picture does it justice, but here it is. Are those dark spots normal?
thanks again,

another photo of sick goby?
hi bob,
<... proper nouns...>
I took this close-up with an iPhone camera. You can see the dark red/black area under his head. Is that normal coloration? And I'm assuming he doesn't have Popeye, correct?
<Yes and no. B>
Re: goby sick?
hi bob,
thanks for the reassurance. I had looked at photos on WWM and thought that might be the case but wasn't sure, and after so many losses one gets paranoid. Last night, I took the photos to the shop where I bought it, and was pleased to see that they all had similar markings. Phew.
 Re: another photo of sick goby?     6/7/12

Hi bob,
I feel like one of those Cold War Sovietologists here. ;) You seem to be suggesting that it does have Popeye.
<Does not>
 I'm reading through your pages on the illness now for a cure (and to compare images), although all four of the gobies in the LFS had similar features around the eyes.

Laceration on Yellow Watchman Goby    2/29/12
Background on the tank: 55g FOWLR.  Just under 1 year old.  Approx 75 lbs of live sand, Approx 100 lbs of live rock.  Nitrate 10, Nitrite 0, Ph 8.3, and Ammonia 0.  Tank inhabitants : 2 Ocs. Clownfish, 2 Bluegreen Chromis, 1 Yellow watchman Goby, and 1 red banded shrimp goby.  2 Mexican Turbo Snails, 2 Nassarius Snails. I have been searching your site for days to try to figure out what is wrong with my yellow watchman goby.  I noticed two days ago that he was acting quite off (not eating, labored breathing, and swimming awkwardly) I have read all the threads I could find on your site to try to determine what may be the cause.
<So large... it looks like a "burn" from a heater... but could be an expanded zone from an altercation w/ the shrimp goby, or just scrape on a rock>
 I initially decided to let it "play out" and keep him under close observation.  There were no visible signs of parasites until this morning.  He was out in the open water and there seems to be a laceration of some sort on both sides of his lower tail.  Breathing is less labored but still no swimming.  I was hoping you could shed some light on this matter for me.
<Can only guess>
  I am very attached to this little guy.  I am attaching pictures from this morning when I caught him to get a better look at his tail. As I mentioned earlier there were no signs of this laceration/ulcer yesterday, but when I woke up this morning there was a Nassarius snail near him.  If the snail is the culprit for the skin laceration,
 any ideas on what may have caused his initial decline.  All other fishes in the tank are showing no signs of any health/skin problems.
Thank you, Brittany
<I would not treat, nor change anything w/ your system. Boosting this fish's immune system by soaking foods in a prep. of vitamins and HUFAs (e.g. Selcon) is a good idea. Bob Fenner>

Goby wound   9/17/11
<Hello John>
I have a mature bluespotted watchman goby who has previously been in good health in my 75g reef tank with sump and refugium. I (and the tank) moved a couple of months ago, and combined some new coral and fish from another smaller tank. So far all has been fine, except that he hides a lot more now; I often go days without seeing him very well. About 2 weeks ago I noticed a small wound on his left side with what looked like radiating scrape marks around it, reminded me of the marks left by my Longspine urchin on coralline algae. Since then, the wound has gotten deeper and wider with a raised whitish edge, please see attached photo. Sorry for the quality of the image, but like I said he hides a lot and is camera shy.
Any idea what might be the cause, and what I should do to treat?
<A trauma as you state in the subject line/tray... perhaps from a "coral" or begun w/ a physical injury. No treatment advised>
Everyone else in the tank is doing fine. I would guess either an infection exacerbated by the stress of moving, or possibly an injury from tankmates.
However, I haven't seen anyone picking on him, if anything I think he is the most aggressive fish in the tank. However, I was hoping maybe you could steer me in a more specific direction since the wait-and-see approach doesn't seem to be doing him any good. If there is any additional info I can provide to help please let me know.
Thanks in advance,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

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> 

Diamond Watchman Goby, hlth.  -- 07/17/09
All of a sudden my diamond watchman goby seems to be acting strange. He is hanging out on the glass and coming up towards top of tank.
<Not good>
He usually hangs out in bottom of tank hiding behind the rocks sifting through sand. We have a 55 gallon tank with live rock, sand, xenia, a yellow tang, a clown, and most recently added a bicolor Dottyback about a week ago. Everything has been fine but tonight the goby is looking weird and keeps coming toward top of water and sucking on the wall. Is he dying?
Should we leave the protein skimmer on???
<I would... though I suspect summat else may be amiss... Perhaps "something it et"... or an internal issue... I'd keep your eye on this fish, be ready to remove it should it perish suddenly. Bob Fenner>

Watchman Goby/Health 4/1/09
Hi Crew,
<Hello Kiana.>
I hope you can help me with my question/concern. I have a Yellow Watchman Goby that I added to my tank in October 2008. A few months after I got him, he somehow managed to jump into the pump area of my 6 gallon Nano tank and get trapped in the fan. His front lower half portion of his mouth got ripped off so it looks like he never closes his mouth. Fortunately he managed to continue eating and I would feed him shrimp once a week with a baster.
This morning when I went to feed him, I noticed his mouth, near his chin area, appears sliced down the middle or looks ripped in half. He is having a very difficult time eating and I tried feeding him shrimp with the baster again. He tries to take the food but has a hard time keeping it in his mouth. I am very upset because I am worried my Goby is going to starve to death and die. Is there anything I can do to help him get his nutrients and add anything to the water to sustain him. I currently am using Vita Chem in the water to provide some additional nutrients but was wondering if there is anything you can recommend for me to do, as I love this little guy dearly.
<I am very sorry to hear that Kiana, but unfortunately, other that what you are doing, there is nothing I could recommend to help you further. I would continue on with what you are doing and hope for the best. If this fish should die, I would not replace
with another, as your tank is a little on the small side for keeping this fish.>
Thanks for your help and insight!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Watchman Goby/Health 4/4/09
Hi Salty Dog,
<Hello Kiana>
Thanks for the reply, I appreciate your insight.
<You're welcome.>
Unfortunately my Goby isn't eating much these past 2 days. I am still trying to feed him with the baster and pray for the best. It kills me that I can't do anything more for the little guy :(
<Understand here.>
I was curious as to why you thought the 6 gallon Nano was on the small side for him.
<Just not much room for a fish that can grow to approximately 3 inches.>
What would you recommend so I know for the future?
<Is always best to get the largest tank your budget will allow. The smaller the volume of water, the quicker water parameters can change, and we like to keep water parameters stable as best we can.>
This is my first tank and Goby was my first fish, along with a Tomato Clown named Clementine.
<Yikes, Clementine belongs in no less than a 30 gallon, preferably larger.
This fish can grow close to 5 inches.>
Please keep your fingers crossed Goby makes it.
Many thanks,
<I'll do that, but it doesn't look good. James (Salty Dog)>

Listless yellow watchman goby 8/18/08 I have a 75G tank with live rock 20G refugium, some LPS coral, soft coral, scopas tang, ocellaris clown, royal gramma, blue damsel and, a pair of neon gobies. As for inverts I have 2 brittle stars, <Mmmm, what species?> 15 red leg hermits, 30 tiny Nerite snails, and 20 Astrea snails. After 6 months of having my watchman in the tank it went from bright yellow to muted yellow with stripes and small blue spots the length of the body staggered along the lateral line. <Happens> He or she has looked like that for over 2 years now. It mostly hides but is active at various times of the day and always feed normally. But now the little guy has been laying open on the bottom and not eating for three days. It also looks to be breathing fast and shallow. I just added the Nerites and am concerned that they may have carried a parasite with them. <Possibly> So much for QT if that's the case. Not sure if a freshwater dip or medication will help and I am reluctant to stress it out any more than necessary. Any advice will help, thanks. <Mmm, well, it looks like this fish has been beaten/brutalized (the white mark on its right gill area) and the substrate is really too large to suit it... needs fine sand, the life it fosters... Do you have another place to put it? Perhaps in the refugium? Bob Fenner>

Re: Listless yellow watchman goby Sorry for not mentioning it but the large white spots in the image are small tube worms on the glass near the section of the tank he was hiding in at the time. <Ahh!> Externally he appears to be in great shape no real change in appearance other than the breathing. The change is all behavioral, That's what has me stumped. <Still, rapid, shallow breathing IS a bad sign...> But I do like the idea of the refugium move as a possible solution. He has always been a bit of a loner when it comes to the other tank mates. Thanks James <The move sounds good. BobF>
Spot on my yellow watchman goby -- 5/3/08 Hi, first of all I have a 36 gallon aquarium that has been up and running for almost two months now. About a week ago I bought a pistol shrimp and a yellow watchman goby for the tank. The watchman goby did not have any visual defect when I received him, but now there is a spot on his right pectoral fin that looks as if something has been picking at it. The only thing that I've seen messing with him is my cleaner shrimp, but I assume he was just picking off parasites as the goby did not seem to mind. He also has one small white spot on the base of his tailfin, but I don't know if it is Ich or not. <Doubtful> I've included some pictures to help out with identifying what this spot is. Being he is a watchman goby, he spends most of the time under rock in caves he and the pistol shrimp have made in the sand. I do not believe that I would be able to remove him to my quarantine tank without removing the 45+ pounds of live rock first, which seems like too much of a hassle. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks, Chris <Nice pix! The larger marking appears to be the recovery site (bruise) from a physical trauma... the white spot... "nothing to be concerned about". I would exercise patience here. Bob Fenner>

Diamond watchman goby...   hlth. 04/11/2008 Hello! <<Jacy>> I have a 29 gallon salt water tank, established for 2 years. I have a osc. clown, skunk clown, 2 PJ cardinals, 3 Chromis, a 7 line wrasse & my diamond watchman goby. <<Wow, a heavy bio-load for a 29 gallon>> All appears well in the tank except for the fact that the goby seems to be bruised around his mouth (specifically his upper lip, only on one side). He does dart around very quickly to eat & does bash into the aquarium or the live rock from time to time. Also, we have noticed that the Chromis have begun ganging up on him. Could it just be a bruise or perhaps something more serious? <<In such confines, this will be caused by an act of aggression.. bruising or abrasion>> He seems normal, is eating well & sifting the sand, & moving things around in the tank. Your thoughts please! Thanks! Jacy <<Do please conceder a larger home in the near future Jacy, your livestock will thank you for it. Regards, A Nixon>>

Cloudy Eye on Watchman Goby - 10/8/07 Hello All! <Hello there, Brian!> Thanks for all of the EXCELLENT info!! <You're very welcome!> I have recently added to my 90g FOWLR (after Q) a blue spot watchman goby <Neat fish> who has developed a cloudy right eye over the last two days. His hidey hole is in close proximity to a pesky Aiptasia, do you think he/she may have been stung by it creating the eye ailment? <It's possible> I have several other fish <Have they shown any signs of aggression towards the goby?> that show no signs of this problem and my water param.s are stable/ideal, can you please help clue me in on what direction to take? <Does sound like some sort of physical trauma rather than a water quality issue (since it's only in the one eye). I would monitor, keep water conditions pristine, and make sure this fish gets plenty of good quality/enriched foods (a vitamin supplement, such as Selcon, would be good here). Hopefully, he'll be better in a couple of days!> Thanks!!! Brian <My pleasure, Brian -Lynn>

Re: Watchman Goby not acting goby like 6/6/07 Thanks so much... <Welcome! You're quick!> I only have a small Perc clown and a PJ cardinal (also small) in the tank. Two hermits and a turbo snail. Everything just ignores him. <Sounds good.> I only disturb their lifestyle to feed, and occasionally replace pieces of coral that the snail decides to rearrange. I apologize for the timing. <Just bustin' your chops.> He was in QT for 9 days and then has been in the display tank for two weeks (it always helps to check the calendar). I followed the directions on the Maracyn, which was to dose for 5 days. After the 5 days, I replaced the carbon filter and let him hang out for 4 more. I usually QT for two weeks, so this was coming up just short of. <If time isn't a problem, I would QT for longer. I also advocate treatment (which includes observation after symptoms fade) lasting 3-5wks.> I only started trying to persuade him to move in the past day, because I was worried, and wanted to see what his response would be if I tried to move him. <Understood.> I would take him out and treat again with Maracyn, but I am afraid of overstressing with another move. <Probably the right move, here. Why risk more stress with a move to a less favorable site? Let's just watch and wait and consider what we see. I should ask, how large is this setup? Is it configured to be conducive to watchman goby burrowing (soft sand, caves, etc.)? > Thanks again for the advice and quick reply. <Thank you!> If you have any other suggestions, I am always up for great advice :) Thanx!! Rachael Moore <Have you tried switching your car insurance to Geico? -GrahamT>
Re: Watchman Goby not acting goby like 6/6/07
Either you have only a few interesting sick fish questions, or this is the best sick goby question ever... I can't believe the response time. <Maybe all the other Q's were out of my league, or maybe I have a thing for gobies. Actually, I had a feeling your system was small and I can relate to the "need" to throw the fish into the display and "see what happens". Fortunately for my service accounts, and my fishies, I got over it.> Incidentally, I switch my car insurance every month, just so I can go back to Geico. (If only I liked Australian geckos that much:)) The setup is small... 20gal cube, 3in sand bed, 15 lbs live rock, several corals (hammer, torch, Zoanthid, bubble, star polyps, xenia, Acropora) small powerhead, hang on AquaClear filter... that about covers it. Not anything horribly impressive, but I thought it would be a good goby home. <We'll wait and see how it turns out, but these gobies are usually happier with a little more space. They do get larger than a 20g will comfortably accommodate...> The next step was going to be to wait a month or two and add a pistol shrimp, but if I don't have a happy goby... that idea is out. <You also never know if the pair will, well, pair.> Don't worry about the chop bustin...I have to work at being patient. I still have a way to go.. so you weren't far off in your bustin :) <Good luck! P.S. You might try a different test kit or bringing some water to your LFS for corroboration (sp?) on the nitrates. Your bioload is rather high...> Thanx!! Rachael Moore <-GrahamT>

Dilemma with blue spotted watchman goby  6/4/07 Two nights ago, my blue spotted shrimp goby began acting very strange or sick, and yesterday became pale. He has been very interesting and healthy in the two years I've had him. Never one problem. He is paired up with a pistol shrimp and they are quite amazing to watch. The other night the goby was slumped over in front of the main tunnel of the cave. He looked wore out I did not think he would make it through the night. This came on out of nowhere. The next day, he was outside the cave with the shrimp as usual, but unresponsive to any movement outside the tank....very unusual. <... What is influencing this fish?> He does not seem anywhere near lethargic as he was, but still seems pale. Last night after observing him for hours, he seems at times to remember the cave openings, goes to them, then becomes disoriented. He acts as if he knows where he is, then moments later, wonders to a part of the bottom of the aquarium as if he is looking for the cave opening, but it's nowhere near there. He remains at this time dwelling slowly about. He never left his shrimp's side; now he is wondering far past the shrimp and goes in circles as if confused or blind. Generally when you would come close to him he would swim swiftly into the cave, and at times you could go right up to him. Right now you can be right up to him at the glass and make many quick movements and he does not flinch. Is it possible that he went blind and if so how? Can you please help with any information as to what could be troubling this healthy interesting goby? Thank you. <I wish I could... is this "old age"?... Are there other fishes present? How are they behaving?> I did try every option possible for seeking an explanation on the website. Nothing came close in FAQ or chatrooms. Registering on the site was unavailable also. I really need help. Cindy R <The "usual", S.O.P. of water changes, testing, food supplementation, possibly use of chemical filtrants is about all I would advise here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Dilemma with blue spotted watchman goby 6/6/07 Bob, <Cindy> Thank you for your reply. In addition, let me add this; this Goby, other than being blind, has an excellent appetite, and acting more like normal, short of his eyesight. Water is checked regularly, and all parameters are good. Other fish are doing excellent. Diet is the same it's been for the past 2 years: Mysis shrimp, diced shrimp, scallops, and brine. We believe this goby is approximately 3 years old. <This is about as long as this and related species (congeners) live...> No one has heard of such a condition, but it has become obvious that he is blind. Under close inspection, at certain angles, his eyes have a glaze or cloud of some sort. We are wondering if this is old age, since everything else is in great condition. Thanks again for your help. Cindy <I do think you are correct here re "cumulative genetic defects"... aka "old age"... BobF, feeling older>

Blind banded high fin shrimp goby Hello! Thanks in advance for your help. <Welcome> I have had my shrimp goby for about 8 months now and he has always hidden in the live rock and darted out to eat. <Generally what they do... in the wild and captivity> On several occasions, he darted out and looked as if he had difficulty finding his way back in the hole. He would bump into the rock repeatedly trying to get back in. Now I believe he is completely blind. I did not see him coming out to eat and then I found him just hanging out in the open, not reacting to any of the other inhabitants unless they touched him. Lucky for him, all the other fish are peaceful. I scooped him up with my hand a placed him in a shallow glass bowl on the sand (with sand and live rock rubble inside) to keep track of him and I have been hand feeding him for 3 days now. He eats like a champ if I stick Mysis right in his face. Other than acting blind, he looks perfectly normal. Ever hear of this before? Any ideas on treatment? <Mmm... have heard of these "blindings"... likely nutritional in origin (avitaminoses)... but could be a pathogen at play... perhaps something environmental... A cure not likely> His eyes are perfectly clear and all my other fish are healthy. He was the last fish I added 8 months ago. The tank is a 54 corner reef with a sump and refugium, 50 lbs of live rock, and a 2 inch sand bed. My water  parameters are fine. The other fish are a flame angel, yellow wrasse, black and  white ocellaris, and 3 Chromis. I also have a fire shrimp and a cleaner shrimp. I usually feed Mysis and occasionally Cyclop-eeze, flake, or blood worms. I was wondering if it could be some sort of nutritional deficiency. <Yes, this is most likely... You could/might try reversing this with soaking foods in a vitamin/HUFA mix like Selcon... Please see WWM re.> Thanks so much for your time. I look forward to your answer. Angela Collison <Bob Fenner>

Shrimp Goby Quick question for you guys in regards to fish 'breathing'.  I noticed my clown fish don't appear to 'breath'... as in you can't see their gills move while they swim around.  However, I noticed yesterday and today my Spotted Prawn-Goby (Amblyeleotris guttata) breathing quite rapidly.  You can see his gills really working.  The goby has spent the last month with only half his body visible the other half under a rock or in a hole etc.  I can't remember if I could see his gills working away in the past, but now that he is more active and swims around more... I have noticed him breathing quite quickly.  He still feeds very actively and will scamper under a rock really fast when my Coral Banded Shrimp gets near him.  Is this something to worry about?   <No! I wouldn't worry. Prawn-Gobies are little tiny fish. I'm sure the rest of your fish must look like whales to him!> Do Spotted Prawn-Gobies breath quickly???   <Some fish respire very fast others not so fast. In general, the smaller the fish the quicker the respiration, I have a Salaries fasciatus that breaths unbelievably fast...and always has> I just checked my water last night.  pH 8.2, no traces of ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, temperature has remained constant over the last month at around 77F, water salinity is 1.021.  I did have a small battle with ammonia over a 5 day period almost 20 days ago but the goby seemed fine all the while.   <Let's solve the problem that caused that last ammonia spike. Ammonia spikes can and will cause all sorts of unpredictable problems with your livestock...even long after the spike is over> My clown fish are fine and my shrimp and crabs are fine.  Also of note, there is no discoloration with my goby. Am I being too paranoid or is this just the way the fish is? <Maybe a little too paranoid. Hard to say knowing that you've been dealing with ammonia troubles. I would definitely solve the source of the ammonia> Dave <David Dowless>

Sick orange watchman goby? No Hi, I don't know if my Orange Watchman goby is sick. I just noticed his behavior is weird. He just sits under a rock and doesn't move around all that much. He used to be active digging holes, etc. but now he just sits under this rock and when I feed the fish he does go out and grab food. Today I saw that he grabbed some food and went back under his rock and it almost looked like some of the food went through his gills/sifter part of his body. Is there anything I should do? <Not abnormal... this is how this species sieves food from substrate> This has been going on for a few days and I just been observing. Should I worry? <No> What do you think it is? I added some new live rock and a Niger triggerfish to the tank maybe 2 days ago, but it seems to go back further than when I added the new stuff. Thanks, Kristofer <Keep your eye on the trigger... the Goby is a much more peaceful, passive animal... Bob Fenner>

Watchman goby dead! Hi, I came home from work yesterday and saw my orange watchman goby dead at the bottom of the tank, h is mouth opened like he was screaming in terror! I was so sad, but I have no idea how he died or what caused his death. <Mmm, the gaping mouth... may have nothing to do with the death> I didn't notice any lacerations or bites or anything on him because I suspected the Niger triggerfish (that's probably 2 weeks old now) killed him, but could it have been just a life cycle or something of goby fish? I mean how long do they live? <At least a handful of years> He's probably been in the tank for almost 2 years now. He was one of the coolest fish in the tank. Please let me know.  Thank you! <I'd rule out an environmental cause... like low oxygen... as your other fishes weren't affected... But don't know what might be the cause here. Bob Fenner>

- Watchman Goby Missing Lower Lip! - Hi everyone, This is my first time posting here. I'm quite new to the saltwater hobby and can honestly say I'm obsessed. I've been having a watchman goby for about two weeks now. I've noticed that his bottom lip is deteriorating and his jaw bone is exposed. He seems to be eating from what I can see. This is what my tank consists of: I have a 75 gallon with live rock and live sand. Occupants are: Percula clown, pygmy angel, yellow watchman goby, blood red shrimp, pistol shrimp, seven hermit crabs, ten snails, sand sifting star, cabbage leather coral, elephant ear Shroom, long tentacle plate coral. My tank has been running for over three months now. Water quality and salinity is excellent. I had a mimic yellow tang but it died two days ago from blood spots according to LFS. LFS gave me Erythromycin to put in tank, but I'm not sure if that is a good idea. <It's not... best to administer that stuff in a quarantine tank - will kill your biological filter.> I am running a wet/dry filtration system with an overflow box. A SeaClone protein skimmer and two Maxi-Jet 600 power heads. I introduced goby a month after yellow tang. Could the goby have passed something on to my tang? <Well... spots like you describe are often bacterial, and so yes that can affect other fish in the tank.> Any advice is greatly appreciated. <Consider removing your remaining fish to a bare quarantine tank - you can put in some pieces of PVC for places to hide and treat with the Erythromycin there. W> Thanks, MICHELLE <Cheers, J -- >

Cryptocentrus leptocephalus - Pink Spotted Watchman (Shrimp) Goby Question  - 03/11/2006 Hi - First off I want to thank you for all the great reading information. I've learned more in 2 days of reading your posts then I would have learned in a month from any other site I've seen!  I'm not exactly sure how you have your site setup though when it comes to questions so if I should go through another method to request help please let me know. <Mmm, nope. This is it>   I've researched what I can to find the species names (hoping it would make it easier) <Appreciate this> I've stumbled into your site while looking for information on worms and my god I never thought there would ever be so much information on worms.  (I've recently discovered bristle worms and two other species that I'm trying to identify).  But that's not exactly what has prompted me to look for some help or advice.  Actually it's about my goby that I've had for many years 3-4 now.  From the very setup of my 90 gallon tank he has been by my side very healthy, active and always "around" sifting and basically doing his thing.  The past week or two he's suddenly started to get sluggish and today he's staying in his shell that he claimed from the day he landed (ha ha) into my tank.  Actually he's been staying in it more and more as each day has passed.  I don't want to start going crazy with anything (fearing something has gone astray with my tank) so I've been trying to find something to determine if it's possible if he's just getting old now.  One other important note is that I have another fish a Royal Gramma Basslet (Gramma loreto) that has also become slow, but he only started acting this way when he started getting attacked by my Neon Dottyback (Pseudochromis aldabraensis).  Originally they got along fine for 5 months then suddenly they started battling over territory. <Very common twixt these species, families... similarly shaped, resource using...> I also have a wide variety of fish from an angel - clown - tang - fire shrimp - clown goby - Hawkfish - <Surprised the Hawk hasn't consumed the shrimp...> others mentioned above and maybe one or two I'm forgetting. (trying to give a little more info on the situation in the tank).  With all this in consideration should I be worried about the sudden change in the goby? <Such behavioral changes/observations are always a source of concern, input> Is it that he's nearing his natural life span?  Or do you think I might have some unknown problem in my tank that I have yet to determine? <Best to watch all livestock, keep monitoring water quality... When, where in doubt, water changes, the use/replacement of chemical filtrants, abatement of supplementation are good considerations. Bob Fenner> Thank you in advance Anthony

Watchman Goby Beat Himself Up?   4/30/07 Bob, I would like to share something unusual that happened with my Yellow Watchman Goby (Cryptocentrus cinctus) last week, as it may be helpful for others to see a picture of this phenomenon, and of course am curious on your take on his situation. Last Saturday evening, I placed a new piece of liverock in my tank after it had been quarantined for a few weeks.  On Sunday morning, Watchman popped out of his cave for breakfast, and looked awful!!  He had a huge blood-red mustache! (coincidentally the same color of the vestiges of BGA that are still lingering in my tank - although definitely declining - slooooowly).   So after determining that he did not in fact have a smear of algae on his face, we got concerned.  He is a senior citizen in my tank, and I get nervous if anything is amiss with him, he has been such a fascinating fish.   He is 9 years old, and 10 years is the highest estimate I have seen anywhere for their lifespan. He had no signs of disease, was behaving, eating, and breathing perfectly normally.  Actually, he seemed braver and hungrier than usual, since he has been extra shy since adding the newest fishes a couple of months back. Anyway, back to his bruises, bright red, under the skin, no scrapes or external damage apparent. You can see in the photo that his iridescent spots are still visible on top of the bruise. Just bright red blood pools above both sides of his mouth.  It was a little darker on his left side, but very symmetrical in pattern.  I could only surmise that he had bruised his face, maybe banging into the side of his cave as I moved the rocks above his roof.   I could only find one reference to this possible problem at www.nationalfishpharm.com under "changes in color".  They mention possible bruising around the mouth due to fighting or intensive spawn site cleaning. Everyday his bruises have gotten less scary looking.  The first couple of days they turned more brown rather than red and now have faded to a slight shadow, that would not be noticeable if I weren't looking for it.  He continues to eat and act perfectly normal. Do you think he could have banged his own head hard enough to do this? <Possibly> The only other possible culprit is the Mithrax crab who was marching around the perimeter of the tank uncharacteristically the same morning, also apparently disturbed by the new rock that I put right in his normal territory (again, right above the goby).  I find it hard to believe that the crab could have pinched him so perfectly on both sides of his face, and think that a head on collision would create this pattern more likely.  And really the crab's claw is not big enough to fit the Goby's entire head into. <Mmmm, well, Mithraculus spp., esp. at size, can be predaceous... perhaps it was involved... indirectly... in "scaring" your Goby... causing it to dash about injuring itself> Thought this might be a good photo for others to see if they ever run into this problem. Thanks!!
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
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