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FAQs on Shrimp/Watchman Gobies Stocking/Selection

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 Shrimp 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

Best to buy Shrimp Gobies with their symbiotic Alpheids.

Pairing gobies     2/18/19
Hi crew, I currently have a large (6") pink spotted watchman goby in a 6 foot 150 gallon aquarium. His territory takes up the left 3rd of the tank, he never ventures to the other side.
A friend is selling a 3" 'blue spot' watchman goby (which I believe is just a different colour variation of a yellow watchman goby?) with a red banded pistol shrimp.
<Might be the Cryptocentrus cinctus. See my pix here:
I am curious what you believe the likely outcome would be if I added this goby and shrimp to my setup.
<Likely will get along, possibly pair up!>
A. The two gobies would pair and/or share a cave. B. The new goby would setup territory on the right hand side of the tank and both gobies would ignore each other or C. The existing goby will harass or kill the new goby.
I have read a lot on pairing watchman gobies and I believe they would pair if they were both pink spots or both yellow but really haven't been able to find any info on two different watchmans pairing.
Thank you for your assistance on helping me make my decision :)
<Were this my system, set up, I'd try putting all together. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pairing gobies     2/19/19

Thanks so much Bob, you give me confidence :). I will give it a go and let you know the result.
<Thank you Nicole! BobF>
Re: Pairing gobies     3/21/19

Hi Bob, it's been a few weeks since adding my ywg and pistol shrimp and I said I would give you an update.
<Ah, good>
While the two gobies did not pair up there has been 0 issues housing them together. Honestly I am not even sure they know the other exists lol.
<These "meeting up" affairs often take time; just "happen" all at once at times. Patience>
Thank you for giving me the confidence to try it!
<Thank you for your report Nic. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Pairing gobies     3/21/19

That would be great if they paired eventually but all I really cared about was that they could coexist, so I am happy either way!
<What would our late mum state? (Just) Wait and watch... B>

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>

Goby compatibility    1/21/12
Thanks as always for the great website.  I had a compatibility question and have read on your website extensively, but I wanted to run it by an expert before purchasing a new fish.  We have a 90 gallon reef that has been established for about 5 years.  Corals are at a minimum actually since the tank just holds a few leftover bits that didn't fit in our 240 reef when we upgraded a few years ago.  Fish inhabitants are a Clarkii clownfish and Yellow tang.  We lost the female Clarkii clownfish about three months ago to presumed trauma based on unilateral eye damage and a slow demise over the next few weeks.  Sand bed ranges from 2 to 6 inches depending on location.  Live rock is low, only about 50 pounds, although the tank is plumbed in line with the main reef, sump, fuge etc. making about 600 gallons total water volume and about 300 pounds live rock throughout the entire system.  So the first question is should we replace the Clownfish mate?
<You could try... best to get one about half the size of the present male... allow/have it turn into the female>
 We have no particular desire to unless you think it's stressful to keep a solo Clownfish.
<It is not>
 If we need another, I assume we go small and hope to avoid an all out war?
<Yes; best>
 Second, would a Golden head sleeper goby (Valenciennea strigata) fit in this mix?
<With what you list, yes>
  Third and last question I promise.  We have a very peaceful 240 reef with a Vlamingii tang (I know too small tank, was rescue from another tank), Yellow tang, Ocellaris clownfish pair, Aiptasia eating (not) filefish, Threadfin butterfly fish (serious Aiptasia eater!), Double barred Rabbitfish, and two Green Chromis.  Would a Pink watchman goby fit in this mix?
<It should as well>
  We may add a Mandarin dragonette in the future if that affects the answer on the Watchman.
<This will go here as long as there's sufficient food organisms>
  Thanks again for the advice.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Midas Blenny Aggression/Shrimp Goby Questions   1/19/12
Hey WWM.  First of all, thank you so much for all the great information that I have received doing research on your website and questions you have answered directly.  Really appreciate it! I am really going back and forth about which fish to put in my tank so I am looking for an opinion.  It is a 30 gallon reef. I already have an Ocellaris Clownish, and I know that I am going to add a Springer Damselfish. After that, I have come up with two choices. I could add a Midas
Blenny as my 3rd and final fish, or I could do a Tailspot Blenny and some sort of Shrimp Goby (possibly a Watchman).
<Mmm, not and... One of the Ecsenius... and a good deal of potential compatibility depends on the individual personality here... T'were it me/mine, I'd go w/ the Tailspot>
I would just go with the Midas but am a bit concerned about how aggressive he will be towards my other fish.
<Me too>
 Any opinions? If I go the Tailspot/Shrimp Goby route, I have some questions about the Shrimp Goby. What would you say is a good first shrimp goby for me?
<Likely the more common Cryptocentrus:
IF you're getting an Alpheid to go w/, make sure they are paired already.
Too likely troubles trying to get them to get along in such a small volume otherwise>
 Also, does, say, a Watchman Goby do okay without a Pistol Shrimp?
<Yes; most specimens do>
 Also, if I do get a Pistol Shrimp, are there any that will not attack my 2 inch Cleaner Shrimp, snails (including Nassarius) and hermits?
<Not if the shrimp is hungry and these get too close>
I have heard that the red-striped (randalli) are the most reef safe because they stay so small.  Finally, is it a problem that my sand bed is 1-3 inches thick and my rock is not resting on the glass?
<Could be... w/ burrowing. I'd scoot the rock about till it is resting on the bottom>
 Does the behavior of the goby change if he is with a shrimp?
<Good question... I'd think/guess so; perhaps a thesis for you...>
  Also, is there any way to at least try and get him to make his home near the front of the tank? 
<Yes... pre-making a "cave" out of a section of emplaced PVC pipe or such may do the trick>
Is he more likely to stay up front if I give him a pistol shrimp buddy, or does that not really affect it? 
<Don't think it would effect this in such a shape/size system>
Those are the only questions I can think of for now.  What do you think?
<I've got to wake up... at least a bit more. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Another Shrimp Goby Question-12/22/2007 Hello Crew, <Paul> Thank you for all the help as I now have a full blown reef going great with minimal maintenance. I have been researching for a long time now and still am not sure about which goby is most likely to form a symbiotic relationship with my pistol shrimp. The species of shrimp I have is the exact same as pictured here _http://www.bluezooaquatics.com/productDetail.asp?cid=84&pid=1215&did=2_  (http://www.bluezooaquatics.com/productDetail.asp?cid=84&pid=1215&did=2)  an Alpheus species. <Mmm, notice that the ad states this animal is from the Caribbean?> I have narrowed down the list to yellow watchman (Cryptocentrus cinctus), High Fin Goby (Stonogobiops nematodes), Flaming Prawn Goby (Discordipinna griessingeri), or Yasha Hase (Stonogobiops yasha). Am I correct in assuming Indo Pacific is considered Caribbean or am I totally in the wrong ocean? <... the latter> I have tried fish base but when searching such a generic area as "Caribbean" it is not very helpful. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance. Paul <Well... there are in-print works on naturally occurring relations... And Alpheids can/will often pair up with "dissimilar" symbionts... I would go forward with the choices of fish hosts in the order of preference you list. Bob Fenner>

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

Seahorse tank set up/sand sifting gobies   7/17/07 Hi! I am in the process of setting up a 56 gal. tall tank for seahorses. I am in the cycling stage right now and only have the substrate (CaribSea Arag-Alive Indo-Pacific black ) a protein skimmer and a refugium with live rock on the tank (will add algae end of the week). I also added Turbo Start 900 to help seed the tank and speed up the cycling process. <The LR will do this...> After my water is correct I will begin to add copepods to the tank and refugium and then livestock. How long should I wait to add the livestock after the copepods? <A week, few weeks> I am planning on adding snails (Cerith and Nassarius) and dwarf blue legged hermits to be a clean up crew, and I would like to add a sand sifting goby to keep the sand nice and clean. <Mmm, not much surface area here... will likely keep the system "too clean" of the copepods...> I am not planning on putting any live rock in the tank-just some fake corals to be used as hitching post for the seahorses. What would be the best goby to use and when is the best time to add it to the tank? I like the V. sexguttata <http://www.saltcorner.com/sections/zoo/fish/gobies/Valenciennea/Vsexguttata.htm>Sixspot Goby, and V. strigata <http://www.saltcorner.com/sections/zoo/fish/gobies/Valenciennea/Vstrigata.htm>Yellowheaded Sleeper Goby, but I am not sure if either of these are the best choice for my tank. <I would not place a genus Valenciennea goby here... again, too big for the amount of substrate...> I've read that you should keep a pair (M/F) of both of these species of goby as they do better, how can you tell what sex they are? <Much happier in pairs... but you don't have enough room> Thanks for the help. Your site has been a great help to me in the past. Laurie <Likely the Hermit, Nassarius species will do about all that can be done to turn, clean the gravel here. Bob Fenner>
Re: seahorse tank set up/sand sifting gobies   7/17/07
I forgot to mention that the skimmer is not running right now. I will turn it on with the addition of livestock. <Real good. BobF>

Watchman-Pistol Question Dear Bob: You have been so kind in sharing your knowledge with me. I have one more question before I buy my Yellow Watchman Goby and (Tiger hopefully) Pistol Shrimp. Do I need to buy an already established pair, or would any Watchman pair up with any Pistol Shrimp? I don't want to buy them and be disappointed if they don't "pair up." Thanks, Janey <Better to buy them together... but they do often "pair up" in captivity as well. Bob Fenner>

Gobies and shrimp Hi Robert, I'm sorry to email you here, but I don't know how to post on WetWebMedia.com. I hope you can provide guidance: <Will try> I want to buy a pistol shrimp and Goby. I have my eye on two gobies. One is the Stonogobiops nematodes. I read on your site that he would most likely pair up with the Alpheus randalli. I can not find the everyday name for this shrimp. <"Randall's Pistol Shrimp", named in honor of Dr. John (Jack) Randall of the Bernice P. Bishop Museum> Is it just a common pistol shrimp (I have a friend who wants to sell me his pistol shrimp)? <Mmm, I consider none of these to be "common"... all species are hard to come by in the trade, hobby.>  -not sure if its a wise move on my behalf)? <Know nothing about wisdom>> The other goby that I am considering is the Pinkbar Goby (Cryptocentrus aurora). Do you know which shrimp he would best pair with? <There are lists of which species are associated in the wild... Often, captive conditions can form "strange partnerships" though> Is there a general rule of thumb for encouraging symbiosis between the two? <Lots of space, good husbandry, mix of fine sand and rubble of depth, peaceful tankmates...> What is the best way to ensure symbiosis if you cant but the two already paired up?  <Buy them together, evidencing their association in advance> Do you have any recommendations for which types to purchase for a small (30 gallon) set up? <Mmm... please read through the "Shrimp Gobies" section and related/linked files on www.WetWebMedia.com> Would I have to get rid of my decorator crab if I got a P. shrimp/goby? <Possibly... if the system is small... the crab hungry, could be trouble.> Thank you once again Bob. Your time and effort for all of the work that you do on your webpage is much appreciated. <Thank you for your kind words... many hours of my own, friends devoted as you state. Bob Fenner>

Shrimp question Hi, <cheers> I just got a yellow watchman goby for my tank. How do I put a shrimp with it, and which shrimp do I get?  <commensal pistol shrimp generally must be collected with their watchman goby to be compatible. Even when that is not the case, one usually needs to match the exact natural partner species with the goby. You need to get an accurate scientific name for your goby first... then research the commensal species for this goby. It is very unlikely that you will be able to find a compatible match without having obtained a collected pair.> My tank is a 38 gallon with only fish, and a starfish.  Thanks, Dyanna <do tell us if you find a species that works. Kindly, Anthony>

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.>

Watchman Goby Hi, We have had a Yellow Watchman Goby for about 6 months. She was very small when we got her - is now about 1 1/2". I feel sure it is a female because the coloring of her body is much duller than her face (creamy yellow instead of bright). We would like to get her a mate, but the LFS doesn't carry them and you can't specify sex when ordering online. If we ended up with 2 females, would they fight?  Thanks, Doug <Hello Doug. They won't fight, but they won't be hand and hand such as clowns. James (Salty Dog)>

Pistol Shrimp/Goby Hi I am interested in getting a shrimp goby and pistol shrimp but have a few questions, more like concerns. I am interested in a orange spotted goby, what pistol shrimp would go well with him? Would a randalli pistol be ok?  <Here is some suggested reading. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpgobies.htm>  Also are they like mantis shrimp? Will they crack my glass and is the noise really loud that it will be a nuisance to me listening to it?  <No, they won't crack your glass. You will rarely hear them unless someone is infringing on their property.> I have a lobster which I have had for 6 months and rarely see but know he's there because when moving a rock he was discovered to still be alive. My tank is 180 gallons, will this shrimp get lost where I will never see it? Will the pistol shrimp hide all day and is this a waste?  <You don't see them too much. I see mine at dinner time.> Will this shrimp fight with Jawfish?  <Shouldn't>  Please let me know so I can make my mind before making a hasty purchase and regretting later.  <James (Salty Dog)> 

Stocking/Selection   7/25/06 Hi WWM Crew <Howdy> Sorry for all the questions, but you guys have all the answers, and you guys always reply really fast. I was wondering what would be a good, exciting, personality, colorful fish to add to my 30 gallon fish only with live rock, right now it only has Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) and a Fridmani Pseudochromis (Pseudochromis fridmani). Thanks for your fast reply as always and I promise this is my last question. <A Watchman Goby/Pistol Shrimp combination is interesting.  Read here.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpgobies.htm  

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