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FAQs on Shrimp/Watchman Gobies Systems

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 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

Mmmm, completely covered (they jump), a mix of deeper sand, some rubble (for burrow making) or up-ended open on one side PVC pipe...

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>

The Yasha Hase Miracle... Mmm, sys./env. in the main    4/13/11
I "inherited" a tank from my boyfriend along with all his hermit crabs and shrimp (He moved out of his parents' home and also got a mantis shrimp - G. ternatensis). It's a Biocube 14 with approximately 10+ lbs of live rock and a 1-2 inch deep aragonite sandbed. There's a good wad of Chaeto and Caulerpa as nitrate export (and hermit food). There are a lot of CUC, as I'm interested primarily in invertebrates:
4 Calcinus laevimanus
2 "Fuzzy White Hermits"
3 Calcinus elegans
2 Clibanarius tricolor
<A lot of Hermits for such a small volume>
1 Lysmata wurdemanni
2 Lysmata boggessi
1 Astrea phoeba
They ate every bit of algae they could find, including hair, Cyano, Chaeto, and were working on the Caulerpa before I added more Chaeto in, despite daily feedings. This was fine with me, as they were all very peaceful and entertaining despite apparently starving.
And then the Yasha appeared. A bit of background: This Yasha Hase was presumed dead about six months ago, when the tank was still my boyfriend's.
He bought the Yasha and a Randall's Pistol together and the Yasha disappeared after a few months. We bought the pistol a replacement (a Hi-Fin Red Banded) and they paired, so we presumed the Yasha had died.
Three months later, the tank was passed onto me. It sat empty for a month, cycling the live rock and sand. I then added the hermits and shrimp, feeding pellets and krill. Recently, I started feeding them table shrimp for variety, and not more than a few days after that I spotted what should have been a long dead fish.
So here's the actual question: The goby is eating (I'm using mysis and spirulina flakes) but it's very timid and I have to aim the food directly into the burrow. This causes hermit crabs to find the food later, which I'm sure isn't helping.
<Better by far than it staying about, polluting the water>
What does this goby eat in the wild, and how can I coax it out of its hole more?
<Routine... feeding times, methods, time going by. These are very timid fishes... naturally. They live very tenuous lives... I would remove a good deal of the Hermits...>
I'm hesitant to purchase a pistol, since it was no more social with the Randall's pistol, but I'm really worried about it because it looks emaciated (probably from having extremely slim pickings in my tank).
<As it is alive... it will likely continue>
it's not the fall that kills you it's the sudden stop.
- Yuki
<Nor life that causes ones death. BobF>

Shrimp / goby / Fireworm 03/22/2008 Hello! Thank you for all the great info on your site. <<Hello, Andrew here today>> When I got my live rock, the shrimp half of a shrimp/goby pair hitchhiked along with it. The shrimp has lived in a burrow in the substrate under one of the rocks for about three months. Today I added the goby to my tank, and he promptly joined the shrimp in the hole. As I was feeding them tonight, they were having trouble getting their food because a fire worm had invaded their burrow and was blocking the entrance. Figuring three was a crowd, I grabbed the fire worm with my hemostats and tried to pull him out. Unfortunately, I ended up tearing the worm in half, and the rest of it is still in the shrimp and goby's home. Is there anything I should do? To remove the rest of the worm, I'd have to lift the rock and destroy the burrow. Will the situation resolve itself if I leave it alone? I think I may be overly anxious because the goby is my first fish. At a risk of having too much disturbance to the system, i would fill the burrow with sand, effectively blocking it off. Another alternative is to try and trap the worm and remove it that way. Please read over the follow FAQ and linked articles for trapping and removing http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polychaeselfaqs.htm >> I've been saving my money to buy him ever since I accidentally got the shrimp. Thank you for your advice and all that you do for beginning aquarists like me. In case you are wondering, no, I didn't quarantine the goby. However, I've "visited" him a few times over the past three months at the aquarium shop, and he has showed no signs of disease. <<As a caution note, its always best to quarantine your inhabitants yourself, this way you have as much time as you need, under your own supervision, to watch the new inhabitants and rectify any issues seen>> Thank you, Mandy <<Thanks for the questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Re: Nano shrimp set up Hello Crew, I recently sought guidance regarding a 10 gallon nano I was setting up for a proposed shrimp/goby combo. To update, the tank is perking along nicely (mini cycle after adding a gorgeous 3 pound piece of Pukani live rock) and I am still researching possible livestock options... Tank is as follows: standard 10 gallon glass, with an internal overflow-fed refugium (used an acrylic partition) occupying 1/4 of the tank (this has a DSB with 4-5 inches of oolitic aragonite sand, and a powerhead with around 150 gph of flow) and 36 watts of PC lighting. Total sand volume is 15 lbs (including the refugium), with total LR volume of 8.3 lbs, and actual total water volume at about 6.5 gallons. The display has a sand depth of 2-3 inches, and includes a sizable amount of small shells and broken shell fragments. I'm debating whether or not a pistol goby combo will be as visible/interesting as I had hoped, and considering a (single) coral banded shrimp with one fish as another possibility. <A small, nervous fish... Boxer shrimp are quite predaceous> Long term, my goal is to stock with Zoanthids, and possibly a few mushrooms. I am not after more fish, but rather an interesting display in which to view a shrimp specimen. Would a royal Gramma work in this size tank with a CBS, or is there too great a likelihood of predation? <The latter> If there are other more suitable fish that would do well with a coral banded, I'd love suggestions so I can focus my research. <I'd just keep the shrimp here w/o fish> I'm in no hurry, rather taking my time to get things right. Thanks again for such a terrific site! I am still reading/rereading Anthony and Bob's book, and strongly believe it should be offered with the first purchase of live rock at the LFS (which is great, thankfully). Thanks! Stan <Thank you Stan... I share your concern re the size actually of this system with a goby/Alpheus... and might risk adding a tank-bred/raised Pseudochromid with a Stenopus hispidus... but... in the long term... any/all fish will too likely be consumed in this set-up. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: nano shrimp set up 12/30/07 Thanks, Bob. So we are looking at a coral banded shrimp (with a possible Pseudochromis tank mate), but you are thinking this volume is too small for the goby/shrimp combo? <Yes> There isn't anything in the tank yet, in case I misled you. If I understand you correctly, then my best bet is to go with the CBS, with the caveat that the fish might not be a friend, but food, and forget about the pistol/goby combination. <Yes> I was getting a bit concerned that pairing might go badly once I got them home (they are paired at the LFS). A bit disappointed, but not much... coral banded shrimp are just, well...cool. Thanks again for putting so much time and effort into such a great site! Stan <Welcome my friend. BobF>

Wheeler Goby... sys. 11/29/07 To Crew, <Parker> Thanks for all the help. You guys are great. I have been reading your website for a couple years now and have learned so much. <Okay!> I recently started a 12g eclipse with about 15lbs LR and an 1"-1 1/2" course substrate. Two clown fish, couple hermit crabs, and arrangement of snails. (turbo, nauseous, <Heeee... Nassarius... though they may make you nauseous> and bumble bee, which look really good with the LR). All levels are sound, good SG 1.023, temp. 78, 8.2 ph, 0 nitrite, and 15 ppm nitrate (a little high). <Mmmm, yes> I recently added a wheeler goby <Amblyeleotris...> and a feather duster. I was wondering if having only an inch to inch and a half of course substrate is enough to effectively keep the goby happy. <Mmm, and the question of grade/average diameter...> If this depth it is not enough or the substrate is not fine enough, can I add finer sand to the system. <Yes> By adding fine sand to a system, can this potentially cause stress to the fish, cleaners, or LR? <More likely to relieve stress than cause it here...> If I can add finer sand, how would I go about doing so? <Could be just added with... rinsed and placed underwater, as in a plastic scoop...> Will the goby be able to sift through the substrate? <If it wants> Any advice would be great. Regards, Parker <Start planning for the next/larger tank. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Yellow shrimp goby Hi, I wanted to purchase a yellow shrimp goby. I was looking at a book of marine fish, it said that it may jump out of an open aquarium, is this true? <Very much so... these are great escape artists> I have about 3-4 inches of space that is open. <Way too much!... you might be able to tape it over...> It also stated that it may eat smaller ornamental shrimps. Not sure what that means but does that include a cleaner shrimp?  <Not this size, type of (likely Lysmata) shrimp... it should be fine> One more thing, my live rock rests on my sand bed. Should I worry that it will dig around the rock and cause it to topple? <Not much of a worry with this size, type fish. I wouldn't be concerned. Bob Fenner> Thanks Angelo

Substrate for Goby/Shrimp combo. 8/9/05 Mornin' Bob <Cheers... Anthony Calfo here in his stead> First let me apologize if this has gone to the wrong place, I found your link while perusing the Goby section on your excellent pages! <Welcome!> I'm considering making a return to the hobby after a break of quite some years and of course a lot's changed since then! While researching current thinking on Reef systems I've got bogged down on the BB/SSB/DSB/Plenum issues and this is compounded by the fact that I'm very keen to house the Goby/Shrimp combination and the obvious effect this will have on substrate choice, plus the fact that I have a very large quantity of  (dead) Oolitic sand which I would like to use in what will be a reef system with very few reef-safe fish, small clawed crustaceans( Lysmata, Thor, Saron) etc. I think I'm now up to speed re. Live Rock, Skimming, Carbon, Phosphate reduction, Turnover ,Lighting etc. I would like the Goby/Shrimp to be able to exhibit normal behaviour, hence my problem. The system will be integrated within the main tank as I have no space (nor desire) to run a sump. Would their digging spoil a DSB or even release anoxic toxins from a DSB by digging? <Not at all. If the DSB is kept healthy with adequate (proper and necessary) strong water flow above it so that solids do not accumulate excessively... then all will be fine. And this is easy to accomplish. Seek to produce random turbulent water flow as with closed loop manifolds (you can fid some neat and current links/pics on this subject over at Reefcentral.com)> You mention adding tubes to the substrate, ( I can't find the link) which I'd thought of. <Yes, excellent idea. Just bury under the rocks/in the sand and let them do the rest> Would a 1" substrate with tubes covered with sand be better? <That's not deep enough for the shrimp and goby or efficient DSB activity (NNR)> In either case I could never run a system B/B. <I too very much like deep, fine sand beds. I think your oolitic sand is a best bet. Do enjoy at 4-6" (10-15 cm)> Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer cos I'd prefer not to proceed rather than get it wrong! Kind Regards, Steve. <kindly, Anthony> Yashia shrimp goby stuck in refugium   1/21/06 Well I finally got my 30g refugium set up on my 220g tank this week. I put in a 5in sand bed, Gracilaria, Chaetomorpha, and about 5 portions of pods I bought from florida Pets.com.  Everything looks great and seems to be doing good. I see a lot of pod activity, which is my main goal for this tank. I have a lot planktivores in my main (Anthias, fairies wrasses, etc.) and I wanted to keep a suitable amount of zooplankton to feed them. Anyway, my refugium is gravity fed by one of the two overflow outlets on my hang-on overflow box. The other goes to the main sump and skimmer, the refugium also empties into the sump. The first night I set up my refugium I noticed my Yashia Shrimp Goby had not only got caught in the overflow box but made a new home in live rock rubble I set up for my pods in the refugium. I then proceeded to catch him and return him to the main tank. All was fine for a couple days, but now its in there again and loving all the new forage. I'm not only surprised he ventured into the overflow again, I'm wondering how he fit through the grid teeth and how he was so lucky to once again make it down the right outlet into the refugium. Now I know he's obviously more happy in the refugium, but I also know from your book that its no place for him. I guess my question is how much damage can he do to my pending pod population? <Have to wait/see> and what can i do to make him stay in the main? <Better screening> I have 250lbs of live rock and a live sand. There's no overly aggressive predators in the tank, so I'm wondering why it keeps venturing down the overflow. Would setting up a pile of rubble in the main tank make it more appealing? Thanks Brandon   <Likely "jumping" in response to the water movement. Bob Fenner>

Sand-Dwelling Gobies and Bare-Bottom Tanks - 07/24/06 Good afternoon. <<Morning now...>> I currently have an engineer goby that I have had for about 1 1/2 now in my 120 reef tank.  I have a 4" sand bed in the tank.  I am planning on an upgrade to a 180, but I plan on going Bare Bottom.  I know that the engineer goby burrows in the sand as mine always does, but is this necessary for its life. <<Ultimately, yes...will likely suffer psychologically without something in which to "engineer">> So my question is: Can an engineer goby live in a tank with no sand. <<Not recommended>> Also, I have a Watchman goby and the same question goes for him. <<As does the same reply...>> Thank you. Joe <<You're welcome Joe...EricR>>

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