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FAQs on Valenciennea/Sleeper, Sifter Gobies 1

Related Articles: Genus Valenciennea Gobies

Related FAQs: Valenciennea 2, Valenciennea Identification, Valenciennea Behavior, Valenciennea Compatibility, Valenciennea Selection, Valenciennea Systems, Valenciennea Feeding, Valenciennea Health, Valenciennea Reproduction, & FAQs on: Marine Scavengers 1True 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, Shrimp Gobies,

Valenciennea strigata happily sifting a mouthful.

I'm back in the hobby! Query re stocking, mixing sand gobies      12/9/18
<And ladies...>
It's been a long time for me - but, I'm back in the hobby in a much
<Ahh! Welcome back to the fold>
Used to follow threads on your website faithfully.
I have a 45g AIO tank with a Rainford Goby. He's cute and active - but really can't keep up with the sand sifting that needs to be done.
Question: Would it be wise to add a Golden Head Goby - or would there likely be too much territorial fighting? I realize each tank (fish) is different - but, in general is this a bad idea?
<They'd likely get along fine, but if it were me, mine in such a size, shape system, I'd go with either two Rainford's or two Golden Head gobies. More interesting behaviorally.>
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>
Re: I'm back in the hobby!     12/9/18

Thank you so much. That seems like a wise recommendation. I’ll get another Rainford.
<Cheers Gene. BobF>

Golden Headed Sleeper Goby. Sys., feeding, gen...      6/14/14
There is much conflicting information as to whether the male or female Golden Headed Sleeper Goby (V. strigata), guard the eggs. Most state it is the female, however “official” places say the male guards them.
<Usually the male as far as I know>
Also, why are they called Sleepers?
<For their propensity to "lay down" on the bottom>
They seem to busy to be slacking off! Have they been successfully raised in captivity?
Fishbase.org states they have a lifespan of 1 year.
<Mmm, perhaps two>
This seems to line up with how long most people can keep them, however I had one for 1.5 years in a 150 gallon tank years ago (lost it due to a tank crash because the “sitter” didn’t top it off)…. I was new to the hobby at the time and should have had a top off! So my guess is they may live to around 2 years in captivity, and should be obtained while small and as pairs if possible. One source said they were full grown at 4 months (after they settle in the reef), and one source, which I have to disagree with, said if they are not paired up they do not live as long….
<Interesting... perhaps anthropomrphising, but one rarely encounters non-pairs in the wild>
such was not my experience. Your thoughts? Sorry, these are tough questions, but I would enjoy the answers for a write up I am doing! On a side note, is it possible that it may not be that they are as hard to take care of, but waste away due to them possibly just being at the end of their life cycle?
<Sounds likely>
At times, they are not FED enough by an alert aquarist (or they may have internal worms and should be treated for that after purchasing).
<Yes; assuredly>
And why in the WORLD do some websites that SELL them state that 30 gallons is enough?
<A mistake; just marketing: The way of the businessperson is sales and profits. >
UGH! Makes me want to send a strongly worded email! lol On a side note, mine ate prepared foods and was a huge fatty in my 150 gallon, so based on that, would 75 gallons be enough for one, 150 gallons for two?
<The bigger the better... would express in terms of open/sandy area square footage per... at least 3-4/>
(they occupy a space of 2’ x 5’ in the wild so 150 gallons is larger than that, and with a refugium should help the fauna levels in the sand. If a person didn’t care if their sand was dead, what would be the smallest tank size for one that fed on various prepared foods?
<Would depend mostly on the types and frequencies of foods; and the individual fish; their developmental history>
Or do they just NEED fauna from the sand?
<Almost entirely this>
Thanks for your time and energy!!!
Çarrie :)
<Thank you for sharing yours. Bob Fenner>

Orange Spotted Diamond Goby afraid of new Two Spot Bristletooth   12/5/08 Tang Dear Wet Web Media, <Laura> I have an 85 gallon reef tank with a 2.5" live sand bed and plenty of live rock with the following parameters: KH 9 Calcium 450 Magnesium 1350 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0 Phosphates 0 Temperature 77-78.5 Tank has a very efficient protein skimmer and a refugium with Chaetomorpha growing in it. Water changes are done monthly. I supplement with trace elements, iron, strontium, calcium, and potassium iodide regularly. My tank is 9 months old Inhabitants are: 1 Multicolor Pygmy Angel 1 Golden Rhomboidalis Wrasse 1 Fiji Yellow Sailfin Blenny 2 Black and White Ocellaris Clowns 1 Midas Blenny 1 Royal Gramma 1 Diamond Watchman Goby 2 Cleaner Shrimp 3 Fire Shrimp 2 Emerald Crabs Cleaner crew of Blue Hermit Crabs and Cerith Snails obtained from GARF. Many SPS and LPS corals and one Crocea clam I did have a Citron Clown Goby that recently passed away, due primarily (my best assumption) to malnutrition. Her stomach was concave most of her life (I had her about 6 months) and she would never eat well enough for me to feel comfortable. <Very... too common> With the exception of my Sailfin Blenny (loves Julian Sprung's Reef Veggies!), my tank thrives of Spectrum Thera-A pellets, Cyclop-eeze, Phytoplankton, and the Sea Veggies daily. Now for my dilemma...My last and final fish was added approximately 6 days ago - a "teenage" Two Spot Bristletooth Tang. It is by far the largest fish in the tank (that is why I added it last) at about 4 inches. She has settled in quite well, eating the Spectrum Thera-A pellets and Sea Veggies voraciously. My Multicolor Pygmy Angel has definitely had some stress issues with her, I say this because she has been swimming in kind of a loop at one end of the tank, something she was not doing before the Tang came in. But, she seems to be settling down as each day passes and I don't see a real issue here. My Wrasse hid behind a rock the first day the Tang came in, and since has been out and about and acting completely normal. The problem (surprise!) is with the Diamond Watchman Goby. <This is surprising to me as well> She is very frightened of the tang, and will not venture out from under her rock covered with mushrooms. If she does come out, the tang zooms down to see it, and with a cloud of sand, the goby is back under the rock. I don't know if there is true aggression on the part of the Tang - I have seen her zoom at the Goby a few times when the Goby gets enough nerve up to try to come out. I have been very worried and have been spot feeding her the Spectrum Pellets (she loves these) with a turkey baster near her home twice a day. This just makes the Tang hang around there more, increasing the problem! I am not sure what to do. The Goby was incredibly active and entertaining before the Tang came in, and sifted sand the entire day, even ate Sea Veggies from our veggie clip when she could sneak them in, and shut herself in her "apartment" every night at 6;30 P.M. You could literally set your watch to it! I feel as if I have really upset a lovely community of fish with the new Tang. He is a beautiful fish, and I researched the compatibility levels very carefully before adding him. My Goby's behavior is really throwing me, and I would welcome any and all suggestions you could provide. <Mmm, patience at this point...> Getting the Tang out of the tank would require breaking the whole thing down - basically a nightmare. Your help is very much appreciated. On another note- I chose the Two Spot Bristletooth Tang because they are, for the most part, hardy, don't get too terribly big, great algae eaters, and just a great reef fish. I was assured by many trusted sources (including much web research) he should be fine for the size of my tank, but I would like your opinion on this as well. Thank you, Laura Garmizo <Thank you for providing so much information so well... If it were me, I would do nothing outside what you have been doing... At least for another week. I suspect the new social dynamic will set in by then... with all becoming "used to" each other. Bob Fenner>
Re: Orange Spotted Diamond Goby afraid of new Two Spot   12/5/08
Bristletooth Tang Hi Bob, <Hello Laura> Thank you so very much for the prompt reply - and the reassurance. <Glad to render it> Will do. This Diamond Watchman Goby was quite a character before the Tang came in. I hope her "chutzpa" will get the better of her soon! Thank you again, Laura Garmizo <I have high confidence that s/he will... What you relate so well is often seen... in captivity, a new animal being added, resulting in a period of readjustment in extant population behavior. Particularly amongst/between organisms utilizing similar space, habitat, food resources... I do think you will have no real problem here in the longer haul. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Orange Spotted Diamond Goby afraid of new Two Spot Bristletooth Tang, the latter, sys.    12/10/08
Dear WWM Crew, <Hello again Laura!> Bob F. has been unbelievably helpful in responding to my attached email concerning my tank. I am reattaching it because I do have one more question (that I am almost afraid to ask) so you can see all tank water parameters/history/occupants. Here is the question... When I bought my last and final fish for the tank 10 days ago, the Two Spot Bristletooth Tang, I had done quite a bit of research prior to the purchase. I researched compatibility, appropriate tank size (most resources said 75 gallon minimum), diet, and water quality needed to keep this fish happy and healthy. I honestly feel I made the purchase with the health and welfare of this fish in mind, along with my desire to enjoy it. However, I am so confused about the tank size issue for a Tang that I am second guessing myself. After reading further, simply going by the number of gallons in the tank was misleading. Many resources also stipulated a minimum of 4 feet in length was required to house a Tang. <Indeed, the bigger the better for these wide-ranging fishes... they often tussle with animals that utilize the same sorts of environment> My tank is an 85 gallon reef. It is loaded with live rock, hiding places, live sand, and houses 8 additional small to medium size fish (at adult size). However, my tank is NOT 4 feet long. It is 3 feet long, 18 inches wide, and it IS 85 gallons. I have observed the Tang and she seems to utilize the height, length, and width of the tank. <Well-stated> She is eating beautifully and just a lovely specimen to my eyes. Aside from her adjustment to 8 established residents (and theirs to her), I have not seen any real issues other than what I have previously written about, and there have been no outbreaks of disease at this point. I do not want to stress any of these fish out, I want to give them a healthy environment to try to ensure they live as long as they are capable of in captivity. Just how important is the extra 12" in length to this fish? <Mmm, overall volume, habitat is more important...> I purposely got a Ctenochaetus due to the smaller potential size of the fish as compared with other tangs. From research I have done, it should reach 5-6 inches in captivity. I really need your expertise on this. In fact, your opinion is the last and final one that will resolve this dilemma for me! Can this fish be kept successfully in this size tank? <Yes> As a final note (especially to Bob F.) my Diamond Watchman Goby was out most of the day. She is eating, and although her guard is up to the new Tang, I see gradual daily improvement in their relationship. Thank you Bob! <Ah, most welcome> Very best, Laura Garmizo <Bob Fenner>

Miscategorized fish? Valenciennea brackish?    11/25/08 http://www.azgardens.com/brackish_fish.php Hello, <Kiet> I was browsing this site and noticed that they have Tiger Gobies (Valenciennea wardii) listed for sale in their brackish fish category. The product description states that it can be kept in a fresh or brackish water tank. I have contacted the website owner and was told these fish are indeed brackish. This is confusing since the link they provide is to Saltwaterfish.com. Are there any actions that can be taken to prevent them from selling these fish as brackish? Thank you, <Mmm, don't know re "actions that can be taken"... just not buying them for such, from them? I have never encountered Valenciennea species period other than in full saltwater settings (reefs, sand flats, mangroves...). And fishbase.org lists Ward's as "reef": http://fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=12615&genusname=Valenciennea&speciesname=wardii I would try re-contacting the company itself... these and other fully marine species may indeed live for a time in less than full-strength saltwater, but... I doubt if these gobies do well for long in such circumstances. Bob Fenner>

Breeding clowns and sleeper gobies 11/5/08 Dear Bob and all the team, Your site has been a great resource for me since we set up our first tank about 18 months ago. I now really need your advice or suggestions.  We have a 40gal tank (red sea max) which has been up and running for 18 months. We have a pair of breeding Percula clowns, and a pair of yellow headed sleeper gobies (Valenciennea strigata) which we think have just started breeding. (Also in the tank is a lawnmower blenny, mandarin, long nosed Hawkfish, and a pair of coral banded shrimp). Our first experience was with the clowns, when we discovered eggs about two weeks ago, ready to hatch. We set up a small tank, and stayed up all night and collected the fry. We were unfortunately unable to keep any alive after 2 days. (Didn't have anything to feed them.) We are unable to source any live rotifers, but have now acquired some frozen ones to try next rime around.  A week later, our clown laid another bunch of eggs, which are looking like they are ready to hatch in the next 24 hours.  Also, 2 days ago, the sleeper gobies have set up camp under the live rock, with the entrances all covered with the substrate.  Last night, I looked into the tank for any hatched clowns, and found one had hatched.  I went to work trying to transfer it to the rearing tank (10g with airstone). Then I noticed, appearing from nowhere, hundreds of tiny fish (about a quarter the size of the newly hatched clowns, i.e. 1-2mm in length) which were immediately attracted to the torch light.  I managed to transfer as many as possible into the rearing tank. (probably around 200-300), as well as two (only 2 hatched last night) of the clowns.  I am assuming that the new fish are the hatchlings fare sleeper gobies (although we are unable to see any eggs as they have burrowed under the live rock.)  I can't find any information about rearing them, and only have the one spare tank to try and keep them alive. I suspect the rest of the clowns will hatch tonight. My questions are: 1. Do you think it will be OK to put the newly hatched clowns in with the newly hatched gobies. (They are about 4 to 5 times larger). Will they potentially eat them if we can get them to survive. We are going to try feeding with frozen rotifers (we cannot source live ones from anywhere here in Australia). 2. Is there anything else we can try to feed them with, or do you think the rotifers will suffice. 3. Do you know the length of the breeding cycle with the gobies? 4. Should I just try and follow the rearing methods described for the clowns. 5. Is it usual to have this many hatch at once.( i.e. hundreds) 6. Any other help or suggestions will be extremely useful. Like I said, the new gobies (I think) have been a complete surprise, and we are completely unprepared (equipment and knowledge) to cope, but are willing to do all we can to try. Thanks in advance, Michael (from Melbourne, Australia) <Michael, I am sorry. I do not know the answers to your above questions. Judging from the time this query has sat here, neither does the rest of the crew. With zero breeding experience I would not want to even speculate. As you likely know, Bob F. is out of net service until the 13th or so. I will be sure to share this for his input when he returns. Until then, I did find one link in particular that will certainly be of interest to you, http://www.breedersregistry.org/Articles/v4_i1_brown/gobies.htm. Googling "goby breeding" will yield quite a bit more general information for you. I do hope this helps, Scott V.> <<Also check out this great book: http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Illustrated-Breeders-Marine-Aquarium/dp/1890087718 -Sara M.>>

More Re breeding clowns and sleeper gobies 11/5/08, 11/13/08 <<RMF>> Dear Bob and all the team, Your site has been a great resource for me since we set up our first tank about 18 months ago. I now really need your advice or suggestions. We have a 40gal tank (red sea max) which has been up and running for 18 months. We have a pair of breeding percula clowns, and a pair of yellow headed sleeper gobies (Valenciennea strigata) which we think have just started breeding. (Also in the tank is a lawnmower blenny, mandarin, long nosed Hawkfish, and a pair of coral banded shrimp). Our first experience was with the clowns, when we discovered eggs about two weeks ago, ready to hatch. We set up a small tank, and stayed up all night and collected the fry. We were unfortunately unable to keep any alive after 2 days. (Didn't have anything to feed them.) <<Ahh, very common in the "history"/development of aquarists keeping such animals>> We are unable to source any live rotifers, but have now acquired some frozen ones to try next rime around. A week later, our clown laid another bunch of eggs, which are looking like they are ready to hatch in the next 24 hours. <<Mmm, a few days more than this, depending on temp.>> Also, 2 days ago, the sleeper gobies have set up camp under the live rock, with the entrances all covered with the substrate. Last night, I looked into the tank for any hatched clowns, and found one had hatched. I went to work trying to transfer it to the rearing tank (10g with airstone). Then I noticed, appearing from nowhere, hundreds of tiny fish (about a quarter the size of the newly hatched clowns, i.e. 1-2mm in length) which were immediately attracted to the torch light. I managed to transfer as many as possible into the rearing tank. (probably around 200-300), as well as two (only 2 hatched last night) of the clowns. I am assuming that the new fish are the hatchlings fare sleeper gobies (although we are unable to see any eggs as they have burrowed under the live rock..) I can't find any information about rearing them, and only have the one spare tank to try and keep them alive. I suspect the rest of the clowns will hatch tonight. My questions are: 1. Do you think it will be OK to put the newly hatched clowns in with the newly hatched gobies. (They are about 4 to 5 times larger). Will they potentially eat them if we can get them to survive. We are going to try feeding with frozen rotifers (we cannot source live ones from anywhere here in Australia). <<Yes to this trial. The two species can likely be reared together, starting near the same size>> 2. Is there anything else we can try to feed them with, or do you think the rotifers will suffice. <<Mmm, do look into the older Frank Hoff, the more recent Matt Wittenrich petfish titles on marine fish culture... very worthwhile, pertinent chapters on food procurement, culture... There are some small crustaceans that can be put to use here as well as various Rotifers... but again, as you state, these need to be procured, ongoing with the reproduction of the fishes>> 3. Do you know the length of the breeding cycle with the gobies? <<Mmm, only a few (2-3) days... use your search tool with the term: Valenciennea reproduction>> 4. Should I just try and follow the rearing methods described for the clowns. <<Mmm, yes>> 5. Is it usual to have this many hatch at once.( i.e. hundreds) <<Yes>> 6. Any other help or suggestions will be extremely useful. Like I said, the new gobies (I think) have been a complete surprise, and we are completely unprepared (equipment and knowledge) to cope, but are willing to do all we can to try. Thanks in advance, Michael (from Melbourne, Australia) <Michael, I am sorry. I do not know the answers to your above questions. Judging from the time this query has sat here, neither does the rest of the crew. With zero breeding experience I would not want to even speculate. As you likely know, Bob F. is out of net service until the 13th or so. I will be sure to share this for his input when he returns. Until then, I did find one link in particular that will certainly be of interest to you, http://www.breedersregistry.org/Articles/v4_i1_brown/gobies.htm. Googling "goby breeding" will yield quite a bit more general information for you. I do hope this helps, Scott V.> <<Do please report on your efforts here Michael. BobF>>
Re: breeding clowns and sleeper gobies 11/14/08
Thanks for the information Bob. <Welcome Michael> Just to keep you filled in, we put the clown and Valenciennea fry in together. The clowns all died within 48 hours, and most of the Valenciennea have also died, however it is now day 15, and there are still some of the Valenciennea fry alive (about 10 in total). We have been feeding them only the frozen rotifers, and have just started putting in some (just hatched) baby brine shrimp. <Should be about right-sized about now...> I have already purchased Frank Hoff's book, but will get the other by Matt Wittenrich immediately. (It will take about 2-3 weeks to get down here to Australia). <I see> The Valenciennea (adults) have been doing a lot of rearranging in the last 24 hours, so I suspect they are preparing their burrow. We also have another bunch of clowns which look like hatching in the next 48 to 72 hours. <Ahh!> We will keep trying to raise them, and will keep you informed of our progress. (Or lack of it, whatever the case may be.) We just don't have the time, or space to culture our own rotifers at the moment, so we will try and persist with the frozen ones. Thanks, Michael <Not hard to culture... You might be able to procure starter cultures there from a near-enough close by university... Do look about... can be easily mailed. Bob Fenner>

Cleaning Sand and Feeding Gobies 06/02/2008 Hello, <<Good evening, Andrew today>> My fiancé and I have had a 38 gallon tank for almost 2 years now and we have never had clean sand! We have tried everything from sand sifting stars that disintegrate in days, to a huge clean up crew that resulted in hermits eating all our snails, to our favorite the golden headed sleeper goby. But we were never properly educated by the store we bought him from. They told us as long as he has fine grain sand he'll be fine. WRONG! <<Yikes...Very wrong>> He starved in about a month. We have been reading up and we know about the copepods but do we really need a refuge tank? We are very limited with space and money and the refuge isn't really any option at all. <<Not even one of the cheap hang on refugiums? They really are low cost and are of great benefit to your system, especially to promote copepod growth, nutrient export>> We really want to get our sand clean again. We recently added 20 Nassarius snails but they aren't doing much either We would love to get another goby but we don't want another one to starve. Any suggestions? <<Getting another goby is not really a good option, as your already aware, as it will starve also as there is obviously a lack of food in the substrate. I would suggest getting some low flow going over the sandbed. This will stop particles settling, and keep it in the water column to be removed via filtration. Maybe up the filtration level on the tank. Don't know what your tank system is, so, cannot really comment much more on that side of it>> Thanks, The Tuggs <<Thanks for the questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Goby Dust…The "Engineering" Nightmare? - 03/06/08 Crew, <<Ben>> Thank you in advance. <<Happy to assist>> I recently added a Diamond Goby to my 240. I made sure he was eating at the LFS for several days before getting him and he continues to eat well at home. <<Excellent>> After finally adding him to the display after QT he is now "going to town" on my sand. <<Indeed…and likely "crop-dusting" your rock/corals>> I have a grain size mixture that includes Oolitic sand. He is doing such a good job that I have a good amount of particulate matter in the water column now. <<No doubt…the fish are quite the "stirrers">> Will this be detrimental to other livestock in anyway, gills etc.? <<It may cause some irritation to those organisms that can't slough it of easily (e.g. - plating Acroporids)…but for the most part it should cause no harm>> I understand that the photosynthetic animals will not receive quite as much light until this thing works itself out, but what about fish? <<The fish will be fine… But don't expect this to "work out." The goby will always find another place to dig…or at the least, gobble up mouths-full of sand and sprinkle it around the tank (crop-dusting)>> I'm hoping this is purely aesthetic for the time being and won't hurt anything. Last time I went snorkeling the water wasn't exactly crystal clear, so I hope the fish will be okay. I guess I'm just used to my water being extremely clear with UV, carbon etc. <<Indeed, is/will be more bother to you than most anything else in the tank. I have a 6" Barred Goby (Amblygobius phalaena) in my 375g reef display that keeps quite a bit of the fine substrate/detritus in suspension. If I had it to do over I would forgo the goby…but not because of any "harm" it has done to the system/livestock>> Thank you, Ben <<Quite welcome. EricR>>

Sand sifting goby question...sys. mostly   3/2/08 Hello crew, I've been enamored by the two spot goby (Signigobius biocellatus) since I saw it. I would like to get a pair of these for my 75 gallon tank. I would like to upgrade to a 180 gallon next spring. I know they're not a beginner fish and am committed to keeping them alive. I do I have a 30 gallon sump with the middle part being a refugium with Chaeto and rock rubble. I've got a couple of questions for you, but I'll start off with all my parameters. SG - 1.025 pH - 8.2 Alk - 9 dKH Calcium - 400 The current tank inhabitants are a pair of ocellaris clowns who refuse to go into the nice Green BTA that has been in the tank for 8 months (that's a whole 'nother story though), a small (4") powder blue tang, flame angel, a plump mandarin, and an orange Firefish who enjoys hiding. There is about 90 pounds of nice established (3+ years) Live Rock. I have a mixed reef including some SPS, LPS, Zoas and a few other softies. Water changes happen every other week of about 15 gallons. I dose B-Ionic daily. I skim with an Octopus nw-150, but don't actually get a lot of skimmate. <I'd look into a better skimmer> I have a mandarin who is plump and happy. He is doing well. I've had him for about 9 months now. He munches on pods all day. When I feed the tank Formula 1 and 2 pellets he hunts them down as soon as they hit the sand. Do you think I could house a pair of two spot gobies? I wouldn't want any of them to starve. <May eat too many "pods" to suit your Dragonet> My second question has to do with sand grain size. I currently have an aragonite play sand. The sand ranges in size from .5mm to just over 1mm. The two spot goby doesn't grow very big, so I'm assuming that it needs a fairly fine sand to sift. Would this sand be okay, or should it be finer? <Is fine... where I've seen this species in the wild, the substrate was about this size> The current sand bed is 1.5 inches deep. I am moving my tank in about two weeks, out of the apartment that I live in, and into the house I am buying. It would be the perfect time to switch sands. Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I appreciate it. Joe
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Black Mark on Sleeper Goby 2-9-08 Yunachin, <Hi there!> Thanks for your reply. <No problem at all.> I have one last question; this time about my sleeper goby. <Okie dokie.> He has developed a black marking where his chin is. It appears to be getting darker everyday (the marking). Could it be a disease? Or stress? <Could be an array of things. Is there any way that you can send a picture for a better identification?> Thanks again, <No prob! -Yunachin> Merlinda

Re: Black Mark on Sleeper Goby  2-11-08 Hello again, <Hi.> Attached are pictures of my goby with the black marking. <I did a pretty extensive search just to make sure of myself and found that this marking is indeed a natural color variation. Here is the link where I got a very nice close-up: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-09/hcs3/index.php; > Thanks,
<Glad to be of help.-Yunachin>

Diamond goby lip breaking away   2/5/08 Hello to you all, <Howdy> Most of the time I come to your page for answers. But I am unable to find a proper solution to my problem. I have a 4-5in diamond goby that has been in the tank for a week or so now. His tank mates are a Sailfin tang, coral beauty, flame hawk, <Mmmm, suspect #1> beta, 2 ocellaris (sp) clowns, and a Fiji puffer. <What species is this?> Now I know that the hawk fish can be a little punk, mine has been in the past. So I got a goby over twice a big as him. The goby doesn't seem care the hawk was aggravated, but that stopped after 2 days. The goby just went around eating and making holes in the sand since day one. But yesterday that stopped. The goby's face seems all messed up, like he was eating rough sand. I have had goby's in the past and none had a problem eating my sand bed. its not gravel or anything, just sand, and a few shells for the crabs. His upper lip is almost gone and a piece of it is still attached and it moves in and out of his mouth as he breathes, which is now quite rapid. You can tell its red and irritated. I can understand why he isn't sifting, it would hurt it seems. But when I feed the tank he doesn't eat that food. :*( I don't know what to do, I have a 150g reef tank so I cant just put some anti-biotics. The sal is 1.023 <I'd raise this> the ph is 8.2 and all low readings on the bad stuff Ammonia, NO NO2, PO4 etc. And no other fish are bugging him or affected by anything. <Then... whence forth the damage? Something worked this animal.> But I feel bad if there is something I can do and I am not. I am sure you understand. Well thanks for your time. Best Regards Rob <I'd be moving this fish... to somewhere more simpatico... hoping it heals, feeds on its own... a refugium if you have one. Bob Fenner>

Orange-spot Goby - QT question/possible Ich 01/24/2008 Hello CREW, <<Hello Brian, Andrew here, sorry for the delay in response>> For starters, thank you for the awesome website, it is my primary source of information and research (besides the Conscientious Marine Aquarist, of course). Can't wait until the updated edition of the book comes out. <<AM sure Bob will release details when he can, and thank you>> Main tank is a 75 gal FOWLR system, QT is a 20 gal. Both systems have been up and running for about 2 months at this point (still a bit young). Main tank has 2 Ocellaris Clowns and 2 PJ Cardinals. QT currently holds 1 Orange-spot goby (I have identified as /Valenciennea puellaris/)<<Correct>>, and 1 Banggai Cardinal. These fish have been in QT for 5 days now. Some aragonite substrate was added to the QT for the sand sifter, it is usually bare bottomed. <<Personally, I would of left it bare bottom. Substrate in the quarantine tank can harbour parasites which can infect other fish>> For the first 3 days, neither fish would eat. I added garlic drops to their food and the goby is now eating everything in sight. <<That's good to hear>> The cardinal still has yet to eat more than a piece or two of Mysis. After researching, I understand the tank is a bit young for this goby (learned my lesson on not researching first), but at least he is readily taking prepared foods. <<Yes, we sometimes do learn the hard way. By providing a diet yourself, will help a lot for the fish>> I have read on WWM that extended quarantines for these types of gobies is not recommended, let alone quarantining at all. On the 2nd day in QT, I noticed white spots on the goby's fins that looked to be Ich (picture attached). That evening was the first time he ate (when I began using garlic), and the spots were gone the next morning. These spots were only there for 24 hours. Could this have been Ich? Also, at this point, would it be wise to move him to the main tank or leave him in QT? <<Ich would not of disappeared so quickly, it's possible it was fine grains on sand on the fins>> The Cardinal has shown no signs of disease. Also, I have seen conflicting statements in regards to FW dips for these fish. Should I or shouldn't I? <<I would always quarantine, about 4 weeks, and yes, I would FW dip>> Curiously, in some of the pictures, the spots appear black depending on if water or substrate is behind the fin. All spots are in fact white, regardless of what color they show in the pictures. <<Again, this would lead me more towards grains of sand, with the changing colour from pictures and naked eye>> Thanks for all your advice, Brian Gross. <<Thanks for the questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Re: Orange-spot Goby - QT question/possible Ich 01/25/2008 Andrew, thank you so much for your reply. <<Glad I could help>> One thing though, I am virtually 100% positive that the spots on his fins were not grains of sand. The fact that the spots came and went over a 24 - 36 hour period was confusing to me as well. As for the FW dip, would you do it with any additives (such as Methylene Blue), or straight FW (pH adjusted, I assume)? <<pH adjusted and using blue, that's correct>> As for the Banggai Cardinal, it still refuses to eat. It has now been 6 days and it has eaten (at most) 4 - 5 pieces of Mysis shrimp. Is there anything else I can possibly do? I have tried both frozen Mysis and frozen brine (Spirulina enriched) soaked in garlic and Zoe. I read through the Banggai FAQ's and am still at a loss. I fear he will not last much longer if I can't find a way to get him to eat. His stomach is quite indented at this point. <,You could try adding Selcon to some food, to see if this will entice the Cardinal to eat. http://ww.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=5009 >> Thank you once again for your time and a wonderful website. <<Glad we could help you. Please keep me informed on both fish. A Nixon>> Regards, -Brian

Re: Orange-spot Goby - QT question/possible Ich 01/30/2008 Andrew, <<Hello Brian>> Just a quick update. The Goby is doing great. He is still eating like a champion and fattening up quite nicely. He is having the time of his life, the QT tank typically looks like a sandstorm has passed through. As the sand was put in the QT only for him (being a sand sifter and all), it will be removed and disposed of when the Goby comes out of QT. <<Sounds wonderful, glad the fish is doing well?? Unfortunately the Banggai Cardinal passed away Friday evening. He never would eat, no matter what we tried. He wouldn't even eat live brine. Just another lesson learned, in addition to all of the other things you do when selecting livestock, one should always make sure you have the LFS feed the fish prior to you purchasing. <<And not so wonderful...Yes, its always a good idea to see a fish eat at the store prior to purchase, and preferably, see the fish eat a couple of different foods over a couple of day. Sad that the fish died>> Thanks again for all of the help, Brian <<Thanks for the follow up Brian and good luck. A Nixon>>

Valenciennea puellaris spawning   1/3/08 Hello my name is Alfie. I have what appears to be a pair of these goby's and after reading on your website I presume they are spawning where the one closes the mouth of there house under the rocks with the other one inside. If this is the case I would like to prepare in advance for any young that might be arriving. <Good> What food should be made for the young? <A few... but at this stage... likely just Artemia, brine shrimp is all you'll be able to culture in time...> Should I remove them from the display tank? How long I should be able to know if there are youngsters? <... I would leave all in place... and days to weeks> Thanking you in advance, Alfie Hayes <Do see the Breeder's Registry (.com) re the genus, related gobies reproduction. Bob Fenner>

Elegance Acting Funny... reading...    10/24/07 Hey CREW! <Howdy!> I bought a 1 year old 14 gal BioCube 2 months ago. The owner had an elegance and a colony of Zoanthids in it. <... too small for a Catalaphyllia...> My problem is, the elegance has been growing, and growing, and growing, and is now waaaay too big for my tank. <Yes> Then, 2 days ago I bought a yellow watchman. <Too small for this Goby...> He immediately began hosting the elegance, and now the yellow watchman has been gone for 4 days, <Ooops. Consumed> and the elegance has been (what looks like) filling up with air, and its color is going from light purple to a dark "bruised" looking royal color. <Ate too much> Why does it look like the elegance is "inflating?" And do you believe she has eaten the watchman? <Oh yes> I have moved my 15 pounds of live rock and he has not come out. Any advice is greatly appreciated. <Get a larger system... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/elegance.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Elegance Acting Funny, Valenciennea... reading   10/25/07 You say the tank is too small for the yellow watchman. I'm moving in 2 months, at which point I will have the room for a larger tank. Money is no object, and I plan on spending a lot of it. <Ok> So my question is, what do you think a good ratio for "inches of fish: gallons" is? <Posted...> And I would like to know the answer based on the current size of the fish, not the adult size, as I said, I know I will be upgrading the tank, and I look forward to doing so. I have kept freshwater fish successfully for 8 years and I go with 1" per 5 gallons for most fish. <... see WWM re Goby, this species... Systems> Also, what is your opinion of nano tanks? <Also posted... can work, often don't...> I have seen seahorses in 2.5 gallons, my LFS had an engineer goby in 10 gallons, and I see nanos all the time with mated pairs of clowns in 8 gallons. Where do you draw the line? <Posted... at about 40 gallons> Thank you for sharing your knowledge. <Thank you for looking, reading what is archived ahead of writing. BobF>

Valenciennea wardii - a brackish water fish? 10/24/07 An aquarium store called 'Arizona Aquatic Gardens' is selling Valenciennea wardii as a freshwater fish, though recommending it as a brackish water fish (the salinity range suggested spans about SG 1.006 to 1.010). I've never seen this fish traded as a freshwater fish before, and would be curious to know anything about this fish. Is it indeed a euryhaline fish, or rather a true marine fish that happens to tolerate brackish/freshwater for a while? <Likely the latter. Only skimmed through some literature, since I cannot give any first hand information (I'm leaving this query in the marine folder in case someone else can). Following secondary literature (e.g. fish guides) this species is a true marine fish inhabiting sandy substrates. Valenciennea spp. are sand sifters and I guess, aside their apparent long term intolerance to fresh water, it could be hard to properly feed them in a fresh or brackish tank in the long run, since well populated sand beds are rare in these setups. What I found in books is basically the same what is written on fishbase.org: shallow marine, found on sand beds close to reefs, silty slopes, lagoons and coastal bays (perhaps some ventured into an estuary and were caught there). If you want more information, you'd probably have to look at: D.F. Hoese and H.K. Larson (1994): Revision of the Indo-Pacific Gobioid fish genus Valenciennea, with descriptions of seven new species. Indo-Pacific Fishes (23):71 p, or contact the authors. I'm not in the library today to look up more about Valenciennea wardii in this piece, but I guess it is a taxonomical piece, which usually have at least a little ecological information. Since V. wardii is said to be rare it will also help to confirm the ID of the sold gobies. Marco.> http://www.azgardens.com/misc_fish.php http://www.fishforums.net/index.php?showtopic=217688 Cheers, Neale

Valenciennea wardii    10/24/07 An aquarium store called 'Arizona Aquatic Gardens' is selling Valenciennea wardii as a freshwater fish, though recommending it as a brackish water fish (the salinity range suggested spans about SG 1.006 to 1.010). I've never seen this fish traded as a freshwater fish before, <Me neither. Have only encountered as a full-marine> and would be curious to know anything about this fish. Is it indeed a euryhaline fish, or rather a true marine fish that happens to tolerate brackish/freshwater for a while? http://www.azgardens.com/misc_fish.php http://www.fishforums.net/index.php?showtopic=217688 Cheers, Neale <Likely you too looked on Fishbase: http://fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=12615 Listed as a marine... I don't think any member of the genus will live long, well in other than full-strength seawater. Cheers, BobF>

Bullet Goby... Thin, Lack of Food?   9/9/07 Hello Crew, <Hi Tim, Mich here.> I have a bullet goby which I has been a great addition to my aquarium, <Glad to hear.> my algae is almost non-existent thanks to him which brings about my problem. He seems to clean so good that I'm afraid he's not getting enough food. <Heehee! Send him my way I could feed him for a while!> To date I've tried feeding him frozen brine, frozen Mysis, algae strips (may or may not be eating) phytoplankton, pellet food (tried that tonight, jury is still out) I'm considering krill next. <Ok. I do have a few more suggestions. I would soak whatever you offer him in a vitamin supplement such as Selcon. You may also want to try Spirulina, dried brown or red algae, or perhaps some Spectrum foods. I have not personally used Spectrum foods but I have heard many extolling its palatability and high nutritional value.> The only other fish he is competing with is a sebae clown which doesn't bother him at all. I really don't want to lose this fish. Here is a pic ... notice the stomach area. <Yes, he does not look well. Perhaps you have friend whose tank has a little excess algae?> Thank You, <Welcome! Mich> Tim

Bullet Goby... Thin, Lack of Food? Now Eating Brine Shrimp  9/10/07 <Hi Tim, Mich with you again.> Some good news, he is eating live brine like a mad man. <YAY!> This is the first time I've ever put live brine in my tank since it has zero nutritional value. I'm going to start hatching some and soaking them in Selcon. <Good, is a start. Hopefully will eventually be able to get him to eat something with more nutritional value such as frozen Mysis.> I hope it's not too late for him. <Me too!> If I get live brine from the LFS, is it a waste of time soaking them in Selcon? <No I think any bit might benefit this fish.> Thank You,
<Welcome! Mich>

Yellowhead sleeper gobies  7/7/07 Dear Crew, In your experience have you ever heard of this situation: I have a mated pair of yellowhead sleeper gobies who lived harmoniously for over a year. They had their own burrow under a rock where they stayed together. Then, for some unknown reason, one has turned on the other. <Mmm, yes> The aggressor chases the other away if too close. The weaker one is suffering; eating, but getting thinner. I'm going to try to catch the aggressor if I can and separate them for a while. I was wondering if anyone had ever heard of pairs of gobies turning on each other. Thanks, Jeff <Perhaps some sort of behavior related to the system being, or rather being perceived as too small... Maybe two animals of the same sex... Bob Fenner, who would separate them>

Re: Marine Substrate Q; Sand Size for Goby  - 05/08/07 good day to all! <Hello Again.> (follow-up question) sir <No formalities, Adam or AJ is fine.> regarding the size of my sand, it is about 1mm to 2mm, is that okay for fishes that tend to burrow in the sand like a yellow wrasse and a sand sifting goby? will they get hurt since it is not a sugar fine sand? <Depends on how small the specimens are, but if your getting an average sized goby, this shouldn't be a problem.> thanks! <Welcome, Adam J.>

Survival of gobies, Sel.  3/28/07 Hi there, <J and G> I'm about to order a sleeper goby  and read on your site that the Valenciennea puellaris frequently dies of starvation due to a lack of fauna in the substrate. Would you say that the  Valenciennea strigata has got better survival chances in the aquarium? Thanks for your advice, regards, Jana.. <I "score" these two congeners about the same for utility in captivity... Both easily suffer for a lack of suitable infauna, substrate to sift through/for. Bob Fenner>

Blue Dot Sleeper Goby Acclimation  03/25/07 Hi All - <Hello Brandon here.> I have a question.   <I will try to have an answer.> I just acquired a Sleeper Blue Dot Goby (Valenciennea sexguttata) from a LFS.  Looks healthy, was eating in the store.   <Good sign.> I just acclimated it and now have it in a 10G quarantine tank.   <Good Job on Quarantining.> The tank has no substrate, just two medium sized pieces of live rock and one piece of large PVC.  I've read in a few places on the site that I should only QT fish that live in burrows for two weeks or so as the stress of no substrate will be bad for him.  Then I read other areas about a minimum of 4 weeks for any fish.   <I would not worry about the stress too much here.  It would be far worse if you were to place the fish in your display only to loose fish due to an outbreak of disease.> I've always done 4 weeks min in the past with success.  What should I do for him?   <I would go with four weeks.> Thanks! <You're welcome.  Brandon.> Mike

Will a Sleeper Banded Goby be to <too> big for a 30 gallon tank?  11/12/06 Hello, i <I> have a 30 gallon tank with a Valentini puffer, 2 fire fish, <Need more room> and a yellow tailed damsel with about 2 inches of pretty fine sand (1/2 live 1/2 reg sand). Everything has been great the past few months but I am getting a lot of algae growth on my sand that I don't really like so I was thinking about getting a sand-shifter goby. I like the Sleeper Banded Gobies but I herd <heard> they can get up to 6" but they are ok in 30 gallon tanks. Do you think he will be ok? if not what would be a good sand-shifter goby? Thank you for your time. <Mmm, I wouldn't add one of these here... the system is too small, and already has some fishes that won't appreciate sharing their niche. Bob Fenner>
Re: Will a Sleeper Banded Goby be to big for a 30 gallon tank?  11/12/06
Thanks for the quick response, but is there anything I can get to help move the sand around? <... please see WWM re... there are articles, FAQs files archived re the topic. RMF>

Sandsifting goby, how big a tank?   9/16/06 Hi there, <Hello> I have a 29 tall tank that has 2 (paired) clowns, a few corals and a cleaner shrimp. Tank is quite stable. We would like to add a new fish and I became enamored by a Sand Sifting Goby at the LFS. It is labeled as a Diamond Goby, but it is more green and brown in color, has bands and two small black spots as well. I think it is a Barred Goby. I would guess the fish is about 2 inches. We put it on hold, but now I am worried we don't have enough sand for it. I also read that they will eat regular food, too. Is this a bad fish for us? If so, do you have any suggestions on an interesting addition for our tank? <I think the more important question is how established is your sand bed.  Sand Sifting gobies need a well established sand bed with lots of micro fauna to feed on.  The only problem is that in a small tank, they can sometimes wipe out the entire population.  Yes, some will eat prepared foods, but not always guaranteed.  I would definitely make sure he is eating before you take him home. - Cheers! Dr. J> <<Yep, he's new! RMF>>

Star(fish) Wars Part III 7/03/06 So after my orange brittle star tried to eat one of my sand sifting stars, I told the aquarium shop if I could return it because it was being aggressive, they said I could but I would get no money or store credit for it. <That's unfortunate.>  It sucks so I decided to keep it. Since I have two other brittle stars, a greenish, an orange (the aggressive), and a black-reddish one.  Well after that I noticed that my diamond watchman goby was not around, he would always come out of his cave for hours to eat, then yesterday I didn't notice him at all.  I had my fiancé move rocks today and try to find it and when he was checking the wet and dry, long and behold my beloved watchman goby was dry and toasty as a French fry under my dining room table which is next to the tank.  I am just wondering why would he jump out of the tank.  <Perhaps startled by something, running from something, water quality, and sometimes its just a mystery.> I did noticed when I was buying him at the aquarium shop that while the guy was trying to catch him with the net it seemed that he was going to jump out of the tank, he was swimming that fast and up towards the surface, so I am just wondering if it was that perhaps the brittle star tried to eat him or something and to escape, he jumped.  <Possible, they are know as a bit of a jumper anyways.>  I was so sad, it was a great addition to my 180 tank, it had character and really kept my sand super white, along with my sand sifting stars and yellow headed goby. Would you provide with some light here?  I need to know if my thought is correct.  He was like two inches and I thought that I was going to keep him for a long time. <There are many reasons why fish jump, escaping a predator is just one potential reason, hard to say with any confidence what happened.> <Chris>

Which Sand-Sifting Goby?   6/19/06 Hello help crew, <<Vincent>> The sand in my sand bed is roughly 1mm to 1.5mm sized.  What kind of goby will fit to that? Thanks, Vincent <<Most all of the sand-sifting/sleeper gobies will do fine.  My favorite is Amblygobius phalaena...  Regards, EricR>>
Which Sand-Sifting Goby? II - 06/19/06
Hello Eric, <<Hello Vincent>>    I saw a beauty white goby and I think there is a little black dot in his back, and he swallow the sand in his mouth then released it to the back (I don't know how to call that). <<It's referred to as "sifting" the substrate>> It was so interesting!!  Wonder will he do that if my sand is bigger size? <<You don't give me much to go on here for an ID Vincent.  If this was a Yellow Headed Sleeper Goby (Valenciennea strigata) then yes, it will handle your substrate just fine.  I suggest you do a keyword search of our site, and the "net" in general, for "sand sifting goby" and see if you can identify what you saw/view the different species available...most all can handle/will do fine with a substrate grain size of 1mm-1.5mm as you have stated you have>> Thanks, Vincent <<Regards, EricR>>
Which Sand-Sifting Goby? III - 06/21/06
Valenciennea sex...(Valenciennea 1837), I think that what it is.  Thanks. Vincent <<Valenciennea sexguttata...or Sixspot Goby.  Not widely seen/available in my experience, but I would expect it do fine with your substrate all the same.  Regards, EricR>>

Mandarin/Diamond Goby question   6/10/06 I have a question or two for you.   I have 110 Gallon tank, with about 90 lbs. of live rock.  I am planning to run the tank approximately 6 months to a year before adding any piscine buddies; I really want to let all the critters populate the rock and sand.  Question; would this amount of time provide enough live food to sustain a Mandarinfish (Synchiropus splendidus), without a refugium? <Likely so... with an absence of competitors> Would he/she eventually eat through all the pods, or would they have enough space and numbers to sustain a healthy population indefinitely? <Likely large enough to sustain an ongoing food population here> I suppose I can make refugium area in my sump, but I don't want to light it since I tend to have heat issues and that is just one more source to worry about.  Can the pods grow fine in the dark?   <Many types, yes> Actually, it is not completely dark since it is in a fish room and receives stray light from the tank above, but definitely not enough "quality" light to grow any macro algae with.  I can put some aragonite sand and some filter floss for them to live in....would this work? <Possibly> Last question; this is regarding a Diamond Goby.  Would that be in competition for food with the mandarin goby? <Particularly when small yes. Still as a consumer of benthic, in-fauna that give rise to other organisms with age, size as well> When they filter the sand, do they specifically target pods, or are they just getting the detritus? <Sift most all "large-enough" worms, crustaceans, molluscs...> Thank you for your time, it is appreciated.  Take care. Paul <Bob Fenner>

Diamond Goby Mated Pair Behavior  - 5/12/2006 Hi Bob, <Tim> I've been involved with reef keeping for three years now and would like to formally thank you and the crew for providing me with an exceptional education through your website. <A pleasure, honor to serve> I have an interesting situation and have not been able to find any similar experiences posted on any forum website. I have a mated pair of Diamond Gobies which I've had for several months (yes they do make a mess of my DSB but my wife insisted!). <Heee... on the gobies or the mess... or both!?> On a daily basis for the past several weeks the pair have performed the following ritual with one particular piece of live rock: they both dig a burrow under the rock then one of the two (how do you sex a goby?) <Most can't be... externally> gets underneath the rock and the other completely covers the rock with sand (what was my DSB). The first time it happened I intervened almost immediately and lifted the rock off and let the goby swim calmly away. On turning the rock over to replace some of my DSB, I noticed a fleshy mass that was attached to the underside of the rock, It didn't look to me like an egg mass, not like I've seen with my continuously spawning pair of True Percs. <There is more diversity amongst the fishes than the rest of the vertebrates (amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) combined...> I obviously don't want to lose the goby, but I also don't want to interfere with their natural behavior. Is this a spawning event? Or, is this a goby divorce? <The former> Thanks in advance for any input/comments that you might have on this. Best regards, Tim <Do, please, keep good notes... consider what foodstuffs you might be able to culture, use here... to feed the young. Bob Fenner>

Valenciennea strigata Rescue  - 2/21/2006 A great pleasure to write to you. Your answers and articles have steered and scared me in the right direction many times though foolish (human) mistakes are always abound. <Ah, yes>    I purchased 2 Valenciennea strigata from my LFS today. I've been waiting for these fish for some time and they always come in damaged or not at all. I only paid for one the 2nd seemed to be in Osmotic shock while the healthy one was hovering and protecting him. I looked at them yesterday and said I would take them today if he made it through the night, and he did.      Symptoms are mostly upside down and not swimming much at all, heavy breathing. no other obvious signs of parasites. LFS said he came out of the bag like this. I know its probably a lost cause but a worthy one. any suggestions would be Greatly appreciated.....Chris in Rhode Island <Keep the area around where these are being quarantined quiet, the tank unlit... offer some live foods (crustaceans, worms), live rock... Bob Fenner>

Sand surface cleaner versus sand sifters    1/25/06 Hello again to the best Crew around!!  With the help you all gave me when I first got started, the great website and the awesome books, I have usually been able to find just about any info I need without having to bug you with any questions in quite some time.  But I have a question this time that is a different twist than what I see on the website.  I am wanting to find a "sand surface cleaner" versus a "sand sifter".  Most everything I find on the FAQs deal with something to do deeper cleaning than what I am after.   Here's the background. I have a 210-gal reef tank that is just about a year old. Livestock and such so far has been slowly built up to now consist of: - 5 Blue-Green Chromis - 1 Blackcap Basslet - 5 Lyretail Anthias - ! Coral Banded Shrimp - 5 or 6 Peppermint Shrimp - 1 Brown Brittle Star - 1 Feather Duster - Small Xenia patch - some Button Polyps - 1 small Torch Coral - 1 Cynarina (button/meat coral) - small patch of brown star polyps - large patch of neon green star polyps (lush and fast growing) - 1 Leather Coral, ~ 7" diameter - 1 Cabbage Coral, ~ 6" long - -1 Small blue/white Acropora - 1 brown Acropora - a couple of stalks of Shaving Brush - a couple of Emerald Crabs - several blue and scarlet hermit crabs - some mini hermit crabs - several Nassarius, Cerith, and Turbo Astrea snails - 5 large Mexican Turbo snails - 4" or so of aragonite substrate - roughly 300 lbs of LR - Feedings take place every 2-3 days with a mix of flakes, Spirulina, Cyclop-eeze, frozen Mysis shrimp and frozen meaty variety pack with Selcon drops added, occasional Marine Snow and/or DT's Phytoplankton I will soon be adding some Hawaiian Zebra Crabs, some more Astrea snails, and probably some more Nassarius just to help keep the sand stirred up more.  Eventually, I would like to add a Naso Tang, a Yellow Tang, and probably another Tang, like Sailfin or Kole maybe. That will be it for fish. Then I'll be adding more corals, and eventually maybe a clam.  But all that will come after I get my Chaetomorpha refugium going. <Good> Right now I am looking for something to keep the sand surface cleaned up. Not so much for stirring up and cleaning the bed but for cleaning the sand surface. Stirring would be good but the snails and weekly vacuuming help with that. But I am looking more for something to keep the brown stuff (diatoms?) from collecting on the surface in between weekly water changes. . Also, something to clean up any occasional Cyano that may decide to start up. Eliminating the need to vacuum would be awesome, but is not really the goal here. I just want to keep the sand surface looking clean in between vacuuming. The Snail and Crab Teams keep the rocks and glass pretty clean, but the sand surface still gets a light brown coating after a few days, especially along the back edges of some of the rock caves where the flow is low and the vacuum can't reach. Based on readings at WWM, along with your CMA and Reef Invertebrates books, I have thought about a Diamond Goby (Valenciennea puellaris), but want to make sure it would not decimate the sand bed of organisms the way a sand sifting star or horseshoe crab would. At least I think he wouldn't starve in this big of a tank. I have also started reading on the WWM website about spaghetti worms as an alternative. But I don't much about them yet and need to re-read about these in the Reef Invertebrate book again. <Valenciennea species would be my choice here> Your thoughts good or bad about spaghetti worms? <Mmm, often get eaten...> If I decide to add some of these, would you forego any other sand cleaners to avoid over-cleaning the bed? <Likely not a problem here with the gobies> If I go with the Diamond Goby to clean both the surface and upper layer, should I just surface-skim vacuum the top weekly and not do the normal inch or so into the bed? <Up to you> Any other suggestions you might offer about a sand cleaner? <I'd avoid most other types as too invasive and possibly predatory.> Thanks again for all your patience and great information.  I know you hear this a lot, but I am quite sincere when I say there are a lot of us 'learning aquarists' out here that owe a great deal of the little we have learned, and the successful joy of this hobby, to your efforts and assistance. Many may not still be in this hobby if not for your help. Tnx, Rick Morris <Glad to share, help. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sand surface cleaner versus sand sifters    1/25/06
Thanks for the fast reply, Bob.  Last follow up questions on this, I promise. The more I read your book and web today, the more concerned I get about the Valenciennea puellaris' reputation for jumping out of even well covered tanks and deep digging, plus his need for live Mysis. <Mmm...> So, I thought I should ask if you would recommend the Yellow Headed Sleeper (Valenciennea strigata) as an alternative? <Is a good choice as well... about the same nutritional needs, propensity for jumping...> Should he do almost as good a job cleaning the sand surface with less chance of a rock slide and jumping out of the tank? <About the same...> Also, what is the recommendation on quarantining gobies like these? Since they are primarily substrate feeders, how do you keep them from starving during a full quarantine? <Good question. Mainly a matter of more careful feeding, paying close attention that they don't get "too skinny"...> Will they possibly take frozen Mysis and/or other meaty variety while in quarantine, <Almost always, yes> or do you recommend going with a short quarantine of a couple day and then move into the main tank? <Shorten if necessary... with a pH adjusted FW dip twixt the move>    My quarantine tank is a separate 10 gallon bare-bottom system, so I could add a little aragonite from my main tank if that is your recommendation. <Should do fine> Thanks again for your help.    If you and the Crew ever get down to Atlanta, let me know.  I owe you a trip to the new Georgia Aquarium and lunch at the best BBQ in town!! <Some folks live just North (in S. Carolina...). And I do like BBQ! Both the Texan varieties and more south. Bob Fenner> Rick

Question on Orange spotted goby   1/22/06 Hi everybody!. I recently bought a pair (or i believe they are a pair) of Orange spotted gobies, and after i put them in my tank, right away one dug a hole under a piece of live rock and they both moved in. Now every once and awhile they do this weird dance where they swim around each other in a circle and one will lock its mouth on the others face and then act like nothing happened and go about there business. Now i think they are a pair because they NEVER leave each other. When one goes out the other goes with it. if one decides to go munch on gravel the other does as well its funny. But anyhow does anybody know what this might be? any help would be great. THANKS! Roger. <A social species... may not be reproductive in nature, but are "pairing" here. Bob Fenner>

A Quick Response Appreciated!! (Sand-Sifting Goby) - 12/11/05 Bullet Goby or Diamond Goby?  Is there a major difference? <<Bullet Goby/Genus - Amblygobius...Diamond Goby/Genus - Valenciennea...similar in habits/feeding.>> I wrote to CREW asking for a recommended critter that would eat algae dust from our sand surface. <<Yes...was I...EricR here again.>> Per your recommendation, was told to get a Bullet Goby. <<Correct>> I sent my husband in search of a Bullet Goby and he came back with 2 small Diamond Gobies, being told they would work equally as well and told we needed more than one because they are small. Tank: 180 gallon. <<Mmm...likely Valenciennea puellaris, the Orange-spotted Goby.  Have had these in the past...can/will do a good job sifting the substrate.  This goby will get large (6" or more), compatibility issues aside, two might be too much for your tank...possibility of not being able to keep both adequately fed.>> Are we ok to add them or should we take them back and hold out to find a Bullet Goby? <<Up to you.  If you like the looks of the Diamond Goby then give it a try...though I'm hesitant to recommend two at this stage.>> Scrambling here, I can't find any differences other than keeping more than one may create an issue, <<Maybe, yes>> thus don't know if I should return both or one, or continue to ready them as new additions to our tank. <<If you decide to add both make sure you do it at the same time, though I would be inclined to only add one of these fish. We house live rock, Naso Tang, Green Bird Wrasse, Fox face, Yellow Tang, Percula Clown, Coral Beauty, Royal Gamma, 3 Blue Damsels, 3 Striped Damsels, 1 Six Line Wrasse and 1 Black Brittle Star along with a host of Crabs that enjoy the night life. Debi Stanley-Viloria Mission Viejo, CA <<Regards, EricR>>

Sand Sifting Gobies...heavy bio-load and nutrient problems  12/1/05 Hello Crew <Hello.> I was at my LFS the other day and became extremely fascinated with the blue cheek gobies they had. Anyways I believe there would be room in my tank which is a 29 gallon FOWLR that consists of 2 ocellaris clowns 1.5" each, 2 yellowtail damsels 1" each,  <Watch the damsels they may get "evil" with age.> a six line wrasse 2" and a coral banded shrimp. Right now I have a crushed coral base (but was planning on converting to sand anyways), hang on filter and a small amount of live rock (2lbs maybe). I have had this exact set up for about six months and do 25% water changes once a month. Nitrates are usually in the 30 range. <This is a bit high... shoot for 10 or less. I would look into a protein skimmer.> Also I should be upgrading to a 55 gallon within the next year.  Do you think that adding a small (I know they can grow up to 7") blue cheek goby would upset my levels that much if at all. If it would could a solution be adding some small hermit crabs to process the extra detritus, or would adding more live rock be a better alternative. (I already know more water changes would be the best but they're a pain where my tank is at right now so I'm trying to go for convenience.)  <With your current load I would skip this addition. Not only due to its potential size but also due in part to what is in your tank already. Also more fish will not help your current nutrient problem. This animal also prefers larger tanks with well established Deep Sand Beds.> Thanks in advance for the guidance <Welcome.> Mike Turner <Adam J.> 

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

Goby M.I.A., Family Valenciennea 10/11/05 Hello, <Hi Chris!> I've had a pair of diamond gobies for about a year in our 125-gallon reef tank. We'll one of the pair will come up missing over the past month or so for a day or so, then will show up.  <Fairly normal of Valenciennea (sand-sifting and sleeper) gobies.>  We'll it's because the other one keeps burying him/her in their burrow she's been missing now  <Have you ever observed any aggression between the pair. Quite common for the gobies to fight over burrows.>  for about 72 hours and I moved some of the sand where he had covered up a clam that's right next to the burrow entrance he went back and put the sand back.  <Yes this is one of the facts of life with a goby in the tank, I have a pair that will bury anything given the chance.>  Is the other one okay or should I try and move the 4 inches of sand that he piled on the top of the hole, I don't see any other entrances to the burrow however these are very large rocks about 15 - 20 pounds that make up where they have made their burrow? <If the goby is indeed in the burrow he/she can get out. I would be patient for now and give it a little bit more time. Occasionally these fish can get over zealous in their tunneling behaviors, and have rocks/sand cave in on them.> Thanks, Chris <Just be patient it may emerge, Adam J.> 

Sleeper Goby Hey Crew, <Mark> A few questions regarding setting up a Q-tank if I may. <Go ahead> Looking to pick up a Sleeper Gold Head Goby (Valenciennea strigata) in a few days for my 75G (setup 2+ years, 40# LR, 4" oolite DSB, two clowns, purple tang and a cleaner shrimp). Q-tank is 15G, have a hang-on power filter that will take foam elements that have been in my main tank for awhile. Questions: -Should I fill (or partly fill) the Q-tank with water from the 75G? <Yes> -Considering is a sand sifter, go a shallow sand bed or stay bare bottom? <Mmm, a toss-up... if the animal looks fine otherwise, I'd add substrate... but if you think you might want/have to add medicant/s, I'd omit it... Actually... if the fish looks fine I'd probably skip quarantine altogether... and just pH adjusted freshwater dip and place it... More to be lost than gained with many such fishes (touchy, easily starved varieties)> -Tank previously setup with eggcrate lid, okay or should I be looking for a glass top? <All openings large enough to exit up must be covered> -How to feed the goby while in QT? <A "turkey" baster... meaty food items, frequently> -What should be the minimum stay? <None to a few weeks> Lastly, when is Part2 in the NMA series due out? <Heeeeee! Wish I could tell... a few to several months likely> Thanks in advance, Mark <Be chatting, Bob Fenner> 

Feeding Sand-Sifting Gobies (6/17/04) Hello, <Hi! Steve Allen with you tonight.>   As I was reading through your FAQS of sand sifting gobies, I noticed that many people's were getting thin and not getting enough food.  My friend has had a pair of them for 2 years in his 72 gallon, and to sustain feeding he has finely chopped up krill and buried it in the sand.  It seems to have worked could because the gobies are nice and fat. <Interesting. Obviously, one would have to be careful not to add too much and mess things up.> Scott. <thanks for the tip. I will post it for the edification of all readers.>

Twin-spot Goby <Hi Kylee, Mac here> I was talked into getting a twin-spot goby without doing the proper research and now that I've researched it I see that they need to be kept in pairs. My question is should I go get one from a store that isn't a mated pair and see if they will pair up? or should I take back the twin-spot goby that I have.  <In all honesty I kept a single twin spot goby for two years by itself.  I know that it is recommended that you keep it as a pair but mine did quite well on its own.  I will say that it paired up with a shrimp goby.  It was probably one of my very favorite fish ever but it did constantly eat in the sand.  Constantly sifting sand through its gills.  Was nice for keeping the sand stirred up but was tough on the sand critters.> Also will the twin-spot goby compete with the mandarin for food?  <Both eat pods so it will provide some competition for the mandarins food source.  You might consider supplementing your pods production with some type of refugium where they can breed without being eaten or consider renewing your pods with some type of outside pods that you bring in.> Thanks, Kylee

Dying Goby (6/6/04) I have a question concerning my orange diamond goby. <Valenciennea puellaris. This fish is a sand-sifter and will often starve to death in aquariums without a well-established (1 year or more) live sand bed.> I bought him about 2 1/2 weeks ago and I think he is on his way out. I have had my tank up and running for about 3 months and it is a 40 gallon tank. I have two Perc clowns, 1 green Chromis, one tiny black and white damsel, a small yellow tang and the diamond. <The Yellow Tang will outgrow the tank.> I have about 30+lbs of live rock and 2+ inches of live sand.  I have an emperor 400 filter, however I don't have a protein skimmer or UV sterilizer. <A skimmer would be nice. The UV is not necessary.> I have 4 shrimp, 2 peppermint and 2 camel shrimp. Also, I have about 4-8 hermit crabs and 10-12 snails. I changed around 15% of the water prior to adding my goby.  I acclimated him and put him in. <No quarantine? I sure hope he's not sick from a contagious disease that could wipe out your tank.> Immediately he went under some live rock and then I did not see him for 2 days.  Finally, he stuck his head out. He would grab a flake of food or a brine and would go back under. Every day he came out more and more. The little fellow got pretty brave and would roam the bottom with one eye on the other fish. He was always a little nervous around the yellow tang. The tang was not attacking him but would swim close and the goby would hide out. <Could have been attacking when you weren't watching. The goby is shy, and will not respond well to intimidation.> All of the sudden, 2 days ago I did my biweekly water change. I don't recall if he was acting strange before or after, but I believe it was before.  He stopped eating and would not come out of the rocks.  Now I noticed that he comes out of the rocks at late night.  He also seems to be breathing heavy. <Bad sign> One other thing that I did not think of much until now is that he had a tiny pink spot on him when I got him.  I didn't notice it on him in the store and though he just scraped into a rock or something. <Possible. If so, a portal for infection.> That spot disappeared after a few days and I though nothing of it. My water parameters are fine. Salinity 1.023-25, temp 78, no noticeable levels of nitrite or ammonia.  Furthermore, all of the other fish are happy as can be.  I was wondering if maybe the tang wounded him because the tang keeps pestering him now that he is just laying in the sand bed. I have to keep an eye on the tang and chase him away.  I don't know what to do, any suggestions.  LFS says that water quality is bad <why do they say this?>, but it is not and there are no spots, fin rot and his eyes are not cloudy. What can I do to save my little sand sifting buddy? <Take him out and put him in a hospital tank where you can try to nurse him back to health. Read about quarantine/hospital tanks on WWM. Hope this helps, Steve Allen.>

Mysterious Goby Loss Hi Crew, Scott F. here today> I arrived home tonight to find my 7" Diamond Goby dead in my tank. This sand-sifting superhero had lived in my tank for over a year. I was very worried about him after he had been in my tank for a about a month as he looked as if he was going to starve to death. To allow him to eat food, I would squirt mysids under the sand where other fish could not get to them. After doing this for several days, he eventually began to eat the mysids directly from the feeding tube. After that he had no fear of other fish and he would readily fight for anything I put in the tank (as well as chasing anything that looked like a tube). Since this he has always appeared to be in excellent health. The only changes recent I am aware of are the addition of a Pterosynchiropus splendidus and a Synchiropus picturatus to the aquarium, along with several coral frags (5 soft + 5 SPS), a 4" Lobophyllia and a 6" Alveopora. This is all in a 180g tank with a 20g refugium (teeming with 'pods and a little Gracilaria and Caulerpa). <Sounds like a nice setup for this fish> Water parameters look good to me: Temp=78F, Salinity=1.024, Ammonia=0, Nitrite=o, Nitrate<5 ppm, Ca=380, Alk=6. The only parameter that I have noticed to be out of range lately is the temperature. Our air conditioner went out last week so the temp got as high as 84F and fluctuated between 78F and 84F a few times but has stabilized at 77F-78F for the past two days. I realize this situation is less than ideal but the Diamond Goby is not the fish I would have expected to show the first signs of stress. <I doubt that a brief journey into the mid eighties would suddenly kill an otherwise healthy fish...> My Xenia, Powder Blue tang other corals, inverts and fish all appear to still be doing well. Do you think the goby could have choked on something or, since he was as large as what most books list as maximum size, maybe he was just very old when I purchased him? <Anything is possible...Could have even been a slow deterioration (such as "old age") that coincidently peaked when the temp of the tank got up there...> Although I assumed he was getting all nutrition from eating pellet food, silversides and whatever else I feed my fish, maybe he was getting all real nutrition from 'pods and the two dragonets have nearly eliminated the 'pod population (in about one week)?  <A definite possibility...> Since I have 200 pounds of LR. in a 180g tank with a refugium that is overflowing with 'pods I am guessing this last theory is a long-shot. <A long shot, but certainly not impossible...Slow starvation based on malnutrition is possible, too- however unlikely that seems> Any insight or guesses would be appreciated. Greg <Well, Greg, I'm going to have to postulate that it was simply the fish's "time"...Sometimes, a fish will expire suddenly regardless of care and conditions...A frustrating occurrence, but entirely too common. I'm afraid that, in the absence of environmental lapses and obvious disease signs, this fish may have simply expired for reasons that we cannot explain. Sorry for that unsatisfying answer, but we just cannot tell without a detailed postmortem...Don't be too discouraged- you gave it a great shot! Regards, Scott F>

Starvin' Marvin the Bluebanded Goby >Hi all, >>Hi. I have a Valenciennea strigata that has been in QT for a little over a month and it seems to be losing a lot of its girth. It has been eating the omega one flake I have been feeding it, it seems to love this stuff, really tears it up. I am wondering if that is all it is doing, with the amount of food (flake) it is consuming it should not be this skinny. Does this fish need another type of food, I thought omega one had sufficient protein for this fish, or does it just sift it thru its gills and break into tiny little pieces w/o digesting it. I had had exceptional luck with this fish accepting the flake food so I am assuming it would easily accept other types. Should I try something else to fatten it up, and if so what do you recommend? >>Check out this site: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=6575&genusname=Valenciennea&speciesname=strigata It outlines part of what this fish feeds on.  Another issue, unfortunately one that cannot be solved if such is the case, is possible exposure to cyanide.  This poison destroys the gut in such a way that any food eaten cannot be utilized.  I do hope it's more a matter of providing a better/different variety of foods that better mimic its natural diet, rather than cyanide exposure.  Best of luck to you, Marina >Thanks, Ryan

Valenciennea strigata breeding 2/9/04 I have a breeding pair of Valenciennea strigata, marine blue cheek gobies in my tank. Last night I watched one of them waft out hundreds of fry, which I quickly netted and placed in my 300 litre tank, which contains no livestock. It has a small air pump going, and a Tunze 3115/2 skimmer. How do I care for them? <consult the breeding reports of similar fishes at the Breeders Registry online... and get some rotifers and baby brine shrimp hatched ASAP (consult Florida Aqua Farms for supplies). You are not likely going to be able to only feed them baby brine at first... rotifers will be needed> I caught them 12 hours ago and they are still swimming. What should I feed them? At the moment I am using invert food, which says it can be used for marine fry, but what should I use? <the invert food will likely elicit no response from the fry. Its the wrong particle size and type> Has this been done before, as I can't find any info on it? Any advice will be appreciated. Best Regards, James Matthams. <I'm not sure of anyone rearing the fry successfully. Please photograph and document your efforts regardless of how successful it is. It will be a great help to future aquarists. Write and article and we'll publish it for you. Or... Take notes and pics and I'll personally help you co-author the article. Best regards, Anthony>
Valenciennea strigata breeding 2/10/04
Dear Anthony, I am taking pictures at this moment and making notes on the goby fry. I am excited about the idea of doing an article, and look forward to doing this. <outstanding! Please let me know how/if I can help you. For starters... if the pics are digital, shoot them in the highest resolution possible and do not retouch them in Photoshop or any such program (some editors wont take them unless raw originals... they can retouch as needed).> It is now 48 hours since they have hatched, and I think there are about 20 active fry, which are aware of me, and of food. I will keep you posted. Regards, James Matthams <excellent and please do continue to take detailed notes about your tanks husbandry and history (temps, foods, tankmates, dates/calendar/lunar cycle, etc). Kindly, Anthony>

Hungry Goby? I have a yellow headed sleeper Gobi (Valenciennea strigata) and he is acting fine and sifting like crazy, but he is loosing a lot of weight fast. I had this problem with a Kole tang about 4 months ago and 4 year old blue damsel. However, my mandarin, cleaner shrimp and Mustard Tang are fine and seem to be thriving. Tank 55 gal Wet dry Skimmer 70 Lb LR Can't seem to figure this thing out. Primary source of food is Mysis and whatever they can scavenge. Mysis is feed every 2-3 days and water parameters are right on. Perhaps a parasite? Peter <Well, Peter- internal parasites are a definite possibility. Many fishes do harbor these organisms, and the problems can manifest in your tank. These fishes tend to waste away in captivity if high protein foods are not eaten regularly. My best suggestion here would be to see that food is placed where he can easily get to it (like on the bottom of the tank). This will help assure that he gets his fair share. In all likelihood, there is not enough infaunal life in the sand to sustain him, so keep the food coming his way. Hopefully, this should fatten him up a bit. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Blue Cheek Goby Hi,<Howdy, Cody here.> When I feed my fish a mixture of flakes and brine shrimp, will a Blue Cheek Goby eat the remains of the food that fall onto the substrate? And would one of these fishes live happily with a regal tang, Potter's angelfish, and a ocellaris clownfish, 2 cleaner shrimps, and 3 crabs?<I would target feed with a turkey baster to make sure he gets his fair share of food.  As far as compatibility please read here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/valenciennea.htm Cody.> Many thanks Darrell

Sleep On It! (Should He Keep A Sleeper Goby?) Dear Robert, <Actually- Scott F. in for Bob today, who's in New York> I was doing some internet searching for information on Valenciennea muralis and found your contact information. I have my eye on a pair at the moment which appears very healthy. For me it is not a cheap fish to obtain costing $50 for the pair. I was hoping to get some information on how easy are they to keep in aquariums and whether they will eat aquarium food. The shop keeper claims Yes, but my readings suggest that many of such species will starve to death in aquariums. <Unfortunately, I have to agree with the authors whose work you read about. I would not classify them as "easy". Most of the "Sleeper Gobies" seem to waste away in captivity, despite our best intentions and efforts. These fishes are highly dependant upon infaunal life forms; most sand beds in closed systems simply don't have the density and/or diversity of life forms required to feed sustain these fishes for a natural life span. Some hobbyists have achieved a greater degree of success (or is that a lesser degree of failure?) with these fishes by feeding them foods such as black worms and Mysis. An very well established aquarium with a productive refugium is also helpful> The intention is to put the pair into a quarantine tank with minimal gravel and no rock for at least 3 weeks, so that I can observe their health and eating habits. <I commend you wholeheartedly for that! A great habit to have> There is no microfauna in this tank. Once I am certain that they are doing fine, I will transfer them into a 50G tank with a deep sand bed and a good microfauna that is growing out of control at the moment. I don't want to rely on the microfauna though as their sole diet as I am not sure how quickly will they reduce the population. What is your experience with them specially with respect to feeding. <As outlined above- I have found them quite difficult to sustain for extended periods of time. If you do have success in weaning them to prepared foods during the quarantine period, this may help them by the time they are introduced into the main tank. Another problem that I have encountered with these guys is that they tend to become somewhat shy in community tanks, and may stop feeding, or at least, display great hesitation. I would try to "target feed" them once they are introduced to the display tank.> The goby will share the tank with a bicolor angel and a green Chromis. There is no intention to have any other bottom dweller in the tank. Any information would be helpful. Cheers, Ashraf <Well, Ashraf, I'm not trying to be negative about these fishes, but I have to tell you that you're in for a challenge, should you decide to obtain a pair. If you are up to the challenge, and are willing to do all that you can to assure these fishes' survival- it's all your call. You certainly sound like you have done your homework, but it's really a matter of personal preference as to whether or not they're worth keeping. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Sleeper Goby sifting substrate >I have a 120g reef system, 90g display tank with a 20g refugium and 10g sump.  I have fine aragonite substrate, about 110 lb live rock, 14 corals, one anemone, 10 fish, 3 shrimp, a feather duster worm and a load of hermit crabs and snails.  The system is running perfectly, water quality excellent, fish healthy, most corals growing like mad. >A few days ago I introduced a 3-inch Orangespotted Sleeper Goby (Valenciennea puellaris) after almost a month in a quarantine tank.  Well, he seems to be doing fine, but he sifts through the aragonite continuously, which causes silt to be circulating all around the tank.  The tank is now cloudy with due to these swirls of substrate, and the beautiful purple live rock has now become largely silted over.  It looks terrible, and I also wonder if the corals are now getting adequate light. >>It's creating *that* much silt, eh?  Sounds as though he's having the time of his life. >Catching and removing him is problematic; he is so fast it was difficult catching him in an almost bare 20g quarantine tank.  There is no way I could catch him in the big tank without dismantling the entire reef.  Any suggestions? >>Hhmm...well, if he were an invertebrate that didn't swim I'd suggest the jar.  If he were a damsel, I'd suggest a tiny, barbless hook.  I don't think we should have you use that on the goby, though.  So, if it were my tank and my fish, I'd first try to sort out how to reduce the siltiness (I wouldn't worry too much about the corals not getting enough light, unless there's not enough current to move the silt off them).  Barring that, I would do some rearranging of the tank, so that I could block off a portion of the tank to trap the goby, thus making it easier to catch him.  If you absolutely cannot rearrange the tank to afford this opportunity, then I would find myself the oldest fish shop hand I possibly could, and offer him/her $20 to come and catch the fish.  Other than that, you could try some fine netting and literally "recollect" the fish, this could take some wrangling as they usually need to be chased from the rockwork.  Sorry I can't be of more help, though I think that someone skilled in netting up fish might be able to do it.  Good luck!  Marina Jeffrey M. Zegas

Goby Going Hungry Hello! <Hi there! Scott F. here!> I haven't written in a long time (that's a good thing!)  but a couple things have come up and so I thought I'd drop you guys a line (thanks ahead of time for your great advice).   I currently have two tanks set up, one is a 55 gallon saltwater and the other is a 10 gallon freshwater.  First of all, my tanks are kept between 72 and 74 degrees and the SG in my salt is at a steady 1.024.  Both tanks have zeros straight across for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates and have been set up for about three months. Ok, the bad stuff...I have a Spotted Rafael in my 10 gallon and I recently noticed that he has blisters (?)  near his mouth, one is just back from the corner of his mouth and the second is underneath the crack of his mouth.  I see him everyday and I never noticed them before so I think they appeared suddenly.  They don't seem to have grown at all, and he still eats like normal, but I have never seen anything like this on a fish so I thought I'd see what you guys thought.  The blisters aren't discolored in any way, they seem to just be a bit of skin stretched out....Anyway, any advice would be greatly appreciated! <Really tough to ascertain from here...could be some kind of Vibrio infection...could be some sort of tumorous growth. I'd look in the disease FAQs on the wetwebmedia.com site for some ideas. Keep an eye on this condition, make sure that your water conditions are of high quality> Onward!  In the 55 gallon tank I have two silver-tipped sharks (one is about four inches on is less than 2, I know they will outgrow this tank quickly!), a Goldstripe maroon clownfish, a golden head goby, a sand shifting starfish, a red legged hermit and an Astrea snail.  All of the fish get along great, but the newest addition - the goby - has not been eating.  I have only had him for four days, the first two days he spent excavating hide holes and by the third day he seemed to have chosen his final location and he camps out there all day.  I will admit I have very little information on what exactly they eat, the LFS said they will sift through sand on the bottom and pick up "leftovers" but I'm getting the feeling he was horribly wrong, I have seen a little information that says they eat worms and other sand creatures and *that* is actually what they are searching for when they sift the sand, my tank is pretty low on live rock and the sand was not live when I got it, I can't imagine that there would be enough life in it to support a creature that only eats sand inhabitants...Is this little guy doomed in my tank? <Well, to be quite honest...probably. Don't feel like it's all your fault, though. This fish, and for that matter, all of the so-called "sleeper gobies", are extremely difficult to keep fed for extended periods of time; most slowly starve to death in captivity. They will generally only survive in very well established aquariums with live sand beds and refugia to encourage the growth of infaunal invertebrates and worms, which form the basis of their diet.> Should I put him in a friends more established tank or is there food I can feed him that will fatten him up again and keep him happy? <I think his best bet is to be moved into a well-established aquarium> I plan on getting some live sand culture in the future, but that isn't helping him now so any advice would be great!  Thank you so much for putting up with me!  Have a great week! Sincerely,     Rachael <Well, Rachel- I think that you'd be doing the right thing by moving this guy to a more established system. Be sure to establish a very "live" sand bed and a refugium if you do try to keep these types of fishes in the future. Truth is, they really are not good choices for captive systems, IMO. I think that you've learned a lot from this experience, and you will certainly move on to more success in the future! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Jumping Gobies! Good Afternoon (or whatever time it is when you come across this email). <Afternoon here- Scott F. with you> This pertains to recently purchased Gobies. I have tried 3 times to keep a Maiden Goby (Valenciennea Puellaris) or sometimes called Diamond Goby. Each time it leaves the comfortable surroundings of my tank for a much harsher environment - the carpeting. I have lost 3 of the same type Gobies this way. The last one, which jumped last night, lasted less than 12 hours. A little tank information: I have a reef set-up 45 gallon tall. I currently have a little over 13 tank turnovers per hour but my oxygen level is still low so I plan on adding another power head to bring my turnover rate to near 20/hour. <The low oxygen level is of concern...do add more circulation and surface agitation for gas exchange> I have removed the top on my aquarium in order to bring the O2 level up with little success. My skimmer is properly sized and working great. After the first Goby committed suicide, I purchased and installed a section of egg crate (louver) over the approx. 4" open section behind my light (light sits directly on top of tank). The second Goby found a way out of this so I decreased some of the cutouts (for HO Skimmer and the like) where there were no openings larger than the 1/2" X 1/2" squares. My 3rd Goby worked his way out of this last night. I even tried a night light that was suggested. My question is this: I like the Goby and it's sand sifting properties. Is there anything I can do other than covering tank with screen like material and/or buying a Goby larger than the 1/2" openings? <Unfortunately, I think that using a screen like material is your best bet (Fiberglass, not aluminum), short of covering the whole top with acrylic or plastic. If the fish wants to get out and become "reef jerky", as they say, about all you can do is make the task more difficult for it> Are there any other Gobies or Goby like fish that sift like the Goby but that don't like to jump? <Unfortunately, a lot of these types of fishes (sand sifting gobies and Tilefishes) tend to have the jumping habit. Personally, I have always used brittle stars to do the job. In actuality, there are a lot of people who argue (and I think quite correctly, in many cases) that sand-stirring creatures are not needed in most well-maintained sand beds, as they tend to decimate the sandbed fauna that contribute to the function of the sandbed.> I hate to have to switch to the sand sifting stars. They aren't nearly as fun to watch. Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks, J.T. Craddock <Well, J.T.- I think your best bet is to use the screen material, or to simply discontinue the use of these types of fish in your tank. Wish there was a better solution I could offer, but I think that your options are kind of limited in a situation like this. Good luck! Scott F.>

Worried about my new Goby-Valenciennea puellaris Hi Bob! I must say your knowledge through books and web sites have helped fuel my knowledge regarding the marine hobby. But since I'm sure you hear that all the time, I'll cut right to the point. <Craig here today, I'm lucky to fuel myself to the bathroom!> Yesterday (11-18) had a good pal of mine donate his Orange Spotted Sleeper Goby to me (Valenciennea puellaris) out of the kindness of his heart. It is a very fat specimen and he had raised it from a little 3 incher to about a good 4 1/2 to 5 inches that I have him at now. I received him perfectly healthy straight from my friends tank and just gave him the routine fresh water dip and skipped initial quarantine because I knew it's been a healthy specimen for over 7 months and didn't find it necessary since my water parameters are good and all my other livestock are just fine. Here's a rough estimate of what I have set-up as well. 90 gal Fish only w/ 105 lbs of LR. and about a 4" thick fine live sand-bed. Here's the problem. After I acclimatized him, dipped him, and introduced him, all was well for about 15 minutes. I then went to go check on something else for about 10 minutes and I couldn't find him anywhere. I know these guys are fantastic jumpers (he did jump clear out of my friends tank a good while back) and thus, the top of my tank and such have been adjusted accordingly. Plus I feverishly looked around my tank just in case he did escape and no sign of him, so obviously he must have buried himself when I was gone. (the lights were off all this time as well).  When I came back I couldn't find any trace of a place where he buried himself. (As I am assuming he just buried himself totally out of sight) He has plenty of rock to hide under/in and a nice thick sandbed. I haven't seen him since those 1st 15 minutes of introduction (its almost been 24 hours) and am getting a little worried. Is this kind of shyness normal upon introduction? <Not to worry, he's hiding.  24 hours is not at all exceptional.> I think he's hiding towards the back of the tank and tried putting some frozen krill and brine shrimp in the sand bed last night to see if he would come out to eat. The krill was gone this morning but my juve harlequin Tuskfish probably ate that. So what should I do? Is waiting all I can do? I'm just a tad worried as I said, and will just try to spot feed brine shrimp, bloodworms, and krill as to where I think he is near. <Just feed your fish as you normally do. He will come out.> Any idea how long it will take for him to come out? Thanks a lot for your time!! You are the Uber-marine fish guru! Sincerely, Pat <That's Bob. I'm the Uber-food guru, something different altogether! Wait it out, your Goby will come out when he feels safe. It could be a few days even.  Just be patient..... Good luck!  Craig>
Re: Worried about my new Goby-Valenciennea puellaris
Thanks a lot Craig! Its day 2 and still no sign of him, even though I do think I found his hiding place. You have helped calm my worries. When would be a good time for me to start worrying if I don't see him for a while? Thanks again!  Pat <Well you know Pat, it's never a good time to worry! I have had Blennies hide for a week then suddenly come out and rule the roost and I've had them never appear again (small ones). More of the first and only one of the last. Don't worry, he's in there!  Don't worry, his life is in his hands. He's not going to kill himself! Craig>

Valenciennea strigata feeding habits. Robert, <Amy> I have a 55 gallon fish only tank with a Valenciennea strigata, a blue damsel, a strawberry fish, <Mmm, what is this?> and a percula clown. I have about 80 pounds of reef sand and several coral replicas in the tank. I am feeding the fish Prime Reef flake food and all the fish are feeding well except the Valenciennea strigata. He usually stays hidden in the huge hole he dug under the edge of a coral replica during feeding time (anytime I open the canopy) and by the time he comes out, all the food is gone. I have only had him a week and he is spending more time out in the open, but should he come out and feed like the rest of the fish during feeding time?  <Not on these food choices... this is a "sand-sifting" species, that derives the bulk of its nutrition from sieving out "interstitial fauna"... worms, crustaceans and more minute invertebrates found in and amongst the substrate... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/valenciennea.htm> Any time he spends out of the hole is spent sifting sand! Should I buy him some sinking pellet food or does he just eat what he finds in the sand? <Ah, the latter... if there is enough to sustain him/her... These fishes need plenty of "live" substrate... a few square feet per individual of established live rock/sand system... best placed months after a system has been set-up> I don't want to starve him but I also don't want to pollute the water by leaving food for whenever he decides to come out of his home. I just purchased a copy of your book on Amazon.com this morning and am anxiously awaiting its arrival as I gain a lot through your website. <Ahh, you will enjoy, gain by its reading> Thanks again, R McClain <Do read over the materials on WWM for now. Bob Fenner>

Help answering a question (re Sand Goby pairing) Bob, Could you take a look at this question and help me out with an answer for this young lady? Thanks for your time .<I will try> Jim Bell http://www.reefland.com/ubb/Forum3/HTML/000963.html I had a pair of yellow-headed sleeper gobies in the 40 gal FOWLR. About six weeks ago, Goby Richard's mate died. If I add another goby now will they become a pair or fight with each other? If the new addition happens to be the same sex will they be OK in the same tank together? Or should I add 2 more and have a manage a' trois? The only other fish in the tank is a tomato clown, who may be traded in for a flame angel in a week or two. <A forty gallon is a pretty small system, but I give you fair to good chances that another Valenciennes strigata will get along with your remaining half pair... I would select a decidedly smaller individual (an inch or more less), and introduce them on a day when you can be present... and leave your lights on for that night... and, of course, be on the look out for jumping out. Bob Fenner>

Requesting Pic Use - Valenciennea puellaris Dear Mr. Fenner, I am the publisher of Fish 'N' Chips, a free monthly newsletter dedicated to the marine hobby. I currently have over 800 subscribers worldwide. I am writing an article this month on the Valenciennea puellaris, the Orange Spotted/Diamond Goby, and would like to use the picture of this fish that you have in your article on Sifter or Sleeper Gobies on the WetWebMedia website. May I have your permission? Thanks and a link to the site would be included in the article and bibliography. Thanks in advance for your time, Elizabeth M. Lukan, Fish 'N' Chips Web Site: http://petsforum.com/fishnchips/ Email: fishnchips@mail.com Subscribe: fishnchips-subscribe@egroups.com <Yes, you are welcome to utilize any of the content of WetWebMedia for non-commercial purposes. Have visited your site (very nice, many good ideas, especially like the organization of your Links (have added your URL to WWM, please add ours). Keep up the good work. Bob Fenner>

Sick Orange Spotted Goby Bob, Thanks for your reply on my feather duster last week. Still haven't seen any activity from it's tube. Still waiting... Loved your book, BTW. I have an Orange Spotted Goby that is quite industrious at sifting my sand. I have noticed in the last week that he is losing weight and is "bent" or "twisted" in the middle. It behaves normally and eats well including flake, gel, frozen brine and raw shrimp soaked in Selcon. I would normally suspect diet, but it eats eagerly and IMHO, broadly. No other fishes behaving abnormally. Any ideas? It's a tank favorite. If I lose it. Any ideas on a replacement sand sifter? I do not have live sand (yet). Thanks again, Mark >> The worm may take weeks to months to regenerate its crown... sorry for that lack of info. And really like these gobies too... and/but find them starving in many situations... my real advice is more food, more frequently... They should (for all the browsers) only be placed in well-established (let's say six months old plus) full blown reef tanks... Other sand sifters I like are in the same genus (Valenciennea) and Amblygobius (esp. hectori)... a few Seastars... some other fishes. Bob Fenner

Orange Spotted Goby I have tried 2 Orange Spotted Gobies in my 150 gal. tank w/ live sand, rock, and coral. I have a full hood on this tank with a 3" open area in the back. The problem is these fish keep jumping out. I did not know this when I purchased the first one (I have never had a fish jump out before) and after purchasing another I covered this opening with Plastic wrap for the first week or two, but he too discovered a small opening in the corner. After the first one, I added some 1" PVC at the base of some rock and #2 immediately made a home and moved a lot of sand around the pipe cavern, I really felt he was fine. The only other fish in the tank are 7 green Chromis and they never bothered the gobies. I have 2 sand sifting stars, some red leg hermits and a bunch of snails, none of which should bother them. My brother purchased one at the same time I did and with no lid his seems to be doing fine. 

Orange Spotted Goby Is the Gold headed Sleeper a jumper as well? How is it with the sand sifting? Thanks, Jeff Phillips >> A good sifter, and jumper... of the same genus (Valenciennea)...  Bob Fenner

My question is: Do these fish need to be kept in pairs? Is this a normal behavior? My wife and child really enjoyed this fish, I just refuse to find another lying on the floor. Thanks, Jeff Phillips >> Thank you for writing, and adding the ever-needed message re these gobies (Valenciennea spp.). Yes, they are notorious jumpers... and who can say why one out of how many seems to "be happy" and not jump out of someone's otherwise wide open setting? Do look into pieces of acrylic/Plexiglas that you can fit over openings that are more permanent, and chemically inert (available from plastic fabricating shops... usually in "scrap" bins at low prices). 

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