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FAQs on Amblygobius Gobies 1

Related Articles: Genus Amblygobius Gobies

Related FAQs:  Amblygobius Gobies 2, & FAQs on: Amblygobius Identification, Amblygobius Behavior, Amblygobius Compatibility, Amblygobius Selection, Amblygobius Systems, Amblygobius Feeding, Amblygobius Disease, Amblygobius Reproduction, True Gobies Gobies 2Goby Identification, Goby Behavior, Goby Selection, Goby Compatibility, Goby Feeding, Goby Systems, Goby Disease, Goby Reproduction, Clown GobiesNeon GobiesGenus Coryphopterus Gobies, Mudskippers, Shrimp Gobies, Sifter Gobies

Amblygobius phalaena in the wild.

Amblygobius phalaena: Tank Too Small? - 04/08/08 Hello WWM-ers! <<Greetings!>> I have a 24 gallon JBJ nano cube and I do not have a refugium. I do 10% water changes every week and the water quality is usually excellent. I have a common clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris), an orchid Dottyback (Pseudochromis fridmani), some turbo snails (6-7), a red legged hermit crab, and some pink xenia. While I was away this weekend my father bought me a male Amblygobius phalaena. <<I too have one of these, a great fish…excellent substrate stirrer/sifter, which is necessary to the long-term health of this fish >> He is about 4 inches. <<Will get larger…about 6" overall>> He looks fantastic, is surprisingly outgoing, and has been feeding voraciously for the past two days. <<Yup>> Over this short amount of time he has almost completely eradicated the filamentous algae in my tank, which I felt was somewhat abundant. <<Neat>> However, my research over the past few days have me concerned that my tank is too small and not mature enough for a fish with this kind of appetite. <<Mmm…the appetite can be supplemented…but yes, a mature larger system; with a deep bed of sugar-fine sand, would be a more appropriate environment. In addition, he has been biting occasionally at my Caulerpa. Does this mean that he is running out of food? <<Maybe just searching for food organisms…how much/what types of foods do you feed? Is my tank simply too small for this kind of fish? <<Probably…especially so if you don't have an appropriate substrate for this fish>> Can I keep him and start feeding him mysis or brine shrimp, or should I simply take him back to my LFS before his health declines? <<Meaty foods will be heartily accepted…and even New Life Spectrum pellets ( a "very good" dietary supplement for ALL your fishes). But the issue of environment must be considered. Ideally the fish should be in a larger tank, but if you have a fine-sand substrate and can keep it fed well the fish will probably be fine (but this pretty much "fills you up" re any more additions). Though if the purpose of the sand bed is nitrification…once A. phalaena starts digging in a tank this size, it can render a DSB a moot point>> Thanks so much in advance! <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Seriously Obese Goby  - guidance needed  1/25/08 Greetings WWM, <Charleen> I'm hoping you might be able to assist and/or advise me on what I should do about my seriously obese goby. Everything else I've read on your sight is about sand sifting gobies getting too skinny, not too fat. Additionally, I'm not sure what kind he is. I've checked FishBase and it looks like he may be either a Byno Goby (Amblygobius bynoensis) or Amblygobius stethophthalmus (no common name listed). What do you think? <The latter> Just a little background on the tank, in case any of it matters. I had a 55 gal set up in South Florida. I moved to North Georgia this past May. I moved the tank, all live rock, sand, fish, and all the existing water to a co-workers house to be looked after until I got a house in Georgia. In August, I drove back down and collected everything except the existing water, only enough to keep everything fully submerged on the 700 mile trip to their new home. Several weeks before my planned trip, I special ordered a 155 gal bow front in order to have everything set up and ready to go upon my return. Unfortunately, the stand came in broken twice, and the final stand did not come in until the day after I returned. The live rock, sand, and all the fish sat in 3 large Rubbermaid pails, with powerheads keeping the water circulating for almost a week -- in the middle of my kitchen floor. <Yikes. Trying> Miraculously, everything survived and is now thriving. Fish include 1 yellow tang (3-3.5"), 1 4-stripe damsel (1.5-2"), 1 yellow tail damsel (1.5"), 1 blue/green chromis (2"), 3 yellow belly blue damsels (1.5") **2nd question about these to follow**, an urchin of unknown type, and my super fat goby (4"). There is also a Kenya Tree coral and a few zoos. I've been into fishkeeping for about 15 years but only into marine for the last 2.5 years. I'm still a bit of a novice it seems as, in my stupidity, I figured my new well water would be far superior to my old Florida chlorinated city water. I know, I know, couldn't be further from the truth. Well, I know that now. Just about every surface in my tank is covered in the ugliest algaes, don't know which, probably all the nuisance kind. I did purchase an RO system about a month ago (after my last correspondence with you), but no change as yet with the algae. <As you state/hint... "takes" a while> In fact it has gotten much worse since I added a heater to the tank to bring it up out of the sixties. With as much volume as I have, it seems like it will be a few years before the phosphates and nitrates come down enough to see a difference in the algae. <Yikes. Let's hope it's not this long... perhaps chemical filtrant use...> I mention the algae problem only because all the fish eat on it from lights on until lights off. As a result, I was only feeding them once per day. <Likely fine... can/will forage on the rock otherwise> Since August (about 5 months now), the goby has doubled in size. I don't mean length, only girth. With his welfare in mind, I have reduced feeding the tank to every other day. I don't want to starve the other tank mates but the goby looks like he could explode at any time. I haven't figured out a way to put only HIM on a diet. <Try Spectrum/New Life, pelleted food> Is there anything that I can / should do for him? Am I truly dealing with an obese fish or is something else the cause? <Could be some sort of gut blockage, sex product storage, tumour...> Since he is a sand sifter, is it possible that he's actually ingested some of the sand, and if so, what then? <Patience really... hopefully will pass, dissolve in time> I have the Seaflor Special Grade Reef Sand which they list to be 1-1.7mm grain size. Now on to the other question about the yellow belly blue damsels. There are three, one of which is definitely a female. She will lay what appears to be thousands of eggs on a fairly regular basis. She did it in the 55 gal in Florida and continues now in the 155. I've never seen anything come from the eggs so I'm assuming that they probably are not being fertilized. Is there any way to differentiate male from female with this kind of damsel? <Mmm, not easy to discern. Some folks claim they can sex Chromis species on the basis of "sheen", "tint" of color. All else being equal, males should be smaller, slimmer.> I thank you in advance. I'm sure you will have great answers for me just like you do for all those other folks out there. Charlie, Athens GA <Here's hoping these are passable. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Amblygobius hectori, Hector's Goby, Sel., MAC,    8/22/07 Hello once again, been a little while this time. I may have made a little oopsy in a rushed decision to buy some fish? My current 29 gallon BioCube has been fishless for about 4-5 months so I do have a good pod population but am worried it will not be enough to support 2 Hector's gobies? <Not really social animals... One is what I would stick with> I also have a fair amount of algae in the tank to hopefully help with keeping these fishes fat and happy. Here's what happened since I know you do not like it when people buy fish without research..... I read the FAQ's daily. I work at a LFS and have been waiting to purchase 2 small fish that MAY breed in captivity. Well as I scanned the stocklist and looked at photos and I DID do some reading, I thought this sounded pretty good. I did some quick looking since they were placing the order at that moment and according to SOME sources they are easy to keep. Then I looked on your site which tells me they are not so easy to keep? <IF one can secure initially healthy, not-too-starved specimens, place them in suitable circumstances (not too busy, crowded, well-established, with much micro-fauna...) not terribly difficult> The fish are MAC certified, whatever that means? <Indeed... that the folks involved have acquiesced to being further taxed> I believe it has something to do with how they were caught? <Mmm, most all Amblygobius are hand-netted... simply by locating, stirring up the bottom sand... waiting a bit for them to come out and inspect...> Well I thought I would be in the clear with these 2 small fish but now am really quite worried and hoping they will take to eating frozen foods. If not I'll have to setup a small dedicated refugium which I can breed some pods in, I have plenty of macro algae to set this up so hopefully that will work? I read your articles regarding these gobies but was wondering if you had any other advice for me? I also know you HATE when people ask you these types of questions so please don't think this is my typical fish buying behavior. Thank you. One last thing, I feel obligated to take these fish since I asked that they be ordered for me. Thanks again. <Keep good notes... share your observations. BobF>

Re: Amblygobius hectori, Hector's Goby  8/23/07 Thank you Mr. Fenner. I just received the fish I feel obligated to take, because I had the store order them for me. Anyway the fish look fat and healthy, one is about 2 inches the other is about a inch, this may help or hurt me? <Will help assuredly> I'll keep you updated and let you know what happens when these two fish are kept in the same small tank. If they do fight a lot I can just move one to a different tank. Thanks for your help.......like always. <Welcome Ryan. BobF>

Re: Amblygobius hectori, Hector's Goby  9/2/07 Hello again! Thought I would give you a brief update on these fish. So far there has been no fighting between the 2 and both appear fat. I don't know what they are eating (for sure) but apparently they are finding something. The smaller of the 2 will eat Cyclop-eeze, so that's a bit of a relief, the larger does not appear to be eating it? It could be that the fish eats it after it lands on the sand but I really am not sure. The bigger one is constantly picking at the sand when I feed so maybe that's what he's doing? <In the wild this genus feeds on a great deal of interstitial fauna> Do you have any other suggestions on foods to try? <Mysids of a few species, sizes... soaking whatever is offered in Selcon or such> I added coral frenzy to my main tank once an all the fish went crazy eating the stuff so I wonder if that would work? <Worth trying> I currently don't have any to try but can easily go get some. Also would it be beneficial for me to add phyto in this tank? <For?> Not directly for the fish but for the pods. I am now wondering if these 2 fish can change sex, and could possibly breed in my tank? <Possibly...> Is there a way of telling sex on these fish? <Not as far as I'm aware> Well that was a lot more questions than I intended. Thanks, Ryan. <Thank you! BobF>

Ranford goby and Cladophora consumption    5/21/07 One question. Does anyone know for sure if a Ranford goby eats Cladophora prolifera. <Mmm, if so, only very little> I have read they (R. goby) need growing algae to help survive. Is this algae to <too> tuff for the little goby? Thanks All    Bob Carter <Am a bit lost here... If you're hoping to feed this Goby with algae, this would not be the course I would go (I would use other prepared foods for)... And/or if you're hoping for algal control in any degree here, I don't think this will work. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ranford goby and Cladophora    5/21/07 Thank you Bob, I was looking to purchase a Ranford for my nano tank (24 gal.) because of its relatively relatively small size. <I see> Upon my research, several internet articles proclaimed poor results with these fish. <Usually due to their being starved twixt collection to retail and beyond> Unless there was significant algal growth, because of their large consumption of it. <Mmm, no... perhaps folks were referring to the benefits of such for providing (among other things) interstitial fauna for consumption... Amblygobius are not really algae eaters> And many aquarists have had poor success with algae supplementation. My reef tank has zero algae because of the turbo snails, I even supplement the snails with dried Nori. My plan was to purchase a clump of Cladophora prolifera for the R. goby's diet as well as meaty fare of Mysis et al. <Well... the best is having an auxiliary live sump (aka refugium... with purposeful DSB and macroalgae for food production...>     One article compared this goby to an algae blenny in its consumption of algae. <Mmm, no. Fishbase.org unfortunately has no linked resources here for this species, but: http://www.google.com/search?q=amblygobius+diet&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-Address&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7PCTA The genus really only consumes "some" algae> However I am not familiar with this type of algae but a LFS is selling small clumps of it for refugiums and or tanks. <I like other genera, Divisions, other than the Cladophorales here... Please see WWM re macroalgae use period, its place in refugiums... The indices, search tool...>    Please advise on your experience with this beautiful animal.   With Much Gratitude     Bob Carter <You have read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amblygobius.htm and the linked files above? Bob Fenner>

Amblygobius semicinctus or phalaena   8/23/06 Hi there WWM crew, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions! I'm emailing about a new fish I procured at the LFS, and wanted to find more information about it.  Doing my research through the WWM website, I've found that the "Dragon Goby" they labeled is actually a "Banded Goby", or Amblygobius semicinctus/phalaena (not sure because the pictures between the two look really similar). <Are very similar in appearance, utility> As for now, I know that these hovering gobies eat filamentous algae, but mostly copepods, Mysis shrimp, and other small crustaceans, am I correct? <Yep> I would like to know what to actually feed it, in order to make sure it stays healthy. <Mmm, usually not much of an issue... these gobies readily accept most all foods> So far, it looks like it has done a fine job cleaning the sand-bed.  I just want to make sure it doesn't starve for any reason.  My last diamond goby had territorial issues with an aggressive Kole tang, and starved to death.  This banded goby has actually gotten along quite well with the Kole tang. So, to sum up, I'd like to know what foods I may feed it.  Thanks! Alex <I'd use mostly defrosted/frozen meaty foods of small-enough size, and a baster (plastic) to "blow" these down toward the goby... about the same place, times daily. Bob Fenner>

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>>  

Goby ID/Bully Goby-SORRY!  - 03/11/2006 Sorry, forgot the picture!! Here is my email again with photo attached.. Hello fine people! Your site has been most helpful to me over the past few months. My tank looks positively lovely now, and I am really enjoying the hobby! I have a 75 gallon saltwater tank that is about 8 months old. Of course it has fully cycled and contains two Domino Damsels, <Yikes... tough!> a clean up crew and two what the LFS labeled as "Dragon Gobies."  The Damsels are still alive after cycling and they are getting huge. I will eventually take them back to the LFS when I am ready for the permanent tank inhabitants but I have gotten somewhat attached to them. They are each 3 inches long now. <Hope you have "Kung Fu" netting techniques... and stamina!> My problem is not with the Dominos (surprisingly they are pretty docile) but with one of my Gobies. I am attaching a photo so you can see what they look like. I am not convinced this is a true Dragon Goby after looking at pictures of other Gobies also called "Dragon Gobies" on yours and other sites. Are these really Dragon Gobies? <Call 'em what you will... You can call them Jay and you can call them Ray. See here: http://wetwebmedia.com/amblygobius.htm> I have one about 4 almost 5 inches long and the smaller guy is 3 and a half inches. They appear to be healthy, have no trouble eating, and have been in the tank for approximately three months. My problem is that the larger Goby is a BIG bully to the smaller one, often constantly chasing him from one end of the tank to the other. <Yes... territorial... in a too-small territory for two> At feeding time, they both eat peacefully and there is no competition for food. However, most other times, the smaller Goby is running from the larger one. I have many hidey holes in my tank for the smaller one to hide, but the bullying seems excessive. It's as though he feels the need to push the smaller one around anytime the little guy ventures out. How can I help the smaller fish? <... a larger system mostly> I feel badly for him. He even "hides" at the waterline sometimes, floating as close to the surface as possible while the bigger one taunts him. If you put your ear to the tank, you can hear him trash-talking. (ok, just kidding!) What can I do? Thanks! Gabrielle
<I'd trade one in... along with the Dascyllus. Bob Fenner>

Ranford hiding 2/20/06 I put my Ranford goby into my 42 gallon reef tank a month ago and have seen him only twice since.  Once, immediately after we released him into our tank and then once more about 2 and a half weeks later.   I haven't seen him since then (about 2 weeks ago).   Are these fish prone to hide away for that long?  My first thought was that he got sucked up, or jumped out of the tank (which they aren't prone to doing) but then I saw him swimming around just fine 2 weeks after I put him in.  I turned my back and poof, he was gone again.  I didn't think Rainford's liked to hide away.    BTW - great website.  Ken Greenwood <<Like most similar bite-sized reef fishes, these guys actually can be quite shy.  Their shyness will be increased if they are housed with aggressive tankmates (even if the aggression isn't obvious.  Also... the more hiding places and "bolt holes" they have available, the more secure they will be to come out into the open.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Update regarding my Hector's Goby. 1/5/05 Adam,  My tank has barely been fallow for 2 weeks after an ich outbreak and the Hector's goby hasn't eaten in days and has started to look worse than the picture on the WWM website showing one that's too thin. So I put him in the display, since he was not going to survive another 6-8 weeks in the QT! Hope I don't regret this too much... <I hope so too.  QT for these fishes is difficult since QT conditions don't provide the security and substrate necessary for normal feeding behavior.> Since technically my tank is infested with ich and there is a potential host in there now, I've decided to not add a second fish. So the 1.5" goby will have a 72Gallon tank all to himself, until he needs to be fished out for some reason and the tank has a chance to go fallow for at least 8 weeks! <The problem with this strategy is that even without obvious signs of infestation, your little goby probably will keep enough parasites alive to cause a new outbreak when more fish are added.  This is especially true since your goby may develop natural immunity which your new additions will not have.> Do fish need to interact with other fish to feel more 'comfortable?'  Narayan <Not this one.  Some shoaling fish are more secure in groups, but most are happy or happier alone.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Why are my fish dying in QT?   2/1/06 Well I just had another fish die in QT. A Randall's goby.  It was 4 weeks along.  It died over night. <This is too long to quarantine Amblygobius... or most small gobies, blennies... the stress, starvation is way worse than the small risk of disease introduction after a week or two> My QT setup is a 20G with 2 Aquaclear HOB filters; a 30G and a 20G. So I have lots of filtration. I set the bacteria population with BioSpira. I have used this in the past with good results. Tank has been used for 3 fish now and was bleached out in between fish. Well rinsed out. Other 3 fish lived and are in the display. Temp control through a titanium htr with controller. Separate digital thermometer to keep tabs. I also have a ph probe constantly on to monitor ph. Lighting by a 96W VHO. Couple pieces of PVC for caves. Using Copper Power proactively just for the last 2 fish. <Not always a wise precaution...> I seem to have this issue with fish getting in distress at about the 3-4 week mark. <... opinions vary (to put this euphemistically)... but I am a big fan of two week limits here...> I do WC every week and siphon out every couple days. My problems seem to coincide with algae growth starting. The past 3 fish that lived flasher wrasse, laboutei wrasse and royal Gramma) also seemed to be in some distress about this time. I did 100% WC and they pulled through. The fish start hanging out at the top of the tank near the most water turbulence. This time the goby went back down and seemed to be ok. Not breathing heavily. No visible spots etc. He did stop eating that I could see about a week ago. He's never been a big eater but he could have eaten when I wasn't looking. He did eat earlier in the QT. My theory is oxygen deprivation and the fish are having trouble breathing. I do scrub the algae out but seems if anything to make it worse. I have added an airstone in the past not this time) but doesn't seem to help. Since the fish die overnight I'm thinking this lends more credence to the O2 theory since with lights out the algae won't be contributing O2. But I'm not sure what would be sucking up the O2? The water while not as crystal clear as starting wasn't too bad. I had done a 30% WC day before and cleaned out the filters. I never measured any NH3, temp 78C ph 8.3 SG 1.026. I have done lots of reading on QT and the things that seem to trip up are ph, SG, NH3 due to inadequate biological filter. I have not run across any accounts of the fish having issues breathing without visible signs. Not at the 4 week mark. Any ideas? I'm tired of losing fish. I lost others when my QT was a 10G in similar fashion. This is the first I've lost since moving up but all the fish seemed to have trouble 3-4 wks in. Sorry for the long email. Thanks, Phil <No worries... please see my articles on quarantine... especially for the sorts of fishes you list, two weeks is about the "magical breaking point" for getting more value than damage. Bob Fenner>

Finicky Ranford Goby... Sorry, I think that my computer just sent my email when I tried to break it up into two paragraphs; here is the second part. <Oops..> The Rainford goby has now been in a 10 gallon quarantine tank for six days and will not eat.  I have tried frozen brine and Mysis shrimp, formula two frozen and flakes, even Angel Formula, and it won't touch anything.  I also put a Tupperware of sand into the quarantine tank to see if it would sift that.  The live rock from the main tank are too big to fit in the quarantine tank.  Is there anything else I can do for the fish?  I was thinking of biting the bullet, dipping it, and adding it into the main tank, which (and back to the lack of foresight in my suggestion) does not yet have a refugium as I am still saving money for a small CPR hang on model.  Please help, and again, thanks for your time. Rob <Well, Rob- I'd be inclined to add some pieces of live rock from your display or another established system into the quarantine tank for him to forage one. In addition, you could purchase some life amphipods from a number of e-tailers (Indo Pacific Sea Farms comes to mind) and feed these live foods to get him going. Don't give up just yet, and try to defer releasing the fish into the display tank until he is finished with the quarantine period. Don't give up! Regards, Scott F.>

Brackish (?) goby for a Canadian I'm living in Canada and looking to purchase some brackish water gobies for my tank. I own a 30 gallon tank and looking to buy a butterfly goby and one I saw on Google known as the.....Amblygobius semicinctus.  If you have any of these fishes or know where I could get them. <Mmm, we don't sell livestock... and this fish, genus is better kept in full seawater. Bob Fenner>

Amblygobius hectori Dear WWM crew, <Narayan>    Happy holidays! Thank you for another year of sound advice and an awesome website. My fish have ich! The ocellaris clown and orchid Dottyback are in a 10G hospital tank, and the display will be fallow until march. But, the gears are turning and I want to use this opportunity to restock the tank differently. First the setup today: 72G display, 4.5" DSB, full of worms, 80lb live rock full of crustaceans, one 1600 gph Tunze stream and two 600gph Seio pumps for circulation. I'd say the surface area of the exposed DSB is about 2.5 to 3 sq feet, with the live rock occupying 2 to 2.5 sq feet of area as an island in the center. Improvements: By the end of the fallow period a 15G refugium with 4" DSB will be added. <Okay... even a bigger sump/refugium if you can fit it> I just ordered an Amblygobius hectori. All the research I've done indicates that I'll have to find new homes for the clown and Dottyback to keep the goby. I'm worried about my DSB not being stirred enough and this guy will help. As for tankmates, I just want two more <3" fish. Here's my list... <Mmm, shouldn't be an issue... enough life will emerge on its own> a) Green clown goby and a flasher wrasse b) Yellow clown goby and a flasher wrasse c)  A pair of Firefish. d) A pair of flasher wrasses of the same species. e) Green clown goby and yellow clown goby. What would work best for the Hector's goby? <Really, any of the above> I don't want anyone to intimidate or compete with him for resources. Will 2.5 sq feet of live sand and 80lb of live rock be enough of a food source for him? <Should be> Will my critter population be able to sustain itself against one small goby? <Likely yes> I am setting up the refugium mainly as a way to stabilize pH and for nutrient export. I don't really see how the worms in the sandbed in the refugium will feed the goby... <Take a look with a flashlight, other small light at night... this is "their time"> Thank you for your time. Narayan P.S. The tank have Xenia in it, so the occupants need to be reef safe. <All should be fine. Bob Fenner>

Amblygobius goby Hi Bob, <Kari> We picked up this goby at the LFS last weekend. He's really pretty. My husband and I are debating whether it is an Amblygobius albimaculatus or phalaena. Can you tell? The guy at the store said he was a Banded Sleeper Goby (which implies phalaena), but all the pictures of phalaena we've seen on the internet and in books show a fish that isn't quite as white as ours. I understand there can be quite a bit of variation within a species, and that this is splitting hairs really, but we'd like to try to find out as best we can.   <This is a very light colored specimen... Any idea of the origin? It's close in appearance but I do suspect this is an A. phalaena... A. albimaculatus (from the Red Sea) is quite rare in the trade in the west...> On another note, we have a 55 gallon tank we are going to put him in. We have a lawnmower blenny in another tank in the house, but I'd like to put him in the 55 gallon tank as well. Would this goby and the lawnmower blenny be compatible?  They're both going to be big and since they are both bottom dwellers, I wasn't sure. <Should be fine... would be better if the Amblygobius had been placed first, but since it is a very different feeder, the Goby should leave it alone. If there is any overt aggression, I would net out and isolate (in the tank or elsewhere) the Algae eater for a few days. Bob Fenner> Thanks!
Re: Amblygobius goby Hi Bob, <Kari> Thanks for the response! The guy at the LFS said he came from the Indian Ocean. Not too specific... <Mmm, well A. albimaculatus is found amongst many islands of the Indian Ocean: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=6675&genusname=Amblygobius&speciesname=albimaculatus but there are VERY few collectors of this large area that ship even indirectly to the U.S.... your fish would cost fifty or more dollars retail if it came from this area... or some other set of mitigating circumstances (e.g. error)> I'm glad he and the lawnmower blenny should get along ok. Since neither fish is actually in the 55g tank yet, I'll be sure to put the goby in first (when he is finished with QT) and then transfer the blenny to the tank after the goby is there. The blenny is still quite small so he can stay where he is in our smaller tank for the time being. <Ah, good idea. Be chatting, Bob Fenner> Thanks! Kari
Rainford goby looking for a burger 7/1/04 Hi crew, Everyone seems to be complaining about hair algae, I could use some for my Ranford. Is there anything I can give him in its place. <well... its not actually the hair algae that they eat, but rather they sift sand and comb the turf looking for microorganisms. Hence the common (and accurate) recommendation for only keeping these fishes in huge tanks with lush algal turf (dense with critters) and/or mature refugiums> I have not had any since I bought him 3 months ago. I have a 10 gallon (ammonia and nitrites 0, nitrates around 20 and 1 gallon change a week), <ughhh... there is no chance IMO of this fish surviving in a 10 gallon aquarium under any practical circumstance. It is my strong advice that you trade, sell or donate this fish to a larger aquarium with the means to support it. Else is will continue to starve slowly in your tank. Can you get it to eat thawed frozen Mysis shrimp in the interim?> with the Ranford, a Sixline wrasse, a clown goby and PJ cardinal. <I cannot imagine how this fish will/would compete with a six-line wrasse here my friend> The Ranford just sifts sand. Is there any way I can tell if there is still any life left in my live sand? <it simply is not enough sand by volume to support and such feeder> The Sixline eats everything and moves around a lot but they all get along including a peppermint shrimp. The clown and Cardinal are not intimidated by the wrasse even though he usually beats them to the food. They seem to agree that whoever gets it first wins and the other one backs off including the wrasse. <its just a bad mix of fishes from the start <sigh>> The clown used to just peek out and grab food swimming by his hiding place but now he swims (actually scoots) to the top when the food is there. The Ranford has one torn gill fin split in two and tattered, looked like fin rot. <ughhh> It has been like this two weeks and I do not see any improvement nor any problems with any other fins. <do put this fish in an isolation tank (another 10 gallon, bare bottomed with a sponge filter and some cured live rock... then power feed it for the next month or so until we can figure out the next move> I've been using Melafix for a week but it has not improved. <I'm not surprised> Since it is only one fin it is more likely due to injury. Any suggestions? <just separation, mate... get this fish out and hope the six-line doesn't become belligerent as they are prone to be in time> Thanks for your help in the past and for a great site. <best of luck, Anthony>

Rainford goby II 7/6/04 Thanks, too bad I did not know this a few months ago. When I bought it I based it on the info of Dr. Foster which said care is easy and listed foods it would take. <its best to do enough research about species you buy from non-commercial entities to put things in perspective and get an intelligent consensus. The overwhelming majority of hobby literature on this species states that it is categorically a very difficult fish to keep alive> In their defense they did also say a mature 30 gallon set up. For mandarins they say difficult. <yes... good/better to hear> Anyway, until I can find it a home I put in a tank divider, added some new live sand and bought pods that I drop in  with a baster (while the filter is off) plus newly hatched brine shrimp. <outstanding> I am not sure why you do not like my fix of fish. <it is too much for a ten gallon tank my friend... especially a tank so young and unsupported (no refugium, mature DSB, etc)> I spent a number of months experimenting and switching until I got to this setup which looks very peaceful to me. <you have been fortunate with the six-line wrasse so far... this wonderful little fish is extremely territorial and has been regularly known to chase other fishes to death in much bigger tanks> The wrasse is very active but he does not bother any other fish and they have learned to get their share of food despite his quickness. <good to hear... you may have a passive specimen> The cardinal just hovers, the clown goby perches and the Ranford has his head in the sand all day. Is the wrasse competing with the Ranford for pods? <yes> I never see him eat from the sand although he does blow at it once in a while. Besides, he eats so much during feeding time I can not imagine him having room for more. <ahhh... OK. Anthony>

Parasitic Disease: Tough Treatment Choices Well, unfortunately, the passer didn't survive through Thursday night...  Not sure if it was Amyloodinium or Brooklynellosis, but it was pretty fast...less than 2 days from first sign of any symptoms to death. I suppose I should have done the freshwater dip to try to verify which parasite it was. Might have made a small difference... Happened so fast... <Sorry to hear that...Scott F. following up for Marina today> My concern now is the Ranford...extreme sensitivity to copper and other meds...Do I just wait and see, let nature take it's course?  (can you see me cringe?)  Or is there another course of action for these little fishes?  I can find so little written on treatment, that I'm stumped...the disease/parasite might kill them, but the medication will kill them too. Thanks. <Well, you could use a medication containing Formalin. The fish may have difficulties with it as well, but it may be worth the shot if it is very sick. Marina's treatment advice was right on. Unfortunately, at this point, you may be compelled to use a medication to save the fish's life. I suppose if I had to weigh the risk of losing the fish to an aggressive disease or possibly killing it with treatment, I'd rather go down "with guns blazing", as they say, and try to intervene. Knowing the potential risks, you'll be going in with your eyes wide open. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

How to do the Q/T on the Ranford >You guys (and gals) rock!  Bob, when ya comin back to northern California?   Recently, I got a Ranford goby( Amblygobius Ranford) for my 90 gallon soft reef.  Great fish, and will find lots of pods and even some hair algae to munch on once it makes it through the quarantine period.  My concern is it's survival in the quarantine tank.  So far, (a little over a week) it has shown little interest in flake or frozen foods, and I'd really hate to see it starve.   >>I'm sure! >While I am a firm believer in the 4 to 6 week quarantine period for ALL fishes, I have read in your goby FAQ's that some of the smaller gobies might not do well with a typical quarantine, but instead would be better with a shorter one to make sure there are no obvious problems, then right in the main tank.   >>Well, I don't know that I'd shorten the q/t without trying a couple of things first.  I would try siphoning water from the display from the pod-rich areas.  I might try placing some cured live rock in the q/t for him to pick on.  I'd also try to get a hold of some live Mysis. >Would this require a freshwater dip first?  Maybe a "medical" bath with formalin or Methylene blue or something similar?   >>I like to dip most fish in freshwater with Methylene blue pre and post-quarantine anyway.  So the additional requirement specific to this situation doesn't really apply.  However, I will add the caveat that there are some fish I don't like to dip - those that create a heavy mucus/slime coat - mandarins, cowfish/trunkfish are those that immediately come to mind. >Also, are you familiar with what are being called "tulip anemones"? Seeing them again this year on Reef Central.   >>Only in reading posts about them.  Not sure what they are exactly, but if they're Majanos they sure are purty! >Here's a link:   http://wwwreefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=256164 >Some of the pics sure look very much like the majano anemone that we all fight with from time to time, but in a nicer color. http://www.hivemind.com/fish/pics/tulip.jpg >>Agreed.  May be a nice thing as long as they don't reach plague proportions. >Thanks for all you've done for me and everyone else.  The best aquatic site around!  Neil >>You're most welcome.  Glad we're of help.  Marina

Ranford questions 4/27/04 Thanks for the info, Adam. Another question regarding the Rainford. I originally had about 2 inches of sand (not live). When I snail died I did see a lot of tiny worms on it but I have no clue as to how they got there. <The best source of live sand is live rock...  If you have a sand substrate, critters that have hitchhiked on your rock will move to the sand.> Anyway, I decided to add 2 pounds of live sand adding it at about an inch and a half for as much as it would cover. So now he forages mostly on the new sand. Is there any way to tell how 'live' the sand is and how do I know if he is getting enough without waiting till he is malnourished? <Watching for weight loss is about all you can do.> Is there a way to add crustaceans to the sand without having to grow it myself and how often would I need to make the additions? <Allowing the population to grow in a predator free environment (refugium) is the best way.  Also, many aquarists allow their tanks to mature fishless in order to allow all of the crustacean populations to grow to sustainable levels before introducing predators.> Since it is not eating anything other than what it forages what are the chances of my being successful with it in such a small tank? I Know I should have asked this before I bought it but the information I had (from the seller) made it sound like it would eat prepared foods. <As I said, watch for weight loss and try a variety of prepared foods.  If you have some filamentous algae growth, this will help a lot.  Do consider a refugium also, not just for 'pod production, but for all of it's other benefits too!  Best Regards.  Adam.>

In Search Of An Algae-Gobbling Goby... Hi all, <Scott F. with you today!> I contacted previously about Amblygobius Ranford, and realize that this is not the fish for me. Thanks for the advice and info. I would still like a goby, and I like the look of the Amblygobius gobies. I for article at WWM it was indicated that some species eat algae (http://www.wetwebmedia.com./amblygobius.htm )  . I have a well established 135G tank of 3 years, with a refugium . One of the reasons I am interested is I have heard that they will eat hair and other filamented algae's. (Many will. It does, however, depend on the individual...Some simply like crustacean fare...> I have normal algae growth, but my tangs just won't touch the stuff. <Annoying, I know- but some tangs may not eat all of the types of algae that occur in captive systems> Thanks Bryan <Well, Bryan- I can recommend another Amblygobius species that I have personally kept, and actually have seen eat algae: A. decussatus, the "Orange Striped Goby". Not always an easy on to find at most dealers, but worth seeking, IMO. Try Marine Center or LiveAquaria. They may get these in from time to time. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

Amblygobius Ranford diet 10/10/03 I am look into getting 1-3 Amblygobius Ranford for my tank. I will well established 135G tank of 3 years. <good... but please be sure to have a mature fishless refugium too inline for plankton production> One of the reasons I am interested is I have heard that they will eat hair and other filamentous algae. Is this true or do they only eat the little guys the live in the algae? <the latter my friend. They comb the turf for microcrustaceans... hence the need for a fishless (and coral-less) zooplankton refugium> I have normal algae growth, but my tangs just won't touch the stuff. <use Diadema urchins instead. Yikes... and the though of a Rainford goby with Yellow tangs or any such bully is frightening. Do pamper this passive fish. No damsels, mean clowns, tangs, etc. Think Firefish goby peaceful type tank> I am also curious if they would be suitable in groups. Finally, I have heard conflicting reports that they always hide or are always out, and I want to know which is most generally true. <both - sort of. This goby has no association with tunnels or bolt holes like many other goby kin. They are also easily intimidated (hence no active community fishes like yellow tangs, etc)> Great looking fish, but before I buy it I want to make sure its what I'm looking for so I can enjoy watching it and it can survive long term in its new home. Thanks, Bryan <this is a very difficult fish to keep. I frankly don't think you have a prayer of succeeding with it in a mixed community fish tank. Perhaps admire it from afar my friend if you cannot set up a species tank for them. Anthony>

Amblygobius Gobies Hi all.  Thanks, as always, great site. I have a quick question about Amblygobius Gobies.  I was wondering if any of them would be suitable for my setup.  I am particularly interested in the Hector's and Rainford's gobies.<both are fine specimens>  I have a lot of "critters" in my live sand and live rock for them to feed on, but I'm worried that they might eventually deplete the food supply and slowly starve.<yes, this is also a concern of mine but if you upgraded your refugium to about 20 gallons you should be fine>  Is there any rule of thumb for keeping these fish? <Just keep one> Here's my setup  75 gallon reef system 3" course sand bed live rock (don't know exact amount) 1 Blue Tang 2 Ocellaris Clowns 2 Firefish gobies 2 Maxima Clams Some corals (won't bother to list them here unless you think it's important for these fish 1 Skunk Cleaner shrimp 1 Peppermint shrimp Small Refugium (about 4 gallons) Thanks<all sounds good, but I would upgrade the refugium before I purchased the goby, Good Luck, IanB>

Gobies and Jawfish >Hey Guys, >>And gals.  Marina here. >Is it alright to have a Blue Spotted  Jawfish  and a Amblygobius phalaena Goby >>Do you mean "Amblygobius"?  Check this link for information--> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amblygobius.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amblygobiusfaqs.htm >in a 135g together? There will also be a Purple Tang, Ocellaris Clown, Flame Hawk, Blue Hippo and possibly another Tang. Also, can gobies of different species be kept together in a system this size (Amblygobius Phalaena  and Mahidolia mystacina)? >>To the best of my own knowledge, care should be taken with animals that occupy the same niche, or have very close taxonomy.  I would exercise care, and not try to mix similar species. Look here for a bit of information on the shrimp gobies (which I think would do alright with the Jawfish or the A. phalaena) http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpgobies.htm >Last questions, are Copper banded Butterflies truly reef safe? >>Generally, yes, though there are always stories of some that may get a bit nippy with some types of corals.  Keep them well-fed and I would expect few problems. >And I have read and heard that they will eat Aiptasia Anemones, is that true, and would they eat an Anemone like a Curlicue or a Bubble Tip Rose Anemone? >>I've heard the same as well, it's not an "always" kind of thing.  Also, to the best of my knowledge curly-cue's are an Aiptasia, I've never heard of a Copperband getting nippy with the larger anemones (especially if it's being hosted by clowns). >Thanks for your time,  Nick Shushkewitch >>You're welcome, Marina.

Marc's Promised Pix, E. quadricolor f', Hood picture Hi, guys, <whassup> Sometime ago I promised Anthony a picture of my 45G hood with 2 VHOs and a pair of 150W MHs. It is a corner tank setup. So here it is with a few tank shots.  <dude... the hood is built with a nicely open structure, but the tank is crammed into a corner and the side mounted fan is mere inches from the wall. This really could work better (top mounted fan for starters... assuming you don't want to drag the tank further out from the wall... heehee> The anemone is the center piece of the tank with some soft corals as well. The H. crispa is about a foot across, started out as your normal 4 inch LFS fare. Had a rough start with him but eventually nursed him to good health. <the anemone has nice color and fantastic polyp extension...very fine> It was a choice between this fellow and a bright orange BTA. But after what I've been through with the crispa, I couldn't part with it. The BTA on the other hand is extremely hardy. It also has longer tentacles and packs quite a sting. The H. crispa is much better behaved, especially in a small tank. (I had originally had both in a 210G tank.) The crispa does seem to prefer stronger light than the BTAs, though. <in the second photo I think I noticed a Rainford goby... wow, if so we might need to talk. This fish needs a TREMENDOUS amount of food and hair algae to survive (picking crustacea from the algae). Most service on prepared food for 6-12 months and then die. Do consider setting up an inline refugium for him. What a beautiful fish. Lets talk if necessary> I had both in the tank for a short while; wanted to make sure one or the other would survive the move. Both did but the BTA was stinging the crispa. You might be able to see a few crinkled tentacles on the back left. Should heal up in a few days but the BTA had to go to a new home (a local aquarist who is already having good luck keeping anemones.) Anyway, enjoy the pics and thanks for all the advice along the way. Marc <thank you my friend, best regards, Anthony>

Re: Hood picture Rainford goby Hi, Anthony, The tank is six inches from the wall and the back of the hood (which is mostly open anyway) is 4 inches. Seems to stay pretty cool with the fan going.  <fair enough> I don't think I'll be dragging it anywhere ;-) <heehee> On the Rainford, you are correct he is in the tank. Doesn't seem to be any skinnier than when I acquired him about a year ago but he has only been in the new, smaller tank for about 4 weeks. He eats prepared food quite well; think I really need to worry on this guy? <Ahh...yes, my friend. This "challenging" fish like many others is not a problem to feed as legend has it. Most will definitely eat prepared foods... but they simply die of a dietary deficiency without the right kinds of prey. Without a tremendous amount of natural plankton in the tank, I sadly will not be surprised if this specimen goes the way of so many others. Help him and yourself by culturing fresh hatched and Selcon soaked brine shrimp (the only time brine is useful... fresh hatched hours old), feed frozen mysids and Gammarus shrimp... and definitely set up a fishless course media refugium for pod culture. Few aquarists keep this fish through a second year let alone a first. The move to a smaller tank will not help your cause either. Best regards, Anthony> Thanks, Marc

Amblygobius phalaena As ever, thanks for a great service. From reading your site I have learned more in the past month than I did after several years in the hobby. If I can't find what I am looking for, I end up learning much more in the hunt! <Me too... I suspect this is a common "benefit/liablity" of the way the content is arranged... by design> I have an Amblygobius phalaena -- I note that it has numerous "common" names -- and I am worried that he might be losing out at feeding time. <Yes and very common as well> Would the addition of Nori be helpful in his case?  <Mmm, possibly... having photographed this species a few times in the wild, it is associated with environments that have macro-algae and vascular plants in abundance> He shares the tank with a Long-nosed hawk, Fire fish, watchman goby, and blue damsel. He does wonders for the sand but I am not certain that there is enough life for him there. He does manage to get food at the daily feeding but he is a bit shy and only gets the food that is carried to him in the current. I have to admit that he is quickly becoming one of my favorites. <Maybe try some live foods... perhaps Mysid shrimp... consider adding a refugium, a DSB somewhere in the whole arrangement, more live rock... to generate more readily available, palatable food stuffs...> For reference: 58gal Oceanic 50lbs Live sand 70lbs of rock(35 live, 35 dead reef rock) no nitrates, phosphates pH 8.1/8.3 dKH 11 Calcium 400ppm Sealife Systems Pro Series 300 Wet/Dry Plus Skimmer I feed a variety of frozen foods at least once a day. <Do consider the above... live food source augmentation> Thanks for your time. I know that your response will be an invaluable addition to my continuing education. Have a great weekend. Lee <Have a great life/time my friend. Bob Fenner>

Please Help (Marine fish i.d.) Hi Bob, Thank you for all your advice in the past but I have a new question. I was given a fish from a friend who is moving. I believe the fish is a Blenny or a Goby but I'm not sure and neither is my local pet store.  Could you please Identify him for me. <This is an Amblygobius species... see this part of our site: http://wetwebmedia.com/amblygobius.htm> Second over the last 2 weeks he has become very skinny. I have a aggregate bed which he sifts often. Should I be feeding him a specialty diet. I did have one person say he thought it was a dragon fish (I'm not sure what he is) <Please read through the article cited above and related FAQs posted with it> Any help would be appreciated Thanks Jason P.S. Please excuse the Tang for hamming it up (he loves his picture taken) <I understand, believe me. Bob Fenner>

Rainford's Goby I have a very nice 72 gal. bow front reef tank that is doing very well except for two Rainford's Gobies I put in a couple of weeks ago. The water chemistry is normal, all of my corals and other livestock are living blissfully, but I can't get the Rainford's to eat anything and they are getting pretty skinny. I have tried live brine shrimp, new hatch brine shrimp and frozen Mysis shrimp, all to no avail. They nibble at the substrate now and then to 'sift' it. They seem content in every other respect, they just won't eat. Any suggestions? Do Rainford's have some special diet? >> Thank you for writing. These gobies (genus Amblygobius) are some of my favorite fishes for reef tanks... but they do need a good deal of "interstitial fauna" to keep them fat and happy. Most folks supply this in-the-gravel food by having robust live rock in a well-aged set-up... but how to provide it in the short term? You do have (of course, because you state this IS a reef tank) live rock... Do you have another system or a sump/refugium area where you can either move the Rainford's Gobies to or move some of the sand to them?  A few weeks ago, I was in Fiji collecting these fish... by simply setting a net on the bottom, stirring the bottom with my hand, and after going back to the surface for a breath of air, coming back and "pushing" the gobies et al. into the net with my hands... They eat worms, crustaceans, etc. that reside in the substrate...  Bob Fenner

Sandsifter gobies Dear Mr. Fenner, I'm furious over misinformation that cost 2 fishes their lives. My 100 gallon tank has not quite live sand (inoculated with copepods, baby bristle and spaghetti worms and tiny white sand stars, but not nearly enough to get a good start in my large tank), and covered with brown algae and diatoms, do to poor circulation at that time. I really wanted something that would clean the sand. Aquacon (www.aquacon.com) had the perfect solution. They said the banded bullet goby (Amblygobius phalaena) would keep the sand sparkling clean by sifting and eating all the algae. I bought 2 and for 6 weeks the tank looked like a winter wonderland. Then they died within a week of each other. I called Aquacon to order more and the lady tried to dissuade me saying the banded gobies were short lived. I got 2 more anyway, one didn't survive the shipping. That was almost a month ago. Two days ago I bought 2 beautiful yellow-head sleeper gobies. They'd been at the LFS for over a week, and since I trust this store and I was in a hurry I broke my cardinal rule of asking to see the fish eat first. These guys went into my 40 gallon tank and began sifting sand immediately, even though the huge royal Gramma was irritated at having to share his tank. I'm mad at myself for not doing my homework first, but I might not have learned as much had I done so. I went to your book (my salt water bible), and found that sleeper gobies indeed sift the sand, but not for algae, but for meat. It dawned on me that my poor banded gobies were short lived because they starved to death! No wonder they're short lived--DUH! So I took some frozen (thawed) brine shrimp plus and bloodworms and mixed them in the sand where the fishes are currently sifting. I don't like this very well, as I'm fighting a nitrate problem (wet/dry system) in the big tank, but it has a large sand star to help clean detritus. The little tank has less good filtration, but I want these gobies to live and prosper. This morning I was thrilled to see the banded goby eating food with the rest of the fish. I feel better about him. I'll continue to do everything I can to get the yellow-heads to accept given food. Thank you for letting me vent. I know you are very busy and my little tirade doesn't need a reply unless you have advice on how to feed this sweet little pair of gobies. Sincerely, Linda Kuehn <Very sorry to hear of your losses... and I urge you to offer live brine and Mysid shrimp to these gobies (in the absence of substantial interstitial fauna) to sustain/fatten them... And to execute regularly (weekly) water changes (about 20%) really helps to maintain water quality with these bottom dwellers. Maybe decussatus should be suggested as hardier, more suitable species of gobies... Do offer the live foods several times a day. Bob Fenner> 

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