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FAQs on Clown Gobies Health/Disease

Related Articles: Genus Gobiodon Gobies,

Related FAQs:  Gobiodons 1, Gobiodons 2, True Gobies Gobies 2Gobiodon Identification, Gobiodon Behavior, Gobiodon Compatibility, Gobiodon Selection, Gobiodon Systems, Gobiodon Feeding, Gobiodon Reproduction, True Gobies: Goby Identification, Goby Behavior, Goby Selection, Goby Compatibility, Goby Feeding, Goby Systems, Goby Disease, Goby Reproduction, Amblygobius Gobies, Neon GobiesGenus Coryphopterus Gobies, Mudskippers, Shrimp Gobies, Sifter Gobies

Rippled Coral Goby    3/23/17
<6.5 megs?>
Odd question for you... my green Rippled Coral Goby has taken a liking to my Colt Coral over the past week. During this time, his coloration has lightened dramatically. I'm curious if this some ill effect from the coral, or if this is some adaptation/camouflage type ability? Here's some before and after photos.
<Can't tell the cause, but this light coloring is not good. I would move this fish if you have another suitable system. Bob Fenner>

Re: Rippled Coral Goby    3/23/17
So sorry about the file size, I didn't realize at the time. This Rippled Coral Goby remains an aggressive eater, and I only noticed the color fade since he began roosting in my Colt. Color aside, he seems fine. This particular Colt Color is a very light pink. When I turn my pumps off - the signal for food! - he quickly swims to his roost up on the liverock and will jump in on the feeding action against my two clowns. None of my fish have been seen fighting one another, it's a pretty peaceful tank with a Royal Gramma and a yellow watchman goby.
<Well; up to you of course. Color change alone is not reason to fret.
Re: Rippled Coral Goby    3/23/17

Thanks. Will monitor closely. I guess I was just curious if the Coral Goby would slightly alter color to surroundings,
or if hanging out in corals could be harmful.
<Not likely; no. B>

Neon Goby to clean Okinawae Goby        5/31/16
Hi all,
Due to size, will a small Okinawa yellow coral Goby allow a neon Goby to clean it (ick)? A cleaner wrasse I thought might be too large.
Thank you
<I suspect that Gobiosoma spp. clean conspecifics... but Gobiodons....? Do, will they clean them?
Aren't facultative cleaners at all. I'd just stock (as going over in WWM)
more of the same Neons.... Bob Fenner>

Coral goby dying of old age - possible toxin issue      2/23/15
Hi guys,
I wonder if you could help me with this. Our coral goby (Gordon :) )
has been with us for 8 years and recently stopped eating. He is not exhibiting any disease symptoms but just resting on the rocks, moving less and less often. I am pretty sure his time has come and it just old age but am also a bit concerned about the rest of the fish. Now, I am pretty confident my system is parasite-free. After an WS outbreak in 2013, the tank was run fallow for 13 weeks and the goby and my wrasse were treated with copper and the only survivors of the outbreak (I did email you for help then as the wrasse tolerated the treatment badly but fortunately he recovered and is still with us!). I have since then been quarantining not only fish but also all corals and clean up crew before adding to my DT (a great excuse to set up yet another tank!).
Now, since the goby has been poorly, I have noticed our yellow tang acting a bit odd. He is healthy and looks perfect but seems a bit stressed and his appetite has decreased, although he is feeding. He sleeps right next to where the goby is and I have just read that they can excrete toxins when stressed.
<Mmm; this genus; not much>
Do you think this could be affecting
the other fish? And what course of action would you recommend?
<My/the usual "blind general reaction" of water changing and renewal, placement of activated carbon (Chemipure) and Polyfilter...>
I would have thought the goby would be gone by now but he is still holding on :(
Looking forward to your reply
Many thanks for your time
<Perhaps it is senescence as you state, or maybe your little goby ate something that doesn't agree with it. I would not treat, and would not give up hope... the water changes and filtrants mentioned above is the route I'd go. Bob Fenner>
Re: Coral goby dying of old age - possible toxin issue       2/28/15

Hi Bob and thanks for getting back to me.
The goby is now definitely dying - typical as we are going away for the weekend tomorrow so won't be able to get it out but hopefully the cuc will do its job :(
<If not; not much biomass to be concerned with>
The tang seemed to have lost its appetite but is not acting strange anymore
(I thought I saw him twitch a few times earlier this week, especially during feeding times).
<Tangs (just) do this... not indicative of much...>
Today he was grazing on the rocks and had some dried algae so hopefully he is ok. He looks perfect, nice and fat with strong bright colour.
<And you for this follow-up. BobF>
Re: Coral goby dying of old age - possible toxin issue        3/1/15

Hi Bob,
<Hello again Jo>
Just to let you know, the goby was dead on Sat morning and we removed what was left of him. On our return, the tang was 100% back to his usual self, feeding well and grazing on the rocks continuously - as soon as I entered the room, I could tell that his behaviour was normal and for the first time in a few weeks he was first to the algae clip! I tried researching into the
toxins released by these fish when stressed but couldn't find much.
<Might have to seek help of a reference librarian; larger/college-institution computer search bibliographic tools>
I still feel this was related to the tang losing his appetite and acting strange as he seems to have gone back to normal within hours of the goby being removed from the system. I know it sounds strange but thought I'd share my observations, in case someone else comes across something similar.
Thanks again for your help on all occasions I've contacted you through the years. You guys are great!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Hopefully you can help save my yellow clown goby; not eating      10/22/13
Hopefully the geniuses (and I mean that sincerely not sarcastically) at WWW can help me save my yellow clown goby (Gobiodon okinawae).
<Will do my best>
I have him in a six gallon Fluval Edge with a yasha goby (Stonogobiops yasha) and the yasha's candy cane shrimp.
<Mmm; a note re such prawn/Alpheid assemblages in small volumes. Other fishes, motile invertebrates may "get punched"
 It's a mostly soft coral tank with a couple of small frags of Leptoseris and Acans to go with the pulsing xenia, Zoanthids, blue clove polyps, toadstool, large green glove polyps, Ricordeas and other mushroom corals.  I change about a gallon and a half of the water on a weekly basis and the water parameters are perfectly fine.
<Ok; though many of the Cnidarians you list can be dangerously allelopathogenic... IF upset could poison this system in short order>
My ycg has been a very typical member example of its species, bright and sociable with both people and the yasha and his shrimp.  So there have been no problems in the tank until this couple of weeks.  Until the last couple, the ycg was a very healthy eater and ate flakes, freeze dried and frozen food of all types.  However, over the last few weeks he has steadfastly refused to eat and is wasting away.
I've tried soaking his dried food in garlic to no avail.  And I've added just about every dried, frozen and freeze-dried food in my repertoire.  The only thing I haven't attempted is live food of some sort.  But truthfully I don't know if that is the problem.  He's clearly hungry as he has gone from
a fat healthy fish to one I'm afraid will die in the next 48 hours or so.
There is no external parasites and if there are internal parasites they don't seem to affect the yasha goby who is still fat and healthy and is eating everything I put in the tank.
Any thoughts on how I can attempt to save him?  I'd hate to lose him. 
He's only about a year old or so.
<This little Goby may have swallowed something, or been stung... IF you have another established system where it will fit... I would definitely be moving it. IF you don't, I would entrust its care to another who does. Move it, now.
Bob Fenner>
Re: Hopefully you can help save my yellow clown goby     10/22/13

Thank you for the quick response.
I also have a 29 gallon biocides filled with hard sps and Lps.
<Ah, great!>
  If corals were it's only occupants that would be a good place, but I have a falco Hawkfish and a neon Dottyback in there who would make short work of the ycg.
<Mmm, not so sure... Gobiodon are not the dullards they appear... and have a distasteful body slime... and are smart enough to hide amongst the stony coral branches...>
 I also have a 10 gallon cold tank with Catalina gobies that is equally inhospitable for obvious reasons.  The sole possibility for an established tank is I have a small two gallon tank I use exclusively to grow out macroalgae for feeding purposes.
<Might be the best choice... the 29 will be impossible to net out>
 It has some small dwarf Ceriths in there and has been established for at least a year.  It's a very small tank but then again the ycg is a very small fish.  If you think that the move and cramped quarters would be less stressful than his current environment I will move him. 
<I would; either the 2 or 29 gal.>
Like I said, I'm at a loss for what's causing the problem.  The edge is a tank that's been fully functional and "happy" for over a year and there's been no aggression. The only thing I can guess out is either an internal parasite of some sort but I haven't added new fish since the ycg and yasha went in and the corals are all at least six months old.  The other is the ycg had a favorite Favia that he nestled and nipped at and "loved" over a very long time he managed to kill it about a month ago.  Obviously that slime would not be his only food when he was happy as he would tear into anything I put in the water. 
Knowing the above, would you risk moving the ycg to the 2 gallon and try to rehab?
<See above>
 Or maybe purchase another Favia frag from my lfs and/or try to feeding bbs?
<Not I. BobF>

Strange problem with green clown goby    12/7/12
Hi, first time asking you something... My green clown goby suddenly had these blue spots on him, and he was completely healthy the day before, always eating and swimming everywhere (a 66G Red Sea Max tank, all major parameters fine except for a tad bit of phosphate). They looked like small dark blue balls and apparently were located closer to the dorsal fin and not actually on the body (pictures attached). Until I could find a description of what it is, the clown died overnight, these pics are from the afternoon before he died. I even checked him at night with the lights off, and although he was a bit more quiet, I couldn't tell if it was just him doing his natural resting thing at night or if he was already dying.
He was here for about 3 months and survived a serious Ich infestation on some other fish (that didn't make it) without having any symptom at all and he was supposed the most frail of the fish that were there at that time I guess (Atlantic blue tang - the culprit -, a Dottyback and a couple damsels).
After it died, the body became more blue-ish, and the dorsal fin was also blue, like if it was "tinted" with these blue Ich medicines for freshwater (which I've never used obviously). Some people told me that some gobies release sort of a mucus when they are stressed or when growing (?)
<They are indeed very "mucousy">

so this might be just a symptom that he was just stressed for some reason, but a mucus with such a strange colour is a bit odd... He had no fin rot, no bloating, no visible signs of parasites, no fast breathing, nothing else that could lead me to think he was sick.
<I'm guessing that this fish was physically traumatized... stuck with podia by a Bristleworm, perhaps bitten by another fish... and that the site of the punctures was the cause of the mucus and some body tissue (the color) balls... My guess in part based on the sudden appearance, lack of other distinct features (e.g. egg sacs from parasitic crustacea). Gobiodon gobies should only be kept w/ corals (mainly Acropora spp.) that afford them coverage/habitat. Bob Fenner>

Yellow Clown Goby Lymphocystis?    5/24/12
Good morning :)
I have been in the SW Hobby for 10 years.  My main display tank is 8 years old and happy, waiting to possibly be upgraded for a larger tank.  I have a second tank (30 gal, live rock, pH 8.3, T 78, Amm/Nit/N-ate 0, S 1.026) that had live rock, crabs and snails for 2 years.  Initially, he was going to temporarily house my DT inhabitants while I transferred tanks. 
Everything was put on hold for various reasons, so I decided to actually put fish into my smaller tank.  I started with Yellow Clown Gobies, as I love them but they never would survive in my DT (always ended up in the sump).  I noted on WWM that these fish do not quarantine well, so I added them directly to the 30 gal tank 2 1/2 weeks ago.  Meanwhile, I quarantined my Gold Bar Maroon Clowns (ORA and from a good fish store that quarantines, so I'm not sure I needed to quarantine them, but I did just to be sure). 
As an aside..... I paired up a medium and small clown and they are happily getting along together so far.
Within a day of putting the yellow gobies into the tank, I noted one of them had weird "protrusions" of scales.  These really did look like flat scales sticking straight out of it's body. Many of them - 20 or so at least.  I think the other goby had a couple, but not nearly as many.  I could not find this anywhere online (I failed to take a picture.... sorry).
 I did find one person on WWM describing something similar.  And I found one other site that has a thread about an "unusual parasite" that is described somewhat similarly.  That thread indicates this parasite is known to have an "affection" for small gobies or similar fish. 
I stared at this fish a lot, and really didn't think they were parasites. 
After about 48 hours, he went back to normal.  All the while, this goby ate well and often. (Mysis/Spectrum Pellets).  Yesterday I added my extremely healthy Maroon Clowns to the tank.  Right after, I observed that this Yellow Goby was COVERED in white spots.  It is possible that I just hadn't looked at him earlier that day.  But I wondered if they showed up because I stressed him out by adding the Maroon Clown.  I panicked and took the Clown Gobies out into Quarantine.  I should have looked at them thoroughly before adding the Maroon Clowns!  Now both of my yellow gobies are covered in these spots.
I read extensively - and I wonder if this is Lymphocystis? 
<Mmm, don't think so... based on appearance and such rapid onset>
It isn't Ich or velvet, and I don't think it is  flukes/parasites. It seems extreme/sudden, but I think the stress could do it.  I also read an old article about the Lymphocystis life cycle.  It seems that at Day 8 after infection, cells change but there is not virus visible, day 15 the virus becomes active and visible in the cells, and day 28 it is in its most active state.  This would fit close to the timing of my fish - if the "scales poking out" were the result of cellular changes at approximately day 15 - this would be the right timing for the most active phase. 
Probably worsened by the added stress.  i understand Lymphocystis is a Herpes Virus - which in humans is certainly activated by stress also. 
If this is Lymphocystis, should I put these clowns back into the tank?  Or try to keep them in quarantine? 
<I'd try treating for Protozoans and worms in quarantine for a couple weeks>
I believe the tank will be more calming....
the Gold Bar Maroon Clowns initially showed no interest in them.  Also they seem relatively mellow and cooperative.  I don't want to infect the Clowns, but I don't want to kill the Gobies either by keeping them in quarantine too long.
If not Lymphocystis..... ?
<Can't tell w/o sampling, microscopic examination. Bob Fenner>

full size pic

clown goby, Crypt, reading   5/24/10
I was wondering if their
is a medication or remedy for Ick on my clown goby?
<A few>
I purchased it a week ago. the goby is only a half inch long. I think when I purchased it, it had Ick and I didn't realize it. He is in my hospital tank now. My water quality is excellent. I have live rock, yellow tang 2 clown fish and a scooter blenny. Please any info will be better than what I have found on the net. Thanks, mike
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cryptblensgobs.htm
and the linked files above, where you lead yourself... Bob Fenner>

Lump on yellow coral goby 1/25/2009
Hi there,
How are you?
<Fine, thanks>
I'm just writing (again) to ask about this lump I noticed on my yellow coral goby today. It's on the anal fin (is that what it's called? I'm not too sure...) and it's sort of in a rectangular shape, about 1-1.5mm long.
It sticks out like a lump, and it's the color is very very light brown with a tinge of pink perhaps... definitely not yellow. It looks almost like a skin tag, or a blister. At first, I thought it was from physical trauma since I had read about it in the FAQs a few weeks ago... but then I noticed one or two really tiny black dots at one end of the 'lump', and thought it almost looks like eyes of some sort.
Could this be a parasite attached to my fish?
The fish hasn't shown any symptoms though... and from the size of the lump, I would have thought there would be other symptoms. If anything, over the past two days, my fish has been eating a lot more than before, since it'd seem to be starving until recently. I'm not sure what to do really, because currently I have a threadfin butterfly in my QT (bought it a few days ago) so I don't know if I should put the coral goby in my QT as well.
<Maybe try adding a purposeful cleaner (perhaps a Lysmata species), read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/clnrfaqs.htm
or net the Gobiodon and try removing this spot for closer examination. Bob Fenner> 

Re: lump on yellow coral goby - 1/25/10
Hi Bob,
I managed to net the goby to have a closer look at it. It looked like a worm of some sort that was clinging onto its anal fin. When I pinched it with a tweezers, it started running up the goby's body so I was able to grab it and it came off easily. It had these tiny little shrimp-looking legs though..
<Ahh! Likely a parasitic crustacean of some sort...>
whatever it was. I'll definitely look into getting a cleaner shrimp or something similar once my butterfly's out of the QT.
Thanks for your advice and help!
<Please read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/crustdisfaqs1.htm

Green Clown Goby: RIP - 7/6/09
Hi Crew,
<Hello Sam, Lynn here this afternoon>
Well, my green clown goby (green with red stripes) died this morning.
<I'm so sorry. Those are beautiful, personality-filled little fish.>
I had him over 6 years but have no clue how old he was when I got him. I did not see anything wrong with him so maybe it was just old age, but I do not know how long they can last in captivity.
<Well, six years is definitely up there. I've heard of some hobbyists keeping various gobies between six to eight years, but none over ten. The longest I've heard of anyone keeping a green clown goby/Gobiodon histrio (until now) is five years. According to a 2005 study done by V. Hernaman and P. L. Munday, this species can live "at least 4 years" in the wild, and that's mainly because they're a more cryptic species, hiding in and around corals. Apparently other less cryptic, coral-dwelling species tend to have considerably shorter lives. Bottom line is that your little fish, at least 6 years, was definitely on the plus side as far as lifespan. For more information on Goby lifespans, see the above-mentioned study here: http://www.int-res.com/articles/meps2005/290/m290p207.pdf >
I bought a Favites about 6 weeks ago and that became his new perch.
<Bet he was pretty perched there!>
He made it through 2 bouts of ich so he was a real survivor.
I give the crew credit for his making it that long.
<Sounds to me like your conscientious good care and husbandry allowed him to have a nice long life.>
<You're very welcome, and again, I'm so sorry for your loss.>
<Take care, LynnZ>

Green Clown Goby with Ich?  4/6/07 Hi my name is Michael. First of all, I would just like to say that you guys run a wonderful website.  It has stopped me from making many stupid decisions since I am still rather new to saltwater aquariums. <Glad we could help you help yourself and your actions/non-actions here> I now have a problem with a sick green clown goby. I have searched for this under your clown goby disease page but I was unable to find a clear answer regarding this problem so if this has been answered already I apologize. <Okay> Anyways, Around 6 weeks ago I purchased a green clown goby.  He ate at the pet store <You do know that these little chubsters almost exclusively feed on Acroporid polyps in the wild?> and seemed fine but he was rather shy. <Is their nature> I took him home and put him in my quarantine tank for two weeks and he still seemed fine. <Okay...> After the 2 weeks, I put him in my main tank.  My poor little goby got into a small fight with my coral banded shrimp <Incompatible...> over a hiding area and although neither of them seemed hurt, the goby looked very scared and he hid.  For around 2 weeks he hid after that encounter and he refused to eat.  Recently, he has began to eat shrimp and flakes which is great.  He seems fine except for one thing. Around 3 week ago, he began to have green bumps on his skin. Now, I looked on your site and saw someone with a similar problem but then my goby's green spots began to get little white tips which was not mentioned.  This made me believe it might be marine ich. <Mmm... not likely if your other fish livestock lack symptoms... Very likely "just" reaction from the Stenopus encounter...> The bumps are constantly coming and going every day but new ones appear in new parts of his body. None of the other fish in my tank seem to be affected by whatever it is.  My clownfish, bicolor blenny, and purple Pseudochromis all seem fine.  Anyways, I am pretty sure that the green goby's 2 weeks of fasting combined with stress probably weakened his immune system causing him to get sick but if it is ich, would it be possible for him to be the only one affected? <Not likely> I also read on some site that ich can be in a tank and never affect the residents. <Yes... but usually this following exposure... a sort of immunity, acquired...> Basically, I am planning on removing the green clown goby from the tank into my quarantine tank again so I can closely watch him.  Are there other diseases that look like ich. <Many> These bumps started out green then became white.  They also disappear and reappear daily and I am not sure if that follows the life cycle of ich.  The fish seems unaffected and still eats normally.  Also, he seems to becoming more and more bold by coming out of his hiding place more often. <Good> Is there anything you can recommend or any ideas on what this disease may be/ how to cure it? <Move this Gobiodon to another setting... more reef... with table top live coral/s... not Boxer Shrimp...> I know that there are probably many things this could be and that many strains of infections look similar and require to be looked at under a microscope to be definitely identified. I hope I have provided enough information about my situation.  Thank you very much for your time. from, Michael. <Read before buying... Bob Fenner>  

Yellow Clown Goby With White Spots   12/15/06 First I want to thank all of you for your dedication and assistance in helping others. The site is extremely educational. <Glad to have it found so... is intended to be a mix between inspiration, entertainment and massaged learning... for the beginning to intermediate person interested in any given genre of ornamental aquatics> I purchased a yellow clown goby (Gobiodon okinawae) on 11/29. The LFS's new shipment of animals flew in the night before so he was only in their tank overnight. <Mmm... best to wait a few days to pick up such new arrivals...> Once home and properly acclimated, I placed him in a quarantine tank because I had just combined a cycled 3.5 gallon and cycled 5 gallon tank into a 10 gallon tank which I knew would put it through a mini-cycle. The goby is fed approximately 4 times per day very small amounts of a variety of food (Cyclop-eeze, Brine shrimp with Omega 3, Mysis shrimp or tiny flake bits) He eats all of those but definitely prefers the brine and Cyclop-eeze. (Yes he does eat tiny bits of Formula One flake food).   <Good> Quarantine Tank Information: -3.5 gal -Nano filter (Red Sea) Using a Bio Bag with about 1 tablespoon of tri-activated carbon. This is rinsed 2x daily with either fresh saltwater or old changed water. -25W Heater -Ammonia, nitrite, nitrates 0 (Because it's small I work very hard to keep it clean) I also use small amount of AmQuel+ with Novaqua (I wasn't sure about the Novaqua at first but couldn't find anything that said it was bad for gobies) <Should be fine> -pH  8.0 (but does drop at night) <Fine as well> -Salinity now at 1.024 -Temperature 78-79. I purchase my saltwater from the LFS and about 4 days ago did my regular water change without testing their water. The next morning, the Talbot's damsel who is in another quarantine tank was not acting right, she was "pacing" in her tank and I knew something was very wrong. I tested everything. Ammonia, nitrite and nitrates all 0. But the salinity tested at 1.030. <Yikes!> (Using a refractometer). I tested the goby tank (which also had a skunk cleaner shrimp) and it was 1.030. I couldn't figure out why because the water had been steady at 1.025. I tested the LFS water from its container and it was 1.030. I did a water change but tried to lower it gradually. Unfortunately my little shrimp didn't make it. Two days later he went into molt and was missing all but two of his legs and his molt shell was not hard as his first molt shell was, it was kind of gelled in some spots. He only lasted overnight.  The same day I found the salinity to be high I noticed the goby had what appeared to be tiny bumps on his skin and same color as his skin.  When I first brought him home it seemed he had a small pimply type bump on his head but every time I tried to get a closer look he would hide.  The goby is still active and eating well.  He flits all over the tank perching on the heater or darting to one of the fake corals I have in there or even at times upside down on the thermometer. I've been monitoring his breathing and this morning he seemed to be breathing more rapid then previously. His gill movement have been around 60-70 per minute, this morning it was almost 100, but later went back down again.   <Could be nothing here> Since he's gotten used to me I can at least look at him more closely with a magnifying glass.  I now also see a few white spots on him. I think about 4 or 5. I don't know if you can see it on the attached photo, but there is one on the very top of that bump on his head <I do see this one, yes> and one on his cheek just below his eye.  I'm pretty paranoid as to how to treat it because of some of the stories I've ready with treatments and the 'nakedness' of goby's skin. I've tried reading through everything but with so much information on your site a search with Yellow Goby & Ich brings up tons of reading material, and so far I haven't found the answer I'm looking for. But if it is a form of Ich I know time is of the essence. <Mmm... best not to over-react...> I'm really attached to him. he swims up to the front and perches and watches me work and doesn't hide from me anymore.  Thanking you in advance for your response.  Oh (note for Bob Fenner) the little damsel in the quarantine I noted above is the one I wrote about and sent a picture with the white spot you noted as "(likely Microsporidean)". Anyway I noticed while she was in quarantine the 'protozoan' disappeared for a bit and then reappeared later on her left side. <Very common> So I figured it must have become free swimming (a bit of info I picked up somewhere on your site.)  So the last time I saw it had come off (I had already pre-prepared another quarantine tank) I quickly moved her into the new tank. It's been seven days and no sign of any spot.  With regard to the cleaner shrimp, the LFS offered a replacement for the L. amboinensis and I instead chose peppermint shrimp, L. wurdemanni, as I had also grown very attached to the skunk cleaner.  One more note about the goby, somewhere I read something about lymphocyte... is there a picture somewhere that I can see. I did several searches on the web but couldn't come up with anything.   <Mmm, try the spelling "Lymphocystis"... in your searching. At this juncture, I would wait, hold off on actual "treatment" of this Gobiodon... let it rest, harden a bit more (a few weeks)... at that point you can make more of a decision (as in nothing is decided till it's done) re whether to tolerate an ongoing sub-clinical infestation (yes, likely Crypt) or want to try chemical administration. Bob Fenner> Thanks again for all your assistance.  ... And a very happy Holiday to all.

Clown Goby loss... and Jawfish/Sexy Shrimp comp.   12/14/06 Hello again, <Hi there Tom!  Mich with you again.> I have to quick questions for you. <Alrighty> 1. Are Pearly Jawfish compatible with Sexy Shrimp. The have quite big mouths and I was wondering if the temptation may be too great for them to bear. <I don't think the Jawfish will go after the shrimp looking for a snack, but the Jawfish will defend its' burrow.  If the shrimp tries door to door sales, it could have an unpleasant encounter at the Jawfish residence.> 2. A while back I bought a Clown Goby. He seemed to transition fine and he was nice and active ( he was the first fish I added to my Nano tank after the tank had cycled for about 7 weeks). All had gone fine for about the first 6 weeks, but then two days ago he seemed to not want to come out, so he stayed hidden the whole day. I didn't get too worried because I thought he might just need some "alone time". Then yesterday, he wouldn't stop swimming around. He stayed out the whole day, eating and doing what fish do. As the day went on he seemed to get a little pail <What did he do with the little pail? Hehehe! Maybe you meant pale!>. By night he still seemed as fishy as ever but his color had really faded. This morning I went over to look to see how he was doing, and to my dismay, he was lying on the tank floor dead! I have no idea what caused this. The levels in his tank are all where they should be. He doesn't have and other tank mates ( I had made a the Nano tank just for him). The only other thing I can think to tell you is that when his color faded, only the green faded ( sorry I should have told you he was a green clown goby earlier). The red dots and stripes were still as bright as they usually were. If you have any insights they would be greatly appreciated. <I'm sorry for your loss.  There is nothing that leads me to suspect anything particular contributed to his death.  Obviously there are many possibilities.>   My apologies, this dragged on longer than I thought it would. <No worries.> Thanks for all the great work you do. <A collective labor of love.  -Mich> Tom
Re: Clown Goby loss... and Jawfish/Sexy Shrimp comp.   12/14/06
Hi Mich, <Hi Tom!> I was not planning on getting a soliciting shrimp :), <Heee!> but since it could happen do you think it would be better just to avoid Sexy Shrimp? <It would eliminate potential problems.> Do you think the Clown Goby may have just died of natural causes? <Hopefully yes, but it's impossible to say.> If you think he didn't are there any other thing I should check? <Like no one wiped the outside of the tank down with bleach or accidentally spike the tank while spiking the eggnog?> Maybe he was caught under his little pail :)? <Could have been!> Sorry about that last time, yes I did mean pale. <It's OK, just having some fun with it!> Thanks again. <You're quite welcome.  -Mich> Tom
Re: Clown Goby loss... and Jawfish/Sexy Shrimp comp.   12/14/06
Hello again Mich, <Hi there Tom!>   Alrighty, I will steer clear of the sexy shrimp for now. <A good idea I think.> If it was from a bleach wipe down, what's the longest you think it would take from the time of the wipe to the time of his death (just so I can do some investigating)? <Hmm, not sure, would depend on many factor but I would say more than a few minutes to less than a couple of days, big range I know.> The tank does get wiped down but I do not use cleaners. My thought is maybe someone else used the cloth with cleaners and didn't rinse the cloth. <Would recommend a dedicated cloth or disposable paper products.> Do you think that could be a cause? <It's possible, but so are many other things.> I'll be sure to put up a sign beside the tank that informs people that the fish doesn't drink to eliminate the other idea you had ;). <Do a Google search on reef tanks and vodka, you will be amused!> Thanks again. <My pleasure.  -Mich> Tom 

Goby With Urchin Spine Through Its Head! A "Wild and Crazy Fish" ala Steve Martin- 02/12/06 Hi, <<Hello>> We have just discovered that out new little goby (3 weeks in tank) has a spike through his head from our urchin (see photos). <<Yowza!  More than 30 years in this hobby...first time I've seen anything like that...>> He does not seem to be distressed and is feeding and swimming as normal. <<Hmm, must have not struck anything 'vital'.>> Since the photos he has banged his head around on a rock and taken both ends off - we can still see the spike inside.  Is there anything we should do or should we just observe? <<I would be inclined to leave things as they are.  If the spine has not killed the goby by now, catching/handling it to try to remove the spine will cause undo stress or even kill it outright. Many thanks
<<Regards, EricR>>

Shades of Steve Martin skits!

Please help - Treatment of Gobies   6/19/06 Dear Mr. Fenner   I am writing to you in great distress, in the hope that you might be able to educate me further in the type of medications that can't be used on Clown Gobies.   With all the best intentions in the world, I put my Citron Goby in to my quarantine tank  to treat for a Whitespot/velvet infection.  I started to treat her with Copper - Seachem Cupramine, to be exact.   I only put the first days dose in.  Everything seemed fine.  Later that day I then went to browse the web for more information on the Green Clown Gobies I was thinking of buying.  I stumbled across your very informative webpage for this breed, and noted, with horror that under the disease section of your Gobies page you write,   "Gobioids for the most part are relatively disease resistant, with the exception of one type of disease, environmental. Though they have cycloid or ctenoid scales, they have about the same intolerance of harsh chemical treatments as "naked" fishes. Many more are bumped off from copper, malachite and formalin- containing medicants than from the infectious diseases they're used against." <Yes>   In sheer panic, I rushed downstairs to see the horrific sight of my clown goby.  Her skin had literally started to dissolve, and there were parts of her fins eroding at the edges, and places where he skin had bubbled up.  Most horrifically, there were two places where the copper had eaten in to her body.  She also had what looked like red blood lines to the rear of her gills ... internal bleeding? Words cannot describe how devastated I am.      I rushed to do a 50% water change, using my main tank water, and started to run a PolyFilter, in order to significantly dilute the copper solution.   <Good moves>   30 hours on, she is still alive, and there has been no further damage to her skin that I can see.  I know that it is unlikely that she will survive this ordeal, but I am desperate to do all I can, and to make her as comfortable as possible.  I am daily testing the water parameters.  The QT is blacked out, and I am starting to lower the salinity, in order to keep and bacterial infections that could arise from the damage, at bay.   Yours is the only website I have found that indicates towards this problem with Gobies. <Mmm... a speculation re the "capacity", utility of the Net at this juncture. I and others have written (magazine articles, books) touching on this topic/issue for many years> I have purchased a copy of your book, and have read there what you have written about this also.   <Oh!>   My very experienced LFS also had not heard of this problem.   I was wondering whether you are able to tell me if this is a normal reaction by my clown goby to this treatment. <It is. Such "toxic" treatments, even with chelated copper solutions need to be carefully measured at about the near lowest physiological dose (0.15 ppm free cupric ion equivalent)> Also, does this happen to all Gobies?   <Nearly all... though smaller individuals, species are more direly and quickly mal-affected> I understand that this reaction is caused by copper, malachite and Formalin-containing medicants.  Does that mean any use of those mentioned substances, even at very low doses? <One can... in actual practice these materia-medica are used by public aquariums, wholesalers... daily>   Would there be any difference in reaction from chelated and non-chelated copper? <Mmm, oh yes... The free cupric ion is really the only important measure in both/all cases. Utilizing sequestered compounds only/allows for a more "steady" dosage... The chelated is better for hobbyists and commercial settings in almost all cases. Free copper (sulfate) solutions are of value for raceway, open, culture, some high-tech. settings>   Why is the Gobiodon reaction not a more widely know fact? <Mmm... ours seems an esoteric field... My next guess is that there are so few aquarists that "make it to" the level of serious keeping of this huge group of fishes that they have little chance/opportunity (as yet) to communicate their observations, findings>   I would be very appreciative of any further information and help that you could give me.   Kind regards   Claire Read-Ball <I do sincerely hope that you remain active in this hobby field... And strongly encourage you to pen an article for sale to the print and electronic media in our interest for your and all's edification. Bob Fenner>

Treatment of Gobies, Copper, Cupramine   7/10/06 Dear Mr. Fenner   Thank you so much for your kind reply a little while ago, when I wrote to you regarding the terrible incident I had with my Clown Goby having a horrific reaction to copper.  I thought that I would let you know that although my subsequent water changes prevented any further damage to her, she never really recovered, and died 5 days later. <Thank you for this update> I had been hoping that as she made it through 48 hours, she might recover, but I think the damage was too severe.   I also wrote to the company who makes the copper treatment, to see what their advice was on treating Gobies with copper.  I thought that you would be interested to see their reply, as they seem to think that copper does not have any ill affects on Gobies.  I would be interested to see what you think, before I reply to them:    "Cupramine works great on most copper sensitive fish like puffers and Angels. You will find that puffers are mush more sensitive to copper than gobies.  We have had many people use Cupramine on gobies and puffers without a problem. I'm sorry for what your goby is going through but I can assure you it is not from the proper use of Cupramine. One dose of Cupramine (1 ml per 10.5 gallons) will result in a copper concentration of 0.25 mg/L.  I suspect that your fishes reaction is a result of disease or possibly you used Cupramine inappropriately. <Possibly> Here are some questions that may help us figure out what occurred: Where did you get the water for the quarantine tank? Was it freshly made salt water?  Did you check to make sure it matched pH, temperature, salinity, and that the ammonia and nitrite were at zero? <Good questions, concerns> Did you add any other chemical with the Cupramine?  Water conditioner, medication, ammonia remover. Did you have a UV sterilizer running? <This will remove the copper...> Did you do anything that could have stressed the Goby prior to being placed in the aquarium? Freshwater dip Are you sure that the fish has ich or velvet?  What you describe sounds like Brooklynella.  (rapid progression, string-like material hanging off the fish) <A valid concern. Copper compounds will not treat this protozoan complaint... but it is rare on Gobiids/oids> Please let me know the answers to these questions and I will help you the best I CAN. <A very nice response indeed> Best Regards, Seachem Tech Support"      Thank you for your time and help once again.   Kind regards   Claire <Thank you for sending this along. There is much to know/relate concerning copper's use... Not a simple, use so much of this, in such and such condition/s. Bob Fenner>

Goby Quarantine Period Bob: I was at a seminar that you gave in Brooklyn, NY on May 9, 2003. I came across some notes I took from that day, and it seems that you said Gobies do not need a standard quarantine period. I wrote down "a few days". I wanted some clarification, since I just purchased a 1" Yellow Clown Goby (Gobiodon okinawae) and it is currently in my quarantine tank. Thanks, Rich (*bursting* with anticipation on RI). <Thank you for writing. I do stand by the general statement re a foreshortened quarantine period for most (small) gobies and blennies... for what quarantine is worth, any more than a few days presents a "bad trade-off" with loss of weight, overall health> Ps: Did you cut your hair yet? Every time I forget what you look like, I think of Sam Kinison, sans hat! ;) <Ha! Did have some trimmed off, but am adamant to keep my neck warm... and besides, Sam.K is dead! Bob Fenner>

New Yellow Clown Goby Hi again !<Hi Back...MikeD here> Thanks so much for your sound advice! I currently have a Nano marine set-up, 10 gal, 10 lbs live rock, 3 inch sandbed, which is currently housing 3 small false Clownfishes. After a month's quarantine and a fallow tank, my tank and fishes are now ich free, which I owe it all to you guys!<Glad it worked!> The fishes are in its 10th day in the display tank, ich free and eating, which I hope would continue to stay that way. I have plans to upgrade to a 50 gal. tank as I've seen them very active and 10 gal. won't do them justice.<You'll probably be much happier. Often larger tanks are actually easier and ALWAYS more forgiving if you err a little.> Yesterday I went to the LFS and saw this less than 1 inch yellow clown goby. Out of pity I purchased him because he was really banged up.<Been three all too often.> He had beaten fins and some injury on his body, but no severe bleeding or red spots. He's now in the QT and I am nursing him to health. I've read the FAQs on them and found little information on how and what to feed him. I've given him small pieces of squid, prawn, Tetra sinking morsels and Tetra flake food but still he wouldn't eat. Is it because he is still recovering from his injury and shipping?<Possibly. I'd suggest using a good antibiotic if there's body damage, and even for the fins. Even with healthy Clown gobies it's often best to start them out with live brine shrimp to get them started, and with an injured one, may be it's only chance> I'm observing him and sometimes he'd "stand-up", sometimes at the corner hiding. I've also observed that he'd really stand still, and I thought he was dead because there was little movement, event mouth and gill movements were really at a minimum. Is he relaxing or something ? Would he accept the food I'm giving if he has adjusted to the QT ?<Likely not. Again, live brine if possible> I may put some Methylene blue<NO!!!! Many gobies are scaleless or nearly so to the point that die based medications can be fatal!> on the QT to help him in healing 3 days from now, I'll just give him time to adjust.<My suggestion would be Maracyn (brand name for Erythromycin) an antibiotic that I've used for over 30 years>  I hope he gets better.<me too> Hope you could advise on what food and how to take care of him.<I hope the info helps, but if he doesn't make it, keep in mind they are delicate little guys to begin with, more so if injured, so you took on an uphill battle, very commendable in my book, so it's not your fault> Thanks!<Good Luck and You're very welcome>
Re: New Yellow Clown Goby Hi MikeD ! <Hi back, MikeD again> Thanks for the advice! It's really good to ask the experts first before doing anything.<Whoa...no expert here, just an old guy that's been doing this a long time **grin**> Well, he's still not eating. And last night I put some light on to check his condition. He has a little frayed top fin, but what concerns more was that he was injured, but he has lots of 'warts' like things protruding in his body and fins. I am unable to get a clear ID on what he has, its either Lymphocystis or Marine Ich, or both. I know what ich looks like because of my clowns =) .. but I am not sure about the actual appearance of Lymphocystis, all I know is that it looks like big ich (cotton like) and the bump comes from within the body, and it also manifests on fins. Its a little bigger and more protruding than ich, and he doesn't have rapid breathing.<That's a good sign> Is it okay if I lower the salinity a bit?< A "bit" probably won't do any good, and I believe clown gobies are a tad more delicate than many of their tough little cousins> I am doing daily water changes to assist his healing. I read the FAQs and there is no cure for Lymphocystis except for good water and environment.<I'd continue with what you're doing until you can be sure (a good magnifying glass might help) as the wrong treatment can often be worse than the disease!> Thanks again !<You're very welcome. Continued good luck> Romel

Yellow Clown Goby with "parasites" This is my second go round buying yellow clown gobies in which they develop small yellow ?parasites. These bumps resemble flaps or tissue like people that have skin tags. <Ah yes... you are likely correct here... parasitic copepods likely> It's very strange. I had fresh water tanks for years and in October '04 finally leapt into the marine world. With freshwater fish I've dealt with injuries, fungus, infections, ich, anchor worms, flukes and some other odd parasites (particularly on goldfish and Koi).  I have a 40 gallon System II by SeaClear (with the bioballs removed), have 2 powerheads and a protein skimmer. My temp. runs 78-79 degrees. I was keeping salinity at 1.0024-25 and have lowered it to 1.0023 for the last couple weeks (in case I'm not keeping as close tabs on it). I have 2 1/2 - 3" live sand and 50 pounds of live rock. I cycled it for a month with nitrates never going beyond 40 ppm. For the last month they've remained stabile at 20 ppm. <Okay> These parasites look like none I've ever seen. Are they possibly endemic to yellow gobies? <Possibly. Have you seen this pic: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gobyfaqs2.htm  hard to make out... but the "black sticks" are copepod parasites on a goby in the wild> I have not seen these bumps on the green, black or red gobies in the store but have seem them on the yellow clown gobies at the store sometimes. The fleshy looking tags are yellow (not clear or white) there are at least a dozen on each side of the fish on the body, all fins and gill cover. Some lay flat some stick out like flaps or tags.  <Do send along a pic if you can> First the history, in December I bought 2 yellow clown gobies and (I was a bad girl) I introduced them without any dip or quarantine. I don't have Acro coral and didn't even know they liked it. They ate Mysis shrimp very well, were very active and after a few days developed "bumps" but were still acting happy. I rushed off to the pet store to buy a couple cleaner species. I released my neon goby and cleaner shrimp and by the next morning the neon goby and both yellow gobies were gone!  Cecil our red serpent star looked guilty (he'd previously dismantled another serpent star and was the quickest to the food every time I fed) so I've got rid of him thinking they might have either been killed in their sleep (or he just ate all the remains once they died). <Not likely... "the" green serpent star can be trouble in this regard, but not other (known) species... unless the Gobiodon were very weakened... These little gobies are quite quick, aware in good health> I adjusted a few parameters slightly. I lowered salinity to 1.0023, temp to 78 instead of 80, bought a few Acro frags, read more, and started over. Jan 21, I bought 2 more yellow gobies, used a 6 minute freshwater dip with Methylene Blue released the gobies (yes again no quarantine tank, my husband's remodeling the bathroom I'm putting the quarantine tank in!). They liked the Acro, <Yes, this genus of goby/coral are almost always found in intimate association in the wild> one disappeared after 48 hours and the other one developed these bumps. We no longer have any predators. The current tankmates are a Firefish and scooter dragonet (first two fish I bought in November), a six line wrasse and 3 Banggai cardinals (all eating well), a pistol shrimp, <Mmm... this might be a/the culprit> 2 cleaner shrimp, hermits, snails, 2 Sandsifter stars, and a wild caught percula clown (he's another story). I've had large feather dusters and several assorted soft coral frags mainly Zoas and mushrooms (If they thrive, a frag will be enough to get it started and if they don't I wont have a $60++ specimen fouling the tank). <These two could consume the gobies as well>   The cleaner shrimp don't seem to be helping him any. All the parameters are reading good should I wait longer or put him in the hospital tank. What would I treat with? <Mmm, "Marine Clout" or other medicine containing organophosphate (yes, bug killer)... DTHP, Neguvon, Masoten, Dylox... this economic poison mal-affects terrestrial insects and (closely related physiologically, teleologically) crustaceans... of the latter which I believe the bumps are indicative> Are they sensitive to copper since they hang out with Acro (is Acro sensitive to copper like other inverts)? <Are copper sensitive... maybe an 8 out of ten on some scale of such> Short note on the clown. Jan 1, I bought a tank raised ocellaris "Swimmy" (I refused my 5 year olds other choice of Nemo)... <I will leave the wisdom of this choice up to you... not what I would have done however> ...a few mornings when the lights came on he showed ich spots. The shrimp picked him clean within the first 15 minutes. Jan 21 he was dead, not sure why. <Mmm, unusual... your source/retailer has a defective program for preventing cross-contamination (please show them this, or make known the comment)... their systems (likely on a centralized filter) and net, specimen container dips... should exclude the vectoring of such a parasite... Tank-bred fishes are by design, remarkably disease free... from their producers.> He ate algae based flake, frozen Mysis, and brine shrimp and was very active. My husband was so sad about Swimmy he stopped by a local store yesterday and had to buy a clown because it was 1/2 the price I paid! ("Swimmy 2" is a wild caught percula) Yesterday, I used a 6 minute freshwater dip with Methylene blue and bought a bubble tip anemone for Swimmy 2 just in case he adapted to it. Swimmy 2 is wild caught percula woke up with white spots this morning which were taken care of by the shrimp. So far he hasn't given the anemone a look. They tried to sell me a carpet anemone but I read their much harder to keep... <Yes> ...and need to spread out on the sandy substrate, I have more rock less substrate surface.  Any advice at all is appreciated. <Mmm, I do wish we could go back to the bathroom remodel... have you had a quarantine tank, procedure in place, not have had your system become infested (it is)... now a balance of variables must be diligently monitored, kept to prevent hyper-infective states> I've read a lot, took the salt water aquarium class at Orange Coast College a few years ago but was very happy to find this website this morning! Seeing Robert Fenner and Anthony Calfo's name on this website was to me like seeing a celebrity.  Thanks much, Cindy <Heee!> P.S. I bought 3 Banggai previously that did not eat. These current 3 were in the store and the whole group was tracking on people as they walked by. To me this means they're used to being fed (they react the same way my freshwater angel does). So far they were a good choice, and I didn't let my daughter name them Stripey!. <Good observations, descriptions... I would/do encourage you to indulge your little one... and retain these elements of "childishness" in yourself as well... A valued life lesson from one who recognizes such in himself. Bob Fenner> 

Yellow clown goby with hole in his head Crew, <HI!!!> This is the first time I've written to you, but I've found answers to many of my questions on your site in the past. Thank you! <No problem - it helps us all :)> Tonight we noticed that our yellow clown goby has a sore/hole on his head between his eyes and his fins look ragged. He didn't want to eat anything tonight, but he appears to be moving and swimming normally (which is to say not much). He does not appear to be breathing heavily. He has been living for about a year in a six gallon tank with two peppermint shrimp, crabs, snails, some mushrooms, a little xenia and his favorite hangout, a Sinularia (I think). Water parameters have always been fine except we've had trouble keeping the pH much above 8. <Try more aeration\protein skimmer\more airflow in the room\dripping Kalkwasser> He eats mostly flake and pellet food, and I'll admit that I don't feed him frozen food nearly as often as I'd like to. When I saw him I was reminded of the 'hole in the head' that I have seen mentioned, but that doesn't seem to be typical for a goby. I have attached two somewhat blurry photos of him. I would be very grateful if you could help me identify/treat his condition. <Looks like some sort of infected injury or lesion, most likely bacterial and not the HLLE that you see in tangs and such. Try quarantining (even a bucket with an airstone and a heater would work, with daily or bi-daily water changes or some Amquel usage) and treating with a broad spectrum anti-biotic, such as Furan-2, (make sure to run the treatment in its entirety!) and see if you notice an improvement in a few days. I would also try soaking his foods in Selcon, or another vitamin\HUFA rich supplement. Good luck!>  <You're welcome>
<M. Maddox>


Yellow clown goby with bacterial lesion?...tumor?... 8/24/05 Dear WWMedia, I've included a picture of my yellow clown goby which has had this lesion/tumor for the last 2-3 weeks. <I see it> Can you tell me what might have caused this?  Fish is eating well and other tankmates show no signs of disease. Tankmates include a green clown goby, shrimp goby, cleaner goby, tang, Copperband, mandarin, and clowns. <Perhaps this is just resultant from a physical trauma... but could be genetic, developmental... "only time and experience" can/will tell. Bob Fenner>

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