FAQs on Shrimp/Watchman Gobies
Related Articles: Shrimp Gobies, Marine
Scavengers, Alpheid (including
Related FAQs: Shrimp Gobies 1, Shrimp Gobies 2, & Shrimp Goby Identification,
Shrimp Goby Behavior, Shrimp Goby Compatibility, Shrimp Goby Selection, Shrimp Goby Systems, Shrimp Goby Disease, Shrimp Goby Reproduction, &
Shrimp) Gobies, True
Gobies, Gobies 2, Goby
Identification, Goby Behavior,
Goby Selection, Goby Compatibility, Goby Feeding, Goby Systems, Goby Disease, Goby Reproduction, Amblygobius Gobies,
Clown Gobies, Neon Gobies, Genus Coryphopterus Gobies, Mudskippers, Sifter Gobies,
Cryptocentrus feeding/ compatibility conundrum
Much gratitude from myself and my fish...Firstly, I have a little something to
share. I have a yellow watchman goby and Randall's pistol pair living happily
under a mushroom rock in my 55. They both eat well and I would say that little
yellow guy guards his shrimp at least as well as my dog guards my home. So I
believe I have mostly read...and read, and read....that YWGs are carnivores.
Some have called them omnivores leaning towards carnivores.
So I feed NLS pellets, NLS flakes, others, frozen: emerald entree, mysis,
Cyclops....sometimes fortified with Vita Chem. I have other foods, but those are
the staples. The YWG eats whatever floats past his little cave, never venturing
more than 5 inches from the entrance. I have almost fully recovered from a bout
of green hair algae, (compulsive over feeder in recovery) with the exception of
the back glass. This is mostly because I haven't cleaned it off in 6 months or
more, not out of laziness, but an outdated concept of leaving the back glass
<Which I'm still a fan of!>
Today I decided to gradually clean it off, slowly, over time, as not to pollute
my water with 3" strands of green hair. I thought I had all my pumps off....I
didn't ..took a swipe with a sponge..and much of the algae went swirling around
my tank. Thankfully, it wasn't a whole lot. But oddly, at least to me, my YWG
went crazy. He started darting out of his cave, gobbling up every piece he
could, even the largest ones. And he just ate a half hour ago. I have never seen
him so excited over any food. I have never seen him pick at algae on rocks or
algae anywhere. I guess, at least in my tank, a YWG will eat green hair algae,
so long as I offer free delivery.......
Now my question. In my 55 gallon, I have the YWG/ Randall's pistol shrimp pair,
a bicolor blenny, and a royal gramma. Inverts....two peppermint shrimp, about 10
dwarf hermits, two jumbo Nassarius (travel together...cute!), about 6 Nerite
snails, one green mushroom and two small Palythoa colonies. No signs of chemical
warfare, but I'm watching.....
In my 30 gallon, I have a tail spot blenny and a black Ray (yellow rose ) goby.
Inverts.....5 dwarf hermits, 5 Nerites, 4 small Nassarius, and two small
Both tanks are peaceful and I don't NEED to add any more fish to either one.
See....I ought to just stay out of the LFS because now they have a cute little
aurora (pink bar) goby and in the very same tank, a YWG.....black and white kind
(juvenile) with a tiger pistol shrimp. I've watched this tank several times, and
neither goby seems to mind the other but I know what I've read about YWG...they
don't tolerate other shrimp gobies.
I assume this tolerance is due to the YWG being a juvenile as both gobies have
been in this tank for two weeks together. I can find little info on the aurora
goby as to whether or not he will tolerate other shrimp gobies.
<About as readily as any other of the same genus... which is to say; not
I did find a photo online of a black Ray, yasha, and aurora sharing a borough.
So my question is this.....do you think it possible that either one of my tanks
could accommodate the aurora and a tiger pistol shrimp?
<It is possible.... I'd have a floating/plastic colander ready to
isolate/separate the resident goby if WWIII breaks out>
The YWG in the 55 is stationed all the way to the left of the tank. I have a
"two separate piles of live rock" style aqua scape. One pile is on the right,
the other is on the left. Could the pink bar possibly live on the right, given
careful, purposeful placement and ample live rock?
<Yes; could possibly>
The LFS has another tiger pistol, goby less, in another tank. Would the shrimp
possibly help to keep him on the other side of the tank?
<Again; a gamble... I'd be sinking at least two, three small lengths of PVC
tubing with the end above the gravel>
OR..in the 30 gallon....would the black Ray, which I have read will sometimes
share his borough with other gobies, possibly welcome the aurora and pistol into
<This is more unlikely; a smaller possibility>
If I put them in together, might the black Ray think the aurora just part of the
price of gaining a pistol shrimp?
<Even smaller potential>
I ask because I can't find any info on whether or not auroras will tolerate
other shrimp gobies...aside from the aforementioned photo. Am I just asking for
trouble either way? Thanks so much! Alyson R.
<There is margin for good/bad to happen with these additions... better done
using screw cap plastic containers w/ holes in them (drilled is better vs.
melted; ask your dealer/LFS if they have some to lend.... to keep all the new
parties separated, but in view, smell of the established, for a few days. Bob
Re: Cryptocentrus feeding/ compatibility conundrum
Thanks so much for your advice. I decided to forgo the aurora goby and shrimp
and instead just got a tiger pistol shrimp for my lonely black Ray
The two paired almost immediately. I have to say that the tiger pistol is less
shy than the Randall's (in another tank). He spends much more time outside the
burrow than the long established Randall's.
<I've found that Alpheids are far more "individualistic" in their behavior than
limited by species>
And he bulldozes large amounts of substrate at a time. Anyone concerned about
too much digging would be better served to go with a Randall's over a tiger. But
the tiger earns his keep in greater entertainment value. I never had this much
fun when I kept a tank of larger fish...tangs, triggers (20 years ago). Thanks
again for your great service the hobby and fish alike!
<As my mum used to quip: "The more you look, the more there is to see".
Enjoy. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cryptocentrus feeding/ compatibility conundrum
So I may have a shy Randall's and/or a bold tiger?
<Heeeee; one way of putting it/this>
Interesting. I can imagine that the attitude of each's corresponding goby may
also impact the shrimp's behaviors.
<Ah yes; of a certainty>
The YWG is very protective of his Randall's. If any creature comes within say 5
inches of the cave entrance, he issues a quick retreat. He doesn't seem to mind
my face inches from the glass, though. He is the only fish in my 55 that appears
to understand that I can't "get him" from outside the tank.
The black Ray is much newer...and in a smaller tank. I think he would like the
tiger to be more cautious. Sometimes it seems like the tiger ignores his
warnings, even pushes the goby away in favor of sand moving. There is nothing in
that tank to actually threaten the shrimp so it's only comical to me. Maybe the
better scenario would be the opposite pairing.....Black Ray with the Randall's
and YWG with the tiger. I'm not going switch them because breaking up is
hard to do.
<A fave olde song>
And it would create an awful mess in two tanks. But thanks again for taking the
time indulge me in my fish storytelling. Alyson R
<Thank you for sharing Aly. BobF>
Target Feed Diamond Watchman Goby?
Hope all is well today.
<A little too cool for my liking thus far, but have my trusty Holmes
heater on next to me>
I have a "situation" that I am concerned I am contributing to
as a "Conscientious Aquarist".
I recently acquired a Diamond Watchman Goby about 11 days ago.
She is a great little fish (2.5") in that she quickly built
a burrow under a rock front and center in the tank, is out and
about much of the day sifting sand, and is not covering corals
with her award winning sand sifting habits.
This is a 120 gallon reef with a great deal of live rock and live sand,
and a tied in refugium. Other inhabitants are a Yellow Tang, a
Candy Basslet, and a Midas Blenny. I have a collection of LPS
corals in this tank.
After researching the Diamond Watchman Goby and the fact that
many waste away in reef tanks due to exhausting the micro fauna in the
live sand beds, I became somewhat fixated on getting this fish to
eat the Spectrum Pellets I feed the other fish. I am
especially concerned about this since my tank has been set up for
only two months, but was moved from a previous 85 gallon system I
had in another room.
At feeding time, the goby is shy and will go under her rock when I use
a pipette to feed the tank the pellets. So, I target feed several
pellets to her under her rock. Now, my Yellow Tang has decided
that the gobies home is a wonderful place to inspect for pellets and
that the goby herself should be followed around since pellets
seem to rain on this fish. In short, I think I have screwed
up. The goby is coming out less, because the tang sees her
as a food bank, with me target feeding her the way I am. I am not
even sure the goby is actually eating the Spectrum pellets (or all of
them), because once in awhile, while under her rock, she shakes
her tail like crazy and several pellets fly out from under the
rock, teaching all the fish to circle it like great white
This is not a good situation I a have created as the goby
is getting more gun shy and reclusive with me doing it, and the tang
is following her very closely when she is out, and hanging around
her burrow much of the day. The Tang used to be in the
rockwork all day picking at the rocks, but now she has found
another job! Should I just feed as normal (stop the target
feeding for the goby) and hope the goby eventually is accepted by
the group, comes out at feedings, and manages to snag a few
pellets that hit the sandbed, assuming she eventually comes out at all
during feeding time? The goby seems to feel the aggression
building at mealtime and heads for cover.
<I think you'll be fine here in time... as long as the Goby
doesn't appear thin I would not worry. One technique I might adopt
is to feed the rest of the fish in a distal corner at the same time
you're dropping the finer pellets onto the goby lair>
Thanks in advance for any advice,
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>
Question: I've just purchased a Watchman Goby but I
haven't seen him eat lately. I've had him about a 1.5 weeks. I
built a little "cave" out of PVC that is stuck down in the
substrate, and he seems to stay holed up in there all the time. I have
a damsel that snatches up any food I drop in the tank, so I'm not
sure the goby is even aware of the food since he stays in the cave all
the time. I *have* seen the goby eat, but not in the past few days. I
know he has taken flake foods and shrimp pellets, but not lately.
I've been told the damsel can go for up to a week with no food
& be fine, so I have thought about holding off on feeding until
they are both so hungry they have no choice but to come out of hiding.
I am new to a marine tank, so any advice would be
appreciated.Bob's Answer: Hey James, yeah a few ideas. Do
resume feeding and try something a little meatier, like Mysid or
caprellid shrimp. And, add some live rock and live sand if
Stonogobiops nematodes Hi, First I wanted to thank you for
your help earlier with the info on my Anthias...which is a purple queen
he's just taking his time coloring up) he's fat and healthy and
rules the tank with an iron fin....until the angel comes out. <Like
this description> My new question is on the threadfin goby. I traded
some fresh water fish and plants for a pair of these fish just a week
ago. They started eating just a day after I got them despite the
movements of other fish and children in and around the tank. They seem
timid though and I worry about them. <They are timid> I will be
setting up a 20 gal tank as a kind of refugium and their new home,
which they will hopefully share with a mandarin. But until then I would
like to know any extra info that I can find. Most people that I talk to
have never seen much less kept this type of fish. The store that I got
them from had them almost a month before I came in and noticed them.
This was a fish that I researched but didn't think that I would
ever see) They didn't even know the name, just simply that it was a
goby. I was recommended to feed them crushed flake dropping it on or
near their head. <Hmm, really? Good luck living on this> Of
course there was little rock and no sand in their tank, so this was
easy for them...but in my tank there's a lot of both. I have been
using my eye dropper and squirting an assortment of foods into the area
they have taken over, mostly brine shrimp, flake food, and Spirulina,
as well as small amounts of formula 2. They don't appreciate the
disturbance though and disappear...then the scooter blenny who
doesn't care what I do in the tank comes over and cleans
up....until they get brave and kick him out. So I guess what I want to
know is if there is anything else I should be adding to their diet.
<Some other small, cut up bits of meaty food items... materials
resembling zooplankters. And good that you have the Scooter... likely
helps not just with clean-up, but inspiring these real gobies to
feed> Also these fish are said to live with pistol shrimp.
<Yes, almost always found in association with Alpheus randalli>
All pictures that I have seen are with two gobies and a shrimp...in a
hole. My gobies have not dug any holes yet, <The shrimp does the
digging> they simply hide it the rock formation that I had set up
special for them...away from the main reef and the other fish. But I
have heard that these shrimp shatter tanks is some way or another this
was never explained to me)... <Not likely... but do have a powerful
punching main claw> the last thing I want is to wake up and find my
fish dried out on the floor and my tank broken. (Do acrylic tanks
shatter?) <Never seen this happen... no> Thank you for all your
help and your wonderful web site Kim <You're welcome my friend.
Gobies refuse to eat Hi, <Hello> I got 2 gobies, a
Randall's Prawn Goby and a Yellow Prawn Goby, that don't eat. I
have both of them for almost a month. I tried to feed them but they are
not eating and they are getting skinnier as the days go by. I try to
feed them with minced shrimps, minced fish, Mysis shrimps, flakes, and
small pellets but they just not eat (or I don't see they eat), even
if I place the food in front of them. The Yellow Prawn Goby always
hides in an inaccessible cave. How can I lure him out at feed time?
<Add a Prawn...> Is there anything that I can give them so that
they would eat? I really hate to see them slowly waste away by
starvation. <I would try some live food, soaked in an appetite
enhancer, vitamin mix (e.g. Selcon) pronto> By the way, do those
fishes feed at night, when the lights are out? <Whenever their
symbiotic Alpheids are out. Bob Fenner> Thanks for you help!
Regards, Minh Shrimp goby and pistol shrimp - 02/27/06 My
apologies if this is a repeat message - Outlook was acting up and
I'm not sure if it sent it. <Understand> I wanted to add that
my tank is great water-wise... ammonia < 0.1, nitrItes 0, nitrAtes
4. Thanks, Heather >I have a 55G SW tank, which has been running
since December 3rd, 2005. I have three blue damsels, a chocolate chip
starfish, about 25 small hermit crabs, two peppermint shrimp, a cleaner
shrimp and about 15 snails of various sizes (mostly turbo snails). >
I was at the LFS today and they have tiger pistol shrimp and shrimp
gobies. I couldn't spot the shrimp in the tank, but the gobies were
absolutely adorable - striped with one long black antenna/fin on the
top. > I am trying to find out more about the gobies in particular
but not having much luck on WWM. Basically, I want to know: do shrimp
gobies have to have a pistol shrimp with them? <No> will pistol
shrimp eat my crabs and other shrimp? <If they are much smaller than
the pistol shrimp.> My reading suggests > that they will eat
them, but it's not totally clear. > - what do shrimp gobies eat?
<Whatever floats their way.> my QT has no substrate; how do I QT
a sand-burrowing creature like a > goby? <Several pieces of PVC
pipe will do during QT. Will provide adequate retreats.> > Thanks
very much - I read your FAQs every day and am learning a great deal.
I'm especially proud of myself for not just buying the goby today
> because "he is cute". :) <That is good to hear and,
the subject IS easily found on the WWW. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpgobies.htm> > Thanks,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> >
Re: Fw: Shrimp goby and pistol shrimp - 02/27/06
Thanks for the information. <You're welcome.> Just wanted to
let you know that I did read the page that you linked below before I
emailed you, but it doesn't cover what they eat or whether they
have to have a shrimp with them. <OK Heather. James
(Salty Dog)> Thanks, Heather Watchman
goby and Nori, and skimmer op. 1/16/07 For about 4
years I have maintained a 90 gallon, with 30 gallon sump, soft coral
reef tank with 125 lbs of live rock. The residents are one Maroon Clown
(Premnas biaculeatus), one Orange line Cardinal (Apogon cyanosoma), one
Pink Damsel (Chrysiptera rex), one Half Black Pygmy Angel (Centropyge
vroliki), a recent addition one Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum), that
is healing slowly but surely from HLLE that had overrun him in the pet
store, <Good way to put this> one Blue Spotted Watchman Goby
(Cryptocentrus leptocephalus), one Coral Banded Shrimp, two feather
dusters, various micro-verts and worms. My question is three part.
1. Since I have introduced the Purple tang, I have kept him
with an almost constant supply of Nori to help combat the HLLE. <Do
soak this... Selcon, Microvit or such...> Recently the watchman goby
has been tearing and making off with LARGE pieces then greedily and
aggressively defending and eating the Nori until he is packed solid. I
know he is eating other foods because I see him sift sand, grab small
'pods, and even take the occasional flake that floats by. Is this
typical? <Mmm, no> Is he just trying to eat the micropods that
take up residence in the seaweed that is left unattended for a few
hours? <Don't know... is this fish coming to the surface... is
this where the clip is? Very unusual> I assume this isn't too
dangerous as almost all creatures of the sea eat greens some way or
another. <Yes> 2. My nitrates are less than 5ppm
(another assumption since my test starts at ten and there appears to be
some very minor nitrate discoloration in the test but for the most part
is almost unnoticeable) which I believe is due to the 125lbs of very
seeded live rock and the hair algae and macroalgae I grow and harvest
freely. I do not run a protein skimmer as the impeller broke two years
ago and I never replaced it. My fish never seemed to suffer. <Not
likely an issue in a well-balanced, established, maintained system as
yours> All other parameters are always well within limits. I am
interested in adding a Foxface Lo (Siganus vulpinus) which I know may
be too many fish with no skimmer (also aware of potential aggression
issues with tang). Is this a worthy add or will I need to add a
skimmer? <Mmm, yes, I would> 3. If I were to add a
skimmer would this be a big impact on my filter feeders? <Yes,
likely so...> My feather dusters, which I know are difficult to
feed, have been eating naturally in the tank for quite some time and I
would hate to inadvertently take their food away from them. I would
prefer not to have to target feed. <Perhaps an
under-sized unit... or running the skimmer on a punctuated basis... on
a timer... every few hours to days> Thanks for the site,
time, and sharing the passion. Nashville <Thank you. Bob