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FAQs on Shrimp/Watchman Gobies Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

Related Articles: Shrimp Gobies, Marine Scavengers, Alpheid (including Shrimp) Gobies

Related FAQs:   Shrimp Gobies 1, Shrimp Gobies 2, & Shrimp Goby Identification, Shrimp Goby BehaviorShrimp Goby Compatibility, Shrimp Goby SelectionShrimp Goby Systems, Shrimp Goby Disease, Shrimp Goby Reproduction, & Alpheid (including Shrimp) GobiesTrue Gobies Gobies 2Goby Identification, Goby Behavior, Goby Selection, Goby Compatibility, Goby Feeding, Goby Systems, Goby Disease, Goby Reproduction, Amblygobius Gobies, Clown GobiesNeon GobiesGenus Coryphopterus Gobies, Mudskippers, Sifter Gobies

Cryptocentrus feeding/ compatibility conundrum      11/29/15
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 This is mostly because I haven't cleaned it off in 6 months or more, not out of laziness, but an outdated concept of leaving the back glass alone.
<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 Zoanthid colonies.
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.
<Not usually>
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 typically>
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 his hole?
<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 Fenner>
Re: Cryptocentrus feeding/ compatibility conundrum      12/5/15

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!
Alyson R.
<As my mum used to quip: "The more you look, the more there is to see".
Enjoy. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cryptocentrus feeding/ compatibility conundrum      12/5/15

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?     12/5/11
Dear WWM,
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 sharks!
 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,
Laura Garmizo
<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 possible.

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. Bob Fenner>

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)> > Heather

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 Fenner>

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