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FAQs on Valenciennea/Sleeper, Sifter Gobies: Systems

Related Articles: Genus Valenciennea Gobies

Related FAQs: Valenciennea 1, Valenciennea 2, Valenciennea Identification, Valenciennea Behavior, Valenciennea Compatibility, Valenciennea Selection, Valenciennea Feeding, Valenciennea Health, Valenciennea Reproduction, & FAQs on: Marine Scavengers 1True Gobies Gobies 2Goby Identification, Goby Behavior, Goby Selection, Goby Compatibility, Goby Feeding, Goby Systems, Goby Disease, Goby Reproduction, Amblygobius Gobies, Clown GobiesNeon GobiesGenus Coryphopterus Gobies, Mudskippers, Shrimp Gobies,

Yes... they jump

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

Valenciennea puellaris And Deep Sand Bed/Valenciennea Systems/Feeding 11/23/10
Hello crew,
<Hello Sean>
I am writing you fine folks today with several questions regarding the potential for keeping Valenciennea puellaris while simultaneously maintaining a healthy deep sand bed.
<Can be very challenging in your size tank.>
I did follow WWM guidelines on research through your site but fell short of getting any solid answers to the questions I have so please excuse any redundancy. My current tank set up is this: 90 gallon marine (48x24x18)
Sg: 1.024
Ph: 8-8.2
Ka: 9
Ca: 400
phos, ammonia, nitrite & nitrate are all undetectable.
150-200 lbs live rock, various lps corals, some Zoas.
Equipment is as follows: (2) dual 54w T5HO with 75% actinic lighting, (2) 100 gpm powerheads (I know I need more but how much?), Remora Pro skimmer, Fluval 405 canister filter (used for Phosban and occasionally carbon), tank heater.
At this moment, I am keeping only a Fire Shrimp, Peppermint Shrimp, green bta, and several snails (my fish were wiped out due to an Oodinium outbreak about a month ago and I am letting the tank run fallow for several months [quarantine tank is set up and ready for future livestock]). In my tank I have a substrate consisting of very fine (almost sugar fine) non silicate sand at a depth of 4.5 to 5 inches depending on where in the tank you are looking. The tank has been running for nearly a year now and at night you can see a multitude of minuscule creatures resembling shrimp and other creatures too small to make out yet detectable nonetheless (I use a flashlight which lights up their eyes somehow) running about across the sand bed and all around the base of live rock all about the tank. I have noticed that at no time since running the dsb have I ever been able to detect any nitrates which I attribute to the dsb and also possibly to the skimmer (both working hand in hand?). My first question relates to the notion that having a sand sifting goby gobbling up all of the critters that make up the fauna in the first layer of the sand bed is bad for the denitrification function of the sand bed itself, is this true to the best of your knowledge?
<In your size tank, definitely.>
I hate to think that all the work and time put into this functioning wonder would be destroyed just to appease my desire for a gleaming white sand cover.
My next question is, would the sand bed fauna be able to reestablish itself while the goby feeds on the critters found in and around the first and possibly second layer of the sand bed. I do not want to watch a fish such as this starve to death due to an insufficient supply of copepods etc. Finally, would certain areas of the tank not penetrable by fish such as a cluster of smaller dead coral boulders in the corners act as a refugium for the copepods in question (I have noticed them concentrated in these areas)?
<Is likely you only see many there because it is impenetrable.>
I have searched for answers on this topic and have come up with a lot of different opinions, most of which I do not trust. This is why I am asking you good people today. I love your site and respect the opinions and experiences of all of your staff, I am a big fan of Mr. Fenner's work and hope to buy a copy of "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" sometime soon.
Thank you for your time and attention to my questions, much appreciated.
<Your tank/sand bed is much too small to keep these fish for any length of time without supplemental
feeding as they will soon strip your sand bed of beneficial fauna and then slowly starve to death.
They are not a good choice if you have a functioning DSB as yours appears to be.
Although it's not impossible to keep them in smaller systems such as yours, supplemental feeding will be a daily chore. Some folks have had some luck by burying food near their burrow which the fish will sense and begin digging to locate/eat the food. If you are lucky, eventually they will sense the food as you put it in the tank and eat off the bottom. Keep in mind that this suggestion does not always work. There are other critters useful to do this that require little to no care, they can consist of small Brittle Starfish, Nassarius Snails, and/or a Sand Sifting Starfish. In your system, no more than one small specimen of the later.>
Yours Truly,
<Cheers, James (Salty Dog)>

Likely Territory Size for Orange Spot Watchman Goby? -- 10/29/10
Hi gang,
<<Hey Chuck>>
I was looking to purchase an orange spot watchman goby to help stir up my DSB and handle a light-but-persistent diatom problem in my sand bed.
<<A great fish for this -- if you can handle them 'crop-dusting' your rockwork/sessile inverts as they glide over your reef expelling a mouthful of substrate as they go. Just a not'¦ An Amblygobius species would be less prone to this than the Valenciennea puellaris you mention here, but, will be more 'disturbing' to a DSB re its burrowing>>
I was wondering how large a 'territory' the goby is likely to work -- in terms of distance from its burrow, once it chooses one.
<<In my experience, this fish and other species like it (e.g. -- Amblygobius species, etc.) are going to 'work' the entire substrate in most any 'hobby-size' system. Even though they will accept most prepared foods offered (and this is key to their long-term good health as most every hobby system will not provide enough 'natural' substrate fauna), the fish is still going to forage throughout the tank>>
It would be great if one fish would 'wander' throughout most of the tank to feed, but I'm not sure if this is likely.
<<It will -- it will also 'move' its home/burrow from time to time>>
And/or how far of a distance he (or she) is likely to be belligerent vs. another goby, if they're not a mated pair.
<<For all but the largest systems ('several' hundred gallons or more) it's best to keep one to a system -- even of different but similar species>>
I've got a six foot 220 gallon reef... two moderately sized LR 'mountains' separated by a couple feet of bare 'beach'...
<<Very nice - a sugar-fine substrate is preferred by the Goby>>
which seems to minimize territorial issues.
I know it's unusual, but I've actually got three pairs of adult clownfish (black-and-white, true percs, and maroon and gold) established and dwelling together in peace by making sure the terrain is separated by horizontal and vertical rock faces, and making sure they bonded with different 'host' species (green fuzzy mushrooms, frogspawn, and Zoanthids, respectively).
<<Hopefully the peace will continue as these fish mature>>
Thanks in advance for any help on this...
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>

Shrimp And Goby/Blenny/Compatibility 2/15/10
Hi, James (salty dog)...
<Hello Jordan>
Anyways I have 2 questions, 1st can a skunk cleaner and a Coral Banded Shrimp live peacefully in a 37 gallon FOWLR?
<No, your cleaner shrimp will be at risk.>
(at my LFS I've seen a gold coral banded shrimp and a skunk cleaner live together in a tiny tank, but the gold CBS in that tank was much much smaller than mine.) and my 2nd question is whether a Bi-Color Blenny and Diamond Goby can peacefully in that same 37 gallon?
<Your size tank will not support a Diamond Goby long term. The Diamond Goby requires a larger system (50+ gallons) with an active live sand bed to supplement prepared offerings of food. You may want to read the FAQ's here on Valenciennea/Sleeper, Sifter Goby systems.
thanks for your insight.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Diamond Goby and LR  11/25/09
Hello again Crew !!!
Once again I call to you for some of your wonderful knowledge and advice.
About a month ago, I introduced a 5" Valenciennea puellaris to my 125 gallon / 100 lb LR tank. He/she was sitting at my dealers for many months, hence the size, and used to eating frozen foods (i.e.
Mysis, brine, krill).
Of course, he fit right in and began to re-arrange my aquarium to his liking. Lots of tunnels and stuff and
he sprinkles sand on my LR above his cave. He also loves to snatch empty clam shells my puffer leaves and use them to "decorate" his home. Quite a character.
My question is this, when my LFS first came over to set up my system, he placed all my LR on top of the substrate. Some, leaning against the back glass.
<Mmm, well, first off, I'm not a big fan of such walls... better to re-arrange into bommies, individual assemblages away from the sides>
Needless to say, I have algae growing in places I can't seem to get too because I do not want to disturb the LR and fear caving in the gobies home.
<Get a large, new or clean trash bin, or plastic tubs, drain a good deal of the water down, take out rock, and place back as you like it... with the bottom pieces placed on the bottom, not on top of the substrate>
I'd like to re-arrange this system a bit including burying some of my LR in the sand to promote a more stable environment for the goby and pulling it away from the back glass, possibly putting a small powerhead in the back to promote more circulation.
<Oh! We are on the same proverbial page>
When I'm in my tank messing around doing water changes and such, he runs and hides into his cave. Any
suggestions on how best to accomplish this without harming him?
<Not really possible... but better to do the rearrangement all in one go>
Do you think it would be best
to just leave well enough alone?
<Not I, no>
Question of curiousity...this has been bugging me. What does "heavy skimming" mean exactly?
If I have my skimmer on all the time is that heavy skimming?
<Mmm, no... refers to sizing (per the system) and efficiency really... That is, a tank that has a big skimmer that really removes a bunch is considered "heavily skimmed">
Confused Again.....Jill
<Less so now though. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Questions About Valenciennea sexguttata/Six Spot Sleeper Goby/Systems/Feeding 9/21/09
<Hello Tony>
I have recently started my first nano reef (4 months old, 34 gallon) and my wife thinks the reef and WWM gets more attention than she does now days :)
<Usual behavior for this species.>
The aquarium is running stable with a small cleaning crew, 2 Amphiprion ocellaris, 1 Meiacanthus oualanensis and a couple of corals I received from friends I made through the new hobby (Euphyllia glabrescens, Euphyllia Parancora, Montipora capricornis, Sinularia Dura and a Lobophytum sp.). The
tank is fed with Brine shrimps, Mysis, algae pellets and ordinary flakes alternating.
I'm now searching for a fish that would occupy the lower half of my aquarium and found the Valenciennea sexguttata that looks nice, lives in the lower half and even helps me keep the sand sifted, but I'm not able to
find enough info online that isn't more like rumors and I don't want to make any bad decisions here so I wonder if you would like to comment some of the rumors I have read.
I'm concerned that the fish might be to large for my tank but people (including LFS) say it grows really slow and some keep it in 10 G tanks successfully, would you agree?
<No, this fish does better in larger systems with a well established sand bed.>
Rumors also states that even if it's a sifter it doesn't toss the sand around that much, and it's not any trouble to get it to eat Mysis or brine if there isn't enough algae, do you agree?
<I've seen these fish take to prepared foods quickly, and saw an equal amount starve to death. Just sharing my experience with the fish.>
Finally, do you think it's ok to keep the fish with the once I have? I don't have any plans on expanding on the fish side after this last one that needs to be a bottom dweller.
<I would not add, believe it will be short lived in your system.>
Thanks for any help and I really enjoy reading the FAQs on the site :)
<You're welcome and glad you enjoy. James (Salty Dog)>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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