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FAQs on Shrimp/Watchman Gobies 1

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

Related FAQs:  Shrimp Gobies 2, Pistol Shrimp and Goby Biotopes, & Shrimp Goby Identification, Shrimp Goby BehaviorShrimp Goby Compatibility, Shrimp Goby SelectionShrimp Goby Systems, Shrimp Goby FeedingShrimp Goby Disease, Shrimp Goby Reproduction, & Alpheid (including Shrimp) GobiesTrue GobiesGobies 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 cinctus in a wholesaler's cubicle.

Watchman Goby Beat Himself Up?   4/30/07 Bob, I would like to share something unusual that happened with my Yellow Watchman Goby (Cryptocentrus cinctus) last week, as it may be helpful for others to see a picture of this phenomenon, and of course am curious on your take on his situation. Last Saturday evening, I placed a new piece of liverock in my tank after it had been quarantined for a few weeks.  On Sunday morning, Watchman popped out of his cave for breakfast, and looked awful!!  He had a huge blood-red mustache! (coincidentally the same color of the vestiges of BGA that are still lingering in my tank - although definately declining - slooooowly).   So after determining that he did not in fact have a smear of algae on his face, we got concerned.  He is a senior citizen in my tank, and I get nervous if anything is amiss with him, he has been such a fascinating fish.   He is 9 years old, and 10 years is the highest estimate I have seen anywhere for their lifespan. He had no signs of disease, was behaving, eating, and breathing perfectly normally.  Actually, he seemed braver and hungrier than usual, since he has been extra shy since adding the newest fishes a couple of months back. Anyway, back to his bruises, bright red, under the skin, no scrapes or external damage apparent. You can see in the photo that his iridescent spots are still visible on top of the bruise. Just bright red blood pools above both sides of his mouth.  It was a little darker on his left side, but very symmetrical in pattern.  I could only surmise that he had bruised his face, maybe banging into the side of his cave as I moved the rocks above his roof.   I could only find one reference to this possible problem at www.nationalfishpharm.com under "changes in color".  They mention possible bruising around the mouth due to fighting or intensive spawn site cleaning. Everyday his bruises have gotten less scary looking.  The first couple of days they turned more brown rather than red and now have faded to a slight shadow, that would not be noticeable if I weren't looking for it.  He continues to eat and act perfectly normal. Do you think he could have banged his own head hard enough to do this? <Possibly> The only other possible culprit is the Mithrax crab who was marching around the perimeter of the tank uncharacteristically the same morning, also apparently disturbed by the new rock that I put right in his normal territory (again, right above the goby).  I find it hard to believe that the crab could have pinched him so perfectly on both sides of his face, and think that a head on collision would create this pattern more likely.  And really the crab's claw is not big enough to fit the goby's entire head into. <Mmmm, well, Mithraculus spp., esp. at size, can be predaceous... perhaps it was involved... indirectly... in "scaring" your Goby... causing it to dash about injuring itself> Thought this might be a good photo for others to see if they ever run into this problem. Thanks!!
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

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>

Re: Firefish MIA ... Cryptocentrus predation  - 11/05/06 Hello all from San Francisco. < Greetings from Tejas, Emerson with you today > I normally don't pose questions if I can find it on your WWM site.  After two years into this saltwater hobby, through some painful trials and errors and always reading through your forums on any potential animals, I thought I had set up a peaceful community of animals in my reef tank. < The Maroon Clown can be a very aggressive fish. > Oh well, came home today to see my shoals of firefish missing one member! They are always out together in the center of the tank.  No one been sick, everyone eating well. I recently added a Pink spotted watchman goby (Cryptocentrus leptocephalus)  4 in.  He look kind fat in the belly, he did chowed down on frozen Mysis previous night. I am thinking can't be him, a cannibal right? < Not likely. > My setup is about 22 months old:  72gal rectangular tank, reef style setup, 80-90 lbs live rock Fiji and Tonga with LPS, zooanthids, and mushrooms.  Running with protein skimmer, chemical filtration of Purigen and Phosban, 175wMH with power compacts actinic, 12x volume water circulation.   < Sounds good. > Haven't check my water, but all the animals are doing well. Tank citizens: 6x green Chromis  1 in 5x pajama cardinal  1.5 to 2.5 in 5x firefish 1.5 in but now four! 1x maroon clownfish 2 in 1x longnose Hawkfish 2.5 in 2x garden eels 7-9 in 1x scooter blenny 1.5 in < Your tank is growing towards overstocked. The Chromis and cardinals can grow to 4". At their current sizes you may be ok, but as these fish grow you will run into trouble. > and new Pink spotted watchman goby (Cryptocentrus leptocephalus)  4 in a black spiny brittle star, rarely seen but about 8-9 in across coral banded shrimp 2 in pistol shrimp (purple clawed orange) 2 in Longspined sea urchin, tuxedo urchin, fanworms, a few snails and small hermits tank is not covered, didn't see the firefish on the floor though. < Firefish will jump from an uncovered tank at the drop of a hat. It may have fallen somewhere unseen or been consumed by one of your pets with legs and fur. > Would putting aquarium glass cover affects the light spectrum for the corals, if not maybe I'll do that. < If you get a low-lead glass cover it shouldn't be a big issue as long as you keep it clean. > I was thinking maybe the brittle star or the pistol shrimp could have gotten to the firefish when he locked himself in under a hole for the night. < Unless you have the famed green brittle star it is unlikely, and  your pistol shrimp would do no harm. > I like to find the troublemaker, any suspect here? < Many possibilities. It may have jumped, been a victim of aggression or illness and been consumed by your tanks cleaning crew. > Since I got you guy, I'm considering adding a small group of Banggai cardinal 2-4x and one of these canary blenny, sixlined wrasse or the Hawaiian fourline wrasse).  Any potential problems here.   < Afraid your tank is full as it is, and the wrasses will likely eat your shrimp in the long run. > You guys run a great and informative site. < Thank you for the kind words and best wishes. >
Well, I don't believe it, but here is a picture of my new Pink spotted watchman goby (Cryptocentrus leptocephalus) 4 inch with a firefish in his mouth.  I don't know if this was after the firefish had died but nevertheless I thought watchman goby don't' eat other fish. <Mmm, does/will if small enough. RMF>

Re: Firefish MIA   10/30/06 Well, I don't believe it, but here is a picture of my new Pink spotted watchman goby (Cryptocentrus leptocephalus) 4 inch with a firefish in his mouth.  I don't know if this was after the firefish had died but nevertheless I thought watchman goby don't' eat other fish. << The Firefish looks to be recently deceased, probably less than 24 hours when the picture was taken. I have found no accounts of Watchman Gobies taking fish this size as food items, but that doesn't mean it couldn't happen. More likely the Watchman is eating the remains of the dead Firefish. - Emerson >>

Reappearing Watchman Goby  - 08/26/06 Hello All, I will apologize for the length of this story in advance, but it is truly amazing.  I have an unusual story, that hopefully you can give me some explanation.  Approximately 4-5 months ago we introduced a Harlequin Tusk to my tank (300 gallons, live rock and substrate, bubble tip anemones, blue hippo, yellow tang, emperor angel, 3 pink skunk clowns, pinstripe wrasse, 4 cleaner shrimp, 2 fire shrimp, many snails and hermits). <Am surprised the Tusk hasn't taken to consuming these last> Anyway it wasn't long before my wife witnessed in horror the harlequin swallowing her favorite yellow watchman goby whole!  Only to regurgitate it a couple of hours later. <They're not "that" tasty>   The Harlequin unfortunately had a disease that wasn't present while in QT and we were able to save all of the fish except the tusk.  We then bought a juvenile yellow watchman and all seemed right with the world.  Until, he disappeared just after a few weeks.  We couldn't find any remains and no strange activity in the skimmer.  It has been approximately 8-10 weeks since we last spotted the goby in his favorite "cave".  Until tonight, my wife started yelling in excitement and I couldn't believe it.  Sure enough, now looking quite large at 3" and a good girth to him.  He also seems to have completely changed colors.  Instead of the original and traditional yellow watchman he now looks gray, with blue spots and blue fins.  How is any of this possible? <Maturity... changed into "the other" sex> In the last 24 hours he seems to be back to his old behavior of checking out the tank, playing with the small plastic jewels we put in the tank for his amusement...and ours!  Thanks for any help you may be able to provide. Skip Whitworth <Easy to miss such a small, cryptic animal in a good-sized volume. Cheers! Bob Fenner> Goby and wrasse questions... Champagne livestock tastes, Bud tank   8/23/06 Hi. <Hey there!>     I have a 45 gallon tank with the following critters - a clownfish (currently residing in an anemone), firefish goby, pajama cardinal, diamond sand goby, scarlet cleaner shrimp, some Christmas tree rocks, some coral frags, some snails and a scarlet legged cleaner crab.      I saw a beautiful fish the other day, the store rep said it was an African Aurora Goby which I think is called Amblyeleotris aurora?) <Maybe> and he priced it at $80. <Man! I got out of the fish collection biz much too soon!> I looked on an internet site and saw something very similar but it was called a Pinkbar goby (for $30), and it was listed as originating from either Indo Pacific or Maldives, aka Cryptocentrus aurora. They look so similar to me, is there any difference? <Mmm, nope... try putting both names into fishbase.org...: http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=12694&genusname=Amblyeleotris&speciesname=aurora is the same species... is an Amblyeleotris> And is there a difference between the Indo Pacific one and the Maldives one? <Mmm, maybe slight geographic variation in color, markings... and likely cost... the further away... the higher> Also, are they hard to keep, and will there be any compatibility problems with my current fish?    <Your 45 may be too small to provide sufficient habitat for this shy species to "feel comfortable"... Do you intend to supply an appropriate Alpheid symbiont?   I also saw a lovely leopard wrasse; again, would there be any compatibility or feeding problems with this fish?      Thanks for your time,      Ak <I would not encourage someone to try a genus Macropharyngodon labrid in such a setting. Bob Fenner> Stocking/Selection   7/25/06 Hi WWM Crew <Howdy> Sorry for all the questions, but you guys have all the answers, and you guys always reply really fast. I was wondering what would be a good, exciting, personality, colorful fish to add to my 30 gallon fish only with live rock, right now it only has Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) and a Fridmani Pseudochromis (Pseudochromis fridmani). Thanks for your fast reply as always and I promise this is my last question. <A Watchman Goby/Pistol Shrimp combination is interesting.  Read here.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpgobies.htm James (Salty Dog)> Sand-Dwelling Gobies and Bare-Bottom Tanks - 07/24/06 Good afternoon. <<Morning now...>> I currently have an engineer goby that I have had for about 1 1/2 now in my 120 reef tank.  I have a 4" sand bed in the tank.  I am planning on an upgrade to a 180, but I plan on going Bare Bottom.  I know that the engineer goby burrows in the sand as mine always does, but is this necessary for its life. <<Ultimately, yes...will likely suffer psychologically without something in which to "engineer">> So my question is: Can an engineer goby live in a tank with no sand. <<Not recommended>> Also, I have a Watchman goby and the same question goes for him. <<As does the same reply...>> Thank you. Joe <<You're welcome Joe...EricR>>

Watchman Goby/Acclimation  - 05/22/2006 Hello Crew, <Good morning> I just purchased a fine looking Watchman Goby yesterday from a reputable LFS, and after an acclimation period, placed him in my QT. The QT has some base rock and I put some aragonite on the bottom to ease the transition for the goby. I have tried feeding him a couple of times with brine shrimp but he won't eat. He stays hidden 95% of the time. I know that's how they are but my concern is his lack of eating and not swimming out from his hiding place at all since I've brought him home. My QT ammonia level is 0. Is this lack of eating and extreme shyness "normal" for a newly purchased watchman goby male? <Not abnormal at all.  There are times when I won't see mine for a week.  Give it some time, all should be well.  Do read FAQ's here on goby feeding.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gobyfdgfaqs.htm James (Salty Dog)>

Watchman Goby ... beh.   4/30/06 Hi. My parents have a 60 gallon salt water tank. For the past 2 years they have had a yellow watchman goby. Just recently they bought three new fish. A Yellow Fin Black Angel, a Flame Hawk, and a Flame Tailed Flag fish. <Too much, too soon> There are now five fish in the tank. Nothing has changed in the Gobi's behavior, however, it's coloring is changing drastically. It now appears to be getting black markings. The markings appear to be zebra type stripes on his body and black fringing around it's fins and eyes. As mentioned before none of the Gobi's behaviors have changed. Is this something to be worried about. Thank you. <Just "signaling", "dominance" flashing here... from being suddenly crowded. Watch out for further stress-induced problems. Bob Fenner>

Re: JBJ 24Dx... and shrimp goby systems, beh.   3/16/06 Thanks for the quick reply! I had another question about our system.  It's about 1" deep sand bed, not fine or rough grade, in between.  Would this be adequate for a yellow watchman goby, without a shrimp? <Should be, yes.>   I believe the gobies can be fine without shrimp, is this correct? <Yes> We can add to the sand bed if necessary.  Thanks again for the help! Alex <Bob Fenner>

Cryptocentrus leptocephalus - Pink Spotted Watchman (Shrimp) Goby Question  - 03/11/2006 Hi - First off I want to thank you for all the great reading information. I've learned more in 2 days of reading your posts then I would have learned in a month from any other site I've seen!  I'm not exactly sure how you have your site setup though when it comes to questions so if I should go through another method to request help please let me know. <Mmm, nope. This is it>   I've researched what I can to find the species names (hoping it would make it easier) <Appreciate this> I've stumbled into your site while looking for information on worms and my god I never thought there would ever be so much information on worms.  (I've recently discovered bristle worms and two other species that I'm trying to identify).  But that's not exactly what has prompted me to look for some help or advice.  Actually it's about my goby that I've had for many years 3-4 now.  From the very setup of my 90 gallon tank he has been by my side very healthy, active and always "around" sifting and basically doing his thing.  The past week or two he's suddenly started to get sluggish and today he's staying in his shell that he claimed from the day he landed (ha ha) into my tank.  Actually he's been staying in it more and more as each day has passed.  I don't want to start going crazy with anything (fearing something has gone astray with my tank) so I've been trying to find something to determine if it's possible if he's just getting old now.  One other important note is that I have another fish a Royal Gramma Basslet (Gramma loreto) that has also become slow, but he only started acting this way when he started getting attacked by my Neon Dottyback (Pseudochromis aldabraensis).  Originally they got along fine for 5 months then suddenly they started battling over territory. <Very common twixt these species, families... similarly shaped, resource using...> I also have a wide variety of fish from an angel - clown - tang - fire shrimp - clown goby - Hawkfish - <Surprised the Hawk hasn't consumed the shrimp...> others mentioned above and maybe one or two I'm forgetting. (trying to give a little more info on the situation in the tank).  With all this in consideration should I be worried about the sudden change in the goby? <Such behavioral changes/observations are always a source of concern, input> Is it that he's nearing his natural life span?  Or do you think I might have some unknown problem in my tank that I have yet to determine? <Best to watch all livestock, keep monitoring water quality... When, where in doubt, water changes, the use/replacement of chemical filtrants, abatement of supplementation are good considerations. Bob Fenner> Thank you in advance Anthony 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 Yashia shrimp goby stuck in refugium   1/21/06 Well I finally got my 30g refugium set up on my 220g tank this week. I put in a 5in sand bed, Gracilaria, Chaetomorpha, and about 5 portions of pods I bought from florida Pets.com.  Everything looks great and seems to be doing good. I see a lot of pod activity, which is my main goal for this tank. I have a lot planktivores in my main (Anthias, fairies wrasses, etc.) and I wanted to keep a suitable amount of zooplankton to feed them. Anyway, my refugium is gravity fed by one of the two overflow outlets on my hang-on overflow box. The other goes to the main sump and skimmer, the refugium also empties into the sump. The first night I set up my refugium I noticed my Yashia Shrimp Goby had not only got caught in the overflow box but made a new home in live rock rubble I set up for my pods in the refugium. I then proceeded to catch him and return him to the main tank. All was fine for a couple days, but now its in there again and loving all the new forage. I'm not only surprised he ventured into the overflow again, I'm wondering how he fit through the grid teeth and how he was so lucky to once again make it down the right outlet into the refugium. Now I know he's obviously more happy in the refugium, but I also know from your book that its no place for him. I guess my question is how much damage can he do to my pending pod population? <Have to wait/see> and what can i do to make him stay in the main? <Better screening> I have 250lbs of live rock and a live sand. There's no overly aggressive predators in the tank, so I'm wondering why it keeps venturing down the overflow. Would setting up a pile of rubble in the main tank make it more appealing? Thanks Brandon   <Likely "jumping" in response to the water movement. Bob Fenner>

Yellow Watchman goby changed color  12/15/05 Your web site is the best and extremely helpful but so far I haven't found any specific information about Goby's changing color. I have a 135-gal tank. I started off with a couple snails, hermit crabs and a Tiger Pistol Shrimp and Yellow Watchman Goby. They had the tank all to themselves for about a month before I added several green Chromis out of Q.T. At first the Goby stood outside his den and "yelled" at the Chromis swimming by and then his color changed to white with dark bands. <Good descriptions> The color change certainly seemed stress related. He looked ticked off. The Aquarium shop stated that it was typical and his color should return to normal within a few days. <With the removal of the stressor/s...> It's been 3 weeks now! He is eating fine and appears to be in overall good health. All tests with the tank are fine. It's driving me nuts. Then to add to my "stress", I come across a photo of two yellow watchman goby's. And my first reaction was  maybe it's a sex thing? And maybe he's not a he but a she? <Possibly> Any ideas? My goby looked like the one on the right and now looks like the one on the left of the picture. <Is possibly maturing... but the "mouthing" is indicative of a behavioral component at play here. If there was a way to remove/separate the damsel and see what happens, I would do this. Bob Fenner>

Valenciennea puellaris and Amblyeleotris guttata compatibility  11/17/05 I had a Valenciennea puellaris that jumped from my tank, so I had my LFS order another, but his supplier sent him Amblyeleotris guttata instead.  <Not unusual to have suppliers mix gobies up> My questions are: 1) would these 2 fish be compatible in a 135g system?  <Mmm, yes, should get along> Since the diamond watchman and the spotted prawn look so similar, I didn't know if that might cause them to fight.  <Not likely> 2) I believe I had sufficient 'pods for the puellaris (they are -everywhere- both amphipods and copepods, very easy to find all over the rocks, glass, sand, any time of day). I have about 3-4" of sugar-sized sand throughout, and the live rock offers a lot of places for things to hide (very porous and stacked to make crevices). My concern is if they both eat 'pods that I would not have enough. I planned to add a refugium within the next 2 months, but do not have one yet. Would these two fish compete for food? <Not to the point of starvation here> 3) I know the puellaris likes finer sand than the guttata - would it be possible to put some more coarse sand/gravel on one side for the prawn goby and keep just the finer sand at the other end for the puellaris to encourage them to stay on different sides of the tank? <I would not add, mix the substrates> Thanks! Scott Hardin <Try as the system is currently. Should be fine. Bob Fenner> 

Stocking List: Marine Compatibility  10/20/05 Will the Yellow Watchman Goby get along with another goby in the same tank? <Depends on the exact species, may quarrel with other substrate dwelling gobies.> I'm also interested in a Copperband Butterfly.   <This fish has a lot of trouble adjusting to captivity and captive foods, and this too may be to large for your current system.> I know they can be difficult to fed but would it get along with everyone I have in the tank now? <Generally yes but remember its never a 100% guarantee.> Any opinions on Anthias?  I was thinking about the Square Spot Anthias. <Suffers from poor collection but usually does well (in my experience) in comparison to its relatives, feed three times a day as this is a planktivore and research, this fish too can grow considerably large.> One more question..............my Yellow Watchman doesn't seem to like flake food.  He does like brine shrimp but I know that isn't really that great for him. <No it isn’t, mostly composed of exoskeleton and water.> Any other foods I should try? <Frozen Mysis.> THANKS! FAQ Crew <…And this time I WILL remember my name, Adam J.> Shy Yashia Goby... they are  9/19/05 Hi, <Hello Tom> I received a Yashia Goby and Randall's Pistol Shrimp on August 8, but the fish died the next day.  On August 15, I received a new fish, and it and the shrimp have been doing OK so far (4+ weeks). The fish and shrimp are in a quarantine tank, with a handful of mixed size coral sand and a PVC pipe structure made of small diameter short pieces connected with a few elbows and tees.  The fish and shrimp live in this pipe structure. The shrimp has arranged the coral sand to block one visible entrance to the pipe structure, and to landscape the other visible entrance.  He seems to keep this second entrance blocked most of the time, opening it briefly about once a day in the evening (that I have been able to observe).  When I see the Goby with his head out of this entrance (and usually also see the shrimp working with his coral sand) I put in a little food (usually dry flakes since they float around the tank better).  The Goby will eat a flake or two if it drifts close enough (4-5 inches) from his entrance.  But the slightest sudden motion in the room will send the Goby back into the pipe structure for a while. <Normal> My question is whether it is normal for this kind of fish/shrimp pair to be so shy. Will they come out more after while? <Yes...>   If they go into a display tank with lots of hiding places, will I never see them again?  Or will they be more comfortable in such a tank and come out more often? <The latter> I could put them into a 75 gallon that has live rock and 2 clownfish, or into a 20 gallon with nothing but live rock (and possibly a few VERY small crabs and pistol shrimps that hitchhiked in on the live rock).  Which would be better? <The first> Any thoughts? <Few and dwindling...> Thanks, Tom <I would cut short these animals quarantine, match their water with your larger tank over a few days time... by moving, supplanting the QT water with its... and translocate them. Bob Fenner>

Goby/Prawn Association...The Best-Laid Plans...  09/13/2005 Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!>     I bought a Randall's Shrimp Goby about 2 weeks ago, and it hasn't been hiding very much. It picked a great spot right in front of the tank in a small cave to make its home. It has been making a little burrow for itself and I decided to add a Tiger Pistol Shrimp. As soon as I dropped the shrimp into my tank, the pair took off together to the back corner of the tank and were digging a tunnel within a minute. <Amazing behavior, huh?> Now, I can't see them except in a small reflection on the glass, and am wondering if I can do something to get them to move, it has only been a few hours now... Thanks for any help you could give me <Unfortunately, this is just another one of those cases where the fish are "calling the shots"! Despite our desires, they'll do exactly what is best for them, without regards to the aesthetic issues for the hobbyist! Unfortunately, I really don't have a course of action for you. Attempting to get the animals to move would be cruel and disruptive. In a way, this is a neat situation. Let me explain: Some of the best aquariums that I've ever seen have lots of little pockets of life and activity throughout that make for fascinating viewing experiences. Very natural and very interesting! I say just enjoy it...Part of the allure of this hobby is the little things that you see in a well-established tank...Surprising little discoveries that keep our hobby exciting and fun! Enjoy it! Regards, Scott F.> Pistol Shrimp and goby info 9/8/05 Hello I have a Hi Fin Red Striped Goby (Stonogobiops nematodes) and I was wondering what species of pistol shrimp it will host with.  <As a general rule, most commensal shrimps will pair with most commensal gobies.  We know that you have a commensal goby, but outside of the common shrimps, it is often hard to be sure.  The ultimate test is to see if the shrimp evicts the goby.  In rare cases, an especially aggressive shrimp may actually kill an especially insistent goby, so keep a close eye!> I was also wondering if you could help me Identify a pistol shrimp I have gotten.  I ordered it from Etropicals but  am not sure what it is.  After looking at the pics it looks more like the Japanese Pistol Shrimp on Liveaquaria.  But I don't remember it having red and white claws and tail (on the tip).  It also reminded me of the Bull's Eye but it didn't have dark purple looking pincers and it didn't have the brown bull's eye on the sides.  I'm sorry this isn't very good info but its really all I got I didn't think to take a pic of it while acclimating and as you know its hiding lol.  So any help at all would be appreciated. <Unfortunately, this is often difficult even with a picture.  If you are a member of a local aquarium society, ask if anyone has back issues of "Aquarium Fish" magazine.  Scott Michael wrote a great series of articles on these fish/shrimp pairs a couple of years ago.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Goby and corals 8/24/05 Dear Bob, As if you haven't given me enough help and advice I need a bit more. My yellow watchman goby has been hanging out mostly at the top of my tank. <He's beat... from appearance and behavior evidence> I noticed that his fan dorsal fins and tail are frayed (see pic). Is this fin and tail rot? <Mmm, no... not directly...> If so what is the best medicine to use for saltwater tanks. <Find out who/what is beating this fish> He does disappear during the day under rock work but is usually around the top. I also have a few soft corals (i believe see pic) <Only beat fish shown> which were doing fine until one morning i found them pinned by a rock. Where it was pinned it had turned all white and dead looking. One piece I had to amputate because it was hanging by a thread. The one I had to amputate is brown underneath and still has polyps out? will it regenerate? Thanks for your help. Jason
<Will regenerate in good care. Bob Fenner>

Goby and corals Part 2 Dear Bob, <I have another friend named Babylon btw (Babble-On, Kevin, in HI)> Thanks for your quick response. <Welcome> I have noticed my Chromis blue damsel pushing him around and out of his hiding places. Its not everywhere he goes, but it is a place he frequently  visits. What is the best way to deal with this? should i remove the damsel, because i refuse to ditch the Watchman Goby. <I'd take the Damsel out> My fish in their are 2 percula clowns. 1 yellow tail damsel, another type  of damsel (yellow top, white body and blue fins), mandarin dragonet and a yellow tang. No other fish seem to bother him though. Thanks for your advice and help Jason <Bob Fenner>

Are Pink Spotted Watchman Gobies aka Pink Spotted Shrimp Gobies  sand sifters???? 8/13/05 <To some extent, yes... they make their "living" from sifting some sand... though not as much as other genera (e.g. Valenciennea) of gobies. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/valenciennea.htm and linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Substrate for Goby/Shrimp combo. 8/9/05 Mornin' Bob <Cheers... Anthony Calfo here in his stead> First let me apologize if this has gone to the wrong place, I found your link while perusing the Goby section on your excellent pages! <Welcome!> I'm considering making a return to the hobby after a break of quite some years and of course a lot's changed since then! While researching current thinking on Reef systems I've got bogged down on the BB/SSB/DSB/Plenum issues and this is compounded by the fact that I'm very keen to house the Goby/Shrimp combination and the obvious effect this will have on substrate choice, plus the fact that I have a very large quantity of  (dead) Oolitic sand which I would like to use in what will be a reef system with very few reef-safe fish, small clawed crustaceans( Lysmata, Thor, Saron) etc. I think I'm now up to speed re. Live Rock, Skimming, Carbon, Phosphate reduction, Turnover ,Lighting etc. I would like the Goby/Shrimp to be able to exhibit normal behaviour, hence my problem. The system will be integrated within the main tank as I have no space (nor desire) to run a sump. Would their digging spoil a DSB or even release anoxic toxins from a DSB by digging? <Not at all. If the DSB is kept healthy with adequate (proper and necessary) strong water flow above it so that solids do not accumulate excessively... then all will be fine. And this is easy to accomplish. Seek to produce random turbulent water flow as with closed loop manifolds (you can fid some neat and current links/pics on this subject over at Reefcentral.com)> You mention adding tubes to the substrate, ( I can't find the link) which I'd thought of. <Yes, excellent idea. Just bury under the rocks/in the sand and let them do the rest> Would a 1" substrate with tubes covered with sand be better? <That's not deep enough for the shrimp and goby or efficient DSB activity (NNR)> In either case I could never run a system B/B. <I too very much like deep, fine sand beds. I think your oolitic sand is a best bet. Do enjoy at 4-6" (10-15 cm)> Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer cos I'd prefer not to proceed rather than get it wrong! Kind Regards, Steve. <kindly, Anthony> Sexing of Cryptocentrus aurora 7/22/05 Hi, <Hello> Let me start off by saying that my wife and I currently raise Cryptocentrus cinctus (as well as several varieties of clownfish). <Neat>   We want to start raising the pink-bar goby Cryptocentrus aurora. <A beauty... know that the genus is now Amblyeleotris: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=12694&genusname=Amblyeleotris&speciesname=aurora> We bought 4 from an online retailer with the hopes of getting at least one that looks a little different from the others as we already know that the Cryptocentrus cinctus is sexually dimorphic, <And dichromic> so we figured the Cryptocentrus aurora may be as well.  Well I can't see any obvious differences in the fish.  I'm rolling the dice and pairing them up.  We may have to see based on aggression.  Just want to know if anyone knows if there is a visual difference between the male an female of this fish? <Not as far as I know... I'd look through the few links via "Google Images" (also through fishbase.org) for others input here. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Alan - Watchman Goby Missing Lower Lip! - Hi everyone, This is my first time posting here. I'm quite new to the saltwater hobby and can honestly say I'm obsessed. I've been having a watchman goby for about two weeks now. I've noticed that his bottom lip is deteriorating and his jaw bone is exposed. He seems to be eating from what I can see. This is what my tank consists of: I have a 75 gallon with live rock and live sand. Occupants are: Percula clown, pygmy angel, yellow watchman goby, blood red shrimp, pistol shrimp, seven hermit crabs, ten snails, sand sifting star, cabbage leather coral, elephant ear shroom, long tentacle plate coral. My tank has been running for over three months now. Water quality and salinity is excellent. I had a mimic yellow tang but it died two days ago from blood spots according to LFS. LFS gave me Erythromycin to put in tank, but I'm not sure if that is a good idea. <It's not... best to administer that stuff in a quarantine tank - will kill your biological filter.> I am running a wet/dry filtration system with an overflow box. A Seaclone protein skimmer and two Maxi-Jet 600 power heads. I introduced goby a month after yellow tang. Could the goby have passed something on to my tang? <Well... spots like you describe are often bacterial, and so yes that can affect other fish in the tank.> Any advice is greatly appreciated. <Consider removing your remaining fish to a bare quarantine tank - you can put in some pieces of PVC for places to hide and treat with the Erythromycin there. W> Thanks, MICHELLE <Cheers, J -- >

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 Yellow Watchman Goby Hello Bob, We purchased a YWG last month and he or she has established a "garage" at the base of our live rock in an L shaped pattern to patrol the front and side of our 65 gallon tank. Joe, as it is named, likes to hide most of the time which I know is normal and there are the unmistakable grooves in the sand where digging has taken place.  This fish has been afraid for the most part of our six lined wrasse, cherub angel, blue-green Chromis and fire fish goby. However, after thoroughly cleaning all of the glass in the tank Joe has been out of his/her garage much more recently and it seems that he/she keeps looking into the glass if admiring his/her beauty. I was just wondering if this is settling in behavior or is he/she looking at the mirror image as another Goby? Any thoughts? <I do like the reference to Frank Zappa... his actual garage isn't far from us, my parents place here in San Diego. All sounds well with your goby... Not to worry here. Bob Fenner>

Purple tang and shrimp goby questions Hello there. I've had great fun reading and learning from your wonderful site. <Me too> Basics: we (my fianc?and I) have a healthy, vibrant reef tank: one-year-old 55 gal, lots of live rock well-covered in coralline algae, several inches of live sand substrate, very good water quality checked regularly and maintained religiously. As far as hardware, we have a CPR BakPak skimmer, three burly powerheads to move the water around (one agitates the surface -- FAQs!) , and a small AquaClear filter that gets its media cleaned several times per week (FAQs!). Lighting is about 200W of mixed color-temp (one yellow-er tube, one purple-er tube). Fish: A. melanopus clown w/green bubble-tip anemone, purple tang (young adult, 3-4"), red fire goby (yeah, I know, not the best match, got it when the tank was "gentler"), and a big royal Gramma. Everyone seems to be getting along fine. Inverts include various hard and soft corals (pulsing xenia, galaxy coral, mushrooms, plate coral, torch coral, daisy coral, etc) plus a good number of snails and a few hermits. Two big peppermint shrimp. Oh, and a Randall's pistol shrimp, more on him in a sec. We feed a combination of Mysis shrimp, Cyclop-eeze, and assorted San Francisco Bay brand frozen prepared food (meat- and veggie-based). I've also been throwing in some Nori for the tang (FAQs again!).  Questions (finally!): (1) The tang is constantly hungry and has cleared out virtually all greens in the tank. It's also nibbled a lot at the xenia which is irksome as it's our favorite coral. We are wary of over-feeding as we have had phosphate spikes related to overfeeding which gave us Cyanobacteria problems (all better now -- FAQs!). Between the tang and the clown (we named him "Piglet") all food thrown in the tank basically vanishes. How much food should we give? In particular, how much Nori for the tang? <To the point the fish doesn't appear concave... thin> Also, in what form: one big hunk, diced up small, etc? I've been feeding about 1-2 square inches per day of the Nori, playing around with a few big hunks versus chopped fine. It all seems to vanish. (2) We bought the Randall's pistol shrimp in combination with a Stonogobiops yasha (white-rayed shrimp goby or "Yasha Hase" goby). They lived together for a while then decided to move apart. Then the goby decided it liked the carpet better and we got expensive reef jerky :( The shrimp is still happily maintaining and expanding his burrow. Three weeks ago we got him another friend (same species of goby). The goby backed into the shrimp's hole -- and was never seen again. Perhaps reef jerky again? <Or a shrimp meal> Never found him -- maybe the cats did. In any case, we have secured the tank with taped-down screen and are ready to try again. Do you know what species of goby are compatible with this shrimp? <Mmm, there are in print lists of naturally occurring hosts... but in captivity, many if not most "shrimp gobies" can/will learn to associate... See WWM re the various genera, species here> In particular, is Randall's shrimp goby? <Yes> (Seems likely from the name but you never know). Any other recommendations based on availability, personality, compatibility, maintainability? <Nope> (3) Lastly, would a six-line wrasse be a good match for this tank? I love those guys. <Perhaps, but may work your alpheid woe. Bob Fenner>

Pistol Shrimp/Goby Hi I am interested in getting a shrimp goby and pistol shrimp but have a few questions, more like concerns. I am interested in a orange spotted goby, what pistol shrimp would go well with him? Would a randalli pistol be ok?  <Here is some suggested reading. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpgobies.htm>  Also are they like mantis shrimp? Will they crack my glass and is the noise really loud that it will be a nuisance to me listening to it?  <No, they won't crack your glass. You will rarely hear them unless someone is infringing on their property.> I have a lobster which I have had for 6 months and rarely see but know he's there because when moving a rock he was discovered to still be alive. My tank is 180 gallons, will this shrimp get lost where I will never see it? Will the pistol shrimp hide all day and is this a waste?  <You don't see them too much. I see mine at dinner time.> Will this shrimp fight with jawfish?  <Shouldn't>  Please let me know so I can make my mind before making a hasty purchase and regretting later.  <James (Salty Dog)>  Goby and Pistol Shrimp Take Off Together WWM Crew, I have a 65 gallon reef tank that is 24" high with a built in overflow. No live rock or coral come within several inches of the overflow grates. Among my tank's inhabitants include a 1 1/2" watchman goby and 3/4" pistol shrimp who, until very recently shared the same "burrow" together in a deep sand bed under some live rock.  <They do this> A few days ago, I found my goby and pistol shrimp in a prefilter bag in the sump below my tank. I understand how it's possible for the goby to have gotten down there (as he can swim, albeit not very well) but how in the world did his friend end up with him? <Scooted over the edge evidently> It's almost as if the shrimp would have had to clamp onto a fin as they made there two foot ascent towards the overflow.  <Some Alpheids do maintain close physical contact... mostly through larger pair of "antennae"> (The overflow is also protected by several jets that blast enough current to only allow the top 1/2 inch of water to pass into the overflow. Any animals going near the overflow would be forced back to the bottom of the tank.) Can the goby carry the shrimp in his mouth. (I know the last question sounds ridiculous.) I am really at a loss here. Thanks. Jack <Neat proposition/speculation... Bob Fenner>  

Watchman goby dead! Hi, I came home from work yesterday and saw my orange watchman goby dead at the bottom of the tank, h is mouth opened like he was screaming in terror! I was so sad, but I have no idea how he died or what caused his death. <Mmm, the gaping mouth... may have nothing to do with the death> I didn't notice any lacerations or bites or anything on him because I suspected the Niger triggerfish (that's probably 2 weeks old now) killed him, but could it have been just a life cycle or something of goby fish? I mean how long do they live? <At least a handful of years> He's probably been in the tank for almost 2 years now. He was one of the coolest fish in the tank. Please let me know.  Thank you! <I'd rule out an environmental cause... like low oxygen... as your other fishes weren't affected... But don't know what might be the cause here. Bob Fenner>

Watchman Goby Hi, We have had a Yellow Watchman Goby for about 6 months. She was very small when we got her - is now about 1 1/2". I feel sure it is a female because the coloring of her body is much duller than her face (creamy yellow instead of bright). We would like to get her a mate, but the LFS doesn't carry them and you can't specify sex when ordering online. If we ended up with 2 females, would they fight?  Thanks, Doug <Hello Doug. They won't fight, but they won't be hand and hand such as clowns. James (Salty Dog)>

Sick orange watchman goby? No Hi, I don't know if my Orange Watchman goby is sick. I just noticed his behavior is weird. He just sits under a rock and doesn't move around all that much. He used to be active digging holes, etc. but now he just sits under this rock and when I feed the fish he does go out and grab food. Today I saw that he grabbed some food and went back under his rock and it almost looked like some of the food went through his gills/sifter part of his body. Is there anything I should do? <Not abnormal... this is how this species sieves food from substrate> This has been going on for a few days and I just been observing. Should I worry? <No> What do you think it is? I added some new live rock and a Niger triggerfish to the tank maybe 2 days ago, but it seems to go back further than when I added the new stuff. Thanks, Kristofer <Keep your eye on the trigger... the Goby is a much more peaceful, passive animal... Bob Fenner>

Missing watchman goby Date: Wed, 09 Feb 2005 Hi, first off I love your site. I am quite worried, I recently purchased a yellow watchman goby. Unfortunately my LFS did not have any pistol shrimp in stock to pair up with it.  <They don't always pair up. Certain gobies will only associate with certain shrimp, and that's if the shrimp allows him.> Anyways, the first couple of days went great, he ate right away and what not. Then suddenly he disappeared, nowhere to be found. I assume he might have died, but I can't even find a body! Should I look for him under rocks or what? It's only a 12 gallon tank so I know that wouldn't be too hard. Any advice on this situation would be greatly appreciated.  <Chris, watchman gobies live very secluded lives to begin with. I rarely see mine. Don't panic yet, they are a hardy fish and he should show up again. James (Salty Dog)>

Missing watchman goby Okay so it has been almost a week now and I still can't find him. It's not exactly a large tank either, there isn't that many hiding spots for a two inch long yellow watchmen. Before he disappeared, he would normally show himself for feeding, but I don't see him during feeding either. It wouldn't bother me so much if he died, but the fact that I can't even find his body is letting keep faith. Is it possible that my crabs would eat his carcass? <Yes, very possible>  (I do have a couple of opportunistic crabs) Should I do a small search by taking out some of the rock temporarily? <Yes, I would. I really don't like anything dead in my tank, turns into organic waste, ph reduction.>  There is another catch to the story, see I want to buy the prawn/shrimp that goes with this guy, <I would say your odds are 50% that any watchman and pistol shrimp will pair up. I myself have a yellow watchman and pistol shrimp combo and since about one month, I don't think they have ever saw each other.>  but I definitely don't want to buy him and then find out they never paired since the watchmen is dead...Anyways any advice would be appreciated.  <Good luck. James (Salty Dog)> 

Watchman in filter system Hi, I found my watchman, he's in the filtration system, well behind the tank.  I have no clue how he got there. I took out all the various filters. I have a 12g Nanocube if you are familiar with the brand. I have no net that small and I don't believe any exist that small, the part he's in is can fit about a fist, since my hand will fit. He's still alive but I have no idea how to get him out, everything in my tank is out as well. Please help!!  <Well Chris, you could make a net out of a coat hanger small enough to get in there. Funny, they are not known to be jumpers. Other than that I don't know what to tell you since the filter part is not removable. If there is a will, there is a way. Good luck. James (Salty Dog)> 

Emergency Thanks for your advice, I ended up draining the tank to about 2 inches of water and grabbing him with my hand, was not easy but worked in the end. He is now happy and alive swimming freely (weird behaviour of a watchman) in my aquarium, must have been all that confinement, loves the freedom. Anyways thanks a lot for all your advice.  <Glad you watchman is happy now. James (Salty Dog)>

Randall's goby with lawnmower blenny Hi, Thanks for the great site, I send lots of people to it. Normally I can find my own answers, but this time I want yours. In a 37 Gallon " oceanic corner tank" I keep 25 lbs liverock, four inch deep sand bed. Fish are a pair of percula clowns pair of yellow  tail blue damsels, and a lawnmower blenny, with about 10 mixed snails, 10  blue leg hermits, and 6 asst mushrooms. Recently a friend gave me a 1 inch Randall's pistol shrimp. All is fine 2 weeks later, and I am wanting to add a Randall's goby or a yellow watchman goby. In this set up, do you think the goby and blenny would get along? <I give you good odds. Salarias, Atrosalarias blennies are generally only feisty with algae eating competitors> And if so which goby would be a better choice? Tank has been set up a years as is now. Thanks for any reply, Roger <The Randall's if you want to see interaction with the alpheid... The Watchman if not. Bob Fenner>

Re: Randall's goby with lawnmower blenny Thanks for the quick reply, I keep an emperor 400 and the live rock, DSB for filtration, forgot to mention the emperor 400,again,  thanks. <Sure, No problem.  I would suggest a protein skimmer if you don't have one already.  MikeB.>

Not so Yellow watchman goby Hello.  I recently purchased a yellow watchman goby to add into my 55 salt tank.  When he was added into the tank, his coloration remained yellow, but over the past couple of days he has turned a white color with brown stripes.  He is still eating and is active, he has found a place under our live rock to hide out, and is showing no signs of stress.  His only other tank mates are 3 damsels, a scooter blenny, a clown goby, emerald crabs, hermit crabs, snails, and a sand sifting star.  Is this coloration a warning to the other tank mates or something else I should be worried about.  I have tested the water and there is no ammonia, nitrite, and only 10 nitrate.  Temp in the tank is 80.  Water changes are done monthly, filtration is a Fluval 404 canister, penguin 330, and an emperor 280.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks-Deanna  <May be due to just settling in, but this species should not lose this much color in such a short period of time, though do so with sex change.... Please do re-write if this fish doesn't color up within a week or so. Bob Fenner>

Gobies/shrimp relationships I just picked up what is a suspected pair of Mexican red head gobies.  I had never seen this goby before but fell in love with them on site.  I am trying to figure out what would be a good shrimp to pair up.  I few facts: Three (3), yes three gallon, micro reef tank with: the two gobies, a small feather duster, two mushrooms (one red one purple), 5 sand sifting snails, one black turbo snail, two astrea snails, two small hermit crabs (one all white, and the other white with orange spots {yep, I know he will get probably get big just did not want him destroying my large reef tank}.  I think that is it, oh wait.  I am running 3 watts a gallon and all water params seem fine. I guess I am also wondering if I need a shrimp per goby or will they be nice and share? <I'm not familiar with exactly what goby you have.  Any way you can attach a pic of it?  Try searching fishbase.org to see if you can come up with the genus or species if possible.  The only red headed goby I've heard of does not live commensally with a pistol shrimp.> Mario Nickerson - Shrimp/Goby Pairing - I recently got these [Yellow Watchman Goby and Red Pistol Shrimp] and they don't seem to be pairing up... maybe the goby just doesn't know where the pistol has made his home at.  But I have read the FAQ's and didn't read much about the red pistol shrimp type.. but that most watchman will pair up with these kind.... Do you have any idea what might be taking so long... <Need to ask the Goby... no exact science here, so no exact answers.> Also I haven't noticed the pistol coming out of his home, does he just come out at night. <Yes, mostly nocturnal without the help of the Goby.> Thanks: -Roger <Cheers, J -- >

Gobies (12-14-03) hey again,<Howdy, Cody here today.> what are your thoughts on the following: if I got lets say 3 different pairs of "matched" goby and shrimp sets, with each goby being a diff kind, would the shrimp fight?<Unless you have a large tank I would stick to just one pair.  I think that it would be too crowded with all of them on and "in" the sandbed.  Although you may be able to pull this off if you had a large surface area.  Cody> thanks Mike

Bob the Yellow Watchman I've had Bob (my yellow watchman goby) for about 3 years. All the sudden he has turned very pale and the brownish stripes around his body are darker - he doesn't act too sick and no other fish appear to be sick. Any other ideas?  Thanks. <These colors you are seeing are due to stress - the cause of the stress is what you need to determine.  First and foremost, check your water parameters, most importantly pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and specific gravity/salinity.  If any of those are amiss, fix with water changes.  Another thing to consider is the shy nature of this species.  They really do need sufficient hiding spaces that aren't used by other fish, where they can hole up and feel snug and safe.  If your watchman doesn't have that, it might be the source of his stress.  -Sabrina>

-Goby shrimp w/out a shrimp goby!- Crew Person: <Kevin person here tonight> I was able to get a "paired" Randall's Prawn Goby (Amblyeleotris randalli) & Pistol Shrimp.  Unfortunately, a week into QT, the Goby died.  Now I am sitting here with a pretty expensive shrimp (that looks more like a lobster).  Anyway, my question is this:  can I get another fish to pair up, or am I up shrimp's creek without a Goby? <Haha, I suppose that would depend on the goby. Shrimp/goby pairs are actually very easy to set-up, so I hope you didn't pay too much for the luxury. I would just get a hold of another Randall's (after making sure what happened to this one won't happen again) and you've got a pretty good chance it will pair up. Make that a 95% chance.> It doesn't sound likely, but I had to ask the pros.  If the possibility exists, can I get any species of shrimp goby, or stick with Randall's? <The Randall's are pretty promiscuous as far as shrimp are concerned, so I'd go with that one. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks for all you do, Rich.

-Shrimp gobies without their goby shrimp?- Crew: I often see Randall's Prawn Goby (Amblyeleotris randalli ) <My favorite shrimp goby!> and other shrimp gobies at my LFS without their shrimp.  Is this okay? <Absolutely> Can they live long lives alone? <Just like clowns and anemones, they only need to be together in the ocean. It's a dog eat dog world out there...> Are there any shrimp gobies to be avoided without their shrimp?  <Not that I can think of. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks, Rich

Watchman goby breeding. Hello, I was wondering a couple of things about Watchman Gobies (Yellow in particular and others) that I did not see in the related webpage: 1. How long do they live?<I know people who have kept these fish for about 2-3 years. I am not quite sure on how long they can live, but I know they can live at least 2-3.> I know the Neon Gobies make it a year or 2, but I think these live longer .. true?<I believe so> 2. Are Watchman Gobies successfully bred in captivity? <yes, they have been bred in captivity and are sold as captive bred fish.>Is the process the same as it is for the Neon Gobies? <Have found a couple links that should help you- http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/jan2003/breeder2.htm  http://gobiidae.com/ > 3. Is the sugar sized 0.2 -1.2 mm  Aragamax acceptable for them or do they have difficulty with it? This stuff packs pretty tight, doesn't it?? <Normally people keep these fish in reefs with DSB (and have sugar fine sand). I would say you should be OK> Thanks!<your welcome, IanB> Rich

Re: Watchman Gobies Ian B,   Thanks for the info. I appreciate it. I'll check out those links tonight. Rich <glad to help, IanB>

Blue-spotted Yellow Watchman Goby sexing- Cryptocentrus cinctus 5/5/03 Hello there <howdy> Thanks Anthony for the advice about the Anchor coral, I dipped it with Tech d and even though it lost a little tissue it is recovering fine <great to hear!> Local shop are going to hold my clowns until a anemone becomes available (great guys) <agreed... kudos to them :) > Now to my question how do you work out the sex of Cryptocentrus cinctus no one seems to know <not that difficult... males really do tend to me more colorful (sharper yellow and more blue spots) but more importantly... they have thicker lips (fighting/digging), a larger buccal cavity (chin pouch) and the first hard rays of the first dorsal fin are somewhat exaggerated (taller/spikier)> also what is the best sand bed depth I'm going to add one in the sump main tank is 90 gall sump holds 20 galls I thought of using 1 inch of sugar sand and about 2-3inch of  a courser marine sand on top what do you think? <never mix grain sizes under any circumstance (little benefit and will stratify without screening). You will also need 3" of sugar fine sand minimum to get good denitrification. I'd recommend 4-6" minimum for a proper DSB> the sump will also be used for fragging and growing Caulerpa and will be lit on a reverse with the main tank Thanks Tim <please read through our archives and beyond about the dangers and limitations of Caulerpa... as well as the (greater IMO) benefits of other algae like Chaetomorpha and Gracilaria for refugiums. Use the google search tool from the home page at wetwebmedia.com. Best regards, Anthony> Moose & Squirrel? Nope, Goby & Shrimp... (04/18/03) Thank you in advance for any assistance you might provide.... <Ananda the goby-fan here tonight...> I am looking for a scientific name of a partner goby that I have in my tank.   <Detective work is fun...!> It was called a "Yasser Haji" goby.... who knows if the spelling is good or even accurate.   <Well, Mr. Arafat would agree with the spelling of Yasser, and others might like the spelling of Haji, but the gobies sure don't know why they're saddled with such a name... nor do I. So far, Google searches on any combination of "Yasser", "Haji", and "goby" are turning up nothing.> He appears to be very similar to a Stonogobiops nematodes, although he has horizontal red stripes on a white background with a mottled red and white face.  He has the same filamentous fin.  It appears to extend almost as long as his body, which is less than 2" long.  He also has a yellowish tail fin.   <Ah, now we're getting somewhere. In Scott Michael's book "Marine Fishes", the Stonogobiops nematodes is on p. 355. Flipping the page, I see what I think is your fish, listed as "Stonogobiops sp." on p. 356. The "sp." designation means it hadn't been given a species designation yet. But Fishbase.org has a handy search feature. A search on the genus "Stonogobiops" shows two interesting entries: "Stonogobiops sp.", and "Stonogobiops yasha". More interestingly, the latter is considered the correct name for the former. The detailed entry page has no photo, but the description fits. A quick check of the remaining Stonogobiops listings, and I'm fairly certain that S. yasha is the fish. The species name was given in 2001, after the book Marine Fishes was written, so that fits, too.> I had his partner too but it has apparently died during a molt.  It was a brilliant red and white also and had the characteristics of a mantis shrimp, approximately 1" long. <Fishbase lists Alpheus randalli as this fish's shrimp partner. A quick Google search on "Alpheus randalli" turns up web pages with photos of both the shrimp *and* the goby! And a couple of pages show the goby clearly labeled as Stonogobiops yasha. (I must make one clarification comment -- the A. randalli shrimp does not have the characteristics of a mantis shrimp, but of a pistol shrimp. In fact, the common name of your shrimp is the Randall's snapping shrimp. Many people mistake the very loud popping noise of pistol shrimp for a noise made by a mantis shrimp, but most mantis shrimp are actually rather quiet. Well, until you give them some food.... but that's another topic.)> Any information I can provide I will.... and thank you. David Snider <Thanks for writing -- I now know the species name of this cute little goby. --Ananda>

Cryptocentrus cyanotaenia I am looking for any information on this particular goby.  I have heard it called Peach Goby (See - http://www.reefcorner54.com/GobyCity-PeachShrimpGoby.htm for a picture), Blue Banded Goby and Bluelined Shrimp Goby.  The last name is what I am interested in.  Does this particular goby live with pistol shrimps? <Yes. Please see here re this species: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=56816&genusname=Cryptocentrus&speciesname=cyanotaenia> I have one of these gobies and wish to house him with a pistol shrimp, but I want to make sure he is a 'pistol shrimp type' goby.  Any information or any help on finding info on this shrimp would be appreciated. <It may take to a given Alpheus species. I encourage you to place a small length of small diameter PVC pipe in your substrate where you want these animals to associate... and place the shrimp near here initially. Bob Fenner> Thanks Bobby

How does one encourage a pistol shrimp/goby to move to a new location? + other?s Hello, >>Hi, Travis. >I started my first reef tank about six weeks ago.  The tank is a thirteen gallon with about fifteen pounds of live rock, some corals, a tube worm, blue legged hermits, and Astrea snails.  The only other inhabitants are a yellow watchman goby and pistol shrimp pair.  Tank has about 60 watts of light, and a protein skimmer that came with the tank.  The tank and skimmer were made by CPR.  I feed my tube worm about a grain of rice worth of Black Powder around once a week.  Is the Black Powder a sufficient food for the worm?  Should I feed the worm more often?  >>I like to see a variety of foods offered, and if you can see your way clear a culture of rotifers offered to all the filter feeders would be helpful, same thing with plankton in general.  Some also really appreciate getting the "juice" that's exuded from foods such as squid, clams, shrimp, and fish.  Also, you would want to keep an eye on both alkalinity (buffering capacity of the water) as well as your calcium levels.  If you feed but have insufficient biomineral availability you might not see the growth you should. >>As for frequency of feedings, I would like to see them feed a bit more frequently--remember, in nature they're feeding daily. >Also, much of the bottom of my tank is covered with live rock except for a small patch of sand (approximately 6"/6").  Unfortunately, my shrimp and goby have decided to set up home behind the live rock where I cannot see them.  Sometimes the goby peeks around the rock and the shrimp snaps, so I know they are there.  How can I encourage them to take up residence in the open spot so that I can see them? >>This last problem is a much more difficult issue, as the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, eh?  The only thing I can offer you is to use a combination of feeding ONLY in a certain area, and possibly recreating the structure that they're so fond of in a more easily viewable area.  Otherwise strategically placed mirrors have been my own solution, though it's never really bothered me that I can't see some things.  I'm just happy to know that they're there and thriving. >>I would also like to encourage you to consider the addition in the future of a refugium.  The development of a 'fuge with a deep sand bed would be of so much benefit you would end up being quite happy with the time and investment.  Good luck!  Marina Thank you very much for your help.  Travis.

Pistol shrimp and goby 3/30/03 I started my first reef tank about six weeks ago.  The tank is a thirteen gallon with about fifteen pounds of live rock, some corals, a tube worm, blue legged hermits, and Astrea snails.  The only other inhabitants are a yellow watchman goby and pistol shrimp pair. How does one encourage a pistol shrimp/goby to move to a new location? <you may encourage the move by providing a tube (plastic pipe) buried in the sand under a rock. They often find this hospitable. Best regards, Anthony>

Pistol Shrimp & Gobies Pairs How are you guys doing? <Very well!> Fine I hope. How aggressive are pistol shrimp? <Mine only bother someone who tries to hide in their burrow.> Looking to buy a goby/shrimp combo but I don't want him eating more expensive dinners than I do.     <Given enough room and hiding spots, they are pretty peaceful, keeping to themselves, but mine have killed about a half dozen animals over the course of the four years I have had them. Two Cleaner Shrimp right after they were introduced darted down into the Pistol Shrimps' home. Snap, snap, snap, I never saw the Cleaners again. Also, a few small fishes when I have been rearranging rock or adding corals, basically disturbing things. The fish got scared and tried to hide on the other end of the tank. Note, that mine shrimp do not have a Goby living with them. Perhaps the Goby would have prevented the other fish from entering the cave. -Steven Pro>

Shrimp Goby Quick question for you guys in regards to fish 'breathing'.  I noticed my clown fish don't appear to 'breath'... as in you can't see their gills move while they swim around.  However, I noticed yesterday and today my Spotted Prawn-Goby (Amblyeleotris guttata) breathing quite rapidly.  You can see his gills really working.  The goby has spent the last month with only half his body visible the other half under a rock or in a hole etc.  I can't remember if I could see his gills working away in the past, but now that he is more active and swims around more... I have noticed him breathing quite quickly.  He still feeds very actively and will scamper under a rock really fast when my Coral Banded Shrimp gets near him.  Is this something to worry about?   <No! I wouldn't worry. Prawn-Gobies are little tiny fish. I'm sure the rest of your fish must look like whales to him!> Do Spotted Prawn-Gobies breath quickly???   <Some fish respire very fast others not so fast. In general, the smaller the fish the quicker the respiration, I have a Salaries fasciatus that breaths unbelievably fast...and always has> I just checked my water last night.  pH 8.2, no traces of ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, temperature has remained constant over the last month at around 77F, water salinity is 1.021.  I did have a small battle with ammonia over a 5 day period almost 20 days ago but the goby seemed fine all the while.   <Let's solve the problem that caused that last ammonia spike. Ammonia spikes can and will cause all sorts of unpredictable problems with your livestock...even long after the spike is over> My clown fish are fine and my shrimp and crabs are fine.  Also of note, there is no discoloration with my goby. Am I being too paranoid or is this just the way the fish is? <Maybe a little too paranoid. Hard to say knowing that you've been dealing with ammonia troubles. I would definitely solve the source of the ammonia> Dave <David Dowless>

Yellow shrimp goby Hi, I wanted to purchase a yellow shrimp goby. I was looking at a book of marine fish, it said that it may jump out of an open aquarium, is this true? <Very much so... these are great escape artists> I have about 3-4 inches of space that is open. <Way too much!... you might be able to tape it over...> It also stated that it may eat smaller ornamental shrimps. Not sure what that means but does that include a cleaner shrimp?  <Not this size, type of (likely Lysmata) shrimp... it should be fine> One more thing, my live rock rests on my sand bed. Should I worry that it will dig around the rock and cause it to topple? <Not much of a worry with this size, type fish. I wouldn't be concerned. Bob Fenner> Thanks Angelo

Watchman goby mouth How was the MACNA here in DFW? <<I'd love to say it was fantastic, but it hasn't happened yet, is scheduled for 9/27-29...>> I have a watchman goby (Cryptocentrus cinctus), within the last week it developed something strange with its mouth. There are two tusk like things coming up from the bottom of its mouth, on the inside. whitish with red tips. <<Interesting.>> He's still eating but keeps his mouth open constantly. Just wondering if its an infection, parasite, hormonal or maybe the tusk got hold of him and tore something. <<All possibilities.>> There's various other fish in with him but none that should have hurt anything. Had him for almost 2 years. <<Well, keep your eyes on it... as long as it is still eating I'd say not to worry. Probably just a little damage that will require some time to heal.>> Thanks, Darren <<Cheers, J -- >>

Shrimp question Hi, <cheers> I just got a yellow watchman goby for my tank. How do I put a shrimp with it, and which shrimp do I get?  <commensal pistol shrimp generally must be collected with their watchman goby to be compatible. Even when that is not the case, one usually needs to match the exact natural partner species with the goby. You need to get an accurate scientific name for your goby first... then research the commensal species for this goby. It is very unlikely that you will be able to find a compatible match without having obtained a collected pair.> My tank is a 38 gallon with only fish, and a starfish.  Thanks, Dyanna <do tell us if you find a species that works. Kindly, Anthony>

Gobies and shrimp Hi Robert, I'm sorry to email you here, but I don't know how to post on WetWebMedia.com. I hope you can provide guidance: <Will try> I want to buy a pistol shrimp and Goby. I have my eye on two gobies. One is the Stonogobiops nematodes. I read on your site that he would most likely pair up with the Alpheus randalli. I can not find the everyday name for this shrimp. <"Randall's Pistol Shrimp", named in honor of Dr. John (Jack) Randall of the Bernice P. Bishop Museum> Is it just a common pistol shrimp (I have a friend who wants to sell me his pistol shrimp)? <Mmm, I consider none of these to be "common"... all species are hard to come by in the trade, hobby.>  -not sure if its a wise move on my behalf)? <Know nothing about wisdom>> The other goby that I am considering is the Pinkbar Goby (Cryptocentrus aurora). Do you know which shrimp he would best pair with? <There are lists of which species are associated in the wild... Often, captive conditions can form "strange partnerships" though> Is there a general rule of thumb for encouraging symbiosis between the two? <Lots of space, good husbandry, mix of fine sand and rubble of depth, peaceful tankmates...> What is the best way to ensure symbiosis if you cant but the two already paired up?  <Buy them together, evidencing their association in advance> Do you have any recommendations for which types to purchase for a small (30 gallon) set up? <Mmm... please read through the "Shrimp Gobies" section and related/linked files on www.WetWebMedia.com> Would I have to get rid of my decorator crab if I got a P. shrimp/goby? <Possibly... if the system is small... the crab hungry, could be trouble.> Thank you once again Bob. Your time and effort for all of the work that you do on your webpage is much appreciated. <Thank you for your kind words... many hours of my own, friends devoted as you state. Bob Fenner>

Marine questions, Shreemps, brittle stars, goby diffs! -Can I keep a pistol shrimp which is living in a symbiosis together with a Cryptocentrus cinctus (yellow goby) together with a peppermint shrimp, or will they start fighting? <My pistol shrimp have killed cleaner shrimp.> -My brittle star have got a lot of small brittle star babies, will a new brittle star eat them, and what shall i feed them? <The small brittle starfish are probably a different species. These mini brittle starfish are detritivores and do not need target fed.> -Do you know how i can see the difference on a yellow goby? -Arne <I am guessing you mean "difference" in the sexes of the fish. There are some subtle differences in size and girth of the belly when you see an obvious pair together. Baensch "Marine Atlas: Volume 1" was an in depth description. -Steven Pro>

Pistol shrimp/gobies in new tank hello, i am in the process in setting up my reef tank (75 gallon) i have 100 pounds of live rock and 25 pounds of lace rock. i am wondering if i can add two pistol shrimp and a wheeler watchman goby and a Randall prawn goby (or should i just stick with one pair pistol/goby combination) with the following list of wants of livestock. want to add (over a period of time) 2 fire shrimp 2 cleaner shrimp 1 banded coral shrimp emerald crab (x2) 2 Percula clowns (w/anemone and anemone crab inside) 2 sand sifting stars Sally lightfoot crab 4 green Chromis's 50 bumble bee snails various red/blue hermits blue "hippo" tang (small) button and star polyps green stripe mushroom hairy mushroom bulls eye mushroom have a sl-150 miracle wet/dry (Rio 2500 pump 720 gph) two Fluval 404's Berlin xl turbo skimmer 4 VHO 110 watt lights aragonite sand (75 pounds or so) what needs added for the goby/pistol relationship to work thank you for you time and consideration. its hard to find good advice when starting out your new aquariums and ideas for livestock Jeff Morningstar <Mmm, the fishes you list and the non-crustaceans should pose no problems... but the other shrimps... might consume the Alpheids if hungry... I would start/do what you propose... go with just the one pair first (either), and see how they fare. If it were me/my system, I would acclimate the new mutuals in an all plastic specimen box (like the ones used for housing small amphibians, lizards, bugs... available at pet shops) on the bottom for a few days ahead of releasing them. Bob Fenner>

Watchman goby and pistol shrimp Hello, <Hi, Chad... Anthony Calfo here answering mail while Bob extracts sand from various orifices having returned from a dive trip to Mexico> I have a Watchman Goby and he has already set up camp under some live rock. Today I bought a pistol shrimp and it went to the opposite side of the tank as soon as I dumped it in. Do you know how long it might take to get the two to sense each other and start their Symbiotic relationship?  <absolutely,... never. Thanks for asking> Is there a way to speed up the process? <nope> Will they chemically know the other and just start a new home.  <nope again> Should I capture both of them and put them in my 10 gal refugium for while until they connect? <they will either continue to ignore each other or punch the living daylights out of each other> Also, the shrimp has a few legs missing and it's left front claw. Will these grow back well enough giving time or should I be worried?  <no worries...they will grow back nicely within a few molts> My tank is a 46 gal reef tank. I have added some calcium plus three (iodine, strontium?, and magnesium). Should this help my shrimp's legs grow back any better? <the iodine, yes!> Thanks a lot for answering my many questions. <thanks for putting up with my humor, bud. The truth of the matter is that the relationship between shrimp and goby is very specific and at times precarious. For starters... shrimp species known to pair with receptive goby species cannot be interchanged with other tolerant species of either group. They are VERY specific to their dedicated commensal partner species. Furthermore... some will not even reconnect quickly or at all even with the correct species assuming you know it (rare info to have). Typically... the only way to enjoy the sight in captivity is to purchase them as a pair that were collected together...a very hard find. With kind regards, Anthony>

Goby-Shrimp association, non-native associations Hi Bob, PF again (sorry to be a pest today, but I have to take advantage of the mind cranking along at max while I can ;) ) I was wondering if the Florida snapping shrimp (Alpheus floridianus) would form a symbiotic relationship with Goby's other than the Atlantic Orangespotted shrimp-goby (Nes longus) and the Spotfin goby (Gobionellus stigmalophius)? <It's possible, yes> I was thinking such as a Randall's or Filament finned prawn goby? <Maybe...> Would a stocking density of 1 per 4 sq/ft of tank bottom be appropriate?  <About right... these fishes can be quite territorial...> I'm leaning more and more towards my 300g being primarily Floridian/Caribbean in makeup, with a few oddballs from out biotope, such as clownfish, some corals, tropical abalone (from FFE) as cleaners, etc. Can Orangespotted and Spotfins be mixed, or stick to one species? <In a large system, they can be mixed> or do the same species fight?  <If overly crowded yes> Thanks for your patience, according to Amazon I should be getting your books by Friday at the latest, I'm looking forward to it. Have a happy Fourth! Mike <You as well my friend. Peace. Bob Fenner>

Re: Goby-Shrimp association, non-native associations I've done a little more digging and found that the local Floridian Goby's are considered endangered in the Keys not sure if they're on the CITES list or not), are they available in other parts of the Caribbean, and if so should I be able to order them either an online or LFS dealer without violating CITES reg.s? Thanks again! <Hmm, according to fishbase.org these fishes have a wider range than Florida... don't know of anyone who collects them though... not easily/economically caught... And not CITES organisms as far as I know... definitely not Appendix I... Bob Fenner> Mike

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>

Watchman-Pistol Question Dear Bob: You have been so kind in sharing your knowledge with me. I have one more question before I buy my Yellow Watchman Goby and (Tiger hopefully) Pistol Shrimp. Do I need to buy an already established pair, or would any Watchman pair up with any Pistol Shrimp? I don't want to buy them and be disappointed if they don't "pair up." Thanks, Janey <Better to buy them together... but they do often "pair up" in captivity as well. Bob Fenner>

Fish Compatibility Question Dear Bob: I have a 75 gallon tank with deep sand bed (3 to 4 inches) and about 75 pounds live rock. The inhabitants are as follows: royal Gramma, flame angel, black sailfin blenny, cardinal, and one tank bred ocellaris clown. I also have one rock with brown button polyps, some green mushrooms, Haitian anemone, green bubble tip anemone, clove polyps, and one small squamosa clam. There are various snails, 2 cleaner shrimp, and a few scarlet hermits. I would love to add a yellow watchman goby and a pistol shrimp. I have had different opinions as to whether the goby and the blenny would be compatible. Also would the cleaner shrimp and the pistol be okay together? Would I be overstocked if I added them? Thanks in advance for you help...... Janey <Always "calculable gambles" in mixing livestock in different size/shape/type set-ups... but I give you good odds here. I consider that these animals would likely mix, and not be too over-crowded. Bob Fenner>

Killer Randall's Shrimp Goby I have a Randall's Shrimp goby and his shrimp friend in a relatively new 180 gallon fish and live rock tank. They are a fascinating pair and, until recently, my favorites. But I am experiencing something that I cannot find in any of the books. Last weekend, a friend was over to give me a few pointers, and we noticed that the Randall's had a yellow neon goby sticking out of its mouth. It spit out the neon, but the neon did not survive the day. I figured that the neon must have decided to check out the Randall's lair and paid the consequences. <Yes, this happens> Today, however, I was watching a blue neon goby minding its own business when the Randall's appeared out of nowhere and grabbed it from behind. The Randall's then darted back to its nest with the neon in its mouth. It is now back out again looking very full. <Hmmm> I had 9 neons and can now find 3. I suspect the Randall's. This sounds very strange based on what I have read about the shrimp gobies. Any ideas? <Not strange... they are opportunistic... and will eat small fishes like gobies for sure. Bob Fenner>

Sand sifters I need your opinion on a good sand sifter. I have read some not so encouraging thing about the serpent stars I was looking at eating corals, toppling rock). So I was thinking about getting a goby. I have a 29 gallon with live sand bottom and was wondering for one if all gobies do the same job of sand sifting. I really like the look of the engineer goby, if this is not a suitable sand sifter please advise as to which is a good sifter, and will one be enough? >> A good species and one that is not too susceptible to starving in a small volume... One will do. 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.

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