Gobies are small fishes that comprise one of the largest families of fishes in the world, the Gobiidae, with over 2,000 described species worldwide, and more being added to the mix on a regular basis. The vast majority of these fishes have a bottom-dwelling lifestyle, although some do venture into the water column. Because of their small size (most species reach a length of 4” or less), they can be “lost” in larger systems. They are also capable jumpers, so make sure their aquarium is tightly covered to prevent unfortunate losses.
Some species, called Prawn Gobies, have a symbiotic relationship with small shrimp, sharing burrows, with the goby providing protection for the visually challenged shrimp, which provides valuable burrow digging and maintenance services. It’s a fascinating relationship to watch, which makes a Prawn Goby and it’s shrimp a perfect candidate for a smaller aquarium. Other species, such as the Amblygobius species, are regarded as sand-sifters, foraging through substrate for tiny invertebrates and other foods. Still others, such as the Clown Gobies, live in and among coral colonies. Some species do swim sporadically in the water column.
Gobies are, by and large, peaceful fishes, which mind their own business, unless threatened by another goby. They adapt wonderfully to aquatic life, and are typically very hardy and easy to feed, taking a variety of prepared aquarium foods. The few exceptions might be some of the sand-sifting species, such as Amblygobius rainfordi, which sometimes struggle to adapt to prepared foods in the aquarium, preferring to search for benthic animals in the substrate. With time and attention, they can typically be weaned to prepared foods.
The gobies are a fantastic group of fishes; well suited to aquarium life, possessing great colors, and engaging in interesting behaviors. They are largely very hardy, and are excellent candidates for captive breeding projects.
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