Cleaning goby belong to
the family Gobiidae.
There are two species
commonly referred to as cleaning gobies, the Elacatinus evelynae
Cleaning gobies are
native to the tropical reef
formations of the Gulf of Mexico. Their habitat ranges from the
coastline of Texas to Belize.
torpedo shaped fish. They only reach an
adult length of around 1.5 inches. The name cleaning goby is a direct
reference to their dietary habits in their natural habitat. These fish
actually set up cleaning stations where other fish line up line up like
cars at a car wash to have the parasites removed from their bodies.
Even much larger fish who would normally not think twice about having a
goby for lunch will line up for cleaning. This symbiotic relationship
is beneficial to everyone involved. The larger fish are healthier after
ridding themselves of harmful parasite infestations. The gobies food
source comes to them. The presence of predators also acts as a means of
protection for these tiny fish.
These fish are commonly marketed under the name “neon
because of their intense color palette. Neon gobies come in a variety
of colors but they all have darker bodies with a prominent horizontal
stripe on both sides. These stripes have a highly reflective quality.
They appear to almost glow under direct lighting. Cleaning gobies are
short lived creatures with an expected lifespan of only 1.5 years.
Cleaning gobies make an excellent addition to a reef aquarium.
the most novice aquarium keeper will find them easy to keep alive and
healthy. Their small size makes them
perfect for nano-reef setups. They
can feel right at home in aquariums as small as 5 gallons. They have no
territorial issues with other fish or other members of their own
species. So you can keep a group of them without fear of squabbling.
Avoid mixing them with large predatory fish and they will thrive in
their new environment. These gobies are bottom dwellers. In their
natural habitat they live in rocks when they are not performing
community service. You will need to provide them with abundant hiding
They are not picky eaters in captivity. They will eat virtually any
and all frozen or live foods. They can even become accustomed to eating
flake or pellet foods. Gobies are shy by nature. If they are forced to
compete against larger more aggressive species for food they have been
known to go hungry.
These are exceptionally easy fish to find. This was the first
marine fish to be successfully bred in captivity. Captive breeding
programs have made several species readily available. If given a
choice, a tank-raised goby is always preferable. Fish that were raised
in captivity are less likely to have escalated stress levels in their
new surroundings then one who has been recently removed from its
Sexing gobies is
difficult. Fortunately it is also unnecessary.
Gobies will pair up instinctively. Place a section of small diameter
plastic piping in the bottom of your aquarium. This will act as a
breeding chamber. This species are demersal egg layers. They will
instinctively lay their eggs on the bottom of the chamber. The female
will protect the eggs until they hatch. If you have a breeding tank you
can remove the pipe and the mother to insure the fry are not eaten by
the tanks other inhabitants once they become free swimming. Fry can be
feed zooplankton. They will be fully developed in about 30 days.