Bumblebee Goby

Bumblebee Goby
Species NameBrachygobius xanthozona
Common NameBumblebee Goby
Care LevelModerate
LifespanUp to 3 years
Adult Size1.5 inches (3.8 cm)
Minimum Tank Size5 gallons
Temperature72°F – 82°F (22°C – 28°C)
Water ConditionspH 6.8-8.2, 10-20 dGH

About the Bumblebee Goby – Species Summary

The Bumblebee Goby, with its scientific name Brachygobius xanthozona, is a tiny and striking fish that has captivated the attention of aquarium enthusiasts worldwide. This captivating fish is indigenous to the brackish and fresh waters of Southeast Asia, especially the coastal areas and rivers. Its distinctive black and yellow stripes resemble those of a bumblebee, hence its name. But beyond their eye-catching appearance, the Bumblebee Goby is known for its interesting behaviors and specific care requirements, which can make it a rewarding yet challenging addition to specialized aquarium setups.

Bumblebee Goby Lifespan

Bumblebee Gobies, on average, live up to 3 years, but with optimal care and a suitable environment, some have been reported to exceed this lifespan. Their longevity can be impacted by various factors, including water quality, diet, stress levels, and genetics.


Visually, the Bumblebee Goby is a delight. Their primary appeal lies in the alternating yellow and black bands running across their body, which has granted them their memorable name. This banding, coupled with their bulbous eyes and elongated dorsal and anal fins, gives them a unique silhouette that’s easily recognizable even in a mixed-species aquarium.

Average Size

In terms of size, these fish are relatively small, averaging around 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) when fully grown. Their petite stature makes them suitable for smaller tanks but also mandates that care be taken to ensure they are not housed with potential predators.

Bumblebee Goby Care

Tank Size

Given their small size, a minimum tank size of 5 gallons is often recommended for the Bumblebee Goby. However, if one plans on keeping a group or wishes to introduce other tank mates, a larger tank would be more appropriate.

How To Set Up Their Tank

A natural habitat simulation would involve a soft sandy substrate complemented by plenty of hiding spots in the form of caves, rocks, or dense vegetation. Given their preference for brackish waters, a combination of marine and freshwater (with marine salt added) can help mimic their native environment. Driftwood and leaf litter can also be incorporated to further replicate their natural habitat and offer additional hiding spots.

Lighting Requirements

Moderate to low lighting is recommended for Bumblebee Goby tanks. Not only does this make them feel more secure, but it also helps to showcase their vibrant colors.


A pH level between 6.8 to 8.2 provides an ideal environment for these gobies.


For optimal health and activity, maintaining a water temperature between 72°F and 82°F (22°C and 28°C) is advised.

Water Parameters

Soft to moderately hard water, with a hardness range of 10 to 20 dGH, is optimal. It’s crucial to frequently monitor ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels to ensure they remain within safe limits.

Disease Potential

While they are relatively hardy, Bumblebee Gobies can be susceptible to common aquarium diseases, including Ich. Maintaining good water quality, ensuring a balanced diet, and quarantining new tank additions can help prevent most ailments.

Food & Diet

Primarily carnivorous, Bumblebee Gobies thrive on a diet of live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, and micro-worms. They have a preference for live food and can sometimes be reluctant to accept flake or pellet foods.

Behavior and Temperament

Despite their small size, Bumblebee Gobies have a bold personality. They can be territorial, especially during breeding seasons, but are generally peaceful. Their curious nature means they often explore their surroundings, darting in and out of hiding spots.

Tank Mates

Due to their size and somewhat territorial nature, it’s advisable to pair Bumblebee Gobies with other peaceful and similarly-sized species. Avoid housing them with large or overly aggressive fish. Ideal tank mates might include smaller rasboras, tetras, or other small gobies.


Breeding Bumblebee Gobies can be a rewarding experience. They are cave spawners, often choosing a secluded spot or cave to lay their eggs. Post-spawning, the male takes on the role of guarding the eggs until they hatch. It’s common practice to separate the fry from the adults to ensure their safety and provide them with an appropriate diet to support growth.

Bumblebee Goby FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)