Species NameGobiidae (Family name for gobies)
Common NameGoby
Care LevelBeginner to Intermediate, depending on the species
Lifespan1-10 years, varies by species
Adult Size1-12 inches (2.5-30 cm), varies by species
Minimum Tank Size10-30 gallons, depending on species
Temperature72°F – 82°F (22°C – 28°C), varies by species
Water ConditionspH 7.0-8.5, Salinity varies by species

About the Goby – Species Summary

The term “Goby” encompasses a vast group of small fishes belonging to the family Gobiidae, which stands as one of the largest fish families with more than 2000 species. Found both in marine environments and freshwater systems, gobies are incredibly diverse. Their habitats span from shallow coastal waters and coral reefs to estuaries and rivers. Given their vast diversity, they offer myriad colors, behaviors, and temperaments, providing aquarists with a wide range of choices suitable for various tank setups.

Gobies are particularly famed for their symbiotic relationships, most notably with pistol shrimps in marine environments. The shrimp digs and maintains a burrow that offers both the goby and shrimp protection, while the goby acts as a lookout, warning the shrimp of approaching threats.

Goby Lifespan

Gobies’ lifespan varies significantly among species. While many of the smaller gobies may live up to 1-3 years, some larger species can live up to a decade under the right conditions. As always, proper care, diet, and a stress-free environment can significantly impact their longevity.


Gobies are an incredibly diverse family of fish when it comes to appearance. While most gobies are relatively small and elongated, their colors and patterns can range dramatically. Some are sandy-colored to blend in with their natural environments, while others like the Green Clown Goby or Neon Goby are vibrantly colored.

Average Size

The size of a goby can range anywhere from 1 inch to 12 inches, depending on the species. Many popular aquarium gobies tend to be on the smaller end, often not exceeding 3-4 inches.

Goby Care

Tank Size

For many of the small to medium-sized gobies, a 10 to 20-gallon tank suffices. However, larger species or those who prefer to live in groups might require bigger habitats, upwards of 30 gallons or more.

How To Set Up Their Tank

Setting up a goby tank should always mimic their natural habitat. For marine gobies, a sand substrate is ideal, allowing burrowing species to exhibit natural behaviors. Rocks, caves, and plants or corals offer hiding spots and enrich their environment. Freshwater gobies might appreciate river-like setups with smooth pebbles and rocks.

Lighting Requirements

Lighting requirements for gobies will often correlate with their natural habitats. Many species don’t have specific needs, but if your tank hosts live plants or corals, ensure the lighting supports their health.


For marine gobies, maintaining a pH level between 8.1 and 8.4 is ideal. Freshwater gobies usually thrive in a pH range of 7.0 to 8.5, depending on the species.


The majority of gobies prefer water temperatures between 72°F and 82°F (22°C to 28°C). Always check specific requirements for the species you wish to keep.

Water Parameters

Water quality is essential for the health of any fish. Regularly test the water for nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, and other relevant parameters. Salinity levels will differ between freshwater and marine gobies.

Disease Potential

Like all fish, gobies can be susceptible to diseases. Quarantine new fish before introducing them to the main tank. Regularly monitor for signs of diseases such as Ich or fungal infections.

Food & Diet

While gobies are generally omnivores, their diet can lean more towards carnivorous. Offer them a varied diet of live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia. Prepared foods, such as pellets or flakes, can supplement their diet.

Behavior and Temperament

Gobies are often peaceful and can be both active and reclusive. Their behavior is largely species-dependent. Some, like the shrimp gobies, form unique symbiotic relationships and can be fascinating to watch.

Tank Mates

Compatible tank mates often include peaceful community fish, shrimps, and snails. It’s essential to consider the goby species and its specific needs when selecting tank mates. For instance, some gobies might prey on small invertebrates.


Breeding gobies can be challenging but rewarding. Many species exhibit fascinating parental behaviors. The male often guards the eggs, and in some species, they’re known to carry the eggs in their mouths. Providing a conducive environment with hiding spots, proper nutrition, and stable water parameters can encourage breeding.

Goby FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)