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Choosing a Goby

Gobies, in the family Gobiidae, are a huge family of fish found along the sandy and rocky shores of tropical, subtropical and even temperate seas. Although these fish usually don’t grow to be much larger than about five inches in captivity – some species grow no larger than two inches – they are extraordinarily long-lived for reef fish. Ten years is the longest on record so far. Because of their hardiness and relative ease of care, these are among the most popular saltwater aquarium fish to keep.

Gobies are bottom-dwelling fishes that often affix themselves to the bottom by a specialized suction organ formed by its pelvic fins. (Blennies, which are often mistaken for gobies, have no such organ.) Unlike just about all other fish, gobies have no lateral line – the area along the middle of a fish’s flanks that senses its position in the water. Instead, gobies have a series of sensory “pores” on the head and over the body that are connected to their nervous systems.

Gobies are relatively easy to keep and they tolerate captivity well, even though some species look as though they are highly fragile. However, gobies are shy in the close quarters of an aquarium and prefer to keep to themselves. Therefore you shouldn’t keep them with overly aggressive fish since these may bully around your goby.

These species have no special water requirements other than the “normal” water-quality that is necessary to keep a reef-aquarium healthy. In fact, gobies even tolerate significant fluctuations in water quality. Nevertheless, it’s not a good idea to put them through this, since they too will succumb to stress and be prone to diseases.

Varieties of Gobies