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Food and Nutrition

Gobiosoma and Elacatinus gobies don't have to derive all their nutrition from cleaning activity. Especially in smaller systems (let's say less than a 100 gallons) with few "customers," they should be offered small meaty food items as a supplement. Supreme here are small copepods and Cyclops (i.e., CYCLOP-EEZE) and very small pellets (i.e., Spectrum) that they can fit whole in their tiny mouths. Of course, even better is a purposeful live sump/refugium that continuously supplies such small fare to tank inhabitants including any gobies.

Disease

Like other gobies, cleaner gobies are susceptible to crypt (aka marine ich) and easy to bump off with the normal treatments for protozoan disease. If your gobies suffer an outbreak, the use of quinine sulfate in a dedicated treatment tank with daily vacuuming is the way to go. You should also allow the system to go fallow and remove host fish for several weeks.

Diseases Neon Blue Goby Fish

The yellow "v" on its head and the longitudinal blue stripes on its sides helps to distinguish the sharknose goby (G. evelynae) from other gobies.

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Reproduction

Looking for a marine species to try your hand at captive breeding? Possibly for economic gain? Look no further. The neon (cleaner) goby (G. oceanops) is a prime candidate. It has been tank-bred and reared in commercial quantities for years. As an example of typical goby reproduction, I'll describe the process.

The parents are small and may be maintained easily in a 20-gallon system. Thjy^air and spawn readily and regularly, with demersal (bottom) eggs and parental care.

Sexing is best left up to the fish. You can purchase a handful and let them sort things out. Individuals may be sexed with practice and close observation.

You can gauge males from females via their genital papilla. These are found immediately in front of their anal fins. The males' are cone-shaped and pointed at the tip; the females' are generally only visible near spawning and are short and rounded at the tip. BCpmmercial breeders use short sections of small-diameter plastic pipe as spawning sites and raise the eggs separate from their parents, but neons will spawn and rear their young on most anything solid. The fry are raised on cultured plankton (Euplotes and Brachionus are recommended). The young are fully developed in a month, which seems fast until you realize their full lifespan is but a year or two.

Conclusion

Cleaner gobies have much to recommend them for most all tropical reef aquarium systems. They are pretty, interesting behaviorally, readily available and inexpensive, and they perform a useful function in the wild and in our tanks. U

Robert Fenner is a well-known hobbyist. He is also the author of the book The Conscientious Marine Aquarist. He has spent most of his adult life in the aquarium hobby. He currently owns and operates www.wetwebmedia.com.

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