Cleaner gobies are found in and around cleaning stations — typically a roundish live coral head of the family Poritidae or Faviidae — at times in and around the lip of a vase-type sponge, very infrequently on the sandy bottom, but usually advertising their services to any passing fish in possible need of a good cleaning.
Yours will be happiest when given a similar perch in a decent-sized system. Cleaner gobies can be kept in 10- to 20-gallon tanks for breeding. But just'* in the wild, they appreciate more room to display innate behavior in captivity. These fish are best kept only in full-bBwn reef systems, with live stony corals and macroalgae and the good, consistent water quality that goe£Eith such setups.
Though they are small and obviously easy to pick out from the surrounding habitat, most all fish, predaceous or not, even hailing from the same ocean or not, recognize cleaner gobies for what they are and don't inhale them — a real bonus fl^ll! But it is not above the usual suspects to accidentally or on purpose eat these small fish. Western
Chlupaty, Peter. 1990. "The care and breeding of the neon goby," Tropical Fish Hobbyist, Issue 1. TFH Publ., Neptune City, NJ.
Colin, Patrick. 1975. Neon Gobies: The Comparative Biology of the Genus Gobiosoma, Subgenus Elacatinus (Pisces, Gobiidae) in the Tropical Western Atlantic Ocean. 304 pp. T.F.H. Publ., Neptune City, NJ.
Debelius, Helmut. 1985. "Gobies in the marine aquarium, pt. 1: Neon gobies." Today's Aquarium.
Moe, Martin A. 1975. "Propagating the Atlantic Neon Goby." 6(2). Marine Aquarist.
Walker, Stephen D. 1979. "Spawning and rearing the neon goby." 2(8). Freshwater And Marine Aquarium. RC Modeler Corp., Sierra Madre, Calif.
Wittenrich, Matthew L. 1998. "Reproductive behavior in Gobiosoma puncticulatus!' Tropical Fish Hobbyist. TFH Publ., Neptune City, NJ.
Wittenrich, Matthew. 1999. "Breeding and raising Gobiosoma oceanops'.' 21(7). Freshwater And Marine Aquarium. RC Modeler Corp., Sierra Madre, Calif.
Young, Forrest A. 1994. "Rearing the golden goby, Elacatinus xanthipora." 16(12). Freshwater And Marine Aquarium. RC Modeler Corp., Sierra Madre, Calif.
Pacific and Indian Ocean basses, lionfish and their relatives and triggerfish may congumB your gobies. On the other hand, cleaner gobies can be a bit too much for "thin-skinned" fish like some puffers, or any given tank full of fish — being clean is fine, but enough is enough, and there are situations where host fish will avoid cleaners.
Looking at these species in the wild, one can see them spread out as individuals, as pairs and at times in "family" groupings of smallish individuals of the same species. You may find them crammed together in dealers' tanks, but this is not a natural arrangement, and your cleaner goby or gobies will do best when kept as the only goby species in a system and as singles or pairs (if you can pick them out as such).
Here are two looks at cleaner gobies (G. genie) at "parade rest." Both are ideally positioned on perches. Whether in the wild or in an aquarium setting, cleaner gobies spend much of their time residing on a perch of some sort. Of course, in tank situations hobbyists should also provide areas where gobies can perch and set up "cleaning stations" from which to service passing fish.
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