Neon Gobies (Elacatinus oceanops) Again!

Posted on April 27, 2013 at 10:05 PM Comments comments (0)


Yesterday I moved the goby nest in its PVC pipe home to the BRT.   I moved them a day early, because I was concerned that I might miss the hatch. So I moved them, and waited, and none appeared to hatch. Came home from work today, and looked for goby larvae. Still no hatch.

Gave up and thought I would clean out the BRT, since it could be used for something else. Then I noticed a tiny goby larva in there! I found the flashlight and discovered a few more.   I took the nest pipe and looked at it. There seemed to be fewer eggs there than I remembered. I gave a good Mulcahey underwater shake, waited for a hatch and still nothing. I reattached it to the air bubble stream. 15 minutes later, I came back and noticed one in the water . And what? There's another crowd of larvae over there!!! They were hatching!  In broad daylight!  It was a good hatch. The larvae seem strong, and are eating the rotifers.  After consulting with friend Jim, his gobies hatch in daylight regularly. Huh.

Gobies 4/7/13

I have a black round 17 gallon tub with baby goby larvae in it. I started this tub 12 days ago with a fresh hatch of Neon Gobies (Elacatinus oceanops).  They did alright with just SS rotifers for a few days. I noticed the tub had a lawn of green fuzz on its underwater surface, so I thought it might be time for a sponge filter. I retrieved the pond sponge that has been living in my growout sump forever, put it in a bucket, and hooked up a small powerhead with a T'd off valve to send water back into the bucket, and tubing on the T leading over the edge of the tub. The tub has a central standpipe that drains to the bucket. The valve is so I can control the flow, but it didn't work too well, as I either got too much flow or nothing at all. I started this slow exchange of water for about 4 days, and my goby population dwindled to just a couple .

The next nest of gobies were hatched in the tub, without changing a thing except to turn off the flow. Two days later, there still appeared to be a lot of baby gobies and at least one that is much longer, and I assume is a holdout from the previous nest. I am always happy to see him, Mr. Long, as it will be reassuring to have at least one metamorphosize before the rest of them, in 4 weeks time.

This morning I was re-reading a friend's report, and was reminded that gobies don't like to have water changes. They must be very delicate. Maybe that's why I lost so many when I started the circulation with the pond filter. I'll have to try something different  with this batch. I am toping off with fresh water by adding a half of a cup whenever I pass by. The tank is lit 24/7 with a clamp-on reflector fixture and an 18 watt CFL. The majority of the larvae are in a cloud under the lamp, so I think they like the light. Some are on the other side of the tub, in a low flow area. Now at Day 2, the larvae are on the last bits of yolk sac. I expect that the ones who have not learned to eat the tiny rotifers will die off, and it is not unusual to have mortalities on Day 3.


It's hard to say what one's yield is, when the gobies start out as transparent as glass, and the size of a baby's eyelash, and impossible to count.  Making it even more difficult is that they are in a black round tub, swimming in a soup of green phytoplankton and rotifers.  One can hardly see them without the aid of a strong pair of glasses, and a flashlight when they first hatch.  But I have to say, it appears that there were not really significant mortalities more than three weeks later.  The cloud of larvae are still a cloud, perhaps as many as 20 little darters, still eating constantly 22 days after hatching, without sleep.  They are beginning to show signs of metamorphosis! 

About a week ago I slipped a 3/4 inch PVC elbow into the tub, to provide some perching space for the settled gobies.  One little guy took up residence almost immediately, and while I can't see him clearly, and he never comes to the surface, I am now sure it is Mr. Long.  This goby is completely dark, and has well developed pectoral and caudal fins.  I can't see the neon blue stripes, and I can't get a picture, but it has to be him.  I am reassured that he alone survived from the first nest, and it makes me feel that I did as well as can be expected for the rest of them.

an unexpected hatching

Posted on September 10, 2012 at 9:40 PM Comments comments (0)

I decided that Monday was too early. I waited until Tuesday to move the pipe containing the eggs to the clean, bleach sterilized black round tub. I fastened the pipe so that an airstone would bring bubbles and clean water through the pipe, jostling the eggs. I waited. No hatch. The next day the eggs still looked good, no fungus, so I waited some more. No hatch. By 7am Thursday morning, when I still didn't see larvae in the tub, I was ready to give up, even though the eggs still looked good. I thought they should have hatched by now. I planned to clean the tub that evening. I went back to feed some other fish at 8am, glanced at the tub, and sure enough, there was a cloud of larvae darting around in the clean water! Here's what they looked like:

Gobies again

Posted on September 2, 2012 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)

I moved the pair noted below to a more convenient tank for me last spring, as I was rebuilding my central system, and they were in the way.  They laid one more nest after the move, and then stopped laying.  That is, until NOW! I attempted to raise the nest that they laid a week and a half ago, even though there were less than 10 eggs. As of 2 days ago there was one tiny larva left, but I have not seen it since.  I have to search for it with a flashlight, as the nest was hatched in a black round tub, and the tiny larva is transparent. Probably it is gone.

Then, the other morning, as i was feeding the broodstock tanks, I began to feel panic for a couple of seconds, as the gobies were not darting around eating in their tank! Oh no!  A quick look into their PVC tube changed the panic to joy, as they were both in there, making fertilized eggs! This time, the gobies' nest is a big one, papa is taking good care of it, and I hope to have a big hatch on Monday.

Neon Gobies again

Posted on May 9, 2012 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (0)

I raised many neon gobies from the first batch, and saved some of the juveniles for future broodstock.  That plan didn't work, as the fish never spawned, and i ended up selling them. Still wanting to make a go of this, I ordered 5 gobies, and put them in QT where they remain today. Minus one that didn't make it. 

That was last summer.  I waited and waited, and still no spawning activity.  I almost gave up, but this morning when I peeked into the PVC pipe in their tank, my patience was rewarded! We have eggs!  It will be fun to raise neon gobies again, and I have hopes, now that one pair has spawned, that I can get the other pair to spawn as well.

Neon Gobies

Posted on March 14, 2012 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)

The following is a posting from long ago:

After deciding to try a new species, I ordered 5 neon gobies, Elacatinus oceanops, and put them in the quarantine tank with a few PVC pipe fittings. I fed them a lot, and they all seemed to get along well. After a couple of weeks, I noticed one of the fish staying in the PVC! Sure enough, it was a male guarding some eggs.

It was the biggest fish in the tank, and that surprised me since I was told that the biggest one would likely be female. I did not know which one was the female at first, but then I noticed one of the fish had a large abdomen almost all the time.

I made attempts at hatching the eggs, and that was fun, but the babies did not live for many tries. Then I noticed one of the smaller gobies was getting picked on, so I removed it and another small one to another tank. They got along very well, and pretty soon, they had eggs, too. The fifth gobie disappeared. I never knew what happened to it.

Feeling pretty good about getting two pairs of spawning fish out of 5 purchased, I began serious attempts to hatch eggs and raise the larvae. I tried a glass tank, tigger pods, rotifers of course, and all kinds of things. I even bought a small UV filter thinking that bacteria had killed one of the batches.

Then I just got lucky. A black round tub, and about 7 gallons of water, and careful food administration did the trick. Just rotifers, new hatched brine shrimp after about a week, and the smallest size golden pearls, just a dusting daily, along with careful neglect and a little circulation at night when they were sleeping. I did use a night light and a bright light in daytime. That made it more fun because I could actually see the little transparent larvae for the 4 weeks it took for metamorphosis to occur.

Tried my patience, but I was rewarded with a tub full of irridescent blue-green striped fish!