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How to Care for a Neon Goby

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For saltwater fish, the neon goby is unusually easy to keep in captivity. In the wild, the neon goby eats parasites off larger fish; in captivity, he will consume a wide variety of food. The neon goby can thrive even in a small aquarium, unusual for marine fish.

Tank Mates

A neon goby will not harm other fish. However, this goby is small enough that he has trouble dealing with larger fish that might pick on him. Select tank mates that will not harass or eat the goby. The only fish a neon goby will harass is another neon goby. For this reason, the goby must be kept either singly or as a mated pair. A neon goby will harass more submissive members of their own species to death by preventing the submissive fish from getting food.


The neon goby eats most aquarium food, including flake food. This is rare for a saltwater fish. This goby requires only that his food is small enough to fit in his mouth. While this goby will eat flake foods, you should vary thie goby's diet to include foods like frozen crustaceans and fish eggs. You can procure foods like these from most stores that sell saltwater fish.

Tank Setup

A neon goby can thrive in a very small aquarium. This goby will do just fine in a tank as small as 5 gallons, though larger tanks are always better. The goby requires plenty of hiding places. Rocks and caves are mandatory, not optional. Without hiding places, this goby will not feel safe, and stress can make him ill. Especially with small tanks, make sure you keep up on your water changes.

Water Chemistry

The neon goby requires water chemistry that's typical for tropical saltwater fish. The fish's pH needs to range between 8.1 and 8.4. Since the fish originates in the tropics, he has adapted to a temperature between 76 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The specific gravity of this goby's water needs to remain between 1.019 and 1.025. These requirements are consistent with both fish-only tanks and reef aquariums.


Neon gobies readily breed in captivity. This makes them special among marine aquarium fish; few species breed easily in home aquariums. In aquariums, a pair of neon goby will lay their eggs inside a cave. You can remove the eggs to a separate rearing aquarium using a cup but not a net. A rearing tank should have a sponge filter and water from the main aquarium. You can feed the young rotifers, tiny organisms you can order from laboratory supply companies.