When it comes to selecting fish for a saltwater aquarium, the goby family offers many options. Some goby varieties can be harmful to corals, while others are safe choices for keeping with coral and other invertebrates. Here’s a look at some of the best reef safe gobies for marine aquarists.
Reef Safe Gobies
Purple Firefish Goby – Nemateleotris decora
The Purple Firefish Goby (Buy Online) is a very peaceful fish and will not bother corals, but it may nip at other fish. It’s important to note that this goby will spend most of its time searching for food in your tank’s substrate, so they should be kept in tanks with live sand and plenty of hiding places like artificial rockwork or live rock. Also because they are territorial towards other blennies and dartfish, you will need to keep them one per tank unless you have a large reef tank with plenty of swimming space.
Blue Spotted Jawfish – Opistognathus rosenblatti
The Blue Spotted Jawfish (Buy Online) is an easy-to-keep species that makes a great addition to any reef tank. It’s peaceful and doesn’t bother corals or other invertebrates. Plus, it’s one of the best-looking jawfish available.
Green Mandarin Dragonet – Synchiropus splendidus
The Mandarin Dragonet (Buy Online) is an attractive and unique fish that can be housed in a reef tank, but it’s essential to have a mature ecosystem and a healthy population of copepods for them to thrive. We’ve created this guide to help you learn everything you need about Green Mandarin Dragonet Feeding Habits, which will save you valuable time researching so you can focus on enjoying your new dragonet instead of worrying if they’ll survive when introduced into your tank.
Firefish Goby – Nemateleotris magnifica
The Firefish Goby (Buy Online) is one of the most popular gobies in the saltwater hobby because they are easy to care for and hardy enough to survive in almost any type of aquarium environment. Plus they are peaceful fish that can be housed with other non-aggressive species in a reef setting. They love burrowing and sifting through the sand, but they tend to stay mainly towards the bottom of the tank. And this goby is also known for being an escape artist, so make sure to keep them in tanks with a tight-fitting lid.
Golden Headed Sleeper Goby – Valenciennaea strigata
The Bella Goby (Buy Online) is one of the best additions to any aquarium without being too difficult to care for. They have bright colors and prefer at least an established 30 gallon tank with plenty of live rock hiding spaces and algae growth on the rocks, and they can be housed in reef tanks with other peaceful fish, but they will become territorial towards other blennies or dartfish if kept together in too small of an environment. They are also known jumpers so it’s important to have a lid on your aquarium if you plan on keeping a Golden Headed Sleeper Goby.
Yellow Clown Goby – Gobiodon okinawae
Yellow Clown Gobies (Buy Online) are reef safe and easy to care for, making them an excellent choice for beginner aquarists. They will often create their own burrow in the sand, and sometimes these burrows are shared with shrimp species such as pistol shrimp, so they should not be housed in tanks without a deep substrate. Plus, the Yellow Clown Goby is very peaceful and it can be kept singly or in pairs.
4-Wheel Drive Goby – Signigobius biocellatus
The Four Wheel Drive Goby (Buy Online) is one of the most unique gobies available in the reef-keeping hobby. It is hardy, easy to care for, and beautiful to look at. This saltwater fish will thrive in almost any environment that has plenty of live rock and coral rubble as well as other hiding places such as sea fans or large polyps like mushroom corals. These little guys love brine shrimp, enriched Mysis shrimp, and other chopped frozen kinds of seafood too.
Bluejaw Tile Goby – Hoplolatilus starcki
The Bluejaw Tilefish (Buy Online) can be easily identified by its distinct three-colored body and unique coloration pattern. It has a blue head and upper body, with a silver central stripe, and a yellow tail fin that truly sets it apart. Plus, this fish also reaches an impressive size for a goby of up to 6 inches in length, so it needs to be kept in at least a 55-gallon slatwater tank.
Barbershop Shrimpgoby – Stonogobiops nematodes
The Barbershop Shrimpgoby (Buy Online) is an excellent choice for any beginner or expert aquarist looking to add some diversity and color into their tanks. They are very easy to care for as long as you provide them with proper feeding, clean water conditions, and adequate hiding places like rockwork and a deep substrate. Best of all, they do not require much space so these little guys will fit well into most aquariums no matter how large or small.
Citron Clown Goby – Gobiodon citrinus
The Citron Clown Goby (Buy Online) has a bright yellow body with unique white markings across its face that really make this fish stand out. It is also one of the best fish for reefs because it stays towards the bottom of the tank and isn’t interested in eating coral. Plus, this goby will help keep your sandbed clean, which is important for keeping detritus under control as well.
Orange Banded Prawn Goby – Amblyeleotris aurora
The Orange Banded Prawn Goby (Buy Online) is one of the first gobies that we would recommend to anyone setting up a small reef aquarium. They get along well with other peaceful fish and they’re not known to bother corals or snails in any way. In fact, this little guy will actually try to hide when it sees an approaching predator, and they are one of the few burrowing goby species that form a mutual relationship with Pistol shrimp.
Diamond Goby – Valencienna puellaris
The Diamond Goby (Buy Online) makes a great addition to any reef system, and you can buy them here. But The diamond goby has become a favorite because of its unique appearance and peaceful demeanor. This makes it ideal for beginning hobbyists or those who want their tanks populated with less aggressive fish.
Redlined Tilefish – Hoplolatilus marcosi
The Redlined Tilefish (Buy Online) is an excellent choice for a reef tank and they are one of the most intelligent gobies which make them entertaining to watch. They also have very good coloration, which adds visual interest in any tank environment. They should be kept in pairs but can survive alone if necessary.
Sleeper Banded Bullet Goby – Amblygobius phalaena
The Sleeper Banded Bullet Goby (Buy Online) is a great choice for beginners and experts alike. They are hardy, peaceful fish that need to be kept in at least a 30-gallon aquarium. However, this blenny should be kept away from other territorial or aggressive fish.
Yellow Watchman Shrimpgoby – Cryptocentrus cinctus
The Yellow Watchman Shrimpgoby (Buy Online) is one of the best reef safe gobies that you can keep in your aquarium. They are known for their bright yellow bodies and bright blue spots all over their heads, fins, and body. They thrive in tanks with plenty of live rock, a sandy substrate, and a tightly sealed lid to prevent escapes. But only one should be kept in an aquarium unless it is in a very large tank as they can become territorial.
Helfrichi Firefish – Nemateleotris helfrichi
The Helfrichi Firefish (Buy Online) is one of the most colorful goby species available on the market today. This peaceful, yet striking marine fish is perfect for both new hobbyists and advanced aquarists alike. As an added bonus, it’s also reef-safe – making it a great choice for anyone with expensive corals in their tank.
Scissortail Goby – Ptereleotris evides
The Scissortail Goby (Buy Online) is a great choice for a nano reef tank. This small-sized fish isn’t as aggressive as some other species so it’s easier to keep in smaller tanks. They also have no trouble sharing space with most other saltwater creatures and they even work nicely in community tanks if you choose their companions carefully.
Zebra Goby – Ptereleotris zebra
The Zebra Goby (Buy Online) is a great choice if you want a unique-looking fish that’s easy to keep. They don’t require any special foods or extra care beyond what most other gobies need. They also get along well with other peaceful fish so you can mix them into your existing community tank without worrying about conflicts or territorial issues.
Bumblebee Goby – Amblyeleotris wheeleri
The Bumblebee Goby (Buy Online) is one of the few gobies that make a good fish for a pico reef tank. They have an interesting color pattern, stay small (2 inches), and get along with most peaceful fish as well as their own kind. They also can live with corals and won’t eat them like many other types of fish do when they get hungry.
Pearly Jawfish – Opistognathus aurifrons
The Pearly Jawfish (Buy Online) is a great option for those looking to add some personality to their tank. It’s an easy fish to care for as long as you provide it with what it needs- live rock and sand substrate at least 3 inches deep along with plenty of places for hiding/burrowing. Plus, feeding it high-quality frozen foods will help make sure your jawfish gets all the nutrients it needs for proper growth and development.
Spotted Mandarin Dragonet – Synchiropus picturatus
The Spotted Mandarin Dragonet (Buy Online) is one of the most popular fish in the marine aquarium trade, but it can be difficult to keep because it needs a very specific diet. This dragonet will eat amphipods and copepods, but if you are not willing to raise live food for your fish you will need to purchase them online or from your local fish store. On this page, you’ll find live foods that are specifically designed for Mandarins (Click Here). These live cultures are proven to work well with Mandarins so they won’t get sick or die from malnutrition.
Blue Neon Goby – Gobiosoma oceanops
The Blue Neon Goby (Buy Online) is one of the hardiest saltwater fish for marine aquariums. It is an excellent choice for both beginners and experienced aquarists alike, as it adapts well to a wide range of water conditions and has very few special care requirements. These little guys make great additions to any tank, and they can even help keep their fellow tank inhabitants disease-free by eating parasites off larger fish. And if you’re looking for a good cleaner goby that won’t hurt your coral, then look no further than the Blue Neon Goby.
Orange Spotted Shrimpgoby – Amblyeleotris guttata
The Orange Spotted Shrimp Goby (Buy Online) lives symbiotically with a pistol shrimp, which protects the blenny from predators and cleans parasites off its body. In return for this protection, the blenny keeps an eye out for danger and alerts the pistol shrimp when food is nearby. It’s also very hardy, making it ideal for a wide range of aquariums including saltwater tanks.
Dusky Jawfish – Opistognathus whitehurstii
The Dusky Jawfish (Buy Online) is a very hardy fish that can adapt to many different tank environments. However, they do have special needs and should not be kept with aggressive tank mates or in tanks smaller than 30 gallons. They also need plenty of places to hide, like rocks or caves, because they are shy by nature and don’t interact with their surroundings much.
Tiger (Wardi) Goby – Valencienna wardii
The Tiger Goby (Buy Online) has been called the “poster child of reef safe fish” because it is one of the most beautiful and hardy species available for home aquariums. It can make an excellent addition to any saltwater tank, as long as your tank holds at least 30 gallons since it can reach a maximum adult length of up to 5 inches.
Shrimpgoby – Randalli – Amblyeleotris randalli
The Shrimpgoby – Randalli (Buy Online) are very hardy and they can be housed with other peaceful fish in a reef tank setting, but they can become territorial towards other blennies, gobies, or dartfish in smaller tanks. This goby has an orange body with white stripes which makes it an attractive addition to any aquarium, and they also have large eyes that will stand out when they burrow into deep sandbeds.
Spike Fin Goby – Discordipinna Griessingeri
The Spike Fin Goby (Buy Online) has an attractive silver-white color with black spots on its face and red lines along its body that contrast vividly against other saltwater inhabitants. It also features bright, red fins that will draw your eye as it actively swims around your tank. Best of all it’s reef safe and it gets along well with most non-aggressive fish.
Rainford’s Goby – Amblygobius rainfordi
Rainford’s Goby (Buy Online) reaches a max size of 3 inches and has a red head with yellow and white markings and black spots along the entire side of the body. It’s also important to keep in mind that if you have any other small or medium-sized fish, they should be peaceful since this little guy can get territorial.
Yasha Shrimp Goby – Stonogobiops sp.
The Yasha Shrimp Goby (Buy Online) is known as one of the more interesting species of shrimp gobies and will take up residence in any burrow they can find, whether it was dug by another tank inhabitant or created by themselves. This makes them great candidates for pairing with Pistol Shrimps because they’ll happily share their burrows. This behavior also means that if your aquarium doesn’t have a sand bed or you don’t plan on adding pistol shrimp (or other digging creatures) this goby might not be a good fit.
Blue Spot Watchman Goby – Cryptocentrus pavoninoides
The Blue Spot Watchman Goby (Buy Online) is one of the few goby species that will change color as it transitions from its juvenile form to its final adult stage. This unusual feature makes them an interesting addition to any reef tank. Plus, they will also help keep your tank clean by feeding on uneaten food and debris. If you’re looking for a unique saltwater species that’s easy to care for and hard to kill, then this might be right up your alley.
Orange Marked Goby – Amblygobius decussatus
The Orange Marked Goby (Buy Online) is one of the most popular blenny species available today because its beautiful markings make it stand out from other gobies. It also has a very peaceful temperament which makes them easy to care for in aquariums housing other peaceful fish.