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Brachygobius spp. - Bumblebee gobies


  • Brachygobius spp. - Bumblebee gobies

    Photo thanks to Aquasaur
    Brachygobius xanthozona-BumbleBee Fish

    Scientific name: Brachygobius spp.
    Common name: Bumblebee

    Country of origin: Asia

    pH: 7.5 8.5 for most species it can alter depending on the species

    For Brachygobius doriae - Bumblebee Goby/ Gobius doriae/ Hypogymnogobius doriae
    pH: 7.0 8.5
    Temperature: 22 28c
    Hardness: 143 357 ppm
    Water flow: standard
    Oxygenation: standard
    Maximum size: 3.5cm

    Maximum size: 1.4 - 4 cm, depending on species

    Diet: Live or frozen food. They have poor eyesight, and need the food to move in front of them to pounce. They do not compete for food if it does not appear at the bottom of the tank for them (if fish at the top get them first).

    Males: slimmer
    Females: rounder

    Cave spawners, male guards eggs. Once the eggs are laid, either the male & eggs or other fish should be removed to avoid predation.

    Tank companions:
    They are NOT good tankmates with most shrimp. Darwin Algae Shrimp are an exception, as they are the same size as the gobies and can also tolerate brackish conditions.

    Best kept in a group of 6+.

    They are well known for nipping the fins of other fish, and are best considered in a species-specific tank.

    They have also been seen to eat tetras approximately their own size another argument for keeping them in a species specific tank.

    Minimum tank size is 50 litres for 2 or 3 pairs. They need a lot of caves & niches as they can become territorial, particularly while spawning.

    They can jump, so tightly fitting lids are a requirement.

    They are best kept in brackish water. Although they are often kept in fresh water, this shortens their lifespan significantly, leaving them very susceptible to illness.

    Suitable brackish plants:
    Java ferns, bacopa, anubias, hair grass, water sprite and java moss
    Blechnum indicum in a shallow tank

    Confused with: Other Brachygobius species. There are 9 in the genus:
    Brachygobius aggregatus - Schooling bumblebee goby (commonly traded, often others are called it)
    Brachygobius doriae - Bumblebee Goby (most commonly traded)
    Brachygobius kabiliensis - Kabili bumblebee goby
    Brachygobius mekongensis - Mekong Bumblebee Goby
    Brachygobius nunus
    Brachygobius sabanus - Sabanus Bumblebee Goby
    Brachygobius sua - Bumblebee goby
    Brachygobius xanthomelas
    Brachygobius xanthozonus - Bumblebee fish

    Dwarf Brachygobius nunus-species group - B. nunus, B. aggregatus, and B. mekongensis
    bigger Brachygobius doriae-species group - B. doriae, B. sabanus, and B. xanthomelas

    All are gobies and are black with yellow or orange bands.

    Brachygobius spp.are legal imports to Australia as of 21/10/2013:

    The IUCN Red List reports Brachygobius spp. as a species of least concern, with a stable population trend at 22/10/2013:

    It is very important not to release any aquarium specimens into our waterways. Any that are not sold or re-homed/ given away, can often be re-sold to aquarium stores. If they are homed in ponds, care should be taken that they cannot escape in run-off into our waterways. Even if fish are native & local they should not be moved from one waterway to another, as this can transfer disease. If they are not local fish, they can both spread disease and either out-compete or eat local fish, shrimp & plants, causing their demise.

    It is a good fish for beginners +1.

    Relevant threads:

    Breeding Brachygobius xanthomelas

    In freshwater/ with shrimp:

    Tankmates/ keeping:
    Tankmates/ plants for brackish water:
    Tankmates eating fish their own size:
    Tail nipping/ list of NT native gobies:

    Freshwater or brackish/ keeping with catfish:

    Predating of shrimp & jumping:


    Australian museum with distribution map


    Seriously fish:


    Brachygobius spp. Bumblebee goby - kwokwok


    • TheGhostofZeon
      TheGhostofZeon commented
      Editing a comment
      Great article. I once had a 2ft species tank of these guys and it had to be one of my favorite setups over the years. Tried breeding them but just couldn't get them to spawn.

      One of these days I'm going to have to give it another crack.
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