Care Level: Advanced
Live Plant Safe: Yes*
* For brackish environments, only such plants that can endure higher concentrations of salt such as Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus) & Mangroves (Rhizophora spp.) are recommended.
General Description: The Butterfly Goby, also known as the Indian Panther Goby or Leaf Goblinfish, is found in brackish and marine water intertidal zones of the Indo-Pacific. Not a true goby, the Butterfly goby is actually a small species of waspfish within the super-family Scorpaenidae. Like all members within this family, the Butterfly goby is venomous. Because of this, great care must be taken when handling via fish net and to be congnicent of its whereabouts in the aquarium during maintenance. The Butterfly goby has a very charming appearance, with its over-sized pectoral fins and attractive combination of tan and dark patterning, but this species is best left to the aquarist willing to provide it with the specific brackish environment that it needs (see Care below). For those that do, it will be extremely rewarding to have this unique species! The Butterfly goby is an ambush predator by nature, achieving an adult size of approximately 4″. Venomous Note: Butterfly gobies have a series of venomous spines on their dorsal fin that is used in defense. If stung, the sensation is similar to a bee sting but more potent. Remove any part of the spine from the affected area (if applicable) and put the wound underneath the hottest water you can tolerate (not scalding) for 15 – 20 minutes; this breaks down the venom proteins. Then seek the appropriate medical attention. For those that are sensitive to stings, seek medical attention immediately.
Diet Requirements: Butterfly gobies are carnivores and almost always need to be offered live food as a precursor to frozen foods. Some specimens may be reluctant to accept frozen foods altogether. We recommend giving live ghost shrimp a high quality flake food before feeding them to a Butterfly goby so that they have greater nutritional value. Use a pair of tongs to hold the prey in front of the Butterfly goby so that it begins to associate the tongs with feeding. Other live foods that can gain interest include live adult brine shrimp, black worms or red worms. Once your Butterfly goby is interested in frozen foods, appropriate options will vary depending on the size of the individual’s mouth. Some examples include brine shrimp, mysis shrimp or bloodworms. Note: While we strive to offer Butterfly gobies that are eating frozen foods, or a combination of frozen foods and live foods, it is not uncommon for them to revert back to only accepting live foods, or ignoring food altogether, for a period of time due to the stress of a new environment.
Care Requirements: An established minimum 15 to 20 gallon aquarium is ideal for a Butterfly goby. A Butterfly goby should not be added into a biologically immature aquarium, as it is sensitive to nitrite and ammonia. Most brackish tanks are kept at a salinity between 1.005 and 1.012. Unlike aquarium salt for freshwater, brackish tanks use marine salt. To achieve this salinity, we recommend mixing 1/8 cup of marine salt per one gallon of water. To err on the side of caution, you can use less and check the salinity level by using a hydrometer or refractometer. Thankfully, Butterfly gobies are tolerable of a wide range of salinity parameters and can even be introduced into a marine aquarium (though this would need to be a slow drip acclimation process). This species will not live long in a pure freshwater environment; please do not attempt. The aquarium should be aquascaped with a marine sand or substrate in addition to some rocks or wood to provide cover. Brackish or marine Mangroves (Rhizophora spp.) would make an excellent addition into the aquarium. Macroalgaes would also provide desired hiding places, but only if the aquarium is on the higher end salinity-wise. Butterfly gobies are relatively peaceful, so long as tank mates cannot be eaten. Aggressive or nippy fish should be avoided. More than one Butterfly goby can be kept together successfully. Recommended water conditions, 72-78° F, KH 10-18, pH 7.5-8.5, salinity 1.008-1.020.
Purchase Size: Medium: 3/4” to 1”
Note: Your item may not look identical to the image provided due to variation within species. Purchase sizes are approximate.