Yellow Clown Goby
Yellow Clown Goby

Yellow Clown Goby

Gobiodon okinawae

Yellow Clown Goby

Common name: Yellow Clown Goby, Clown Goby, Citron Goby, Yellow Coral Goby, Okinawa goby
Scientific name: Gobiodon okinawae
Max size: 1.5 in  / 4 cm
pH: 8.1-8.4
Salinity: 1.020-1.025
Temperature: 72°F - 82°F (23°C - 28°C)

The Yellow clown goby is a beautiful little fish and its max size of 1.5 inches / 4 cm makes it an ideal choice for a small saltwater aquarium. These fishes will usually stay much smaller than their max size and an average sized specimen will be around ¾ in / 2 cm long. The name Yellow clown goby, or Yellow coral goby as it is also called, is perfect for this fish as the entire fish is bright yellow (sometimes dark yellow). It is believed to have a noxious slime that deters predators from eating it.

This goby differs from most other gobies as it is not a bottom dweller and don't burry itself. Instead, this fish lives among the branches of staghorn corals. Yellow clown gobies are most commonly found on the outer branches and can often be encountered in groups of 5-15 individuals.

The Yellow clown goby is native to the eastern Indian Ocean and western Pacific Ocean. It is distributed over a much larger area in the Pacific Ocean than in the Indian Ocean. This species can be found from Japan in the north to Australia in the south.

The Yellow clown goby is easy to care for and can be kept in small aquariums, and it can definitely be recommended for beginners. It is hardy and can tolerate less than optimal conditions, but you should of course always endeavor to provide it with optimal water quality and conditions.

The Yellow clown goby can be aggressive towards other Yellow clown gobies if kept in a too small aquarium. They are usually friendly towards all other fish species and can be kept with other small and friendly fish species. The Yellow clown goby should not be kept with aggressive or too large fish. It can be kept with invertebrates.

Yellow Clown Goby care and aquarium setup

A single Yellow clown goby can be kept in a 10 gallon / 35 L tank but if you want to keep more than one you need a larger aquarium as they as previously mentioned become aggressive towards other members of their own species in small aquariums. A 30 gallon / 120 L aquarium or larger is a better choice if you want to keep more than one.

The Yellow clown goby is best kept in reef aquariums with colonies of polyp corals. It is considered reef safe, but a couple of points should be made about this. One is that they might nip on small coral polyps and that their breeding habits can hurt corals. See under breeding for more info on this. They can be kept in aquariums without corals as long as enough hiding places are provided – there should always be more hiding places than yellow clown gobies in the tank. As mentioned above, these fishes will however do best if you keep them in a reef aquarium as it better resembles their wild environment. Yellow clown gobies need corals to breed.

The aquarium should be well circulated with some calmer areas. Keep the water quality high and stable. Ideal water conditions for the Yellow clown goby are pH 8.1-8.4, salinity 1.020-1.025 and temperature 72°F - 82°F (22°C - 28°C).

Feeding Yellow Clown Goby

The yellow clown goby is very easy to feed as it accepts almost all types of foods including marine flake food. It is a quick eater and swims into open water to eat whenever you fed it. This means that this goby usually gets the food it needs and that you don't need to make sure that it gets enough food like you need for many other gobies. Feed your Yellow clown goby a varied diet containing a lot of high protein food. You can use a marine flake food or shrimp pellets as a base, but you should give them frozen food and chopped up sea food as well. Feed 2-3 times a day.

Breeding Yellow Clown Goby

The Yellow clown goby is a bi-directional protogynous hermaphrodite. All are born as females and then one of the fishes changes sex as they pair up. If two females pairs up, the larger turns into a male, if two males pair up the smaller turns into a female. This means that you never need to buy more than two Yellow clown gobies to be able to get a pair. This also means that they are easy to sex as the bigger fish in a pair always is a male. 

Yellow clown gobies have been successfully bred in aquariums. In fact, it is very common for the Yellow clown goby to spawn in aquariums. The eggs are laid on the underside of corals or above the corals so they can sink into the protecting branches of the coral. Acropora sp. and similar corals can be damaged by the spawning since the eggs can cause tissue recession around the areas where they are laid. Under good conditions, the injuries caused by spawning Yellow clown gobies heal. The fry are somewhat sensitive and need good water conditions and a lot of small food to survive.

Goby Articles:

Orangespotted Shrimp Goby – Amblyeleotris guttata
Pinkspotted Shrimp Goby – Cryptocentrus leptocephalus
Randall's Shrimp Goby – Amblyeleotris randalli
Yellow Watchman Goby – Cyrptocentrus cinctus


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