Chlamydogobius eremius

Common Name: Desert Goby

Synonym: Gobius eremius

Family: Gobiidae (Gobies)

 Distribution: endemic to Central and Southern Australia. (Neales River and southwards around Lake Eyre to Clayton Bore West of Marree). Originally collected from a well at Coward Springs in South Australia.

 Habitat: Desert gobies are usually found in pools and springs, temporary waterholes in rivers and creeks, and flowing bore (well) drains.  These waters can be anywhere from 5-40°C (41-104°F).  The water can also have a salinity's as high as 60 ppt with low oxygen levels.  Usually has a sandy bottom.

 Description: Males are a bright yellow colour around the head and near the tail section.  The rest of the body is a purplish-gold or olive-green colour. All the fins but the pelvic and pectoral are a dark blue-purple. The first dorsal fin has an iridescent blue underneath yellow. The second dorsal, anal and caudal fins have a white stripe.  Females are brownish but they do have a little black in the first dorsal fin.

Size: 6.0 cm

pH range: 7.0 - 8.0; dH range: 9.0 - 19.0.  They will do better with some salt in their water.

 Diet: Desert gobies are omnivorous.  Their diet in nature consists of insects, small aquatic crustaceans and other aquatic invertebrates and  filamentous algae. In captivity they will eat flake, frozen and pellets.

 Breeding: The female lays her eggs (consisting of between 20 to 150 eggs) on the ceiling of a cave.  The male guards the nest until hatching, which requires 10 to 17 days at temperatures ranging from 27°-30° C (81-86°F) In the wild, they will generally breed between November and April.  In an aquarium they will breed at anytime through the year.  The male normally drives away the female away after spawning so he can defend the eggs.  So it's a good time to remove her at this time.  The fry are big enough to accept baby brine shrimp as a first meal.

 Experiences: I originally bought three of these cute little fish; one male and two females.  They were placed into a 10 gallon tank with a sandy substrate and clay pot with a hole on top for them to breed in.  I added a teaspoon of salt to their water.  This tank is filtered by a sponge filter.  The temperature was 78°F and the pH is around 7.8.  They settled into their new home rather quickly.  They did not want to eat flakes so I was feeding them baby brine shrimp and some frozen mosquito larvae which they relished.   Soon the male seemed to stake out his territory as being the top of the clay pot in the tank.  His colours got extremely bright.  I kept expecting to not see him thinking he would spawn in the pot. I was wrong.  They spawned in the back corner of the tank.  Approximately 1 ½" from the bottom to the bottom of the back wall was plastered in eggs.  Immediately I removed the two females into a different 10 gallon tank.  I left the male in with the eggs.  I removed him at day 15.  I knew they would hatch soon and I did not want him to eat the fry.  The next day I saw a few fry swimming around so I knew I'd moved him in time.  The fry were very hard to see being the colour of the sand in the tank.  I only noticed some movement out of the corner of my eye.  I fed them some baby brine shrimp which they did eat.  It was a little easier to see them then.  Their bellies turned a pink colour which was easier to see against the sand.   I only noticed a few fry though and was disappointed.  One day I was watching them a little more closely and realized the bottom was covered with these little guys.  There was probably around 40-50 of them in the tank.   The fry will take very small pieces of flake now but I do not use that as my main food.  They are fed baby brine shrimp.  I also feed them some daphnia occasionally.  I really enjoy these little fish.  I like how they hop and dart all over the bottom of their tank.  I still think the best comment I got on them was from my mother who said when she saw them "Oh they move like little frogs".  I find that they are also a very tough little fish.  On a later spawn I tried to remove the eggs to hatch separately since I had the parents in one and the older fry in the other.  I placed them in a jar with an airstone.  It didn't take long before the eggs all fungused on me.  I dumped out the water and left the jar in the sink meaning to clean it later.  That waiting turned into 2 weeks.  I needed to use the jar for a different purpose and so I went to go clean it and noticed in the small puddle left in the bottom of the jar two fry that had hatched out of that fungusy mess!  I still have these little guys in the jar but with a lot more water.  I thought it was amazing that they hatched out that mess.  I highly recommend these hopping little frogs, I mean fish.

© Copyright 2000-2003 Lisa Brinkman
All Rights Reserved

Suggested Reading:

Baensch Aquarium Atlas vol. 2 by Dr. Rüdiger Riehl & Hans A. Baensch

Rainbowfishes In Nature and in the Aquarium by Dr. Gerald R. Allen

Australian freshwater fishes : biology and management by John R. Merrick

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