Orange Spotted Goby Care Guide and Tank Setup – 2021


Many factors determine how great your marine tank looks, and one of these is the kind of fish you put in it. Of the dozens of saltwater fish that will add flair to your tank’s appearance, 

The most electrifying is the Orange Spotted Goby, also known as the Diamond Watchman Goby, the Orange-Dashed Goby, the Pretty Pawn, and the Maiden Goby.


Not only are the orange markings on their body fascinating to watch, but their behavior on an average day is addicting to watch Orange spotted gobies love to dig around in the substrate as they burrow under the sand to make their home.


Their playful disposition makes them highly sought after as a centerpiece fish and can adapt to a wide range of environments.


Orange Spotted Gobies don’t have much in the way of demands and have a care level that is regarded as easy.


It makes them ideal for beginner hobbyists. Also, Orange Spotted Gobies tend to be extremely resilient and will resist diseases. If you’re interested in caring for an Orange Spotted Goby, this is the guide for you.



Category Rating
Level of Care Easy for Beginners
Temperament Generally peaceful
Appearance Orange markings (dots and dashes)
Life Expectancy Several years
Size 3 inches to 6 inches
Diet Carnivorous species
Family Gobiidae
Tank Size 55+ gallons
Tank Environment Saltwater tank, with lid, 3”-4” of soft sand
Tank Mates Generally peaceful with other community fish


About Orange Spotted Goby – Brief Overview


The Orange Spotted Goby first came to mainstream attention in 1956 when Tomiyama discovered them in the Pacific Ocean. Their beauty has since fascinated aquarium lovers from around the world, and today, you can find them in just about any part of the world, hoping to amplify the look of their tank with their beauty.


The full scientific name for an Orange Spotted Goby is Valenciennea puellaris, and they are native to the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean.


Their natural habitat can be found in various parts of the world, including Australia, the East Indian Ocean, and the West Indian Ocean. They are always up to something, which makes them far more entertaining than any other saltwater fish.


In the ocean and on reefs, Orange Spotted Goby can be found in pairs, and experts believe them to be monogamous. You will see them digging burrows in the substrate where they rest at night or retreat into the first signs of a threat from predators.


orange spotted goby


Orange Spotted Goby Appearance


The most prominent feature of the Orange Spotted Goby is the tiny brilliant orange dots and dashes that run their fluorescent white body’s full length. 

You will also notice cyan-colored markings on the jaws that are impossible to miss. Their heads are significant in comparison to other areas of their body. 

All these features make them an exciting addition to any marine water tank.


Their protruding, bulbous eyes give the Orange Spotted Goby a comical look, especially as it peeks out from the depths of its sand home.


Most Orange Spot Gobies will reach around 3 inches, but some variants have been observed to reach over 7 inches in length.


All these unique characteristics make the Diamond Goby one of the most beautiful goby species that deserves a special place in your marine tank.


Orange Spotted Goby Behavior


This peaceful species is relatively timid and docile, but they pose a mild threat to small ornamental shrimp. In the wild, Orange Spotted Gobies have been observed to form a symbiotic relationship with blind alpheid shrimps. It protects the shrimp as it burrows a spot for them to share while the goby looks out for predators.


Orange Spotted Gobies scoop up large chunks of sands with their mouth in search of tiny invertebrates and expel them through their gills. They are not mindful about where they dump the sandfish have sifted and will often remove the sand (often forming mounds) when they are in motion. This behavior can upset the delicate coral life, so if you plan on adding Orange Spotted Gobies, make sure to do so with careful planning.


It is worth mentioning that these fish do an excellent job of overturning the substrate and keeping it fresh.


Whenever possible, the Orange Spotted Goby should be maintained in a compatible pair. Should keep It alongside other members of the Valenciennea genus because they will fight each other. 

They should not be kept with aggressive fish such as groupers, triggerfish, angelfishes, and groupers.




Tank Requirements and Conditions



Although the average Orange Spotted Goby only grows to a length of 3 inches to 6 inches in size, you should never keep them in a tank that is smaller than 55+ gallons. 

If you intend to keep a pair of Orange Spotted Gobies, you will need an ever-larger tank. These fish are known for being avid jumpers and will escape the tank if it is not properly secured with a lid.


Orange Spotted Gobies are a marine fish, and therefore, need a saltwater tank. The water temperature should be kept between 73 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit, always staying within 2 degrees at all times. The pH level should be between 7.2 to 8.4. The ideal water hardness levels should be between 8 to 12 dKH. Should keep the specific gravity of the water between 1.020 to 1.024.


Make sure to clean the tank regularly and keep the water’s quality clean. The aquarium’s filter system should generate a reasonably strong current to mimic the Orange Spotted Gobies’ natural habitat.


Also, it is recommended to change 25% of the water every two weeks partially. It will help you maintain optimal saltwater quality in your marine aquarium and keep the nitrate levels down.


Make sure to use RO-DO water, which you can easily buy from an aquarium store near you. If you prefer to, you can create an RO-DI unit yourself to filter your tap water.


The water chemistry for the Orange Spotted Goby is as follows:


  • Calcium between 420 to 440 ppm
  • Ammonia at 0 ppm
  • Nitrites at 0 ppm
  • Nitrates under ten ppm
  • Calcium at 420 to 430 pm
  • Alkalinity between 7 to 9 dkh
  • Magnesium between 1270 to 1240 ppm


Before introducing the Orange Spotted Goby in your marine tank, it is mandatory to check the water’s conditions. It is because if you don’t meet the water chemistry highlighted above, you could end up killing every fish in your aquarium or cause long term suffering.


Tank Setup: Things to Add


In the ocean and on the reefs, Orange Spotted Gobies spend much of their time sifting through the sand and scavenging for food. They will create a burrow in the bed to rest or seek shelter when stressed, so you must provide them with at least 3” to 4” of soft sand where they can feel safe and secure.


The aquarium tank should also include several rock formations and loose coral rubble installed firmly with aquarium or silicone glue and pushed deep into the sand. Bond is essential because the Orange Spotted Goby will dislodge the rocks as it digs through, potentially injuring itself and other tank mates.


As a general rule, the aquarium needs to contain ample swimming spaces and hiding spots.


Tank Mates for Orange Spotted Goby


Having just one species in your tank can be very dull and isn’t nearly as entertaining as schools of fish darting around. As mentioned above, Orange Spotted Gobies add interest and color to a marine aquarium.


They are relatively peaceful and don’t harass other fish unless they’re too small. Make sure only to choose tank mates that are bound to get along well together. The Orange spotted can keep goby with other reef-safe fish that are not aggressive.


It is important to note that Valenciennea puellaris become territorial and aggressive when placed close to other gobies species, primarily because they compete for a burrowing place. There are over 2000 goby fish species, of which only about 100 are available to home aquarists.


One tank mate that is almost certain to get along with the Orange Spotted Goby is shrimp. Shrimps make a lively addition to your marine tank and can be especially helpful in cleaning up after left-over food when it drifts down onto the sane bed from above. More importantly, these invertebrates will not compete with your Orange Spotted Goby for food.


Other species that make safe tank mates for Orange Spotted Gobies include:


  • Clownfish These are arguably one of the most popular saltwater fish available. Clownfish also happen to have easy care requirements. They are colorful and don’t like to hide as much, making them an exciting addition to any marine tank.
  • Damselfish They’re not ideal for beginners because of their long list of requirements. Damselfish can be a little aggressive, but you can keep those under check by providing them with lots of space to move around (over 100+ gallons if possible).
  • Dwarf Angelfish They are some of the most colorful marine fish species in the average home aquarium. They only grow to about 4 inches in length, are mild-tempered, and adapt well to most tank conditions. Their mild nature allows them to get along well with Orange Spotted Gobies.
  • Filefish They mostly feed on crustaceans and algae. Filefish only grow to about 6 inches in size and generally very docile. They only become aggressive towards smaller members of their species and will mostly stay out of your goby’s way.
  • Wrasse They are moderately sized and boast vivid colors to steal the attention in your tank. The non-aggressive Wrasse is compatible with most fishes and also safe with corals.


What do Orange Spotted Gobies Eat?


Orange spotted goby diet is purely carnivorous and comprises brine shrimp, Mysis, krill, and artemia. They will also eat flaked food, sinking pellets small enough to fit their mouth, and even copepods. It is essential to provide the Orange Spotted Goby with a combination of the food to keep your specimen thriving and healthy.


Watching them active feed is fascinating because they love to scurry under the substrate, searching for live animals that escaped. As mentioned earlier, gobies will take large mouthfuls of sand and filter it through their gills, grabbing tiny morsels of food such as invertebrates.


Just be careful not to overfeed your Orange Spotted Goby because it will lead to health problems and disrupt the tank’s nitrate and phosphate levels.


It doesn’t matter what time of day you feed them. Create a routine and provide your Orange Spotted Goby in small portions up to two or three times a day.


Breeding Orange Spotted Goby


The first step in breeding is to form an Orange Spot Goby Pair – and that is easier said than done. Making things worse is that they can easily change their genders at will, too confusing.


When paired up in an aquarium with multiple gobies, they can conveniently change sex to pair up. To make pairing easier, you should introduce several differently sized gobies.


It is recommended to work with a specialist in your local aquarium store to determine the male and female gobies because their physical appearance won’t help.


Orang Spotted Gobies place their fertilized eggs on the surface of their sand burrows. The male will guard the eggs until the eggs begin to hatch. Once the fry emerges, it becomes essential to provide them with the right food.


A diet of plankton will help your goby fry survive and thrive. But plankton is hard to come by in regular pet stores. You’ll have to place an order from a saltwater aquarium for some plankton. If you don’t feed your fry with the right amount of nutrients, they will not grow and often die right after birth.


Predators in the fish pose another challenge. The young fry will become a source of much attention by other fish and be eaten if not removed from the main aquarium. The survival rate for baby Pretty Shrimps is zero in the main tank.


Will Orange Spotted Goby Wreck Corals?


Orange Spotted Gobies will take vast mouthfuls of the sand substrate and dump it on their fellow tank mates. It could upset the delicate coral life in your tank if you’re not too careful. So make sure you do plenty of planning before adding an Orange Spotted Goby.


Will Orange Spotted Gobies Eat Pellets?


Orange Spotted Gobies prefer to eat live food, but you can also provide them with pellets that sink to the tank’s bottom.


My Orange Spot Goby Disappeared. What Next?


In normal circumstances, Orange Spotted Gobies will resurface from their burrows after a few hours. If they are hiding too often, it is an indication of stress or bullying by other fish. Observe the tank to see if the tank mates are bullying your goby. In the worst-case scenario, the fish can probably get eaten.


How Long Does an Average Orange Spot Goby Live?


In the wild, Orange Spot Gobies have been known to live for ten years or more. But in the average home aquarium, they live to be about 4 to 6 years, which is a long time to live. You can increase their lifespan by providing them with adequate water quality, a varied diet, and the right tank conditions.


Where to Buy the Orange Spot Diamond Goby?


Orange Spotted Goby for sale can be found in most pet stores, saltwater aquarium stores, and online forums. They do fetch a steep price of over $40 or more, depending on where you live and the rarity of the species itself.


orange spotted goby for your aquarium



Wrapping it all Up: Are Orange Spotted Gobies the Right Fish for Your Tank?  



Orange Spotted Gobies are an endless source of entertainment in most saltwater tanks. If you’re willing to put up with their continual need to sift through sand and to upset the local flora and fauna, these little creatures will reward you with their curious personalities. They move more than just sand, though – they’ll take anything that fits in their mouth.


If they like something, they’ll drag it to their favorite spot. If they don’t like it, they’ll move it to their dump. You’ll have to glue the tank’s structures in place if you don’t want them to disrupt everything. They’ll even grab other tank mates and move them around. For the most part, Orange Spotted Gobies will never hurt anyone or anything – unless it’s different species of gobies or creates, they may mistake prey.


For the work you put in – low care requirements, non-fussy eaters – Orange Spotted Gobies will reward you many times more. They’re high up on our list of beginner-friendly saltwater fish species.




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