Bumblebee Goby (Brachygobius doriae)
Bumblebee Goby is a species of bottom-dwelling fish belonging to the Gobiidae family (Gobies). It is native to fresh and brackish water bodies in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Its unique appearance and interesting behavior have led to its popularity in the aquarium trade.
Bumblebee Goby grows up to a maximum size of 3-4 cm and has a slender body. There are four broad black and yellow vertical stripes along its body. Aquarium stores usually mislabel different members of the Brachygobius genus as they are very similar in appearance.
The female Bumblebee Goby grows larger (up to 3 cm) while the male one grows only up to 2.5 cm on average. The male fishes develop more intense coloration when they are ready to breed.
Behaviour & Compatibility
Bumblebee Goby is a very peaceful species and is not ideal for most community setups. It requires brackish water conditions and gets out-competed for food easily by other bottom-dwelling fish. Although it does well with other small and inactive peaceful fish like Glassfish (Parambassis ranga) or Rainbowfish (Melanotaeniidae family), it is best to have Bumblebee Goby in an exclusive species-only aquarium. This fish is also known to nibble long fins, so in community setups, fishes with longer fins are not the best companions.
Bumblebee Gobies are gregarious and do well in groups of 6-15. The male fishes can be territorial and need an adequate place to feel comfortable.
pH: 7,5 – 8,5
Hardness: 8 – 16 dGH
Bumblebee Goby comes from stagnant waters without a strong current, so filtration in the aquarium must be gentle. The aquarium must have a minimum capacity of 20 liters. Since this fish is a bottom dweller, a shallow wide tank is better than a deeper one.
Although many aquarium stores list Bumblebee Goby as a freshwater species, it needs brackish water with a salinity grade between 1.002 and 1.006 to thrive. Adding 2 grams of sea salt per liter of water will make the freshwater properly brackish to keep this fish.
The substrate should be made up of coral sand or fine gravel with hiding places consist of bogwood, clay pipes, shells and rocks. These cave-like structures not only act as hiding spots for weaker fish that undergo stress during territorial conflicts but are also essential for spawning. Plants like Java Fern, which are tolerant to brackish waters are good additions to Bumblebee Goby aquariums.
Feeding is one of the most difficult aspects of Bumblebee Goby’s care. It is a carnivorous fish that needs to eat live foods daily to survive. While some aquarists report success with frozen foods, maintaining a culture of live foods like brine shrimps, grindal worms, water flea or rotifer is the only reliable option for feeding this fish in long term. It does not accept dried foods at all.
It is fairly straightforward to breed Bumblebee Goby under the right conditions with the support of live foods. A slight increase in temperature along with the addition of freshwater induces spawning. The male fishes develop an intense coloration, and the females become noticeably swollen when they are full of eggs and ready to spawn. The males select a territory that has a cave-like structure and tries to attract receptive females.
Following spawning, the female lays 100-200 eggs in the cave which hatch in 4-5 days. The male tends to the eggs and fry. The fry becomes free-swimming in the following 2-3 days of hatch. After fry becomes free-swimming the parent and fry must be separated. The fry swims in the water column and needs microscopic live foods like Rotifers or Paramecia. After they reach a bigger size they will accept also brine shrimp nauplii. From the 3rd week, they start developing color and settle down near the substrate after losing buoyancy.
Image Source: https://www.beke.co.nz/