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Bumblebee Goby is an attractive freshwater tropical fish in the Goby family

Updated on January 11, 2013

Bumblebee Gobies have black stripes

Bumblebee Gobies are small tropical fish that are popular and attractive due to the black stripes they have on their yellow or orange-yellow bodies. This colouration is of course where they get their name from and they are often simply called "Bumblebees.".

There are various species with Brachygobius nunus and B. doriae being two of the commonly sold types. B. xanthozonus/ xanthozona is an uncommon species in the wild according to Wikipedia, but other types are often listed as this in error.

Bumblebee Gobies can live in freshwater but they prefer brackish water so it is a good idea to add some salt to the tank you are keeping them in.

Bumblebee Goby

Brachygobius xanthozona by Citron
Brachygobius xanthozona by Citron | Source

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More about Bumblebee Gobies

Bumblebee Gobies come from India, Malaysia, Borneo, Indonesia and Thailand and live in brackish swamps and estuaries. The Goby family Gobiidae is one of the largest fish families in the world and with around 2,000 known species in it. The Brachygobius genus like brackish water as do many other types of Goby, although there are many strictly marine gobies and some freshwater species as well.

Like other types of goby, Bumblebee Gobies had modified ventral fins that make a suction pad that allows them to cling to smooth surfaces. They are able to use this pad to cling to the glass sides of the aquarium.

Bumblebee Gobies are small fish and reach a maximum of around 4 cm. They live on live foods and this needs to be considered if keeping them as pets. Bumblebee Gobies will take brine shrimp, daphnia, mosquito larvae, blood worms and tubifex.

Besides adding salt to the tank to make it brackish, though don't make it too salty or your plants will die so add no more than one or two teaspoons of salt for every two gallons of water. It is good to have plenty of hiding places in the aquarium for them to take cover in, so provide large seashells, coconut shells and driftwood.

Bumblebee Gobies are suitable for community tanks with other peaceful fish of a suitable size but make sure that they get enough to eat and that larger and and greedier fish don't eat all the live food you feed them.

Bumblee Gobies can be kept in groups in their own tank and kept like this they are more likely to form pairs. They are also ideal for keeping with other brackish water species such as Flounders. 

Breeding Bumblebee Gobies

Bumblebee Gobies are not easy to breed and even more difficult to rear if you are successful. In my day they were regarded as "not yet bred in captivity" so as a boy I was delighted when I managed to achieve this. I spawned mine as a pair I had kept in small tank of brackish water and with a flowerpot for them to hide and spawn in.

The eggs were actually laid in the corner of the tank which the male had chosen as his breeding site. Unfortunately, although the babies hatched, I lost them all because they were too tiny to take brine shrimp nauplii which was my standard food for baby fish. The really minute fry need to be fed with infusoria until they are big enough to swallow larger food.

Female Bumblebee Gobies are slightly larger and have fatter bellies when swollen with eggs. Males change colour when courting the females and can lose their black bands as well as intensify the orange-yellow.

Bumbleebee Gobies normally spawn in shelters such as within a large shell, a flowerpot, inside a tube or a cave made from rocks. The males guard the eggs and fan them.

It is said that adding fresh water to the tank will stimulate breeding but I cannot vouch for this because I didn't use this method.

Whether you breed Bumblebee Gobies or not they make fascinating little fish to keep.

Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.

Breeding Bumblebee Gobies


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    • gail641 profile image

      Gail Louise Stevenson 6 years ago from Mason City

      Your Welcome!

    • Bard of Ely profile image

      Steve Andrews 6 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Thank you, Gail!

    • gail641 profile image

      Gail Louise Stevenson 6 years ago from Mason City

      Really nice fish. Very interesting article.