Bumblebee Goby Fish – Care, Tank Mates & Full Details!

Bumblebee Goby, known scientifically as the genus Brachygobius, are an exquisite addition to any aquarium. Their striking appearance and unique behavior have made them increasingly popular among aquarists.

Native to Southeast Asia, these charming critters are commonly found in slow-flowing streams and tributaries around Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand.

Each species under the Brachygobius genus may vary slightly, but the differences are often minute and hardly discernible.

Caring for Bumblebee Gobies is not a walk in the park, as it demands a meticulously curated habitat and a premium diet for their optimum growth.

Therefore, if you’re seeking an effortless species, these creatures may not be the right fit.

As connoisseurs of exotic fish, we are invariably charmed by the Bumblebee Goby, an endearing and intriguing species that adds an engaging twist to any aquarium.

However, catering to these captivating creatures calls for comprehensive comprehension of their unique requirements, be it the water conditions, dietary specifics, or their well-being.

This elaborate guide will navigate you through every nuance of Bumblebee Goby care.

Join us as we dive into the depths of the aquarium to unravel the vibrant life of this fascinating fish.

Quick Stats About Bumblebee Goby

Care Level: Intermediate
Temperament: Peaceful
Color Form: Black and yellow stripes
Lifespan: Up to 3 years
Size: Up to 1.5 inches
Diet: Carnivore; live/frozen foods
Family: Oxudercinae
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
Tank Set-Up: Brackish water with sand and hiding spots
Compatibility: Small peaceful fish or a single-species setup

Appearance of Bumblebee Goby

Bearing an enchanting semblance to its namesake, the Bumblebee Goby features striking stripes that effortlessly catch the eye.

The species is adorned with alternating yellow and black bands that travel the length of their bodies, akin to the markings found on a bumblebee.

Gobies exhibit a charming contrast in color, ranging from a soft, subtle yellow to a brilliant, bright orange. Males often exhibit a more vivid coloration, especially during breeding seasons when they endeavor to attract females.

This distinctive appearance makes Bumblebee Gobies a delightful spectacle in any aquarium, instantly adding a dash of color and intrigue.

Natural Habitat of Bumblebee Goby

A Bumblebee Goby’s natural habitat is richly textured, offering a fascinating mix of calm, slow-flowing water bodies and dense vegetation.

They’re typically found in brackish waters – a mix of saltwater and freshwater – in the slow streams and tributaries of Southeast Asia. The water in these environments often carries a mild salinity due to its proximity to coastal regions.

The substrate in these areas is usually soft sand or fine silt, which allows these bottom dwellers to engage in their natural digging behaviors without risking injury.

It’s not uncommon to find thickets of aquatic plants and complex rock formations in their habitat, offering these shy creatures ample hiding spaces.

Origin and Distribution

Hailing from the waters of Southeast Asia, the Bumblebee Goby has an intriguing origin story.

Predominantly found in the brackish streams and tributaries of countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand, the species thrives in a rich biodiversity that these locations offer.

The genus Brachygobius houses multiple species that are commonly referred to as Bumblebee Gobies, each varying minutely from the other.

Over the years, they have garnered a dedicated fanbase among aquarium enthusiasts, captivating people across the globe with their unique characteristics and behaviors.

Understanding Growth, Size, and Lifespan of Bumblebee Goby

Despite their captivating appearance, Bumblebee Gobies are notably small. Their size is one of the many aspects that adds to their charm.

Typically, a mature Bumblebee Goby will grow to be approximately one and a half inches in length. Their petite size makes them ideal for nano aquarium setups, but they can just as well thrive in larger environments.

Speaking of lifespan, Bumblebee Gobies have an average life expectancy of around three to four years when cared for properly in captivity.

However, instances of these fish living beyond the four-year mark aren’t unheard of. These impressive lifespans are achievable with meticulous care, consistent monitoring, and maintaining optimal tank conditions, closely replicating their natural habitat.

The growth and longevity of these fish largely hinge on the quality of care they receive, making the role of an aquarist crucial in their well-being.

In conclusion, the captivating Bumblebee Goby is a species that brims with charm and character.

Their unique appearance, fascinating natural habitat, widespread origin, and intriguing growth patterns make them a delightful addition to any aquarium, provided their specific care needs are diligently met.

Bumblebee Goby Behavior and Temperament

Bumblebee Gobies display a unique behavior that sets them apart from other fish. They are primarily bottom dwellers and possess a tranquil nature, prefering the solitude of their secluded spots.

Their timid temperament may give the illusion of aloofness, but these gobies are just cautious and reserved by nature.

Known for their territoriality, especially among males, these fish aren’t necessarily aggressive. They will, however, protect their established territories and their nests during the breeding season.

Observing these distinctive behaviors offers a captivating glimpse into the intriguing life of Bumblebee Gobies.

Tank Setup for Bumblebee Goby

Creating an ideal home for your Bumblebee Goby entails emulating their natural habitat as closely as possible.

Let’s delve into the intricate details of a suitable tank setup.

Tank Size

Given their small size, Bumblebee Gobies do not require a large aquarium. A 10-gallon tank can comfortably house a small group of these captivating creatures. However, if you plan to keep a larger group, increasing the tank size proportionately is necessary.


Emulating the natural substrate of Bumblebee Gobies involves using soft, sandy substrate. They have a propensity for digging, making a fine substrate preferable to prevent any potential injuries. Sand or small-sized smooth gravel works best for these gobies.

Decorations and Hiding Spots

Given their shy nature, Bumblebee Gobies appreciate plenty of hiding spots. Driftwood, caves, and rock formations offer excellent retreats. Planting the tank with dense vegetation will also provide these gobies with shelter and mimic their natural environment.

Water Parameters

Maintaining appropriate water parameters is crucial for the health and happiness of Bumblebee Gobies.

These include a temperature range of 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit, pH levels between 6.5 and 7.5, and a general hardness of 5 to 12 dGH. The water should also hold slight salinity, reflecting their natural brackish habitats.

Filtration and Aeration

Implementing a good filtration system is necessary to maintain water quality. Since Bumblebee Gobies prefer slow-moving water, choose a filter with adjustable flow settings.

For aeration, a standard air stone should suffice, as these gobies don’t require strong aeration.


Moderate lighting suits Bumblebee Gobies best. They do not need high-intensity lights. Instead, opt for subdued lighting to replicate the light conditions of their natural habitat.

Tank Mates

While these gobies are peaceful, their territorial nature can lead to occasional spats. Ideal tank mates should be similarly peaceful and able to coexist without intruding upon the goby’s space. Good options can include Otocinclus Catfish, Ghost Shrimp, and certain snail species.


Bumblebee Gobies are carnivorous, primarily feasting on live or frozen foods in captivity. Providing a varied diet of brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms will keep these fish happy and healthy.

Understanding the behavior, temperament, and specific tank requirements of Bumblebee Gobies allows for successful and gratifying aquarium keeping.

While these fish may be small, they hold a unique charm that brings life and intrigue to any tank.

Tank Maintenance for the Bumblebee Goby

Creating a comfortable and healthy environment for the Bumblebee Goby doesn’t end at setting up the perfect tank.

Maintenance is an ongoing responsibility that’s crucial for your Goby’s well-being.

Regular Water Changes

Water changes play a crucial role in keeping the tank’s environment balanced. For the Bumblebee Goby, you should aim to change 10-20% of the water every week.

This ensures a stable water chemistry, eliminates waste and toxins, and adds fresh, oxygen-rich water for your Goby to thrive in.

Cleaning the Tank and Decorations

Cleaning the tank and decorations helps prevent the buildup of algae and harmful bacteria. Use an algae scrubber to clean the inside of the glass and a siphon to remove debris from the substrate.

Also, occasionally scrub decorations and rocks with a soft brush to keep them clean. Just remember to avoid using any soaps or detergents as these can harm your fish.

Filter Maintenance

Keeping the filter running optimally is vital for maintaining water quality. Regularly check for any debris clogging the system and clean or replace the filter media as per the manufacturer’s guidelines.

If you notice a decline in the filter’s performance, it may be time for a replacement.

Monitor Fish Health

Regularly observing your Bumblebee Goby can help spot signs of stress or disease early. Keep an eye on their eating habits, activity level, and physical appearance.

If you notice any changes, it’s best to seek advice from a fish health professional promptly.

By following these maintenance practices, you can create an environment in which your Bumblebee Goby can flourish.

It’s important to remember that a clean, well-maintained tank can lead to a healthy, happy fish, and ultimately, a more enjoyable fishkeeping experience for you.

Acclimating Bumblebee Goby

When bringing home a Bumblebee Goby, proper acclimation is essential to ensure they transition smoothly into their new home. It’s not as simple as just dropping the fish into the tank.

Firstly, float the bag in which the fish arrived in the tank for about 15 minutes. This helps to equalize the temperature between the bag and the tank.

Next, slowly start adding small amounts of the tank water into the bag every five minutes. This step helps the Goby gradually adjust to the new water conditions, including pH, hardness, and other parameters. Continue this process for about 45 minutes to an hour.

Finally, using a net, gently transfer the Bumblebee Goby into the tank. Avoid pouring the water from the bag into the tank to prevent any potential contaminants from entering your established setup.

With this careful approach, your new Bumblebee Goby should acclimate comfortably to its new environment.

Bumblebee Goby Diet and Feeding

Feeding your Bumblebee Goby a varied and balanced diet is key to ensuring their health and longevity.

Let’s break it down into detailed pointers:

What They Eat

Bumblebee Gobies are carnivorous and thrive on a diet rich in animal proteins. The following foods are ideal:

  • Live Foods: These include brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms. Live foods encourage the Bumblebee Goby’s natural hunting instincts, making feeding time engaging.

  • Frozen Foods: Frozen options like brine shrimp and bloodworms are a practical alternative to live food. Ensure they’re thawed properly before feeding.

  • Prepared Foods: Micro pellets and flake foods formulated for carnivorous fish can supplement their diet.

Feeding Frequency and Quantity

Feed your Bumblebee Goby 2-3 times a day, providing only as much food as they can consume within 2-3 minutes. This prevents overfeeding and reduces the amount of leftover food that could decay and impact water quality.

Tips for Feeding

Bumblebee Gobies are bottom dwellers and shy eaters. To ensure they receive their share of the food:

  • Feed in small amounts in multiple spots in the tank to encourage their feeding.

  • Use sinking foods or target feed using feeding tongs or pipettes.

With a varied and balanced diet, your Bumblebee Goby will display vibrant colors, exhibit active behavior, and lead a healthier, longer life.

Bumblebee Goby Tank Mates: Friends and Foes

Choosing the right tank mates for your Bumblebee Goby is critical to maintain peace and harmony in the aquarium. Being small, these fish can easily become the target of larger, more aggressive species.

Here are some suitable companions along with a few species to avoid:

Suitable Tank Mates

  1. Small Tetras: Small, peaceful species like Neon Tetras or Ember Tetras make good tank mates due to their calm temperament and similar size.

  2. Dwarf Gouramis: Dwarf Gouramis are generally peaceful and cohabit well with Bumblebee Gobies.

  3. Shrimps: Cherry Shrimp and Amano Shrimp can co-exist with Bumblebee Gobies without any issues.

  4. Small Rasboras: Species like Harlequin Rasboras are peaceful and won’t pose a threat to Bumblebee Gobies.

  5. Corydoras Catfish: These bottom-dwelling fish are peaceful and can share the lower region of the tank with Bumblebee Gobies.

Tank Mates to Avoid

  1. Large Cichlids: Bigger, more aggressive Cichlids like Oscar Fish or Jack Dempsey Fish can harm or even eat Bumblebee Gobies.

  2. Bettas: Bettas can be aggressive and territorial, posing a threat to Bumblebee Gobies.

  3. Large Barbs: Tiger Barbs and other larger barbs can be nippy and stressful for Bumblebee Gobies.

  4. Goldfish: Goldfish require different water parameters and can grow too large for Bumblebee Gobies to safely cohabit.

  5. Large Catfish: Bigger Catfish species could view Bumblebee Gobies as food.

Breeding Bumblebee Goby and Fry Care

Breeding Bumblebee Gobies is a rewarding experience but requires detailed attention.

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Preparing for Breeding

  1. Gender Identification: Males usually have a more elongated and pointed dorsal fin, while females are rounder.

  2. Proper Diet: Feed a diet rich in live or frozen foods to trigger breeding.

  3. Breeding Environment: Provide plenty of hiding spots using caves or PVC pipes.

The Breeding Process

  1. Spawning: The male will attract the female to a chosen spawning site where the female will lay eggs and the male will fertilize them.

  2. Guarding the Eggs: Post-fertilization, the male takes on the responsibility of guarding the eggs, fanning them to prevent fungus growth.

Fry Care

  1. Egg Hatching: The eggs will hatch after about three to four days.

  2. Feeding the Fry: Newly hatched Bumblebee Goby fry are very small and require tiny foods. Infusoria or newly hatched brine shrimp are suitable options.

  3. Water Quality: Maintain pristine water conditions, as fry are more susceptible to poor water quality.

  4. Separation: Once the fry start growing, they may need to be separated from adults to prevent them from becoming food.

Breeding Bumblebee Gobies requires a bit of work, but with attention to detail and a nurturing environment, it’s a fascinating process to witness.

Signs of Stress in Bumblebee Goby

Bumblebee Gobies, like other fish, show stress through changes in behavior and appearance. Recognizing these signs early helps you act fast to restore the health of your fish.

Key signs of stress in Bumblebee Gobies are:

  1. Loss of Color: Bumblebee Gobies have vibrant colors. When stressed, their color can fade or change.

  2. Reduced Activity: These fish are naturally active. If you notice them being less active or hiding more often, it could be a sign of stress.

  3. Loss of Appetite: Bumblebee Gobies are eager feeders. A significant drop in appetite is often a sign of stress.

  4. Rapid Breathing: If you notice your Goby breathing rapidly or laboring, this could indicate stress.

Common Health Issues and Treatments for Bumblebee Goby

Like any fish, Bumblebee Gobies can experience a variety of health issues.

The most common include:

  1. Ich: This is a common parasitic disease that manifests as white spots on the fish’s body. It can be treated with a commercially available Ich treatment and by raising the tank’s temperature slowly to around 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Fin Rot: This is a bacterial disease that results in the decay of the fish’s fins. It can be treated with antibiotics and regular water changes.

  3. Dropsy: This is a symptom of a bacterial infection and is identified by a swollen belly and raised scales. Treatment involves antibiotic food or medication.

  4. Ammonia Poisoning: High levels of ammonia can cause gill damage. Regular water changes, proper filtration, and not overfeeding can prevent this issue.

Additional Tips for a Healthy Aquarium

Maintaining a healthy aquarium is key to keeping your Bumblebee Gobies healthy and happy.

Here are some tips:

  1. Monitor Water Parameters: Ensure water conditions remain within acceptable ranges for Bumblebee Gobies.

  2. Regular Maintenance: Keep up with regular water changes and filter cleanings.

  3. Nutritious Diet: Provide a varied diet of high-quality food.

  4. Prevent Overcrowding: Avoid overstocking the tank, as it can lead to stress and poor water quality.

  5. Observe Your Fish: Regularly check your fish for any signs of stress or illness.

Should You Get a Bumblebee Goby for Your Aquarium?

The Bumblebee Goby is a fascinating fish with a unique look that can add excitement to your tank. They’re great for aquarists who appreciate observing interesting behaviors and who can cater to their specific water parameters and diet.

However, their need for brackish water conditions and specific diet means they might not be suitable for beginners.

If you’re ready for the challenge, though, these captivating creatures could be an ideal addition to your aquarium. Be sure to provide them with the care they need, and you’ll be rewarded with a delightful and lively aquarium resident.

Conservation Status

Bumblebee Gobies are not currently listed as endangered or threatened under any conservation status.

However, like all aquatic species, they are potentially impacted by human activities such as pollution and habitat loss.

It’s crucial to purchase Bumblebee Gobies from reputable breeders and suppliers who practice responsible fishkeeping to help conserve the natural populations.

Availability & Pricing

Bumblebee Gobies are widely available in the pet trade due to their popularity among aquarium enthusiasts. You can find them in most local pet stores, specialty fish stores, and online retailers.

The pricing varies depending on the size and health of the fish, as well as the store’s location. On average, you can expect to pay between $5 and $10 per Bumblebee Goby.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bumblebee Goby

Q – Can Bumblebee Gobies live in Freshwater?

Ans – While Bumblebee Gobies can survive in freshwater, they thrive in brackish water conditions. For optimal health, a specific gravity of 1.005 – 1.008 is recommended.

Q – Are Bumblebee Gobies Aggressive?

Ans – These fish can be territorial, especially during breeding season, but they’re not generally aggressive towards other species.

Q – What do Bumblebee Gobies Eat?

Ans – They prefer a diet rich in live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms. Flakes and pellets can also be included in their diet.

Q – How long do Bumblebee Gobies live?

Ans – With proper care, Bumblebee Gobies can live up to 5 years in captivity.


Bumblebee Gobies are unique, vibrant, and fascinating to observe, making them a beloved choice for many aquarists. Their care needs are specific but manageable with a little effort and dedication.

By understanding their requirements and providing a suitable environment, you can enjoy the company of these charming little fish for years to come.

Always remember that responsible fishkeeping not only benefits your pet but also contributes to the conservation of the species in the wild.