Bumblebee Goby Fish – Care, Lifespan, Tank Mates,etc!

Bumblebee Goby Fish – Our hands-down favorite fish. It’s the most adorable and visually interesting creature that steals the spotlight, whether in a small or large aquarium. The rave and popularity surrounding this fish don’t seem to end any time soon, as bumblebee fish owners don’t seem to want to stop talking about them either!

However, just like any other creature, you don’t need to do some research before jumping on the bandwagon and getting yourself one. Knowing some key aspects of its care will allow you to be more comfortable in providing care to your pet.

The first thing to know about them is that they survive in brackish water and need to have specific dietary requirements met to prosper. Although some freshwater bumblebee goby survives in freshwaters too, this will all depend on where and what species you are buying. This guide will allow you to know all about them, as we will discuss their feeding habits, breeding, and other subjects regarding them. So, let’s get right to it!

Quick Stats

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


We scientifically know bumblebee Gobies as Brachygobius xanthozona. They are bottom-dwelling fish that have recently become popular because of their unique and eye-catching looks. The size can vary from around 1cm to 4 cm; it will greatly depend on the age of the fish itself.

Just by looking at the name, you can gather a mental image of how this fish might look like! And you’re probably right, this fish resembles a bumblebee just like the name suggests.

They originated somewhere in Southeast Asia. They are mostly found in slow-moving streams and rivers around Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia. Now, although this species is the most sought after, they aren’t that easy to take care of.

Thus, before you buy this fish, look into how you can provide it with the habitat and high-quality diet it needs for it to thrive. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance fish, then this might not be the fish for you.

Bumblebee Goby Fish Lifespan

The average lifespan is around three years under the best conditions. This number is mainly due to the extensive list of requirements that need to be fulfilled when this fish is kept in captivity. But that doesn’t mean your aquarium fish will only stick around for a few years, as with extensive care, these fish can live longer. Aquarists have even witnessed them live four years and older.

However, this is taking into consideration that these fish are taken care of extremely well. That means providing a high-quality diet, and a carefully planned living area.

Even with that, you do need to give weightage to good genetics, as that plays a part in determining their life span too! Now, in addition to making sure that they have a perfect habitat, you also need to maintain their lifestyle so that’s comfortable and stress-free.


Although their name leaves no room for mystery, the bumblebee goby is a sight you don’t want to miss. At first glance, all you will see is that distinct striped pattern that is constantly running around their bodies.

The exact hue and saturation of the color can vary from fish to fish. That just makes each one unique in their way! Some seem to have faded yellow patterns while some have such a high saturation that they fall more in the orange spectrum than yellow.

The color of a male bumblebee’s stripes is bound to be brighter than a female bumblebee. In addition to that, males’ bumblebees’ bodies are slenderer than females. The male fish is the most vibrant and can be spotted from far away.

When we talk about shape, these specimens seem to display the iconic “goby” shape. This globular shape means that they have small heads. But have relatively slender bodies in comparison. Although males can have more slender bodies, both will have the same round head and the most bulbous eyes imaginable.

Their fins are mostly transparent. You can spot a little black on the fins of a select few as well. Mostly the black is derived from an extension of the corresponding shape.

These fish aren’t large, and even at full maturity level will only be an inch and a half long. Some don’t even reach that. The size is another factor, that causes the popularity factor of this fish to go up. Because they are so small, it’s a great choice for anybody who wants an interesting small fish to look after. Getting a larger setup will drastically improve and increase its lifespan.

Bumblebee Goby Care

Just like we mentioned before this species is harder to take more of and does require more maintenance work than a plain Goldfish or another other straightforward species. But don’t fret! Taking care of this quirky little fish can be made manageable.

The key to it is understanding its needs, and providing it with the best living conditions possible!

For this, the first thing you need to consider is the tank size. Bumblebees Goby can easily survive and thrive in a standard 10-gallon tank. Getting a larger tank, you will be able to keep several signs in without running into any trouble. Don’t overcrowd, and make sure that they are happy and healthy and you will have yourself, some pretty happy fish.

Now let’s discuss water parameters, this topic is where you need to pay close attention to. This is where things start to get a bit tricky. This specifies is found in brackish water bodies. Thus, some will require a low salinity level while others can thrive in pure freshwater. Thus, when buying your bumble gobies, make sure to ask their background and how they were raised.

Most breeders do stick with a brackish water setup, however, some have managed to raise this breed without having any salt involved. You must ask your seller, all these details so that you can recreate a home similar to the one the species is used to. Matching your tank with the water quality the fish is already used to is crucial.

Water Tank Setup For Bumblebee Goby Fish

If this is not done properly, you can shock their entire system and that will eventually lead to their early demise.

Apart from the salinity levels, these species are robust and prosper in slightly alkaline water at a relatively warm temperature. Some key factors that you need to keep an eye on are the water temperatures as they should be maintained between 72 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit.

The pH levels should be between 7.0 to 8.5, while the level of water hardness can be 9 to 19dKH. Water salinity must lie between 1.002 to 1.006 salt grade

Apart from these technical aspects, try to mimic the streams and water bodies, these fish are naturally found in. That means introducing hiding spaces in the habitat you make for them. You can introduce plants, rocks, and driftwood in their living areas. These areas allow them to feel safe and calmer.

Adding in a sandy substrate will make them feel right at home. Bumblebee goby are used to spending much of their time near the substrate. Some fish even like to dig and poke holes in the sand. A softer substrate will thus be more appropriate.

The tank you use must be fully cycled before you add them in. This allows you to fine-tune and make adjustments to the water quality before the fish inhabit it. A standard sponge filter hanging outside the tank will be able to provide sufficient filtration. The main thing you need to worry about is how the tank will affect the water flow.

Food & Diet

Another tricky part about keeping bumblebee gobies is that they are picky eaters. This is where the high maintenance part kicks in. Most of these fish won’t take the smallest bite of dry foods. They are a voracious meat eater and only survive on a protein-based diet. You must then invest in their upkeep by investing in quality, live or frozen foods to keep them healthy and happy.

Daphnia, tubifex worms, and bloodworms are all great options. Aquarists even suggest brine shrimp, as they can be easy to hatch and cultivate.

Feeding causes a lot of potential bumblebee goby owners to back off. However, once you have the system of their eating habits down, feeding them won’t seem like a hassle anymore.


Now, after going through all the things you need to know about this particular species of fish, you can make an informed decision on whether it is the right fit for you. As many people jump at the astounding sight of the fish, seldom look past its unique and bright appearance.

So, if you want to see fishes swimming around their tank every day, while you sit there and watch, this might not be the fish for you. However, if you have managed to maintain interest and want to do what’s necessary for the upkeep of this fish, then we highly recommend you to get one for yourself.

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