Take a Peek at the Little Bumblebee Goby 

Brachygobius whatever

 
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Bumblebee Goby Factoids

Origin

Thailand, Singapore and other S.E. Asia countries

Maximum Size

Over an inch, but under two.

Housing

Large enough to keep clean 

Security

Likes little caves and crannies

Temperature

Prefers 75 to 80o

Attitude

Good eater in groups.  Shy otherwise.

Foods

Picky eater

Water

Needs very clean brackish water -- add salt

LA
You usually find bumblebee gobies on the market somewhere near an inch in size.

Bumblebee Gobies.  Everyone loves the little bumblebee gobies, but not everyone wants to go to the trouble to take care of them.  Unfortunately, bumblebees usually fall into the hands of small tank owners -- not a good mix.  Bumblebees can live in small tanks, but most small tank owners lack the experience to keep these cute little dudes alive and kicking.. 

LA Pix
Less than an inch long.  Maybe the little bumblebee gobies are blurry?  Pale colors at first.

Species.  Several types of bumblebees pop up from time to time -- much depends on where they came from.  Some sport different bar patterns.  Different species?  Machts nichts.  You keep them all the same way.  We like the four-barred ones.  The different species have different numbers of rays in their various fins.  As the famous ichthyologist, Elizabeth Barrett Browning said, “How do I i.d. thee, let me count the rays.”

LA
Bumblebee gobies suction cup onto the glass with their specially shaped ventral fins.

 

Feeding Time.  Your new bumblebee gobies probably will ignore flake foods at first.  They prefer live foods  (like blackworms) or at least frozen shrimp (thawed, of course). Lots of other frozen bug-size foods trip their triggers -- especially when other bees compete with them.  If you keep a few large female guppies with them, your bees will find some live food on their own.  Too large a fish will intimidate them.  They have a big mouth for their size, so we plan to experiment with glassworms.  California blackworms go down very smooth.

LA
Most bumblebee gobies ignore the flakes and snap up live brine shrimp.  

Mixers.  Bumblebee gobies move slow, so leave out the speedy zebras and other zippers.  Good candidates include other brackish fishes such as glassfish (Indian), flounders, and dragon gobies.  Mollies like the same water but get to the food too fast and stuff their guts while the bees just haven’t quite got the buzz yet.

Scavengers.  Since snails hate salt and catfish don’t like it much either (except bull sharks), we’d recommend ghost shrimp as scavengers.  If you feed flakes, these semi-invisible arthropods will make excellent cleaners.

LA
Freshwater flounder plastered onto tank side.  Good tank mates with bumblebee gobies.

LA
Top and bottom view of bumblebee gobies.  

LA
Bumblebee gobies have a good-size mouth for such a little runt.

Fierce Little Beasts.  From the front, bees look to be all mouth -- especially when yawning, eating, or arguing during spawning.  Bumblebee gobies can nip long-finned fishes.

LA
Plant here is Java moss.  Java lance fern also works for bumblebee gobies..

Plant Decor.  Salt in their water puts the kibosh on most plants.  Plastic plants always work.  Some of the best live plants to keep with bumblebee gobies include Java moss, the slow-growing Java lance fern, and the fast-growing water sprite.

 

LA
Both these species demand live foods at first.

Comfort Decor.  PVC pipe pieces and resin caves on the bottom serve as security and breeding sites.  More natural choices include empty snail shells (not little shells, tho).  Look into those shells available for hermit crabs.   Axelrod’s Atlas of Freshwater Fishes has some great bumblebee goby shots with the little twits defending their snail shell homes and hearths.  They look like fierce wee beasties with their huge (comparatively) mouths ready to bite whatever approaches -- mostly other male bees.

LA
What a huge mouth.  Eats the same small foods that bumblebee gobies eat.

LA
Hard to believe they eat the same foods and co-exist in the same tank.

LA Pix
After a few good meals bumblebee gobies start getting a bit of a gut -- and way better colors.

LA
"Que pasa?, good buddy?"

LA
Bumblebee gobies do mix with other fish.  All three species thriving together.

LA

LA
We'll try to catch them spawning later.

LA
Just a reminder of how small these bumble bees are.  That's a female mollie in with them.

Not quite done yet...    LA

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