Caring for Your African (and other) Mudskipper
Aqualand's scoop on these little cuties
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Who would not love a face with a grin like this? Crickets, that's who.
Origin. Not to be confused with the American mudslingers, the African mudskippers obviously come from Africa, Dr. Watson -- or more specifically the mangrove swamps that fringe much of tropical Africa. This means they need warm temperatures and salt in their water. One look at that face and you know they’re related to the gobies.
Size. African mudskippers grow to about six inches. We got this guy a year ago and assumed he was an Indian mudskipper because of his diminutive size. He has an entire 10-gallon tank to himself but doesn’t effectively show his color or finnage. So we tried a different habitat.
Good Eater. The guy five pix up came running (yes, mudskippers run) any time we approached his cage with a cricket. He’d grab it and run back to his corner to enjoy his meal in leisure. He’d also run over and instantly grab a small goldfish, which he’d kill but not eat. No one could really see him unless we pointed him out. So we changed his environment. When we put a blob of live blackworms on his log, he grabs a mouthful and gets them all over his face. He sticks his head in the water to rinse off the excess worms.
More of a Lifeguard. Mudskippers act like they don’t want to get in the water. They often bounce out of the water when you put them in it. And they can jump very well.
Good Finnage. When out of the water, their fins clamp down and become nearly invisible, unless they challenge another mudskipper. When you force them into the water, mudskippers start looking much better. Be careful handling these guys. They’re as slippery as an African clawed frog. After pestering them like this, add a squirt of NovAqua to replace their slime layer.
Water. Add plenty of salt to his water. You can keep other brackish water fishes in the reservoir below. Gobies come to mind. Ropefish, archers, glassfish, and mollies also come to mind. For other brackish water fish suggestions go to Brackish Water.
Last Word, sort of. Mudskippers aren’t for everyone. You notice that right away when you read their price tag. But if you got the dime and you got the time, mudskippers and other brackish water fishes present a special challenge.
Epilog/Addendum. So, what happens when you mix these guys? In short: Territorial imperatives. The first guy owns everything (and eats everything). The new guy gets the leftovers -- if any.
Meeting/Confrontation. At first the current resident ignores the new guy. And he ignores him most of the time -- except when the new guy grabs a cricket.
Some Other Foods. Now that this guy is tame, he eats most food items we give him. His favorites: Crickets and any kind of worms, live or frozen. He eats goldfish hand fed to him but seems unable to catch them underwater. He eats re-constituted krill sometimes. We plan to try him on some HBH Betta Bites later.
Laster Word. Mudskippers aren’t for everyone. You notice that right away when you read their price tag. But if you got the dime and you got the time, mudskippers and other brackish water fishes present a special challenge. Or did I already say that?
Indian Mudskippers. Looking very similar, but weighing in at only 1.5 inches, we find the Indian mudskipper. These little rascals cost only a fraction of the Africans but stay much smaller. They also argue very little with each other.
Lastest Word. We prefer the African Mudskippers. LA
Most Lastest Word. We still like African mudskippers.
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