Size, Tank, Behavior, Diet and Lifespan

If you have or are looking to get a Neon Goby and need more information, then you’ve come to the right place! These colorful little fish are a delight to look at and make a fantastic addition to any aquarium. If you are looking to add a touch of vibrancy and a touch of elegance to your underwater paradise, then you have come to the right place.

In this care guide, we’ll explore the essentials for keeping neon gobies happy and healthy, without getting bogged down in complicated jargon or overwhelming technicalities. Whether you’re a seasoned fish lover or just beginning your aquatic journey, caring for neon gobies is a snap.

So, let’s dive in and discover the secrets to creating a thriving environment for these charming little creatures, ensuring they thrive and become the stars of your aquatic world!

Species Summary

The scientific name of the Neon Goby is Elacatinus oceanops and there are 24 recognized species in its genus, known as Elacatinus.

Author’s note: Some people call this fish the Blue Neon Goby mainly because it is a Neon Goby and well it has blue colors but that can be confusing and even wrong. There is actually a Blue Neon Goby called the Electric Blue Neon Dwarf Goby with a scientific name of Stiphodon atropurpureusand it is a rare freshwater goby since the majority are saltwater fish (usually those in Asia are freshwater).

The place of origin of these small fish is the Caribbean. They can be found in the western central Atlantic, with areas ranging from southern Florida to Texas to Belize. However, most Neon Gobies available for purchase are captive bred.

Neon Gobies are peaceful and easy to care for fish. Additionally, they are bottom dwellers and love to clean up their surroundings and even their tank mates.


The Neon Goby is a slender, long-bodied fish with bright colors and clear fins. These beautiful fish have two blue horizontal stripes and three black horizontal stripes. Below the lower black bands is a silver to white coloration. A pinkish tint is found near the gills, making this fish a colorful addition to any aquarium.

Author’s note: You can find the color of the Neon Goby to be similar to the Broadstripe Goby and the Sharknose Goby, and their body is similar to the Yellowline Goby. If Neon and Yellowline Gobies are bred together, the result is gobies with a yellow to blue band.

A Neon Goby swimming in a saltwater aquarium


With proper care, the life of your Neon Goby can range from five to 10 years. An interesting fact is that in the wild these gobies live only about two years.


The Neon Gobby is a small fish with an average purchase size of 1 to 1.2 inches. It only grows up to 2 or 3 inches as an adult. Males are generally larger than females, while females display larger bellies when spawning.

When you pair the small size with its slender body, you have one of the best fish to add to a smaller aquarium.

Neon Goby Care

The Neon Goby is easy to care for, which is why many consider it an excellent starter fish for most aquariums. They quickly adapt to their surroundings and are ready to jump straight into cleaning.

Although Neon Gobies are not as picky with aspects such as lighting and tank mates, it is still essential to follow certain guidelines to maintain these small fish.

tank size

A 10 gallon tank is the recommended size for a single or pair of Neon Goby. For a school of six or eight of them, you want to upgrade to a 20 or 30 gallon tank.

Author’s note: If you want to add plants and hiding places for the gobies, be sure to consider these things when choosing your tank size.

Water parameters

Creating the right environment is essential if you want your fish to thrive and survive. Remember that proper care in captivity can result in a lifespan of up to 10 years.

Neon Gobies need reef aquarium water parameters, which is a mix of freshwater and reef salt mix. Fortunately, there are many sources with instructions for mixing these components.

During this time, it is important to ensure that the other water parameters meet the needs of your Neon Goby.

water temperature: 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 26 degrees Celsius).

pH levels: 8.1-8.4.

Water hardness: 8-12 dgH.

Specific gravity: 1.023-1.026SG.

Tank configuration

One of the most important things to add to their tank is hiding spaces. Of course, you must locate your small fish before placing plants, rocks, and other decor inside their aquarium. Additionally, you want to add lighting and filters to their tank to create the right environment.


The Neon Goby has no specific lighting requirements, allowing you to choose from a variety of lighting options for your aquarium.

Neon Gobies prefer dark spaces around their tank, which you can achieve with aquatic plants.

Author’s note: Keep in mind that aquatic plants need certain light to grow and survive.


Clean water is essential for Neon Gobies, so you need a high quality aquarium filtration system. One idea is to hang powerhead filters on the back of the aquarium to provide excellent filtration and water flow. We all thrive best in our natural habitats, and Neon Gobies are no exception.


Many Neon Gobies have been reared in ponds, so they have already adapted to life in captivity. If you need to acclimate a new Neon Goby, you can rest assured that it can easily adapt to its surroundings.

After acclimatization, some people introduce their Neon Gobies by placing them in the tank near a hiding place. Before you know it, your Neon Goby will be doing its job of cleaning up its surroundings.

Are Neon Gobies Reef Safe?

Yes, Neon Gobies are reef safe! Although they love algae, these little fish do not bother and eat the corals in your aquarium.

Possible common diseases and prevention

Although Neon Gobies are tough little fish, lack of proper care can infect them. Poor water quality can lead to typical marine diseases or stress that affects their immune system.

Parasite from the crypt. Your fish can become infected with Crypt by eating sand, free swimming, or being placed in an infected aquarium. To prevent the crypt parasite from completing its cycle, raise the water temperature to 82 degrees Fahrenheit or 28 degrees Celsius.

Author’s note: Neon Gobies can actually eat the Crypt while the parasite is still close to the skin’s surface. In fact, it can help ease their symptoms during a crypt outbreak, and you should always raise the water temperature.

Food and diet

The Neon Goby’s diet is carnivorous and it can get by by eating meaty foods such as shrimp, fish, and worms.. Additionally, live copepods found in the sand can supplement their diet.

Otherwise, these fish appreciate algae, scales, parasites and fish slime. You can also feed your Neon Goby flakes, tablets or granules with the main shrimp food. However, these types of foods should not be their main diet.

Additionally, you want to feed them several times a day.

Behavior and temperament

Neon Gobies are peaceful and can co-exist with other species of fish. The interesting part is how the other fish know it’s the Neon Goby’s job to clean them up.

When another fish sees a Neon Goby, it may position itself on its side or head down. This lets the Neon Goby know it wants to be cleaned.

Author’s note: Neon Gobies clean up parasites and dead scales from other fish, which is why even larger species won’t eat them unless it’s accidental.

An elacatinus oceanops looking for food

Neon Goby Tank Mates

These fish do well alone or in male and female pairs. When housing a school of fish, it is best to stick with a group of six or eight to prevent pairs from chasing other gobies. In groups of six or eight, Neon Gobies can coexist with only a few squabbles between males.

As with other fish, the following species make excellent tank mates for Neon Gobies.

  • firefish goby
  • Anemonefish like the Ocellaris anemonefish
  • yellow tang
  • Hippo Tang


If you were to rate the ease of breeding on a scale, you might find Neon Gobies moderate to breed. It is not always easy to determine the sex of the fish, but some people buy many Neon Gobies and leave them to mate on their own.

Again, you might be able to tell the difference with a good eye. The genital papillae of females are rounded, while the genital papillae of males are pointed.

Once your Neon Gobies are paired, you can start preparing a breeding tank. It is not uncommon for some Neon Gobies to become aggressive during breeding, so you should use a 20 gallon tank with plenty of room and several hiding places.

Author’s note: When adjusting the breeding temperature in the tank, it is recommended to increase the temperature by 2 degrees to increase the breeding activity of the couple.

Spawning gobies prefer to lay their eggs in a small cave or crevice. It takes about six to eight days for the eggs to hatch at temperatures between 75 degrees Fahrenheit and 81 degrees Fahrenheit. You want to keep the transferred eggs or larvae in a 20 gallon tank with recurring water changes.

In an interesting twist, the male protects and aerates the eggs, while the female only visits the site occasionally. Although she does not interact with the eggs, the parents can become aggressive while defending their eggs and nest.

Additionally, Neon Gobies also interbreed with other fish of their genus, such as the Yellowlined Goby.


And voilà, you are now ready to take care of your Neon Goby! With their peaceful nature and unique cleaning abilities, they make wonderful additions to the tanks of both beginners and experienced fish keepers.

Remember that providing a well-maintained, appropriately sized aquarium, along with a balanced diet, is crucial to the health and happiness of your neon goby. By following this care guide and providing enough care and attention, you can witness the vibrant beauty of these captivating neon gobies for years to come.

Good luck and feel free to contact us with any questions, maybe even tag us on Facebook with a nice picture of your aquarium 😉

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