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Bumblebee Goby Tankmates

Brachygobius or ‘bumblebee gobies’ (as they’re known in the aquarist world) are a species of bottom- dwelling fish with black and yellow markings reminiscent of a bumblebee. If you’d like to try your hand at a brackish tank, bumblebee gobies are a great choice. But what types of fish make good tankmates for this species?

The best tankmates for bumblebee gobies are other bumblebee gobies. Fish of comparable size and peaceful temperament that dwell in brackish water (including endlers, guppies and mollies) can also live with this species in captivity. Larger herbivorous or omnivorous fish as well as fish that prefer to swim in the top half of an aquarium are also recommended.

Now that you know which fish make ideal tankmates for bumblebee gobies, let’s ‘dive deeper’ into this topic. Together we’ll learn why this species is best kept in groups, why endlers, guppies and mollies are most compatible, if you can keep them with crustaceans like shrimp or snails, and how water conditions and tank size affect their temperament.

So, if you’re ready to learn more about how to keep bumblebee gobies safe and content in a community tank environment, then let’s begin!

How Many Bumblebee Gobies should be Kept Together?

Bumblebee gobies are a type of schooling fish and as such, prefer the company of others of their kind. If you intend to keep this species in captivity, you should have at least 6 at any given time. Any less and the fish may become aggressive.

Bumblebee gobies can get hostile in small numbers – for example, with a group of 3, you may find 2 fish teaming up to bully the weakest one. When you have 6 or more, aggression is ‘spread out’ between the group rather than directed at a specific target.

Can You Keep Endlers with Bumblebee Gobies?

A shoal of 3 to 4 endlers can be kept with a school of bumblebee gobies since endlers are comparable in size and peaceful by nature. Endlers are active and like to swim in groups along the middle of the tank, so they’ll stay out of the way of bottom-feeding gobies. As well, endlers are hardy and can adapt to the water conditions needed by the gobies.

Can You Keep Guppies with Bumblebee Gobies?

You can keep a small shoal of guppies (3 to 4 fish) with a school of 6 bumblebee gobies, provided the tank is large enough. Guppies are active and like to swim in groups in the top half of the tank. Since bumblebee gobies are bottom feeders, they stick close the substrate so two species rarely encounter each other.

a lone bumblebee goby

Can You Keep Mollies with Bumblebee Gobies?

You can keep mollies with bumblebee gobies since they’re of like size and temperament. Mollies also prefer brackish water conditions and are generally peaceful in a community tank environment. A shoal of mollies (3 or more) can be kept with a school of 6 bumblebee guppies – just make sure the aquarium isn’t overcrowded.

Can You Keep Archers with Bumblebee Gobies?

Archers are a type of brackish water fish that grow to 12 inches in length. Since they’re carnivorous and predatory by nature, I wouldn’t recommend you keep them with bumblebee gobies. They like to hunt and may go after smaller fish in a community tank environment.

Can You Keep Monos with Bumblebee Gobies?

Monos are a diamond-shaped fish that live in brackish water and grow to 11 inches in length. They can be live amicably with bumblebee gobies, provided the tank is extra-large with coverage. This species is active and peaceful but can become aggressive with others of their kind if kept in groups smaller than 5.

Can You Keep Scats with Bumblebee Gobies?

Scats are a brackish water fish that reach lengths of 10 inches. Since their dorsal fin emits a mild poison, you should be careful when keeping them in a tank with bumblebee gobies. As omnivores, they typically won’t prey on gobies and spend most of their time schooling with others in the middle of the tank.

Can You Keep Shrimp with Bumblebee Gobies?

You can keep bumblebee gobies with shrimp, provided the shrimp are large enough. Bumblebee gobies are carnivorous and will eat their shrimp tankmates if they’re too small. Therefore, I don’t recommend you keep them with cherry shrimp that only grow to 1-inch in length. Instead, opt for the bigger 2-inch Amano shrimp.

Can You Keep Snails with Bumblebee Gobies?

You can keep bumblebee gobies with snails that are bigger than 1 and ½ inches. Devil snails, for example, can live in brackish water and grow to be 2 to 3 inches long. Small snails an inch or less in length will become food for goby fish. Since gobies are carnivorous, they may be help control pest snail populations in an aquarium.

Which Fish shouldn’t be Kept with Bumblebee Gobies?

Since bumblebee gobies are meat-eaters, you shouldn’t keep them with tiny fish, shrimp, or snails. Also, this species likes to stick close to the substrate so housing them with other bottom dwellers in too small of a tank may increase their aggression as they compete for food and territory. As well, larger, hostile fish may bully the gobies which is why they should only be kept with others of like size and demeanor.

*Remember: bumblebee gobies like brackish water so you shouldn’t house them with aquatic creatures that prefer freshwater. Stress caused by improper tank conditions not only increases tension among fish but may also lead to illness (or even death). A few species to avoid include bettas, bichirs, puffers, and cichlids like convicts, flowerhorns, Jack Dempseys, Oscars, and wolfs.

Are Bumblebee Gobies Aggressive?

Bumblebee gobies are quite peaceful in demeanor. They’re typically passive in a community tank environment and would rather hide (to avoid conflict) than show aggression. That said, they can get hostile when kept alone, in pairs, or groups of 3. As well, they may become territorial and chase after other bottom-dwellers if the tank is too small.

Do Tank Conditions Affect Bumblebee Goby Aggression?

Tank conditions have a definite affect on fish aggression, no matter the species. Regarding bumblebee gobies – though typically peaceful – if you keep them alone, in pairs, or in groups of 3, they’ll act more aggressively towards each other than they would in a school of at least 6. These goby fish need the presence of others of their kind not only to survive, but to thrive in captivity.

Aquarium size and water conditions also play a role in curbing bumblebee goby aggression. When kept in a tank that’s too small, devoid of hiding places, and with other bottom dwellers, they may become hostile towards those they feel are taking over their territory or eating their food. Tension can also mount in a tank with improper temperature/pH/salinity, insufficient oxygen, or inadequate filtration.

Bumblebee goby in a planted tank

What Tank Conditions Help Keep Bumblebee Gobies Peaceful?

A brackish environment with some hiding places and enough space to school with others of their kind in the benthic zone (lowest level of a body of water) will help keep bumblebee gobies content. Since you should house them in groups of at least 6, a 10-gallon tank is required – though bigger is better.

Albeit a hardy species, keep the water parameters in a bumblebee goby tank as stable as possible. The temperature should be between 74- and 79-degrees F with a pH of 7 to 8 and a salinity of 1.002 to 1.006. As a type of bottom feeder that likes to bury itself in substrate, add some soft sand to the tank.

Final Thoughts

To sum-up, because bumblebee gobies are a schooling fish, the best tankmates are others of their kind. Endlers, guppies, and mollies are also compatible since they prefer brackish water, are similar in size, and peaceful by nature. As bumblebee gobies are bottom feeders, consider housing them with fish that like to swim in the middle or near the top of the aquarium.

I trust this article has answered your questions regarding suitable tankmates for bumblebee gobies. Thanks for reading and good luck with your aquarium hobby.

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