Cryptocentrus leptocephalus

Bleeker 1876

Common Names: Pink-spotted shrimp goby and blue-spotted shrimp goby, Singapore goby, spotted watchman goby, leptocephalus prawn goby

Type Locality Singapore

Range: Widespread in the Western Pacific, Indonesia to New Caledonia, Japan to Australia

Taxonomic Troubles: This is the original description.

Size:10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches).

Preferred Water Chemistry: Tropical marine.

Difficulty: A fairly hardy, reef-safe fish.

Tank Setup: This bottom dweller needs plenty of open space for hopping around looking for food and plenty of sand and rubble into which it can burrow. A buried piece of PVC pipe is usually welcomed as home base, though the fish will readily dig its own burrow under a piece of live rock. It is tolerant of most other fishes, but can be quarrelsome with its own kind, or with other gobies. Mated pairs get along well and will occupy the same burrow.

Feeding: Primarily a micropredator, will poke around the substrate looking for tidbits. Live invertebrates and small meaty foods are usually accepted. In a tank with aggressive feeders, food for the goby should be placed near its burrow, and the hobbyist should make sure it gets its share.

Breeding: These gobies are being captive bred, so you should try to find a tank-reared specimen.

Fish Description: A colorful goby with light and dark tan-to-pink banding with pink and blue dots overlaid on the body and two dorsal fins. Its frog-like eyes and perpetual frown give it a comical appearance. It will pose at the entrance to its burrow, ever alert for danger or for food drifting or swimming nearby.

Notes: This relatively large goby is one of the many species that form symbiotic partnerships with pistol shrimps (Alpheus spp.). The effectively blind shrimp digs its burrow and roots around in the substrate, exposing food items. It always keeps an antenna in contact with the goby, who can be observed in the aquarium, though both goby and shrimp will do fine without a partner in a predator-free captive environment. Enjoyed for its perky, comical behavior, this fish is especially appreciated by reef aquarists with deep sandbeds, since it is an effective scavenger and stirrer. Obviously, it will prey upon tiny invertebrates, including small bristleworms, but it does not bother sessile invertebrates and should be welcome in just about any reef system. As one of the ever-increasing number of aquacultured marine species, this goby is available captive bred, which means the fish will be much hardier, more adaptable, and easier to feed than wild-caught individuals. An added bonus is that buying tank-bred specimens does not deplete natural stocks in the wild.