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Rainford Goby


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Hey everybody. i am just wondering everyvody's opinion on keeping a rainford goby in a nano. i have had one, and he has been in there for a little over two months. there is a healthy growth of algae that i catch him grazing on, all along the back wall. he also accepts prepared frozen food, such as brine, and mysis. what does everybody think.

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Not good. They actually eat the critters IN the algae, not the algae itself. Terrible for a nano, it's best-suited to a larger, say, 50+ gallon tank.

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With all due respect, the majority of information that I've read specifies that filamentous algae is the diet of choice for this particular hover goby. The species Amblygobius also are also well known for sifting sand, which suggests that it consumes microorganisms such as crustaceans, algae and other nutrients in the substrate. Perhaps it is in fact the organisms that reside in the algae that the Rainford goby consumes, and in a 50+ gallon well-established tank there would be plenty of organisms to eat with out requiring feedings. If your fish is readily accepting prepared foods, and your system can handle the bio load from feeding, I think the Rainford Goby is a great addition. Small, shy, relatively non-territorial, pretty...and by the way, I purchased one today for my 5 gal cutting tank. Here is a web site with some information. Also read from "The Reef Aquarium" by Sprung and Delbeek.


Best Wishes,





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I read your link. Where does it say that they EAT filamentous algae? I've kept these guys myself, and I've studied them plenty.


"...it really does best if kept in a tank with filamentous algae (something most reef aquarists abhor). If the tank does not support an algal crop, it will often become emaciated. If the aquarist is persistent, it is possible to get these fish to accept introduced fare, like vitamin-enriched live and frozen brine shrimp, mysid shrimp, and prepared foods for herbivores."


If it's the algae it's eating, then they'd be suggesting various plant-based foods, not enriched brine or mysis. They may nip a bit of the algae inadvertently, but it's the critters they're after.

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First, the link above that was included was not mine; I merely offered up as another’s opinion. It states...

1) "...it really does best if kept in a tank with filamentous algae."

2) "If the tank does not support an algal crop, it will often become emaciated."


These are observations made by the author of the page.


3) "If the aquarist is persistent, it is possible to get these fish to accept introduces fare, like vitamin-enriched live and frozen brine shrimp, mysid shrimp, and prepared foods for herbivores."


The author indirectly states that the goby is an herbivore, and that they may eventually, "...possibly get these fish to accept", what the aquarist presents them as a food source. I'm not a vegitarian. If I was a vegitarian, and the only food I had available was a Hamburger, I'd most likely eat it (But a fish may not have the mental ability to recognize a food source.)


As for my documentation of A. Rainfordi consuming filamentous algae, please refer to Delbeek & Sprungs "The Reef Aquarium" volume one, page 273, paragraph four.

"A few types of gobies also eat algae. Members of the genus Amblygobius, in addition to sifting sand, graze filamentous algae from the rocks. Amblygobius rainfordi and A. phalana may starve in an aquarium completely devoid of filamentous algae."


The topic of the chapter that I am referring to is titled, "Control of Nutrients and Undesirable Algae in Closed Systems", subtopic, "Problem Algae: Herbivores...".


Having met both of these gentlemen, (my book is personally signed by both) I tend to follow their lead. As you've stated, "...and I've studied them plenty", I would be grateful to hear more about your observations about this goby as both I and loganmonster87 have a vested interest in this species.



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Check wetwebmedia.com, where several of the experts there have said what I'm saying. It's an outdated view that Rainfords eat algae.


Most species are also omnivorous

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Rainford Gobies


I'm Huig from Belgium.

you'll probably get a lot of emails and I hope you will find the time to read and

answer mine. I'm very interested in biotope aquarium, but it's hard to find information on this. I'd like to combine species from the same geographical region which require the same care. if possible species that live next to each other and do not occupy the same niche. and if possible species that have a chance of being reproduced. some info found is contradictory. one of my favorite species is Amblygobius rainfordi.

almost everywhere I read it lives on sandy and muddy substrate but in Korallenriff aquarium from Svein Fossa it is told that they occur over stony substrates and pick on algae and crustaceans. as I have a 350 l aquarium decorated with live rock and live sand. I previously stayed away from them but with this new (maybe false) info I'd like to add them to my tank. as I read in one of your articles you observed them in the wild. I hope you can tell me about their preferred

zones in nature. thanks

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Rainford goby looking for a burger 7/1/04

Hi crew, Everyone seems to be complaining about hair algae, I could use some for my rainfordi. Is there anything I can give him in its place.

<well... its not actually the hair algae that they eat, but rather they sift sand and comb the turf looking for microorganisms. Hence the common (and accurate) recommendation for only keeping these fishes in huge tanks with lush algal turf (dense with critters) and/or mature refugiums>

I have not had any since I bought him 3 months ago. I have a 10 gallon (ammonia and nitrites 0, nitrates around 20 and 1 gallon change a week),

<ughhh... there is no chance IMO of this fish surviving in a 10 gallon aquarium under any practical circumstance. It is my strong advice that you trade, sell or donate this fish to a larger aquarium with the means to support it. Else is will continue to starve slowly in your tank. Can you get it to eat thawed frozen Mysis shrimp in the interim?>

with the rainfordi, a sixline wrasse, a clown goby and PJ cardinal.

The rainfordi just sifts sand. Is there any way I can tell if there is still any life left in my live sand?

The sixline eats everything and moves around a lot but they all get along including a peppermint shrimp. The clown and Cardinal

are not intimidated by the wrasse even though he usually beats them to the food. They seem to agree that whoever gets it first wins and the other one backs off including the wrasse.


The clown used to just peek out and grab food swimming by his hiding place but now he swims (actually scoots) to the top

when the food is there. The rainfordi has one torn gill fin split in two and tattered, looked like fin rot.

It has been like this two weeks and I do not see any improvement nor any problems with any other fins.

I've been using Melafix for a week but it has not improved.

Since it is only one fin it is more likely due to injury. Any suggestions?

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Regardless of what the fish eats, as far as keeping the fish, here's what Calfo says:


its best to do enough research about species you buy from non-commercial entities to put things in perspective and get an intelligent consensus. The overwhelming majority of hobby literature on this species states that it is categorically a very difficult fish to keep alive

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And... "Few aquarists keep this fish through a second year let alone a first."


Take it back to the LFS, and trade it in for something else. Two months is NO indication of health.

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OK, What are YOUR observations. I'm seeing a lot of email / conversations here but no references to documented scientific research. The statement above "The overwhelming majority of hobby literature...", comes from whom? (please cite your reference)


How do you,"...buy from non-commercial entities..."?


I suppose this is all referential non-academic fodder. I have a Rainford in my tank and I'll give personal observations from here on.


As for out dated information, I agree that the book that I reference is the first edition dated 1994. Your above submission dated 2004 is much more current.

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Quick apology.


Loganmonster, this was probably more than you were asking for.


Ceasar, if you want to continue this conversation PM me. It's nice to have someone who has as deep a passion for tanks to talk/spar with.



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My LFS won't take them or sell them because they say they're short lived in captivity. That's hear-say, but it's an opinion none the less. I say they're better off in larger tanks. I don't think anyone can dispute that.


Edit: Try and find a local reefer with a large tank who's willing to trade you a fish or frag for it.

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Who are "non-commercial entities"? People who aren't trying to sell you anything (LiveAquaria, your LFS, or other equipment or livestock sellers) and thus have information unbiased in relation to money. My sources above are from various contributors to WWM, all of which have decades of marine experience, schooling in this area, etc. etc. Check them out for yourself. You're telling me someone with 20 years marine experience and a PhD in marine biology as well as many studies on various fish and corals (and, in the case of Calfo, several published BOOKS) doesn't know what he's talking about??

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Besides, regardless of whether the goby needs the turf algae or the critters within, there's just no way he'd get enough in a tiny ten-gallon tank. And being fed other foods leads to malnourishment (fat but not getting the right nutrients, beyond just fats, proteins, vitamins, etc.), hence most not living past 1-2 years. Point is, take it back to the LFS or trade/sell it to someone who has a large, established tank.

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"documented scientific research"... No government-funded official studies, but how about decades of experience with them and the schooling to have the knowledge and ability to interpet these results?

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