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lgreen's Ultimate Guide To Nano Fish


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My apologies as I am having difficulty using the search function within this thread specifically, unless in fact there are very few mentions of the yellow assessor fish (besides OP's) in an 18-page thread, which seems unlikely(?).


I'm trying to find out more regarding the yellow assessor fish, which is listed in this thread in the 10g+ min. tank size category. What I'm struggling with in particular is that some sources seem to confirm this as the low end of tank size suitable for this fish...but then others specify 30 gallons...and, on top of that, I'm having trouble finding any literature or even customer reviews that mention anything other than these two figures (10g, and 30g) with respect to min. tank size which seems strange.


I guess my main concern is the degree of discrepancy between these two figures. If I googled a min. tank size for any given fish and was returned thousands of hits suggesting 12g or 15g...okay, there's a ballpark. 10g and 30g, though...seem too dissimilar and far apart for me to reconcile.

Reading about the swimming behavior, natural habitat, feeding preferences etc. for the yellow assessor have availed me no explanations as to why the min. recommended tank size would vary to such a great extent.

Does anyone have any insight into this?

because live aquaria has large min tank sizes so noobs don't kill fish. The flaming prawn goby is bet for picks but live Aquarians min tank size for it is 10 gallons.
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  • 1 month later...



Says Flame anglefish needs 70G plus?


I have a 29 Gallon BC, I planned on this being my last fish


6 fish

2 clown

1 royal gramma

1 watchman goby


Flame Anglefish


Any thoughts?

nice fish selection :) I'd keep the number of fish to around four unless you're running a skimmer other than the one it came with... when I first started out with a BC29 four fish still seemed a bit much for the filtration to handle (biological and mechanical). How's the flame angel doing in a smaller tank? angels are known for nipping at corals but a friend has had success with one in a larger tank, though.

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  • 8 months later...

What kind of stunning, in your face, fish would anyone recommend for a IM Nuvo Fusion 20?


This will be the only fish. Or maybe one of the max, 2 fish in the system. I want to do an ULNS. Will be running a skimmer too.


Since this is the only fish, I am thinking of a royal dottyback. I think it’s called bicolor pseudochromis in this guide. Any better suggestion?

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...
On 12/6/2017 at 2:06 PM, controlledentropy said:

What kind of stunning, in your face, fish would anyone recommend for a IM Nuvo Fusion 20?


This will be the only fish. Or maybe one of the max, 2 fish in the system. I want to do an ULNS. Will be running a skimmer too.


Since this is the only fish, I am thinking of a royal dottyback. I think it’s called bicolor pseudochromis in this guide. Any better suggestion?

IMO you can’t do better than a Six Line Wrasse. Amazing colors and tons of movement. My fav

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  • 1 month later...

I'm looking for some ideas/suggestions for an aquapod 24 that is heavily planned around being an invert/weirdo tank.  Mixed reef with SPS and LPS.  I love inverts a lot more then fish, but do want a few in there for movement as well as additional biodiversity.


I already have a yellow watchman and tiger pistol.  A mix of red legged and blue legged (tricolor) hermits, and various snails.


Since its a nano and invert focus'd tank whatever fish I get would need to be peaceful with them.  I'll probably get some sexy shrimp, porcelain crab, pom pom crab, and who knows what else that I can find.


Anything with cool symbiotic behavior or unique behavior is a bonus.  Part of why I liked the watchman/pistol so much.

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  • 8 months later...
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  • 3 months later...

Thank you so much for making a clear guide like this. I have been trying to absorb as much information as I can before I dive into this. Seems like there is not really a clear answer on anything in reefing and fish besides tank size and the quality of the water. Everyone seems to have their own opinions on how things should be, but yours is pretty open ended. Thank you, this has helped out alot.

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  • 2 months later...

Forgive me but I can’t really agree with putting any angelfish, not even a Pygmy / Cherub, in a tank less than 3 foot long and below 75 gallons. A 3-foot tank that’s at least 75 gallons can house one of the Pygmy / Cherub species. They like to swim around. For the more medium size dwarf angelfish (Coral Beauty, Flame, Half Black, Joculator etc.) I think a 4 foot tank that’s at least 90 gallons would be more ideal.


  Of course, I’m sure many of you have done it successfully so just ignore what I’ve said 🙂 if it’s working for you. I’m just a bit more cautious in this respect.

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Aquaculture update.


Fish available through ORA, based on their site:

Yellow and blue assessors

Coral beauty angels

Cherub angels

Diademas (aka skunkback)

Scooter Dragonets

Yellowtail Blue Damsel

Watchman Gobies



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If only they’d ship to China! I would love a Yellow Assessor and Blue Assessor and a Captive Bred Coral Beauty!


   Do they ship directly to hobbyists?

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On 4/12/2020 at 4:59 AM, Zionas said:

If only they’d ship to China! I would love a Yellow Assessor and Blue Assessor and a Captive Bred Coral Beauty!


   Do they ship directly to hobbyists?

No, you'll have to find a dealer that will buy fish from ORA or Biota. Here in America, ORA has a contract with Petco so that's a really common way to acquire ORA animals.

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  • 7 months later...

Hi I have a question. I have a 10g with one Ocellaris percula clownfish. Can I add anything else? I had 2 chromis but they died (reason unkown). I did water changes and I tested my parameters. PH was 8. Salinity was 1.024. NH4 was less than 0.005 ppm. Temperature is 27 degrees celcius. Also, I do 25 - 30 percent water changes every week and a 50 percent change every month.

Edited by ThePeculiarOcellaris
Extra Info
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  • 2 months later...
On 3/15/2013 at 7:16 AM, santacreekfurrows said:

what about sapphire blue/ blue sapphire damselfish?

I'm just getting back into the game after about 10 years out.  But...I had a lot of luck with Starckii Damsels in smaller tanks a while ago.


Beautiful fish, very active and nowhere near as aggressive as other damsels

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  • 6 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/25/2005 at 2:42 AM, lgreen said:


Fish Stocking Guide For Nano Reefs





By lgreen (copyright 2005-2013)









Note: You are welcome to place a link to this guide on another website or forum, however, do not place the actual article itself on your forum or website with out my permission. Your link must direct traffic to it's original form here on nano-reef.com.


Table of Contents


I. Introduction

II. How To Use This Guide

III. General Feeding Info

IV. Feeding Suggestions By Diet Type

V. Feeding Suggestions by Fish Group

VI. Nano Fish Compatibility

VII. Nano Fish Listed By Tank Size

VIII. Nano Fish Listed By Major Groups w/ Detailed Info

IX. Bibliography & Acknowledgments


I. Introduction


The purpose of this thread is to provide you with a fairly comprehensive guide to fish for the nano reef aquarium.


As reefing in general is not an exact science the approach I have taken to organizing this information is to provide a framework that includes my knowledge and experience with nano fish both as a hobbyist and professionally, but also to encourage others to share their experience and knowledge for the benefit of everyone.


Your Responsibility As A Fish Owner



  • Fish are living things and deserve to be cared for as you would any other animal. Their life and well-being should not be valued by their price or just because they are easy to replace. As a fish owner you should strive to give your fish the most natural life possible, respecting that you have removed this animal from it's natural environment. To be straightforward, if you aren't willing to put forth the effort, time, money, and do the necessary research to properly take care of and create the ideal environment for your fish, you need to find a different hobby.


Words Of Wisdom


  • Design your aquarium around what fish you would like to inhabit it with. Never expect a fish to just adapt to a less than adequate tank size.
  • Plan your aquarium around the maximumsize the fish will get. Just because it is a baby does not give you an excuse to keep it in a smaller tank.
  • Regardless of what the fish guy at Walmart told you, fish do not only grow to the size of the tank you put them in.
  • Fish stores are businesses and looking to make money. There are some great fish stores that really do care about their customers, their customer's tanks, and give out great advice. Unfortunately, that is not as often the case as it should be. Exercise extreme caution when taking advice from fish stores until you know they are really interested in helping you have an amazing tank and not just taking your money.
  • Research, research, and more research! Learn everything you can!



II. How To Use This Guide


Basic Overview


There are four major sections with in this guide: feeding, compatibility (coming soon), fish suggestions by tank size, and fish suggestions by group. The feeding section allows you to get feeding suggestions based on diet type (carnivore, herbivore, omnivore, etc.) and more specifically by fish group, which includes more detailed info.


The compatibility section will most likely be in the form of a table in which you will be able to see how the species interacts with other fish species, corals, and invertebrates. In the fish by tank size section a list of appropriate fish will follow each of the major divisions of tank sizes, as well, include a brief estimation of how many fish would appropriate for that tank size. In the fish by group section, more detailed information will be provided about the major group each fish belongs to with some specific notes about each fish when necessary. You will also see a estimated maximum size the fish will grow to and the ideal tank size. The ideal tank size will be a compromise based on what is socially practiced by many nano-reefers and what is often recommended by experts. Some of these ideal tank sizes may be controversial and if you believe so, you are welcome to bring that up in this thread so we can all as a community discuss it.


Things To Keep In Mind



  • -Some of this will surely be my opinion or the opinion of others. If you feel strongly against something I have said, please pm me so we can discuss it and make changes if necessary.
    -This is just to get you started--ultimately you need to do more research on your fish choice before buying
    -Also keep in mind I may list some things that are pushing it. I don’t know whether you are a beginner or expert, if you know how to do a water change or not, so I will assume anyone who uses this guide has some common sense and basic understanding of nano reefing. For example, the fact that I list some fish appropriate for a 0.5g and 2.5g tank, does not automatically mean you should keep a fish in a tank that size. Rather, it means if you are capable of maintaining the added bioload of keeping a fish in a tank that size, then these fish would be appropriate choices.
    -Don’t forget to keep your bioload in mind. While a dwarf lionfish may only get 4-6”, due to their diet, the contribution to your tanks bioload will be much more significant.



How You Can Contribute To This Thread


Again, I would like to strongly encourage everyone to share his or her knowledge and experience. Please feel free to suggest additions, corrections, or other changes.


Also, I've tried to make note when a species is available captive-bred, so if you learn of a new species that is available, let me know!


III. General Feeding Info


General Thoughts


Meeting the nutritional needs of your fish is absolutely essential to their growth, survival, and reproduction. When feeding fish, we are trying to replicate not only what a fish eats, but when and how it eats in nature. The feeding preference of fish typically falls into one of five categories: carnivores, who eat meaty foods; herbivores, who eat plant matter; omnivores, who eat both meat and plants; piscivores, who eat other fish; and finally lamnivores (detrivores), who obtain their energy from eating the animal and plant matter found with in detritus. You can get a good idea of what to feed your fish just by figuring out what feeding category your fish falls into. It's important to remember that not only can you starve your fish, but you can actually overfeed them too, both of which can have negative health consequences. Fish are opportunistic eaters, meaning they never know when they will get their next meal, so eat whenever food is a available. You many notice your fish eats anytime you put food in the aquarium, but that doesn't mean they are hungry, rather just taking advantage of an opportunity. While it is important for you to feed your fish, you also need to limit feeding too. Overfeeding usually has drastic consequences on water quality anyways, so why would you want to put food in your tank if you don't have to. There are few different types of food commonly available: live, flake/pellet/freeze-dried, frozen, and some hobbyists feed fresh meats and/or vegetable/algae. For the purpose of keeping things simple I am mostly going to stick with what the average reefer is feeding, which is usually a commercially prepared flake/pellet and/or commercially frozen foods. I am revisit this topic later at some point to include live and fresh foods, but wont really get into that right now.


A few things to keep in mind


  • -The more variety the better...keep multiple types of food and switch things up frequently. Feed a general staple food such as plain frozen brine shrimp or a general omnivore flake food (such as ocean nutrition formula one) and then supplement that with a variety of other frozen, flake, fresh, and live foods.
    -Stick with high quality foods that are low in moisture, ash, and high in vitamins and nutrients.
    -Use or mix in foods that are enhanced with HUFA, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin C. Liquid supplements are also available that can be added to any type of food.
    -Do not overfeed!
    -Again, I will provide you with suggestions, but ultimately it is up to you to research the nutritional requirements of your fish.



Note: In making my suggestions I will refer to foods specifically made by Ocean Nutrition, H2O Life, and San Fransisco Bay Brand, given these are the brands I use and have the most experience with. There are many other high quality manufactures of fish food though and those manufactures often have comparable products that you could use in place of the brands I mention if you wish.


Feeding Schedule


There really isn't an great well-summarizing answer to how often or how much you should feed your fish with a lot of what you hear being based on experience and/or opinion. Some people feed once a day, some feed every other day, and others feed small amounts several times a day. I don't think one way is right over the other, but for simplicity, will suggest a small amount once or twice a day. You want to try to incorporate in as much variety as you can. If you feed once a day, feed something different or switch back and forth every day. If you feed twice a day, perhaps try frozen at the first feeding and flake at the second. Again, with feeding twice a day I'd suggest your second feeding complement what you did with your first feeding. For example, if in the morning you fed a meaty high protein frozen food then use an algae/seaweed flake for the second feeding. The amount you feed...although I'm not a fan of rules of thumb, I think only feeding what your fish can fully eat in about 5 minutes is a good place to start. If it is all gone before 5 min, perhaps add a little more. If there is a lot of extra food flying around after 5 min, obviously you need to cut back. Any extra uneaten food will have a negative impact on your water quality. Have a good sharp knife too because most likely you will be using fractions of frozen cubes, not the whole cube. For that reason, it can be easier to use frozen flat packs which make it easier to break off only what you need, if the frozen food type you want is available that way.


How to use the feeding suggestion guide


There are two different ways you can use the feeding guide. I will provide feeding suggestions based on if the fish is a carnivore, herbivore, omnivore, piscivore, or detrivore and I will also provide feeding suggestions for each specific group of fish, noting species that do not follow trends of the group as a whole or have additional special needs. To save time, so I don't have to repeat myself, I'm going to make a list of the common foods by manufacture, and then will refer to those foods by number in both sections of the guide.


Food list by manufacture


  • Ocean Nutrition
    1. Formula 1
    2. Formula 2
    3. Brine Shrimp Plus
    4. Brine Shrimp Plus w/ HUFA
    5. Prime Reef
    6. Angel Formula
    7. Spirulina Formula
    8. Pygmy Angel Formula
    9. Formula 1
    10. Formula 2
    11. Prime Reef
    12. Nano Formula
    Dry Seaweed:
    13. Green/Brown/Red Algae/Seaweed



  • H2O Life
    14. Brine Shrimp
    15. Mysis Shrimp
    16. Cyclops
    17. Spirulina/Brine Shrimp/Mysis Special Mix
    18. Marine Fusion
    19. Silversides IQF
    20. Fresh Krill
    Dry Seaweed:
    21. Green/Brown Seaweed



  • San Fransisco Bay Brand
    22. Brine Shrimp
    23. Spirulina Enhanced Brine Shrimp
    24. Marine Cuisine
    25. Omega Brine
    26. Angel and Butterfly
    27. Emerald Entrée
    28. Cyclops
    29. Reef Plankton
    30. Krill
    31. Silversides



IV. Feeding Suggestions By Diet Type


Carnivores: 1,3,4,5,6,9,11,14,15,18,19,20,22,24,25,26,30,31


-Strictly Plant/Algae based: 2,7,10,13,21,27

-Blends that include Plant/Alage which herbivores can feed on: 1,8,9,12,17,23

Omnivores: They will basically eat on most of what is listed above. I'd recommend using the blended frozen/flake mixes and/or alternating between carnivore and herbivore frozen/flake formulas.

Piscivores: 19,20,30,31


V. Feeding Suggestions By Fish Group


Coming soon!


Angels (Dwarf)






Damselfish (Damsels, Chromis, Clownfish)

Dartfish (Firefish)

Dottybacks (Pseudochromis)














VI. Nano Fish Compatibility (Coming Soon!!)


VII. Nano Fish Listed By Tank Size


Note: Suggestions for Seahorses by tank size can be found under the "Seahorse" heading in the next section of the guide, Nano Fish Listed By Group, for the time being.




  • Green = Beginner (Ideal for first time fish owners and or new tanks)
    Black = Intermediate (Ideal for hobbyists with established tanks)
    Red = Difficult (Ideal for experience hobbyists who can meet the special needs of these fish)
    ** = Available Tank Raised (Please let me know if I am missing any)
    V = Venomous



Note: There is a lot of controversy around the idea of keeping saltwater fish in tanks under 10g. Whether or not it is ethical will be up to you to decide and not something I'm going to get into. Like it or not, the fact is there are going to be people who do it. Therefore, I would rather at least provide those people with some guidance to make good choices instead of just leaving them in the dark.


Note Mandarins/Dragonets: There is a lot of controversy around the idea of keeping fish from the Dragonet family in nano tanks. Whether or not it is ethical will be for you to decide and not something I'm going to get into. I personally do not encourage people to keep dragonets in nano tanks, however, despite my feelings there a many who have successfully kept them in smaller tanks, there for I will include them in this guide.


0.5g Pico (1.9 L) (Includes Red Sea 0.5g Deco Art) (1 extra small fish)



  • -Blue Neon Goby**
    -Catalina Goby [cold water]
    -Clown Gobies**
    -Eviota Gobies
    -Panda (Clown) Goby
    -Redhead Goby**
    -Trimma Goby
    -Yellow Neon Goby**



2.5g Pico - 5g (9.46 - 18.93 L) (Includes 2.5g Minibow, Eclipse Explorer, JBJ 3g Pico, 5g Minibow) (1 fish)



  • All of the above plus:
    -Citron Goby
    -Green Banded Goby (added by c'est ma)**



6-7g (~26.5 L) (Includes 6g Fluval Edge, 7g Minibow, 6g Eclipse, 6g CPR, 6g Nano Cube, 8g Aquawave) (1-2 fish)

Note: Keep in mind that the display area of all-in-one tanks hold less water than the total tank since some of that water is in the filtration area. When picking out fish, pick fish based on the display area volume, not the total tank volume.



  • All of the above plus:
    -Ocellaris Clownfish (False Percula)** (1, if you want a pair, move up to 10g+)
    -Percula Clownfish (True Percula)** (1, if you want a pair, move up to 10g+)



10g (38 L) (Includes 12g Aquapod, 12g Nano Cube, 12g Eclipse, 11g Via Aqua, 12g Biocube) (2-3 fish)


Note: Keep in mind that the display area of all-in-one tanks hold less water than the total tank since some of that water is in the filtration area. When picking out fish, pick fish based on the display area volume, not the total tank volume.



  • All of the above plus:
    -Atlantic Pygmy/Cherub Angelfish
    -Yellow Assessor**
    -Blue Assessor
    -Tailspot Blenny (added by Steelhealr)
    -Threadfin Cardinalfish
    -Green Chromis Damsel
    -Yellow Tail Blue Damsel
    -Three Spot Damsel
    -Talbot’s Damsel
    -Three Stripe Damsel
    -Firefish Goby
    -Helfrich’s Firefish [$$$$!]
    -Purple Firefish Goby
    -Bicolor Psuedochromis
    -Diadem Pseudochromis
    -Fridmani (Orchid) Pseudochromis**
    -Purple Pseudochromis
    -Springeri Pseudochromis** (added by spazizz)
    -Scooter Blenny [with caution, not for beginners]
    -Red Scooter Blenny [with caution, not for beginners]
    -Painted Frogfish
    -Wartskin Frogfish
    -Blackray Shrimp Goby
    -Orange Stripe Goby
    -Orangespotted Goby
    -Randall’s Shrimp Goby
    -Yasha Hasha Goby
    -Wheeler’s Shrimp Goby
    -Yellow Watchman Goby
    -Rainfordi Goby
    -Royal Gramma
    -Falco Hawkfish
    -Flame Hawkfish
    -Pearly (Yellowhead) Jawfish
    -Possum Wrasse



20g (76 L) (Includes 24g Aquapod, 24g Nano Cube, 20g Finnex M Tank) (3-5 fish)


Note: Keep in mind that the display area of all-in-one tanks hold less water than the total tank since some of that water is in the filtration area. When picking out fish, pick fish based on the display area volume, not the total tank volume.



  • All of the above plus:
    -Coral Beauty Angelfish
    -Flame Angelfish
    -Halfblack Angelfish
    -Potter’s Angelfish
    -Rusty Angelfish
    -Chalk Bass
    -Lantern Bass
    -Bicolor Blenny
    -Midas Blenny
    -Redspotted Blenny
    -Redlip Blenny
    -Yellowtail Fang Blenny (V)
    -Bangaii Cardinalfish**
    -Orangestriped Cardinalfish
    -Flame Cardinalfish
    -Pajama Cardinalfish
    -Clarki Clownfish **
    -Maroon Clownfish **
    -Orange Skunk Clownfish **
    -Pink Skunk Clownfish **
    -Tomato Clownfish **
    -Dwarf Golden Moray Eel (added by lakshwadeep)
    -Bar Goby
    -Blue Gudgeon Goby
    -Green Mandarin Goby [with caution, not for beginners]
    -Yellow Target Mandarin [with caution, not for beginners]
    -Blackcap Basslet **
    -Arc Eye Hawkfish
    -Longnose Hawkfish
    -Bluespot Jawfish (added by fish n' pets)
    -Dusky Jawfish (added by fish n' pets)
    -Fu Manchu Lionfish (V)
    -Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish (V)
    -Dragon Pipefish [with caution, not for beginners]
    -Banded Pipefish [with caution, not for beginners]
    -Bluestripe Pipefish [with caution, not for beginners]
    -Bennett’s Toby
    -Valentini (Saddleback) Toby (placement in 20g min suggested by Bread)
    -White Spot Toby
    -Carpenter Flasher Wrasse
    -Filamented Flasher Wrasse
    -Fourline Wrasse (placement in 20g min suggested by Travis)
    -Longfin Fairy Wrasse
    -Pink Streaked/Cryptic Wrasse (suggested by bnaef17)
    -Redfin Fairy Wrasse
    -Sixline Wrasse
    -Tricolor (Lubbock’s) Fairy Wrasse
    -Twinspot Hogfish



30g (114 L) (Includes Red Sea Max, 32g Finnex M Tank) (4-6 fish)



  • All of the above plus:
    -Ebli’s Angelfish
    -Lemonpeel Angelfish
    -Dispar Anthias [with caution, not for beginners]
    -Fathead (Sunburst) Anthias [not for beginners] (added by Pili)
    -Longfin Anthias [w/ caution, not for beginners]
    -Convict Blenny (Note: These guys do not stay 5 inches like many books say. I have handled many that were 12"+)
    -Lawnmower Blenny [mega herbivore, keep in mind]
    -Snowflake Eel
    -Giant Frogfish
    -Blue Spot Puffer
    -Yellow Choris (Canary) Wrasse



VIII. Nano Fish Listed By Fish Group & Fish


This section has been removed temporarily because it's contents were very out of date and need reviewed. I'll try to have it back up soon.


Additional contributors are noted throughout the guide. Thanks for you input.


Current Permissions for Use





Copyright lgreen 2005-2013.

elbi and lemonpeel can be cb 

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  • 7 months later...
On 12/24/2005 at 11:42 PM, lgreen said:

Blackray Shrimp Goby
-Orange Stripe Goby
-Orangespotted Goby
-Randall’s Shrimp Goby
-Yasha Hasha Goby
-Wheeler’s Shrimp Goby

why aren't any of these shrimp goby pairs beginner?

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