Green Clown Goby (Gobiodon histrio): Ultimate Care Guide

The Green Clown Goby is native to the Indo Pacific region and has a stocky body shape with a large head compared to the rest of their bodies. Also known as the Earspot Coral Goby, this fish has yellow to greenish-tan coloration with orange vertical stripes on its head. Green Clown Gobies are mostly reef safe and enjoy perching on SPS and other corals. They have been known to nibble some corals, and during breeding a Green Clown pair will often clear space on corals for laying eggs. This slight damage to corals is the only reason this species isn’t completely reef safe. They are mostly peaceful and secrete a poisonous slime on their bodies as protection from predators. This extra protection means they don’t need to fight, but shouldn’t be paired with aggressive predators such as Lionfish. If you’re thinking about adding this species to your tank you’ll need to understand a few things to properly care for them. We’ve put together this guide with everything you’ll need to know for years of success with this hardy marine species!

Green Clown Goby
Green Clown Goby

Green Clown Goby Care

Green Clown Gobies are an easy to care for species which can live in aquariums as small as 10 gallons. They are carnivores which need a steady diet of live and frozen meaty foods. Green Clowns enjoy sifting sand and may leave some food uneaten which can spoil tank water without extra attention. It’s important to keep a close watch on your tank’s water parameters and perform water changes as needed to ensure purity.

Are Green Clown Goby easy to care for?

Once a Green Clown Goby becomes accustomed to eating in captivity they are mostly hardy fish which are a good choice for beginning hobbyists. This species prefers the company of SPS corals which will add extra complication if they are included in your tank setup.


Green Clown Gobies are comfortable with common reef tank temperatures between 72° and 78° F.

Water pH

Green Clown Gobies need water pH levels between 8.1 and 8.4.

Green Clown Goby Size

Green Clown Gobies can reach a maximum adult size of 1¾ inches.

Food & Diet

Green Clown Gobies are carnivores and need a diet of live and frozen meaty foods like brine shrimp, frozen mysis shrimp or other prepared frozen foods intended for carnivores. This fish isn’t a fast eater and may take a while to find and consume food. If your tank has faster feeding fishes you’ll need to watch to ensure that Gobies are getting enough to eat. As they are mainly bottom feeders you’ll want to select food which sinks quickly. Wild caught Gobies may take a while to become accustomed to frozen food. Sinking foods can help them get closer and try a bite. Once they become used to frozen and prepared foods they’ll begin eating regularly.


Most Green Clown Gobies can live 3 to 6 years in captivity. Providing excellent care can help them reach 9 years or more.

Tank Size

Green Clown Gobies can live in tanks as small as 10 gallons. In practice, they are happier in larger mature reef aquariums.

Green Clown Goby (Gobiodon histrio)
Green Clown Goby (Gobiodon histrio)

Tank Setup

Green Clown Gobies are sand sifters which can tolerate living in smaller nano aquariums but enjoy the presence of SPS corals. Without SPS corals you should provide rocks and caves for hiding and claiming territory. The Green Clown Goby isn’t an aggressive species but likes to have an area of the tank to claim as their own. Including rocks and caves can help them pick a protected area of the tank where they feel safe.

Do Green Clown Goby Hide?

Some Green Clown Gobies are more shy than others. Many Green Clowns will spend large portions of the day hiding, only venturing away from shelter for feeding. Having smaller active fish in the aquarium can give them company, and might encourage them to explore outside their caves or sheltered areas.


It’s possible to breed Green Clown Gobies in captivity, but they need large and peaceful aquariums without other fish to distract or intimidate them. 100 gallons is the smallest breeding tank you should consider. If Green Clowns are packed into a small aquarium with members of the same species they may fight. With a large aquarium where each fish has their own territory they can become comfortable enough with each others presence to successfully breed. This species can change genders, so a breeding pair will switch sex as needed when they’re ready to breed.

How do Green Clown Goby breed?

Green Clown Gobies need a suitable location to lay eggs such as the undersides of SPS coral, a stable lighting schedule, regular feeding, and slightly increased water temperatures. Unfortunately they can cause tissue recession in corals where they lay eggs. Once fry hatch they should be moved to a smaller area were they can be protected from larger fish and specially fed. While Goby parents will protect their fry most aquariums don’t have enough microfauna to properly feed the young. Goby fry should be fed rotifers for the first two weeks. During this time it’s important to slowly introduce freshly hatched brine shrimp. Taper off rotifer supply while increasing brine shrimp; completely eliminating rotifers by the 25th day. After 40 days you can try giving the Goby fry dried foods and frozen brine shrimp. Throughout this early rearing period it’s critical to keep water as pure as possible. Goby fry won’t be able to eat all food supplied and much will be left to spoil. It’s usually necessary to perform 50% water changes every week to remove as much tainted water as possible.

Male or Female

Green Clown Goby females are often the smaller members of a breeding pair. This species is capable of switching sexes, so any two individuals kept together will eventually switch to a male and a female regardless of their starting sex. Often the larger fish will become the male while the smaller will switch to female if necessary.


Green Clown Gobies are hardy, but are still susceptible to common marine fish diseases such as Ich, Velvet, and other bacterial and parasitic infections. Many of these conditions can be treated, but the best preventive measure you can take is fully quarantining all new tank additions for 4 to 6 weeks before adding to your main display aquarium. Wild caught Gobies should spend enough time in quarantine to begin eating normally. A healthy appetite is a good sign that they’re healthy and can be introduced to other fish.

Tank Mates

Green Clown Gobies are mostly peaceful fish which are easy to pair with many different species. While they aren’t aggressive they do produce a poisonous slime on their bodies as protection against being eaten by predators. Avoid aggressive species which may brave this defensive slime to cause serious damage.

Are Green Clown Goby and Pistol Shrimp compatible as tank mates?

Green Clown Goby can coexist with Pistol Shrimp, but may not display the same type of symbiotic behavior with the shrimp as Watchman Gobies. If you’re looking for a fish to form a bonded pair with a Pistol Shrimp then the Green Clown Goby likely isn’t the species you want.

Examples of Compatible and Incompatible Tank Mates

Green Clown Gobies should usually not be paired with other Goby species; especially in smaller aquariums. Even two Green Clowns in the same tank can have problems unless the tank is large enough for each to have their own territory. They can get along with other non-Goby bottom dwellers and they enjoy the company of SPS corals. Green Clown Gobies can be successfully paired with Blennies, Seahorses, Dragonets, and Assessors. Extremely aggressive species like Lionfish, Scorpionfish, or Groupers should be avoided as they are capable of attacking and killing many Goby species including Clowns.

Where can I find Green Clown Goby for sale?

Green Clown Gobies are popular aquarium fish which can be bought at local fish stores or from online sources. Expect to pay between around $25 USD to over $80 USD depending on size. Often new Gobies will need extra care to become accustomed to eating in captivity. If your new additions aren’t eating, make sure to feed with sinking foods and give them rocks and caves to hide in while they grow familiar with their new surroundings.

Green Clown Goby vs Yellow Clown Goby

Green Clown Goby and Yellow Clown Goby differ in coloration and place of origin. Yellow Clown Gobies are from the western Pacific from southern Japan to the Great Barrier Reef. Green Clown Gobies are more common on reefs in the Indo Pacific region. Both species have similar care needs, and some hobbyists have successfully kept them together in the same aquarium. Keeping multiple Goby species together is difficult. If you plan to try this pairing watch closely for any signs of violence, and separate them if necessary.

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