Peacock Gudgeon (Tateurndina ocellicauda): Ultimate Care Guide


The Peacock Gudgeon (Tateurndina ocellicauda), also known as Peacock Goby, is a vibrantly colored freshwater fish that lives in the shallows of Papa New Guinea, New Zealand, and Australia. They belong to the Eleotridae family and are the only fish in the Tateurndina genus. They have long, slender bodies, rounded heads and are usually considered one of the most beautiful species you can have in your tank. Mostly due to the silvery-blue shade of their scales, the subtle yellow hue of their bellies, and laterally dotted stripes of red along their length. This same coloration continues onto their fins, where they also have an edge of yellow. At the base of the fin, they also have a large black “eye spot” which gives the fish its “peacock” comparison.

Peacock gudgeons are peaceful fish by nature and have a good temperament, making them a good choice for a novice aquarist. However, attention to their basic needs will be required to ensure they stay healthy.

Male and Female Peacock Gudgeons

Peacock gudgeons have a few characteristics that distinguish males from females.

Males will grow to as large as 3 inches in length, while the females will be only half the size (about 1.5 to 2 inches). Female coloration also differs slightly by having a black edge on the anal fin and a yellow belly, while males will be more vibrant and can develop a nuchal hump that makes their heads look more rounded.

Peacock Gudgeon Care

Peacock gudgeons inhabit waters in shallow streams or still ponds. It’s important to not let your tank flow become too strong or fast. They will have trouble swimming freely and this will stress them out.

These waters are filled with vegetation and warm so keep your water temperature to between 72 degrees Fahrenheit to 79 degrees. PH levels should be maintained at around 6 to 7.8, but 7 is ideal. Water hardness should be 5 to 12 dKH. It is important to keep the levels stable in the tank. It is better to keep the tank at a constant temperature of 4 degrees than to have it fluctuate constantly between 72 and 79 degrees. Sudden fluctuations in the water condition are disastrous to the health of your fish.

Make sure to perform regular water tests to ensure that these parameter levels are kept stable.

Peacock Gudgeon (Tateurndina ocellicauda)
Peacock Gudgeon (Tateurndina ocellicauda)

Peacock Gudgeon Size

Peacock gudgeons are about 3 inches long on average. Females usually get no larger than 2 and a half inches.

Food & Diet

Diet can be a difficult thing with peacock gudgeons. They are a very picky species when it comes to food. It’s good to feed them live protein-rich foods, such as bloodworms, daphnia, and brine shrimp. Some aquarists claim that they are able to convince their peacock gudgeons to eat dry food. Try it if you want and see if your fish like it but you should still supplement their diet with live or frozen food to keep them happy and healthy. Their colors will also become more vibrant if fed a good diet of live foods.

If attempting to get them to eat dried flakes, the best way is by mixing it in among other live foods until they become used to it. Accepting such food could take quite a bit of time.

It is best to feed them once a day if you are feeding them live food or once every two days if giving them a frozen diet.

Peacock Gudgeon Lifespan

In good conditions, peacock gudgeons can live for 4 to 5 years. As with any fish, the key to keeping them healthy and long-lived is to maintain their tanks. Poor water conditions shorten their lifespan and cause disease.

Peacock Gudgeon Tank Size

Being only 3 inches at maximum, peacock gudgeons don’t require a lot of room. Especially since they aren’t that big on swimming around the tank at the best of times. A minimum tank size of 15 gallons is all you need for a small group of 6-8. Of course, if you’re going to want a large group of them or a tank with multiple species in it you will have to go larger. Especially if you want to include them with species that are known to be territorial.

Tank Setup

Peacock gudgeons thrive in aquariums with a lot of plants. Heavily aquascaped tanks are ideal for this type of fish and the more plants the better to make them happy. You’ll want to choose a wide variety of hardy types. Water wisteria, java fern, Anubias, and more are good to consider. A lot of foliage will mimic their natural habitat and give them places to hide and feel safe.

Since they enjoy darting around and playing among the leaves so much you’ll need to make sure the plants are durable enough to take it. Delicate vegetation is going to get torn up in record time. You can embed these plants in a dark sand substrate, gravel can cause injury.

Be sure to add in a good selection of rocks and pieces of driftwood. Again, hiding spots are good to have. The rocks can be used to design caves for privacy and seclusion when breeding. Alternately you can purchase a fabricated system or just use a PVC pipe. As long as it’s big enough for them to enter and exit.

In natural environments, peacock gudgeons swim in slow-moving streams or still ponds so be careful not to allow the flow of your tank to be too strong or too fast. This means to consider carefully the filter’s outlet. Refrain from using strong pumps or powerful air bladders and be sure to break up the current they produce. The best way to do this is to direct the flow towards the tank walls or place other decorations in front of it.

Another consideration when picking a filter is that you will want to keep the nitrate levels of the tank low. Of course, the total number of fish in your community will also play a role in your decision.

As far as lighting goes, peacock gudgeons don’t require a great deal. A small, dim lamp in your fish tank should be just enough for them. If the lamp has an adjustable intensity you can even change the lighting levels throughout the day as needed.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that peacock gudgeons are very adept jumpers. So ensure a tight-fitting lid on your tank to keep them from escaping the tank.

Peacock Gudgeon Breeding

Peacock gudgeons are easier to breed than a lot of fish species. They tend to create bonds with one another with little difficulty and form close pairs. If you notice two of your fish forming romantic attachments it is best to move them to a special breeding tank. Preferably one with a cave of some type of hideaway for them to breed in stress-free safety.

Provide the pair with a lot of protein-rich live foods and change the water. Once they are ready the male will perform a dance for the female by flaring his pectoral fins and swimming around the cave entrance. The female will then swim into the cave and lay anywhere from 50 to 100 eggs. These eggs will adhere to the walls or even the ceiling of the cave.

Once the female has laid the eggs she will leave the cave and the rest will be done by the male. He will fertilize the eggs and keep watch over them as they incubate. This process will take about a week and a half until the eggs finally hatch. Afterward the male will abandon the fry to fend for themselves.

At this point in the breeding process, the male and female can be removed from the breeding tank and placed back into the regular tank with the other fish.

The fry can’t swim on their own for the first weeks so you will need to keep them well-fed in order for them to grow. Feed them infusoria and powdered food at first until they grow larger. Then move them up to baby brine shrimp once you feel they can handle it.

Most of the young peacock gudgeons will reach maturity within 6 to 8 months. At which point they will be almost their full length, though they may still grow bigger in a few more months.

Peacock Gudgeon Disease

Peacock gudgeon are susceptible to the normal diseases you can find in any fish species. Of special note are Ich, “hole-in-head” disease, fish dropsy, and other parasitic infections.

Ich is a stress-related disease caused by parasites. You can recognize it by tiny white dots scattering over the fish’s body. It is contagious but very easy to treat with over-the-counter medications. Just remember to quarantine infected fish first. Ich can also be a result of poor water conditions, so check ammonia, temperature, and pH balance conditions for your tank to make sure they are in an acceptable range.

Fish dropsy is a typical fish disease caused by bacterial infection of the kidneys. The condition causes fluid retention in the kidneys, causing the fish to take on a bloated appearance. You can treat this with antibiotics and proper care. Be sure to monitor your ammonia and nitrate levels in the tank carefully to make sure they are at proper levels.

Peacock gudgeons are also known to be vulnerable to “Hole-in-the-Head” disease. Also known as head and lateral line disease. This causes visible pits to form on the head and face. It is suspected that this is caused by nutrient deficiencies combined with poor water quality. So it is recommended to change 25% to 30% of the tank’s water each week.

Worms and parasitic infections can also occur. Anchor worms can latch onto a fish’s head and body. This can cause fish to try and scratch them off against various decorations in the tank, causing damage to their own body.

Skin and gill flukes can also occur. These are tiny worms that will attach themselves to fish and create small lesions. While small infestations are not a major problem, larger ones can easily kill your fish. These can be treated with antifungal and antibacterial medications.

Naturally, the best way to deal with disease is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Maintain good tank conditions and replace 30-50 percent of the water every two weeks to ensure a healthy environment for your fish.

Peacock Gudgeon Tank Mates

Peacock gudgeons are peaceful fish that get along well with other species of non-aggressive fish. When choosing tankmates its best to pair them with fish of a similar size of temperament. Placing larger or more aggressive fish in the tank will likely stress your gudgeon out. Territorial fish added to the tank will need extra room added in so they can carve out their own territory without threatening the gudgeon.

Peacock gudgeons are happiest if you keep them in schools of 6 to 8. You can keep a single pair together but they will not be content and will become more easily stressed. You may notice that males in the group will occasionally fight with one another. This is usually merely play-fighting among the males and will rarely, if ever, result in any real injury or problems. If aggression among the males becomes too intense, then consider adding a few more females into the tank. Ensuring that there are enough space for all tankmates is important as well.

Some suitable tankmates are bumblebee goby, celestial pearl danios, cherry barbs, Cory catfish, ember tetra, harlequin rasbora, and Kuli loach.

Where to Find Peacock Gudgeon for Sale?

Peacock gudgeon are a popular fish and can be found in most stores that sell fish. They can also easily be found online in shops and on Ebay. Most of those you find for sale will have been bred in captivity.

Fish Laboratory

With decades of collective fishkeeping experience, we are happy to share the fish care tips that we've picked up along the way. Our goal at Fish Laboratory is to keep publishing accurate content to help fishkeepers keep their fish and aquarium healthy.

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