Sand Sifting Goby: Choosing the Best Type and Care Guide


Sand Sifting Gobies can make a great addition to any tank. Not only are Sand Sifting Gobies beautiful, but they are also highly entertaining to watch with their habit of sifting through the sand. There are several different types of Sand Sifting Gobies, and this article will give you a brief overview of most of them. Keep reading if you are interested in adding some Sand Sifting Gobies to your tank today.

A Sand Sifting Goby is a saltwater species of fish. They get their name from their habit of sifting through sand in order to eat. They eat through the sand, swallowing any food they get and expelling the sand through their fins. We’re going to cover several types of Sand Sifting Gobies: Yellow Watchman Gobies, Orange Spotted Gobies, Diamond Sleeper Gobies, Bluefin Watchman Gobies, Decorated Gobies, and many other species of Gobies.

Why are Sand Sifting Goby beneficial to Aquariums?

Sand Sifting Gobies are actually very helpful in most tanks. This is because when they sift through the sand looking for food, they aerate the substrate. Aerating the substrate releases toxic gases; this is very important for deep sand beds where those gases could get trapped. They also eat any uneaten food left in the substrate, which helps regulate the water parameters.

Sand Sifting Goby Care

Caring for a Sand Sifting Goby isn’t one size fits all., Each different species of Sand Sifting Gobies each requires its own tank parameters and setup. Although, most Sand Sifting Gobies are a bit similar. Continue reading for a general overview of every aspect you need to consider when setting a tank for a Sand Sifting Goby.

Sand Sifting Goby
Sand Sifting Goby

Sand Sifting Goby Temperature

Temperature is an important parameter to consider when setting up a tank, as the wrong temperature can impact the species in your tank. A good temperature range for most Sand Sifting Gobies is between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll likely need a heater to ensure your tank stays within that range.

Sand Sifting Goby pH

When you’re setting up a tank, you want it to emulate the native habitats of the species contained within. But since there are many different species of Sand Sifting Gobies, you want to make sure you plan on having a general pH to ensure all the species are content. A general pH level of a tank that includes Sand Sifting Gobies should be between 8.1 – 8.5. If you check the water regularly, you can ensure that you catch any slight fluctuations in pH level before they become a much bigger problem.

Sand Sifting Goby Food & Diet

As their name implies, Sand Sifting Gobies sift through the sand in search of food. They are also carnivorous, which means they like meat, but they prefer a diet of live food. You can feed your Sand Sifting Gobies fish or krill, as well as pellets or flakes. Whatever they don’t eat instantly will drift down into the substrate, and that is where their name comes into play. A Sand Sifting Goby will spend the rest of their day sifting through the sand, looking for that food. It is an entertaining sight.

Sand Sifting Goby Lifespan

Their lifespan will suffer if you mistreat or neglect your Sand Sifting Goby. It will also suffer if you do not feed them a healthy balanced diet. When kept in captivity, most species of Sand Sifting Gobies have a life span of about 5 to 8 years. But keep in mind that number is likely only for well-cared-for Sand Sifting Gobies.

Sand Sifting Goby Tank Setup

As their name implies, sand is vital to Sand Sifting Gobies. It would be best to have a sandy substrate in any tank you plan on putting them in. You also need to ensure that the sand is deep enough for them to burrow and sift through. It is also imperative that you make sure any tank decorations in your tank are secure. This is because Sand Sifting Gobies may unintentionally dislodge any decorations in the tank while burrowing or sifting and injure themselves in the process.

Sand Sifting Goby Tank Mates

Finding tankmates for a Sand Sifting Goby isn’t too difficult at all. They are a very peaceful species, and they’re rift-safe. That means that Sand Sifting Gobies can live with any other peaceful and rift-safe species. The only thing to remember is that some Sand Sifting Gobies can become aggressive and territorial when they’re with other species that burrow into the substrate.

Examples of Compatible Tank Mates

There are several types of Sand Sifting Gobies that you can choose to add to your tank. Regardless of which one you choose, each is a saltwater species with similar needs. That also means that they have very similar demeanors for the most part. Some great options to add to a saltwater tank with Sand Sifting Gobies are Damsels, Shrimps, Filefish, Dwarf Angelfish, and Clownfish. There are plenty of other species we haven’t named here that would make excellent tankmates for the Sand Sifting Goby.

Examples of Incompatible Tank Mates

With their peaceful demeanor, you’d assume there aren’t many other species you couldn’t put into a tank with Sand Sifting Gobies. But that simply isn’t the case. Any very aggressive species may try to fight the Sand Sifting Goby. An example of a species that shouldn’t be put into a tank with a Sand Sifting Goby is another Sand Sifting Goby unless they are mates. This is because Sand Sifting Gobies can get a bit aggressive towards other species that also burrow into the substrate.

Best Sand Shifting Goby Types

There are several types of Sand Sifting Gobies, their most significant difference usually just being their coloring. But that isn’t always the case. We will give a brief overview of some of the best types of Sand Sifting Gobies. Information such as how big they’ll get, recommended tank size, setup, and water parameters. As well as what they look like and where they come from.

Bella Sand Sifting Goby (Valenciennea bella)

Bella Sand Sifting Gobies or Bella Gobies are usually found in reefs and sandy areas of Japan and the Philippines. They can grow around 6 inches and are known for their colorful bodies. Bella Gobies’ bodies are usually orange or red, with a golden head and blue stripes under their eyes. The beauty of Bella Gobies means they tend to sell for a lot, usually around $200.

Orange Spotted, Diamond Sleeper Goby (Valenciennea puellaris)

Diamond Goby, Diamond Sleeper Goby, Orange Spotted Goby, and Diamond Sleeper Goby are all the same species. They are known for their sleek silver bodies with orange markings and blue marks on their jaw. Diamond Sleeper Gobies can reach about 6 inches in length. The average tank size recommended for Diamond Gobies is about 20 gallons. Orange Spotted Gobies sell for around $30 – $45.

Yellow Watchman Goby (Cryptocentrus cinctus)

Yellow Watchman Gobies are also known as Yellow Shrimp Gobies or Yellow Prawns. They were first discovered in Indonesia in 1936. They’re known for their yellow bodies with bright blue spots on their fins and bodies. Yellow Watchman Gobies are known for their iconic frown. The max size of Yellow Watchman Gobies is around 4 inches. A recommended tank size is about 30 gallons.

Yellowhead, Goldhead, Bluestreak Sleeper Goby (Valenciennea strigata)

The Yellowhead Goby can go by many names, such as Goldhead Goby, Bluestreak Sleeper Goby, Golden Head, Pennant, or the Blueband Goby. Goldhead Gobies are peaceful fish that are known for that golden head and blue strip beneath their eyes. Regardless of their name Yellowhead Gobies are native to waters in Africa, Fiji, Indonesia, Solomon Island, and Sri Lanka. Thirty gallons is the recommended tank size for a Yellowhead Goby; this is because they reach a max size of around 5 or 6 inches.

Banded, Brownbarred, Bullet Sleeper Goby (Amblygobius phalaena)

Brownbarred Gobies were first discovered in 1837, and they are currently found in Fiji, Indonesia, and Sumatra. The Brownbarred Goby is also known as Sleeper Banded Goby, Banded Goby, Bullet Sleeper Goby, and the Bullet Goby. Bullet Sleeper Gobies can reach a max length of 6 inches; that size means they need a minimum tank size of 30 gallons.

Twinspot Signal Goby (Signigobius biocellatus)

Twinspot Gobies are usually found in Indonesia. The Twinspot Signal Goby is sometimes also known as Two Spot Goby, Crabeye Goby, or Signal Goby. Those names are likely derived from the two marks on its dorsal fin that resembles eyes. With a max size of 3 inches, a Twinspot Signal Goby can fit comfortably in a 10-gallon tank.

Rainford’s Goby / Court Jester (Koumansetta rainfordi)

Court Jester Gobies, also known as Old Glory or Rainford’s Gobies are native to Indonesia; they reach a max size of 3 inches. That small size means that a 10-gallon tank is all you need to house them comfortably. Court Jester Gobies are interesting because, unlike most other Gobies, they are omnivores and like to eat algae.

Sleeper Blue Dot Goby (Valenciennea sexguttata)

The Sleeper Blue Dot Goby is sometimes known as Ladder Glider, Ladder Goby, and Sixspot Sleeper Goby. They are known for their white bodies with blue spots on their face. Sleeper Blue Dot Gobies can get pretty large, which means they need a 30-gallon tank to live comfortably.

Sleeper Green Banded Goby (Valenciennea randalli)

Sleeper Green Banded Goby can grow to be 5 inches and require a 30-gallon tank. They are known for their slightly green head and large blue stripe under their eyes. They are native to Indonesia and are carnivores.

Bluefin Watchman Goby (Cryptocentrus fasciatus)

Bluefin Watchman Gobies, also known as Y-bar Shrimp Gobies, Black Shrimp Gobies, and Blue Finned Shrimp Gobies, can be found in the Pacific Ocean and the Great Barrier Reef. A 30-gallon tank should be sufficient for Bluefin Watchman Gobies because they grow to about 5.5 inches in length.

Decorated Goby (Istigobius decoratus)

Decorated Gobies are gorgeous; they are known for the intricate patterns on their body. Their bodies are covered with multi-colored spots. On average, Decorated Gobies can grow to be around 5 inches, which means they need a tank that is at least 20 gallons.

Where can I find Sand Sifting Gobies for Sale?

There are many different variants of Sand Sifting Gobies, and some of them are extremely popular, while others are extremely rare. The price of Sand Sifting Gobies is dependent on their rarity. The cost of Sand Sifting Gobies can range from $20 to a few hundred. Most species can be found in some pet stores and aquarium specialty stores.

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