Yellow Clown Goby

From Microcosm Aquarium Explorer

Gobiodon okinawae - Sawada, Arai & Abe, 1972
Yellow Clown Goby

Gobiodon okinawae.jpg

A very interesting species that lives in close contact with branching stony corals. Scott W. Michael


This lemon-colored species is a member of a fascinating genus that always lives and breeds within branching stony coral colonies. The fish is thought to repay its coral host by providing water circulation and nutrients in the form of its wastes, which are taken up by the coral polyps.

Family: Gobiidae

Other common name(s):

  • Yellow Coral Goby
  • Okinawa Goby

Native range:

Habitat: Reef, usually with Acropora coral colonies. Provide plenty of hiding places, which can be live or faux species of branching stony corals.

Maximum length: 3.6 cm (1 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 38 L (10 gal)

Water: Marine 24 °C (75 °F) - 28 °C (82 °F)

General swimming level: Among branching corals.


Carnivore. Feed meaty foods at least once a day.

Aquarium Compatibility

The Yellow Clown Goby is a mellow fish. It will ignore other species (with the exception of other small gobies that try to invade its coral home). Because of its small size, it may be picked on by dottybacks and aggressive damselfishes. However, it produces an unpalatable mucus that deters many predators. You can keep more than one in the same tank if there are enough suitable hiding places (e.g., live or faux branching coral colonies). They may clear some polyps from a stony coral branch to use as a site to lay their eggs.


Demersal (on or near the bottom) spawners that tend and protect their broods. It has been known to spawn in the home aquarium.


This is a secretive little fish that will remain among the branches of a stony coral. It sometimes hovers above its home and will dash out to snatch passing food particles.

Reference: 101 Best Saltwater Fishes
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: SWM