Orangespotted Sleeper Goby

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Valenciennea puellaris - (Tomiyama, 1956)
Orangespotted Sleeper Goby

This species is an effective sand sifter. Scott W. Michael


This and other large sleeper goby species are often difficult to keep, with many individuals starving to death. It scours the sand bed for meaty foods, and typically cannot get enough of the right things to eat. (See notes, below.)

This fish does not eat sessile invertebrates, although it may bury corals that are set near the sand bed. It will eat smaller bristleworms and also desirable infaunal invertebrates. It is very effective at stirring the substrate bed, and its feeding activities take it deeper into the sand than gobies from most other genera.

Family: Gobiidae

Other common name(s):

  • Maiden Goby
  • Orange-dashed Goby

Native range:

Habitat: This species is found in pairs in sandy areas of clear lagoon and seaward reefs and use shallow burrows made under large pieces of rubble as refuge.

Maximum length: 14 cm (6 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 209 L (55 gal)

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


Attempt to feed small crustaceans, like vitamin-enriched live and frozen brine shrimp and mysid shrimp, live black worms, as well as prepared foods for carnivores. Feed four times a day. Also feeds on organisms that occur in live sand.

Aquarium Compatibility

This species can be kept in pairs (the natural social unit of adults in the wild) if you can acquire a male and female. Otherwise, they may quarrel with one another and with others in the genus.


A mated pair will spawn in burrows they construct. These burrows may topple unstable rockwork.


Some aquarists believe that intestinal worms may play a part in the wasting away of these fish. To deworm, mix Piperazine or Fenbenzadole with the food for 7 to 10 days, following the drug manufacturer's instructions. (Well-stocked aquarium retailers should have these drugs.)

Reference: A PocketExpert Guide to Reef Aquarium Fishes
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: SWM