Goo Obo Gudgeon
Croaking Gourami Male, Darrell Ullisch Photo
The first time I saw a picture of the Goo Obo Gudgeon, I wanted to obtain some. They are a new goby species whose picture appeared on the TFH cover for February 2006, along with an excellent article by Gary Lange. The striking red, orange, yellow, and blue in the fins and body of the male were irresistible. Red spots are present on the body and fins, and red lines are present on the face, with an orange belly and yellow and blue background on the body. To top it off, both dorsal fins are edged in bright yellow. The female is almost as colorful with a bright red belly when ready to spawn. They can be less colorful at times and even have a quite dark body color. They were collected at the Goo Obo Falls in western Papua, New Guinea. They are peaceful towards other species, but the males can fight some amongst themselves. Lots of caves, rocks, and hiding spots help to prevent that. Ceramic tubes are ideal for them to spawn in. They are quick and difficult to catch in a net, so be prepared! And they can jump with skill, and at inopportune times, so keep them covered. They like a current with clean, oxygen rich water, so areate them heavily and make frequent water changes. They do well in Lake Michigan tap water of medium hardness. 74-82 degrees is a good temperature range. 2-3 inches is the maximum size they attain.
In September of 2007, Charlie Grimes gave me 6 young Goo Obo Gudgeons to try and breed. This was the first I had seen any, other than the picture on the TFH cover. I placed them in a 10 gallon tank with lots of plants and caves. They were very reclusive and I seldom saw them except when feeding. They ate well after settling down in their new home. Frozen brine shrimp, beef heart, daphnia, and black worms were eagerly accepted. After time they became accustomed to some flake food also. They are bottom feeders, so make sure the food gets to them. They became quite gluttonous and would eat until it looked like their bellies would pop! They are heavier than water and sink to the bottom, swimming in a hopping motion. This is probably an advantage in heavy, turbulent current like at the Goo Obo Falls.
To breed them, feed them well, change water often, and raise the temperature a few degrees. A ceramic tube or cave that is not too large is very helpful. Both sexes become very colorful. Fairly large eggs are laid on the ceiling of the cave or tube and hang down on threads. The male guarded them vigorously, even driving out snails and cory catfish much larger than he was. Some recommend removing the female as she could eat the eggs. My pair was about 1 ½ inches, and about 60 eggs were laid, although larger fish could lay around 200. The eggs hatch in 4 days and remain wigglers for several days before the yolk sack is adsorbed. I lost a few spawns by leaving them with the male and found that removing the tube and hatching separately in a container with methylene blue and heavy aeration worked best for me. The fry can eat newly hatched brine shrimp as soon as they are swimming. Care must be taken to not make water changes too drastic, especially temperature changes, as the fry are quite sensitive. This continues for a while as they grow. Bagging and jostling them around at this time can cause them to go into temporary shock, which they usually recover from. By the time they reach about an inch long, they are much more durable and ship well. There can be a size discrepancy in the fry, so I removed the smaller ones and raised them separately, as many of them are females. The fry will scatter about the tank and spar with each other for a small territory, so plants, rocks, and other objects will help keep it down. They grow quite slowly, and it takes about 8 months for them to reach maturity.
The Goo Obo Gudgeon Is an extremely colorful and interesting fish. Prices on the Internet average about $10. per fish and they are still not readily available. Although somewhat challenging to keep, breed, and raise, I feel it is well worth the effort!!
Female Goo Obo Gudgeon in breeding tube