• Birdsong Goby (Stiphodon surrufus)
  • Birdsong Goby (Stiphodon surrufus)
  • Birdsong Goby (Stiphodon surrufus)
  • Birdsong Goby (Stiphodon surrufus)
  • Birdsong Goby (Stiphodon surrufus)
  • Birdsong Goby (Stiphodon surrufus)
  • Birdsong Goby (Stiphodon surrufus)
  • Birdsong Goby (Stiphodon surrufus)
  • Birdsong Goby (Stiphodon surrufus)

Birdsong Goby (Stiphodon surrufus)

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* For the safety of our animals, we now ship live fish exclusively via UPS Next Day Air.  If your order contains this item, you will only see UPS Next Day Air as a shipping option during checkout * 


This rare algae and biofilm-grazer is a smale, colorful and peaceful goby species that is excellent for many community aquariums! 

The Birdsong Goby (Stiphodon surrufus) is a lesser known freshwater dwarf goby that is native to Southeast and East Asia. It is distinctive for the bright red coloration that males display during spawning behavior. Females are not as colorful, but are still very attractively marked. This fascinating, peaceful fish is an algae and biofilm grazer that is an excellent candidate for the mature nano aquarium.  

An aquarium with heavy water flow (10 to 15 times turnover per hour) and very clean, clear water is required for the Birdsong Goby. This fish is native to shallow, clear, fast-flowing waters and it is sensitive to declines in water quality, so regular aquarium maintenance is a must.

The Birdsong Goby is a biofilm and algae grazer in nature. It is known to usually accept frozen meaty foods, but such foods should only be fed occasionally. This fish will also sometimes accept high-quality dry foods that are rich in plant matter, but it is absolutely essential that biofilm and algae are naturally available in the aquarium to ensure its long-term health or else it may slowly starve. As long as it is kept in a well-maintained, mature aquarium with good biofilm and algae growth as well as high water flow, the Birdsong Goby is a hardy and entertaining fish. It will not bother aquarium plants. In fact, Anubias species are an excellent plant to keep with this goby because Anubias can foster significant biofilm/algae growth in an aquarium with moderate to high lighting.

Most small rasboras, tetras, hillstream loaches, and other small, peaceful fish are good tankmates for the Birdsong Goby. Due to its small size and diet, the it can also be kept with dwarf shrimp, although it might eat a few of their fry.  Dwarf shrimp are particularly good tankmates in larger aquariums where they can find areas of lower water flow.  Peaceful bottom-dwelling fish are also a possibility, but care must be taken to make sure that the passive Birdsong Goby is not outcompeted for food. Female Birdsong Gobies will often congregate together, even with other goby species such as the Blue or Gold Neon Dwarf Goby. Males seem to be able to differentiate between females of different species during courtship behavior.

There are reported cases of the Birdsong Goby spawning in the aquarium, but it is very difficult (if not currently impossible) to raise the fry due to their complex larval stages. In nature, adults spawn and their fry hatch in freshwater, then they are immediately swept downstream to marine ocean waters where they feed and develop. As the fry mature, they swim great distances back to full freshwater streams, often on completely different islands than where they originated. At this point, the fry have become young adults and will soon be sexually mature and exhibit adult coloration.

Many Stiphodon gobies have the ability to climb glass, so an aquarium lid and/or rim are necessary to prevent escape.

Our young adult specimens are in excellent health, but many of the males are not yet showing their full mature coloration. This color will be most vivid when the fish are kept in a group.  


What We Like About This Fish:

  • Beautiful red coloration in mature males
  • Peaceful disposition with fish and peaceful invertebrates
  • Interesting social behavior when kept in colonies
  • Safe with adult dwarf shrimp
  • Very active with lots of personality


  • Temperature:  68° - 82° F (20° - 27.7° C)
  • pH:  5.5 - 7.0
  • KH:  4 - 8 dKH
  • Minimum tank size:  10 gallons for a single specimen or pair, 30+ gallons for a group


  • Diet:  Omnivorous.  Typically accepts some dry foods and frozen foods, but requires ample algae and biofilm for longevity
  • Social behavior:  Peaceful with other species, but multiple males may have minor squabbles.  Ample territory is recommended for multiple males
  • Origin:  Southeast and East Asia
  • Average adult size:  2.8 - 3.1 inches (7 - 8 cm)
  • Average purchase size:  1 - 2 inches (2.5 – 5 cm)

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