• Monk Goby (Sicyopterus japonicus)
  • Monk Goby (Sicyopterus japonicus)
  • Monk Goby (Sicyopterus japonicus)
  • Monk Goby (Sicyopterus japonicus)
  • Monk Goby (Sicyopterus japonicus)
  • Monk Goby (Sicyopterus japonicus)
  • Monk Goby (Sicyopterus japonicus)
  • Monk Goby (Sicyopterus japonicus)
  • Monk Goby (Sicyopterus japonicus)

Monk Goby (Sicyopterus japonicus)

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The Monk Goby is a beautifully-marked adaptable species that is not often seen in the hobby!


The Monk Goby (Sicyopterus japonicus), is a rare goby that is native to Okinawa Island, Japan. It is known for its unique grey body with striping as well as its distinctive orange fins. Both males and females are beautiful specimens, but males tend to get a more extended dorsal fin. Females also stay a bit smaller and develop a more round body. This fascinating, peaceful goby is a an algae grazer that inhabits estuarine zones, but is more commonly found in freshwater.

An aquarium with moderate water flow and very clean, clear water is required for the Monk Goby. This fish is native to shallow, clear streams and pools and it is sensitive to declines in water quality, so regular aquarium maintenance is a must. It does not require the extremely high water flow that Stiphodon gobies and hillstream loaches require, so its high oxygen needs can be achieved with airstones instead of powerheads if so desired.

The Monk Goby feeds mostly on biofilm and algae in nature. This fish will sometimes also accept high-quality dry foods, but it still should have a steady supply of algae and biofilm, supplemented with veggies. As long as it is kept in a well-maintained, mature aquarium, the Monk 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.

Most peaceful fish will make great additions to a Monk Goby tank. Dwarf shrimp are not likely to be eaten by this fish, but it is best to exercise caution when housing them together. Peaceful bottom-dwelling fish are also a possibility, but care must be taken to make sure that the Monk Goby is not outcompeted for food.

What We Like About This Fish:

  • Unique pattern
  • Very uncommon in the aquarium hobby
  • Peaceful disposition with fish and peaceful invertebrates too large to be prey
  • Interesting social behavior when kept in colonies
  • Great for subtropical tanks



  • Temperature: 68° - 78° F (20° - 25° C)
  • pH: 7.0 - 8.5
  • KH: 10 - 20 dKH
  • Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons for a small group



  • Diet: Herbivorous. Dry foods might be accepted, but algae and biofilm are a necessary staple diet. Vegetables can be used as supplementation as well.
  • Social Behavior: Peaceful with other species, but multiple males may have minor squabbles. Ample territory is recommended for multiple males
  • Origin: Japan
  • Average Adult Size: 3.6 inches (9.1 cm)
  • Average Purchase Size: 1-1.5 inches (2.5 - 3.8 cm)

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