Red Belted Goby (Sicyopus zosterophorus)
Red Belted Goby (Sicyopus zosterophorus)
Red Belted Goby (Sicyopus zosterophorus)
Red Belted Goby (Sicyopus zosterophorus)
Red Belted Goby (Sicyopus zosterophorus)
Red Belted Goby (Sicyopus zosterophorus)

Red Belted Goby (Sicyopus zosterophorus)

Regular price$ 20.99
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This small goby boasts brilliant coloration in mature, dominant males and is an active and entertaining fish for peaceful aquariums with high water flow.

The Red Belted Goby (Sicyopus zosterophorus) is a distinctive freshwater dwarf goby that is native to Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, French Polynesia, and many other island countries of Southeast Asia and Oceania.  It is known for the yellow second dorsal fin and bright red/orange coloration that mature male specimens display on the back half of the body.  Females are not as colorful, but are still very active and interesting. This fascinating, peaceful fish is a micropredator that is an excellent candidate for the mature aquarium.  

An aquarium with heavy water flow (10 to 15 times turnover per hour) and very clean, clear water is required for the Red Belted Goby, especially when it is kept in warmer water. 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 Red Belted Goby is a micropredator in nature. It is known to accept frozen and live meaty foods of appropriate size. This fish usually will not accept dry foods. As long as it is kept in a well-maintained, mature aquarium with high water flow, the Red Belted Goby is a hardy and entertaining fish. It will not bother aquarium plants. In fact, Anubias species are excellent plants to keep with this goby.

Most small rasboras, tetras, hillstream loaches, and other small, peaceful fish are good tankmates for the Red Belted Goby. Due to its small size, it can be kept with most other peaceful fish and peaceful invertebrates that are too large to be considered prey. Peaceful bottom-dwelling fish are also a possibility in a large enough tank, but care must be taken to ensure that the Red Belted Goby is not outcompeted for food. The Red Belted Goby can be somewhat territorial, especially smaller tanks, so it may occasionally bully other passive, slow-moving bottom-dwellers if space is limited.

There are reported cases of the Red Belted 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 gobies have the ability to climb glass and jump out of the water, so an aquarium lid is 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 containing both males and females.

What We Like About This Fish:

  • Beautiful bright red and yellow coloration in dominant males
  • Peaceful disposition with fish and peaceful invertebrates too large to be considered prey
  • Interesting social behavior when kept in colonies
  • Very active with lots of personality
  • Will not bother plants


  • Temperature:  72° - 79° F (22° - 26° C). High oxygen content is most crucial at the high end of this range.
  • pH:  6.0 - 7.5
  • KH:  4 - 8 dKH
  • Minimum tank size:  10 gallons for a single specimen or pair, 30+ gallons for a group


  • Diet:  Micropredator.  Requires high-quality frozen and live foods of appropriate size.  Dry foods will likely be ignored.
  • Social behavior:  Peaceful with most other species, but multiple males may have minor squabbles.  Ample territory is recommended for multiple males
  • Not advised to house with dwarf shrimp as they may prey upon small dwarf shrimp but can be kept with larger species of shrimp.
  • Origin:  Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, French Polynesia, and many other island countries of Southeast Asia and Oceania
  • Average adult size:  1.5 - 2 inches (3.8 - 5 cm)
  • Average purchase size: 1.5 inches (3.8 cm)

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