Catalina Goby

Blue-banded Goby

Family: Gobiidae Picture of a Catalina Goby, Lythypnus dalliLythrypnus dalliPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
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Concerning catalina gobies gender. I believe they have the ability to change sex. Over the years I have bought numerous pairs without knowing their sex and always... (more)  Tim Phipps

   A very beautiful and usually hardy fish, they remain quite small. The Catalina Goby or Blue-banded Goby can be good for a reef aquarium to add color and movement.

   NOTE: The Catalina Goby or Blue-banded Goby must be kept at a lower temperature than most marine fish!

   A cold water marine aquarium is ideal as these are not a "tropical" fish. They are "coldwater" fish, which means they will thrive best in temperatures in the 50°s and 60°s F (with the highest temperatures being 74° F).

For more Information on keeping this fish see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Marine Aquarium

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Perciformes
  • Family: Gobiidae
  • Genus: Lythrypnus
  • Species: dalli
Elusive Blue-Banded Gobi (Lythrypnus dalli) Catalina Goby
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Catalina Goby in the wild

This video shows the Catalina Goby in it's natural habitat. They are quite small and look more orange with the light that is being used. Note how quickly they dart around. They are found in pairs or harems of one male to 2 to 7 females. Note the Spiny Sea Urchin in the background? They will take refuse in the urchins spines when threatened. They also can change from female to male and back again!

Catilina Gobies, Catalina Goby (Lythrypnus dailli)
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Short video of Catalina Gobies in a dealers tank.

The Catalina Goby can only be successfully kept in a tank that is 58˚F to a max of 71˚F. Keeping them at 64˚F is optimal and will help keep them healthy and alive. They are a cold water marine fish, which dies at temperatures above 71˚F within a few months or less. The reason behind this is due to their need for high levels of oxygen that only COLD water can provide for them. With temperatures above the cited high end, the Catalina Goby or Bluebanded Goby has a hard time breathing and eventually will become ill and die. They may be found in warmer waters, but this is temporary for them, since they migrate into colder waters after a short time. If a human was found outside in 110˚F, for a short time, would that mean they would LIVE under those conditions indefinitely? Just a thought to consider before buying this fish.

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Maintenance difficulty:    The Catalina Goby or Blue-banded Goby is easy to keep in the right environment. The temperature must be lower than most marine aquariums, some say less than 23° C (74° F). Provide plenty of caves and hiding places.

Maintenance/Foods:    The catalina is a typical goby eating small crustaceans and other small marine organisms. Live brine is ideal for the aquarium.

Habitat: Natural geographic location:    Catalina Goby or Blue-banded Goby are found in the eastern Pacific, Gulf of California. Usually found in fields of boulders and on rocks at depths of 0 to 60 meters.

Social Behaviors:    Although they are a territorial fish, several can be kept in an aquarium of reasonable size, say 30-40 gallons. They are peaceful with small fish but may be bullied by larger tank mates.

Sex: Sexual differences:   The males have a longer dorsal fin than the females.

Breeding/Reproduction:    They have spawned in captivity but successful rearing of the fry has not been successful. They spawn frequently during the summer months. The fry are only 2.5mm long.

Light: Recommended light levels:    No special requirements.

Temperature:    These fish require lower temperatures than the normal marine temperatures. They will thrive best in temperatures in the 50°s and 60°s F with 74° F being the maximum.

Length/Diameter of fish:    Catalina Goby or Blue-banded Goby adults can grow to 2.5 cm (1.0 inches).

Minimum Tank Length/Size:    A minimum 20 gallon aquarium is recommended.

Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong    No special requirements.

Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom    Usually spends most of its' time on rockwork or live rock near the bottom. A bottom dweller.

Availability:    This fish is usually available and is moderately expensive.

Author: David Brough. CFS.
Lastest Animal Stories on Catalina goby

Tim Phipps - 2003-10-14
Concerning catalina gobies gender. I believe they have the ability to change sex. Over the years I have bought numerous pairs without knowing their sex and always had them spawn. There is a term for it but at this time it eludes me.

Anonymous - 2009-10-24
I recently just learned about them and I think they are a great fish. I would love to set up a coldwater tank someday.

  • Lou D. - 2010-03-11
    uh i think i know u from somewhere............ do u play a game called maplestory?
chris - 2007-02-23
Blue banded gobies can change sex. This change is dependent on their social environment (see research by Grober et al.). If you purchase all females, the largest, less subordinate female will change into a male. If you place a larger male in a take with a smaller male, the smaller male will become a female.

xlayedoutx - 2010-08-01
I've kept a few of these gobies in tanks where temp reached 85 degrees. The statement of 74 degrees being the max is false. I've kept a pair for well over 2 years at higher temps with no problems.