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Flaming Prawn Goby Care & Info

If you spotted the photo at the top of this post and thought “holy carp, why doesn’t everyone keep this gorgeous fish?!”, you’re not the first aquarist to wonder. The flaming prawn goby is a rather divisive species in the reef hobby: it’s one of the most beautiful gobies out there, but also one of the smallest and shyest ones.

Whether you’re planning to take the plunge and add one to your reef or just want to know more about this colorful but enigmatic species, you can find everything you need to know about the flaming prawn goby (Discordipinna griessingeri) below.

Name (Common, Scientific)Flaming prawn goby, spikefin goby, Griessinger goby, Discordipinna griessingeri
Minimum tank size10 gallons
Minimum group size1
Temperature75-82 °F
Salinity1.020-1.025
pH8.1-8.4
Difficulty levelHard

Flaming prawn goby description & natural habitat

Description

Where do we start? For such a tiny fish (usually under an inch), the flaming prawn goby really does have a lot going on. Its body base color is white, with a polka-dotted head and orange-red coloration running along the belly.

The species’ fins, including the characteristically long and pointed dorsal fin, are also orange in color, with black dots on the posterior dorsal fin and tail. The pectoral fins have extra-long rays, giving them a fan-like appearance.

Unfortunately for us aquarists, it doesn’t appear to be possible to visually tell the difference between a male and a female flaming prawn goby.

Did you know? The flaming prawn goby was first scientifically described in 1978. It’s the type species for its genus, Discordipinna.

Natural habitat

Discordipinna griessingeri is naturally found from the Red Sea and Indian Ocean all the way to the Marquesa Islands in the western Pacific. Here, it inhabits relatively shallow reef habitats (down to around 150ft), spending most of its time hidden in rock crevices and other sheltered spots.

In the wild, this goby is considered a rather enigmatic species. Thanks to its small size and shy nature, it’s easy to overlook. As such, not much is known about its life cycle. It’s also not considered very common.

Flaming prawn goby in the aquarium.

Flaming prawn goby aquarium

The flaming prawn goby has been steadily gaining popularity in the reef aquarium hobby thanks to its small size and relatively inactive nature, which make it a good choice for nano and pico tanks.

Like other small goby species, this one will appreciate the presence of plenty of caves and crevices to hide in. Since it’s a bottom dweller, it prefers a soft and sandy substrate. The aquarium should be well-established, with stable water values and regular water changes being performed.

If you’d like to keep a flaming prawn goby, it’s important to remember that despite its bright colors, you may not see it much. Couple this with their hefty price tag (it’s gone down a bit in recent years, but some places still sell them for $100+) and it’s not difficult to understand why some aquarists think they’re not worth it.

Don’t forget to use a tight-fitting lid on your aquarium either, because like many other fish species, this one can jump when startled. They can unfortunately fit through surprisingly small openings.

Flaming prawn goby compatibility

Because flaming prawn gobies are absolutely tiny, it’s obviously not a good idea to keep them with large and boisterous fish species. Instead, combine yours with small and peaceful tankmates like ocellaris clownfish, firefish gobies, marine shrimp, snails, and the like.

Although gobies like this species are often kept alone, it’s often recommended to get more than one flaming prawn goby. The larger the group, the more they interact, meaning you’ll see them out in the open more often.

If you keep multiple, each flaming prawn goby will establish its own little territory. They appear to use their large fins to communicate with their congeners.

Did you know? Some gobies, like the popular yellow watchman goby, form symbiotic relationships with (pistol) shrimp. The goby functions as a guard, while the shrimp maintains their shared burrow. Interestingly, although it’s commonly referred to as a “prawn goby”, Discodipinna griessingeri isn’t among these species. It hasn’t been observed living alongside shrimp or in burrows.

Flaming prawn goby diet

Flaming prawn gobies are small carnivores and scavengers. In the aquarium, you’ll likely rarely actually see yours eating. This being said, they also rarely appear to starve, so it appears they usually have their food while you’re looking the other way!

If your tank has plenty of copepods and amphipods, these gobies will probably have little trouble finding their daily meals. Still, you may want to supplement their diet with small foods like copepods, fine reef foods and baby brine shrimp. After all, feeding time is likely one of your only opportunities to spot your goby.

Conclusion

Given how expensive they are and how little you’ll see yours once you’ve released it into your aquarium, you have to be a little crazy to keep a flaming prawn goby. They’re just so beautiful to look at, though, that some reefers think they’re more than worth it!

If you’ve kept one of these tiny gobies, be sure to leave a comment below to share your experiences.

Sources/further reading

Hoese, F., & Fourmanoir, P. (1978). Discordipinna griessingeri, a new genus and species of gobiid fish from the tropical Indo-West Pacific. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology, 25(1), 19-24.

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Marijke Puts

Hey! I'm Marijke, FantaSEA's resident blog writer. I'm a full-time pop science author, part-time PADI diver and snorkeler, and have been keeping fish since I was a kid. When I'm not writing fish care guides, you can usually find me underwater or trying to figure out how to fit more tanks into my house.

2 thoughts on “Flaming Prawn Goby Care & Info”

  1. I’m on my second attempt with this fish. I’ve decided hermit grabs are a no-no although I never saw him attack or eat my goby I always suspected him. I never found a body. This go around, I’ve got him in a PNW-Custom Small-in-one aquarium. This 1 gallon aquarium seems to be perfect, so far, for housing such a tiny fish. My goal is to supply a steady supply of live pods to keep it fed. Currently I’m trying to see how frozen foods can be done without polluting the tank too much.

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing! I don’t know if I’d have the guts to go for a 1-gallon due to water quality, but if it works, that’s awesome. As long as you keep those pods coming you’re golden. We’d love an update 🙂

      Reply

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