How do I keep my Yasha Goby alive?

Captain Ron

Reefing newb
16 days ago I bought my 2nd fish, a Yasha goby from the LFS. I also purchased a pistol shrimp at the same time. My first fish is a tank bred clown. 3 or 4 days after I bought the fish I know the fish was alive because I saw him stick his head out from under the rock before disappearing 2 seconds later. I haven't seen the fish since. I've been over feeding a bit and attempting to stick a little rod's food down there 2 or 3 times over the last 2 weeks with a long turkey baster, but my rocks are starting to show algae so my nitrates and phosphates must be going up from overfeeding.

I have heard fish can live 30 days without food, so maybe 7 days from capture to LFS, 16 days in my tank, I figure he has 7 days of life left. How do I keep this guy fed? When I put any rods food or pellets in the tank my clown eats them within the first second the food hits the water so the only way to keep food in the tank is try and squirt it under the rock and hope he is eating something.

I just tested my ammonia and it reads 0, so if he is already dead and decaying my bacteria is keeping up. Any thoughts or ideas on what I should do? Should I cut a small piece of raw shrimp and stick it under the rock I saw him under 2 weeks ago?

-Capt. Ron
Sounds like you've done all you can short of taking all of the rock out and looking for him. Feed normally and he'll come out if he is still under there and hungry. Sorry man, I would be worried too. :(
Mine would hide for weeks at a time. Dont overfeed though this will really ruin your water quality. The goby will find pods or algae to eat and when it gets hungry it will come out on its own.
I went two weeks once without seeing my goby. not a whole lot you can do. The worst thing would be to keep overfeeding only to find his body later. Then you have a dead goby and an algae problem.
Make sure you do regular water changes. I once had a firefish go MIA for 3 weeks. Also had a chromis go missing for a couple of weeks when I first got him a couple of years ago; found him in the overflow of all places, very very small (he's still small to this day). Finally came back out...skinny, but finally eating. Your clown could still very well be alive. Never know! But like chichi said, the best way to entice him to come out if he's still alive is to feed normal. Here's hoping!

Was the clown eating at the LFS? How did you acclimate? Drip acclimation is the best method. I've never lost a fish that way. But in the end, it really could have just been bad luck. If it was a smaller fish, it was probably too young to handle the stress.
I am starting to notice green algae on my rocks last week. I never had any before. I will slow down my feeding. (I do a 10% water change every 7 days since I started the tank.)

Well I have an update. I think I know what is going on now with the Yasha goby. Yesterday I bought a purple firefish from the LFS. The firefish started swimming around the tank and then my clown chased him under the same rock I last saw my Yasha goby in. The firefish poked his head out of the rock and started swimming again, only to be chased back under the rock by my clownfish. I haven't seen the firefish for a day now. I think my clown fish is scaring away anything I put in the tank. I am beginning to think I may have to find a new home for the clownfish. Either a new 10 gallon tank, assuming I want to bother with starting a 2nd tank, or giving up the fish. I don't like the idea of having 3 fish if it means having a clown fish and 2 invisible fish. For the moment I am trying out a suggestion I found by Bob Fenner on the web for this exact same problem. I am putting my clown fish in timeout: a colander, (actually a salad spinner bowl) floating in the tank for awhile to see if my other fish ever come back out.

Maybe my newbie mistake was getting a clownfish to begin with assuming I would be able to add other fish. Or maybe I can add other fish with clown, but not fish that I like. I don't know. I suppose time will tell. If anyone has any thoughts or opinions I am all ears.

-Capt. Ron
I have heard of a clown being territorial if it's the first one in the tank, hopefully the time out method works. (I haven't heard of using a salad spinner bowl but what a great idea!) There has been some success from people putting a mirror on the side of their tank hoping to distract the bully. You could also try rearranging your aquascape. If you change enough of the tank and make the clown think it's in a new location it may not be so territorial. Just throwing some thoughts out there.
The salad spinner works really well! I am attaching photos to this post. I believe my clownfish is an ocellaris clown, though I can't count the ridges in the dorsal fin to be sure. He was the first fish in the tank and was alone for the first 2 to 3 months.

My firefish is coming out of hiding more and spending a lot more time in the tank, he has eaten each of the two days I have fed him. Now if my Yasha will just come out atleast once so I know he is still alive.

Oh, on an unelated note, I saw my hitchhiking crab eating one of my Florida cerith snails. :grumble: (I think he must have come as an egg or something when I ordered my snails as everything else in the tank was dead, probably for months or years, including the rock.) Maybe this is why I seem to be having more dead snails these days. I'm going to have to trap that bugger.

-Capt. Ron


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Hahhahahahahaha! You should threaten the clownfish daily that you'll toss some lettuce and salad dressing on him and have him for an appetizer if he doesn't shape up :mrgreen:
I am happy to report I have seen my Yasha! He is alive! :bounce:
I saw him sticking his head out of the rock he has been hiding under for the last 3 weeks. I dropped 3 separate pieces of Rod's food outside his door. (I know, I know, overfeeding.) I was hoping the Yasha would get some but the pistol shrimp came out each time and retrieved the food. It should be too much for the shrimp so hopefully he shares with the Yasha.

I also trapped and removed the crab that was eating my snails from the tank. Was really easy and only took an hour or so. I picked up a glass spice bottle from the dollar store, stuck a piece of raw shrimp inside, tied fishing line around the top of the bottle, sunk it in tank, waited an hour until the crab was inside, reeled him on up, and pulled the snails off the raw shrimp and put them back in the tank.


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Glad to read your Goby is still alive.. How has the time out been working? Have you allowed him back with the other fish?
your rockwork looks pretty awsome, and i wouldnt be too worried when something as small as a yasha goes missing in a tank with so much space to hide, ive had things go missing for weeks on end only to show themselves when i was feeding or cleaning. and that's with a 10 gallon tank
Glad to read your Goby is still alive.. How has the time out been working? Have you allowed him back with the other fish?

Well I haven't seen my Yasha in the last 4 days or so. I'm thinking if I ever do a Yasha again it will be in a 10 gallon Yasha only tank. I assume he is still alive but at this point I think I'm just going to have to stop worrying about him. I will feed some more Rod's food next to his rock again this weekend.

As for how the timeout is going, my clown fish is still in time out, but I can't keep him there forever since I'm going out of town in a month and if I kept him isolated I would need 2 automatic fish feeders. I may experiment this weekend with letting him loose and see if he keeps my Firefish in hiding. If he does, I wonder how I am going to keep my firefish fed if I leave the clown fish on the loose. I expect he will chase the Firefish and if he does back into the salad spinner he goes. I wonder if you can train a clownfish like you can train a dog? :question:

My firefish is interesting. He spends the late evening/night hidden in a rock and comes to hang out in the front center of the tank during the day. I don't really see him cruising around the tank much. Then again, it wasn't till I left town for a week that the clown fish really started to swim through my rock work on occasion so who knows how the firefish might behave in the future.

-Captain Ron
your rockwork looks pretty awsome, and i wouldnt be too worried when something as small as a yasha goes missing in a tank with so much space to hide, ive had things go missing for weeks on end only to show themselves when i was feeding or cleaning. and that's with a 10 gallon tank

Thanks! It was my first attempt and the only way I could figure out how to cram all that rock in a tank with only 11.5 inches of depth.

My Yasha hasn't ever come out when I feed, and I wait until I see my Firefish before feeding him, but I can experiment with dropping some food while my Firefish is in hiding and see if he comes out to eat.
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Time to do the happy dance!!!


I can report, total, complete, and unqualified success!!! :mrgreen:

After only moving my small purple rocks around (the others were too big and really, I couldn't think of any other configuration for them, I let my clown fish out of jail.

I threatened him with jail again if he caused any trouble. He got close to the firefish a few times, but the firefish just darted a small distance away and didn't go into hiding. The clown fish just seemed a bit curious.The clown fish looked like he accepted the tank as new (I netted him, carried him into another room, removed the jail, and put him back into the tank.)

After a week, I can confidently report that the firefish and the clown get along fine. They share the same tank, but other than that they leave each other alone.

Now normally, that alone would be cause enough for celebration, but I did start this thread to talk about my Yasha Goby.

I saw him the next day after letting my clown out of jail! Not only that, but he moved with the pistol shrimp into a different rock that is even better for observing the Yasha. I was so excited I watched him for an hour! It almost makes up for the 5 weeks he made me wait before coming out of hiding.I am attaching a pic I took of him that day. He has come out every day now. While he stays next to his home he will come completely out of hiding when its feeding time. My clown still tries to eat everything I put in the tank so I have come up with a way of dealing with him for now. I keep my fish net handy. He seems to remember that and any time I put it into the water he runs away. He's too quick for me to catch though. The firefish isn't afraid of the net so he can eat easily during that time. I also feed them both at about the same time without using the net and a few morsels manage to pass the clown fish by for the firefish to eat.

Now back to my Yasha. He has gotten more brave since I first saw him. In fact, the clown can come up right in his face at feeding time and he doesn't run away scared. The first or second day I fed him though was crazy. In order to feed him I target feed him Rod's food with an extra long turkey baster device I had to order off the net. I squirt the Rod's food directly in front of his home. I have to wait until the clown fish is further away though because one of the first times I tried feeding him, the clown came and took all the food. This seems to be normal for my greedy clown, but the clown went so far as to chase my Yasha back into his hiding place under the rock and actually try and swim into it under to rock! I've never seen anything like it!

My wife is really happy with the tank inhabitants and it seems prudent to stop adding fish. At least for 6 months or so, and then maybe add one more if I really want a particular fish, but my wife thinks it is best to leave things alone as they are now as it seems everyone is happy in the tank.

-Captain Ron :Cheers:


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hmm i will take this thread as a pre warning lol...
as i am strongly tempted in adding a yasha to my new tank and that is 35 gallons with 12KG of ceramic rock lol.
though very little of that is on the sand bed. but still plenty caves etc for it to hide in.

my friend bought one for his tanks and was worried as he was never seeing it out feeding , 5 weeks later it finally showed up . he came home from work and could see it making a new home right at the front of the tank .