Maximum size : 4 cm

Bumblebee Goby - Brachygobius doriae : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

Table of contents


The Bumblebee Goby (Brachygobius doriae) is a small, peaceful fish with striking bright colouration, making it a popular choice among advanced aquarists. Although Bumblebee Gobies naturally thrive in brackish water, some hobbyists have successfully kept them in freshwater aquariums. Due to their demanding nature and difficulty adapting to community aquariums, Bumblebee Gobies are not recommended for beginner aquarists. 

Bumblebee Gobies have a tendency to exhibit territorial behaviour, making it advisable to house them in larger groups of eight or more, ensuring that any disputes are evenly distributed among the group rather than targeting a single individual. Smaller groups may not fare as well. Bumblebee Gobies thrive in a dedicated species-only environment; however, they can coexist harmoniously with other species in larger aquariums. Suitable tankmates include Glassfish and various Livebearers, which are large enough not to be perceived as prey and tend to inhabit the upper levels of the water column. This arrangement allows for a diverse and visually appealing aquatic display while maintaining the well-being of the Bumblebee Gobies.

A well-established aquarium should be prepared for the Bumblebee Goby, featuring a soft sand substrate, preferably fine coral sand, to maintain hard and alkaline water conditions. Provide ample hiding spots using smooth rocks, cobbles, large shells, driftwood tangles, and dense clusters of hardy plants, such as Anubias and Vallisneria, which can thrive in harder water. Effective filtration is crucial, but the water flow should remain gentle. Conducting small, regular water changes will help minimize nitrate levels, which is particularly important as this species is highly sensitive to declining water quality.

The bodies of Bumblebee Gobies are adorned with golden-yellow and dark stripes that extend from the head to the tail, and their heads are proportionally larger than their frames. These fish possess fused abdominal fins, which form a sucker disk used for attaching to various surfaces. They also have soft rays on both their front and back dorsal fins. Some species exhibit a faint, dark spot on their backs.

Bumblebee Goby Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Bumblebee Gobies is generally straightforward. Males typically exhibit a slimmer body and more vibrant colours, often displaying an orange hue instead of yellow. Conversely, females tend to have a fuller physique and may possess smaller, rounder heads.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameBrachygobius doriae
Year Described1868
Other NamesBumblebee Fish
Max Size4 cm
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
DifficultyIntermediate - Advanced
Best kept asGroups 6+
Diet & FeedingCarnivore
ReproductionEgg Depositor
LifespanUp to 3 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
pH 6.5 - 8.5
GH 3 - 8
KH 6-20
TDS 50 - 160
Ideal Temperature
73 - 79
22 - 26

Natural Habitat

The Bumblebee Goby is a species that thrives in a variety of lowland coastal habitats in the stunning Indonesian Islands of Java, Borneo, and Sumatra. These habitats include freshwaters and brackish water environments such as mangrove swamps, estuaries, tidal creeks, and streams surrounded by lush greenery that run into the sea.

For the Bumblebee Goby to thrive, the water must have a very low acidity level, negligible hardness, and minimal conductivity, creating a serene and tranquil environment that is perfect for observing its beauty. The substrate in their habitat consists of silt, mud, clay loam, or sand and is covered with scattered pieces of mangrove roots, driftwood, shells, decaying plant matter, and water-worn rocks, adding to the enchanting scenery of their natural environment.



Bumblebee Gobies breed within small caves, which can be created using materials such as empty tubes, shells, or flower pots. For optimal results, it is recommended to introduce 6-10 individuals into an established aquarium, allowing them to form pairs naturally. To stimulate spawning, provide the fish with a diverse diet, increase the water temperature by a few degrees, and ensure ample aeration. Spawning occurs within the cave, where the male awaits a passing female. Once the female is ready, she enters the cave and lays up to 200 eggs before departing, taking no further part in rearing the offspring. The male fertilizes the eggs and remains in the cave to protect them until they hatch into larvae, which typically occurs within 9 days. The fry will become free-swimming several days later.

Diet & feeding

Bumblebee Gobies can be selective eaters, often preferring small live or frozen foods such as daphnia, mosquito larvae, cyclops, and brine shrimp. They may consume dried food if it is in motion due to the water current, but they generally avoid consuming food that floats on the surface. To ensure proper nutrition, it is advisable to maintain a consistent supply of live feed in the tank, as these fish are more likely to consume prey that is actively moving.

Other Gobies of interest