Max Size: 12cm

Empire Gudgeon (Hypseleotris compressa)

The Empire Gudgeon is an attractive, hardy fish that can tolerate a wide range of water parameters. This fish is relatively peaceful and are not particularly aggressive, so can be kept in good-sized groups. However, they are not a typical community fish as it will eat any fish small enough to fit in its mouth, so tiny tankmates are best avoided.

Ideally, it would be best if you furnished the aquarium with a dark substrate, and decor so that the fish feel secure in their environment, which in turn will make them feel settled enough to display their beautiful colours. They will appreciate shady areas amongst dense planting.

The colour varies in Empire Gudgeons, but generally, they have a yellowish-tan to golden-brown head. However, it can occasionally be dark brown, and its body is usually a brownish-bronze or orangey-red colour. The fins are a dusky colour edged in black followed by white, and the pectoral and pelvic fins have no colour.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameHypseleotris compressa
Other NamesAustralian Empire Gudgeon
Aquarium LevelBottom
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan5 - 8 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH5.0 - 9.0
GH2 - 25
TDS36 - 447
68 - 95℉
20 - 35℃

Photos of the Empire Gudgeon

Empire Gudgeon
Empire Gudgeon
Empire Gudgeon
Empire Gudgeon
Empire Gudgeon
Empire Gudgeon

Natural Habitat

The Empire Gudgeon is endemic to the Pilbara and Kimberley regions of Western Australia state throughout the eastern and northern coastlines of the continent as far as the Towamba river system in New South Wales state, as well as north and east Australia and southern new guinea. You can also find them in the Torres Strait, around Horn Island and Muralag.

They inhabit the lower reaches of flowing streams, rivers and creeks but is also found in still water and can withstand seawater level salinity. They live amongst tree roots and vegetation and sometimes hides among rocks, using them as caves. Juveniles, however, are regularly found in hard brackish estuaries.

What to feed the Empire Gudgeon

In the home aquarium, you should provide Empire Gudgeons with small live or frozen foods such as chironomid, mosquito larvae, artemia, daphnia, Mysis and suchlike. However, dried foods usually are accepted, as well, and on occasions, they will consume algae and some aquatic plants.

How to sex the Empire Gudgeon

It is somewhat tricky to distinguish male from female Empire Gudgeons however males tend to have evident, variously coloured bands on their dorsal and anal fins which are red. In contrast, the female's fins are more of a browner shade; they are usually duller than the males and are slightly smaller.

How to breed the Empire Gudgeon

Infrequently achieved in the home aquarium, this is unquestionably attributable to its tricky amphidromous breeding tactics.

In the wild, adults live and spawn in freshwaters. Still, the originally pelagic post-hatch larvae are washed downstream to the sea where the post-larval fry spend the first stage of their life growing in marine conditions.

Once these fish reach maturity, the fish will spawn readily in the aquarium, and the males will intensify in colour and attempt to entice the females to breed with them whilst guarding their appointed territory against other males.

The female may lay up to 3000 tiny eggs usually on a pre-cleaned surface which can be anything from rock to a piece of driftwood or even on the aquarium glass.

After spawning has finished, the female is rejected, and the male will then take sole responsibility for his brood.

Incubation is roughly about 24 hours, and in nature, the parent would now carry its young to the sea. Here they will feed in estuaries and around the coast before returning to freshwater to spawn themselves. Because these fish require specific conditions as well as the fact the post-hatch larvae are so small present severe problems for the aquarist.

The larvae have no digestive tract or rayed fins, so initially, you cannot even give them infusoria type foods.

Other Gobies of interest

Bumblebee Goby(Brachygobius doriae)
Golden Malili Goby(Mugilogobius rexi)
Peacock Goby(Tateurndina Ocellicauda)
Red Belted Goby(Sicyopus zosterophorus)
Date Added: 25/11/2020 - Updated: 19/01/2022 14:28:17