Max Size: 5cm

Red Belted Goby (Sicyopus zosterophorus)

The Red Belted Goby is an excellent looking, active, peaceful and friendly small fish. You can have them in a community aquarium provided tankmates are chosen with care. Fish that are similar in size and temperament is ideal. However, please don't keep them with large, boisterous fish as they will be hunted or outcompeted for food.

The Red Belted Goby only appears to be slightly territorial when breeding so you can keep several together as well as other stream-dwelling gobies providing there is plenty of space and enough food source.

Gobies are capable of climbing the aquarium glass and jumping out of the water so it would be better if you kept them in a covered aquarium to prevent them from jumping out and dying.

The Red Belted Goby has a dark-black body with the back half being bright reddish-orange colour. The dorsal fin is darkish black with white edging, and they have a second dorsal fin that is a yellowish colour. The rest of the fins are transparent. The females are almost colourless.

These Gobies do appear to exhibit differences in colour pattern depending on locality.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameSicyopus zosterophorus
Other NamesFlaming Arrow Goby, Belted Rock-climbing Goby, Ornate Goby
OriginsChina, Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Palau Island, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Taiwan, Vanuatu
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 5+
Lifespanup to 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH5 - 10
TDS36 - 215
71 - 79℉
21.7 - 26.1℃

Photos of the Red Belted Goby

Red belted goby
Red belted goby
Red belted goby

Natural Habitat

The Red Belted Goby is originally from Boleling in northern Bali in Indonesia. You can also find them in the Marquesas Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Fiji, the Philippines, Japan and Taiwan. Most recently, they have been discovered in southern mainland China in Southeast Asia.

They inhabit clear, well-oxygenated, short coastal streams on tropical, often volcanic, islands, with typical habitats lying above cataracts or waterfalls. The substrates usually consist of bedrock with scattered mixtures of boulders and rocks, and while stream-side vegetation and submerged leaf litter are natural, aquatic plants aren't typically present.

What to feed the Red Belted Goby

The Red Belted Goby willingly accepts small live or frozen foods such as artemia, daphnia, bloodworm and suchlike. However, reports suggest that dried foods are ignored entirely and that this species does not make the right associate for small live invertebrates.

How to sex the Red Belted Goby

It is relatively straightforward to distinguish the males from the female Red Belted Gobies.

Adult males possess relatively long unpaired fins, and the first dorsal-fin is noticeably extended compared with the second. Also, the males are more colourful, with the front portion of the body being darkish and the lower part of the body is orange to red. You may also find green iridescence colours on the dorsal surface in some individuals.

In contrast, the female's unpaired fins and first dorsal-fin are not extended, and they are virtually colourless. However, some maturer fish may possess some pale orange pigmentation in the anal fin rays and the basal dorsal.

How to breed the Red Belted Goby

Observations of mating behaviour and the occasional spawning exist, but unfortunately to date, no-one has managed to raise any fry of the Red Belted Goby in the home aquarium.

The reason for this is because of their complex amphidromous breeding strategy. The adults live and spawn in freshwater streams, and the pre-hatched larvae are washed downstream where the post-larval fry will spend the first part of their life developing in saltwater conditions.

Once they reach a particular stage of development, they begin to migrate upstream, a journey which sometimes includes spectacular climbs over and up waterfalls or other objects.

Other Gobies of interest

Bumblebee Goby(Brachygobius doriae)
Empire Gudgeon(Hypseleotris compressa)
Golden Malili Goby(Mugilogobius rexi)
Peacock Goby(Tateurndina Ocellicauda)
Date Added: 03/11/2020 - Updated: 19/01/2022 14:29:16