How do I feed these tricky gobies?

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A reader is looking to keep Valenciennea sleeper gobies but has been advised they can be quite difficult to keep. Expert Jeremy advises...

Q) Please could you give me some info on keeping Valenciennea sleeper gobies in a 400 l reef tank, as I’ve been told they can be difficult. Is there one species that’s easier to keep than the others? Advice on feeding would also be welcome.

JACKY STEVENSON, VIA EMAIL

A) Jeremy replies: All Valenciennea gobies are a starvation risk, unfortunately. Proper quarantine involving a worming treatment may help, but apart from that they just need lots of sand substrate to sift and lots of food, fed several times per day. Chalk gobies. Orange spot gobies and Blue cheeks are the most popular, although out of the three it’s the Blue cheeks that are the most prone to getting skinny. Choose a medium sized pair of Orange spot or Chalk gobies as they are less likely to broadcast sand over your corals than the Blue cheeks, too. If it’s their sand-sifting properties that you most need them for you could omit them entirely and replace with a sand-sifting starfish, Nassarius snails, or a conch. But Chalk and Orange spots are good at keeping the sand clean.