Rhinogobius nagoyae formosanus


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Matt Clarke on a lovely little subtropical goby which would be ideal for a biotope set-up.

Scientific name: Rhinogobius nagoyae formosanus
Oshima, 1919.
Origin: This subspecies of Rhinogobius nagoyae, which comes from Nagoya in Japan, is found in several rivers in Taipei County, on the northern and north-eastern sides of the island of Taiwan. This subspecies was described by Chen in 1994.
Size: Up to about 8cm/3”.
Diet: Similar Rhinogobius readily accept frozen bloodworms and catfish tablets.
Water: Cool, well-oxygenated water with a pH of 7.0-8.0.

Aquarium: This subtropical species can safely be kept alongside other fishes, but would do best in a coldwater species or biotope set-up.

Furnish the tank with lots of fine sand and gravel, as these fish need to dig, and add lots of rocks and bogwood, allowing the fish to excavate caves for spawning.

Males can be quite territorial with their own kind, so keep only one pair for every 60cm/24” of tank length.

Sexing: Females are smaller than males, have duller colours and less pointed fins. Sexually mature males develop a broader, longer snout, while females develop a plump, dark belly when filled with ripe eggs.
Breeding: As far as I know, this species has not yet been bred in captivity. It’s likely to be amphidromous, so it breeds in freshwater and its fry are swept out to sea, and return to freshwater as juveniles.  
I’ve had a number of spawnings from the related candidianus, also from Taiwan. Males dig a pit and guard a clutch of around 200  large oval eggs. Its fry appear to need saltwater to mature.

Availability: On sale at Wildwoods, Middlesex.
Price: On sale for £14.95.

This article first appeared in the November 2009 issue of Practical Fishkeeping. It may not be reproduced without written permission.