Stiphodon atropurpureus- a fun little goby!
So many of the new gobies coming out of Taiwan are very attractive and enticing to hobbyists. Stiphodon atropurpureus is no exception! The males get a bright cobalt blue and their interesting movements and activity are a constant source of amusement in a tank. While most people won’t deny the appeal of their great colors and interesting behaviors, care must be taken to provide an adequate tank environment for them.
Most stiphodons are collected from fast moving streams so must have a minimum water turnover rate within the tank of 10 times per hour, with more being better. This does not mean, for this particular species, that you need a strong directional flow but it is essential that the waters are highly oxygenated. More parameter information can be found at their species profile.
Of all the stiphodons I have kept, I find atros to be the best for a new stiphodon keeper. Tank decor should consist of smooth fine gravel or sand, as they are diggers and cave spawners and various sized smooth river rocks which can form territories for males. While they are not adverse to plants, they are not necessarily a part of their natural habitat. Thing like anubias, bolbitis, or ferns work out well. An important thing to consider is lighting. These fish are aufwuchs grazers in the wild. Aufwuchs is a thick coating of algae, microcrustaceans, and biofilm which coat rocks and surfaces in an environment. High lighting helps the biofilm and algae to grow in the tank, coating all the surfaces for the fish to graze on. This takes some time to establish in a tank, so care must be made to provide adequate nutrition if getting these fish.
To feed them in an aquarium, offer algae covered rocks, small crusctaceans (frozen cyclops and baby brine work well), or a well rounded aufwuchs replacement like Repashy Super Foods Soilent Green. Please note, with the amount of flow you will likely have, a feeding dish is a great idea as they are grazers and do not “chase” their food.
Some great tankmates for this species are Tanichthys (white clouds), Microdevario, small danios, or even dwarf shrimp. These fish will not complete their breeding cycle in freshwater, but that does not stop them from spawning. Make sure to have ample hiding places (rocks) in the tank for territories to be established.
All in all, this species is less particular than many other stiphodons and is a great way to be introduced into the interesting world of gobies!
A quick video from one of my customers, Ricky Chawla out of NYC :