Fish Profile: Catalina Goby 1

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The Catalina Goby, also known as the Blue-Banded Goby, is a very popular saltwater aquarium fish native to dense kelp forests in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Its natural habitat ranges from the Gulf of California, Mexico to Ecuador and northern Peru.

It is found in deep (around 76 m) coastal waters and utilizes small rocky caves, tight crevices and the spines of sea urchins to hide from larger predatory fish.

Their natural diet consists of smaller fish, plant material and zooplankton such as Cyclops, Daphnia, Diaptomus, Mysis Shrimp and Brine Shrimp.

The Catalina Goby is considered one of the most beautiful aquarium fish and it’s easy to see how: it has a bright red body with a vivid blue mask and vertical stripes on the front half of its body and the tail has a yellow tint.

Males have a very dramatic eyespot on the dorsal fin. Body is covered with rough scales but scales are absent on head, nape, chest and pectoral fin base.

The dorsal fin contains 6 spines with 15-18 soft rays. Anal fin bears 14-16 rays while pectoral fin consists of 17-20 soft rays.

It’s a fairly small fish, only reaching lengths of about 7 cm.

General Care

This fish is a shy bottom dweller and usually rests on near the bottom of the tank, hiding in caves and crevices most of the time. The Catalina Goby should ideally be kept in temperatures between 71 and 74° F, a pH value of 8.1 to 8.4 and a specific gravity of 1.020 to 1.025.

When kept at the appropriate cooler temperatures this fish is very hardy and disease resistant, however it becomes quite disease prone and will have a shorted life span at higher temperatures.

A single specimen can be kept in a 10 gallon tank, and a 30 gallon tank should provide enough space for two or three to establish a territory.

The aquarium should have highly oxygenated water along with plenty of rocky caves and crevices to hide. If this fish is not provided with hiding spots it will likely become stressed which causes paler coloration and increased susceptibility to disease.

When provided with the appropriate conditions this fish should live about 2-3 years.


In the aquarium, the Catalina Goby accepts almost any small, meaty prepared or frozen food. Their diet can include frozen Mysis shrimp, Cyclops, Daphnia and vitamin-enriched Brine Shrimp.

They also accepts sinking pellets or flake foods. They should be fed twice per day.


The Catalina Goby can be quite territorial with other members of its species but it is peaceful with other fish.

If they are maintained in a large enough aquarium (at least 30 gallons) Catalina Gobies can co-exist with most other fish species as well as members of its own. However, care should be taken if you plan to house them with other gobies.

The Catalina Goby also co-exists well with both temperate water corals and invertebrates like Anemones, Feather Dusters and shrimp.

Fact Sheet – Catalina Goby

  1. Scientific Name: Lythrypnus dalli
  2. Family: Gobiidae
  3. Size Range: up to 6.4 cm in length
  4. Reef Compatible: Yes
  5. Diet: Carnivore
  6. Tank Size: 30+ gallons
  7. Tank Set-up: Marine: rocks, plants
  8. Tank region: Bottom region
  9. Temperature: 60-77 0 F
  10. Carbonate Alkalinity (dKH): 8-12
  11. Water pH: 8.1-8.4
  12. Specific gravity: 1.020-1.025
  13. Origin: Gulf of California, Eastern Pacific Ocean
  14. Temperament: Peaceful
  15. Care Level: Moderate
  16. Habitat: Eastern Pacific regions
  17. Lifespan: 2-3 years
  18. Reproduction: Egg layers

Picture Gallery


Other Helpful Resources

  1. Fishlore – Blubanded Goby, Catalina Goby
  2. Aquarium Adventures – Coldwater Catalina Gobies
  3. Fish Channel – Catalina Goby Fish

Share Your Thoughts

Have you had any experience in keeping Catalina Goby in your marine tank before? Share any tips and insights with us in the comments section below.

About Dennis Hanson

Dennis is an experienced aquarist with many years of knowledge and experience in keeping successful tanks. He also has no relations to the pop group Hanson.

One comment on “Fish Profile: Catalina Goby

  1. Reply Joel Ramirez Jul 13,2017 5:26 pm

    I have a question regarding tank size requirements for aquatic life. In this article regarding the Catalina Goby, the recommend minimum tank volume is 30 gallons (or 10 gal for one). My question is the tank volume before sand, decor, equipment, other fish, etc. or the after? So to clarify, say a fish needs a minimum of a 30 gallon tank. Is it meant that the fish requires 30 gallons of water period or 30 gallon tank with less than 30 gallons of water due to substrate, decor, other fish, water conditioning equipment, etc.?

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