Fish Profile: Yellow Watchman Goby

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The Yellow Watchman Goby is a popular saltwater aquarium fish which belongs to the family Gobiidae under Order Perciformes of Class Actinoperygii.

It is also referred to as Yellow Shrimp Goby, Banded Prawn Goby, Gold Shrimp Goby, Prawn Goby, Midas Goby, Iga Tubumata, Watchman Gold and Yellow Spotted Blenny.

The yellow watchman goby is native to the western Pacific and its natural habitat ranges from southern Japan to the Great Barrier Reef, Yaeyama Islands; Palau and Truk in Micronesia.

It inhabits on shallow sand flats and slopes in bays, lagoons, on back reefs and reef slopes within 18-80 feet depth ranges. It is also found on sand or mixed sand and rubble bottoms.

The yellow watchman goby and alpheid or blind shrimp form a symbiotic relationship or partnership during nesting and feeding.

The Yellow watchman goby is a very amusing aquarium fish. It has long barrel like body with blunt snout and large mouth.

This fish exhibits several different color forms. The head and body are yellow-orange with fine pale blue or white spots on the head and fins. It has thin brown line along the edge of upper jaw.

The tail fin or caudal fin is rounded. The dorsal fin bears 7 spines with 10 soft rays while the anal fin consists of 1 spine with 9 soft rays. Body is covered by small scales but head is scale less. The fins on the belly near the tail form a suction cup-like structure that helps them grasp on to the substrate where they sit unmoving.

The juvenile fish develops quickly reaching maturity in a few months. This fish grows up to 10 cm in length and it can live up to for 5 years or more.

Fact Sheet – Yellow Watchman Goby

  1. Scientific Name: Cryptocentrus cinctus
  2. Family: Gobiidae
  3. Size Range: up to 10 cm in length
  4. Reef Compatible: Yes with caution
  5. Diet: Carnivore
  6. Tank Size: 30+ gallons
  7. Tank Set-up: Marine: Coral or rock, plants, sand
  8. Tank region: It swims between column and bottom layer of the tank
  9. Temperature: 75-78° F
  10. Lighting flow: Moderate
  11. Carbonate Alkalinity (dKH): 8-12
  12. Water pH: 8.1-8.4
  13. Specific gravity: 1.020-1.025
  14. Origin: Western Pacific
  15. Temperament: Peaceful
  16. Care Level: Easy
  17. Habitat: Southern Japan to the Great Barrier Reef, Yaeyama Islands; Palau and Truk in Micronesia
  18. Lifespan: 5 years or longer
  19. Reproduction: Egg layers
  20. Breeding: It breeds in the home aquarium.

General Care

The watchman goby is a hardy species and is easy to care for. This fish does very well in reef aquarium and it is considered reef safe.

It requires a 30 gallon or larger aquarium with plenty of loose coral rubble, sufficient swimming room and a sand bottom for burrowing.

For starters or beginners, it is a beautiful and attention getting fish that can be the perfect showpiece and fanciful resident of a small or larger community reef tank.

The tank should be well covered to prevent escape due to their well jumping capacity. The tank should have good water quality and it prefers temperature and pH that range from 75°F – 82°F and 8.1-8.4 respectively.


It is considered as peaceful fish but can become territorial with other species of Gobies.

Only male-female yellow shrimp goby pairs should be kept in per aquarium.

It should never be kept with aggressive species such as triggers. Avoid keeping them with other gobies unless you have a very large tank.


The Yellow watchman goby is a slow eater carnivore fish. This fish should be supplemented with a variety of foods including fresh or frozen mysid shrimp, enriched brine shrimp, finely chopped table shrimp or any commercially prepared frozen, flake or pellet food for carnivores.

Feed should be supplied at least 2 times per day at the same time each day.


The Yellow Watchman Goby is normally resistant to fish disease but you still need to take the proper pre-cautions and use a quarantine tank before introducing them into your main tank.

Picture Gallery


Other Helpful Resources

  1. FishBase – Cryptocentrus cinctus
  2. Fishlore – Yellow Watchman Goby/Cyrptocentrus Cinctus
  3. Fish Channel – Yellow Watchman Goby Fish Stats

Share Your Thoughts

Have you kept the Watchman Goby in your tank before? Feel free to share your insights and tips in the comments section below.

I’m sure the community would very much appreciate it. Thanks.

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.

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