The blue cheek goby (Valenciennea Strigata)
Blog post written by Andy | 08 March 2017 | Category: Marine fish
A marine aquarium can at times be a bit more effort to keep clean and, as with everything, the more help we can have the better.
The term "clean-up crew" is often used for all of those invertebrates and fish that help by either eating algae, turning the sand over or cleaning the parasites off of fish.
One of my favourite in this crew is the Blue cheek goby (Valenciennea Strigata) and its talent for turning over the sand.
It is a lovely fish that attains a maximum size of about 7" but usually stays much smaller. They are white-bodied with a pale yellow jaw line and surprisingly as the name suggests, bright blue cheek lines which seem to almost glow as they scoot over the sand. As they feed, they take in sand and sift out anything edible before dumping the sand back onto the bottom. The major advantage of this behaviour is that they keep the sand turned to prevent algae build up. It is important that they have a deep substrate in the aquarium as they do not only rely on this for their food but they also create burrows in which they live. That said, it is important that any rock work is secure in case a goby tries to burrow underneath it.
They benefit from a mature reef system so there is plenty of food for them to sift for. The biggest problem people have is with them getting skinny so I like to recommend a good quality sinking pellet (we use a combination of Ocean Nutrition Formula 1 and 2) to keep them nice and chunky.
They are an incredibly interesting fish which provide a really useful service. They are reef safe and lovely to look at... win, win, win!
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