Bumblebee Goby: Complete Guide to Care Including Tank Setup, Mates, Diet & More

Bumblebee gobies are unique and interesting fish that make a great addition to any freshwater aquarium. With proper care, these lovely fish can thrive in your aquarium for years to come.

Bumblebee Goby – Quick Facts

In a rush? Check out the quick facts about Bumblebee Goby fish below.

Fish Info

Scientific NameBrachygobius doriae
Common NamesBrachygobius, Bumblebee goby
AppearanceBlack and yellow stripes (like a bumblebee!), or black and white stripes.
DistributionAsia: Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Brunei & Singapore.
Lifespan2 – 3 years
Keep in Groups of6+
Tank MatesMore bumblebee goby or other small peaceful fish
Length3 – 4 cm
Sexual Dimorphism
  • Females at sexual maturity are fuller and rounder than males.
  • Males are sometimes more vividly colored.
Breeding Difficulty Medium/Hard

Water/Tank Recommendations

Water TypeBrackish Water
Water Temperature 72 – 84 °F (22 – 29 °C)
Water pH 7.2 – 8.5
Water Hardness 9 – 19 GH
Tank size 10 – 20+ gallons


These fish are a tropical species that originate from the warm coastal waters of Southeast Asia.

Also known as the Brachygobius, bumblebee gobies are active and lively members of the Gobiidae family. This is one of the largest families in terms of the number of species (probably over 2,000).

The name “bumblebee” comes from their distinct patterning and coloration. The most common type you’ll find for sale is usually referred to as Bumblee Goby or Dwarf Bumblebee Goby.

They prefer shallower waters with sandy bottoms where they will look for food at various depths throughout each day.

They’re quite pretty, easy to care for, and fun to observe. With their distinct looks and active nature, they make an excellent addition to tanks of all sizes!

In this guide, you’ll learn everything there is to know about bumblebee goby care. From tank setup to diet and compatibility, we cover it all!

About Bumblebee Goby

The bumblebee goby (brachoglanis doriae) is an interesting and unique fish that you don’t see very often in the aquarium trade. While they are not particularly rare, this species tends to get overshadowed by the more common fish such as tetras and guppies.

With their bright coloration, these fish make a beautiful addition to any tank! Plus, their distinct appearance makes them stand out among other types of fish. There’s no doubt that you will notice your bumblebee gobies if you keep them in your home aquarium!


Bumblebee gobies are tiny fish, with a lot of personality! They’re named after their bright coloration. The base of the fish is usually yellow or orange. However, splashes of black cover most of the body and fins to create that iconic bumblebee appearance.

TIP: There are females and males in this species, but it can be hard to tell them apart at first glance!

Their Length

The average bumblebee goby length is about 3 – 4 cm when fully grown. This makes them rather short compared to other popular fish species, which can sometimes make it difficult for aquarists who are used to having larger tanks.


The average bumblebee goby lifespan is between two and three years when given proper care. However, some owners have reported that their fish have lived for as long as six years!

A lot of the factors leading to a drastically extended lifespan are out of your control (genetics being the most important). But if you work hard to provide them with great care, this will give them an obvious advantage.

Even fish that have a shorter lifespan than the average bumblebee goby can live significantly longer with your help. Simply providing them with great water conditions and a stress-free habitat will do wonders for their overall health.

Sexual Dimorphism

There are several ways to differentiate between males and females. Usually, males tend to be more vibrant in color than female fish. For example, a male Bumblebee Goby might have yellow or orange stripes on its fins while the female would have muted brown ones.

Another difference between the sexes is their fullness. Females are often fuller and rounder than males, especially during breeding!


Bumblebee gobies are found in brackish waters all across Asia. They inhabit both coastal areas and rivers, but they’re more prevalent near river mouths.

TIP: River mouths, also known as estuaries, are where freshwater meets the ocean. This is where seawater and freshwater combine. This water is slightly salty and known as “brackish.”

These fish prefer environments that have a lot of vegetation and hiding spots for them to stay secure when threatened by predators. In captivity, these fish need similar plants and decorations so that they can feel safe while exploring the tank.

Caring for Bumblebee Goby

Bumblebee gobies make great additions to community tanks. However, they do best in small groups of their own species.

The more fish you have, the easier it will be to maintain water conditions and keep stress levels low. These little creatures can get anxious when kept alone!

Aim to keep at least 6 of these fish together to keep them happy and healthy.


The bumblebee goby is a carnivore that will enjoy live or frozen food. They are known to enjoy brine shrimp, bloodworms, and various other protein-rich snacks.

You can provide dry flakes or pellets as their base diet if you prefer. However, it’s good practice to supplement this with live foods whenever possible.

Live foods provide a good source of protein and enrichment to their diet. It’s also a great way for you to bond with the fish!

Possible Diseases

There are no special diseases that bumblebee goby fish suffer from. However, they can experience all the common fish ailments just like any other species.

These include fungal infections and parasitic infestations (like ich). Ich is one of the most common problems in captivity. It’s caused by a parasite that feeds on skin tissue. You may see white spots appear all over the fish’s body as it eats away at its flesh!

Fortunately, you can easily treat both issues with over-the-counter medicine or a saltwater bath.

Tank Setup

The best way to start a bumblebee goby tank is by providing them with ample hiding spots and shelters.

Start off with an anchor plant at the bottom of the aquarium, such as Java moss or Anubias. Then, scatter in rocks and driftwood for shelter. The fish like to hide under these pieces of furniture when stressed out or scared. In the wild, this sort of thing would help keep them safe from larger predators that may enter their habitat.

Appropriately-sized live plants can also be used for this purpose! A thick carpet of grasses floors most natural environments, so feel free to incorporate some into your fish’s home as well (just make sure you don’t block any filtration).

TIP: Bumblebee gobies aren’t too picky about lighting conditions, but it doesn’t hurt to create a light simulation similar to those found in their natural environment, either! This means using low-light plants and soft, subdued lighting.

Aquarium Size

The minimum recommended size for a bumblebee goby is 10 – 20 gallons. This should be plenty of space to keep this small fish comfortable as long as you have some great water conditions and decor that’s geared toward their needs.

Some owners have seen success with tanks below the 10-gallon mark, but we wouldn’t recommend it.

Water Conditions

The most important thing to remember when caring for a bumblebee goby is that they are a brackish-water species. This means that they will not remain healthy in freshwater and that you will need a brackish water tank setup for them to thrive.

They are tropical fish. This means you must create an environment in which the water is warm and soft.


Bumblebee gobies do not like water that’s too hard, so monitor pH levels closely with regular testing kits and perform partial water changes every week or two to keep it hovering around 7.5 (the sweet spot is 7.4 to 7.7) on the pH scale (and always between 7.2 – 8.5).


Keep your tank temperature between 72 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit (the warmer end of this range is fine). This is pretty standard when it comes to tropical fish, so you don’t have anything to worry about on that front.


The bumblebee goby is fairly tolerant of water hardness. They can adapt to a wide range, making it easier for you to find decor and tank mates.

Generally, a hardness level of between 9 and 19 dGH is acceptable. Anything higher than 20 dGH could be too much for the fish.


Bumblebee gobies require a good filtration system to keep their water clean. The aquarium should use an external filter.

TIP: This is necessary because the fish produce a lot of waste. A powerful filter will ensure that ammonia and nitrates don’t get out of hand.

Aquarium Plants

We don’t recommend any specialized bumblebee goby aquarium plants. While they might appreciate the cover, these fish aren’t going to spend a lot of time in the upper part of your tank!

That said, you can add some live or artificial plants into the lower parts of your tank if you want. They will provide hiding places and enrichment for all of your fish (especially those who naturally come from rivers and streams).

However, you need to make sure that all plants are firmly secured. These fish often show a preference for moving things around in their environment!

Behavior and Compatibility

Bumblebee gobies are playful and active fish that get along well with others. They do best in groups of at least six fish. They tend to spend a lot of their time hiding out in crevices throughout the aquarium.

You might see your bumblebee goby darting around the tank once or twice a day when they feel comfortable enough to explore.

How Many to Keep Together

In general, bumblebee gobies should be kept in groups of six or more. They’re very social and love to interact with others of their kind.

When you have several together, the fish will spend a lot of time exploring the tank together. This increases their overall mental health and helps them feel less stressed!


Bumblebee gobies are peaceful and non-aggressive. They will get along just fine with most other fish, including those from the same species.

Overall, you won’t have much trouble keeping bumblebee gobies with other types of fish (as long as they aren’t aggressive or overly large).

Tank Mates

Bumblebee gobies do well in community tanks. They are peaceful and don’t cause trouble with other fish. Even though they are known for being fin-eaters, you can keep them together with slow-moving bottom dwellers that spend their time at the lower portion of the tank.

Avoid fast swimmers and aggressive species! Bumblebee gobies do not thrive when exposed to bullying behavior or aggression from larger or more powerful fish.

Stick to similarly sized fish that occupy the middle and upper parts of the tank.


Bumblebee gobies can be quite difficult to breed in captivity.

These fish are egg layers that spawn throughout the year. You need to make sure that conditions are right for spawning and raising their young. For starters, remove any other species from the tank so that there aren’t any interruptions with the eggs or fry (this goes without saying).

When they get ready to breed, bumblebee gobies will find a flat rock or plant leaf to lay their eggs on at the bottom of the tank (they are benthic spawners). The females can produce between 150 and 200 eggs at once!

Should You Keep Bumblebee Goby Fish?

There’s something about this species that really draws aquarists in. Maybe it’s their quirky looks, or maybe the challenge of keeping them!

Whatever the case may be, there are many fishkeepers who want to own them for themselves. But before you run to buy a Bumblebee Goby as your next brackish water addition, we need to talk about some things first.

While these fish aren’t super-hard to care for (especially when compared to other brackish water marine creatures), they do need a certain level of attention if you want them to thrive. These fish have certain needs when it comes to tank setup and diet requirements that can impact how long they live.


  • Bumblebee Gobies can be relatively low-maintenance compared to some other fish in the brackish water scene.
  • As long as you follow their basic water parameters and diet recommendations, these little creatures will be just fine!
  • Even if they get a bit too cold or salty (which is very rare), it should take them no time at all to bounce back once those issues are fixed.
  • Another pro when it comes to the health of this species is the ease with which you can diagnose problems. Unlike some of your more complex underwater inhabitants, there aren’t any potential diseases that mimic common health quirks! If there’s something wrong with your bumblebee goby, it’ll be obvious enough for most fishkeepers to identify.


Like any other fish, Bumblebee Gobies have their share of pros and cons that you’ll need to consider. While some of the pros are obvious, there are a few downsides as well.

  • You need a brackish water tank to keep these fish. Some try to keep them in freshwater tanks but they never fair particularly well.
  • They can be sensitive to sudden changes in water conditions, so try to keep things as stable as possible.
  • Breeding can be quite tough with this breed.


As you can see, keeping the bumblebee goby is not as difficult as many people make it out to be. If you have a good understanding of the core elements that impact their health and happiness, this fish will thrive under your care.

Bumblebee Goby fish have a wonderful look and lots of personality packed into one tiny little package! The combination makes them quite fun to observe in captivity (especially if aquarists like small creatures). Something is satisfying about helping an animal survive by providing good care for them in our aquariums!

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