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This beautiful nano fish displays a variety of coloration in males is very peaceful with many other subtropical and tropical water species and plants!


The Rainbow Stiphodon Goby (Stiphodon ornatus) is a rare freshwater goby that is native to West Sumatra, Indonesia. It is known for the multi-colored spotting male (and some female) specimens display.  Females are not as colorful, but are still very attractively marked. This fascinating, peaceful fish is primarily a biofilm grazer that rarely exceeds 2 inches in length.  


An aquarium with very clean, clear water is required for the Rainbow Stiphodon Goby.  This fish is native to shallow, clear, fast-flowing waters and it is sensitive to declines in water quality, so regular aquarium maintenance is a must.  It prefers a sandy substrate with several smooth rocks and pebbles in which it can perch.  The Rainbow Stiphodon Goby often sleeps in burrows, so similar structures should be provided in its aquascape.  


The Rainbow Stiphodon Goby feeds mostly on biofilm, but also sparingly supplements its diets with small, meaty foods. In the aquarium, it is known to readily accept frozen meaty foods such as bloodworms and Artemia, but such foods should not be fed more than occasionally. Consistent, plentiful biofilm is absolutely essential for the longterm health of the Rainbow Stiphodon Goby.  This fish will also sometimes accept high-quality dry foods, but it will not thrive long-term on such a diet. As long as it is kept in a well-maintained, mature aquarium, the Rainbow Goby is a hardy and entertaining fish. It will not bother aquarium plants. In fact, Anubias species are an excellent plant to keep with this goby.


The Rainbow Goby inhabits waterways with temperatures that range from subtropical to tropical.  Most small rasboras, tetras, hillstream loaches, and other small, peaceful fish are good tankmates for the Rainbow Stiphodon Goby.  Due to its small size and diet, the Rainbow Goby can also be kept with dwarf shrimp, although it might eat a few of their fry.  Almost any other peaceful invertebrates that are large enough not to be eaten can make good tankmates as well. Peaceful bottom-dwelling fish are also a possibility, but care must be taken to make sure that the Rainbow Stiphodon Goby is not outcompeted for food.


Like other Stiphodon goby species, the fry of the Rainbow Stiphodon Goby experience a pelagic stage where they are born in freshwater but are immediately swept out to the ocean where they live in marine conditions until they mature and return to freshwater, swimming upstream to begin spawning.  As a result, there are no known cases of successful breeding in the aquarium thus far.


Our young adult specimens are in excellent health, but many of the males are not yet showing their full mature coloration. This color will be most vivid when the fish are kept in a group.  


What We Like About This Fish:

  • Beautiful multi-coloration in dominant males
  • Peaceful disposition with fish and peaceful invertebrates too large to be considered prey
  • Interesting social behavior when kept in colonies
  • Great for subtropical and tropical water tanks




  • Temperature: 68°-82.4° F (20°-28° C).  High dissolved oxygen levels are very important in higher temperatures.
  • pH: 6.5-7.5
  • KH: 4 - 8 dKH
  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons for a single specimen or pair, 30+ gallons for a group



  • Diet: Biofilm grazer.  Diet can be occasionally supplemented with live or frozen meaty foods.
  • Social Behavior: Peaceful with other species, but multiple males may have minor squabbles.  Ample territory is recommended for multiple males
  • Origin: Western Sumatra, Indonesia
  • Average Adult Size: 2 inches (5 cm)
  • Average Purchase Size: 1.5-2 inches (3.8-5 cm)

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