Yellow Watchman Goby Care Guide

Cryptocentrus cinctus

Minimum Tank Size30 Gallons
Water Parameters72-78 F, pH 8-8.4, Salinity 1.020-1.025

The Yellow Watchman Goby, also known as the Yellow Prawn Goby brings a guardian like attitude to the tank. These guys love to sit near their homes, which can be either burrows in the sand or caves formed by live rock.

When placed in tanks with the Pistol Shrimp they will form a symbiotic relationship, which is the main trait they are known for. Simply put they work together to build and defend their home while also ensuring they have enough food to eat.

Overall the Yellow Watchman Goby is easy to care for and is completely reef safe, making them an ideal choice for any non aggressive tank over 30 gallons in size. Like most gobies, the Yellow Watchman Goby will fight with its own kind unless they are a mated pair.

Note: The Yellow Watchman Goby will often change colors throughout its lifetime, going from a bright yellow to a much more grey color. This is linked to their gender, however the fish change almost at random times.

Special Tank Needs

If you are getting this fish it’s almost for certain that you will be getting a Pistol Shrimp/Snapping Shrimp. The relationship is simply too special to pass on. This means the tank must be suitable for both the goby and the shrimp. Thankfully the shrimps only big needs are copper free tanks with low nitrate levels.

This video, created by Omar Badr shows the goby shrimp pair in the wild.

Remember this shrimp will be constantly digging. You will want ALL of your rock to be well seated directly on the glass of the tank. Leaving the rock on top of the sand will eventually lead to a rock slide.

A final note is the pistol shrimps ability to shoot water. While deep beneath the sea this can be a deadly and extremely loud attack. This is thanks to the pressure of the water. In the home aquarium there is not nearly enough pressure, making the shrimps weapon far less effective and more of just a click sound.

Diet & Feeding

Back to the Yellow Watchman Goby. These guys are relatively easy to feed, however they may miss a day or two of feeding when first introduced to the tank. They will however still sift sand occasionally. This makes them much easier to add to well established tanks.

New tanks looking to add the Yellow Watchman Goby may need to dirty their water, feeding small pieces of food in hopes that the goby picks some of it from the sand. You can reduce the mess by watching their feeding habits and placing the food in their most frequented feeding spots.

The Yellow Watchman Gobies Diet should consist of mysis shrimp, with the occasional offering of brine shrimp. Additionally they can be offered other prepared foods, however they may not accept these right away.

If you feed your tank large pieces of food you may need to cut it. The Yellow Watchman Goby has a habit of taking large chunks of food into the burrow, keeping it from the rest of the tank.


This goby is not aggressive and will flee almost any fight it encounters. The exception here is similar gobies or those spending too much time around their homes.

While the Goby and shrimp combo will have a home to hide in, they should not be kept with predatory fish. As the home aquarium is an enclosed space the goby will never be free from any threats placed into the tank. This will often prevent them from feeding or stress them until they become sick.


Getting a mated pair is none too difficult, as the standard one large fish and one small fish will almost always result in a mated pair. This works best when their are many hiding spots, as the more dominant goby will harass the newer, smaller goby for a few days.

With a pair of gobies in stock you simply must make their home stress free with consistent lighting and feeding. After a while they will begin spawning.

Raising these fry is immensely difficult/somewhat dependent on luck. For an extremely in depth guide on breeding Yellow
Watchman Goby
this site is a must.

2 thoughts on “Yellow Watchman Goby Care Guide”

  1. I have my first saltwater tank so am new to this, although I have had freshwater tanks for years. My first fish is a little yellow watman goby. My concern is feeding. the current in the tank makes the food swirl around at the top for a long time before it starts to fall. The little goby waits in antisipation, but it often doesn’t land near him. Will he eventually find the food or do they have to catch the food as it floats by? He is not shy and is out, and about much of the day eventhough he has several lovely caves to hide in. Any advice would be appreciated.


    • The Yellow Watchman Goby will typically sit around an area and wait for food to come close to it. You can either give the food a small push down into the water to make it sink quicker or switch to sinking foods like pellets. They will look around the tank and may find foods later but the bacteria and tiny organisms in the tank will likely get to the food if the goby can’t find it quick enough.


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