Marble Goby (Oxyeleotris Marmoratus): Ultimate Care Guide

Marble Goby (Oxyeleotris Marmoratus) is a unique fish that is typically found in Southeast Asian countries including Singapore, Laos, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The locals refer to the fish by various names. In Loas, they are known as “Pa-Bu.” In Singapore, they are called “Soon-Hock.” There is a cultural significance to these fish, since these fish are seen as a form of wealth in many Southeast Asian countries.

Their body is covered in fine scales, and they have a combination of black, brown, and red coloration.

In general, they are docile, hardy, and easy to feed. They have an average lifespan of 5-8 years, and they grow very slowly. However, they grow quite large, with an average size of 12 inches (30 cm). There are reports of these fish growing up to 26 inches (65cm). In fact, they are considered to be one of the largest goby species in the world. Needless to say, a full-grown specimen would require a very large tank.

This guide will help you understand how to properly take care of Marble Gobies.

Marble Goby Care

As a general rule, a 150-gallon (565 litres) tank is the minimum size required for a Marble Goby. Young fish can be grown in smaller tanks however as they mature, they will require more space due to the size that these specimens can grow to. As they are also quite sedentary fish found in still and slow-moving bodies of water, it is important that your Marble Goby is in an environment with little to no water movement.

Marble Goby (Oxyeleotris Marmoratus)

The optimal water temperature for a Marble Goby is between 72 to 82°F (22 to 28°C). This is because they are typically found in Southeast Asian countries which have a tropical environment. In these areas, they live in rivers, canals, reservoirs, and swamps which are freshwater or have a brackish environment. The recommended pH level for Marble Goby is 6.5 to 7.5. They will need to be kept in an environment with an ammonia level of 0ppm, a nitrite level of 0ppm, and a nitrate level of <30ppm. If your fish will be living in a brackish aquarium, the water will need to be at a hardness level of 10-15 DH.

The Marble Goby is primarily a nocturnal species, hiding during the daytime and becoming active at night to hunt for food. For this reason, they prefer dimmer lighting and like to have darker areas to hide in. Pieces of bogwood, lengths of PVC pipe, caves, or clay pots are some examples of decorations that Marble Gobies love to hide in. It is recommended that their aquarium have soft, granular sand that is a few inches thick at the bottom because they like to dig and partially bury themselves when lying at the bottom of the tank. But beware, Marble Gobies are notorious for moving tank décor and uprooting plants when doing this!

Marble Goby Food & Diet

It is said that a Marble Goby will eat pretty much anything that it is given. They are typical bottom feeders, lying unmoving in rocks or plants to ambush food that comes close. Young Marble Goby (also known as fry) can be fed live or frozen bloodworms and small earthworms, insects, and small shrimp.  Fully grown marble goby can eat live or frozen bloodworms and earthworms, whole prawns, tilapia, live or frozen crab, and small fish. Some owners have reported they have trained their fish to eat dry pellets, however, it is quite common for this to be unsuccessful due to their carnivorous diet.

Marble Gobies are predominantly a nocturnal species that are most active at night and in the early hours of the morning. Because of their nocturnal behaviours, they should be fed once a day, in the evenings. Marble Gobies are also very greedy so care needs to be taken to ensure they are not overfed which can lead to fin rot, fatty liver and alter the pH, ammonia, and nitrate levels of the water.

Tank Mates for Marble Goby

Marble Gobies are typically a shy and docile species however they can become territorial and predatory around other fish. Due to their greedy nature and carnivorous diet, marble gobies cannot have smaller fish as tank mates as they will eat any fish that will fit in their mouth. The ideal tank mates for a marbly goby as larger fish such as Tete Sea Catfish, Scats, and Batfish. Because these tank mates will be similar in size or even bigger, the Marble Goby will not try to attack them. Nippy or rowdy species such as Pufferfish and Snappers should be avoided. But even with larger tank mates, they are still a very territorial species and will need to be housed in larger tanks with compatible tank mates so that they have their own space. As they are territorial, especially with their kind, it is recommended that no more than one Marble Goby should be housed in a smaller tank.

Marble Goby Breeding

Marble Gobies are difficult to breed in captivity. Breeding in aquariums proves to be troublesome as the adult fish attempt to eat the young fish as well as their mate due to their territorial and predatory nature. For this reason, it is best to keep Marble Gobies by themselves or greatly separated in larger or commercial aquariums.


Although not suitable for most aquariums, Marble Gobies are quite a unique fish for an avid fish keeper, their sheer size drawing attention to your tank. Because of how large they can grow as well as their predatory behaviour, they can only be kept in a standalone tank or added into a very big community aquarium that houses other large tank mates.

But there is a reason that marble gobies are such a popular aquarium fish. They are an interesting fish to keep and observe, hiding in dark spots and coming out at night to hunt and ambush their food. Combined with their docile temperament and unfussy diet, the marble goby could be the next unique addition that your aquarium needs.