How to Care for Your Butterfly Goby/Wasp Fish

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Butterfly Goby/Wasp Fish Factoids

Origin

Indonesia, New Guinea,  Philippines, India

Temperature

Tropical (consider their origin)

Size Four inches but 2.5 more likely
Water  Think brackish

Substrate

Immaterial, but ...

Security

Prefers to hide most of the time

Foods

Picky eater but also a predator

Fodder Levende og frossen fodder

Breeding

Not going to happen (ukendt)

Threats

Wrong foods and bad water

 

 

 
LA
Butterfly goby/wasp fish.  Picky eater.  Do not touch these at home.  They sting.

Apologia:  I was calmly googling thru the gazillion sites (mostly non-English) mentioning wasp fishes, when an earlier version of this page popped up.  It was still in the construction phase and thus had only non-related text blocks rather than actual information.  Here’s the pertinent info 02.15.05. 

LA
Inch-long butterfly goby/wasp fish -- pretty but painful fish if you're not careful.  

LA
Butterfly goby/wasp fish fall into the same loose category as the freshwater lionfish.


Name:  As far as I can tell, these little guys are only sold in the U.S. as butterfly gobies.  You cannot find info on them under this name.  Well, they’re not butterflies and they’re not gobies.  They are wasp fish.  Just pick one up and you’ll see how they earn their name.  However, I’m leaving the butterfly goby name in here so you can find it on the web.

LA
Once we learned butterfly goby/wasp fish were painful, we stopped "handling" them.

LA
Nice big "paddle fins" on these butterfly goby/wasp fish.

 

Origin:  In the wild, wasp fish can be found in Indonesia, New Guinea, and the Philippines -- tens of thousand of islands are involved, so we’re not really narrowing their origin by much.  We get ours from Chicago -- east of here but not quite as east as those other places by about half a world as the crow flies.  Our Chicago wholesaler says their butterfly goby/wasp fish come from India.  This could account for their sometimes being called Indian wasp fish.

LA
Butterfly goby/wasp fish "insist" on live or frozen foods.  They try different foods.

Picky Eaters:  One site we scoped said “Levende og frossen fodder.”  Well, we found ours even pickier than “live or frozen food.”  Ours ignored live California blackworms and thawed frozen bloodworms -- usually good choices for picky eaters.  We kept our last batch with figure-eight puffers (a more aggressive eater) and would not recommend their inclusion.  Puffers tend to “clean up” too fast.  Live brine shrimp and feeder white clouds appear to make better starter foods.  Travis Underhill says to also try feeder guppies, ghost shrimp, and rosy reds.  Don’t mix your butterfly goby/wasp fish with speedy eaters.  Your wasp will starve.  Mollies might work better and provide some occasional live food.

LA
Good size mouth on this 1.5-inch butterfly goby/wasp fish. 

Predators:  They may be picky eaters, but don’t put your butterfly goby/wasp fish in your community tank.  You will have no neons or other similar size fishes.  The little guys just disappear.  These guys loaf on the bottom (like a stonefish/lionfish/toadfish) and sometimes slowly “walk” or hop along the bottom.  When a tasty morsel that tempts their taster wanders past, they suddenly become gulpers.

LA
Butterfly goby/wasp fish show up nicely over white sand or white gravel.

Temperament/Schedule:  If you have anything in your tank to hide behind, look for your new butterfly goby/wasp fish behind it.  I haven’t checked these guys out by flashlight, but I suspect they’re nocturnal or at least crepuscular (look it up) like catfish.  They’re just not very active during the day.

 

Additional Info from Rachel Rushing:  Our fish actually do not fit some of what you say about them on your page.  Our wasp fish actually are not nocturnal.  They are VERY VERY ACTIVE during the daytime and do not hide at all.  We have plenty of plants in there if they want to hide. Rather than hiding, these little devils come right up to the front of the tank and swim around quite hyperly.  When we turn their light off (when we go to bed) they go to sleep.  As of right now we feed them mostly brine shrimp.  We have a 5-gallon full of brine shrimp that we “beef” up with cyclo-peeze (?) and live plankton so they are nutritious for our little buddies.  Occasionally we will throw a few ghost shrimp in there (mostly for our pleasure because we like to watch them play with it before one of them finally sucks down the whole damn thing!!!)  And their color is extravagant.
They are beautiful.  Two of them have a gorgeous gold color to the main
part of their body.  The other four have a great deal of the dark splotches
all over. 

LA
Your butterfly goby/wasp fish blends right into natural gravels.

Substrate:  Choose your own substrate.  Your butterfly goby/wasp fish blends right into natural gravels.  About the only substrates they don’t blend into are white sand and white gravel.  Mike -- who works here (Yes, I’ve seen him do it) -- says white substrates stress all fish.  But Mike says lots of stuff.  Putting your butterfly goby/wasp fish over pink will make him blush.  Of course, you can always see yours (and feel it) when you hold it in your hand.

LA
Treat your butterfly goby/wasp fish like a mini-freshwater lionfish.

Water Conditions:  We think we can consider the butterfly goby/wasp fish a brackish fish.  Two teaspoons of NaCl per gallon seem to help.   Travis Underhill recommends synthetic sea salt for lionfish (which he calls toadfish, eh?) not just plain salt, so perhaps it might work better for the little guys also.  Travis also says his local (Ontario) fish store keeps their butterfly goby/wasp fish in pure sea water.   However, the little guys and the freshwater lionfish sometimes come to us in freshwater, but so do many other brackish water fishes.  Some sources recommend 0.08% sea water.  Travis recommends a specific gravity of 1.010 to 1.016 and making small changes slowly.  Once again, we’re not doing rocket surgery here.

LA
No way can we sex our butterfly goby/wasp fish.

Breeding.  No one seems to breed butterfly goby/wasp fish -- even accidentally.  If you’re looking to cut a notch in your local Breeder Award Program, take a different fork.

LA
"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee."   __Muhammad Ali

Last Words:  If you can keep mollies, you can try butterfly goby/wasp fish.  However, we can’t recommend them.  By the way, the sting from a dead butterfly goby/wasp fish throbs for two days.  LA

Prologue 02.25.05:  They finally got me.  I was trying to swish some around so I could count them and got two punctures for my efforts.  Here’s the remedy:  Squeeze the blood out of any puncture immediately (several times).  Burns like a lit match at first.  The pain goes away within 30 minutes.  Of course this is anecdotal evidence.  You may prefer to cut your finger off.  LA

© 2005, © 2006  LA Productions

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