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Video of the Week! – Coral Reef: engineer goby feeding

This is the second installment of our “Video of the Week!”. This is a routine morning feeding of our tropical tank, but the most obvious focus is on the sinuous and ever-hungry engineer gobies Pholidichthys leucotaenia also called convict gobies or convict blennies. The nickname “engineer” comes from their burrow-constructing behavior. They will excavate the substrate of a tank with their mouths to construct an elaborate network of burrows where they spend most of their time. The “convict” nickname is for their black and white striped coloration, reminiscent of the old-fashioned prison convict uniform. Whatever you call them, they are technically neither gobies nor blennies but a shallow water tropical fish species native to the Indo-Pacific, with only one other species in the family Pholidichthyidae. These beautiful fish were acquired as juveniles from the Steinhart Aquarium (10 of the fish) and the Houston Zoo (12). This exhibit is a replication of tropical seas that once covered this area millions of years ago and is one of the few exhibits in which we display non-native fishes. Along with the engineer gobies are several other tropical fish species including: clown tang, firefish, cardinalfish, hawkfish, flame angel, and several damsel species, including clownfish.


Clown tang


Flame angel

This tank gets a wide variety of foods to accommodate all the different fishes in the tank. The majority of them eat enriched Mysis relicta, but we also add Mazuri gel diet, live adult Artemia (brine shrimp), newly hatched Artemia nauplii, cut shrimp, squid, and Ulva a green macro-algae.


 Clownfish in one of the bubble-tip anemones


Pajama cardinalfish

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