The Stiphodon atropurpureus or Blue Neon Goby is a small, slender, bottom dwelling fish between 1 – 2 inches (4 – 5 cm) found in the fast highly oxygenated waters and streams in the Philippines, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, and southern China. These fish have a disc shaped pelvic fin that is designed to help the fish stay anchored in fast moving waters allowing them to feed without being swept away. Stiphodon atropurpureus are most recognizable for their iridescent blue lateral stripe that runs the flank of the fish from the nares, through the eye, to the peduncle. This stripe is very vibrant in males but subdued in females who are predominantly decorated with black and cream-colored stripes, making them easy to sex. These blue striped beauties require high flow to replicate their natural habitat of fast-moving tropical streams and waterfalls. It is recommended that the minimum water turnover rate be 10 times per hour or higher to provide desired current and maintain adequate O2 levels.
Stiphodon atropurpureus thrive in temperatures between 68° - 82° F (20° - 27° C), and a pH of 5.5 – 7.5, and KH of 2 – 12 dKH. It is imperative that these fish be placed in lidded, well-established aquariums of 20 gallons or more with lots of rocks and sand on the bottom for perching, burrowing, and facilitate the formation of territories. Males can be very territorial so care must be taken to ensure there are ample hiding places and grazing space as blue neon gobies scavenge biofilm, eating algae and the tiny crustaceans and microorganisms that live in the soft tufts growing on the rocks. Quality fish foods high in vegetable matter can be used as a diet staple while meaty foods such as worms should only be fed in moderation. One way to ensure there is plenty of algae for grazing, is to keep some rocks in a separate tank with high light. This will encourage algae growth outside of your primary tank and rocks can be swapped out once picked clean.
Prospective tank mates include small species of loaches, danios, rasboras, dwarf shrimp, and other peaceful species that enjoy fast current and high oxygen levels. Avoid any species that eat small fish, as they will make a quick snack of these tiny torpedoes. Due to Stiphodon anthrapurpurins’ timid demeanor, it is best to choose tank mates without aggressive appetites that are of similar temperament to Stiphodon anthrapurpurin. While courtship behavior and spawning may take place, fry have not yet been successfully raised in captivity. This is likely due to the amphidromous migration (moving from freshwater to the sea then back to freshwater) of the Blue Neon Goby.