A Guide to Peacock Gudgeon Keeping: Simple Tips for Success

Peacock gudgeon (lat.Tateurndina ocellicauda) has smart and vivid coloring, it is absolutely unaggressive and not demanding fish. Isn’t it a perfect choice for a community tank? Unfortunately, it is not quite renowned among aquarists. Maybe this happened due to the lack of information about it. So, let’s fill this gap.

Habitat in the wild

Tateurndina ocellicauda, commonly known as the “peacock gudgeon” or “peacock goby,” belongs to the family Eleotridae. The Eleotridae family is a diverse group of small to medium-sized freshwater fishes commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. These fish are known for their unique behaviors, vibrant colors, and interesting adaptations to various aquatic environments. The peacock gudgeon, specifically Tateurndina ocellicauda, is one of the well-known members of this family and is native to the freshwater streams and rivers of Papua New Guinea.

This fish kind is one of the smallest and the most attractive among the family representatives and it is a perfect dweller for a tank with live tank plants.

Peacock goby inhabits in shallow slow or lentic waters of rivers, streams and ponds in the South-East of Papua New Guinea island. The fish dwells in lowland streams, ponds and rivers mainly in the East of the island. More often the fish is encountered in tropical forest ponds where it swims in shallow waters. The water conditions in these areas can vary, but they generally prefer slightly acidic to neutral water with a pH range of around 6.5 to 7.5. The temperature of the water is typically in the range of 22-28°C (72-82°F).

Peacock gudgeons are found in areas with plenty of vegetation and submerged plants, which offer them hiding spots and shelter. These fish are known to inhabit areas with gentle water currents, as they are not strong swimmers and prefer calmer waters.



Peacock goby (lat.Tateurndina ocellicauda) is a very colorful freshwater carp gudgeon. Its body is bluish and silvery with pink, yellow and black marks along the body and fins.

Peacock goby catches the eye with its vivid coloring: its back is brown, there are shiny red lateral dotted stripes along the fish azure sides and its abdomen is yellow (the females have it more brightly yellow, especially during the spawning period). There is a blurred black spot on the body where the tail begins. Dorsal, tail and anal fins are light blue with red spots.


In the wild the males grow to be up to 7,5 cm (3 in) long and the females become up to 5 cm (2 in) long. In captivity the fish doesn’t grow that large. Males and females are generally similar in size, with males being slightly larger and more colorful due to their sexual dimorphism.

As with many fish species, individual peacock gudgeons can vary in size depending on factors such as genetics, diet, and environmental conditions. In an aquarium setting with proper care and nutrition, they can reach their full potential size within a year or two.


The average lifespan of peacock gudgeons in captivity is around 3 to 5 years. Like many other fish species, the lifespan can be influenced by various factors, including water quality, diet, genetics, and the overall care provided by the fishkeeper.

Scientific NameTateurndina ocellicauda
Common NamesPeacock Gudgeon, Peacock Goby
Native RegionPapua New Guinea
Size3-4 inches (7-10 centimeters)
Lifespan3-5 years (in captivity)
TemperamentPeaceful and non-aggressive
Sexual DimorphismMales are more colorful with vibrant blue, green, yellow, and orange colors; females are less colorful and have a rounder abdomen.
Preferred pH6.5 to 7.5
Water Temperature22-28°C (72-82°F)
HabitatSlow-moving freshwater streams and rivers with sandy or gravelly substrates and plenty of vegetation.
DietCarnivorous; prefers live and frozen foods like brine shrimp, bloodworms, and small insects. Also accepts high-quality pellets and flakes.
BehaviorRelatively peaceful but may exhibit territorial behavior during breeding. Males may display courtship rituals to attract females.
Tank RequirementsProvide a well-maintained aquarium with hiding spots, live plants, and a sandy or fine gravel substrate. Water quality should be regularly maintained.
CompatibilityCan be kept with other peaceful fish in a community aquarium. Avoid aggressive or large species that may intimidate or outcompete them.
BreedingMales build bubble nests and display courtship behaviors. After spawning, eggs are guarded by the males until hatching.
Conservation StatusNot listed as endangered; relatively common in the aquarium trade.

Difficulties in keeping

The peacock goby is not large, calm, not aggressive – in general it is almost a perfect choice for those, who like bright and small fishes. The only drawback of the peacock goby (except that it tends to eat only live food) is its liability to infectious diseases – this is a usual reason of the death in a tank.

The fish that is prone to various diseases are first of all those imported from South-East Asia. Their immune system and health were sapped due to long transportation. However, the fish that was bred in a tank has good health and can live up to 4-5 years long.

Care and keeping in a tank

Tank size

For a single pair of peacock gudgeons (Tateurndina ocellicauda), a minimum tank size of around 10 to 15 gallons (38 to 57 liters) is generally recommended. However, if you plan to keep multiple peacock gudgeons or other fish in the same tank, it’s essential to increase the tank size accordingly to accommodate their needs.

Peacock gudgeons are relatively small fish, but they appreciate having enough space to swim and explore. A larger tank also helps maintain stable water parameters and reduces the risk of aggression between tank mates, especially during breeding periods.

If you plan to keep a small community of peacock gudgeons along with compatible tank mates, you might consider a tank size of around 20 to 30 gallons (75 to 114 liters) or more, depending on the number of fish and species you wish to keep together.

Remember that providing proper hiding spots, plants, and other aquarium decor will create a more natural and comfortable environment for your peacock gudgeons. Regular maintenance and monitoring of water quality are crucial regardless of tank size to ensure the health and well-being of your fish.

Water parameters

Here are the recommended water parameters for these fish:

  1. Temperature: 22-28°C (72-82°F) – Peacock gudgeons prefer a relatively warm water temperature within this range, which corresponds to a tropical environment.
  2. pH: 6.5 to 7.5 – Keep the pH level slightly acidic to neutral. Avoid extreme pH fluctuations, as stability is essential for the health of the fish.
  3. Hardness: Soft to moderately hard – Aim for a general hardness (GH) level of around 5 to 12 dGH.
  4. Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate: – Keep ammonia and nitrite levels at zero. Regularly test the water to ensure that these harmful compounds are not present. Nitrate levels should also be monitored and kept as low as possible, ideally below 20-30 ppm.
  5. Filtration and Water Quality: – Use a good-quality filtration system to maintain clean and clear water. Regular water changes, typically 20-25% every one to two weeks, will help remove accumulated nitrates and other pollutants. Though peacock gudgeon likes clean water, but it will feel uncomfortable, if the water flow in a tank is too strong.
  6. Oxygenation: – Ensure adequate oxygenation in the aquarium, especially if you have live plants or a lot of fish. Proper aeration helps maintain good water quality and keeps the fish healthy.

Remember to monitor water parameters regularly using reliable test kits and make adjustments as needed to keep the water conditions stable and suitable for your peacock gudgeons. Providing a well-maintained environment will help ensure the health and longevity of these beautiful fish.


Using dark tank bottom substrate will help the fish to demonstrate maximum of its beauty.

A sandy or fine gravel substrate is ideal for several reasons:

  1. Natural habitat: It replicates the natural environment of peacock gudgeons, providing a substrate similar to what they would encounter in the wild.
  2. Digging and foraging: Peacock gudgeons are known to sift through the substrate in search of food, such as small insects and other invertebrates. A sandy or fine gravel substrate allows them to exhibit this natural behavior.
  3. Nest building: During the breeding process, male peacock gudgeons create bubble nests on the substrate to protect their eggs. A suitable substrate helps facilitate this nesting behavior.
  4. Planting: If you plan to have live plants in the aquarium, a sandy or fine gravel substrate allows for easy planting and root growth.

When setting up the aquarium for peacock gudgeons, ensure the substrate is clean and free from any harmful substances. Rinse the substrate thoroughly before adding it to the tank to remove excess dust and debris.


The males are not aggressive, but they may demonstrate territory dependence, that’s why they require large number of various shelters. They may strike intimidating poses or suddenly attack their rival, but still all these things are done to scare him off, not to hurt. Peacock gudgeons appreciate caves and crevices where they can retreat and feel safe. You can use various aquarium decorations like ceramic caves or PVC pipes to create these hiding spots.

In tanks without any decorations and plants, the fish usually sticks together around any small shelter they find and swim very little. Incorporate driftwood and rocks into the tank to create hiding places and shelter for your peacock gudgeons. These natural elements also provide surfaces for algae growth, which can serve as an additional food source.

Add live aquatic plants to the aquarium, as they not only enhance the visual appeal but also provide hiding spots and contribute to the water quality. Some suitable plants include Java fern, Anubias, Amazon sword, and Vallisneria. Peacock gudgeon feels safe and comfortable among large number of floating plants. Adding some floating plants, such as water lettuce or duckweed, can help diffuse the light and provide shade for your fish. This also helps reduce stress and provides additional cover.


Tank lighting shouldn’t be bright – dim light is more preferable for the peacock goby. Use appropriate aquarium lighting to enhance the colors of your fish and showcase the beauty of the decor.


The only drawback of this fish kind is its taste for live food. Quite often the fish ignores dry food (though sometimes you may succeed to train them to eat small pellets). As for small sized frozen food (cyclops, coretra, bloodworm) the fish isn’t very happy to eat it. As for the frozen brine shrimp – it’s not reasonable to feed the fish with it, because the fish prefers gobble up the food not to mouth its prey.

Tank mates

Peacock goby is quite calm and peaceful fish that won’t disturb its tank mates even of smaller size. This is the reason why this fish is an excellent dweller of a community tank. But you can’t keep peacock gudgeon with small shrimp like cherry shrimp. Only with Amano shrimp or bigger.

You should take into account the fact that peacock gudgeon is very sedate and deliberate in manner when feeding tank dwellers. Make sure that the fish gets enough food if there are some fast and active fishes in a tank.

When choosing tank mates for peacock gudgeons, it’s important to consider their small size and peaceful nature to ensure they won’t be bullied or stressed. Here are some suitable tank mates:

Gender differences: male vs female

Male and female peacock gudgeons exhibit distinct differences, particularly in their appearance and behavior. Here are some characteristics that can help differentiate between male and female peacock gudgeons:

  1. Coloration: The most noticeable difference is in their coloration. Male peacock gudgeons are much more vibrant and colorful than females. They display striking iridescent shades of blue, green, yellow, and orange, which is how they got their name “peacock.” In contrast, females are generally less colorful, with more subdued tones.
  2. Body Shape: Males tend to have a slimmer and more elongated body shape compared to females. Females may appear slightly rounder, especially when carrying eggs.
  3. Fins: Male peacock gudgeons often have more elaborate and elongated dorsal and anal fins compared to females. These fins are more pronounced and may be edged with bright colors.
  4. Size: In some cases, males may grow slightly larger than females, but the difference in size is not significant.
  5. Behavior: During breeding and courtship, male peacock gudgeons display specific behaviors to attract females. They may establish territories and engage in courtship rituals, including fin displays and dances. Females, on the other hand, may show more interest in exploring potential nesting sites.
  6. Egg-Laying: Once the female is ready to lay eggs, her abdomen may appear more rounded as she carries the eggs. Males are involved in guarding the eggs and will fan them with their fins to maintain oxygen flow.

To sum up, male peacock gudgeons are much more colorful and vibrant, have more elaborate fins, and exhibit specific breeding behaviors. Females, on the other hand, are less colorful and may appear slightly rounder when carrying eggs. Observing these differences can help identify the gender of your peacock gudgeons.


The peacock gudgeon breeds in couples. It is better to put the couple into a separate spawning tank which must have shelters since it is where the female lays eggs. It is easy to see the female that is ready to spawn – it has rounded, large and high yellow colored abdomen.

You may raise the tank water temperature at 1-2 °C in comparison with the community tank. During the mating game the abdominal fins of both fish change their color – male’s fins become dark brown and the female’s ones – black.

The peacock gudgeon female lays from 50 to 200 eggs about 1 mm in diameter. After the spawning is over you should take the female away from the spawning tank.

The peacock gudgeon male takes care of their offspring. Male are very caring parents and they stay in the cave all the time. They don’t leave it even to eat.

All this time the male actively waves its fins fanning the eggs and this way saturating them with oxygen. In 6-10 days (depending on the tank water temperature) the transparent larvae about 2-3 mm long appears.

Once this happens you should remove the male from the tank as well.

In 2-4 days the juveniles start to swim. You should start feeding them with infusorian, brine shrimp nauplii, rotifer.

Provided with good tank conditions peacock gudgeon juveniles grow about 1 cm longer each month. Approximately in a month the juveniles will have a black spot near their tail fin.

However, they will get complete coloring of the adult fish only in 4 months. Peacock gudgeon becomes reproductive at the age of 6-8 month.