Peacock gudgeon care guide

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

This good-looking small fish actually is not a carp gudgeon, it is a representative of Eleotridae family. Species from this family don’t have coalesced pectoral fins like those of true carp gudgeons.

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.

Scientific NameTateurndina ocellicauda
Common NamesPeacock gudgeon, peacock goby
Range and habitatPapua New Guinea
Sizeup to 7,5 cm (3 in)
Lifespan3-5 years
Ease of keepingMedium
Minimum tank size40 liters (10 US gallons) and more
Temperature72-78 °F (22 to 26 °C)
Water hardness5-10 dGH


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.

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. Its lifespan is about 5 years.

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.

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

A small tank of 40 liters (10 US gallons) capacity will do for a couple of fish. Peacock gudgeon feels safe and comfortable among large number of floating plants.

Using dark tank bottom substrate will help the fish to demonstrate maximum of its beauty. You can use coarse grained sand or small gravels up to 5 mm as the bottom substrate.

Tank lighting shouldn’t be bright – dim light is more preferable for the peacock goby. The water flow should be minimal. It is recommended to perform water renew once in a week. Though the fish is not demanding, still it is better to provide water filtration.

The males are not aggressive, but they may demonstrate territory dependence, that’s why they require large number of various shelters. You can make them from snags, various caves and etc. Rivalry between the male species is also not aggressive.

They may strike intimidating poses or suddenly attack their rival, but still all these things are done to scare him off, not to hurt.

Surprisingly, in tanks like this the peacock goby will be unobservable. In tanks without any decorations and plants, the fish usually sticks together around any small shelter they find and swim very little.

Though peacock gudgeon likes clean water, but it will feel uncomfortable, if the water flow in a tank is too strong. The fish jumps well, therefore make sure that there are no gaps around the tank lid.


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. Other species that inhabit in Papua New Guinea island will be perfect tank mates for peacock gudgeon.

Gender differences: male vs female

Both males and females of this kind are nicely and brightly colored. Both of them have a black spot where their tail fin begins.

Anal and dorsal fins of the peacock gudgeon male have bright yellow edges and those of the females have black edges. Males are larger, brighter colored, their head is bigger with high forehead. Females have receding forehead.

Abdominal fins of the fish are colorless as a rule, but during the mating game the females have them black colored and the males have them brown with bluish tint.


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.