The Annie’s Dwarf Goby (Stiphodon annieae) is a very rare freshwater dwarf goby that is endemic to Halmahera, Indonesia. It is known for the intense neon red and blue colors that male specimens display. Females are not as colorful, but are still very attractively marked. This fascinating, peaceful fish is an algae and biofilm grazer that is an excellent candidate for the mature nano aquarium.
An aquarium with heavy water flow (10 to 15 times turnover per hour) and very clean, clear water is required for the Annie’s Dwarf Goby. This fish is native to shallow, clear, fast-flowing waters and it is sensitive to declines in water quality, so regular aquarium maintenance is a must.
The Annie’s Dwarf Goby is a biofilm and algae grazer in nature. It is known to usually accept frozen meaty foods, but such foods should only be fed occasionally. This fish will also sometimes accept high-quality dry foods that are rich in plant matter, but it is absolutely essential that biofilm and algae are naturally available in the aquarium to ensure its long-term health or else it may slowly starve. As long as it is kept in a well-maintained, mature aquarium with good biofilm and algae growth as well as high water flow, the Annie’s Goby is a hardy and entertaining fish. It will not bother aquarium plants. In fact, Anubias species are an excellent plant to keep with this goby because Anubias can foster significant biofilm/algae growth in an aquarium with moderate to high lighting.
Most small rasboras, tetras, hillstream loaches, and other small, peaceful fish are good tankmates for the Annie’s Dwarf Goby. Due to its small size and diet, the Annie’s Dwarf Goby can also be kept with dwarf shrimp, although it might eat a few of their fry. Dwarf shrimp are particularly good tankmates in larger aquariums where they can find areas of lower water flow. Peaceful bottom-dwelling fish are also a possibility, but care must be taken to make sure that the passive Annie’s Dwarf Goby is not outcompeted for food. Female Annie’s Dwarf Gobies will often congregate together, even with other goby species. Males seem to be able to differentiate between females of different species during courtship behavior.
There are reported cases of the Annie’s Dwarf Goby spawning in the aquarium, but it is very difficult (if not currently impossible) to raise the fry due to their complex larval stages. In nature, adults spawn and their fry hatch in freshwater, then they are immediately swept downstream to marine ocean waters where they feed and develop. As the fry mature, they swim great distances back to full freshwater streams, often on completely different islands than where they originated. At this point, the fry have become young adults are will soon be sexually mature and exhibit adult coloration.