Peacock Gudgeon 101: Care, Types, Tank Mates, Diet And More!

Peacock Gudgeons have an unjustified bad reputation, making them one of the least favorite when it comes to community fish. They are a lovely species though, with bold characters and vibrant personalities. They will fill your tank with life, and there will never be a dull moment for you and the other fish they’re housed with. Apart from being fussy eaters, Gudgeons are easy to look after, and they get on well with most species.

If you are thinking about adding some spice to your aquarium with them, then keep reading to find out more about these awesome creatures.

Peacock Gudgeon Fish Basics

When you think of a peacock, the vision that immediately springs to mind is the fabulous colorful bird that struts around just with full confidence in its beauty. Well, the Peacock Gudgeon is named after it for similar reasons. Despite their miniscule size, they are decked out in the most fabulous colors, and sport the same trademark eyespot as the birds. In the scientific community they are called Tateurndina ocellicauda, though you will also hear them referred to as Peacock Goby.

They were first found in Papua New Guinea, but they are also native to New Zealand and Australia. These fish are members of the Eleotriafe family.

Despite their origin, the majority of Gudgeons sold to hobbyists are bred in captivity. If you are a beginner, Peacock Gudgeons are perfect because they’re so easy to look after. Breeding can be a bit tricky, but if you’re not planning on breeding them, you won’t need to worry about it.

Size: 1-2.5 inches

Lifespan: 4-5 years

Temperament: Peacock Gudgeons are very peaceful, they are often confused with the cichlids which is why they have been incorrectly labelled as aggressive. They don’t cause trouble when they’re around other fish, they are very sociable and need to be in groups of 6-8. You can also keep them in a pair, but they prefer larger groups. The males can get slightly aggressive with each other, but you won’t see them having an all out brawl.

They basically have petty chicken fights that don’t last very long. Gudgeons enjoy swimming around the tank and playing with the plants. When they’re feeling really confident, they will swim freely without playing or frolicking, displaying their beauty. When these fish feel threatened, they will hide, so make sure there are a lot of hiding places in the tank for them to do so.

One really important point to make is that Peacock Gudgeons can jump really high, so you’ll need to secure your tank with a lid to prevent them from jumping out.

What do Peacock Gudgeons Look Like

What do Peacock Gudgeons Look Like?

Peacock Gudgeons are just as vibrant and beautiful as their namessake. They are exceptionally colorful, and they have the peacock eye. The body is a combination of silver and blue, with red dots going down the sides. Even though they are nicknamed gobies, they don’t resemble them. Their stomachs are a light yellow color, and the edge of their fins have a yellow tint. You can tell the difference between males and females because females have got a black stripe on their fins.

The males have a hump on their foreheads, the females are slightly shorter than the males, and when females are getting ready to spawn, they get a yellow patch on their stomach.

Tank Conditions For Peacock Gudgeons

Their natural habitat is full of plants, so you’ll need to decorate the tank with plenty of plants in order for Gudgeons to thrive. Water wisteria, Java fern, and Anubias make plant choices. They will also need a lot of vegetation because they will want to use them as hiding places when they feel stressed and threatened. Gudgeons also like swimming through plants, they are at their happiest when they’re surrounded by plants.

It’s also advised that you choose strong plants though, because they spend a lot of time playing with them, and if they’re too delicate then they’ll destroy them very quickly.

Use darker sand for a substrate because it replicates their natural habitat. Stay away from gravel though, as it could injure them. Gudgeons like hiding, so decorating the tank with castles and caves provides them with even more fun hiding places.

Water Conditions: In the wild, Peacock Gudgeons live in slow-moving waters, so your tank will need to replicate this. Fast flowing waters will overwhelm them and cause them a lot of stress. They are used to warmer temperatures, so the tank’s water should be between 72 to 79 degrees F. The pH levels should be between 6.0 to 7.8 with 7.0 being ideal. Keep the nitrate levels low, you will need a good filtration system to achieve this. Additionally, when choosing a filter, make sure it doesn’t create a strong current.

Tank Size: Peacock Gudgeons don’t do a lot of swimming, so they won’t need as much space. You can house a school of 6 in a 15-gallon tank. Obviously, if you’re going to have a larger school, or other species in the same tank, you’ll need more space.

Tank Mates: These fish are sociable and get along well with most fish as long as they are of a similar temperament and size. Don’t house them with aggressive or large fish, as that will stress them out and put them in harm’s way. Big fish usually swallow Gudgeons whole. Although some fish are peaceful, they can be territorial, in this case, just make sure the tank is big enough so the fish have enough space that they won’t need to be territorial. In general, ideal tank mates include:

  • Cherry Barb: This fantastic freshwater fish is always highly recommended. Not only are they good looking, they’re also easy to take care of. They’re very active fish, and when housed with non-threatening tank mates they spend the majority of their time swimming. They are a lot more confident when they’re out in a group. A peaceful fish, they generally mind their own business. The only time Cherry Barbs are known to be aggressive is during their mating season. The males will chase away other males when they try to get close to certain females. The males will also chase females in an attempt to woo them, but it’s all done in the name of love.
  • Ember Tetra: These cute and fun loving freshwater fish make the perfect tank mates for Peacock Gudgeons. They are very active, like swimming around in groups, enjoy hiding amongst the plants, and they don’t display any signs of aggression.
  • Dwarf Cichlids: Cichlids tend to be aggressive, but not this breed, the only time they display aggression is when their space has been compromised. You can house them with Peacock Gudgeons, just make sure there’s plenty of room.
  • Harlequin Rasbora: These fish are stunning to look at and easy to care for. They are peaceful and don’t bother their tank mates, so you will never catch them doing things like nipping on the tails of other fish. They don’t exhibit any signs of aggression.
  • Cory Catfish: They are well loved for their sweet character, making them very popular amongst aquarists. They spend most of their time at the bottom of the tank resting or looking for food, and minding their own business.

What to Feed Peacock Gudgeons

Peacock Gudgeon Breeding

Most fish are happy to eat flake foods, but not the Peacock Gudgeon! One of their unique character traits is that they are known to turn their nose up to it. They are most certainly proud and demanding. You could even say they had a little diva in them! They prefer protein rich foods that they can prey on like larvae, insects, and other small critters. Feed them freeze-dried or frozen high protein foods combined with live snacks like daphnia, brine shrimp, and bloodworms.

There is a possibility that they’ll eat the flakes when coupled with their favorite meals. The fat and the protein from live foods is what keeps them happy and healthy. When they are well fed, you’ll notice that their colors are more vibrant. If their color starts fading, it’s because they’re not getting enough meat in their diet.

Breeding Peacock Gudgeons

If you’re looking for an interesting breeding project, the Peacock Gudgeon will most definitely give you one. They will breed naturally when left to their own devices, but you can also manufacture their breeding conditions by feeding them a diet of live, meaty, frozen foods. Caves are extremely important to the spawning process, you can either buy them, or build them out of PVC pipework or small rocks. If you plan on moving them to a breeding tank, give the fish some extra cover by adding clumps of plants. A series of partial water changes will also help encourage spawning.

The females will have swollen bellies from carrying the eggs during this time, male fish will try their luck at the cave entrances by performing tricks like flaring their fins at females in the hopes of beckoning them into the cave. If the female is impressed, she will make her way into the cave, and release her eggs on the ceiling, and the male will fertilize them.

Once the female has released all her eggs, the male will lead the female out of the cave, and he will take care of the brood. He does this by using his pectoral fins to fan them, keeping them surrounded by water and plenty of oxygen. Depending on the temperature, the eggs will hatch within 3-6 days, and the male fish will stop looking after the fry. At this point it is best to move the fry to another tank, or they will get eaten by larger fish. Within 36-48 hours the fry will start free-swimming.

Feeding Instructions For Peacock Gudgeons Fry

After 2-4 days you can start feeding the fry, one teaspoon of microworms per day is enough. You can either culture the microworms yourself, or buy them from a pet supply store. After seven days, start feeding them brine shrimp twice a day, 10-15 brine shrimp will suffice. The fry will start eating larger live foods as they grow.

Growing Peacock Gudgeon Fry

As mentioned, these fish don’t like flakes or pellets, they prefer live foods. Since they are such fussy eaters, it can be hard to give them the right amount of food. A good rule of thumb is to give them the amount that they can eat within five minutes. It will be a bit of trial and error to work this out, but it’s safer to not give them enough food than to give them too much.

You will only need to change 25 percent of the water when cleaning the tank generally, and this should be done once a week. Vacuum the substrate and wipe down the sides of the tank. Make sure the water is the correct temperature, before adding it to the tank. Changing the water once a week will help keep the fry healthy.

After 2-4 months, the fry would have grown into juveniles, at this point you can house them with the adults. The transfer process is pretty simple, just catch each fish with a small aquarium net, and dump them straight into the other tank. Also, be sure to use a black or green net and not a white one; in general, fish are not as frightened of the darker colored nets.

Complications With Peacock Gudgeons

Unfortunately, these fish are prone to several diseases, which are generally brought about by stress or unhygienic tank conditions:

  • Hole-in-Head Disease: As the name suggests, this condition affects the head of the Peacock Gudgeon. It is mainly transmitted through fecal matter and is highly contagious. The Gudgeon is more likely to catch this disease when they are stressed or living in less than optimal water conditions. The disease leaves a hole in the head which results in sores. The first step to treating this condition is to clean the tank and make sure the conditions are right.
  • Ich: This is a common disease amongst freshwater fish, which typically brought on by stress, and it is very contagious. Once the disease has been discovered, quarantine the affected fish and administer copper-based medications.
  • Skin and Gill Flukes: The main cause of this disease is Trematodes; if it is not treated immediately, it can severely damage the skin. The disease is typically brought on by poor water conditions.

How to Maintain a Healthy Environment

Maintaining a healthy tank environment will ensure that your Peacocks live a long life, you can achieve this by doing the following:

  • Get the feeding measurements right; any food that these fish don’t eat floats to the bottom of the tank and stays there. When it starts rotting, it contaminates the tank water.
  • Remove dead fish from the tank as soon as they die. You may not notice straight away, but as soon as you do, get the fish out.
  • A raft net cage will ensure that organic matters are removed and the water stays clean.

Peacock Gudgeon in tank

How to Keep Your Fish Happy and Healthy

There is more to keeping fish than maintaining a healthy tank environment, here are some tips to ensure that your Peacock Gudgeons live a happy and healthy life:

Make Sure They Adapt: Like any other animal, fish need to adapt to their new environment. They may have only moved from the breeder’s tank to your tank, but there are going to be differences, and the fish will detect them. There is plenty of information in this article to ensure that your Peacock Gudgeons get properly settled, follow the instructions carefully, and you should be fine.

Fish Are Not For Decoration: As attractive as some fish are, especially the Peacock Gudgeons, they are not decorative pieces. Fish need to be taken care of properly and given the same love and attention as a dog or a cat. Although you can’t pet and coo them like you can with other animals, you do need to interact with them and give them attention.

Keep the Tank Clean: This sounds like a no-brainer, but you would be shocked at the amount of fish owners who don’t maintain their tanks properly, but still expect their fish to thrive. Like humans, fish don’t like a mess, and they have no desire to live in it. Giving your tank a good clean at least once a week will ensure that your fish remain happy and healthy.

Pay Attention: Again, fish are not like other animals, and they can’t communicate with their owners in the same way. Your fish won’t whimper when they’re not feeling well, but they will change their behavior. Peacock Gudgeons are active fish, so if they spend more time hiding than swimming, you’ll know that something is wrong. When you realize that your fish are sick, treat them immediately so that they don’t suffer for too long and can quickly go back to their way of life.

Check the Filter: You need a good filter to keep the tank oxygenated and the water clean. Check it regularly to make sure it’s working properly, and clean it often to keep it in good condition. Despite the fact that fish live under water, they need air, and a good filter provides them with it.

Direct Sunlight: In general, fish don’t like being exposed to direct sunlight. The warm sun can increase the water temperature of the tank, and it makes algae grow quickly. Fish don’t like excess algae, and additionally, it can even change the pH levels.

Keep the Volume Down: Fish don’t like noise, and they do a lot better in quiet environments. Fish don’t usually live on the surface of the water, they live deep in the rivers, seas, and oceans, which means they are rarely exposed to noise. A noisy house, with TVs, radios, and children screaming, is not ideal for fish. As much as you can, keep them in a quiet environment.


Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about Peacock Gudgeons:

Are Peacock Gudgeons aggressive?

Not in general, but the males can get aggressive towards each other.

How many Peacock Gudgeons should be kept together?

Keep them in groups of 6 or more.

Can I keep one Peacock Gudgeon?

No, you can keep them in one pair, but they are sociable fish and prefer to be in groups of 6 and larger.

Can you keep Peacock Gudgeons with shrimp?

It’s not a good idea, as they are bottom dwellers and will eat the shrimp.

Can Peacock Gudgeons live with bettas? 

It depends on the betta, some of them can, and some of them can’t. If you choose to house them together, you’ll need a lot of hiding places for the Gudgeons, and you’ll need to keep a close eye on them.

Final Thought

If you’ve got to the end of this article, you have all the necessary information required to make the perfect home for your Peacock Gudgeons. It’s always a good idea to get everything ready before bringing them back to their new home.