Spotted Watchman Shrimpgoby

Cryptocentrus sp.

(5 Reviews)

Spotted Watchman Shrimpgoby

Spotted Watchman Shrimpgoby

Cryptocentrus sp.

(5 Reviews)

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Spotted Watchman Shrimpgoby Care Facts

Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Peaceful
Diet: Carnviore
Reef Safe: Yes
Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Max Size: 4 inches

The Spotted Watchman Shrimpgoby, Cryptocentrus sp. is also known as the False Yellow Watchman or False Yellow Shrimpgoby. They are famous for their symbiotic relationship with shrimps to secure their burrows, mostly pistol shrimp. The Watchman thrives in tanks with plenty of live rock, a sandy substrate, and a tightly sealed lid to prevent escapes. Only one should be kept in each aquarium unless it is in a very large tank as they can become territorial. They will feed on a varied carnivorous diet and are known to be able to spawn in home aquariums. Males and females differ slightly as the females have a more muted yellow coloration. The Watchman also has a wonderful "frown" on its face making it seem constantly grumpy. Overall, this is one of the best all-around fish you can have in your tank. It is easy to care for, hardy, fun to watch, beautiful, and a wonderful tank mate. 

Keeping the Spotted Watchman Shrimpgoby (Cryptocentrus sp.) in Your Saltwater Aquarium

The Spotted Watchman Shrimpgoby, belonging to the Cryptocentrus genus, is a remarkable and captivating species that can make a valuable addition to your saltwater aquarium. This comprehensive guide will provide you with crucial information for successfully caring for Spotted Watchman Shrimpgobies. This includes insights into their habitat, reef compatibility, size, lifespan, dietary needs in captivity, availability through aquaculture, compatibility with other marine species, sexual dimorphism, changes in coloration from juvenile to adult stages, temperament, specific tank requirements, and precise water conditions. Additionally, we will list common names for this species and explain why acquiring Spotted Watchman Shrimpgobies from is a wise choice.

Habitat and Natural Range

Spotted Watchman Shrimpgobies inhabit the Indo-Pacific region in various geographical locations, including the Red Sea, the Great Barrier Reef, and Indonesia. These fascinating fish are typically located in sandy substrates near reef structures, which they call home. They often share their burrows with burrowing shrimps, forming a symbiotic relationship that benefits both species.

Reef Compatibility

Spotted Watchman Shrimpgobies are widely regarded as reef-safe inhabitants. Their presence in your reef aquarium typically poses no threat to corals or invertebrates, making them an ideal choice for reef enthusiasts. They coexist harmoniously with other reef inhabitants and play a vital role in the ecosystem by helping control the population of harmful pests.

Size and Lifespan of the Spotted Watchman Shrimpgoby

These remarkable shrimpgobies are relatively small, typically reaching an average length of about 3 to 4 inches (7.62 to 10.16 centimeters). Despite their small stature, they can have a significant lifespan in captivity. They can live for up to 7 years or more with proper care, providing enduring enjoyment to aquarists.

Diet for the Spotted Watchman Shrimpgoby in Captivity

Spotted Watchman Shrimpgobies are naturally omnivorous, consuming a diet that includes both animal-based and plant-based sources. For successful care in a captive setting, offering a balanced diet that caters to their dietary preferences is essential. This includes:

  • Small Invertebrates: Spotted Watchman Shrimpgobies have a natural affinity for small invertebrates such as tiny crustaceans, amphipods, copepods, and small worms. Incorporating these creatures into their diet can be highly beneficial.
  • Frozen Foods: Supplement their diet with high-quality, marine-based frozen foods such as brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, and other finely chopped seafood.
  • Pellet and Granule Foods: Some Spotted Watchman Shrimpgobies can be trained to accept high-quality, small pellets or granules, complementing their live and frozen food intake.

Aquaculture and Availability

Spotted Watchman Shrimpgobies are not as commonly available through aquaculture when compared to other marine species. However, acquiring them from reputable suppliers like can ensure the specimens have been well-acclimated to aquarium life.

Compatibility of the Spotted Watchman Shrimpgoby with Other Fish and Invertebrates

Spotted Watchman Shrimpgobies are generally peaceful, making them excellent tank mates for many marine species. To establish a thriving community tank with these shrimpgobies, consider the following guidelines:

  • Symbiotic Partners: These fish often form symbiotic relationships with burrowing shrimps, such as the pistol shrimp (Alpheus spp.). The shrimp creates and maintains a burrow, while the shrimp goby stands guard and provides an early warning system for potential threats.
  • Non-Aggressive Tank Mates: Spotted Watchman Shrimpgobies coexist well with non-aggressive fish and invertebrates. They are typically not seen as threats and usually remain hidden within the safety of their burrows.
  • Diverse Community: Consider adding other small, peaceful fish and invertebrates to create a varied and captivating marine community in your tank.

Sexual Dimorphism

Spotted Watchman Shrimpgobies do not exhibit sexual dimorphism, making distinguishing males from females based on physical characteristics challenging.

Juvenile to Adult Coloration Changes

Spotted Watchman Shrimpgobies have a striking and distinctive appearance, with a body covered in small blue spots and a characteristic dark stripe across the eyes. They generally retain this captivating coloration as they transition from the juvenile stage to adulthood.

Temperament for the Spotted Watchman Shrimpgoby

Spotted Watchman Shrimpgobies have a calm and peaceful temperament. They are not known to exhibit aggression toward other tank inhabitants and are typically considered model citizens in community aquariums.

Tank Requirements for the Spotted Watchman Shrimpgoby

To ensure the well-being and thriving of Spotted Watchman Shrimpgobies, it is crucial to provide the appropriate tank setup:

  • Minimum Aquarium Size: These shrimpgobies are well-suited for smaller aquariums, with a minimum tank size of 30 gallons. Smaller tanks offer the advantage of better observation of their fascinating behavior.
  • Substrate: Spotted Watchman Shrimpgobies thrive in tanks with a sandy substrate, allowing them to create burrows. Sand mimics their natural environment and provides opportunities for natural behavior.
  • Live Rock: Incorporating live rock in the aquarium is beneficial, as it offers hiding spots and creates a more dynamic and visually appealing aquascape.
  • Tank Lid: Ensure that your tank has a secure lid in place. While these shrimpgobies are not known for jumping, a tank lid can prevent accidental escapes.

Water Conditions for the Spotted Watchman Shrimpgoby

Maintaining specific water conditions is essential for the health and longevity of Spotted Watchman Shrimpgobies:

  • pH Level: Keep the pH level within the range of 8.1 to 8.4 to ensure the stability of the water chemistry.
  • Salinity: Maintain stable salinity levels at approximately 1.025.
  • Water Temperature: Keep the water temperature in the range of 72°F to 78°F (22°C to 26°C).
  • Water Flow: Spotted Watchman Shrimpgobies prefer low to moderate water flow within the tank, allowing them to swim comfortably and feed efficiently.

Common Names for the Spotted Watchman Shrimpgoby

The Spotted Watchman Shrimpgoby is known by common names such as the Spotted Shrimp Goby, Watchman Goby, and Wheeler's Shrimpgoby.

Why Choose the Spotted Watchman Shrimpgoby from

Selecting Spotted Watchman Shrimpgobies from offers several notable advantages:

  • Healthy Specimens: takes pride in providing customers with robust, well-acclimated Spotted Watchman Shrimpgobies. This ensures their readiness for aquarium life and contributes to their long-term well-being.
  • Responsible Sourcing: By acquiring these shrimpgobies from, you support responsible sourcing and ethical collection practices for marine species.
  • Expert Guidance: offers expert guidance and support, helping you provide the best care for your Spotted Watchman Shrimpgobies in your saltwater aquarium.

In conclusion, the Spotted Watchman Shrimpgoby (Cryptocentrus sp.) is a captivating and peaceful addition to your saltwater aquarium. Admired for their remarkable behavior, eye-catching appearance, and the potential for symbiotic partnerships with burrowing shrimps, they can make a delightful choice for marine enthusiasts. Choosing Spotted Watchman Shrimpgobies from ensures access to healthy specimens and expert advice for their successful care in your aquarium.

Reviewed by: David Grass on March 11, 2024

Reviewed by: Gary Sparks on March 10, 2024

Reviewed by: Corey Faithfull on Feb. 7, 2024

Reviewed by: Michael Neff on Oct. 25, 2023

Reviewed by: Susan Alexandre on July 24, 2023

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