Pygmy Coral Croucher
Fish Type: Scorpionfish
Scientific Name: Caracanthus unipinna
Max Size: 2"
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gal
Relative Care: Easy
Photo Courtesy of Live Aquaria
The Pygmy Coral Croucher Goby is a fascinating bottom-dwelling fish sporting a handsome coppery, orange-brown coloration often found in and about both hard and soft corals. With numerous and descriptive common names such as Penny Velvetfish, Gumdrop Coral Croucher, and Velvet Goby, it is not too difficult to surmise the general appearance and behavior of this fish. The Pygmy Coral Croucher Goby possesses a compact, gumdrop-like body that is vertically compressed, allowing it to navigate tight spaces between reef rubble and coral branches. Its entire body is covered with fine “hairs” that give it a fuzzy or velvet-like appearance.
The Pygmy Coral Croucher Goby may be small in stature but is big on personality. Initially cryptic and retreating in nature, the Pygmy Coral Croucher Goby will eventually come out more frequently, inquisitively observing the activity of tank mates as well as its human caretaker! Though the Pygmy Coral Croucher Goby may resemble a goby, it is actually a member of the scorpionfish family. Accordingly, the Pygmy Coral Croucher Goby is venomous, possessing defensive spines on its dorsal fins. If you are “stung”, the reaction may be similar to a bee sting only a little stronger. Similar to other members of the scorpionfish family, the Pygmy Coral Croucher Goby has specialized pectoral fins, which it uses to supplement locomotion.
The Pygmy Coral Croucher Goby does best when housed in an established aquarium of at least 10 gallons in size, aquascaped with a generous amount of live rock, rubble and preferably branching corals or similar decorations. It will rarely demonstrate aggression towards other fish but is known to squabble with its own kind in smaller aquariums. Therefore, it is best to keep the Pygmy Coral Croucher Goby singly, as a mated/bonded pair, or with other docile species.
It is not uncommon for the Pygmy Coral Croucher Goby to spawn in the home aquarium. Caution should be exercised if your aquarium contains Acropora or similar SPS corals as the Pygmy Coral Croucher Goby will lay eggs on the underside of coral branches, causing tissue recession in that area of the coral. However, under good conditions, the coral will regenerate the patch of lost tissue.
The diet of the Pygmy Coral Croucher Goby should consist of a variety of brine shrimp, frozen mysis shrimp, chopped table shrimp, and frozen food preparations for carnivores. If housed in a reef aquarium with live branching corals, the Pygmy Coral Croucher Goby needs to be target fed once a day with a syringe or feeding tool. If housed in an aquarium without substrate, it will require several feedings per day.