Peacock Gudgeon 101: Care, Tank Mates, Breeding & More

The Peacock Gudgeon is an incredibly beautiful and unique freshwater fish that all aquarists should consider.

Not only do they look great, but they’re pretty easy to care for. They don’t require conditions that are challenging to maintain, and they get along with plenty of other species.

This guide on Peacock Gudgeon care will teach you everything you need to know if you want to own this fish yourself. You’ll learn general tank requirements, diet, tank mates, breeding tips, and more!

Species Summary

The Peacock Gudgeon (Tateurndina ocellicauda) is a vibrant freshwater fish that’s endemic to shallow bodies of water in Papua New Guinea. They’re also found throughout New Zealand and Australia.

While the fish are sometimes referred to as the Peacock Goby, they are not part of the Goby family. Instead, they belong to the Eleotridae and are the only members of the Tateurndina Genus.

These days, most of the Peacock Gudgeons you see in fish markets are bred in captivity. They have become quite popular in the fish community. As their name would suggest, their striking looks are reminiscent of peacock feathers!

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The fish makes an excellent addition to any community tank. Though, they require some special attention to ensure that they stay healthy, vibrant, and stress-free.


In good conditions, the average Peacock Gudgeon lifespan is between 4 and 5 years in captivity.

While that’s not as long as some other freshwater fish species, these fish will certainly make the most out of their time in your tank. They have unique personalities and don’t mind showing off.

Author Note: The key to keeping Peacock Gudgeons healthy is to stay committed to maintaining their tanks! Like any other fish, they are sensitive to extreme changes. Poor water conditions can shorten their lifespan significantly and lead to a host of diseases.


When it comes to looks, Peacock Gudgeons are one of the most beautiful freshwater fish you can get. They have vibrant colors that stand out against natural aquascaping, making them a good choice for any tank ecosystem.

The colors on a Peacock Gudgeon

These fish have long and slender bodies. Their heads are rounded. Adult males can even develop a nuchal hump on the forehead, making that round shape even more pronounced.

The color pattern of Peacock Gudgeons is what stands out the most. The body is typically covered in a silvery-blue shade. Vibrancy varies from fish to fish. Some are more subdued while others take on an electric blue shade.

The belly of these fish tends to take on a subtle yellow hue.

This beautiful base color is complemented by lateral dotted stripes of red. These dotted striped run vertically along the entire length of the fish. The same silver-blue and red coloration continue on the fins.

However, you’ll notice an additional pop of yellow, too. All of the Peacock Goby’s fins have a thick edge of bright yellow. Female specimens also have a thinner strip of black on top of the yellow portion of the fins.

The unique appearance of Peacock Gudgeons doesn’t stop there. At the base of the tail fin, these fish have a large black spot. Commonly referred to as the “eye spot,” it’s this distinct physical quirk that gives the fish its “Peacock” moniker.

Males and females do have some physical differences. They’re quite easy to sex. As we mentioned earlier, males tend to develop that forehead hump while females have a thin strip of black on the edge of their fins.

Beyond those differences, females also have more vibrant coloration on their bellies. That subtle yellow shade is more intense than what you’ll see on males. Males tend to be slightly larger than females as well.


The average size for a Peacock Gudgeon is about 3 inches long. Females usually only reach lengths of approximately 2 and a half inches.

Most juvenile fish will reach maturity sometime between 6 and 8 months. They’ll be close to full length at this stage, though some will grow a bit bigger in the following months.

Peacock Gudgeon Care

Compared to other fish species, Peacock Gudgeon care is relatively easy. They’re not particularly fussy and do well in community settings.

However, that doesn’t mean that you can stick them in any old tank and call it a day. These fish need carefully crafted environments and stable water conditions to stay healthy. Here are some important care tips to follow.

Tank Size

Thanks to their small size, Peacock Gudgeons don’t need a ton of room (they’re amazing freshwater nano fish). To make things even easier, these fish aren’t the biggest swimmers. As a result, you don’t have to have too much swimming room in your tank to keep them healthy.

The minimum tank size we recommend is 15 gallons. That’s suitable for a small group of Peacock Gudgeons. Of course, if you plan on having a large group or multi-species community tank, larger is always better.

Author Note: We see many other guides online recommending a 10-gallon tank for these fish. In our experience, adding an extra 5 gallons makes a world of difference in the overall happiness and health of the fish. It’s also still quite easy to find room for a 15-gallon tank.

Water Parameters

Peacock Gudgeons inhabit shallow waters in the wild. They’re usually found in still ponds or very slow-moving streams. Those bodies of water are filled with vegetation and are pretty warm.

The best way to keep Peacock Gudgeons healthy in captivity is to replicate those natural habitats as much as possible. The following water parameters are ideal for these fish.

  • Water temperature: 72°F to 79°F
  • pH levels: 6.0 to 7.8 (around 7.0 is best)
  • Water hardness: 5 to 12 dKH

Author Note: Make sure you perform regular water tests to ensure that these parameter levels are stable. With freshwater tanks, it can be rather easy for shifts to occur without you realizing it.

What To Include In Their Habitat

As we mentioned earlier, Peacock Gudgeons are the perfect species to keep in a heavily aquascaped aquarium. These fish thrive when they’re around plants.

Tateurndina ocellicauda in a planted aquarium tank

When you’re planning your tank, implement a wide variety of hardy plants. Water wisteria, Java fern, Anubias, and more are worth considering. The more plants you have, the happier your fish will be.

Not only do plants mimic their natural habitat in the wild, but they serve a couple of practical purposes, too. The fish will use the plants to hide whenever they feel threatened. Even when they’re happy and care-free, you’ll see them swimming through the leaves and having fun.

Because they interact with plants so much, it’s important that whatever aquatic plants you include are durable. Delicate vegetation can be torn up pretty quickly.

You can embed plants in a dark sand substrate. Sand is safer for these fish than gravel.

In addition to plants, make sure to take advantage of rocks and driftwood. Again, plenty of hiding spots and places to explore is always best.

For Peacock Gudgeons, we also recommend introducing some kind of cave system if you can. You can make a cave out of rocks, purchase a fabricated cave system, or use a simple PVC pipe. Whatever you choose, make sure that it’s spacious enough for the fish to enter completely.

Dark and secluded spots like those are used during the breeding process.

Now, here’s what you need to know when it comes to filtration and water flow:

There are no specific filter requirements for Peacock Gudgeons. Just make sure that your chosen equipment is powerful enough to cycle the tank and keep nitrates level low.

One important thing to consider is the filter’s outlet. Peacock Goby’s aren’t the most powerful swimmers out there. They don’t have to worry about strong currents in the wild, so you need to keep water flow to a minimum.

Don’t utilize any strong pumps or powerful air bladders. It’s recommended that you break up the current produced by the filter outlet. You can do this by directing it against the glass of the tank or placing large decorative items in front of it. This will reduce the flow and keep things relatively stagnant.

Potential Diseases

Peacock Gudgeons are at risk for a range of diseases. None of them are specific to this species. Rather, these ailments affect all fish.

One common issue is ich. It’s caused by an ectoparasite called Ichthyophthirius multifiliis. Freshwater fish will succumb to the parasite when stressed. So, it’s important to monitor water conditions regularly and keep the tank in good shape to avoid it.

Ich is highly contagious, so you will need to quarantine infected fish. From there, you can treat the issue with copper-based medicines.

A couple of ailments affect Peacock Gudgeon’s head. The first thing to be wary of is Hole-in-Head disease. This condition usually affects larger fish like Cichlids. However, it can affect Peacock Gudgeons, too.

This disease is transmitted via feces. Typically, it occurs due to poor water conditions and results in sores and visible pits on the head.

Worms and parasitic infections are common as well. Anchor worms can latch onto a fish’s head and body. Most often, fish will try to “scratch” the worms off by rubbing against decorations.

The same goes for skin and gill flukes. Tiny worms will latch onto fish, creating a small lesion. Fluke attacks can be quite dangerous. While small infestations aren’t a huge deal, larger ones can easily kill Peacock Gudgeons. Luckily, they can usually be treated with antifungal and antibacterial medications.

Author Note: The most effective way to prevent your fish from getting these diseases is by maintaining great water quality and not accidentally bringing diseases into their tank from other objects or species. By being consistent, committed, and careful, you can likely avoid these diseases altogether!

Food & Diet

One of the biggest challenges of the Peacock Gudgeon is diet! These fish can be quite picky.

In the wild, they typically prey on insects, larvae, and small critters they can safely eat. As you can see, they prefer protein-rich live food.

Some aquarists have seen success with high-quality dried food, but Peacock Gudgeons almost always prefer live or frozen snacks.

You can try dry food to see how your fish like it. However, we do recommend supplementing that diet with live food to keep them healthy.

Brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia, and more are all good options. Those nutrient-packed live foods will help your fish reach their full potential. Not only will they be happier, but you may notice that their colors become more vibrant when they eat live foods as well.

Temperament & General Behavior

For the most part, Peacock Gudgeons are peaceful. They won’t cause any trouble with other non-aggressive fish that are close in size.

One Peacock Gudgeon swimming toward the camera

These fish are happiest when in a group. You can keep them in a single pairing, but they do best in large groups of 6 to 8 fish.

You might see some slight aggression between males in a group. However, this isn’t anything major. They will often spar for a few minutes before moving on. It’s light-hearted and usually doesn’t result in any injury for the fish involved.

Typically, these fish will explore the ecosystem and play with plants. If your fish is comfortable with the environment, you may see them swimming in open areas to show off their good looks!

Tank Mates

There are plenty of Peacock Gudgeon tank mates you can choose from. Aside from other fish of the same species, these fish fair pretty well with almost all other peaceful fish.

You can keep them in community tanks as long as there are no major aggressors. It is possible to keep somewhat territorial fish in the same tank.

Though, you need to make sure that those fish are not big enough to eat the Peacock Gudgeons. It’s also important to stick with a larger tank so that any territorial fish can have their own space.

Here are some good tank mates for the Peacock Gudgeon:

Author Note: Some people wonder if shrimp can be viable tank mates for this species. Based on what we’ve seen you’ll want to avoid Cherry Shrimp, but Ghost Shrimp are worth trying.

Peacock Gudgeon Breeding

Peacock Gudgeon breeding isn’t too tough. These fish tend to bond and create pairs quickly. If you have a large group of fish, identify a pair and move them to a separate breeding tank for safety.

Your breeding tank should have some kind of cave or cavity. You can use a simple PVC pipe, a terracotta pot, or an artificial cave.

To start the breeding process, perform a water change and provide your bonded pair with plenty of protein-rich live food. When the male is ready to breed, he will dance for females. He’ll swim around the entrance of the cave system and flare his pectoral fins.

If the female accepts, she’ll swim into the cave and lay between 50 and 100 eggs. The eggs are sticky, so she may lay them on the sides of the cave or the ceiling. After she’s done, she’ll leave.

At this point, the male takes over. He’ll fertilize the eggs and care for them as they incubate. You can see him fanning the eggs and protecting the area fiercely.

About 8 to 10 days later, the eggs will hatch. The male may stick around for a bit to make sure the small fry consumes the eggs. However, most will leave and let the baby fish fend for themselves. Once this happens, you can remove the male and female adult fish from the tank.

Baby Peacock Gudgeons grow pretty slowly. You will need to feed them infusoria and powdered food until they are big enough to consume baby brine shrimp. It will be several weeks until they are free swimming, so keep a watchful eye and provide a constant supply of food to help them grow.            

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve read the guide, you know why we’re such big fans of this fish. They’re beautiful, easy to care for, and fun to observe.

What’s not to like?

If you’re interested in learning more about this species or have information you’d like us to add to this page just let us know! Our goal is to make this the best Peacock Gudgeon care guide on the internet, so any extra help is always welcome.

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