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Top 7 Fish You Can Keep in a Desktop Reef Tank

It is important to keep marine fish that are proportionate to your aquarium size, and luckily there are several tiny fish that are perfect options for a desktop tank. These gobies each have unique colors, personalities, and do not exceed 2" in size (most are under 1").


Reasons Why These Fish Are Best Suited For A Desktop Tank

  • They do not have a swim bladder, so they spend their time perching around their environment.

  • They are easy to observe and enjoy in a small space.

  • A small aquarium best mimics their natural environment.

  • They are protected from predators that could easily swallow them in a large aquarium.

  • They do not have to compete for food with larger fish.


7. Eviota Goby (Eviota atriventris)

Maximum Size: 1"

This bright red and yellow dwarf goby can easily be spotted amongst the corals in your tank. They enjoy spending time inside live rock or caves and come out frequently looking for food. They are peaceful, reef safe, and a perfect addition to any desktop aquarium.



6. Flaming Prawn Goby

Maximum Size: 1"

The flaming prawn goby is a stunning fish with a unique shape and coloration. They enjoy having spaces to hide and are both peaceful and shy. They are scavengers, so they enjoy finding copepods and amphipods in your tank. It's an uncommon fish that is gaining popularity due to it being a great fit for a small desktop aquarium.



5. Panda Goby (Paragobius lacunicolus)

Maximum Size: 1.25"

The panda goby has an adorable, unique appearance that makes it easy to distinguish from other gobies. It's a peaceful fish and enjoys many hiding spots within your aquarium, such as caves and arches.



4. Trimma Goby (Trimma striatum)

Maximum Size: 1"

Also known as the "upside down goby" and the "red line goby", these tiny fish have a striped appearance and are shy and peaceful. Biota trimma gobies eat tiny pellet foods, making them more suitable to nano tanks than wild caught gobies that eat only messy frozen foods.


3. Red Masked Goby (Coryphopterus personatus)

Maximum Size: 1-1.75"

The masked goby has a mostly translucent body with a distinctive red and white pattern. They enjoy hovering over the rocks and corals and are very easy to care for. They readily eat very small pellets and other marine flake foods.


2. Yellow Clown Goby (Gobiodon okinawae)

Maximum Size: 1-1.5"

The clown goby is a vibrant and beautiful choice for a desktop aquarium. They are peaceful fish that get along with other tank inhabitants and are often seen perched on live rock or coral. They tend to be more active when kept in groups, but can also be kept singly.



1. Green Banded Goby

Maximum Size: 1-1.5"

Our personal favorite choice for a desktop tank: the green banded goby is a unique and lively fish with a ton of personality. Their bright green body and red face stripe makes their appearance especially unusual and striking. The green banded goby loves to have places to hide, but will also spend a lot of time exploring your aquarium and finding a comfortable spot to perch. This goby is a must-have for any desktop aquarium.



Ready to build an amazing home for one of the gobies above? PNW Custom desktop tanks are a perfect environment for keeping tiny gobies. We offer multiple sizes and types of aquariums to best fit your space and needs.

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