Peacock Gudgeon Care Guide

Peacock Gudgeon


The Peacock Gudgeon (Tateurndina ocellicauda) is a small and colorful freshwater fish native to Papua New Guinea. It belongs to the Eleotridae family and is a popular aquarium species due to its striking appearance and peaceful temperament.

One of the unique characteristics of the Peacock Gudgeon is its ornate coloration. The fish has iridescent blue-green and orange stripes on a dark brown background, which makes it stand out in any aquarium. Additionally, males have longer fins and are more colorful than females.

Despite their small size of just 2.5 inches (6.5 cm), Peacock Gudgeons require a minimum tank size of 20 gallons (75 liters) to thrive. They are omnivorous, feeding on both meaty and plant-based foods, and should be fed twice daily.

In the following sections, we will explore the Peacock Gudgeon’s natural habitat, care requirements, and other important information for keeping them in an aquarium.

Summary Table

Common NamePeacock Gudgeon
Scientific NameTateurndina ocellicauda
Origin / DistributionPapua New Guinea
Size2.5 inches (6.5 cm)
Aquarium Size20 gallons (75 liters)
Water ParametersTemperature: 75-82°F (24-28°C), pH: 7.0-8.0, Hardness: 8-15 dKH
DietOmnivore; eats both meaty and plant-based foods
Feeding FrequencyTwice daily
TankmatesPeaceful community fish such as tetras, rasboras, and corydoras
BreedingCave spawner; requires a breeding cave and slightly cooler temperatures
Lifespan4-6 years
Care LevelBeginner
Unique Features / AppearanceColorful and ornate with iridescent blue-green and orange stripes on a dark brown background
Conservation StatusNot Evaluated
Additional NotesMales are more colorful and have longer fins than females. They may nip at the fins of other males, but are generally peaceful and suitable for community aquariums.


The Peacock Gudgeon belongs to the following taxonomic classification:

  • Common Name: Peacock Gudgeon
  • Scientific Name: Tateurndina ocellicauda
  • Family: Eleotridae
  • Order: Gobiiformes

The Eleotridae family includes over 150 species of small to medium-sized freshwater fish found in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. The Peacock Gudgeon is one of the most popular species in this family, known for its vibrant colors and peaceful nature. Gobiiformes is the order to which the Eleotridae family belongs, which also includes other families of small fish such as the Gobies and the Sleepers.

Natural Habitat & Distribution

The Peacock Gudgeon is native to the freshwater streams and rivers of Papua New Guinea, an island nation located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Specifically, they are found in the northern part of the island, in the Ramu River system.

In the wild, Peacock Gudgeons inhabit slow-moving, shallow waters with rocky substrates and plenty of hiding places, such as crevices and small caves. They are typically found in areas with low to moderate current and plenty of vegetation, such as mosses and algae.

Although they are endemic to Papua New Guinea, Peacock Gudgeons have become popular aquarium fish and are now found in many parts of the world, including the United States, Australia, and Europe. Due to their popularity in the aquarium trade, they are now bred in captivity, reducing the demand for wild-caught specimens.

Physical Appearance

The Peacock Gudgeon is a small freshwater fish that displays striking coloration and an interesting body shape. Here are some details on its physical appearance:


Adult Peacock Gudgeons typically reach a length of 2.5 inches (6.5 cm) and weigh around 0.4 ounces (11 grams). This makes them one of the smaller fish species commonly kept in aquariums.

Coloration and Patterns

The Peacock Gudgeon is known for its beautiful and vibrant coloration, which is a result of iridescent blue-green and orange stripes on a dark brown background. The fins also display orange and blue markings, and the eyes are bright red.

Body Shape and Fin Structures

The Peacock Gudgeon has a somewhat elongated body with a slightly flattened belly. They have two dorsal fins, with the first being shorter and the second being longer and more pointed. Their caudal fin, or tail fin, is rounded.

Sexual Dimorphism

There are noticeable differences in appearance between males and females. Males have longer and more pointed dorsal and anal fins, and their coloration is more vibrant than females. Females have a rounder belly and may appear slightly larger overall.

Behavior & Temperament

Understanding the behavior and temperament of the Peacock Gudgeon is important for providing proper care in an aquarium setting. Here are some details on their behavior and social interactions:

General Behavior

The Peacock Gudgeon is generally a peaceful fish and can be kept in a community aquarium with other non-aggressive fish. However, males may become territorial during breeding and may nip at the fins of other males. They are also known to hide in caves and crevices, making them less active and visible during the day.

Social Interactions with Other Fish

Peacock Gudgeons are social and enjoy the company of their own species. Keeping them in pairs or small groups of three to five individuals is recommended. They may also interact with other peaceful fish in the aquarium, but should not be kept with aggressive or larger fish that may prey on them.

Suitable Tankmates

Suitable tankmates for Peacock Gudgeons include other peaceful community fish such as tetras, rasboras, and corydoras. They may also be kept with bottom-dwelling species like loaches and catfish. Avoid keeping them with larger, predatory fish that may view the Peacock Gudgeon as food.

Aquarium Requirements

Proper aquarium requirements are crucial to ensure the health and well-being of Peacock Gudgeons. Here are some details on their aquarium requirements:

Minimum Tank Size

Peacock Gudgeons require a minimum tank size of 20 gallons (75 liters) to allow for adequate swimming space and to accommodate their social behavior.

Water Parameters

Peacock Gudgeons prefer a slightly alkaline water environment with a pH between 7.0 and 8.0, a water hardness of 8-15 dKH, and a temperature range of 75-82°F (24-28°C). It is important to maintain stable water conditions by performing regular water changes and monitoring water quality.

Filtration and Aeration Needs

Peacock Gudgeons require a well-filtered aquarium with moderate to strong water flow. Aeration is also recommended to provide adequate oxygen levels for the fish.

Substrate Preferences

Peacock Gudgeons prefer a fine-grained substrate, such as sand or small-grain gravel. They may also appreciate the addition of rocks or other hiding places to mimic their natural habitat.

Lighting Requirements

Peacock Gudgeons do not have specific lighting requirements, but a moderate level of lighting is recommended to promote plant growth and enhance the colors of the fish.

Decorations and Hiding Places

Peacock Gudgeons enjoy having hiding places in their aquarium, such as caves or crevices. Live or artificial plants can also provide shelter and improve water quality. It is important to avoid sharp or jagged decorations that could damage their fins.

Diet & Feeding

Proper diet and feeding practices are important for the health and well-being of Peacock Gudgeons. Here are some details on their diet and feeding requirements:

Type of Diet

Peacock Gudgeons are omnivorous and will eat a variety of food types, including meaty and plant-based foods. In the wild, they primarily feed on small invertebrates and algae. In captivity, they can be fed a variety of foods, including high-quality flakes, pellets, frozen or live brine shrimp, bloodworms, and small crustaceans.

Feeding Frequency

Peacock Gudgeons should be fed twice daily, with only as much food as they can consume in two to three minutes. Overfeeding can lead to obesity and poor water quality.

Tips for Providing a Balanced and Varied Diet

To ensure a balanced and varied diet, it is recommended to feed a combination of high-quality flakes or pellets as the staple food, supplemented with frozen or live foods once or twice a week. Vegetables like spinach or zucchini can also be given as a treat. It is important to avoid feeding too much protein-rich food, as this can lead to digestive issues. Offering a variety of food types will help ensure that Peacock Gudgeons receive all the necessary nutrients for optimal health.

Tank Mates

Choosing suitable tank mates for Peacock Gudgeons is important to ensure a peaceful and harmonious community aquarium. Here are some details on compatible and incompatible tank mates:

Compatible Species

Peacock Gudgeons are peaceful fish that can be kept with other non-aggressive species. Some suitable tank mates include small tetras, rasboras, corydoras, and other peaceful bottom-dwelling species like loaches and catfish.

Incompatible or Potentially Problematic Species

Peacock Gudgeons should not be kept with larger, predatory fish that may view them as food. They may also become aggressive towards their own species or other similarly-sized fish during breeding. Avoid keeping them with aggressive or territorial species that may harass or harm them.

Recommendations for Creating a Harmonious Community Tank

To create a harmonious community tank, it is recommended to provide plenty of hiding places and territories for each species. This can be achieved by incorporating live or artificial plants, rocks, caves, and other decorations. Additionally, it is important to ensure that the aquarium is large enough to accommodate all the fish, with adequate filtration and aeration to maintain water quality.


Breeding Peacock Gudgeons can be an interesting and rewarding experience for aquarists. Here are some details on their breeding behavior and ideal breeding conditions:

Breeding Behavior

Peacock Gudgeons are cave spawners and will lay their eggs in a suitable breeding cave. Males become territorial during breeding and may become aggressive towards other males. Females can lay up to 30 eggs at a time, which are then fertilized by the male. The eggs hatch in about 4 to 5 days, and the fry become free-swimming after about a week.

Ideal Breeding Conditions

To encourage breeding, it is recommended to provide a breeding cave or similar structure, such as a piece of PVC pipe or a coconut shell. The water temperature should be lowered slightly to around 72-75°F (22-24°C) to mimic the cooler conditions found in their natural habitat during the breeding season. Providing live or frozen foods, such as bloodworms or brine shrimp, can also stimulate breeding behavior.

Raising Fry (Offspring) and Specific Care Requirements

Once the eggs hatch, the fry can be fed newly-hatched brine shrimp or other small, live foods. It is important to ensure that the fry are not sucked up into the filter or caught by other fish. They may need to be separated into a breeding net or a separate rearing tank until they are large enough to be reintroduced into the main aquarium. Additionally, frequent water changes are necessary to maintain good water quality and to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria or fungi.

Health & Disease

Maintaining good health in Peacock Gudgeons is important for their longevity and overall well-being. Here are some details on common diseases, their symptoms, and prevention and treatment strategies:

Common Diseases and Their Symptoms

Peacock Gudgeons are generally hardy fish, but they can be susceptible to common fish diseases, such as ich, fin rot, and bacterial infections. Symptoms of these diseases may include loss of appetite, lethargy, white spots on the body, fin damage, and discoloration. Parasites, such as flukes or worms, can also be a problem, leading to symptoms such as rapid breathing, weight loss, and a bloated appearance.

Prevention and Treatment Strategies

Preventing disease in Peacock Gudgeons involves maintaining good water quality, avoiding overfeeding, and quarantining new fish before introducing them to the main aquarium. Regular water changes and testing can help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and parasites.

If disease does occur, treatment options may include medicated foods or baths, water treatments, or medication administered directly to the fish. It is important to carefully follow the instructions for any medication used, as overdosing can be harmful to the fish. Seeking advice from a veterinarian or experienced fish keeper is recommended for serious or persistent health problems.

Care Level

Peacock Gudgeons are relatively easy to care for and are a good choice for beginner to intermediate aquarists. Here are some details on their care level and any special considerations or requirements:

Difficulty of Care

Peacock Gudgeons are considered a relatively easy species to care for, with minimal special requirements. They are hardy and adaptable to a range of water conditions, and their peaceful nature makes them suitable for a community aquarium. However, like all fish, they do require regular maintenance, including water changes and monitoring of water quality.

Special Considerations or Requirements

Peacock Gudgeons do have some special considerations when it comes to their care. They require a well-filtered aquarium with moderate to strong water flow, and may benefit from additional aeration. They also prefer a fine-grained substrate, such as sand or small-grain gravel, and may appreciate the addition of hiding places, such as caves or crevices. Additionally, providing a varied diet, including both plant and animal-based foods, can help ensure optimal health.

Conservation Status

The Peacock Gudgeon is not currently assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, and there is no known threat of extinction or major conservation concern for this species. However, like all species of aquatic life, their natural habitats can be threatened by pollution, habitat destruction, and other human activities.

As for legal restrictions on keeping Peacock Gudgeons in captivity, it is important to research and comply with any regulations or restrictions in your local area. In some countries or regions, certain species of fish may be protected or prohibited from being kept in captivity. It is recommended to consult with a reputable fish retailer or local authorities to ensure that keeping Peacock Gudgeons is legal and ethical in your area.

Additional Information & Fun Facts

Peacock Gudgeons are a fascinating species with interesting characteristics and behaviors. Here are some additional information and fun facts about these fish:

  • Peacock Gudgeons are known for their striking colors, with males exhibiting bright blues, greens, and oranges, and females displaying a more subdued coloration.
  • These fish are also known for their unique courtship behavior, which involves the male performing a “dance” in front of the female to attract her attention.
  • Despite their small size, Peacock Gudgeons can be quite territorial and may become aggressive towards other males during breeding.
  • Peacock Gudgeons are relatively long-lived for a small fish, with a lifespan of up to 5 years in captivity.
  • In their natural habitat, Peacock Gudgeons inhabit slow-moving or stagnant waters, such as swamps, ponds, and small streams.
  • Due to their peaceful nature and small size, Peacock Gudgeons are a popular choice for nano aquariums and planted tanks.
  • Personal experiences from hobbyists indicate that Peacock Gudgeons are generally hardy and easy to care for, but can become shy and hide during the day if they don’t have enough hiding places.

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