Indian Butterfly Goby Overview: All Things You Need To Know

Leaf goblin fish, or Indian butterfly goby, is sought after by aquarists worldwide. They have various names, such as butterfly goby and dusky panther goby.

Today, we will discuss the most basic information about Indian butterfly goby and the aquarium requirements suitable for them.

If you plan on adding this fish to your aquatic community, let’s read this post!

Indian Butterfly Goby Overview

Leaf goblin fish

Leaf goblin fish with venomous spines

Indian butterfly goby or Leaf Goblinfish (Neovespicula Depressifrons) is a scarce oddball species believed to have come from marine and brackish waters in the Indo-West Pacific.

Indian butterfly goby maintains a very manageable temperament and size. This special fish is an excellent, rare species and could be a candidate for fish keepers and aquarists.

Despite being traded as an aquarium fish under various common names (somewhat misleading), including butterfly goby and dusky panther goby, this fish has never been a goby.

The fact is that this fish belongs to the wasp fish family. Like other wasp fish, the Indian butterfly goby is a stealthy predator that consumes various small invertebrates and fish.

Most peaceful, similarly sized fish are good tankmates for the Indian butterfly goby. While it is a venomous predator, this fish is rather delicate. So we recommend keeping them without any boisterous, aggressive, or nippy fish.

This fish is a micro predator in nature. It is known to accept live meaty and frozen foods of appropriate size and commonly does not favor dry foods.

If you keep the Leaf Goblinfish in a mature, well-maintained aquarium,  it will be an entertaining and hardy fish and won’t bother aquarium plants.

Indian butterfly goby can live temporarily in a freshwater condition, but it needs at least slightly brackish water for its long-term health.

What Are the Aquarium Conditions for the Butterfly Goby?

Ideal Tank Parameters

  • Ideal tank water temperature: From 72° to 79° F (From 22° to 26° C).
  • Recommended KH: From 4 to 8 dKH.
  • Ideal pH: Between 7.0 and 8.0.
  • Minimum aquarium size: 30 gallons for a pair or single specimen, 75+ gallons for one group.

Care Guidelines

  • Origin: West Indo and Pacific
  • Average purchase size: Range from .75 to 1 inch (or 2 to 2.5 cm).
  • Average adult size: About 4 inches (or 10 cm).
  • Social behavior: Peaceful with large enough fish to not be considered food. Avoid housing with shrimp since Indian butterfly goby may prey on shrimp. Instead, you can keep this fish with similar-sized fish.
  • Diet: Indian butterfly goby prefers high-quality live and frozen food of appropriate size. This fish may ignore dry food.

Tank Mates for Indian Butterfly Goby

You can keep this fish with peaceful, similar-sized fish, such as Sleeper Gobies, Chromides, and Mollies.

Head Sleeper

Head Sleeper fish

Head Sleeper fish

This fish has various names, such as the Yellow-headed or Golden Head Sleeper, Blue band, Bluestreak, or Yellow-headed Sleeper Goby.

The head of this fish is yellow-gold with one sapphire-blue stripe beneath its eyes, while the rest of its body is white.


The Chromide, or Etroplus Maculatus, is a widespread species of cichlid fish.

Fish lovers or aquarists worldwide prefer to keep them in tanks for their easy-to-breed qualities and remarkable beauty.

This peaceful quiet fish can grow around 2.7 to 3 inches in length.

Chromide fish is native to Sri Lanka and the Indian peninsula. They are abundant in the Western Ghats from Kerala to Maharashtra and Sri Lanka (the northwest provinces).

Most Chromide fishes are naturally bred in brackish water zones. But they have also been successfully raised in freshwater reservoirs with reasonable care.


Molly fish have been popular among fishkeepers and aquarists for quite a while.

This fish is known for its low-maintenance care requirements and various selection of possible species.

It is easy to find mollies throughout South and North America in the wild. These fish usually inhabit tropical rivers teeming with vegetation.


What Makes So Many People Like This Fish?

Even though the Leaf goblin fish comes with venomous spines, many fish keepers and aquarists prefer this fish for many good reasons, including:

  • Unique looks.
  • Ultimate oddball fish.
  • Interesting fish.
  • Harmony with fish is not considered prey.

Are These Fish Very Venomous?

Like other Scorpaeniformes, the Indian butterfly goby is very venomous and can pose a danger to other fish and aquarists (especially those allergic to insect/animal stings).

Although the venomous spine of the Indian butterfly goby is not likely to be fatal, you should still be careful with this fish.

Always keep an eye on it when maintaining your tank, and keep your hands out of your aquarium as much as possible.

Running any stung areas under warm water might help relieve pain if an injury occurs.

What Fish Can I Keep Butterfly Goby With?

It is okay to keep the Indian butterfly goby with peaceful, similar-sized fish like Sleeper Gobies, Chromides, and Mollies.

Where Does Butterfly Goby Come From?

Butterfly Goby is found in brackish waters and marine in the Indo-West Pacific.

Is the Indian Butterfly Goby Aggressive?

Although the Indian butterfly goby is not aggressive, it is very predatory. This fish can consume all fish and crustaceans that are half its length or less.

Keeping this fish with peaceful, similar-sized fish, such as Sleeper Gobies, Chromides, and Mollies, is okay.

Nippy fish, such as Pufferfish, are too likely to target these slow-moving species and may be stung as a result.

The Bottom Line

You have reached the bottom of this article. Hopefully, through this article, you have received helpful information about the Indian butterfly goby and are ready to welcome the new member to your aquarium.

If you have any questions, please let us know in the comments section.

Thank you for reading!