Peacock Gudgeon Care & Tank Set Up Guide For Beginners

Maintaining an aquarium full of peacock gudgeons (Tateurndina ocellicauda) isn’t as hard as you might think, especially if you know what you’re doing. In fact, peacock gudgeons are super fun to maintain!

However, just like with keeping any other fish species, you need to be aware of what your peacock gudgeons love to eat, their preferred tank mates, how they reproduce, and the right water parameters for their needs.

This guide will teach you how to provide proper care for peacock gudgeon by teaching you how to set up their tank and provide the right water conditions for them to thrive.

Key Care Stats 

  • Tank size: 15 gallons min.
  • Temperature:  72 – 79° F (22 – 26° C)
  • pH: 6.5 – 7.5
  • KH: 5 – 10 dKH
  • Living zone: Middle
  • Temperament: Males get aggressive towards other males
  • Diet: Omnivore

Origin & Appearance

peacock gudgeon (Tateurndina ocellicauda) swimming in planted tank
  • Origin: Australia/New Guinea
  • Biotope: New Guinea

The peacock gudgeon, also called peacock goby, is a fish species that primarily inhabit the ponds, rivers, and lowland streams of the eastern region of Papua New Guinea. It can also be found near the Australian continent. These small fish prefer shallow, slow-moving waters.

Peacock gudgeons have multiple vibrant colors on their bodies, like silver, blue, yellow, and pink. Most of them have a dominant silvery-blue color that includes a variable mix of other colors. They also have a large black spot near the caudal fin.

Unlike carp gudgeons, peacock gudgeons don’t have coalesced pectoral fins. They’re also pretty small; a peacock gudgeon’s length may reach up to 3 inches at maturity, and females are even smaller. They have rounded heads and their bodies are slim.

Scientifically speaking, the peacock gudgeon is a tropical freshwater species in the Eleotridae family, and its scientific name is Tateurndina ocellicauda. 

Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Gobiiformes
  • Family: Eleotridae
  • Genus: Tateurndina
  • Species: T. ocellicauda

Lifespan of Peacock Gudgeon

Peacock gudgeons can live for 4-5 years depending on their dietary habits and the fish tank’s condition. 

To maximize their lifespan, make sure that you feed them high-quality fish food that’s free of filler ingredients. Also, avoid swinging water conditions (more on that later).

Sexual Dimorphism: Size & Coloration

There are a couple of distinctions between male and female peacock gudgeons.

In terms of length, male peacock gudgeons can grow up to 3 inches long, while females have an average length of 1.5-2 inches. 

As for coloration, a female peacock gudgeon slightly differs from its male counterpart by having a black edge on her analfin and a yellow belly. 

On the other hand, male peacock gudgeons are usually more vibrant and might develop a nuchal hump that makes their heads look more rounded. 

Peacock Gudgeon Care & Tank Set-Up

peacock gudgeon (Tateurndina ocellicauda) swimming head on in planted tank

Setting up your tank for accommodating your peacock gudgeons (or any fish species) is more than just filling a glass container with a couple of gallons of water. 

Each fish species has different preferences when it comes to tank size, tank mates, water parameters, lighting, and the amount and type of plants, substrates, and rocks. Not to mention, you need to cycle your tank before introducing your tiny fish to it.

Now, let’s explore how you can create the perfect environment for your peacock gudgeons to flourish!

Tank Size: How Many Peacock Gudgeons Can Be Kept Together?

As a general rule of thumb, you need a minimum tank size of 15 gallons for your peacock gudgeons. Some suggest that even 10 gallons would be enough, but we wouldn’t really recommend anything less than 15 gallons, at least if you want your fish to be happy.

Nevertheless, for larger groups or multi-species fish communities, larger tanks might be required. 

They’re pretty small and don’t swim that much, which is why you don’t need a huge tank to accommodate them. However, the more they swim, the happier they are, so make sure to keep an eye on their behavior and adjust their diet or tank size accordingly. 

The Nitrogen Cycle

The Nitrogen Cycle is a natural process where waste is converted into good. When fish produce waste, this waste increases the concentration of ammonia and nitrites. The accumulation of these chemicals in your tank can be lethal, which is why you need to neutralize it to make it habitable for your fish.

On average, the nitrogen cycle may take anywhere from 2 weeks all the way up to 2 months.

One easy way to cycle your tank is to add some uneaten food or fish waste to your tank before introducing your peacock gudgeons to it. 

Once the waste decomposes, ammonia will start building up until it reaches its peak levels and starts declining slowly.

During the decline phase, nitrate will oxidize the ammonia, forming nitrite. Consequently, the nitrite levels will spike at the end of the first week or the beginning of the second week.

Then, bacteria will convert the nitrites to nitrates, the final product of the nitrogen lifecycle. Once the ammonia and nitrite levels in your tank reach 0ppm, you can now say that the cycle is complete and you may start introducing your peacock gudgeons to the tank safely.

To maintain a healthy tank for your fish after cycling it, make sure you remove any dead fish as soon as it dies. Also, don’t overfeed them to avoid excess waste production, which could affect the water quality.

You can find out more about the nitrogen cycle here.

Water Parameters

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to hitting those “perfect” water parameter numbers. Your best bet here is to maintain stable conditions.

A stable pH of 6.5 is way better than one swinging between 6.8 and 7.2 as it could disturb your fish. The key to aquarium life is stability. 

Imagine that the weather is always unstable to the point that you can’t really tell what season it is. You wouldn’t really like that, would you?

It goes the same for fish communities but to a greater extent. Once they get accustomed to a specific set of parameters, shifting them could be catastrophic.

Here are the recommended ranges for different water parameters:

  • Temperature: 72 – 79° F (22 – 26° C)
  • pH: 6.5 – 7.5
  • KH: 5 – 10 dKH

It’s good practice to test these parameters every once in a while to make sure that they’re stable, especially in freshwater tanks. The parameters could fluctuate over time without you even realizing it. 


Peacock gudgeons like dim lighting, so a small lamp in your fish tank might just be enough for them. You can also use a lamp with adjustable light intensity so you can adjust the lighting according to the time of day and the other sources of artificial light at your home.


The best substrate for peacock gudgeons is black sand because it closely resembles what they’re used to in the wild. Side note: don’t add any gravel as it could hurt your little fish.

Plants & Decorations

Peacock gudgeons just love to be surrounded by plants. 

Even in the wild, peacock gudgeons are almost always found in areas that contain large clusters of plants. They like to swim and even reproduce near them because they act as a shelter for them to hide when they’re scared. 

Java fern, Java Moss, Anubias, and water wisteria would all be excellent plants for your fish tank, especially Java because peacock gudgeons prefer spawning sites that have this plant nearby. 

Try to include as many live aquarium plants in your as you can. The more plants, the happier your peacock gudgeons will be, provided that you don’t overcrowd the tank, for sure. 

Oh, and make sure that the plants are durable because your peacock gudgeons will keep on interacting with them. 

On top of that, you can include some rocks and driftwood. They’ll not only act as hiding spots for your peacock gudgeons but also serve as fun places to explore. 

What’s more, try to create some sort of cave that your peacock gudgeons can use as a nest during breeding. 

You can either build one using rocks, buy a ready-made one, or even use a coconut, root hole, PVC pipe, or bamboo. 

Diet & Feeding

As we’ve mentioned earlier, your peacock gudgeons’ diet can significantly impact their lifespan.

In their natural habitat, peacock gudgeons feed on small crustaceans, insects, and insect larvae. While in captivity, they may eat bloodworms and brine shrimp. 

As you can probably tell, your peacock gudgeons won’t just eat anything that you throw at them. They’re super picky, actually!

If you want your peacock gudgeons to live a happy, healthy life, make sure that you use a mixed diet that’s full of frozen and live foods. 

Stay away from dried foods because your peacock gudgeons won’t likely eat them. You can give it a shot, but why not save yourself the hassle and just go for the guaranteed foods?

Ideally, the food ingredients should include daphnia, bloodworms, and brine shrimp. They contain a wide variety of nutrients that are essential for your peacock gudgeons’ health and skin, like protein and omega-3 fatty acids. 

If you’re giving your peacock gudgeons the right type of food, you’ll immediately notice that they’ve become more active and vibrant. 

As for baby peacock gudgeons, you can feed them some powdered food and maybe mix in some infusoria. Keep in mind that small peacock gudgeons grow slowly, so don’t be alarmed when they don’t grow fast enough.

Once they grow a bit, you can try to include baby brine shrimp in their diet. If they don’t accept it, stop giving it to them and try again the following week.

Temperament & In-Tank Behavior

Generally speaking, peacock gudgeons are peaceful and they wouldn’t mind living with other species of the same size. Male peacock gudgeons can be hostile towards each other, though, but it’s usually nothing that you should worry about.

It’s also worth noting that peacock gudgeons love to live in groups. They can survive on their own, but they won’t be as happy. 

Tank Mates (and Who to Avoid)

Peacock gudgeons are quite peaceful and they can live happily with other peaceful fish species of the same size. You can even keep them with some territorial species, provided that the fish tank is big enough for these species to have their own space.

Also, make sure that the other tank mates aren’t very aggressive because peacock gudgeons will react violently when annoyed. 

Oh, and stay away from large fish species that could eat your peacock gudgeons. You don’t want to find out that your gudgeons are gone overnight.  

Here’s a list of some of the best tank mates for your peacock gudgeons:

  • Bumblebee Goby
  • Ember Tetra (or other Tetras)
  • Kuhli Loach
  • Cory Catfish
  • Cherry Barb
  • Celestial Pearl Danios
  • Harlequin Rasbora
  • Ghost shrimp
  • Apistogramma
  • Popondettasp
  • Dwarf cichlids

There aren’t really any specific bad tank mates for peacock gudgeons. Just avoid species that are either too small or too large compared to your tiny fish. 


Peacock gudgeons prefer to breed when kept in groups of 6-8 so that each fish can pick its preferred mating partner. 

A male peacock gudgeon initiates reproduction by choosing a suitable spawning site and swimming in circles around the entrance of the site while also flaring its pectoral fins to attract females. 

Once a female accepts the male’s offer to spawn, it’ll lay 50-100 eggs around the spawning site. The eggs will stick to the walls of the tank or cave using their natural adhesive.

After the female’s role is over, the male will start fertilizing the eggs while also protecting them from intruders. It’ll also use its fins to fan the eggs for a maximum of 10 days, just to make sure that they’re getting oxygenated and to prevent fungi outbreaks. 

Then, after the eggs hatch, the male might continue his duty until he ensures that the fry eats the eggs. Peacock gudgeons usually reach maturity within 6-8 months. 

Pro tip: it’d be a good idea to move breeding fish to a new tank for safety once you notice a pair. Just make sure that the tank contains something that the pair can use as a spawning site, like a PVC pipe or a cave.

Are Peacock Gudgeons Right for You?

If you’re a beginner who never owned an aquarium before, peacock gudgeons can be a good start for you.

They’re super easy to maintain, have beautiful colors, and are even amusing to watch! Not to mention, they’re quite peaceful. 

To sum it all up, taking care of your peacock gudgeons shouldn’t be that complicated. Once you get a hold of what you’re doing, you can gradually introduce more species to your aquarium. 

Their diet can be a bit tricky though, but once you find out what your gudgeons prefer, there should be no problem for you when it comes to feeding them. As we’ve mentioned, live and frozen foods are the best, but it all depends on the brand you pick.

In the end, maintaining your little peacock gudgeons can be a walk in the park if you nail the initial setup by choosing a suitable tank size, filling it with the right types of plants and rocks, and stabilizing the water parameters.

Christopher Adams
Christopher Adams

Hey there, my name is Christopher, and I've successfully ran freshwater aquariums for the past few decades. The mission of this site is to make it simple for anyone to run their own freshwater aquarium.

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