Peacock Gudgeon: Ultimate Guide (Care, Diet, Breeding & More)

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Written By Matt Stevens

Hi, I'm Matt! I've been obsessed with fishkeeping for over 15 years now and created this site to share my knowledge with others.

If you want a lovely pet buddy that will complement your aquarium, require low maintenance, and coexist with most other species in your tank, don’t second guess your options here. The Peacock Gudgeon is easily the winner.

This guide will reveal everything about Peacock Gudgeon care. You will learn the primary care process, general tank requirements, most suitable tank mates, diet, breeding, and much more.

Species Overview

Many people struggle to pronounce their species name, Tateurndina ocellicauda. So you can call them the Peacock Gudgeons.

They are an exciting freshwater fish that’s native to the shallow rivers of Papua New Guinea. Also, you can find them in Australia and specific regions in New Zealand.

These fish do not belong to the Goby family, even though many aquarists sometimes call them the Peacock Goby. They are accurate representatives of the Eleotridae family, existing as the only recognized species of the genus Tateurndina.

You may have spotted them in the local fish market, but most of the Peacock Gudgeons these days are kept in captivity. Like most freshwater species, they’ve become a constant figure in the fishkeeping community, owing to their natural beauty and low maintenance.

They deservedly get their moniker from the actual Peacock bird, owing to their vibrant coloration and beautiful spots throughout their bodies. You could call them the trademark of beauty in the aquatic world, and we won’t disagree.

With their low maintenance, Peacock Gudgeons would perfectly fit in any tank. However, it helps if you give them sufficient care to help them maintain their spotless, vibrant, and colorful look throughout.

ColorBlack, red, white
Lifespan4-5 Years
Care LevelEasy
Behavior & TemperamentPeaceful
CompatibilityPeaceful Community
Food and DietOmnivore
Size1-2.5 Inches
Tank SetupFreshwater with plants and rocks
Tank Size (Minimum)15 Gallons


With ideal conditions in captivity, the average lifespan of a Peacock Gudgeon is between 4-5 years. But this shouldn’t be a deal-breaker as their natural beauty readily compensates for what they lack in longevity.

Besides, they will bring your aquarium to life, and before you know it, you will have created a perfect bond with your tiny Peacock friends. Or let’s say, these fish species genuinely know how to make the best of their short lifespan.

They are never shy to grab your attention when needed and won’t hesitate to express their personalities in your aquarium. But only if you give them the right water conditions.


When it comes to coloration, Peacock Gudgeons are a joy to watch. A quick look reveals a long, slim body with a well-rounded head. Their coloration is probably the most outstanding feature, where the signature silvery blue shade covers the whole body.

The intensity of the colors won’t be the same for all the fish. While some will display a sizzling blue shade, others are just fine with a slightly faded vibrancy. Their bellies assume a standard yellow hue that’s supplemented with red dotted stripes on the sides.

The dotted stripes lie vertically along the fish’s body. Similarly, the silver-blue shade and a vibrant red coloration cover the fins. You may also notice a beautiful yellow coloration on the fins. But it doesn’t end there.

Unlike many fish species, the Peacock Gudgeons have an “eye spot,” a unique large spot towards the bottom of the tail fin. It is for the same reason they have the “Peacock” moniker. The easiest way to spot a male Peacock Gudgeon is by looking at their heads.

Usually, they have a forehead hump, while the females will only display a thin, black stripe towards the edges of the fins. What’s more, the males may appear larger than females even though the females tend to have more vibrant coloration.


A classic Peacock Gudgeon will only grow to a maximum length of 3 inches, with females only ever reaching an optimal size of about 2.5 inches throughout their lifetime. The young fish will have reached maturity by the time they approach 6-8 months.

They will already be approaching the optimal length at this period, even though you may notice slight variations depending on the existing conditions.

Peacock Gudgeon Care

Peacock Gudgeons are the true definition of easy-peasy. They are relatively easy to care for, especially if you compare them with other tank counterparts of the same or different species.

Usually, they thrive in any aquarium setting if you give them the right conditions. Their ideal habitat will contain well-constructed tanks with controlled water conditions to keep them healthy and lively.

Tank Size

With their petite bodies, we can conclude that Peacock Gudgeons are an excellent choice for nano tanks. They don’t require large tanks to thrive, but this doesn’t mean you should expose them to unhealthy living conditions.

Naturally, they are not one of the most prominent swimmers, but we can’t say whether this is advantageous or disadvantageous. However, this implies you won’t need a large swimming space to keep them active.

Usually, a 15-gallon tank fits the bill if you intend to keep just a handful of such fish. But the larger the group, the larger the tank. So, if you plan to support multiple fish of the same species, start with the right tank size.

Water Parameters

We mentioned that the Peacock Gudgeons originate from the shallow waters in Papua New Guinea. So, that should be the starting point when designing your aquarium.

In the wild, you will find them in shallow, slow-moving ponds and rivers with tightly packed natural vegetation. Just follow these steps to recreate similar conditions at home.

Firstly, you should maintain the water temperature within the ranges of 72°F and 79°F. Next, the pH levels should never exceed 7.8. The suitable level is 7.0, but you should target anything within the scope of 6.0 to 7.8.

Finally, you should ensure the water hardness stays within the range of 5-12 dKH. The easiest way to maintain stable conditions is by testing the water frequently to confirm its status. 

What to Put in Their Tank?

Peacock Gudgeons are low maintenance fish species. But they are healthier with natural plants. They would greatly benefit from having lovely vegetation around consisting of common hardy plants. These include java fern, anubias, and water wisteria.

By introducing natural plants to the fish’s habitat, you will be giving them new hiding points and the perfect environment to grow. And they will have endless fun by swimming freely through the vegetation.

Because these fish will constantly interact with the natural plants in your aquarium, durability should be critical when selecting new plants to include in the tank. Perhaps introducing a sand substrate at the bottom of the tank could help with this.

When creating the hiding spots, consider giving your fish as many options as possible. So, this is the perfect time to flex your creative muscles with driftwood and rocks. You could even introduce a cave system or dark pots to ensure your little Peacock friend makes the best use of its short lifespan.

Regarding filtration, the choice of equipment for tank cycling matters. The general idea is to keep the nitrates levels as low as possible while eliminating other harmful chemicals.

Being one of the least powerful swimmers, the Peacock Gudgeons won’t have stringent requirements regarding the filter’s outlet. They are not bothered by strong water currents. And as such, you should aim at maintaining the minimum water flow most of the time.

Common Diseases

Peacock Gudgeons are susceptible to diseases that affect the entire freshwater community. One particular condition you will have to contend with is Ich. This is a highly contagious infection caused by a parasite, Ichthyophthirius multifiliis.

Usually, most of the freshwater fish that are affected by Ich die because of stress. But this doesn’t mean your Peacock Gudgeon won’t survive it when it strikes. However, it all starts with taking the first steps to prevent it. All it takes is to maintain the aquarium in good condition while keenly monitoring the water conditions.

Aside from the Ich disease, many ailments may also bother your Peacock friend if not appropriately handled. You may need to quarantine the already infected fish right away to help save the entire community. Then, you can get the right medicines to manage it.

Hole in Head disease might not be solely limited to this species, but it’s one worth keeping a close eye on. It is a common culprit in larger fish such as the Cichlids. Considering it is also spread by poor water quality, the first step to keeping it away will be to maintain the right conditions in the tank. 

Finally, the last conditions you will need to keep under control include parasitic infections and worms. Anchor worms are a particularly bothersome culprit that will target the fish’s head and the whole body. If you notice increased scratching against the decorations, your Peacock Gudgeons will probably be sending a message about these worms.

They tend to rub their heads a lot against anything they can find when infected with such worms. We can say the same about the gill and skin flukes that will always leave visible lesions on your pet’s body.

Flukes, in particular, can be dreadful and even have a fatal outcome if you ignore them. Unless it’s too little too late, your fish should survive these conditions if you use suitable antibacterial or antifungal medications. If you don’t want to take that road, maintain the correct water conditions at the habitat.

What Do Peacock Gudgeons Eat?

Now, we will discuss their disadvantage for the first time, and that’s their diet. For many aquarists, it gets trickier at this point because the Peacock Gudgeons tend to be somewhat picky with their diets.

In their original habitats, they are protein lovers who will feed on larvae, insects, small critters, and any micro protein sources they can find. But in captivity, they can get somewhat selective with their food choices.

Perhaps it’s time to accept that feeding is not a one-size-fits-all affair in the Peacock Gudgeons. They love protein-rich foods, but some aquarists report doing pretty well with dried food and live snacks. Maybe, you will want to feed them on dry food, too, and see if they like it. 

But just to let you know, it’s necessary to include live food in a Peacock Gudgeon’s diet to give them little flashbacks of their lives in the wild. This also means they might do well with ordinary fish food. And bloodworms, daphnia, and brine shrimps seem to be the perfect options.

Behavior & Temperament

For more extended periods in your aquarium, the Peacock Gudgeons will portray non-aggressive behavior. Calm and peaceful and never one to cause trouble, the Peacock Gudgeons are more lively in groups.

You can go for a single pairing only if you have a small tank. But in many cases, you should let them enjoy each other’s company by keeping them in groups of 6 or 8. Like you would expect, the males may often appear aggressive in the group.

But that’s no cause for concern. It’s a short-lived reaction that never leads to a real fight. Ordinarily, a typical Peacock Gudgeon in good health will want to explore its new habitat and swim through the plants.

And once they get comfortable with the surrounding, they won’t hesitate to show off their beautiful coloration and exciting personalities in the open.

Peacock Gudgeon Tank Mates

Peacock Gudgeon’s best tank mates will always be super peaceful. If you can’t pair them with equally friendly tank mates of the same species, they will have no problem cohabiting with those of different species, provided they are non-aggressive. These are also available all over the aquarium scene.

However, don’t introduce bigger fish who will see your Peacock Gudgeons as a source of food. That being said, the following list highlights some of the best fish that could be a perfect pairing for your little Gudgeons:


Breeding Peacock Gudgeons shouldn’t be challenging because these fish species never hesitate to pair up in the aquarium. So, you might have done enough by separating the already paired fish in a new tank for breeding.

For ideal breeding conditions, introduce a cavity or cave in the new breeding tank. An artificial cave, PVC pipe, or a terracotta pot would be suitable for that role.

Also, for the best breeding experience, water change could be necessary before even focusing on food. Of course, a protein-rich diet would help supply essential nutrients that are key to successful breeding.

Naturally, the male will initiate the breeding process by constantly swimming or dancing around the female while spreading his fins.

At this point, the female will either accept or reject the approach. If she accepts the offer, she will look for the right hiding point, like inside the cave, and lay 50-100 eggs.

Again, the male will be called into action to guard the eggs and fertilize and care for them during incubation. They could be fierce at this point, and that’s understandable. Usually, the eggs will take between 8-10 days to hatch.

And after hatching, two things could happen. The male may want to stay around a little longer or let the little ones begin their lives alone. Whatever happens, it will be time to remove the Peacock parents from the tank.

It’s worth reminding that the young Peacock Gudgeons require patience. They have a moderately low growth rate, so you may need to give them the right food until they are ready to fend for themselves.

You can start with powdered food and infusoria before slowly introducing brine shrimps when they are old enough to feed on them.

Remember, it may take a few weeks before they master the art of swimming. So, the least you can do at the initial stages is to provide the right food and monitor their development in the tank.

Final Thoughts

If you choose to keep a Peacock Gudgeon, you get a small, beautiful, low-maintenance fish that will thrive under most conditions. That’s their nature. Whether a beginner-level aquarist or a seasoned hobbyist, these fish could prove vital to the success of your project.

They are beautiful, highly adaptable, and fun to keep. And after reading this post, you will understand why we can’t stop recommending these fish to aquarium enthusiasts across the globe. It’s all in their personality.