Bicolor Goatfish

Parapeneus barberinoides

General: Though not one of the more common additions to fish tanks, the Bicolor Goatfish (Parapeneus barberinoides, Bleeker 1852) is a unique and interesting fish that deserves consideration.  It spends the day foraging through the substrate for invertebrates using barbels, which are whisker-like projections that are associated with their sense of taste.  These fish benefit the tank by eating food that goes uneaten by other tankmates, keeping the sand clean and oxygenated as they sift through it. They are even known to eat bristleworms, a nuisance animal common in some tanks.  Bicolor Goatfish grow upwards of 10” and require a tank of at least 50 gallons with a large, sandy area for them to forage and areas to rest and take shelter when necessary.

Diet: The Bicolor Goatfish is a carnivore and feeds on invertebrates, small crustaceans, and worms in the wild.  In a tank setting, it will forage for these items but should also be fed a diet of both frozen and fresh meaty preparations 3 to 4 times daily.  Suggestions include frozen mysis, brine, and krill.  Our Goatfish also readily accept our Hatchery Diet, but it is advised the pellets be soaked in water so they sink quickly before others reach the food. In general, goatfish have a high metabolism. Large frequent feedings should be provided to keep them healthy and growing. Along with this, a robust filtration system will be required to handle the high metabolic rate of these fish.

Physical: A physically appealing fish, the Bicolor Goatfish has a reddish-black anterior, a mostly yellow posterior, with a white vertical bar separating each half.  Two white bars run vertically along the front half of their body. They have a black dot towards their tail, which has inspired the nickname “dash and dot goatfish.”

Temperament: Though the Bicolor Goatfish is peaceful and gets along with other fish, it is known to go after shrimp, crabs, and other invertebrates, so caution should be taken when adding this fish to a tank containing these animals.

Size: The Bicolor Goatfish grows up to 10 inches in length.

Distribution: This Goatfish can be found amongst coral ledges and lagoons throughout the Indo-Pacific region.  Our fish typically arrive from Fiji.