Dormitator lebretonis

Dormitator lebretonis, male

Dormitator lebretonis, male

This sleeper goby originates from coastal areas of western Africa (according to fishbase.org, Senegal to South Angola) and, despite its rather dull coloration, makes for a suitable and interesting aquarium fish. It reaches an adult size of not much more than about 12cm total length, is calm, peaceful and has something simply elegant about it.

It is a markedly euryhaline species that, although it usually gets by perfectly in freshwater, seems to prefer a little seasalt addition, as it sometimes appears to be susceptible to bacterial gill infections in pure freshwater (I lost my first two males for this reason). D. lebretonis is an omnivorous feeder with a preference for small zooplankton and plant matter, especially hair-algae, but it accepts just about anything you throw at it. While it’s also able to rip pieces out of bigger sized chunks of food (like frozen shrimp or mussels), it’s much less of a predator than most other sleeper gobies and won’t ever hunt down even juvenile fish.

Dormitator lebretonis, female

Dormitator lebretonis, female

I couldn’t figure out the trigger to get this species to spawn yet, so there’s not much I can tell you about breeding yet. Currently, I’m only keeping a single pair, and while the female seems thick-bellied most of the time, the male shows no signs of courtship behaviour whatsoever; it might well be that he is just a little aged.