Leaf Goblin fish

Leaf Goblin fish – Complete Guide, Facts & Miss-understandings

Leaf Goblin fish

Leaf Goblin fish

I haven’t highlighted a purely brackish water fish in a while, so I picked this interesting little fish. You might also know it as the Freshwater Waspfish, but that is neither an accurate name nor as much fun as Goblinfish.

Quick Guide

  1. Origin: Philipines to New Guinea
  2. Size: 10cm/ 4in.
  3. Temperature: 24-28°C/ 75-82
  4. Tank: as small as 30 gallons/100 liters.
  5. Breeding: There are no reports of breeding.

Important Facts you need to know

The Leaf Goblinfish may temporarily enter freshwater or be exposed to it during periods of heavy rain, but it will not survive for more than a few months without the addition of salt.

They do best when kept in water with a relative salinity of 1.010-1.025. While they are predators, they are not aggressive.

They cannot be mixed with puffers because the Goblinfish’s extended dorsal fin is too tempting a target.

Puffers tend to be on the nippy side. Either the Goblinfish or the puffer will wind up dead.

How? Well, the Leaf Goblinfish has venom in some of its spines on their dorsal fins and gill covers.

They do not use this for hunting or in bouts of aggression. They are only for defense. Of course, this means you have to take extra precautions if you are forced to net the fish.

Dead goblin fish can still sting, so be careful. The poison is not fatal to humans but it is painful and people with allergies to insect/ spider bites will likely have a stronger reaction. While it might sound unpleasant, the fish will never go out of its way to attack you.

It would really prefer to just walk around the bottom of the tank pretending to be a leaf and hunting for food.

You can easily keep it with brackish fish of similar size like large mollies without incident and multiple Leaf Goblinfish can be kept together.

They won’t fight but tend to actively avoid each other. Tankmates half the Goblinfish’s size will be viewed as food. Unlike many of the marine forms of the fish, the Leaf Goblinfish is active during the day.


Live or frozen shrimp, bloodworms, or shrimp. They will also take chopped shrimp, mussels, and prawns. Small live fish will be eaten as well.


The goblin fish may be kept in a tank as small as 30 gallons/100 liters. They like a substrate of soft sand, fine gravel, or mud. You can add driftwood or stones without sharp edges for them to perch on.

Note: They are also sold as Butterfly Gobies but they are not related to gobies at all.

Leaf Goblinfish (Neoveaspicula Depressiformis)

Leaf Goblinfish (Neoveaspicula Depressiformis)

Wanna Read more?

  1. Brackish Water Fish Profiles & Guides


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2 thoughts on “Leaf Goblin fish – Complete Guide, Facts & Miss-understandings

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