The dwarf gobies of the genus Pandaka are closely related to the bumble bee gobies (Brachygobius), but still much smaller. The species Pandaka pygmea was even considered the smallest vertebrate on earth for a long time, but it has since been outranked. The species Pandaka rouxi also usually grows to only 10-12 mm in length, the largest specimen ever measured had a length of 18 mm (all sizes include caudal fin).
These dwarfs live in brackish water areas. They can tolerate both pure freshwater and pure seawater, but in the long run it does them no good. They are found in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea (incl. offshore islands) and probably also in Australia.
We have now for the first time imported some of these tiny fish, which when fully grown are only the size of a newborn molly, as a test. They are cute, but also demanding fish, which we will get in the future, if at all, only on special customer request. In our experience, they need well acclimated brackish water (at least 5g/l sea salt) and fine live food (e.g. Artemia nauplii). Our wholesale aquariums are simply too big for such mini-fish, you need comparatively huge amounts of food, so that everyone gets something, but of course a lot of it dies, which pollutes the water strongly. So these are fish for specialists who have appropriate small aquariums in operation. Nevertheless, we are glad to have seen this natural wonder with our own eyes!
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer