The Giant Ocean Tank divers recently introduced around 50 neon gobies (Elacatinus oceanops) that had been raised at the Aquarium‘s off-site Animal Care Center in Quincy. These little fish grow to be only about 2 inches long, but they have a big job. They are cleaner fish! The hope was that these little guys would settle down and create a cleaning station for some of the larger fish in this 200,000-gallon exhibit.

Watch what happened.

Cleaning Station

As you can see, the gobies have some clients at their cleaning station! The green moray is a regular as is the red grouper. The larger fish present themselves, and the little gobies go to work munching on parasites and dead skin. This is a form of mutualism that you can see in the wild, too. The gobies get a meal, and the larger fish rid themselves of nasty parasites. So the gobies don’t become someone else’s snack, the divers provided the stacked PVC pipe apartment building in case the little fish need to seek shelter.

The next time you visit the Aquarium, spiral up the Giant Ocean Tank and look for the neon gobies’ cleaning station. See if you can spot the gobies in other exhibits around the Aquarium, too!