Dragon Fish Goby Care Guide for Beginners

Dragon Fish Goby Care Guide for Beginners

Violet Goby

Dragon Fish Goby, also known as Violet Goby, is endemic to the Atlantic shores of America, spanning from North to South.

This fish thrives in brackish waters and is commonly found in transitional regions such as estuaries and river mouths.

In addition, you can also find it in the muddy substrates of shallow bays, swamps, and streams. Its preference for these muddy locales can be credited to South Carolina in the north and Brazil in the south.

In the United States, Dragon Fish Gobies are found in the swamp waters around Florida and the Gulf of Mexico.

Dragon Fish Goby Appearance and Lifespan

Dragon Fish Goby is popular for its unique appearance. It’s often mistaken for an eel due to its elongated, slender body and rounded, bulbous head. Its head, particularly when its mouth opens to reveal sharp teeth, further adds to its eel-like mystique.

The sharp teeth aren’t meant for aggression. Instead, they’re used for scraping algae off rocks.

Another notable feature of the Dragon Fish Goby is its small eyes, which are particularly tiny compared to its size. It relies on its ventral fins and mouth to feel out its surroundings, given its notoriously poor vision.

Dragon Fish Goby has a dull brown or gray color. However, with proper care and nourishment, you will witness a remarkable transformation. The color of your fish will change to violet, purple, or blue.

Dragon Fish Gobies can live up to 10 years on average in captivity. But, some seasoned aquarists have reported enjoying the company of their fish for more than a decade. The water conditions you maintain play an important role in increasing their lifespan.

Physical Characteristics of Dragon Fish Goby

Dragon Fish Goby grows up to around 12 inches long in captivity. However, it can reach a massive 24 inches in the wild.

It has a trap-door-like mouth that serves both a practical and functional purpose. This fish uses its visibly sharp teeth to munch on small invertebrates and scrape off algae from rocks, serving it a feast in the comfort of its tank.

Dragon Fish Gobies have tiny eyes when compared to their size, resulting in notoriously poor vision. To make up for this, they rely on their ventral fins and mouths to feel their way around their surroundings.

Finally, Dragon Fish Gobies have sexual dimorphism. You can easily differentiate between males and females by looking at their genitals. Males have a more pointed structure, while females are usually endowed with a shorter yet distinctly yellow version.

Behavioral Characteristics of Dragon Fish Goby

Dragon Fish Gobies are often labelled as aggressive or semi-aggressive fish by aquarists. However, they react more than they instigate. Their so-called aggression is mainly territorial and not toward other fish.

These fish are nocturnal. So, the majority of their day is spent in hiding. However, you can see their scavenging skills at night. They’re often seen sifting through the substrate, scraping edible morsels with their sharp teeth in their natural habitat as well as in a tank.

Despite their large size, these fish struggle with larger food due to their narrow throats. Also, Dragon Fish Gobies are sensitive to water conditions. High levels of ammonia or nitrates can harm their health, causing them to breathe quickly or gasp for air.

How to Set up An Aquarium for Dragon Fish Goby?

Tank Size is a vital factor when setting up an environment for your Dragon Fish Goby. You need a spacious tank since these fish can grow to a considerable size of 24 inches in the wild and up to 12 inches in captivity.

The tank should have a capacity of a minimum of 25 gallons per fish. It’s advisable to have a 50-gallon tank that measures approximately four feet in length to ensure optimal space and growth potential,

Dragon Fish Gobies thrive in brackish waters. Also, the chemical levels need to be constantly monitored to avoid health problems.

Implement a regular routine for water changes, with a guideline of 10 to 15 percent replacement every week. The water parameters should be:

  • Water temperature in the range of 72°F to 82°F (22.2°C to 27.8°C)
  • pH levels between 6.5 to 8.5
  • Water hardness of 10 to 20 dKH
  • Specific gravity from 1.006 to 1.008.

Regarding tank setup, Dragon Fish Gobies are naturally accustomed to muddy and swamp-like habitats. Recreate this environment by placing a dark sandy substrate at the bottom of your tank. In addition, provide ample hiding spots using decorative plants, rocks, and caves.

Dragon Fish Gobies are omnivorous bottom-feeders. So, smaller food is ideal for their optimum growth. You can include items like plankton, daphnia, and bloodworms in their diet.

Finally, Dragon Fish Gobies get along best with other peaceful brackish fish. So, avoid overly aggressive species to maintain harmony in the tank.

Dragon Fish Goby Diet

Dragon Fish Gobies aren’t picky eaters. However, healthy nutrition is essential for their healthy development.

These fish are omnivorous scavengers. Hence, their diet must include both vegetable and animal matter.

A balanced diet for your Dragon Fish Goby should contain high-quality sinking shrimp pellets or algae wafers. Frozen black tubifex and blood worms are also good sources of protein.

This fish has a narrow throat. So, large chunks of food need to be avoided.

Feed your Dragon Fish Gobies once or twice each day. Provide only as much food as they can consume within 3 to 5 minutes. Overfeeding can cause poor water quality and health issues. Also, remove any uneaten food immediately to avoid tank water getting contaminated.

You can also feed live blood worms and tiny shrimp or fish as an occasional treat. Do remember that the food needs to be small to prevent choking.

Ideal Tank Mates for Dragon Fish Goby

Dragon Fish Gobies aren’t aggressive. They’re bottom-dwellers and prefer to hang out on the lower levels of the aquarium. So, any similar size and temperant fish are ideal tank mates for them.

Some of the compatible tank mates for Dragon Fish Gobies include:

  • Guppies (Poecilia reticulata): These colorful tiny fish are easy to manage, are community-friendly, and comfortable in smaller tanks.
  • Swordtails, Mollies, and Platies: All these fish are livebearers and belong to the family Poeciliidae. They’re peaceful, can survive in brackish waters, and rank high in compatibility with Dragon Fish Goby.
  • Bumblebee Goby: A same-species friend of Dragon Fish Goby. These fish thrive well in similar environments and are a great companion for Dragon Goby.
  • Archers: Optimally sized for large tanks, these semi-aggressive fish don’t have many issues staying with Dragon Fish Gobies.

Other brackish water fish species like Knight Gobies, Monos, Scats, and Chromides can also be housed with Dragon Fish Gobies due to similar water condition requirements.

The key while setting up a community aquarium for Dragon Fish Gobies is to provide ample hiding spots and a sandy substrate. That’ll make your fish comfortable, discouraging any potential territorial behavior.

How to Breed Dragon Fish Goby?

Breeding Dragon Fish Goby can be challenging. Success needs careful attention to detail, especially when paring your fish.

Follow these steps for breeding:

Pairing the Fish

The first step toward breeding is forming a pair. You can differentiate between a male and female Dragon Fish Goby by looking at their size and fins.

Females tend to be much larger than their male counterparts. The first dorsal fin is also a good indicator. Males have a longer and pointier first dorsal fin whereas females have shorter and rounder dorsal fin.

Setting up The Breeding Tank

The breeding environment plays a crucial role. A sizeable aquarium of at least 30 gallons, filled with soft water, to comfortably house one male and several females is needed. The tank should have ample hiding spots for both the parents and fry. Adding live plants is beneficial as these often serve as shelters for the fry.

Introducing the Dragon Fish Goby Pair

Start by introducing the female Dragon Fish Goby first, followed by the male a few days later. This sequence is recommended to avoid conflicts.

Creating Breeding Conditions

Alter the food dynamics to create ideal conditions for breeding. You need to reduce the food quantity for a few days and then switch to a high-protein diet to encourage the breeding process.

Furthermore, alternating saline content in the water can trigger the breeding process. Reduce the salinity to 1.004, and then increase it to 1.023 on the following day.

Post-Spawning Care

Following spawning, promptly remove the females. The male Dragon Fish Goby then assumes the duty of guarding the eggs until they’re hatched.

Breeding Dragon Fish Goby needs a high level of commitment and is typically pursued by dedicated hobbyists willing to put in extra effort.

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