FAQs on Violet Gobies
Articles: There's a Dragon In My Tank! The
bizarre and beautiful Dragon Goby By Jeni C.
Tyrell, Fresh to Brackish Gobioid
Related FAQs: Dragon/Violet Gobies 1, Dragon/Violet Gobies 2, & FAQs on:
Gobies Behavior, Dragon/Violet
Gobies Selection, Dragon/Violet
Gobies Systems, Dragon/Violet
Gobies Feeding, Dragon/Violet
Gobies Disease, Dragon/Violet
Gobies Reproduction, & Brackish Water Fishes in
Pseudomugil cyanodorsalis & Gobioides broussonnetii brackish tank?
I have a 14 inch violet dragon goby that I'm very, very slowly planning a large
tank for. He's currently in a brackish 55 by himself.
I'm planning on a 200 gallon or larger. SG 1.015-1.018 so I can use a protein
<Understood. Not essential, but useful. However...>
Do you think Pseudomugil cyanodorsalis would do well with him if I set things up
properly? I've read that they can be timid & are slow eaters. I'm concerned
they'd be terrified of the giant (but completely peaceful) goby.
<I'm sure it would depend on the size of the group. A school of 20-30 would
probably feel much more settled than just 6 of them! I'd also be sensitive to
where the Pseudomugil were collected -- while the species is listed as
euryhaline, sometimes these species include strains pre-adapted to a more narrow
range of salinities. While I'd expect them all to do well at SG 1.005, even ones
collected from freshwater habitats, I'd be more cautious
about exposing them to near-marine environments without having taken the time to
slowly adapt them and observe their behaviour.>
Another concern is that the goby is quite messy - so weekly water changes are a
must. Would the blue eyes be able to handle a mild decline in water quality
toward the end of the week?
<I do think in a 200 gallon tank a single Violet Goby and a large school of
Blue-Eyes are unlikely to place much strain on a decent jumbo canister filter or
Do you have any advice for creating an environment where they'd both be
<I'd perhaps get the Blue-Eyes settled in first, and grown on a bit, and maybe
add some other dither fish that might help them feel secure, such as
Micropoecilia species. I'd also ensure plenty of hiding places for the
Violet Goby, so it wasn't too frantic when the lights were on. Although I've not
seen these two species combined, Violet Gobies do work just fine with Guppies,
so the theory is good!>
Violet dragon goby & diamond killifish?
I can't thank you enough for the great website & patience with my continued
questions about a permanent set up for my violet dragon goby. It seems like the
more I learn about brackish fishkeeping the harder it is to settle on a
<Indeed! That's part of the frustration of this section of the hobby. On the one
hand, relatively few species are regularly traded, but on the other hand, the
sheer variety of species that are occasionally traded is mind-blowing, including
many fabulous species unlike anything else in either freshwater community or
marine reef fishkeeping.>
At this point I'm planning on a 55 gallon tank, but I might go with a 75 if I
can find an affordable one soon.
<Oftentimes, and you won't hear this said too often, two or three small brackish
tanks can actually be funner than one big tank. Because things like gobies,
Killies and halfbeaks are small, but specialised, 10-20 gallon tanks with simple
(cheap!) heaters and filters can provide an easier way to keep them at their
I currently have my goby in with my wrestling halfbeaks & they get along great.
I want to add a mid water fish to the mix.
<Yes, a great combo.>
So I'm thinking about diamond killifish - Adinia multifasciata - these look
cool, but I can't find any videos of them.
<Do try their more modern names, Fundulus xenicus or Adinia xenica.>
Are they mainly mid water or would they compete for the halfbeaks' or goby's
food & space? My goby is downright timid when it comes to food.
<I haven't kept this species myself, but my impression is that it's a small,
docile species with regard to tankmates, though the males are feisty amongst
themselves. Pretty standard for Killies, really. They're also strongly
herbivorous in the wild, consuming goodly quantities of algae and organic
detritus alongside zooplankton and the occasional insect larva. I'd tend to keep
them on their own primarily so that they could be bred, but also to ensure the
I'd like to keep breeding the halfbeaks & get the killifish to breed, too.
Would the Killies eat the halfbeak fry before I can net them out? And would the
halfbeaks eat the killi eggs before I can move them?
<Halfbeaks generally ignore anything on the substrate, so killifish eggs are
probably safe. But fry at the surface would be fair game. If we're talking about
Wrestling Halfbeaks here, their fry are comparatively large, but brood sizes are
variable and sometimes small, so I'd tend not to keep them with anything likely
to eat them. While you might get lucky, especially in a big tank with floating
plants, I think you'd find both species more productive kept amongst their own
I couldn't find much information on the behavior & breeding of diamond Killies.
Do they need caves or visually separated territories?
<Yes, caves and vertical structures will provide necessary barriers between
Will a sand substrate work?
<Nope. You need lots of feathery plants or a substitute such as killifish
breeding mops. Pairs scatter their eggs, though oddly only one or two a day, and
so far as I can tell, males defend territories but not the actual eggs. A week
or two later you should start seeing fry appear among the floating plants, one
or two at a time, and these fry need to be isolated until they're too big to be
eaten. If you've bred Ricefish or Dwarf Mosquitofish, you will find this species
Do you have any tips for reducing their shyness?
<Probably impossible under aquarium conditions; a lot of these Killies live in
big schools, but unless you can house a dozen or so, multiple males will
probably be too aggressive to work in small groups. So most aquarists end up
with two or three females alongside a single male, and while "safe", such a
small group will feel a bit nervous until really settled in.>
Lastly, would SG 1.003 - 1.005 work for all of these species?
<Diamond Killifish, Wrestling Halfbeak and most gobies (you don't tell me your
species) should be fine.>
Violet dragon goby & diamond killifish? 6/27/17
<PS Just saw this was re: Violet Goby. Unlikely to actually want to do any harm
to Diamond Killifish, but might be a bit big to make them feel secure.
Dragon goby companions
I'm going to be purchasing a 125+ gallon aquarium to house my violet dragon
goby. He is currently in a brackish 55 gallon (SG about 1.003) with a few
Dalmatian molly juveniles. He (she?) is around 14" at this point and still
growing. I will not be moving the mollies to the larger tank.
<Understood. Mollies are good companions, FWIW, and healthy, happy Dragon/Violet
Gobies won't even eat their fry. At least, not quickly enough to cause
I'm researching possible companions for the VDG once the larger tank is all set
up and cycled.
<Good. As gentle giants, they're often mis-combined. Better with small, peaceful
fish than big, pushy species.>
I really want at least one tight-schooling fish and possibly some smaller,
colorful shoaling fish, and some shrimp (perhaps ghost shrimp). I'm very fond of
oddballs, intelligent fish, and those with interesting behaviors.
<I think shrimp are probably risky given they're the sort of food these gobies
eat, though in a fully marine system, large shrimps such as Cleaner Shrimps
should be fine.>
Ideally, I'd like all of the species to come from the same continent.
<Ah, now that's a bit more tricky. To start with, you need to ID the Dragon Goby
you have. There are two common species. Gobioides broussonnetii from the
Atlantic coastline between Florida and Brazil, and Gobioides peruanus, which
comes from the Pacific coast from Mexico down to Peru. This second species has
fainter purple bands on its flanks, so telling the two apart isn't too difficult
if you go online and study a few photos of each species
before you look at yours.>
Are there any schooling fish that would move in a fairly organized fashion AND
be appropriate? I'd prefer a peaceful species that won't compete with the VDG
for food on the bottom.
<At low-end brackish, one of the livebearer species would be the obvious,
authentic choice for Gobioides broussonnetii. A wild-type species might be more
authentic, whether true Sailfin Mollies, or something less familiar
like a Limia or Micropoecilia species. Killifish are the other obvious choices
for Atlantic set-ups, for example Florida Flagfish or, if you can get hold of
them, something like Cyprinodon variegatus. Killifish do tend to form schools
outside of spawning time, becoming more territorial when/if the males defend the
eggs/fry. There are some catfish species that would be appropriate too, notably
the brackish water banjo cats like Platystacus cotylephorus that eat similar
foods but aren't likely to compete aggressively at feeding time, being more
nocturnal than the goby. Finally, while Wrestling Halfbeaks aren't native to the
Americas, numerous small halfbeaks and needlefish inhabit the estuaries along
the Atlantic coastline, so as substitutions go, they're be perfectly reasonable.
When it comes to the Pacific coastline of the Americas, the range of available
species is a lot smaller. Apart from Colombian Shark Catfish, I can't think of
any widely traded species that ticks the right boxes. It's not that there aren't
any suitably small and attractive fish from the Pacific coast of, say, Mexico or
Colombia; there are. It's just they're not often seen.
If you want things like Poecilia butleri or Brachyrhaphis rhabdophora, you're
going to have to really search for them.>
If I decide on livebearers I'm leaning toward Micropoecilia picta and Limia
nigrofasciata but am wondering if they would interbreed.
<On paper they should be at risk of doing so, but I've had a large tank of Limia
nigrofasciata alongside farmed Guppies in my classroom, and no sign at all of
any hybrids, even after 2-3 years.>
Also, are these really vigorous feeders? I had Sailfin mollies with the VDG but
they gobbled up the food so quickly he was getting skinny and I don't want to
<Mollies are pushy fish. I think you'd find smaller livebearers wouldn't be so
bad. But in any event, provided your Goby continues to grow, I doubt the
competition with the Mollies is genuinely a problem.>
Any advice on other places to search for more information would also be
<And thanks for being among the few to keep these lovely fish properly!
Re: Dragon goby companions 3/14/17
Thank you for your reply! It is great to get such friendly expert advice.
<Glad to help.>
After some more research and thought, I've decided to scrap my original idea of
only using fish from North America. I watched a bunch of videos of brackish
tanks, and the fish I liked best weren't from NA.
Archerfish totally wow me, but I bought one a few months back and it was dead
within minutes of being released into my aquarium.
<Unusual. These fish are generally quite tough once settled in. Skittish, but
not delicate. Bad luck, I fear. Very beautiful fish, and they keep those vivid
colours into maturity, which isn't true for all fish.>
I couldn't figure out what was wrong. 0 nitrites & ammonia, nitrate under 20. SG
at 1.003. I suspect stress, but am scared I totally screwed up.
<Is indeed odd.>
He was going nuts in the bag - jumping and bashing himself so much.
I made sure the water in the bag & tank were the same temp and then transferred
him to the tank after a few minutes of mixing a few tablespoons of tank water
into the bag at a time. I thought he was going to injure himself and hoped that
a rushed transfer to the tank would be safer than a slower transition. There was
so little pet store water in the bag that I didn't think my usual bucket
acclimation method would work. Because I'm not sure what killed the little guy,
I'm very nervous about trying again.
<Sounds like he was bagged too tightly. Have them bag your fish in as big a bag
as possible, topped off with oxygen. Brackish water fish (like marines) aren't
(usually) well suited to low oxygen conditions.>
He was about 2.5" from nose to tail and the store put him in a small bag about
1/4 full of water. He'd been at the store for around a month and was active,
alert, and I didn't see any sign of injury before I brought him home. I'd been
to the store several times and watched him closely before buying. The clerk said
he was eating well - floating pellets. He was the largest and healthiest looking
of the 3 they had. I feel terrible that I took an apparently okay fish and
Archerfish are one of my dream fish, so if I can do it right I'd jump at the
chance! Any ideas of what I did wrong and how I might do better if I try again?
In case I decide to go for archers I have some questions.
Are Toxotes microlepis the only archers that do well in brackish water? If I
choose archers is SG 1.003 the saltiest I can go?
<All will tolerate low brackish, SG 1.003. Toxotes microlepis (a fresh and
brackish water species) will be fine up to SG 1.005, perhaps even a little
higher. But two entirely brackish water species, Toxotes jaculatrix and Toxotes
chatareus, will go half-strength seawater easily, and rumour has it they spawn
in fully marine habitats. The remaining four or so species are true freshwater
species, and will tolerate slightly brackish water but don't need (or want) it.
The freshwater species are not common and usually very expensive -- check out
Toxotes blythii to see why! It's a stunning fish from one tiny part of the
world. Distinguishing between the three truly brackish water species is
difficult. I've got some sketches on my Brackish FAQ that might help, here:
Basically, it doesn't matter if you stick at SG 1.005, which is what most
aquarists do. Toxotes microlepis stays small, and it's my favourite species if
you can find it.>
How many T. microlepis would be appropriate in a 125 gallon? What about T.
jaculatrix (provided they tolerate brackish water)?
<None of the Archerfish work well in twos or threes, being apt to be bullies. So
I'd tend to go with either a singleton or a decent group, perhaps four or more.
They are schooling fish though, so singletons are more easily spooked than
groups. A group of 4-6 Toxotes microlepis would be fine in 125 gallons, all else
being equal, given their adult size is around 12 cm/5 inches.>
If I have a choice of sizes when I order should I go for the smallest? I know
many fish seem to travel better when they're small.
<Yes, but whatever happens, choose equal sized specimens to minimise bullying.>
Would a 55 gallon quarantine tank be large enough for one of these groups?
If not, what size should I have ready? I'd prefer to have the quarantine tank
filled and ready when they arrive, but if they are shipped to me in fresh water
will it be okay to have brackish water in there to start with?
<Yes. Acclimating to brackish conditions across a few hours will not trouble
Is 4 weeks of quarantine long enough and should I proactively treat for any kind
of parasites or bacteria, etc?
<Four weeks should be fine, especially in brackish water (which tends to
eliminate external parasites quickly).>
Now, on to stocking choices for the bottom level of the tank. This is all
assuming I go for only archers for stocking the top and mid water levels.
<Very much "top" fish.>
I have the one violet dragon goby. He's pretty active and spends a lot of time
digging and swimming in place (not sure what this is about, but it's fun to
watch) in his current set up. I've seen VDGs kept together get pretty rough with
each other over burrows and during feeding time, but they never seemed to cause
any damage to each other. I found the posturing interactions interesting to
watch. Do you think 2 VDGs in a 125 would be appropriate as long as I provided
multiple burrow locations per goby? If so, would I need to grow the second goby
before putting them together?
Generally they're pretty small when sold locally. And is 4 weeks sufficient
quarantine time? Is it a bad idea to add a second goby if the first has had the
whole tank to himself?
<They are territorial, so squeezing multiple specimens into a single tank is
risky. If done, I would keep three or more rather than two; and would also
ensure multiple hiding places (tubes, burrows) so that competition was
minimised. It's probably the males that squabble, but how to sex these fish I do
I love my goby and want him to have a pleasant a life that is as close to "wild"
as I can provide. Do you think he'd be happier alone or would the territorial
interactions be a valuable mimicry of nature? I'm not sure how close dragon
gobies live to each other in the wild.
<Not. As I understand it, males maintain burrows into which females are enticed
for spawning, then driven out, the males looking after the eggs.
Both sexes maintain burrows to use when the tide is out, these fish inhabiting
tidal flats as often as permanent bodies of water.>
I worry that the floor space of a 125 is too small and the nearness would be
unduly stressful. I also don't want to set up a situation where he won't feel
comfortable coming out to forage and explore.
<They aren't wildly active, and there are ways to "entertain" them. Rocks with
algae on will be scraped, and tiny plankton in the form of Daphnia or brine
shrimp will be gulp-fed.>
What other bottom dwellers should I consider? I like oddballs, eel-like fish,
funky catfish, etc. I'd love something similar to the saltwater toad fish but I
haven't run into any brackish types in my research.
<Oh, many, MANY brackish water toadfish and similar; Neovespicula depressifrons
is the obvious one, an adorable and very active fish, about 10 cm/4 inches long,
sometimes known as the Butterfly Goby Waspfish.
Another obvious pick is a sleeper goby, Butis butis, widely sold as the
Crazyfish. Adults are around 15 cm/6 inches long, very impressive. Both these
species are highly predatory. No risk to your Violet Goby or adult Archers, but
will view livebearers and snacks. Let me also direct you to the true Toadfishes,
of which several species are traded very
Good aquarium fish, if a bit inactive.>
Dragon Gobies and Green Scats; comp.
Hi Folks--wonderful site, great info. I've read many of the posts on
stocking brackish systems, but would like to ask a question
not-so-directly addressed: in a 120 brackish tank (SG about 1.010), how
would DGs go with green scats? DGs are slow and have special feeding
needs and can easily miss out, but with some patience and TLC how do you
think they would handle a scat? Regards, KAW
<They can be mixed, but get the Dragon Gobies settled and feeding first.
Once you see the Dragon Gobies actively feeding and putting on weight,
then you can add the Scats. Of course if the Scats are merely babies a
couple inches long, you might get away with mixing them with subadults
Dragon Gobies right from the start. Do also remember Dragon Gobies are
substrate sifters and to some degree algae eaters -- so they will
consume food from a sandy substrate much more effectively than Scats,
which are more 'nibblers' than anything else. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dragon Gobies and Green Scats
Thanks bunches, Neale.
Gobioides broussennetii tankmates in marine (RMF, please
double check and comment if needs be)<<This too is fine as presented>>
Hello to all. I love this site and admire the work you all do.
I am hopelessly addicted. I discovered this vast wealth of
knowledge about a year ago and my path went from freshwater to brackish
and now marine.
<Ah yes, a classic pathway!>
Yes, I have MTS,
<Hee hee! Likely Multiple Tank Syndrome; not Malaysian Trumpet Snails>>
I have it bad! The dragon fish tempted me into brackish and the
mollies into marine.
It's all been quite an adventure! I have a violet goby in a 45
gallon long tank (48 x 13 x19 inches) that I am slowly bringing up to
marine. I also have a 21 gallon (19 x13 x19 inches)
saltwater tank with live sand, live rock and some Chaeto. The
inhabitants are two small mollies, a Blue-legged hermit crab, and a
Flametail blenny, that I think may be Enchelyurus flavipes rather than
Atrosalarias sp. I would like to move all this to the 45 once the
salinity is matched and the Gobioides broussennetii has fully adjusted
to the addition of more live rock/sand.
<Be careful with this; the Gobioides will want a burrow. Is there any
way to hide a PVC tube or similar behind the live rock so he can have a
safe lair that won't scratch his skin.>
The smaller tank I think is beautiful but I dislike it's size/shape.
I think it will make a beautiful shrimp tank though. Can this goby
and this blenny cohabitate successfully and in a tank this size?
<Gobioides isn't a demanding fish, but it can reach some 60 cm/2ft in
length, though more like 45 cm/18 inches is typical. In any case, a
21-gallon tank is much too small, and even 45 gallons is undersized. I'd
be aiming for 75 gallons upwards.>
If so, after rehoming the mollies, could I add any additional livestock?
I would like a few more dwarf hermit crabs and a few marine Nerites.
<Mollies are fine with miniature shrimps and snails. They can also work
well with hermit crabs, but anything bigger than that can be risky;
Boxer Shrimps for example will simply view them as food, and Mollies
lack the instincts to avoid marine environment predators such as
anemones, so approach these with care. Likewise very small gobies (e.g.,
and the like are fine, but Damsels can hammer Mollies. It's telling that
were you see Mollies in the marine environment, the Mollies are usually
in very shallow, often over-warm or slightly polluted environments like
lagoons where typical marine fish don't go, except perhaps as schools of
small, minnow-sized juveniles. On the other hand, I have seen Mollies
kept with Seahorses and Pipefish, the rationale being Mollies turn algae
into live food (fry) that these stealthy predators can consume.>
Maybe a small fish or two later down the road if you don't advise
against it. My equipment/ filtration in addition to the LR/LS
would be an appropriate heater, a gutted Skilter 400 for the Chaeto and
some rubble, a small powerhead (Mag 400), an Aqua C Remora skimmer (1200
powerhead), and a Marineland HOT 250. Would this provide enough
circulation? Filtration? I
have a second HOT 250 if you think I need it.
<Somewhat out of my area of expertise here; do read here and follow the
As a ball park, I think 10+ times the volume of the tank turnover per
hour is about right for basic marine systems, but there's a lot more to
it than that, e.g., placement of powerheads to ensure adequate movement
past those invertebrates that need more/less water movement.>
I thought about putting one on each short end before I got the Skilter
working again. The sand will be about 1" deep. There is base
rock in the 45 now, about 10 lbs, and about 10 lbs live rock in the 21
gallon. I figure I'll need to add 20 pounds or so of live rock,
but I want to keep the sand as open as possible. I've made a cave
with a pipe and base rock on one end of the 45 that the goby is already
using and that will be its island, then the blenny and his shell home
will be on the other end. The
LFS keeps their tanks at SG 1.021, so I can add the live rock to the 45
when I get it there. (SG 1.015 right now) Should I move the
<From the small tank to the bigger one? Yes.>
I don't plan on disturbing its island but I will be adding more sand
along with the rock. I still plan on making the 45 into marine
whether or not my blenny and goby can get along together.
<They should do; Gobioides are big enough to avoid problems with most
non-aggressive fish, and should be fine with Salarias-type things, but
do be aware that most Blennies are territorial fish.>
I do have other tanks. Of course they are all occupied (I did say
I am an addict), but I'm sure you all can help me decide the best course
And thank you for recommending such great books on marine aquariums (Bob
Fenner's and Michael Paletta's), and brackish water fishes (Neale Monk's
and Frank Shafer's), too. I am constantly reading and re-reading
trying to learn, understand and hopefully do well. There is just
so many interesting things to learn about it makes it hard to focus!
Hard to believe one little Betta fish started all this. Thanks so much
for your insight,
<Hope that this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Gobioides broussonnetii tankmates in marine
Thank you for the quick reply. I'm honored to be answered by you,
I actually discovered your other web pages before WetWebMedia.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I have a windowsill tank inspired by your article. I apologize for
not making myself clear. I should have included more information
also. The violet goby is already in the 45 gallon long. When I
asked if I should move him, I meant when I added additional rock and
<As a matter of course, I always try to remove all fish when adding
rocks and substrate, and definitely always with "bottom dwellers". I
buried a pufferfish one time when I added some sand and didn't empty the
tank first, and after noticing he'd vanished, discovered he was under an
inch of sand!
None the worse for wear, but the risk was clearly real. Bottom dwellers
are at particular risk because they tend to stay still when alarmed,
whereas midwater fish are moving about and generally keep out of your
hands and/or any decorative materials being dumped in the tank.>
From what I've read I considered this tank at 4' to be the bare minimum.
The goby is young, about 6", and is actually my second Gobioides
broussonnetii. My first one, Dozer, lives in a 55 gallon brackish
tank (also 4' long) with a few mollies and a few knight gobies
(population control). Dozer is about 10" and fat and sassy (well,
for a violet goby anyway). Silica sand substrate, fake tree roots,
rocks arranged into caves, java ferns and java moss, and Malaysian
Trumpet snails to keep the sand stirred. I've had Dozer about a year and
he has double his length and girth. I didn't put the second violet
goby in that tank because I'm sure he would have starved, been harassed
by the bigger goby, and the tank is definitely not big enough.
<Certainly this species is territorial, but I have heard of two
specimens being kept in 55-gallon tanks, albeit with two PVC tubes so
each has its own home. But like most gobies, the males are especially
So for one violet goby, a tank with a footprint of 48" x 13" really
isn't adequate long term, but one with a footprint of 48" x 18" would
<Sounds about right.>
I have been planning on upgrading, but I couldn't decide if 48" x
18" would be big enough for one violet goby's entire life. Of course my
dream tank would be 72" x 24", but I don't see that as feasible within
But 48" x 18" would be and possibly 48 " x 24" if I could find a used
<A very nice size aquarium, but not commonly seen. Water depth doesn't
matter to Gobioides spp. though, which may mean a long, shallow tank
fits into your budget.>
I just wanted to get my little Flametail blenny out of the 21 gallon
first and thought he and the smaller violet goby might work in the 45
gallon. I had read here and your book that Gobioides broussonnetii
could live in full marine, but could not find anything anywhere about
compatible tankmates in a marine aquarium.
<Not much kept in marine (heck, it'd be nice if they were always kept in
brackish) but in general terms is much like any large goby. Because it's
non-piscivorous, you can choose any tankmates that leave it alone.
Violet Gobies are almost blind though, so nippy or even semi-aggressive
tankmates might cause problems. That said, any non-territorial,
basically peaceful reef fish should be fine, like Hawkfish, though an
interesting approach might be to choose other species that favour open
sandy areas rather than rocks, such as Goatfish. That way you could
minimise the rocky part of the tank while expanding the open sandy area.
Do bear in mind Violet Gobies come from mudflats, and aren't really
associated with rocky reefs.>
I was also concerned about the roughness of the live rock, which is why
I made the island with the pipe and base rock as a test to see if it
would end up damaging. So far so good on that, although the goby
is using the space between the pipe and rock instead of the pipe itself,
and I'm still not sure he won't damage himself.
Thank you so much for your time. I know this will sound silly to
you and probably anyone in this hobby for years, but the idea of a thin
glass box sitting on a little metal frame with 55 gallons of water in it
was a little scary to me.
<And yet stories of burst aquaria are relatively rare, and in my
personal experience, the two times it's happened have both been my fault
for doing something stupid.>
Not to mention being responsible for everything in it. It was
something I had to work up the confidence to achieve. It started
with a Betta in a 3 gallon tank a year and a half ago. I got my 6 gallon
windowsill tank (ghost shrimp and Nerite snails) and then went to a 20
gallon long with the first violet goby, guppies and ghost shrimp.
<Ah now, do think about setting up alternative to a reef aquarium --
could simplify things. Look at mangrove roots (or substitutes, such as
bogwood) and think about siliconing oyster shells to them to create a
reef-like habitat for shrimps and gobies. The roots themselves could be
siliconed to the back pane of glass, leaving the bottom inch or two
uncluttered. You can then add a layer of sand deep enough for the Violet
Goby, while creating a complex, shady environment at the back of the
tank that would ably suit gobies, blennies and other small fish. This is
a major type of reef not modeled in aquaria, but when you see them in
the wild (as I did a month or two back in Belize and Mexico) you quickly
see that oyster/mangrove reefs are teeming with juvenile marine fish,
even baby Butterflyfish!>
It took me a year to get confident enough for a 4' tank and brave enough
to try a saltwater aquarium. In that year I have learned a
quarantine tank is a absolute necessity among other things. I do
hope someone will let me know if I am on the right track equipment/
filtration wise for the 45 as a marine tank. Thanks for sharing
your knowledge and experience with all of us.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Gobioides broussonnetii tankmates in marine
Oh wow, what a great idea, Neale! I've read other FAQs where you
mentioned oyster shells/mangrove roots but never thought of it as a
reef, and thought oyster shells would be too sharp for the violet goby.
Siliconing them to the roots and then siliconing those to the back glass
leaving the bottom for the goby sounds great and something I could do,
after more research. I enjoy doing research and if I can keep my
creative/artistic side in check, so as not to go overboard, this will be
a wonderful project and very satisfying to accomplish. No doubt
you will hear from me along the way.
Thank you, Rhonda.
<Do Google Image search the terms "oyster" and "mangrove" and you'll
find lots of inspiration! Good luck, Neale.>
RES and Dragonfish Together as well as health problem
Hello, My names Nicole.
I am writing you all for 2 reasons. First is I have a baby RES and today
my lovely Boyfriend brought home a small Dragonfish and put it in our
50gal tank with Mr. Turtle. (I know very original name) Can the 2 of
them survive okay together?
<No. The "Dragonfish" is, I assume, a Dragon Goby:
These big, ugly but very good fun fish are brackish to seawater animals
and cannot live for long in freshwater (despite some of the more
unhelpful retailers selling them as freshwater fish). If you add enough
marine aquarium salt mix to the water for this fish (between 5-10
grammes per litre) you'll severely stress, perhaps kill, the turtle. On
top of this, Turtles and Fish DO NOT GO TOGETHER! Turtles make so much
mess (urine, faeces) that water quality in their tanks gets very bad,
Second is I noticed that my RES' shell is soft. I had no idea
because he seems normal, very active.
<Poor diet; lack of calcium; no UV-B lamp for him to bask under.>
Only problem is I have had him for a month now and still have yet to see
him eat. I have used pellets, dried shrimp, freeze dried blood worms.
Calcium supplements for the water and UVB light. What else can I do.
<Read. Start here:
I have "Googled" and cannot seem to find anything that I have not tired.
Please help. :)
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Hello WWM Crew,
Have done a little research but am really just looking for a definitive
answer and understand you are the people to go to.
<Nice to know!>
Want to ask the question before I get the tank as opposed to making a
mess of it after it's stocked and too late.
I'm looking to start a brackish tank, low end brackish. I'd
love to stock a Violet Goby and Bumble Gobies (Brachygobius
, the more brackish type I believe). This leads to my
first question, I know a Violet Goby prefers a SG of 1.010 as optimal
and the Bumblebee Gobies are happiest at 1.005 to freshwater.
<Both will be perfectly happy at SG 1.010, or indeed anything
between about SG 1.005 and 1.010. Contrary to popular misconception,
Bumblebee Gobies (BBGs) aren't specifically freshwater fish or
brackish water fish. The imported species at least (and identifying it
is virtually impossible)
appears do well in both. Above all else diet is the reason BBGs die.
They can actually be pretty adaptable in terms of water
Will the Violet Goby be happy to drop down to 1.005 SG with no adverse
health effects or is it going to be best if these two don't go in
<They're an odd mix, and your problem isn't salinity but
feeding. The BBGs will be a total pain in the backside when it comes to
feeding because they're so slowly and picky. You'd be hard
pressed getting them to eat enough with the Violet Goby slurping
everything it sees! I'd go with a more active, midwater goby to be
honest. Perhaps something like Knight Gobies or Clay Gobies (Dormitator
lebretonis) or even Crazy Fish (Butis butis), all of which are fairly
available in the hobby. With a bit more effort, you could alternatively
track down species such as Eleotris fusca or a brackish-water blenny
like Omobranchus zebra.>
Second question is, where does this leave me in terms of further
So far been looking at Guppies and Mollies. I know these can be easily
acclimated to brackish but am concerned that they will eat all the food
before the two Gobies get a look in.
<Certainly strong competitors with regard to the BBGs. Violet Gobies
aren't so difficult to feed because they're big and easily
tamed. Throw in some live brine shrimp and watch them scarf them down!
They also eat bloodworms and algae wafers, which the livebearers
won't eat too quickly.>
So is there any other sort of oddball fish that will co-exist happily
with these two.
<Other gobies would be ideal; see above. Do read:
Small livebearers can be excellent. Rather than Mollies, why not
Endler's or else something out of the ordinary -- Micropoecilia
picta or Micropoecilia parae. Both of these are colourful and fun to
watch, and while not easy to obtain, they are both traded as well as
available through livebearer associations.>
Something outside the norm a bit. Seeming as live food will be going in
frequently, feeding won't be a concern and picky eaters are
welcome. I've been looking at the Freshwater soles, but would be
concerned on the larger species predatory nature and also the aquarium
floor would be getting kind of crowded by that point wouldn't
<Freshwater soles are very difficult to feed, and I'd recommend
keeping them alone or else with small, day-active tankmates only (the
afore mentioned livebearers would be ideal). Soles feed at night mostly
be smell, so you can ply them with wet-frozen bloodworms and brine
shrimp easily enough, but if there's anything competing at
nighttime, they'll starve.
Best keep on their own, in groups if you want, in a smallish tank
specially set up for them.>
Would love to hear your opinions!
Thanks for reading,
Re: Gobioides compatibility 2/4/12
Thanks for the speedy response Neale, much appreciated.
<Most welcome, Sam.>
Will have a look the species you mentioned, then speak to my local fish
store and see what is likely to be available. As you may have noticed
I'm a fan of the Gobies so glad to see a few more options!
Just found your book on Amazon and have ordered a copy, try and rack up
a little additional information before 'taking the plunge'.
<Ah, now, there are two outstanding Goby chapters in this book --
neither written by me! One by Naomi Delventhal, a scientist who studies
gobies, covers lots of different goby types and lists their specific
needs. The second is by Richard Mleczko and covers mudskippers. You may
be surprised to learn there are a few mudskippers that never leave the
water (such as Apocryptes spp.) and these are discussed. They
aren't commonly traded, but you can get them once in a blue moon,
but in the US you'll find Frank's Aquarium a good channel for
getting these sorts of fish:
While I've not bought anything from Frank (being on the wrong side
of the Atlantic) we've crossed e-mails now and again and he seems a
good egg. He seems to have Apocryptes bato in stock, and in the
freshwater section (for some reason!) he has a few euryhaline species
that can be kept in brackish and/or marine aquaria, such as
Hypseleotris leuciscus and Giuris margaritacea. He sometimes has
Hypseleotris compressa in stock too, a stunning freshwater to marine
species that exhibits lovely colours when breeding. These
"Gudgeons" are fairly widely sold in the UK, but apparently
less so in the US, perhaps because they come from Australia and New
Guinea and the export chain isn't so well developed to the US.
Whatever the case, they're nice fish well worth keeping. Most are
carnivorous, hardy, and territorial rather than aggressive.>
Thanks again for letting me pick your brain.
Have just received the book and had a quick thumb through. To be frank
I'm absolutely amazed at the number of fish that can live in
brackish conditions. The common opinions seems to be that you're
limited to a tiny number of species, this is clearly not the case.
Very taken with the number of Gobies on offer. Going to try to recreate
a mangrove looking tank using various driftwoods to represent roots, a
few large rocks and a soft sand substrate.
Stocking a Butis butis, Stigmatogobius sadanundio and of course the
Gobioides broussonetti! Figuring that as long as I can carve the tank
up into a few clear territories, add some disguised PVC pipes to the
sand and add lots of cover, they should co-exist peacefully.
<I agree. While these can be aggressive towards one another (Knight
Goby pairs less so) they generally ignore dissimilar fish.>
Got my eye on a nice sized tank that I think will accommodate all fish
Would love to try my hand at mudskippers, but feel that due to the
territorial nature of the other fish in the tank it might not work
<In any event, Mudskippers don't really mix well with
"proper" fish anyway.>
May be a better life if a dedicated species tank was set up for
Something for the future certainly. Unless one of the Apocryptes spp.
would be happy in with the other fish?
<Does depend on the tankmates. They don't handle aggression or
nervous tankmates well, but smallish, harmless tankmates such as small
livebearers and smaller gobies could work.>
I'm under the impression that they spook quite easy and aren't
happy around the more boisterous tank mates.
<Indeed. In the wild they live in inch-deep water, where they feed
on algae and whatnot. Needless to say, with so little swimming room and
things like wading birds hunting for them, they have to react to sudden
shadows and noises very quickly.>
I think I may be on your side of the Atlantic! Live in the UK. I know
the email address is a bit of a false lead. Had it since before AOL
made its push over seas and started offering ".co.uk".
How successful is ordering fish online usually?
<Generally very good. Aquarium shops like Wildwoods have built up a
good sideline doing this sort of thing, with few reports of
Prefer to be able to see the fish myself before purchase and have
always been apprehensive about placing an order. Is this unfounded or
can there be complications?
<If you think about it, the fish in an aquarium shop were
air-freighted there. So there's little risk to shipping fish if
it's done right.>
Thanks again! Your information and opinions have been absolutely
<Glad to help.>
Cautiously optimistic about my upcoming project!
Are F8 puffers and a Dragon goby ideal
tank mates?... not. 4/17/11
I know you have had this question before.
I feel a bit dumb asking but I have had so many conflicting
I have a Dragon goby he is about 8-9in long. I have had him for a
little over a year. He was only about 3in when I got him. My LFS
was selling them as aggressive FW fish (I know you have heard
that a thousand times!)
He is in a 29gal brackish tank at the moment. Yes, I researched
before buying him.
My husband actually makes jokes about how I research and write
everything down planning my set-ups down to exactly what and
where things will go. I keep a log of the water conditions as
well lol. Anyway, I plan on moving him to a 55gal in about six
<Sounds ideal. Be sure to add some tubes or caves he can hide
in. Ideally, use sand, not gravel.>
Right now he is all alone. He has been the whole time.
<Not especially social animals, though keeping them in groups
can be fun, if each one has its own PVC tube.>
I have been wanting to add an F8 or two for a while and have not
done it yet because of all of the conflicting things said about
them during my research.
<Not a good choice of companion.>
So I am wanting to get your opinion on the subject. I have really
wanted one or two puffers for over a year!
<The golden rule with puffers is this: Want a puffer? Then set
up a pufferfish aquarium! They aren't sociable fish.>
I am at the point that I will set up another tank if need be! I
would prefer to be able to have it/them in with my goby if
<Well, Figure-8s do vary in personality, and some are quite
peaceful. You might choose to try the combination out, and see
what happens. Any signs of fin-nipping on the Violet Goby, and
the puffer would need to be rehomed.
The risk is that Violet Gobies are big, slow-moving, and have
tasty-looking fins. They're a sitting target for
And I would also like to know if two figure eight puffers would
together for a few months with the goby in his 29gal or if I
should wait till I have the 55 established.
<Either has the potential to work, depending on their relative
sizes. But as I say, it's a risk, likely a 50/50 sort of
I was also thinking about putting a small school (6-8) of Celebes
Rainbow in the 55 once it's established.
<These don't really need brackish water, though
they'll tolerate slightly brackish conditions to around SG
1.003, as will most of the hardier Australian
The info I have on them is conflicted (as to whether or not they
are brackish) as well though so I am at a loss and need you
<The idea Rainbowfish generally need brackish water goes back
a few decades. As a group they're closely related to marine
fish, and a combination of that and occasional reports of them in
brackish water led people to believe they needed a little salt in
the aquarium to survive. In fact Celebes Rainbows are happiest in
moderately hard to hard, slightly basic water, i.e., 10+ degrees
dH, pH 7-8. They do fine in slightly brackish water though. If
you have a higher specific gravity than SG 1.003 at 25 C/77 F,
then they wouldn't be on my list of fish to keep. There'd
be much better choices such as Wrestling Halfbeaks, Guppies and
Limia in small tanks, or Mollies, Monos and Scats in larger
Re: Are F8 puffers and a Dragon goby ideal tank
I wanted to thank you for your quick response!
Ok, I do have lots of ground cover for my DG. He has a hollow
tree trunk, java fern, a couple of nicely shaped coral rocks he
likes to hide under as well, and he does have sand. I did use
playground sand though because it's cheap (I though it was
pretty much the same and a lot cheaper than marine sand)
<Play sand is fine.>
It took a lot of bucket rinsing but I think it was worth it.
So, I think I will pass on the CRs neither of my aquariums are a
good place for them.
I have another 55 but it is an Amazon type set up. Soft water,
slightly acidic for my tetras. I have blue, green fire, and
diamond tetras in there with 6 Cory cats. I am going to go ahead
with the puffers but I am going to slowly turn my other 29gal
sick tank into another brackish set up (ironically my DGs tank
started out as a sick tank for my tetras but I changed it for
him) incase the puffers decide to start in on my DG. I want to
make sure I have a place for them just in case. I would cry if I
lost my DG!
I have had this 29gal set up for the tetras but I have not had to
use it at all in the two years that I have had the tetras. I
haven't lost one of them yet!
<Well done. Your water chemistry has likely been an asset here
-- many problems with South American tetras likely come down to
keeping them in hard water.>
So, now my question is... How do I slowly raise the hardness and
salinity without crashing the biological filter?
<Go slow! If you're keeping just the Violet/Dragon Goby,
then a salinity of SG 1.005 is ample. For this, just doing your
usual 20% water changes each week, swapping out lower salinity
water for higher salinity water should adjust things slowly and
I have lots of experience with FW (tetras, African cichlids that
sort of fish) but my DG is the first BW fish I have had.
<Is often the case. The same with Mollies, the other classic
species for a first foray into brackish.>
With him he was sold in FW so I just put about a cup of Instant
Ocean in every other week till his water was at 1.005-1.008.
I had some plants in there with him that just so happened to be
<Few plants do well above SG 1.003 at 25 C/77 F, so I
wouldn't bother above SG 1.003. Java ferns and a few other
species will do okay up to SG 1.005 at 25 C/77 F. Do note that
temperature and specific gravity should be tested together -- for
any given salinity, the specific gravity (SG) will be lower in
warm water and higher in cold. Most books assume 25 C/77 F when
giving salinities in terms of SG numbers.>
I want to acclimate the sick tank before I get the puffers just
Should I do it the same way or should I do it different?
<Sure. Shouldn't take more than a couple of weeks to do
though. Up to SG 1.005, acclimation of bacteria from freshwater
to brackish is usually easy and uneventful.>
I know the puffers need an established set up so I would also
like to know of changing the hardness/salinity will make the
aquarium unstable for a while?
I didn't have and problems with Gimpy (my DG lol) but he
started out in FW anyway.
I think I will pass on other tank mates at the moment as well. I
am staring to think about maybe adding some Mollies to it once I
have the 55 established.
<An excellent choice, especially if you can get true Giant
Sailfin Mollies, which are massive (females 15 cm/6 inches!)
beasts with beautiful colours.
Like the Gobies, these do well across any salinity up to marine
conditions. Alternatively, Black Mollies make a great addition,
offering a nice contrast to the silvery-purple colours of the
Goby. Again, they're fine up to marine conditions. So at SG
1.018 upwards, you could even keep some hardy marines, like
farmed Clownfish! One of the nice things about brackish tanks is
being able to mix in marines.>
I was also wondering about BBGs.
<Nice fish, can be tricky to feed.>
Would they be compatible with my DG?
<Yes, but they might have problems getting enough to eat. A
bigger goby species, like Knight Gobies or the wonderfully named
Crazy Fish could work better. If you want some sort of character,
look out for Dormitator maculatus, or even Neovespicula
depressifrons, not a goby, but sold as the Butterfly Goby by some
Or the F8s?
<BBGs and Figure-8s have been combined, and they usually work
Would they nip at the Mollies if I got some?
<I've never found BBGs nippy.>
My LFS also carries Knight Gobies. Would any of those be
compatible with my DG or F8s?
<Knights would work extremely well. They're predators
though, and will eat Molly fry.>
I can easily forget about the Mollies if I would be able to put
one or two or more of these guys (BBGs or KGs) any thoughts?
<By all means try a selection, Mollies, Knights, and your
Thank you so much for all of your help!
Re: Are F8 puffers and a Dragon goby ideal tank
Ok, I am going to go ahead with the KGs and Black Mollies.
What do the KGs need for a balanced diet? ( I am Googling it
online but I would greatly appreciate your input )
<They're pretty adaptable, but leaning towards carnivory.
So apart from baby Mollies, they're going to enjoy brine
shrimp, daphnia, wet-frozen bloodworms, small chunks of tilapia
fillet, squid, mussel and prawn. Most specimens will take flake
after a while, especially good quality brands.>
The LFS I go to keeps both of these in BW already. I do find it
strange though that he keeps GSP and F8 puffers, KG, BBG and live
baring fish in BW (each group in their own tank with their
required salinity) but not the DG he and I have argued about that
<In the US the species almost always sold is Gobioides
broussonnetii, and this definitely does better in brackish
conditions than freshwater, and can be easily adapted to full
marine conditions too. In the UK (and I presume Europe generally)
a closely related species called Gobioides peruanus is traded
more often than Gobioides broussonnetii. Now, Gobioides peruanus
is a freshwater to brackish species and doesn't particularly
enjoy high salinities (above, say, 50% seawater or SG 1.012) and
may even do okay in plain freshwater if water quality is
excellent (though I personally wouldn't recommend it). But
because both species are traded, there are plenty of reports of
"Violet Gobies" or "Dragon Gobies" doing okay
in freshwater tanks. Doubtless some of the people who report
success are keeping Gobioides peruanus, and whereas people
(particularly in North America) who are keeping Gobioides
broussonnetii will find maintenance in freshwater fraught with
problems. Although Latin names can be annoying if you're not
familiar with them, this is one of the those cases where knowing
precisely which species you're keeping really does make a
difference. FWIW, Gobioides broussonnetii has more of the violet
bands along its flanks, whereas Gobioides peruanus has very faint
bands and mostly only on its head.>
I know he should know better! He claims that the people he gets
them from say that it's not true that they need brackish
<A common myth.>
Is there anything I can tell him to read to prove to him that
they need BW?
<My book! Brackish-Water Fishes from TFH. Until then, my FAQ,
And of course WWM has pages on these fish, starting here:
I know he cares about the fish he sells he's just
misinformed. (And unfortunately will not listen to me because he
knows more than me in other areas. I have straight out told him
that I am always open to new info and he should be as well. That
when it comes to this I know more because I have done extensive
research) What kind of cover should I get for the KGs?
<Something secure! These fish are NOTORIOUS jumpers. But
otherwise floating plants are good. Hornwort and floating Indian
Fern are both reliable in low-end brackish conditions, SG 1.003
or so. They don't so much use burrows
as swim in midwater, often underneath plant leaves. A big plastic
could work nicely. Otherwise a large Java fern or Anubias, or
even better, Cryptocoryne ciliata, a Crypt that naturally
inhabits brackish water! It's a big species, 30+ cm
My DG has his places but I want to add more for the KG. I also
want to know how many of the KGs I can put in the 29 and how many
more I could add once they are in the 55.
<Are territorial, but a half dozen shouldn't cause
Also, I don't have much in the way of taller cover for the
mollies and the F8s I have a lot of ground cover just not
anything above 6in except the java fern. And some Anacharis and
Anubias (they are at/under 6in though).
Someone in the puffer forum suggested fake mangrove roots and I
am going to check them out today at PetSmart (I am also going to
see if my favorite LFS carries them) but I would also like some
other options in case I don't like the way they look.
<Mangrove roots or similar are ideal. Do also consider gluing
(with aquarium silicone) oyster shells to rocks and bogwood roots
to create an oyster reef -- one of THE classic brackish water
habitats. Oyster shells make great hide-outs for gobies and
killifish (such as Florida Flagfish).>
I am going to wait until the other tank is ready before getting
Again thank you!
Re: Are F8 puffers and a Dragon goby ideal tank mates?
Nice thanks! I will check out that crypt you mentioned and am
currently looking into the hornwort. I am not sure which of the
two species you mentioned are what Gimpy is. I am going to send
you a pic if I can get a halfway decent one to send to see if you
<Likely Gobioides broussonnetii; this species has numerous
violet chevrons from the head almost down to the tail. On
Gobioides peruanus these are much weaker, often limited to simple
purple spots along the lateral line, and even these may not be
apparent. So far as I know, Gobioides broussonnetii is the
standard species in the US, so if you live in North America,
that's almost certainly the one you own.>
I don't have a background on his tank nor is it up against
the wall. I have it so that it can be looked at from three sides.
It makes it easier to see him.
I am assuming then that when you say 6 KGs together that it is
for the 55.
Which is great! I was holding I could put 2 in the 29 for now and
maybe 2 more when I get the 55 done. That way they have more
room. I won't mind them eating Molly fry. Less population
overload. A lot of what you are saying they eat I already have
for Gimpy! All I need is the tilapia, squid, mussel and prawn!
Everything else is already in my freezer lol.
<And those are easily obtained at, for example, an Asian food
market. Buy them frozen or fresh as preferred; I like to buy the
fresh stuff, slice into small strips, and then freeze that in a
Tupperware for convenient use.>
Plus his algae wafers.
<Gobioides broussonnetii enjoys these too, along with brine
shrimps and bloodworms.>
I don't usually feed live food. I don't want to have to
worry about parasites. Do they eat ghost shrimp?
<Knights will eat anything small enough to swallow.>
I do have a few of those in with Gimpy. I don't really care
if they do but I am curious. Thank you so much for those links! I
am going to give them to the guy at my LFS so that hopefully he
will take it upon himself to advance his knowledge. I have never
understood why people are so strange when it comes to being
corrected. How else you we supposed to learn anything
<Oh, well, I guess we get to a certain age and decide
we're full up with information and can't take any
Anyway, would you be able to give me your opinion on which of the
two species you think Gimpy is?
Dragon Goby Compatibility
Hi. I have been reading all the posts on your website to learn more
about the new dragons I got from Wal-Mart, I was thinking, I just had
to save them from there!
But I am in a learning process and plan on getting them a bigger home
(50 gallon, hoping that is enough) and putting marine salt in it.
<Yes should be fine. But bear in mind they're territorial, and
while 2-3 specimens might fit into a 50-gallon tank, they will wrestle
over hiding places. It's quite cool to watch, and they rarely cause
harm, but do make sure each has a long tube it can call home. PVC is
cheap and works fine.>
But my original question is, may I put Kenyi Cichlid Fry with my newly
found dragon, now of course I have put them together already as it has
been a couple of days. The Kenyi fry do not nip the dragons at all and
always swim by them with precaution(they are scared of my gobies) but
like I said I am in the learning process and want to know if the Kenyi
may also live in BW.
<The short answer is that this isn't a great combination.
Assuming the salinity is fairly low, let's say the minimum of SG
1.005 at 25 C/77 F, then the cichlid fry will live for a while, but
there's no guarantees they'll stay healthy or even alive. Long
term exposure to salty water seems to cause Malawi Bloat in Rift Valley
Tank setup for the moment is a small 10 gallon with sand substrate and
hollowed rocks for burrowing under, live plants and using Aquarium salt
at the moment(I know now that is bad :/ ) and by the way I saved Two
Thank you in advance for your help, and I will appreciate the criticism
as I look at it as an opportunity to give these guys a better home.
Thanks again, Oscar.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Dragon Goby Compatibility 1/19/11
Thank you so much, now I just need to decide which to keep, the gobies
or the Kenyi fry.
<Yawn'¦ cichlid fry'¦ Seems a no-brainer to
As my significant other has a tank as well and will gladly home either
Thanks again, Oscar.
Violet goby/cichlid combo (uh-oh?)
<Hi Aymi. Melinda here today.>
I recently got a violet goby (sold as a dragon fish, I was told that it
was freshwater and aggressive) for my 55 cichlid tank (Oscar,
parrotfish, ahli, Pleco).
<This tank is going to be a difficult one in terms of maintenance.
It is really quite overstocked, and you'll need to keep an eye on
Nitrate levels, possibly doing as many as two or three water changes
per week to keep Nitrate below 20, when these fish mature. If the Pleco
is a "common" one, capable of reaching twelve to eighteen
inches in length, then you probably won't be able to keep up.
I'd go ahead and upsize to a 125 gallon aquarium if you want to
enjoy this hobby with the fish you're currently keeping.
Otherwise, in order to keep your fish healthy, you're going to be
doing constant maintenance to keep water quality up to par, and that
just gets old after a while. Individuals who place themselves in this
stay in the hobby for long. Oh, and yes, the Violet Goby is
Only after I got home (I know, stupid mistake) did I read up on it and
find out that it is a docile brackish scavenger. So far it seems to be
doing okay, there are rocks, fake plants, and a few real ones for it to
hide in and the other fish haven't been bothering it and it has
started to venture out more from its hiding spots, especially early in
the morning and late in the evening and he is eating at least some of
the food I put in in the evenings.
<Just as many fish stores keep these fish in freshwater, and they
last long enough to sell, your fish will tolerate non-optimal
conditions for awhile. However, ultimately, the fish will not thrive in
freshwater. Please read here on Violet Goby care:
htm, along with the linked files above the title of the
Should I add salt to the tank?
<No. You should return the "odd man out" rather than cause
discomfort to all of the other fish.>
How much would my other fish be able to tolerate?
<They won't enjoy or tolerate brackish conditions. This is what
the goby requires, and what the other would not appreciate.>
Unfortunately, setting up a separate tank for the goby is not an
I'd like to keep it since it seems to be doing okay, but am
concerned about its longevity.
<If you cannot set up another tank, I would return the fish. You are
right to be concerned. In addition, as I mentioned earlier, you may
want to research the other fish in the tank on WWM in terms of maximum
behavior, and system requirements, such as volume and filtration. I
fear this tank will become too crowded, affecting water quality, which
will affect the fishes' health. Please do write back if you have
further questions after reading. >
Re: Violet goby/cichlid combo (uh-oh?) 5/17/2010
Melinda and all the other WWM volunteers,
Thank you for the prompt reply and sound advice.
I did not keep the goby, since it needs such different water
<You made the right decision for him.>
I'd like to get another one at some point, perhaps when my cichlids
outgrow this tank I'll convert it to brackish.
<Sounds like a good plan. Do beware of MTS -- "Multiple Tank
Syndrome" -- a condition which runs rampant among fishkeepers, and
is characterized by the constant need of "just one more
It's a shame that so many beautiful fish are sold under false
pretenses, I'm sorry that I contributed to this practice by not
doing my homework first.
<You have, at least, discovered a fish in which you're really
interested, but now have the time to properly prepare for keeping him.
These guys are pretty popular in the trade, so I don't doubt there
will be some available when you're ready. In the meantime, here are
some links on brackish setups, etc. that you can peruse:
along with those links at the top of the page. Setting up a brackish
tank ensures that you're going to be keeping fish that a lot of
non-aquarists and even
more casual fishkeepers have never even seen, so it's great for the
"wow" factor, and something different for you to do. In any
case, I am glad I could be of help.>
Thank you again,
Dragon goby with
I just wanted to ask a question regarding my set up; I have a 45 imp.
gallon 4-foot set up which contains half a dozen Indian Mudskippers
(believe they are, indeed, novemradiatus. Little stunners),
<Indeed, a lovely species; hardy, small, and easy to keep.>
4 orange Chromide and 8 glassfish (I know the advice runs to species
only for mudskippers, and initially I had them in a smaller tank on
their own; they were so placid and intriguing I moved them into the
downstairs four footer for all to enjoy).
<Mudskippers do become more aggressive as they mature, but this
species is generally fairly placid, particularly if sufficiently
overcrowded that no one male can claim the whole tank.>
Obviously the tank isn't full, probably about 20 galls? Maybe a
little more, but not much. It's half full.
<There are good reasons not to mix fish with Mudskippers. In brief,
Mudskippers tend to be nervous of fish that are bigger than they are,
and so dip into the water less often. Conversely, they'll eat
substantially smaller fish given the chance. While they can be mixed
with other fish -- there is a nice display of West African Mudskippers,
Anableps, and Sailfin Mollies at the London Aquarium -- you do have to
be careful. Orange Chromides can be quite territorial and aggressive
when sexually mature, and I'd be very careful about combining them
There is, of course 'land space' for the 'skippers. The SG
is 1.010. I have recently seen the violet/dragon goby at my LFS. I
thought they were quirky, but MUST be predatory looking at those teeth,
left the idea alone and went home. However, my curiosity drew me to
look on-line and discover that they are not predatory, but use the
teeth for algae scraping.
<Yes, very bizarre fish indeed. Shame your tank is too small for
them. You really need something around 40-55 gallons.>
My question, then, is could a violet goby exist in this set-up, or is
it not big enough?
<Not big enough. Plus, even though you know the Dragon Goby is
harmless, it might terrify the Mudskippers.>
I fear I know the answer, but would like to hear it from someone
<Do read Richard Mleczko's chapter on Mudskippers in my
brackish-water fishes book, should you get the chance. It's a very
Eels and Dragonets do not mix'¦. 10/5/05
Hello I'm asking if there is a chance that my 13-inch white cheeked
moray eel could have eaten my dragon goby. <I am not familiar with
the common name dragon goby; by any chance do you mean a Dragonet or a
Mandarin goby? Perhaps (Synchiropus splendidus)? If this is
your specimen then perhaps yes the eel could have eaten him, as they
(the dragonets) are slow moving and nocturnal. As for the eel while
they usually rely on crustaceans for food, a Dragonet would have been
an easy target.> I have noticed that my dragon goby is missing,
because he usually wanders around the tank. But the pet store that I
bought him from said that the moray would not eat a dragon goby and
that my fish was probably hiding. <Eels are
predators.> I have searched high and low for my dragon
goby with no sight of him not even fins or anything you find as
leftovers to a feeding. <If this fish in question is a dragonet,
it's possible that it dies of other reasons. They are notoriously
hard to care for with the majority of them starving in captivity.> I
think it might have been my moray because of the lack of evidence that
my dragonfish would have left like fins scales etc.. I really want to
know for sure so I can see about getting a refund on my fish at the
store. <Well, good luck with that. Adam J.> <<Mmm, these
are brackish to marine animals, Gymnothorax and Gobioides... don't
Tank Mates for Violet Gobies 10/22/05
<Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have a Violet Goby and I would like to
know what are their tankmates? I keep him in brackish water and I have
a 20 gallon tank. I am getting a 55-100 gallon around Christmas. I have
no other fish in there with him. He is about 4-5 inches long. I have
been told a dinosaur eel would be good but I am not sure. Please tell
me some tankmates. Thanks in advance for the help. <The
"dinosaur eel" or Polypterus, is not a BW fish. In the tank
you have now, you could keep the goby with other gobies, like knights
or bumblebees. When you get a larger tank, you could add more gobies or
even a few figure 8 puffers. The problem with your goby is competition
for food. Once you add other fish with them, there is a large chance
they will be out-competed for food & starve. They are filter
feeders & practically blind. Are you using marine salt to make his
tank brackish? See: http://badmanstropicalfish.com/brackish/brackish.html
for more ideas. ~PP>
Dragon Goby Tankmates 3/3/07 Hi,
my name is Liz. <Hi Liz, Pufferpunk here>
I got a dragon goby thinking it was a fresh water fish.
<Common mistake.> Now that I know it is not, I am planning on
getting a new tank and turning my 32 gallon into a brackish tank.
<Great!> I'm having a hard time finding many fish that I can
put with him in the new tank. Could you give me some ideas
on what fish I could add? Right now he is living with
my angel fish. <There are many BW fish you could keep with
him. Mollies, Figure 8 puffers, bumblebee gobies, knight
gobies, for a few (not all of them though). Keep it to a few
extra tankmates. Be sure he has lots of good hideouts,
especially if you're planning on the puffers, as they can get
nippy. If they do bother your dragon, you'll have to
re-home them. Mine seem to do fine together. My
tank is heavily decorated. Be sure to research each fish
before you buy them, as BW fish do require different care/feeding than
FW fish. For more dragon goby info: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i3/Dragon_Gobies/Dragon%20Gobies.htm
For more info on puffers: www.thepufferforum.com. > This will teach
me that just because it's in fresh water doesn't
mean it likes freshwater. <Unfortunately, many LFS find it easier to
keep BW fish in FW tank for selling. It costs them too much
to have a special section for BW. Most will tell you
it's OK to keep BW fish in FW too. This will cause
lowered immune systems & shorter lifespans. ~PP>