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FAQs on Violet Gobies Systems

Related Articles: There's a Dragon In My Tank! The bizarre and beautiful Dragon Goby By Jeni C. Tyrell,
Fresh to Brackish Gobioid Fishes

Related FAQs: Dragon/Violet Gobies 1, Dragon/Violet Gobies 2, & FAQs on: Dragon/Violet Gobies Identification, Dragon/Violet Gobies Behavior, Dragon/Violet Gobies Compatibility, Dragon/Violet Gobies Selection, Dragon/Violet Gobies Feeding, Dragon/Violet Gobies Disease, Dragon/Violet Gobies Reproduction, & Brackish Water Fishes in General

Large (at least sixty gallons), well-established, brackish... some open decor to hide in... sandy bottom to burrow in...

Goby Trouble; sys., beh.       5/25/18
Hello Crew! I'm a little rattled this morning as my Dragon Goby made a suicide attempt.
<Oh yes; they are "escape artists">

I had come back in from taking the dogs out and found him on the floor (I got to him before the dogs did). He couldn't have been out long because he was not there when we went out and we were only outside for 15 minutes. I immediately got him back in the tank, he swam away, and now he's sitting on his PVC tube looking at me. He was not dried out when I found him, does not have any physical injuries that I can see, and his gills are moving normally. I found where he pushed the tank lid up and set a fairly
heavy rock on it.
<And cover over all holes large enough for it to get out>
So a little recent background, back on May 10th (I keep a journal on all the tanks), I did the normal water change (about 20 gallons from a 72 gallon tank) and the regular monthly filter cleaning. Everything
seemed fine when I was done but when I came back in from outside, the room around the tank was flooded because one of the hoses (the return to the tank hose) on the canister filter (those ribbed hoses on the Fluval 405) was split and gushing water.
<Yikes! Glad you caught it>
I got it shut down but, to my absolute horror, when I looked at the tank I estimated that I had lost
about 40 gallons. So with the weekly/monthly maintenance plus the hose splitting, this tank (72 gallon) lost about 60 gallons in two hours.
I knew I was in trouble, so I replaced the water, checked the salinity (1.004 SG), added two capfuls of Prime, and hoped for the best. I started testing the following morning and have been adding Prime and
testing daily ever since. For the first three days, everything seemed fine, but I knew better than to think it would be that easy. Sure enough, after day three, I had ammonia, only .25 ppm, but it was there.
<Toxic; debilitating>

The ammonia never went any higher and turned over pretty quickly (about two days) and the nitrite started to climb (I'm using Prime daily throughout this and I still am). It got to .50 ppm but has since come down to .25 ppm. Nitrate stayed steady below 20 ppm.
So after I got the Goby back in the tank this morning, I tested again and the ammonia is still zero, the nitrite is still .25, and nitrate is still below 20 ppm. Salinity is steady at 1.004 SG. But I noticed the heater light was off, which is unusual because it's still very cold here in the mornings. When I checked the temperature, it had dropped to 72 degrees in the tank (this had to have happened fairly recently as I always check temperature during weekly maintenance and last Monday everything was fine). I put in a backup heater and I'm now re-warming the tank to its normal 77 - 78 degrees. But in my constant quest for the "why" in everything, I'm wondering if the drop in temperature could have triggered the suicide attempt.
<Mmm; doubtful>
This tank has a fairly tight fitting lid (egg crate)so he had to exert some effort to get out.
*Renee *
<Bob Fenner>

Re: Goby Trouble      5/26/18
So you think this was just the Goby's natural tendency to "wander off?"
<Yes I do>
I guess I was hoping the temperature was what set him off and that warming up his water would prevent him from trying this nonsense again.
<Mmm; no. Sometimes having floating plants (a fave, Watersprite, Ceratopteris) and/or quickly moving surface fishes (e.g. Barbs of size) will help deter such escapades... But/otherwise a secure/complete cover is the route to go. >
I've attached a picture of the "egg crate" lid I use on all the tanks (the one in the picture is on a different tank but I use the same stuff on the Goby's tank just cut to fit a bowfront).
<Very nice!>
I cut this material so it just barely fits and I have to push it down into place (maybe that's how he got out'; I may not have gotten it pushed down all the way).
<Mmm, likely about the hang on power filter... I'd cut a pc. of Eggcrate, put this on top of the current one, around the filter area>
The part of the lid I found pushed up was right next to the space I cut for the output hose and I made sure to leave no extra space around it. It's plastic and the squares are no more than 1/2" x 1/2". The Goby is 10 inches long and his big old head would never even come close to fitting through them. Plus there is a 48" aquarium light that sits on top of it. Anyway, I can't shed an eyelash around here without hitting a rock,
<Interesting saying>
so I'll bring some inside to put on all corners of the lids.
<Real good. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Goby Trouble      5/26/18

Thank you!
<Welcome. B>

Goby Trouble /Neale      5/26/18
Hello Crew! I'm a little rattled this morning as my Dragon Goby made a suicide attempt. I had come back in from taking the dogs out and found him on the floor (I got to him before the dogs did).
<Yikes! Never heard of this for a Dragon Goby, but always a risk with large fish, especially eel-shaped ones.>
He couldn't have been out long because he was not there when we went out and we were only outside for 15 minutes. I immediately got him back in the tank, he swam away, and now he's sitting on his PVC tube looking at me. He was not dried out when I found him, does not have any physical injuries that I can see, and his gills are moving normally.
<Promising. These fish can survive in damp burrows when the tide goes out, so should recover well, provided their skin has not dried out.>
I found where he pushed the tank lid up and set a fairly heavy rock on it.
<Good move.>
So a little recent background, back on May 10th (I keep a journal on all the tanks), I did the normal water change (about 20 gallons from a 72 gallon tank) and the regular monthly filter cleaning. Everything seemed fine when I was done but when I came back in from outside, the room around the tank was flooded because one of the hoses (the return to the tank hose) on the canister filter (those ribbed hoses on the Fluval 405) was split and gushing water. I got it shut down but, to my absolute horror, when I looked at the tank I estimated that I had lost about 40 gallons. So with the weekly/monthly maintenance plus the hose splitting, this tank (72 gallon) lost about 60 gallons in two hours.
I knew I was in trouble, so I replaced the water, checked the salinity (1.004 SG), added two capfuls of Prime, and hoped for the best. I started testing the following morning and have been adding Prime and testing daily ever since. For the first three days, everything seemed fine, but I knew better than to think it would be that easy. Sure enough, after day three, I had ammonia, only .25 ppm, but it was there. The ammonia never went any higher and turned over pretty quickly (about two days) and the nitrite started to climb (I'm using Prime daily throughout this and I still am).
It got to .50 ppm but has since come down to .25 ppm. Nitrate stayed steady below 20 ppm.
<Good. Again, these are burrow-dwellers, and like Mudskippers I'd expect them to have some significant resistance to ammonia compared with a lot of other fish.>
So after I got the Goby back in the tank this morning, I tested again and the ammonia is still zero, the nitrite is still .25, and nitrate is still below 20 ppm. Salinity is steady at 1.004 SG. But I noticed the heater
light was off, which is unusual because it's still very cold here in the mornings. When I checked the temperature, it had dropped to 72 degrees in the tank (this had to have happened fairly recently as I always check temperature during weekly maintenance and last Monday everything was fine).
I put in a backup heater and I'm now re-warming the tank to its normal 77 - 78 degrees. But in my constant quest for the "why" in everything, I'm wondering if the drop in temperature could have triggered the suicide attempt.
<Possibly, but Gobioides have quite an extensive geographical range -- from South Carolina to Brazil -- and can probably handle a reasonably wide range of temperatures. So with a bit of luck you'll be fine.>
This tank has a fairly tight fitting lid (egg crate)so he had to exert some effort to get out.
<Live and learn, I guess. Thanks for sharing this experience, and best of luck. Neale.>

Re: Goby Trouble /Neale     5/27/18
Thank you!
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Dragon Goby Concern       5/28/18
Hello Crew! First of all, feel free to set this post aside because I know you help a lot of people with problems more severe than mine.
Honestly, I don't even know if I have a problem, but this is my first Violet Goby, and his/her behavior has changed radically in the last week from what I've experienced in the previous almost two months of having him.
First, the recap; I had a hose split back on May 10th while I was outside, lost a lot of water, and threw the tank into what I believe is called a "mini-cycle." I've been using Prime in the tank throughout this event and we're coming through it as the ammonia spike is gone and the nitrite is going down. I told you about the failure of the heater and temperature drop in the tank down to 72 and you indicated that you did not think that was a problem. I re-read my notes from you and your web site and noticed you indicated that this species is subtropical and prefers a cooler temperature, 75 degrees being the upper end of that range, so I adjusted my heaters in that tank down to 74 - 75 degrees (from 77 - 78).
<Their geographic range extends into the subtropics, but individual specimens may be collected from tropical areas. If lowering the temperature elicits odd behaviours, then why not raise the temperature back to where it was and see what happens?>
So his "new" behavior started with the suicide attempt. I got him back in the tank and he seemed fine - behaving in the manner I'm used to - just casually swimming around the tank - until I turned the tank lights out that evening and it got dark. I guess it was about 10 pm that night when I noticed him swimming all around the top of the tank looking for a way out (I have about 10 lbs of rock sitting on top of the tank lid now, so he was disappointed). I thought the best way to discourage that behavior was to raise the powerhead up closer to the top of the tank and create a stronger current at the surface. It kind of worked as he stopped hunting for the exit, but he started swimming, against the current, toward the powerhead. Once he got to the powerhead, he'd let the current carry him to the other side of the tank, and then start again (he was swimming like a shark was chasing him - really swimming hard). He'd keep this up for 5 minutes or so and then stop, glide down to the bottom of the tank for a minute or so, and then do it again. He was still doing it half an hour later when I went to bed (I was exhausted just watching him) and this morning he's just hanging out in his PVC tube.
<I have seen this behaviour in brackish water fish before, particularly Ariid catfish, where it suggests a migratory instinct. It often goes away after a while, but can be a sign that a change in salinity or water current is necessary, usually towards a more marine set of conditions.>
He's eating in what I've experienced as normal for him - he eats his pieces of algae sheets (red only now - he won't touch the green or the brown) and his Omega One Veggie Rounds. I only give him blood worms on the night before a water change because while the Mollies will eat a little bit of them, he won't touch them - I always find most of them piled up in the part of the tank where the current deposits all the tank "debris". He eats Mysis shrimp, but I only give him those once or twice a week because of the thiaminase.
<Provided he's eating the other foods readily, I wouldn't worry too much about thiaminase. That's really a concern only where carnivorous fish are exclusively fed thiaminase-rich foods like prawns and mussels. Your goby likely gets thiamin from the algae wafers, which are designed to be a fully balanced food..>
I've put a lot of Prime in the tank since the hose burst, could I have used too much and its bothering him in some way?
<Possibly, but water conditioners tend to be quite benign.>
Is his behavior an indicator I need to increase the salinity in the tank (currently at 1.004)?
<Worth a shot.>
Am I leaving something out of his diet?
Or is this just normal behavior for this species?
<Could easily be. These are big fish that dig burrows. The males tend have to go out and attract females into their burrows (I assume, by analogy with other gobies).>
He looks wonderful, his color is stunning and I don't see any blemishes anywhere on him. Further, he's growing at a staggering rate (earning him the nickname "Moose") and seems to be of a healthy weight. If this sudden need for adventure and exercise is normal, that's great! But, as I said, I've never had this species before so I don't know if I have a problem.
Other than your site, the information on the Internet is useless (mostly vague or outright contrary to what I've learned from you and/or experienced
with this fish). Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated.
<So long as he's feeding, I'd not be overly worried. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dragon Goby Concern       5/28/18

Ok, thank you.
<You're welcome. Neale.>
Ok, now I'm panicked Ongoing BR Goby       5/29/18

Today is the normal day of the weekly water change for the Goby tank and I don't know if what I saw just developed, or if it started after his suicide attempt and I just couldn't see it. He has red veins in his tail fin.
Not in the body of his tail, but just his fin and the red veins do not go all the way to the body of his tail.
<To be expected... damage from the escape. A bit of septicemia perhaps>
However, he seems to feel fine and was busy "helping" me with the tank cleaning. He's also eating normally.
<Good signs>
As soon as I was done with the water change, I researched the red veins in the tail fin and found a WWM post as follows: "Fish didn't make the move, Violet Gobies (Gobioides spp.) 1/26/08:...<The fish has a systemic bacterial infection, likely caused by Aeromonas spp. similar to those that cause Finrot and bacterial septicaemia. These bacteria block the blood vessels in the epidermis and fins, and this is what causes the inflammation. After a while the surrounding tissues die. The bacteria get in when fish are physically damaged or exposed to high levels of ammonia for extended periods. So either rough handling when you were transporting the fish, or else problems with filter in your new aquarium, were the
triggering issues....". I'll go down to the store Tuesday (they're closed today for Memorial Day) if I need to get him the medication you referenced in this post, but, unlike the individual who started his post, my Goby has been in brackish water and I'm increasing the SG from 1.004 to 1.005 as of today's water change. Also, I've always used Instant Ocean, not/never Aquarium salt. Further,
<Good and good>
I knew I would have water quality problems immediately after the hose break (10 days prior to the suicide attempt) and began using Prime before the ammonia and nitrite began to climb and I'm still using it. So he shouldn't have been affected by the mini cycle.
However, his leap from the tank was from a height of about 5 feet (55 inches from the top of the tank to the floor - vinyl floor, no carpet) unless he first hit the lip of the stand. I wish I could get a picture of
his tail to send you, but all I get is a silver/blue blur. He does not have any redness in any other part of his body and does not seem to have any inflammation in his tail fin as the redness in the veins is very sharp and clear and the "skin" around the veins is not raised. I hate using medication unless its necessary, so I'm asking what I should do.
<Were it me, mine, I'd skip medicating; rely on time going by, good circumstances for cure. Bob Fenner>
*Renee *

Re: Ok, now I'm panicked     5/30/18
Ok, good - I read a lot on your website, even when I'm not facing a crisis, and you've "prescribed" salt for other people for a variety of skin issues in a variety of species - so that's good. I'm still going to go down and get the Maracyn as indicated in the referenced post only because my aquarium supply store is 37 miles from my house.
<Wow; dedication, devotion>
I'd feel better having something on hand in case things get worse. I have KanaPlex, but I don't know if it would help in this situation and I'd rather use something recommended by experienced people.
<Well; there are a number of effective gram positive and negative anti-biotics... Am given to discount their use if not necessary>
So, obviously, if the red veins spread or the skin starts to look inflamed, I should think about using the medicine (maybe by then I'll be able to get a picture of it to send), but how long should it take to heal if the salt is working and if it doesn't heal in a certain period of time, should I use the medicine?
<A few weeks time. I would only treat IF/when the fish shows behavioral issues. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ok, now I'm panicked
Ok, thank you!
<Welcome Renee. B>
Re: Ok, now I'm panicked     5/30/18

He didn't eat last night (which is unheard of since I've had him) and he didn't come out of his PVC tube last night or this morning, so I am going to start an antibiotic this morning. Unfortunately, when I went to the aquarium supply store yesterday, they didn't have Maracyn or Maracyn 2 (they carry it regularly, they were just sold out), and because of the holiday, they won't get anymore in until next Monday. I don't think he can wait that long. I tried the big "chain" pet stores (my only other option around here) but they don't carry it. The kids at both stores had no idea what I was talking about when I told them what had happened and what the Goby was now suffering from - one of them even tried to sell me API Stress
Guard saying it was a general antibiotic. I left with a headache, but not the Stress Guard. So I'm going to start with the KanaPlex that I already have here at the house. It says it treats dropsy, PopEye, fin/tail rot,
and septicemia on the package and specifically says its for marine and freshwater fish. According to the directions, the treatment involves 3 doses, 48 hours apart.
<Ah yes; do change 25% of the water out before each re-treatment and monitor nitrogenous accumulation>
Hopefully it will work, but if not, I'm hoping it will provide him some benefit until my aquarium store is restocked with Maracyn. I have to ask, what are his chances of surviving?
<Good. B>

Ok, now I'm panicked /Neale      5/30/18
Today is the normal day of the weekly water change for the Goby tank and I don't know if what I saw just developed, or if it started after his suicide attempt and I just couldn't see it. He has red veins in his tail fin. Not in the body of his tail, but just his fin and the red veins do not go all the way to the body of his tail. However, he seems to feel fine and was busy "helping" me with the tank cleaning. He's also eating normally. As soon as I was done with the water change, I researched the red veins in the tail fin and found a WWM post as follows: "Fish didn't make the move, Violet Gobies (Gobioides spp.) 1/26/08:...<The fish has a systemic bacterial infection, likely caused by Aeromonas spp. similar to those that cause Finrot and bacterial septicaemia. These bacteria block the blood vessels in the epidermis and fins, and this is what causes the inflammation. After a while the surrounding tissues die. The bacteria get
in when fish are physically damaged or exposed to high levels of ammonia for extended periods. So either rough handling when you were transporting the fish, or else problems with filter in your new aquarium, were the triggering issues....". I'll go down to the store Tuesday (they're closed today for Memorial Day) if I need to get him the medication you referenced in this post, but, unlike the individual who started his post, my Goby has been in brackish water and I'm increasing the SG from 1.004 to 1.005 as of today's water change. Also, I've always used Instant Ocean, not/never Aquarium salt. Further, I knew I would have water quality problems immediately after the hose break (10 days prior to the suicide attempt) and began using Prime before the ammonia and nitrite began to climb and I'm still using it. So he shouldn't have been affected by the mini cycle.
However, his leap from the tank was from a height of about 5 feet (55 inches from the top of the tank to the floor - vinyl floor, no carpet) unless he first hit the lip of the stand. I wish I could get a picture of
his tail to send you, but all I get is a silver/blue blur. He does not have any redness in any other part of his body and does not seem to have any inflammation in his tail fin as the redness in the veins is very sharp and clear and the "skin" around the veins is not raised. I hate using medication unless its necessary, so I'm asking what I should do.
<I do agree that the use of antibiotic would be a good idea, just in case.
The red inflammation in the fins could be reaction to exposure to dry air for an extended period, and until things return to normal, an opportunistic bacterial infection is always a risk, as with humans. Do choose one safe in both freshwater and marine systems, to cover your 'brackish water' bases when it comes to efficacy. Given the fish is feeding and behaving normally, and in the absence of white (dead) tissue, I would not be overly concerned, but I would medicate, yes. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Ok, now I'm panicked     5/31/18
Thank you! And thanks for "hanging in there" with us through all this - it means a lot!
<Am very glad to share w/ you Renee. Stay diligent here and all will be well. Bob Fenner>

Goby Update     6/2/18
Less than 24 hours after the second dose of KanaPlex, the Goby's tail is clear - no red veins! I'm still going to finish the 3rd and final dose as prescribed, but wanted you to know that we're battling back!
Thank you again!
*Renee *
<Ah good. BobF> 

Switching from Freshwater to Brackish    4/4/18
Hello Crew!
<Hello Renee,>
Well, my latest sick Oscar has recovered (thank you Neale) and left this afternoon for his new home.
<Well done!>
So now I have an open 72 gallon tank that I would like to change from freshwater to brackish for a dragon goby.
<Interesting choice. These big, quite friendly fish make good pets. They are a little demanding in some ways, needing brackish water for example, but in other regards extremely tough. Their biology in the wild is fascinating. They live in tidal rivers where they are sometimes forced to survive for hours in a wet burrow when the tide has gone out! So unusually among marine fish they are able to breathe air. Many species in their group lack eyes, and even the ones with eyes have such tiny little eyes it's hard to imagine they see much. In the wild about half their diet is reported to be algae and organic detritus, so needless to say they're not fussy feeders, but their large size does mean they need quite a bit of food.
Besides algae wafers and the like, they readily consume bloodworms, brine shrimps, and other small invertebrates, but even the adults (which can measure over 40 cm/16 inches) very rarely take live fish, even Guppy fry, unless absolutely starving.>
I've done my research and spoke to the company I would be getting the goby from and they say the fish (about 4 inches) is currently a freshwater fish.
<Yes, often the case that they're shipped that way, but trust me, they all come from estuaries and tidal mudflats. They are highly specialised fish, rather like Mudskippers, that only 'make sense' in very specific situations.>
So my thinking is that I would get the fish, put it in my currently freshwater 72 gallon tank, and slowly acclimate both the fish and the tank to brackish water.
<That would work fine. You might want to change the decor of the tank though, which you can do with the filter running. Depending on the circumstances, you might want to remove any live plants (these are unlikely to do well in brackish water) and replace gravel with smooth silica sand (which these gobies like to burrow into). Rocks should be smooth water worn cobbles to avoid scratching the goby, and the use of hollow tube-shaped ornaments will provide useful hiding places. These fish are rather shy initially, so shelter is important.>
But I want to be very careful doing this as I use RO/DI water with Equilibrium and baking soda for a healthy pH/kH which has been working very well.
<Unless your tap water has very high nitrates, there's really no advantage to using RO water instead. Because you're adding minerals to the tap water, and these fish demand high levels of dissolved minerals, tap water rarely
presents any serious problems for brackish water fish. The exception is high nitrate, which can cause algae problems. Otherwise things like ammonia and copper in the water can be treated in the traditional way, with a good water conditioner.>
I plan to use Instant Ocean to make the brackish water.
<A fine choice. But because brackish water fish are less demanding than marines in terms of pH and mineral, even cheap generic sea salt brands can be fine, and save you a few bucks over the years.>
I have sent e-mails to both Seachem and Instant Ocean telling them of my plan and asking these same questions: 1) I normally do 20 - 25% water changes weekly, Can I slowly acclimate the tank through my weekly water
changes or should I do it more quickly or more slowly than once a week?
<I would go much more slowly than this. Assuming the fish is in freshwater now, I'd introduce the fish, and then immediately do a 25% water change with water that has a salinity of SG 1.004-1.005. The resulting salinity in
the tank should be around SG 1.001. That's fine for the first day or two.
I'd then do something similar, a 25% water change with SG 1.004-1.005 water, every other day. Crucially, this would result in the salinity going up gently over the course of a week or so, allowing the filter bacteria to adapt. Nobody really knows if marine aquarium bacteria, brackish water bacteria, and freshwater bacteria are all the same things or different species, so it's best to assume the latter, and allow the tank to do a 'mini cycle' over the course of a few weeks. Once at SG 1.004-1.005, leave the tank alone for a couple of weeks at least. This should be fine for the goby, and if he's feeding happily, there's no need to raise the salinity further for a good while yet.>
2) will the Instant Ocean in the replacement water cause drastic changes in pH/kH as it mixes with the water currently in the tank that contains Equilibrium and baking soda or are there any other potential interactions
between Equilibrium/baking soda/Instant Ocean that I should be aware of?
<There will be little difference in the pH before adding the salt and afterwards, though it might go up a tiny bit. The hardness (both general and carbonate) should go up a little too. But not enough to harm the fish.
Similarly, while these changes will have an effect on your filter bacteria, if you go slow, it won't be noticeable. Normally, there's no need to add Equilibrium and baking soda to tanks with marine salt mix added, because
marine salt mix essentially includes those two chemicals in its formula.>
3) in my research I came across a random post in a saltwater forum that Instant Ocean is not sufficient to keep a healthy kH when used with RO/DI water (this was a saltwater forum, not brackish) and that I would need to
use Seachem Alkaline buffer for that purpose. Would this be accurate for a brackish tank?
<This is a debatable point, but worth thinking about. Normally, marine salt mixes contain alkaline chemicals that buffer against pH changes, so you shouldn't have to add anything extra, such as baking soda or a commercial
alkaline buffer. But if you find the pH drops too quickly between water changes, then you might need to do so. If we recall that pH drops are caused by decaying organic matter in the tank, then if we have a spacious tank that's well maintained, there's no reason to anticipate a rapid drop in pH. Make sense? Bear in mind that these fish come from highly variable habitats, and are MUCH less fussy about pH than their marine cousins. So provided the pH doesn't go below, say, pH 7.5, you're probably fine without adding anything beyond the marine salt mix.>
4) The information I've found said that the best SG for a dragon goby is 1.006, does that sound right to you?
<Anything between freshwater and full marine would be experienced in the wild, so yes, 1.006 is fine. As noted earlier, I'd aim for 1.004-1.005 initially, simply to allow the bacteria in the filter to adapt. Once you go above 1.005 you seem to get a mini-cycle kicking in, so I'd wait for the goby to be settled in, and only change the salinity up if you feel the need, and even then, in little steps through weekly water changes to allow the filter to adapt. What you don't want is an ammonia spike. To be fair, these fish actually handle high ammonia levels quite well, being forced to live in wet burrows at times, but this isn't something you want to deliberately cause for obvious reasons! Furthermore, your final salinity might depend on your chosen tankmates. Many people keep these gobies with
livebearers, whether Guppies or Mollies, since these 'dither fish' help the goby feel more settled and secure, and add some colour and activity to a tank that can sometimes seem a bit Spartan. Mollies are also good for algae
I have buckets spread all over my bathroom and I'm going to start testing as soon as I pick up some Instant Ocean tomorrow, but any guidance you can provide would be greatly appreciated. I'd love to have this fish, but I
have to be sure I can take care of it well before I jump in. Thank you!
<Hope this helps. These fish are genuinely not difficult to keep. But do make sure they can't jump out: like most eel-shaped fish, this can be risk if the tank has any large holes in the hood. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Switching from Freshwater to Brackish      4/5/18
Thank you so much for all the information and guidance.
You've made getting this fish fun instead of stressful now that I have a plan!
Attached is a picture of his/her tank.
It's a 72 gallon with a Fluval 405 canister filter on it.
<A good filter.>
Tank temperature is 78 degrees.
The substrate is pool filter sand and all the plants are plastic.
<Both good choices. Algae control may be a problem without live plants though. Various approaches here, from the use of brackish water snails (such as Batman and Spiny Nerite snails, Clithon corona, Clithon sowerbyana, and Neripteron auriculata; also some US native species can work too, e.g., Neritina reclivata) through to careful control of lighting duration (4hrs on, 2hrs off, 4 hrs on) and nitrate control (minimal food in, regular water changes out). Still, if you get the tank right, with a good strong current in particular to keep down blue-green algae, the only pest algae will be diatoms, and they're easily controlled with Nerites.>
It's been up and cycled for a little over a year. It has a plastic egg crate top that I cut specifically to fit this tank that did very well keeping my Rope Fish in there when they had that tank.
It has a very snug fit to, so if the fish push on it, they won't be able to move it. That mass of plastic plants in the center is actually covering 4 - 2 inch pvc pipes, one on top of the other and fastened with zip ties. One tube is 24 inches, the next up is 18, next is 12, and the top tube is 6 inches. I know these fish get to be about 16 inches long, but I don't know what to expect in terms of diameter, but I'm prepared to make him/her a new "fish condo" out of 4 inch pvc if necessary.
<Understood. Juveniles should fit happily in the tubes you already have, and under aquarium conditions they're unlikely to get quite so big as in the wild. I think you're going to be fine for a couple years at least, and should you need to upgrade, that shouldn't be hard to do. Any ceramic ornament big enough for an adult Plec will be fine for an adult Violet Goby.>
Also, I have cut holes at 4 inch intervals along the tubes, about 1 inch in diameter, on both sides to ensure water movement within the tube so it doesn't stagnate. I can't find anything online that says these fish like a strong current, so I do not have a powerhead in the tank.
<They do like strong currents, as do most gobies, but I'd be using a strong current more to avoid blue-green algae than for the fish. Still corners tend to be where blue-green algae starts off, and once in your tank, it's a real pain to eliminate.>
I use RO/DI water for all the tanks because I'm on a well in a very rural area and my tap water has 1 ppm of ammonia in it AND human remains (probably wouldn't bother the fish, but it gives me the heebie-jeebies!)
<Understood, and yes, the fish couldn't care less. Ammonia will be neutralised by a good quality water conditioner, and as for the human remains, "parts-is-parts" so far as the biological filter goes. The reason I often advocate against using RO or DI water is a cost issue: people are more likely to do more frequent water changes if they can use the cheap water from the tap. If they need to be spending money on RO membranes, carbon filters, and all the rest of it, they're more likely to minimise the use of new water for doing water changes. Ultimately it's a balance. For sure, RO water is best, but 5 litres of tap water trumps 1 litre of RO when it comes to water changes! Make sense?>
I actually have never tested the tap water for nitrite or nitrate.
<Neither are critical factors here, but if your nitrate is very high, say, more than 20 mg/l, then algae problems are more of a risk, and you should take precautions as mentioned above.>
So I ordered the fish and he should arrive Friday. I have to have him delivered to the fish store where I get my supplies because UPS doesn't come out to my house. When I pick up the fish, I'll pick up the Instant Ocean and the store owner is going to loan me a refractometer until I can afford to buy my own.
<Refractometers are nice an' all, but for brackish they're overkill. At 25 C/77 F, 1.005 water is about 8.9 gram marine salt mix per litre (1.18 oz per US gallon) and can be made up using kitchen scales using these values
according to however much water your bucket holds. For example, a 5-gallon bucket would need 5 x 1.18 = 5.9 oz marine salt mix. Once you've done that, and it's all dissolved nicely, a plain vanilla hydrometer can be used to
check the specific gravity, and if the hydrometer is 'off' a point or two, just make a note of that, perhaps by putting a permanent marker line on the scale, and remember that's the level you want, not the number on the scale.
Refractometers are fiddly and need calibrating, and don't, in themselves, mean you're getting more accurate readings just because they're more precise (accuracy and precision being completely different things).>
Thank you for the suggestion about the Mollies for dither fish, but how many should I get without pushing the stocking limits of this tank?
<Oh, for a tank this size you could safely start with 6-8 specimens and let nature take its course. I'd get a single variety so that you can share the offspring with local pet stores, Mollies being popular fish. If you were feeling ambitious, you could get one of the two Sailfin Molly species, as these occur alongside the Violet Goby in the wild, so that'd been very authentic. Giant Sailfin Mollies in particular are expensive and difficult to breed in freshwater, but in a brackish tank will breed readily, adding value to your set-up. Alternatively, there are things like Micropoecilia picta and Micropoecilia parae that are very beautiful, difficult to keep in freshwater, and rare enough that any offspring produced would be easily sold on. As their name suggests, Micropoecilia are small, so you'd easily be able to keep a large group of them in a tank this size. As we've discussed, Violet Gobies generally ignore small fish, so you should be safe, but you might try out a few Micropoecilia first before buying a whole
So as you read this, can you think of anything I've missed?
<See above! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Switching from Freshwater to Brackish      4/6/18
Thank you again! Have a wonderful day!
<Off to the pub to meet a couple of friends, so that should be nice; my toddler deciding to vomit all over the sofa, less of a highlight. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Switching from Freshwater to Brackish      4/6/18

P.S. Per your suggestion, I just put a smaller powerhead in the tank. When I moved the BGK and the Ropefish to my 125 gallon, I had to get them a bigger powerhead. So I put their old one back in the 72. I don't remember the gph, but it worked well for the BGK when it was in the 72 gallon.
<Should work fine. To combat blue-green algae, what you want is the water *across the substrate* to be moving. So position the powerhead accordingly.>
Also, you mentioned the goby will need algae wafers for a balanced diet.
Will this fish also enjoy cucumber, zucchini, and peas like my Bristlenose Plecos do?
<Yes indeed. Violet Gobies are omnivorous, and very adaptable in captivity, but all reports on wild specimens confirm that their stomachs are more than half-filled with algae and organic detritus. In other words, very similar
to Plecs, and a similar diet should work nicely. Indeed, have odd little teeth in their mouths that can be used to scrape rocks, and some aquarists have seen them feed this way in their tanks. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Switching from Freshwater to Brackish      4/6/18

Oh, I'm sorry about your sofa! But at least you have a little while before the baby starts asking for the car keys!
Enjoy your day, and thank you again!
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Pseudomugil cyanodorsalis & Gobioides broussonnetii brackish tank?      10/13/17
Hi all,
<Hello Meghan,>
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 skimmer.
<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 equivalent.>
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!>
Thank you.
- Meghan
<Cheers, Neale.>

Dragon fish... env., using WWM     10/8/14
I have a dragon fish that for the first year or so, was in fresh water and he did really well, without any problems.
<Damaging to their organs; especially nephros/kidneys>
I relocated and he remained with my roommate. I 'm getting him back but have been informed that my
old roommate has been putting salt in his tank. I have firebellied newts in my tank. Will putting my dragon fish back in freshwater going to been a problem and or will putting salt in with the newts cause them problems?
<Likely yes, and definitely yes>

Thank u for your time. Toni
<See the coverage of this species on WWM. Bob Fenner>
Dragon fish    /Neale      10/9/14

I have a dragon fish that for the first year or so, was in fresh water and he did really well, without any problems.
<Assuming you mean Gobioides sp., you got lucky. Don't assume you did anything right. These really, truly are estuarine fish. I'm not saying this to sell salt! Some people keep them alive a year or two in freshwater. But I've yet to hear anyone keep one the full life span (likely 7+ years given their size) in freshwater conditions. They don't need a lot of salt, even 3-6 gram/litre, SG 1.002-1.005, will be sufficient. But that said, the more brackish the tank, the better. Do read:
The needs of these gobies aren't that difficult to accommodate, in all honesty, and adding a few grams of salt per litre of water is a trivial expense compared to how much you'll save in terms of fish healthcare/medication.>
I relocated and he remained with my roommate. I 'm getting him back but have been informed that my old roommate has been putting salt in his tank.
<Good chap!>
I have firebellied newts in my tank. Will putting my dragon fish back in freshwater going to been a problem and or will putting salt in with the newts cause them problems?
<They aren't compatible for multiple reasons, so the fact the Dragon Goby needs brackish water is irrelevant. The Firebelly Newts are temperate zone animals, so an unheated aquarium is mandatory. They have very short lives in tropical conditions, as you presumably know; if not, do read:
There's no discussion on this issue at all. Both Japanese and Chinese Firebelly Newts have been kept for decades now, and their basic care is extremely well understood, so there's no need for experimentation. A second reason not to mix them is water quality. Fish are generally more sensitive to dissolved metabolites (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate) than amphibians. So while many of the foods the Newts want are the same as the Goby -- bloodworms for example -- providing enough food for both species while also ensuring enough filtration for the fish will be difficult. Not impossible, but a challenge. Finally, the Newts are amphibians, so relatively shallow water with some sort of floating plants resting area together with a "dry land" area for basking are all necessary. The Goby doesn't want these things, and actually prefers a tank that is deep, with a sandy substrate, some burrows, and a robust, even strong water current. In short, even before you factor in the brackish conditions Gobioides spp., it's as plain as the nose on your face that the two species need entirely different housing. So do the sensible thing: keep 'em in their own tanks.>
Thank u for your time. Toni
<You are most welcome. Neale.>

Dragon Goby super rapid gulping/breathing     8/9/12
Tank: I have a 39 gal tank that is a salty fresh water tank rather than a brackish water. I add in about 1or 2 rounded tablespoons of aquarium salt per gal. The water here in California is always very hard.
<But not brackish. That's the problem.>
Cleaning: I use a Mr. clean pad to clean inside walls of tank and to get algae off plastic plants. I sew my own filter bags and fill with charcoal bought in bulk (saves tons of money to sew your own!)
I vacuum the gravel-cleaning out about 1/3 of the water around once a month or if and when fish look stressed. I use 5 in 1 test strips and if I see pink in the top tab- I use ammonia treatment and vacuum the tank within a few days. I use the type of filter that hangs on the outside edge of the tank. It also has a 8" long air bubble strip.
Experience: 30 years of personal fish tanks with 8 years experience as a selective fish breeder. I created my own strain of miniature Albino Corey Catfish and a strain of extreme fan tail guppies. Raised about 12,000 for the local fish stores.(Hawaii) At that time I had 7 tanks. I had a Dragon Goby for 2 years while in Hawaii. He was my bad water alarm. He was very sensitive and reacted to water conditions going bad by swimming up at the top, taking breaths of air out of the water. 
<Is what they do; they are facultative air-breathers. In the estuaries where they live, they inhabit burrows. When the tide goes out they breathe air. They are very well adapted to this environment; it's a testimony to their inherent toughness that they survive for quite a while even in freshwater aquaria.>
My "stumpy" Corey. two adults with 2 baby. Adults average length 1" extreme  fantail.
Stock: 1- gray and 1- green/gray mature Cory Catfish, 1- 8" Dragon Goby,
<Does not belong here.>
7 Neon Tetra, 3 gold Tetra, 2-baby gold fish (2")  2 -looks like long fin tiger barbs, 2 silver fish the size of a half dollar that look like they are swimming upside down that stay at the top of the tank. 3 male guppy, 1- little water frog (2") and 1 Betta. that's 24 total- Sounds like a lot but the tank looks pretty empty because most are small.
Food: Tropical flake, Betta floating food, and once a week some green peas.(Dragon loves green peas. Most of the little bits of pea I cut are sucked into his mouth, he appears to chew them, then they come shooting out his gills!
Health issues: I set up the tank 6 months ago. I lost a baby Pleco (2") 3 Cory Catfish, 2 Puffer fish,
<What was a pufferfish doing here? What kind? Green Spotted Puffer?
Figure-8? Both kinds are brackish-water.>
1 tiger barb. Corey have had issues with what looks like fin rot- but doesn't cure with treatment.
<The "gravel" looks alarmingly sharp. My bet would be that the fish abrade themselves on the gravel, and sometimes bacterial infections set in. Your Dragon Goby certainly has terrifyingly ragged fins!>
Dragon Goby: When I first got him at Wal Mart he was in bad shape. lips had bites taken out of it. Back fin was half chewed off. When I put him in the community tank he was attacked by Tiger Barbs and the puffer so I put him in the little 1 gallon tank with my fighting fish. His fin healed up and he needed a bigger place to live so after a month in little tank I put him back in the big tank- and took out the puffy and tiger barbs. He was fine for last 3 weeks. I vacuumed the gravel a few days ago- Replaced 1/3 of the water in the process. Added a handful of salt.(1/4th-1/3 cup)  Next day he started gulping real excessively- I thought maybe he needed more salt so I put in another 1/4 cup. He's still gulping rapidly. If I walk near the tank- he stops and looks at me, after 5 seconds he starts doing it again.
He's eating fine- always hungry it seems. He likes flake food and will swim to the top or go up to get pieces as they float down. While they're said to have poor eye site- this one seems to see quite well.  
<They're actually almost blind (some species of Dragon Goby actually are blind).>
chewed up back fin
This fish also swam at the top when the water would go bad in the 1 gallon tank. He has not done that since being placed back in the big tank. He does the rapid gulping while resting in his little house.
Is there any way to visually tell if there's enough salt in the water for him?
<In brackish water with a soft, sandy substrate these fish will be happy and healthy. You aren't providing enough salt and the gravel is monstrous!
Hence, your Dragon Goby is severely stressed, and my guess would be that it has no long term future.>
His back fin looks perfect now and he filled out in the last month since getting him. When I got him- his face was all sunken in at his cheeks. His face made him look like he was staved. When I first put him back in the big tank- his face got sunken in again for 2 days- though he was eating same as normal.
<Good. I do believe that you have the skills to get this fish into good health, but you have definitely made two big mistakes with the gravel and the salinity. There's no reason the Dragon Goby can't be with other brackish water fish (mollies, glassfish, etc.) at a specific gravity of 1.005; that's about 9 grammes of marine aquarium salt mix per litre (1.2 oz/US gallon). Add a soft sand substrate (like pool filter sand, perhaps with some coral sand added for buffering the pH) and this Dragon Goby will soon perk up.>
Any idea why he's gulping excessively?
<They do so when stressed. When their environment is poor, they gulp air and generally make an effort to get more oxygen.>
Why the catfish seem to have a type of fin rot I cant cure?
<Poor water circulation at the bottom and/or the horrible jagged gravel.>
The female laid her first round of eggs- can she cross breed with the green and black spotted type?
<Corydoras paleatus varieties all interbreed; but mostly different Corydoras species do not seem to interbreed.>
Thank you-
<No real mysteries to keeping Dragon Gobies, but most die when kept in freshwater. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Dragon Goby super rapid gulping/breathing     8/9/12
So- adding large amounts of aquarium salt to a fresh water tank does not make it any more suitable for a brackish water fish?
<Define "large". A tablespoon here, a tablespoon there isn't what we're talking about; but rather, carefully measured quantities. Put it this way: if you were adding enough salt to make the water brackish, your non-brackish livestock would be dead by now. Make sense? And yes, marine salt mix is different to "aquarium" salt; the latter is basically cooking salt without the iodine, and of little value except for treating Whitespot, etc. Marine salt mix is, as you'd expect, a mixture of things (including sodium chloride) that you'd find in seawater plus some minerals that raise the carbonate hardness and pH.>
I thought the more salt I added- the closer I was getting to what he needed.
<Sort of, but in the same way that putting a Band-Aid on someone who's been shot gets them "closer" to getting better; it stops some blood, but not enough to matter. Same here; a little salt is marginally better than no salt, but what Gobioides spp. want is LOTS of salt.>
That at some point, I would reach a brackish environment.
<Ah yes! But by that time you'd kill off the barbs, tetras, Corys, etc.>
Though Corys typically don't like salt in their water, the two I currently have don't seem affected.
When his health improved so rapidly-I thought it meant I'd made the water suitable enough for him to thrive in.
<Perhaps, but not in the long term. Dragon/Violet Gobies have a reputation for living a year or two in freshwater, but several years longer than that in brackish.>
Finding someone responsible with a brackish water tank to give him to will take time. What can I do to make the water as suitable as possible without killing the other fish in the tank? (until I can find a better home for him)
<You really can't. Ensuring a high general hardness and carbonate hardness will help a good deal, and also ensuring the pH is high too; aim for 15+ degrees dH, 5+ degrees KH, pH 7.5-8.5. Obviously such hard, alkaline conditions will be stressful for soft water fish (barbs, tetras, etc.).>
I bought him to save him from certain death, based on his poor condition.
<Likely so.>
I didn't restore his health just to kill him off slowly with the water he's stuck living in.
<A definite Catch-22.>
The gulping he's doing is all at the bottom of the tank.
<They are gulp feeders and do sift sand and filter-feed water while feeding; could this be what you're seeing?>
The gravel is what they sell at pet smart. "Premium" tank gravel. 
<Premium… no. If all else fails, "pea" gravel is good for burrowing fish (gobies, Corydoras, etc.) and you should be able to get this via garden centres and/or online retailers. Aquarium shops are always never the place to get good value substrates. In fact I just bought 25 kg (about 55 lb) of substrate today from a garden centre for £3 (about $5) together with some huge pieces of slate. From an aquarium store I'd have paid at least 10 times as much as I did for that lot!>
I just tested his ability to see. Even if I move very slowly, 5 ft away is where I see him notice me and respond. I make no sound so sight is the only option. If some are blind, wouldn't some swing the other direction and be better than average?
<Uh, no. Evolution doesn't work this way. Evolution tends to get rid of senses that don't provide much value while improving ones that are helpful. We have excellent colour eyesight because our ancestors were daytime animals but for the same reason our night vision is pretty lousy. Cats work the other way, their eyesight is good in terms of detecting things in weak light, but they're not good at detecting colour or having the same sharp eyesight we do. Anyway, Gobioides spp. live in tidal mudflats where visibility is minimal. Closely related to them is the genus Odontamblyopus, which includes species with eyes that are covered with skin, and likely detect little other than light and dark. Overall this group relies on two other key senses, olfaction (combination of smell and taste) and detection of vibration (combination of sound and touch, albeit that fish can "touch" through the water and not just by contact with things like we do). So, when you walk, you set up vibrations in the ground that your fish "hears" or "feels" and then responds to. Many fish work this way, and practically all fish respond strongly to vibrations -- ask any angler! Your Violet Goby may well be able to see you as a general shape or shadow, but I bet it's relying as much, if not more so, on vibrations and sounds. Cheers, Neale.><<Referral? B>>
Re: Dragon Goby super rapid gulping/breathing     8/9/12
I just did a 5 in 1 dip test
results show
water hardness is 300
total alkalinity is between 150 and 300
ph is 8.4
<Well, the water is nice and hard, but do bear in mind if you've added salt it's possible the test kit might be in error. But let's be positive and assume not! While this is helpful, if isn't a long-term solution to keeping your Dragon Goby. Yes, it needs brackish water, and no, it can't be kept with barbs, Corydoras, etc. Cheers, Neale.>

Dragon Goby... system, feeding...     7/16/12
I have a 10 gal. freshwater tank with a male Betta, 5 ghost shrimp, 2 loaches,
<What kind? Unless these are Dwarf Loaches (Yasuhikotakia sidthimunki) your tank is too small for them.>
and an algae eater.
<Oh gosh! What kind? If the standard "Chinese Sucking Loach" algae eater sold to beginners (no-one else wants them), also known as Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, your tank needs to be at least 5 times bigger, and the Chinese Sucking Loach will soon throw its weight around, harassing your other fish.
If, on the other hand, we're talking about a Pterygoplichthys species of some sort, commonly called the "Plec" or "Pleco", then the tank needs to 75 gallons or larger, because it gets huge, 45 cm/18 inches within two years.
My hope is you're talking about Ancistrus, the Bristlenose Plec, and while I'd recommend 15 gallons for this species (it does get to about 12 cm/5 inches long) it won't die in, or destroy, a 10-gallon tank like the two species mentioned above.>
My question is, could I put a dragon goby in with them without any problems?
<Gobioides broussonnetii? Not a chance.
Besides being much too big (around 45-60 cm/18-24 inches), it's a brackish -- not freshwater -- fish. Some retailers will tell you it is fine in freshwater, or it's been "specially bred" for freshwater, but they're talking rubbish and taking advantage of their customers' ignorance.>
And I keep hearing about a special diet for the dragon goby. Would freeze dried bloodworms suffice?
<No. Gobioides broussonnetii needs a mixed diet including live brine shrimp, frozen (rather than freeze-dried) invertebrates, and algae (algae wafers will do). It's a fish for reasonably advanced aquarists, which I fear from your stocking list you are not.>
Thank you!
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Goby Dragon tank question.    4/27/12
I've been reading through your site, and am most impressed. You've amassed an amazing amount of information here.
I've read dozens of articles which have drip fed me bits of information, but I'm having a difficult time applying all that I've learned to my current situation.
Whilst I was away for a few days working, a well-meaning grandparent took the resident 5 year old to the 'fish store' .. and they came home with a Goby Dragon (Gobioides broussonetti I believe). It was in the tank for a week before I came home and saw it.
I'm now struggling to do my best to give this fish as long/healthy a life as possible.
For a bit of background, we've got two tanks, one 45 litre, the other 110 litre. Both are freshwater (Yes, I've read that the Goby needs brackish water).
 Having done my reading now, it appears that the two tanks, if put together, would be far too small for the Goby to be happy/healthy in, so I've purchased another tank, listed as being 90 gallon, which I'm setting up for the Goby as soon as we complete our move (in the next 2 months.).
The tanks we do have been stable for 2+ years, I test the water weekly and the water quality is excellent.
<Hard, alkaline tending I take it>
I do a 30% water change on both tanks weekly, and this has seemed to work very well for me so far. I've lost no fish at all for > 1 year, and as far as I know, the tanks are completely disease free. Both tanks have two filters, which combined are rated for about double the volume of the respected tanks.
In the meantime, given that I've got two fairly small tanks, is there way that I can convert one tank to brackish?.
 I've been looking online to find which of the fish we have could be healthy in brackish water, and I'm not finding a huge amount of info regarding..
<You can look them up as individual species on Fishbase.org (a reliable source) and read what sorts of water/habitat they occur in naturally>
We've got a couple of Plecos, two kissing gourami, a red tail shark, a few harlequins, two 'ghost cats', and two elephant fish.
<Mmm, of these, only the Helostoma will really tolerate much salt content>
Would any of these fish be ok in the smaller tank if, for the 2 months before the move, I converted it to brackish for the Goby?
<Depending on the sizes of all... I'd place the Goby in the smaller... add salt (marine) to more brackish slowly...>
I went to the back to where they bought the Goby, and he insisted that these have now, for many generations been bred and raised as freshwater,
<News to me... as far as I'm aware, this species is all wild-collected>
 and that to introduce him to a brackish tank would be likely to stress/kill him. --
This is contrary to EVERYTHING I can read about the fish.
<Me too>
Given the situation I'm in. Any suggestions at all as to what might be best to do?
<As stated above...>
 to move all the other fish from the small tank to the large would over populate the large tank to an unhealthy degree.. and would still leave me with the Goby in a small 45 litre tank.. but would that be the least stressful option for the fish until we're moved and the new tank is setup?
<As we both state... if the goby is under six inches, 15 cm., not likely a problem for a couple months>
I know it's a bit of a nightmare situation -- it's not one I would have created myself.
As the 5 year old ADORES this Goby, I'd very much like to not have to get rid of it but I don't want to keep it in a compromised set of conditions which would see it suffer or lead a shortened life.
Thanks in advance for ANY assistance you might be able to give.
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Goby Dragon tank question.  4/27/12

<<Would add that Dragon Gobies need higher salinity than even Kissing Gouramis will tolerate. Think of Dragon Gobies as marine fish that happen to tolerate freshwater for a while. In any case, do read here:
Lots of salt-tolerant tankmates do really well with them; really, anything that won't compete for food and won't nip at their fins. Guppies are a great choice, and surprisingly perhaps, the adult Dragon Gobies won't even eat newborn Guppy fry! And yes, as Bob pointed out, all these fish are wild-caught, and your retailer telling you they are bred on farms was either "feeding you a line" or ignorant of the facts. Cheers, Neale.>>
Re: Goby Dragon tank question.    5/1/12

Thanks so much for your quick reply. Unfortunately the little bugger is about 315mm long at the moment. So the 45 litre tank is really minimal for him.
Although I was going to wait until at the new house to set up the larger tank, I think I'll do some shuffling around and get him into the 110 litre which I've had offered on loan from a friend. At least in that, he'll have a bit of room to move around and I'll be able to give him the brackish environment he's looking for.
I've never done any of the 'quick start' type methods for getting a tank to mature as quickly as possible. Aside from moving an existing matured filter
and as much water over as possible from existing the existing tanks, Are there any viable shortcuts I can take to minimize the amount of time that the 110 litre brackish tank would take to be ready for the Goby to go in?
<What you list... the use of a commercial product, the movement of mulm, substrate, filter media... converting to brackish (adding salt) slowly,
over week's time>
I've read repeatedly that these fish must be put into a matured tank and I don't want to at all stress him further  with any of the tank cycling process.
Thanks again for your assistance and replies. They're much appreciated.
<Welcome. BobF>

New Dragon Goby Worries, inverts, and questions about testing    3/22/12
Hi there,
I have a brackish tank. The salinity is 10.10.
<Do you mean a specific gravity of 1.010? At 25 C/77 F, presumably --
temperature matters here.>
It is housing four mollies, a dragon goby ,
<Will eventually need a 55 gallon system.>
two bumblebee gobies and two fiddler crabs.  It is a 29 gallon tank.  The substrate is sand.  The issue is with the filter, or rather, filters. We have gone through three in the past two months.  We have tried tetra brand, whisper, and Marineland.  The Marineland is the current filter, and it is making a horrible grinding noise, the same as the others before they quit working.
<Well, there are two things to consider. The first is you get what you pay for, and there are good reasons expert fishkeepers buy expensive filters like Eheim units -- they last a lot longer. They might cost twice as much as a cheap Chinese filter, but these German filters will last 5 or 10 times longer. But I don't think that's the issue here, though it may be a factor.
I suspect your Goby is digging (as it should) and throwing sand into the filter. Check if there's sand in the media inside the filter. Sand will grind away inside the filter, and cheap filters especially quickly die under that sort of stress. In any case, move the filter somewhere that keeps the inlet well away from the sand. One approach is to put flat rocks underneath the filter, and confine the sand to the rest of the aquarium. Do also check the filter isn't sucking in air bubbles. A carelessly positioned air stone can cause all sorts of problems!>
I can't afford to keep buying entire filter systems twice a month. Any ideas what may cause this? How can I keep it from happening again?
<Cheers, Neale.>

New Dragon Goby Worries, inverts, and questions about testing     2/1/12
Hi There!
I just purchased a 6-in or so Dragon goby and two Bumblebee gobies to join my four mollies and two fiddler crabs in my brackish tank. It's a 29 gallon.  The sg is at 1.010 and the Ph is 8.2.  I have it set at 81 degrees.
<Bit warm. 25 C/77 F is ample.>
When I got my gobies home, I checked the salinity of the water from the store.  Even though they had a special "brackish" section for these fish, the sg was still only 1.002.
<Fine for short-term care. At least there was some salt in the water, and that'll make all the difference.>
I slowly added water from my tank to acclimate them over about an hour.  
They seemed fine with it.  However, when I added the dragon to the tank, I noticed a small, pimple-like round white dot on his fin, near the gills. 
Also, it seemed that the sand in my tank looked like it was "sticking" to the fish.  I hadn't noticed this either at the store or in the bucket.  I'm not sure this is normal.  He is, however, digging and burrowing.  I have seen him feeding by sifting through the sand, so he is eating.  We fed brine shrimp and algae pellets yesterday.
I'm not sure how to treat these symptoms given the presence of inverts in the tank.  I'm fairly certain that most medication I've looked at has said it is not suitable for the inverts.  Any suggestions?
<Well, for now, I'd not worry too much. Brackish water kills off most freshwater parasites quite quickly, and at SG 1.010 you shouldn't have problems with Whitespot or Velvet. Indeed, fungal infections are very much suppressed too. So for now, just observe. Physical damage should heal itself, and unless you see a secondary infection set in, you won't need to treat at all.>
Also, in regards to testing on a brackish tank: should I use a kit designed for salt water?
<A good question. Ideally, the latter. But ammonia and nitrite kits should work equally well in both, as should pH test kits, though some freshwater pH test kits won't be accurate or easy to read above 8.0.>
We had been using the test strips.  Yesterday I also brought home a Salt Water test kit for Ph, Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate. Boy, what a difference in readings!   The strips had been leading me to believe all was well.  However, the liquid kit is showing a high ammonia and Nitrites at 2 ppm.
<Could simply be variation in quality. Dip strips aren't notably accurate, and good quality liquid tests should be more reliable. Test kits have a shelf life, too.>
I added a microbe-lift Nite-Out product for Ammonia and Nitrites, however if it not down by the time I get home today I'm going to do a water change as well.  Am I right in thinking the new liquid test is more likely to be correct?
<Likely so.>
<If the Goby is happy and eating, don't be too concerned. They're very tough in brackish water, being adapted to living inside burrows under mudflats. They should coast through any slight bumps while they settle into their new home. Cheers, Neale.>

acclimating fw tank to bw tank.....   10/11/11
I need help.... my son went nuts over the "dragonfish" or violet goby at Wal-Mart so we brought a few home and put them in our tank.... come to find out they are a brackish water fish and apparently very high
maintenance....(who would have thought that of a Wal-Mart fish... lol)
<Much to our chagrin, this large company does sell a few inappropriate fish species>
anyways.... I bought all the stuff for them to hide in, their sand, you know all that great stuff.... but what I don't know is how to acclimate them can someone please tell me in simple terms how much salt I need to put in the tank to start them out.... (in terms of tablespoons or teaspoons please if at all possible) everything im reading is saying don't go above .00002 salinity or whatever I don't have anything to measure stuff like that.... please help?!?!?!?
Thank you!!
<Ahh, not to worry. All that needs to be known re practical husbandry of this animal is archived on our site. Start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i3/Dragon_Gobies/DragonGobiesart.htm
and read the linked files below re this species. Bob Fenner>

Violet Goby. Habitat... SW, BW...  - 03/30/10
I was reading through your info page on these fish the other day and at the cost of having you think me "ignorant" for debating, your demand that these have to be brackish fish is somewhat puzzling to me.
<Why? They certainly prefer brackish water conditions in the wild.
Gobioides spp. are adapted in various ways to tidal mudflats. For example, did you know they breathe air? Unlike other fish in mudflats they don't swim back and forth with the tide, but dig burrows in the mud. So even when the tide is out, they're in the mud, resting and waiting. During that time they gulp air. As soon as the tide returns, the gobies leave their burrows and start feeding. This allows them to get to food before other fish have a chance to swim up from the sea. Their burrows also allow they to avoid being seen by predators such as seabirds. Such habitats are often murky, so their eyes are useless. Most have very small eyes, and species don't have any eyes at all. In short, they're remarkably well adapted to this ecological niche.>
Now before you dismiss this out of hand, This is the third such fish I've raised in freshwater conditions and though I lost one during a move the oldest is currently somewhere around five and a half years and in all are in perfect health.
<I'm glad you've had success. But you've also been extremely lucky. By far the vast majority of specimens last just a few months in freshwater. While they may adapt to freshwater conditions for a while, almost always for one reason or another they eventually sicken and die.>
None have ever had any type of infection or difficulty of any real note and besides that the best fact that I can offer you is that it must indeed be possible for these fish to mate in captivity because 2 of mine did just that.
<Well done. This is not commonly reported.>
The babies were very small, no more than a few millimeters and floated in the current among the plants at the surface of the water.
<Likely the fry are planktonic, and require saltwater conditions to develop. The fry will certainly require extremely tiny live foods, comparable to those used to feed marine fry.>
They had an appearance almost alike to miniature tadpoles and almost completely clear.
<Yes, this is often the case with gobies.>
Unfortunately after about a week and a half or so they had all died. I'm assuming that this was due to lack of proper care because everything I read told me that this just was not possible and could never happen and so didn't give any info on the habits of the young so I had absolutely no clues to follow to successfully raise these babies.
<Breeding gobies is certainly possible but it is usually extremely difficult. A few gobies (e.g., Chlamydogobius eremius) produce large fry that are as easy to rear as guppies, but most produce very small, often planktonic, fry.>
Unfortunately as well it was one of the mated pair that died and so I'm doubtful that this will happen again ( at least with these particular fish). But I would definitely be hard pressed to believe that these fish cannot be raised happily in fresh water as mine are currently doing very well indeed have had no major issues.
<The fry are very likely marine, as most of these coastal gobies work that way. By having marine, planktonic fry the juveniles can be carried by the current to various estuaries and so extend the geographical range of the species. Since the adults are inept swimmers, the adults can't migrate any distance at all.>
The largest is currently just over 16 inches in length and to add to all that, fish do not breed unless the conditions are correct for them to do so (generally) and yet where most seem to think that you have to keep these as brackish fish and that they do not breed in captivity, I have raised mine in freshwater and they have indeed produced offspring.
<With brackish water fish this can be a very misleading approach. For example, there's a well known case from the 1970s where an American aquarist managed to breed Monos. His specimens were being maintained in freshwater. Now, if you try to keep Monos in freshwater, most of them will at best be nervous and poorly coloured, and at worst will simply die. But for whatever reason, this guy had healthy specimens and is the only person in the literature who's bred this species. If you think about it, Monos very likely do breed in estuaries and in freshwater, since that's where the juveniles are found. But the adults are unquestionably marine fish. So, you have to separate the fact the fish spawn in one set of conditions from the fact they live as adults in a completely different set of conditions.
Gobioides spp. may well spawn in freshwater or low-salinity brackish conditions, but the fry very likely develop in the sea, and the adults are found in coastal rather than inland habitats. Can they survive in freshwater? Yes, clearly some do. But is that the best, most reliable way to keep them? Certainly not.>
Anyways, just something to think over. Also I did try to photograph the young but they just wouldn't show up properly without any colour to them and are not discernable from their surroundings in the few photos I tried ( this could have been due to a lack of a good camera as mine is very mediocre). I have a 90+ gallon tank and not sandy bottom but quite small stones and he does filter these quite routinely without issue and also seems to enjoy digging large holes aside from his cave "house" and just generally digging up every plant I try to anchor down.
<Yes, they are diggers. As I stated above, in the wild they spend the low tide portions of each day in burrows.>
Very active and friendly, Follows me around the tank and swims over to greet me anytime I put my face to the tank. He even (and yes I know this is a no no) likes to have his forehead rubbed and will come to the top of the tank if I stand in the corner with a finger in the water and hang off the glass and put his head under my finger. Coincidently I also had two Discus that displayed this behavior.
<Fish can be friends, eh?>
So while I may do some things that are supposed to be wrong my fish seem to be just right.
<I'm glad you're enjoying this fish. But I cannot stress too strongly that luck has been on your side, and the vast majority of people who keep Gobioides spp. in freshwater tanks end up with dead gobies.>
D. Mathers
<Thanks for writing in.>
P.S. where the most common color I hear of for people to describe this fish as is grayish mine are gray here and there but mostly a very deep purple/blue with patterns of gold near the gills and down its flanks.
<There is more than one species in the trade. Compare Gobioides peruanus, which is mostly grey, with Gobioides broussonnetii, which does have pronounced purple bands along its flanks. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Violet Goby, sys., repro.    4/5/10
Thanks for your reply Neale,
<My pleasure.>
I found quite a bit of that information to be very interesting.
I was thinking somewhat along similar lines to what you stated as to the possibilities of breeding but was by no means sure.
<I'm not "sure" either since I don't know anything about the reproductive ecology of Gobioides spp., but I think we can safely hazard a guess by looking at other intertidal brackish water gobies.>
It was quite unexpected when it happened I can say that much. I Understand also what your saying about the fresh/brackish water issue and why you would stick to the most likely option for success for passing out advice.
<It would also be better for your goby to be kept in brackish water, too.>
I guess when I read that over and over again I didn't consider having to deal with trying to teach the masses the easiest way to keep their fish alive ( I know, whole point of the article right).
<Right. And still the best way to keep Gobioides spp.>
So I apologize if my statements seemed a little hostile in that regard.
<No problem. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Violet Goby   4/5/10
Sorry that last mail got sent unfinished.
I was wondering though if you would have any further recommendations for raising the fry should I happen to have the chance again.
<Breeding most gobies is difficult. I know nothing about this species, so in all honest you're going to be making things up as you go along. The fry are likely extremely small, so your first job will be setting up a culture of marine infusoria. You'll also need to transfer the fry from freshwater to marine conditions. Ideally, the more brackish the water in the breeding tank, the less stress you'll place on the eggs when moving them to the marine tank.>
For instance if I set up a small Brackish tank it would obviously be best as a well established tank when they went in.
<Sort of, yes, but I doubt even a mature tank will have enough plankton for the fry to eat. So while keeping a marine aquarium running will be part of the process, and live rock will produce some food, you'll still need to culture marine plankton.>
Are there any brackish fish you would recommend that I could set up a tank in advance with that wouldn't trouble the fry while they are growing.
<None, really. By definition, a breeding tank will need to be empty of fish. You're likely going to need very gentle filtration, e.g., a sponge filter or maybe just an airstone and some live rock if you go marine.
Adding tankmates will complicate things.>
Also If you know anything further about what they would eat I would appreciate any info you could pass along on the subject.
<Do read here and elsewhere re: breeding Neon Gobies, Dormitator maculatus, and Stigmatogobius sadanundio since these will all be relevant here.>
Thanks for your time.
P.S. I might not go so far as to call my Goby my friend but just calling it my pet doesn't sound right either so... /shrug.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Damaged Silver Dollars; Gobioides broussonnetii in the wrong tank   1/16/10
Hi I have two silver dollar fish with red anal fins.
<Likely the Red-hook Metynnis, or something similar.>
we have had them now for 3 months now and never had a problem , but today I discovered that almost all of ones fins are missing and the other looks like little bites are taken from them.
<Well, two things. Firstly, they can be nipped by other fish. Tiger Barbs and Red-eye Tetras (Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae) are on the potential list of biters. You've actually made things worse here by keeping these in
insufficient numbers; barbs and tetras should be kept in groups of 6+. In smaller groups even the best species can become nasty. It's like getting a potentially lovely dog but then keeping it cooped up indoors all the time.
With the best will in the world, that dog will become frustrated and aggressive. Same thing here. By keeping these fish badly, you've created the conditions for social behaviour problems. Secondly, your Silver Dollars need to be in a bigger group as well. They are extremely social fish, and in small groups their social behaviour goes haywire. Yes, you've guessed it, this can manifest itself as aggression; in other words, fin-nipping.>
I watched them for a few minutes, and saw only one other fish taking interest in them and actually peck at them.
<Problem identified. What are you going to do to fix it?>
the fish was a bleu speckled platy and it is much smaller than the silver dollars I'm not sure of the type of platy it is blue with dark specs on it. are these fish known for such things,
<Some are, yes. But even "good" fish can become nippers when bored or frustrated.>
or do you think the silver dollars have other issues. I have a 80 gal tank and its clean the filter is a fluvial 304.i know there should be more dollars in there but I dont think that's the problem.
<But I think it may well be, and I've been doing this for a LONG time. So hear me out...>
and they have never showed any aggression towards each other there are about 27 other fish in there
2 tiger barbs
<Nippy; 6+ specimens.>
3 sword tails
<Males are aggressive.>
1 Danio
<6+ specimens; can be nasty when bored.>
3 angel fish
2 blood fins
<6+ specimens>
2 red eyes
<Nippy; 6+ specimens.>
3 gold fish
2 African butterfly
1 6 inch dragon fish
<If this fish is Gobioides broussonnetii, and I think it is, it's a BRACKISH water fish and is doomed to die in a freshwater aquarium. Surely you didn't buy such an unusual fish without reading up on its needs first?
Either you did that, which was bad enough, or you ignored the advice you'd seen about it, which is even worse! Cannot be kept with any of these fish, except perhaps the Guppies, which will do just fine in a brackish water
aquarium at the requisite SG 1.005 (about 9 grammes marine salt mix per litre). Note that adding a teaspoon of salt per gallon will not help one bit; adding enough salt for this Goby will quickly kill all the other fish in this tank, except for the Guppies.>
1 blue platy
3 pearl gouramis
1 blue Gourami
1 fire tail guppy
all these fish are much smaller than the silver dollars except the dragon but its totally non aggressive.
<Indeed. Gobioides broussonnetii is a lovely fish. It's a shame it's so often bought by people who insist on not researching its needs prior to purchase or decide for whatever reason not to keep it the way it should be kept.>
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
<Up the numbers of the fish being kept, removing surplus fish as required to make space. Transfer the Gobioides broussonnetii to a brackish water aquarium.>
please and thank you in advance
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Dragon/Violet Goby, sys., fdg. gen.  -- 01/13/2010
<Hello Melanie,>
I have a 38 gallon tank that is 36"x15"x17" and have it stocked with one 1 Goby, 1 Rainbow Shark (yes I know it's actually a minnow), 3 Sunburst Platies (2 female, 1 male), 1 Rosy Barb, 1 Black Skirt Tetra and an unknown amount of ghost shrimp (there were 7, have only found up to 5 at any one time).
<Shrimps don't always do well in community tanks, if for no other reason than they get damaged while moulting.>
I added 1 tsp aquarium salt per every 2 gallons of water and it looks like from reading I do need to increase it
and possibly switch to marine salt
<Yes; I'd start at about 9 grammes marine salt mix per litre of water (1.2 oz per US gallon), for a specific gravity of SG 1.005 at 25 degrees C (77 F). This will be just about sufficient for long-term success with Gobioides, and acceptable for a variety of other fish too, including Platies, Mollies and Guppies, should you want to add them. The shrimps might do okay. But the Minnows, Barbs and Tetras would have to be re-homed.>
and get a hydrometer, the poor goby was in fresh water at the LFS.
Draco, the goby was quite thin and fairly inactive at the store.
<Likely, though usually a question of starvation rather than water chemistry. Gobioides can tolerate freshwater for months, but they are finicky feeders in some ways, and easily starve in busy community tanks.>
That is no longer the case it has gotten very fat off a diet of algae wafers, shrimp pellets and thawed frozen blood worms (2-3 times a week), so fat I'm a bit concerned it's belly may burst.
<Then don't feed so much! Honestly, a healthy fish should have a gentle rounded abdomen rather than a beer belly.>
Other than that it seems healthy in that it moves around the tank a lot and seems to nearly always be looking for food. I always drop the food in the same place under a fake root thing he/she and the Rainbow Shark like to hide out in, that way he knows where his food is. The shark actually keeps the other fish from getting at the worms but doesn't chase the goby away so that is good.
I don't have a sand substrate but it is a very small gravel size that's nice and rounded. I plan on getting sand, marine salt and a hydrometer next month since my paydays are monthly.
<Cool. Plain smooth silica sand from a garden centre will be cheap and 100% aquarium safe. Avoid anything "sharp" as this'll do more harm than good. If you want, you can stir in some coral sand as well, to raise the carbonate hardness.>
Oh and I've had Draco for about 10 days now he is about 5-6" long and there are no extra bits of food on the substrate the fish eat all that's given and want more but both Draco and Red (the shark) are much plumper and a bit longer than when we brought them home (they were bought at the same time and both eat the same foods).
Any information you can give me about my goby's fat belly would be greatly appreciated. My only guess is that Draco is not a he but a she and perhaps it's eggs that have it so bloated.
<It's quite possible you're overfeeding. This is simple enough to check.
Don't feed for a few days, and see what happens. If the fish become thinner, there's your answer. Would consider that before worrying about anything more serious.>
Thank you
<Sounds to me as if you have the situation well in hand. Good luck! Cheers, Neale.>
re: Dragon/Violet Goby -- 01/13/2010
Thank you for your swift reply. I did plan not to feed him for a few days but feel a bit bad about that so just gave him far less of the shrimp pellets, though yeah I know in nature food supply is not always so plentiful so I'll try that.
As far as water hardness we have hard water here as is fairly usual in CA, but just the same I did add a piece of coral to the water since coral sand & Aragonite is good in order to buffer the water and increase hardness, therefore a piece of coral should help with that.
<Indeed. Marine salt mix will dramatically improve things, to the degree you won't have to worry about water chemistry at all.>
Draco has dug himself a little pit area under and behind the aquarium heater,
<Heater guard installed, I hope. Otherwise a boiled goby is on the cards here...>
silly boy (yes I do know it's in his nature but it's still cute.
<Cheers, Neale.>

14G freshwater setup questions, stkg... incl. Gobioides, non-aquatic plants,  - 10/05/2009
Hello there and thank you for your time.
<Hello, and we're happy to help.>
I have recently purchased and setup/cycled a 14G freshwater aquarium and have a few questions after reading and learning a bit more about my new hobby. The first and most important issue I need help with is what to do about the "Dragonfish" that I now know to actually be a Violet Goby and a brackish water fish.
<Indeed. And far too large for a 14 gallon aquarium. Adults get to as much as 50 cm/20 inches in length.>
I purchased it from Wal-mart on an admittedly rash impulse after reading the info label "freshwater, peaceful, eats blood worms" sounds good to me, too bad only the peaceful part was 100% accurate.
The other fish in the tank are 4 Devario aequipinnatus (giant Danios), and a Pterygoplichthys pardalis (Pleco).
<Both of these are far too large for 14 gallon tanks as well. Giant Danios, as their name suggests, are bigger than regular Danios. While the volume of the tank isn't critical, we're looking at tanks around 100 cm/39 inches in length for them to feel settled and happy. They also tend to be aggressive in groups smaller than 6, so be on the lookout for chasing and nipping. As for Plecs, well, this chap of yours will need a 55 gallon tank. Sure, it can be wedged into smaller tanks, but at up to 45 cm/18 inches in length, and a fish that produces solid waste by the bucket, small tanks will look filthy pretty quickly!>
I was sold some "aquatic" plants at Petco and have identified a couple as Dracenas and Brazilian swords which thanks to WWM I now know are not actually aquatic.
<Oh dear.>
My substrate is a basic colored gravel. According to the Violet Goby FAQ's I know that they need a gravity of about 1.005 to be happy but I was also reading that the Pleco, Danios, and plants aren't going to like that.
<Indeed not.>
I know that being estuarine the Goby will "survive" in the freshwater for a short period of time, my question is this. Will it be morally wrong to wait it out and see how he does?
<Yes. It will certainly sicken and die eventually. You hear of the odd specimen kept in freshwater tanks lasting 6, 12 months... but most don't. Wild fish likely live many years.>
I certainly don't have the money to start a second BW tank right now, and it seems like taking the fish back to Wal-Mart would be worse than leaving him with me, but on the other hand I don't want to slowly torture him to death by keeping him in a FW tank with a gravel substrate if that's going to be the case.
<A conundrum without an easy solution.>
Would "workarounds" like making sure he gets algae pellets and bloodworms to account for the lack of substrate feeding, and a PVC tube half buried to allow him a "burrow", be acceptable? Also is there a compromise gravity like 1.003 that will work for both the goby and the others?
<Look, the plants will die anyway, so they're not worth factoring. Dracaena and Spathiphyllum spp. are house plants, and should treated as such. Their death underwater is certain and imminent. For the fish, SG 1.003 would be tolerated by the Plec for a while, and if you were lucky, the Gobioides would be comfortable enough to last under such conditions for long enough for you to find alternative accommodation. But the Danios... not so much.
They have a low tolerance of brackish water.>
The other issue I need to address is the "aquatic" plants. Is a non aquatic plant going to cause any harm if left in the tank until it dies?
<Yes. Dead stuff is dead stuff, and it's all using up oxygen and producing organic acids.>
Assuming dead leaves are being removed of course. Plantgeeks.com says they will rot but I'm not 100% sure about my identification of the plants and would hate to waste money and good aquatic plants by pre-maturely removing them.
<Brazilian Swords are a species of Spathiphyllum, and certainly do not belong in an aquarium. As for Dracaena, they're pretty easy to identify, and so widely sold, that you'd be unlikely to make a mistake. If the thing looks like duck and quacks like a duck...>
What signs or symptoms should I watch for to remove them?
<Take them out.>
They were labeled "assorted potted plants" at Petco.
The final issue I have is that I have a Pleco who I'm learning will be eventually around 13" long and is living in a 14G tank that is about 20" long. I do plan to step up to a 55-75g eventually and would transplant him
to it.
<The bigger of the two tanks is wise.>
How much time do I realistically have before he will need to be put in a larger tank?
<They reach full size within 1-2 years. Do not underestimate their growth rate!>
I read in a forum on fishprofiles.com that if you place a fish in a too small tank that it will stunt their growth while their organs may continue to grow internally and eventually cause a painful death for the fish, is
there any truth to this?
<No, the organs don't keep growing. That's garbage, and quoted all over the place on web sites written by people without any real knowledge of fish biology. What *does* happen though is that eventually the mass of the fish overwhelms the ability of the filter to keep the water clean and oxygenated. When that threshold point is reached, ammonia isn't removed quickly enough, and oxygen isn't replenished fast enough, and the fish becomes stressed. Eventually, it dies. There's no rocket science here, and under lab conditions at least, you can maintain big fish in tiny tanks, provided the filtration is (uneconomically) massive and the water
constantly being changed (like, 90% daily). It's not viable to keep pet fish this way, which is why we stress the importance of the size of the tank, and the turnover of the filter, with respect to the fish being kept.>
Along the same lines, if I keep the Goby which I'm thinking isn't probable, how long before he's going to need a larger tank?
<Again, just don't.>
Thank you again, I realize now that I should have done a bit more research before setting this all up but now all I can do is try to make it right retrospectively and appreciate any help you folks have to offer.
<Do read here:
Much to be gained by measuring the volume of your aquarium, and choosing livestock accordingly.>
I'm an avid animal lover and would hate to know that they were suffering due to my ineptitude.
<I understand. But there is this issue that we go into pet shops and assume all the fish are equally easy to keep. This isn't any more true for fish than it is, say, for breeds of dog, or plants for your garden.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Violet gobies, Sys.   10/21/08 Hi Neal, I just moved in with my sister-in-law and she doesn't have room for two fish tanks; would it be okay if I put my Violet Gobies in a freshwater tank with my Zebra Danios just for a month? Will they be okay like that and not die? Thanks, Shawna <Provided the water is hard and alkaline, Gobioides spp. should be fine in freshwater for a short period like a month or two. In the longer term though they do need brackish water, though salinity isn't critical, and they'll do well at low salinities alongside platies, guppies, rainbowfish, and other salt-tolerant freshwater fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Violet gobies, moving, sys.  9/23/08 Hi Neale, <Shawna,> I'm moving in a couple of days and need to know how to transport my 2 gobies. It's a 10 hour trip. I also have 2 zebra Danios and 2 Plecos to transport. I don't have much room in the front of the moving truck so I am limited to things I can do. Do you have any suggestions? I don't want my fish to die on the way up there. Thanks, Shawna <Go buy two or three big buckets with lids: something of the order of 5 gallons. I got mine for a shop where they sell paint, for painting walls and stuff. I think professionals use these buckets are used to store large quantities of paint. Anyway, half-fill with water, put a sensible number of fish in each of them (e.g., two the gobies and the Danios in one, the two Plecs in the other). Put the lids on. Bundle the buckets up with towels, heavy overcoats, or most anything that will keep them insulated. They will be happy like that all day long. Every few hours you might decide to lift the lid to let some fresh air get in, but otherwise leave the fish be. Remember, when transporting fish the key things are to stop them getting chilled and to keep them supplied with oxygen. Beyond that, they're quite easy to transport, otherwise the whole tropical fish exporting business wouldn't be viable! Hope this helps, Neale.>

Adapting Violet Goby to Saltwater/Marine tank    9/20/08 OK!!!! First - thanks for your input - truly appreciated. <Most welcome.> Its been a month and rather than keep the SW quarantine tank I really wanted to keep George so here I am. I moved George to the 20 gallon tank and slowly raised the salinity to 1.005 <OK.> I put about 3.5 inches of live Fiji sand in there for his substrate and added about 5 fake plants. I used a faux coral that houses (hides) his in tank HOB filter along with the heater and it also comes with an airline and air stone. <OK; do be careful with hang-on-the-back filters that there isn't too much of a gap between the tank and the hood: Gobies generally are notorious escape artists.> It also has a small hiding spot underneath it where he hides (about 4" tall, 5" wide and 3" inches deep). I have placed a thin slate rock in front of it to shield him even more since he is so shy. <He should become less shy with time. Again, pretty standard goby behaviour.> SO far he has been ecstatic over the tank. He goes crazy at night and has created huge valleys and pits in the sand in different areas in the tank, is this normal? <Yep; in the wild these fish feed in three ways: they plough through the sand extracting worms; they gulp water to catch plankton; and they rasp algae from rocks with their sharp teeth. You can have fun with all three. Have you tried adding live brine shrimp to the tank? Violet Gobies go wild for these. Not much nutrition to be sure, but bags of fun to watch!> Also, I watched him at one point inch forward to rest right on top of the air stone. Is this something I should be concerned about? <Nope.> Do I need a protein skimmer in his tank? <Wouldn't work at SG 1.005 anyway. You need SG 1.010 for skimmers to be worthwhile.> Lastly - I have looked into tank mates for him. Should he have tank mates? What are the best? Can I get another violet goby to keep him company? <Ah, good question. Most anything can be kept with Violet Gobies. They're too big to be eaten by things like Archerfish, but peaceful enough that even Guppies will breed in the tank happily. So it's really up to you. Some ideas might be Giant Sailfin Mollies (Poecilia velifera); butterfly-goby Waspfish (Neovespicula depressifrons); Siamese tigerfish (Datnioides polota); Crazyfish (Butis butis); Orange Chromides (Etroplus maculatus); and the Silver Scat (Selenotoca multifasciatus).> Any other comments suggestions are most certainly appreciated! <Do have a browse through the Brackish section here at WWM, and if that's not enough, both my book from TFH and Frank Schaefer's book from Aqualog are brim full of ways to expand your brackish water fishkeeping.> As always, you guys are the greatest resource out there and I sincerely appreciate your help!!!! Thanks - new fish addict....Angie <Cheers, Neale.>

Violet Gobies, and Loricariid sys.   -08/27/08 Hi my name is Shawna and I have 2 violet gobies and 1 leopard Pleco that is roughly 4 to 5 inches long. I have the gobies in a 10 gallon brackish water tank. <Too small... the Violet Gobies (Gobioides spp.) are territorial and very large. You can expect them to reach 30-50 cm/12-20 inches under aquarium conditions and depending on the species involved. They will fight over hiding places. The Leopard Plec (Glyptoperichthys gibbiceps) gets to about 30-45 cm/12-18 inches. It is a freshwater fish and cannot be kept in brackish water. The Violet Gobies will need SG 1.005-1.010, and that is far too saline for these catfish.> Will my Pleco do good in the tank with them? <None of these fish will do well in a 10 gallon tank, and you need something 5 times the size just for the two Gobies, let alone the catfish. They can't be combined either. Do see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i3/Dragon_Gobies/Dragon%20Gobies.htm > Thanks. <Cheers, Neale>

Re: Violet Gobies  08/27/08 Thank you for your advice. <Happy to help.> I went out and bought the marine salt and marine sand. I am going to change out their tank today and need to know if there is anything special i need to do with the gobies or what i need to put them in while i am changing out their tank. <I'd put all the fish in a bucket (with a lid or cover!) while doing major reconstructive surgery on any aquarium. Just the other day I neglected to do this, and managed to bury a Pufferfish under a pile of gravel! He was not terribly happy when rescued a couple of hours later after I wondered why he wasn't out and about.> How long before i put them back in and do I need to use a stress coat after i put them back in or do i need to use it before i put them back in. <Use Stress Coat if you want, but it doesn't make a huge difference re: Violet Gobies because they're adapted to living in changeable environments anyway. Begin by raising the salinity in the aquarium to SG 1.003 (that's about 6 g marine salt mix per litre of water) and when that's done put the Violet Gobies in. I'd do that by removing half the (freshwater) water from the bucket, and then refill the bucket using brackish water from the tank across 10-15 minutes. They'll adapt to this change in salinity with no problems. Lift the Gobies out with a net and pop them in their new home. Over the next few weeks or months, you can adjust the salinity upwards to an ideal of SG 1.005 to 1.010.> Be happy to know my Pleco is in his own tank and is resting peacefully. Thanks, Shawna <All sounds great. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Violet Gobies  08/28/08 Hi Neale, <Shawna,> Well the violet gobies are very happy and are moving around a lot more, but when i took them out of the tank to change it I found out that one of my gobies that would always hide in the cave and never come out was very fat, a lot fatter that the other goby (especially just below its head and only in that one spot about an inch long) I'm afraid its pregnant. <No, they don't get pregnant. May be fat! Possibly containing eggs, but that won't cause problems. In fact if you have a pair, the male will guard the eggs as/when they're laid. As far as I'm aware, this species hasn't been spawned in captivity. So keep a good eye out for what happens!> Do you have any pics of what a pregnant violet goby looks like? <Nope, doesn't happen.> I've never had a pregnant fish before so im in dire need of assistance in this area. Does she need special care, can she and the other goby be around the eggs when she lays them, or do i need to put her in a breeder and then take her out when she lays them, I have no clue what to do. Please help! <Nothing need be done. Just make sure each fish has a cave of its own, because if she does lay eggs, the male will AGGRESSIVELY defend them on his own. Gobies generally spawn readily in aquaria, but the fry are very small and often difficult to rear because they have a marine phase of their life cycle so can't be reared in freshwater tanks. I have no information on Gobioides spp. though. If I could make a suggestion, there's a Yahoo Group called "goby group" that includes hobbyists, goby scientists, and fish collectors. Naomi Delventhal, who wrote the goby chapter in my Brackish-Water Fishes book, is a member. Get in touch with them and describe what's happening, ideally with photos, and they might be able to help. Naomi has bred lots of "difficult" gobies in captivity.> Thanks, Shawna <Have fun! Neale.>

Adapting Violet Goby to Saltwater/Marine tank, using WWM    8/18/08 Hello! <Angela> First, let me just express my appreciation and gratitude for your site and helpful articles, they have been VERY helpful! I am pretty new to fish keeping but I have become completely addicted! <Ahhh! Welcome to "the club"> Started 5 months ago with a FW 20 g tank. Got it through its cycle with 3 molly's. Had all parameters to 0 (ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, PH at 8.0). Once cycled I added 3 Day-Glo Danio's, 3 Cherry Barbs and 1 BN albino Pleco (my best buddy) Lost 2 of the Day-Glo Danio's within a week, not sure why - just found one floating one day and never did find the other. Didn't seem like the other fish were big enough to eat him though. My Pleco was about 3.5 to 4.0 - could he have eaten him? <Mmm, very likely ONLY after it was dead, but then ,yes> About 1 month after getting the 20 gallon my Molly's had a ton of babies. At that point I decided to transfer all but 2 of the Molly's to a friends 55 gallon as he had more room. About 1 month later, my BN Pleco died. I was heartbroken as he was my favorite. I actually cried most the night. I felt so bad as I was sure it was something I had done. Still not sure what happened but I think it was an infection of some sort. He just came out in the open (which was very unusual for him) and had a red tinge under his skin. Before I could figure out what to do, the red tinge got worse and then he died about an hour later. Any ideas as to what happened? <Mmm, likely environmental... the system being unstable, not completely cycled...> I went out in search of a new buddy for the tank and fell in love with a Violet Goby. <A brackish water species...> The LFS didn't note anything other than what to feed him so of course I had no idea that he needed a BW tank until I did some reading up on him and found your site! So about 1 month ago, I transferred all my guys into a larger 40 gallon tall tank and changed out the sharp black gravel to pea sized river rock for George (my Goby). I am currently evaluating my options as I want to do everything possible for him (really don't want to go through losing a favorite again, that was so hard). As I understand I have 3 options - please correct me and/or add any comments opinions etc - the more information the better! 1. Convert my FW to a BW tank. Not so sure I want to do this as I like my FW and I really love the look of a planted tank. Also, I am concerned my other tank guys may not do so well in a BW. Currently I have George the Goby, 3 adult platys, 7 baby platys, 2 adult Molly's, 1 Day-Glo Danio, 1 cardinal Tetra and 3 Cherry Barbs. Your thoughts? <Need two tanks/systems... one brackish, one fresh> 2. I am in the process of setting up a 45 gallon Marine tank as well as a 20 gallon Marine Quarantine tank. I have heard that George can be adapted to a full Marine tank salinity of 1.020 - 1.022 or around there - is this true? If so, how do I go about adapting him to the Marine tank? <Posted: http://wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/BrackishSubWebIndex.htm See the articles, FAQs links re?> 3. Last option would be to find him a BW home somewhere but I would really rather not do that.... I would really like to adapt him to my 45 Marine tank. I was thinking I could somehow do this using my 20 gallon marine quarantine tank. Currently I am using live rock to cycle both tanks and have no fish in them. They both have DSB's of Fiji Live sand. Can you please assist? <You can just read all this (and more that you'll find useful, enjoyable): http://wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i3/Dragon_Gobies/Dragon%20Gobies.htm and the linked files below> Thanks in advance for any help, advice, comments etc you can provide! Angie <Do write us back with specific issues Angie. Bob Fenner>

Transitioning guppies and violet goby from fresh to brackish water   8/18/08 Dear People: <Well, I'm a person anyway.> I recently acquired a violet goby and didn't get accurate information from the store where I bought it. <Not uncommon. A lovely fish; hardy and easy to keep, but does grow quite large (expect 40-50 cm) and will require at least slightly brackish water to do well.> I have been properly chastised by your site for "impulse" buying fish without doing the proper research on them. Wanting to keep my goby alive and healthy, now I am setting up a brackish tank (35 gallon) for my goby and hoping to settle some fancy guppies that were bequeathed to me in the tank as well. Is this possible? <Perfectly possible. I'd suggest a 35 gallon tank is slightly smaller than optimal given the size of these fish, but providing you have a decent filter and don't overfeed any of the fish, you should be okay. Violet gobies (Gobioides broussonnetii will not harm the Guppies unless starving. Violet Gobies are omnivores, and a mix of algae wafers (the things given to plecs), frozen bloodworms, and occasional feeds of live brine shrimp suit them well. Violet Gobies like to dig: use a smooth silica sand substrate ("silver sand", purchased from a garden centre) or river sand substrate. You'll see them feed by shoveling sand into their huge mouths. They also filter feed by gulping water, which is what the live brine shrimp are for -- brine shrimp aren't very nutritious, but boy, it's fun to watch! Wild fish scrape algae from rocks with their sharp teeth, and that's what the algae wafers are for. Provide some hollow tubes for hiding places; plain PVC tubes from a hardware store will do, but obviously hollow ornaments like replica tree trunks will look nicer. These are fun fish, and it really is worth getting a handle on their requirements so that you can enjoy keeping them and playing with them.> Also, do I need to transition the fish from freshwater to brackish? <Not really. Fancy Guppies will do best at around SG 1.005, and this is adequate for your Violet Goby too.> If so, how do I do that? <Start by "cloning" a freshwater aquarium filter for the new tank, i.e., take out 50% of the media from the old aquarium and put into the new aquarium's filter. Add your Goby and Guppies to the new aquarium. Over the next day or two check the nitrite stays at zero (it should do). Now, once you're happy everything is fine and the old filter media survived its "transplant", do a series of 10-20% water changes every 1-3 days, replacing freshwater in the tank with brackish water at SG 1.005. After a couple of weeks the tank will be at SG 1.005, and Lo! the fish and the filter will both be adapted safely.> Thanks for the great site. It is very informative. <Thanks!> Sincerely, Vickie <Most welcome, Neale.

Dragonfish question... hlth... sys... fdg.  7/17/2008 Hey guys! I love your site, and I normally google stuff on your site when I have a question, but my computer's not loading the search page, so I decided to email. Sorry if the answer's on your site somewhere...I just can't find it. <Oh?> x.x <No idea what this means.> I used to have a Dragonfish (Violet Goby) about a year or two ago, and she was a really amazing fish. But she developed some sort of tumor in her stomach and died suddenly. I was pretty devastated. <Unlikely a tumour, which is a pretty rare problem with wild-caught fish. Was she maintained in brackish water? The common mistake people make with Gobioides is to keep it in freshwater. Short term that's fine, but long term it places such a stress on the internal chemistry of the fish it invariably succumbs. So swelling of the abdomen was most likely organ failure of some sort. At least, if the thing was in freshwater. Gobioides need to be kept in fairly brackish water to do well, certainly not less than SG 1.005, and ideally around 1.010.> I just got a new one a few days ago, and I had a feeding question...When I had Shasta, I had to feed her a very specific way. She would come up gulping at the surface at about 8:00 at night and I would wait until the exact second her mouth was at the top, then I would drop bloodworms into her mouth. Needless to say, I didn't go on vacation much... <Making things far too complicated. Gobioides has three feeding modes. One is plankton gulping, which is where the live brine shrimps and daphnia come in. The second is sand sifting, which is shoveling mouthfuls of sand through the gill rakers, where food is extracted. Frozen bloodworms are ideal for this. Finally there is algae rasping, which is what their sharp little teeth are for. In the wild they scrape algae from rocks and things, but in the aquarium standard algae wafers work just fine. You need at least a mix of algae and invertebrates for a healthy fish. A lack of algae could mean a lack of fibre, and constipation can cause damage to the internal organs, and this can cause abdominal swelling... so again, another common cause for a dead Gobioides. Do also note that these fish don't do well in tanks with gravel. Must be sand so they can feed normally.> xP <What does this mean?> I was just wondering if that was actually normal for dragonfish to eat like that. <Yes.> I've only had one, so I don't know what to expect. I just got my little (actually HUGE, since he's 10 inches long!) guy yesterday, so I don't know what to expect from him. Do they all eat like that? <They eat in three different ways.> Because I heard that they were filter feeders...and Shasta NEVER sat around gulping like Zumi (the new dragon) does... <Depends what you're offering them.> Thanks in advance for your reply! And I'm terribly sorry if this question's already been answered...maybe there's something wrong with my computer, because normally the google search page works fine... Have a nice day! Ashley <Do see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/violetgobyfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i3/Dragon_Gobies/Dragon%20Gobies.htm Much written about them here at WWM to get you started. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Violet Goby to Brackish Without Shocking 6/12/08 Hi! I recently rescued from Wal-Mart a lovely dragon goby. He's acclimated to freshwater but as I want to do the absolute best by this beautiful creature, I've replaced the gravel with sand and through you have learned that I need marine salt, a hydrometer, and the specific gravity for which to aim. <Precisely so. Violet Gobies, Gobioides spp., are brackish water fish that do best between SG 1.005 and 1.015.> My gut feeling is that if I do this conversion to brackish all at once, it will be terrible on him. <Don't worry about it. Brackish water fish are adapted to sudden changes in salinity. They have evolved the systems to accommodate that, and in many cases seem to benefit from salinity changes. So by all means take the fish from freshwater and put it into a brackish tank at SG 1.005 straight away. If I was adjusting it to a higher salinity, I'd tend to put the fish in a bucket half-filled with freshwater, and then add some strongly brackish water a cup at a time for 30 minutes or so, to give the fish a bit of time to adjust. Essentially doing what marine aquarists call "the drip method" of acclimation.> (or her? how do I tell?) <Beyond the ken of man! But presumably they know...> So I'm thinking a gradual conversion is best, but would appreciate some guidance as to how gradual. How much and over what period of time and what's the best method? <With the fish, it hardly matters; your filter bacteria are something else entirely. You can adjust freshwater filter bacteria to SG 1.003 in one or two water changes, as you prefer. But after that, only raise the salinity slowly each week with each water change. For example, I'd do all my water changes at SG 1.003 for the first month. After that, I'd do my weekly water changes adding SG 1.004 water for the next month. The month after that, I'd use SG 1.005 water. After three months you should have safely adjusted your bacteria without any risk of a filter crash.> Also, I've read that mollies make good tank mates but I don't think he was getting enough food when I had him in the mollies' tank. Right now he lives peacefully with gold and neon tetras and two Cory cats, as well as two vampire shrimp (I've never actually SEEN those since I put them in but assume they're still there...) but I know as I transition to brackish, the Neons will have to go. <Indeed so. The Corydoras and likely the shrimps will have to go too. Violet gobies feed on plankton, algae, and worms. The ideal diet is algae wafers (of the sort given to Plecs); frozen bloodworms; and live brine shrimp or daphnia. Watching them eat the live food is incredible: they are like baleen whales, gulping mouthfuls of water as they swim around the water! The worms and algae will be eaten more leisurely. Don't force them to compete with too many other bottom feeders. Mollies are ideal tankmates. You could also keep Guppies or Limia such as Limia nigrofasciata. Violet gobies will eat fry if they are very hungry, but otherwise completely ignore other fish. Experienced fishkeepers have reported guppies breeding like mad in Violet goby tanks.> The cats and shrimp too, I am guessing. Realistically, who are the best tankmates for this gentle giant? <Almost anything not nippy or aggressive. Livebearers, flounders, Florida Flagfish, "Crazy fish" (Butis butis) would all be ideal. Big, well fed (tame!) specimens mix well with scats, monos, etc.> Thank you so much! Tina <You're welcome, Neale.>
Dragon/Violet Goby 3/01/04 Hi there. <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I ran across your website and it seems you have some folks who are knowledgeable about brackish water tanks. <Well, thank you!  Hope I can help.> My husband and I have "inherited" a Violet Goby from his brother-in-law, who had it and lost interest in it.   <Good thing for the fish, he now lives with someone who cares =o)> He offered to give us the tank, but insisted we must keep the fish.  We are considering it a "fish rescue" project because the poor creature was being kept in a (15?) hex with only about 5 inches of extremely dirty water in it, and was only being fed about once every several weeks.   <Poor fish!> It is amazing that it is still alive.   <No kidding, tough fish!> At any rate we have done a little reading, but as we already have the fish and tank in our possession we don't have a lot of time to do research - we must begin caring for it now.  We realize it will outgrow this small tank.  We already have plans of moving it into a 20 hex once that tank's inhabitants have moved into their new tank; beyond that we will have to make a further investment.  We would GREATLY appreciate any suggestions you can give to us on keeping this interesting fish.   <I assume you have already cleaned out the tank & put the fish in fresh water?  Probably a big shock to the fish, since it has actually acclimated to the poor water conditions & is now in a completely different environment.  See: http://www.tomgriffin.com/aquasource/oldtanksyndrome.shtml  Hope he's ok.  Anyway, these are brackish water fish.  Aragonite or crushed coral substrates are used to help maintain a stable alkaline pH of around 8.  I suggest keeping these fish at low-end BW (in a specific gravity, or SG of 1.005-08).  You must use marine salt.  You will need a hydrometer to measure the salinity.  It takes a cup of salt/5 gal of water to raise the SG .005.  If the goby was in FW originally, then you should start out your tank in FW and raise the SG .002/week, until you reach the desired SG.  This is so you don't destroy the good nitrifying bacteria (if there's any left) and shock the fish as you add salt.  SW bacteria are different than FW, so you need time for the SW bacteria to develop as the FW bacteria dies off slowly.  If the tank was completely cleaned out (I hope you didn't use soap!), then all the "good" bacteria has been destroyed.  The only product that is available that contains live bacteria is Bio-Spira.  I suggest you add it to his tank.> We would especially like to hear suggestions on a good tank-mate for him. (her?)  One fish I have always been attracted to is the puffer; I know that there are a few brackish species, such as the figure 8 and the spotted puffer.  Would either of these be appropriate?   <I have a dragon goby.  I would recommend at east a 30g for an adult, as they grow to 18".  Mine lives with some F8 puffers, knight gobies & bumblebee gobies.  They all prefer the same SG & basically the same foods (blackworms, plankton, brine shrimp), except the puffers need more hard shelled foods (like snails) to keep their teeth trimmed.  My gobies all love algae wafers too.  I recommend you keep the goby alone for a while to make sure the tank is ok.  After you upgrade to a larger tank, you could add some other gobies & puffers.  Mollies would work too.  I definitely wouldn't recommend a green spotted puffer.  They are extremely aggressive & prefer SW as adults. If you are going to make the tank BW, then since most BW fish kept at LFS are kept in FW, you will need to acclimate the new guys slowly. If the store keeps their puffers in BW (congratulations, you've found a store that really cares about their fish), cycle your tank at whatever SG the puffers are living in at the store. If you already have an established BW tank and are buying a puffer (or other BW fish) kept in FW at the store, you need to acclimate it very slowly. Whenever I change a fish over from FW-BW, BW-SW, or visa-versa, I use a drip system.  I put the fish in a bucket below the tank I will be moving it into, covered by water from the tank the puffers were living in, about 1" over its head.  I tie a knot in an air hose until it drips enough water into the bucket to raise or lower the SG in the bucket .001/hour. I know this all seems a lot to new fish owners, but BW is definitely a little more work than FW.> Thank you in advance for any help you can give us. Sincerely yours, Julie and Chris Ford <Enjoy your dragon!  (Doesn't it resemble the creature that pops out of that guy's chest in the movie, alien?) ~PP>

Dragon Goby 2/29/04 Hey Pufferpunk. <Hey yourself> I just really want to thank you - you definitely told me some things I needed to know.  He's in fresh water with a small addition of "aquarium salt" that I use for my freshwater guppy tanks, so I do need to purchase some different products.  We're making a pet store run tomorrow. <Like marine salt & a hydrometer.> So far he seems to be doing well.  He's swimming around quite a bit and really likes the heater - previously there was no heater in his tank and, although I know they can live in cooler water, I think he appreciates the warmth because he has been swimming up and attaching himself to the glass right next to the heater.   <Poor chilly fish. =o{> We didn't *completely* change the tank out - just added water and a little salt - cause I didn't want to totally freak his system. <That's good, just keep doing 20% water changes, while cleaning the gravel every day, until his tank is clean.  don't forget to use water w/the same temp as his tank & add Dechlor.> Thanks, again, for the tips.  I'm glad to hear the f8 puffers are a good choice.  We've got a huge learning curve here but gratefully there are folks like you out there!  <Awwwww, shucks!> My brother-in-law means well, but these are people who should never have pets because every pet they have had since I have known them, they have either had to give it away, or it died an untimely death. This fish was on death row.  My husband really likes him, so that's good since all our other pets are "mine." Julie <Same in my house.  I'm happy you saved him!  ~PP>

Overcrowding/Tankmates/Violet Goby Care  7/16/06 Hi, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I was wondering if it's okay to have a Pleco, 4 Otocinclus, 3 platys, 4 tiger barbs, 2 blue Gouramis, 1 molly, 1 Bala shark, 3 African frogs, 2 paradise fish, and 10 ghost shrimp in one 30 gallon tank? <Let's start with some of the larger growing fish: Blue Gouramis, grow to 4" each. Bala shark, a schooling fish that grows to 10". African frogs (you didn't say dwarf, so I'm assuming clawed frogs?), grow about the size as your fist & will eat anything it can fit in it's mouth. Paradise fish, grows to 3". Pleco, grows to 18". Did you research adult sizes of these fish?  I'd at least rehome the Bala shark & Pleco.  You can find a dwarf form of Pleco for that tank, like the Bristlenose.  Be sure to keep a close eye on water parameters with those remaining fish & don't add any more.  Check ammonia, nitrites (should always be 0) & nitrates (<20).  Do weekly water changes of around 50%.> Three of my tiger barbs fight a lot and have a greenish coloration from missing scales. Is there anyway to stop them fighting? <A school of fish usually consists of 6 or more.  Less may cause squabbling.> I had received a 3-4 inch violet goby in a one gallon tank with dirty water (I've changed it out and need to get some marine salt) and am not able to get a new tank until next week. It is cramped and but otherwise healthy. How fast do violet gobies grow and how long can I keep it in there?   <It will not live long at all in that bowl.  I'd keep it in your larger tank, until you can get it it's own brackish tank.  The molly can go with it.  It will grow to 18" & eventually need at least a 30g tank.  See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i3/Dragon_Gobies/Dragon%20Gobies.htm > I had checked the place where I got my other fish to see if they had violet gobies and saw they were in the same environment as the tropical fish. The gobies at the pet store were healthy. <They can live in FW for a while, but will suffer from a lowered immune system, usually wind up with reddish tumors on their body & early death.> The worker there told me to feed it feeder fish but I had put some in, but it didn't eat until I fed it algae wafers. :) It doesn't seem to be much of a meat eater either. It leaves fish and shrimp alone. Is it okay to put it in my thirty gallon tank temporarily since it is bigger then the one gallon? <Yes, do that for now.  They do not eat live fish & can barely see them, never mind, hunt them down--they have very poor eyesight.  sinking pellets, blackworms or algae wafers, is what they like.> Thank you for all your help! I learned a lot from this site! <Glad to help~  ~PP>

Re: overcrowding/ tankmates/violet goby care   7/22/06 Hi again! Thanks for all your help! The Pleco will be moved with the shark into a 10 gallon tank until I can get hold of a bigger one. The fish had already been purchased without my knowledge so I didn't get a chance to research on them. I was on vacation, so I didn't find out about the fish until I got back. A thousand thanks to you PufferPunk :) <Glad to help!  Be sure to give a good talking to the person that bought fish without your knowledge.  Fish do not make good "presents"!  ~PP>

Violet Goby caught in filter!  6/29/06 Hello! <Hi Neko, Pufferpunk here> Thanks very much for having the Wet Web Media.  It has been a huge help in helping my aquatic life through strange incidences, problems or generally getting things set up. <Glad to hear it!> I've come across an odd and unexpected problem.  My Violet Goby, which I've had for maybe a year now, had somehow wiggled her way up into the filter.  I had left the screen off it accidentally with the last filter and water change and didn't find her until the next morning after taking all the plants and decor out, and even tearing up my house hoping she hadn't leapt from the tank. She was still very alive, however tired.  Which isn't unexpected.  But her mouth looks bloodied up and a bit torn up.  What can I do to resolve this?  I am so worried for her.  She's so beautiful.  She had even laid eggs not long ago.  I'm assuming that's a good sign! Another problem surrounding her is that she seemed to have responded badly to an antiparasitic medication I had put in over a month ago, and had started to thin out.  I stopped feeding her when her stomach bloated (which I can now contribute to her laying eggs), but since I had no idea she was a she at the time, I assumed she was constipated or had swim bladder.  So I added extra aquarium salts, and changed the water daily to help flush her system.  It seemed to be working, too.  But then her stomach looked to collapse (again, eggs I figure).  Now it seems fine, but she is still really thin.  I've been feeding her soaked freeze dried blood worms until I can get her some nice, frozen blood worms.  Also Tubifex worms in those cubes, soaked and poured into the waterfall to help push them to the bottom and flakes.  I've also dropped in algae wafers for her to munch on.  But with her mouth so badly hurt, I'm afraid she won't eat or be able to eat.  I've done a thorough water change today to get anything out of there that might cause infection like food wastes, ammonia and fish waste.  I'm also adding something called 'Complete Remedy' which is made for external parasites, fungi and bacteria.  If she seems to respond badly to that, I intend to do another water change and slowly remove it, then try something else for her.  It's all I have on hand and it's an all around medicine, so I'm hoping it'll help.  I really don't want her to die. Anything you can recommend would be a huge help.  I'm sadly limited on funds right now, and if you know of any medications or remedies that'll help her within a limited budget, please let me know. <As she has responded poorly to meds before, I wouldn't add anything to her tank, except Melafix and/or Pimafix.  They are all-natural & won't harm scaleless fish or your biological filtration.  I would also be sure your fish in in at least, low-end brackish water.  A specific gravity of 1.005 would be good.  Make sure you are using marine salt & measure with a hydrometer.  If she has freshwater fish for tank mates, they will not appreciate this much salt in their water. (It takes close to a cup of salt/5g to make a SG of 1.005).  ~PP> Thank you for your time and any help!  Neko

Escape-Goby  1/22/06 Hi, Pufferpunk here>      As I got out of bed one morning, I made the unfortunate discovery that my violet goby had escaped the tank and was lying half-dried upon the floor. It was still alive, so I immediately placed it back into its brackish aquarium. Ever since then, it keeps its dragon-like fins retracted close to its body and seems a little red around the gills. Furthermore, I have not seen him/her eat a single thing. What is the best course of action I could take? <Are you sure it's still alive?  I'd just leave it alone for a while & not try to feed it.  Add Melafix to the water & make sure it's in brackish water.  Tape up any openings in your hood, so this doesn't happen again.   ~PP>   - Darel

"There's a Dragon In My Tank!"  Gobioides broussonettii - questions, comments... 2/12/07 Hi All (This one is really for PufferPunk, if possible), <Hi Cathy, you've got me!> I wanted to thank you for a very informative web site - I've been doing a lot of researching for my brackish tank and it seems that all roads lead to WWM :) <Most do but there are also a few other good ones...> My question is about substrate for these awesome fish.  "Smaug" is about 4"long, has been in a 29 gallon tank which has been gradually "brackified" to a SG of 1.005 over 2 weeks' time.  I originally had plain gravel and crushed coral in the tank but have decided that he should have a sand substrate for a more natural habitat.  Long story short, I put this little one into my 10 gallon "guest tank" with some of his salty water and put fine marine sand into the 29G tank (it's still "settling"... I didn't know how to rinse the sand very well.  It's fine sand, how are you supposed to rinse it?).   <I just rinse in a bucket, while stirring with my hand, till clear.  Pour off the top water & repeat.  Never do get all the particles out...  Adding some filter floss to the filter, usually clears the water up in a day.> Then someone told me that this fish might eat the sand and get impacted or sick from it.  Is that true?   <Never heard that one--ask the fish in all my SW tanks or the fish in the ocean.  They seem to have no problem with sand.> Since I have bought this sand and put it in the tank, I'd hate to waste the investment and effort but I don't feel good about putting him back in until I have some idea that it will be ok for him.  I also have a bag of calcite (by Seachem), grey coarse sand but it seems kind of jagged and sharp.  These are my options at the moment, gravel, sand, calcite or any combination of them. <The sand is fine.> I do also have some comments about the article "There's a Dragon in my Tank"- I would have liked to email the author directly but there was no email in the article.... so hopefully this will reach her. <It has> While it is a very informative article and I am so glad for this resource, some of my experiences with this fish have been different than what I read in the article.  For example, "Lacking the normal fish's swim bladder, they are poor swimmers and wiggle back and forth like a snake in the water or scoot along the substrate and rocks on their lateral fin."  Hmmm...  Mine swims all over the tank at night, gliding around and performing graceful aquabatics that put any other fish to shame.  Yeah, kind of snakelike, eelish, but definitely not a poor swimmer.  Perhaps this is a sign of stress?  Or because he is young and small?  But to my (albeit untrained) eye, he seems to be having a pretty good time.  He does occasionally go to the surface, then back down but there is no ammonia or nitrite in the water - I've checked. <Definitely does not swim like any other "fish" I've seen.> "This is not a fish for beginner aquarists or even experienced freshwater aquarists beginning in brackish water." Why on earth not?   <Mostly because of their difficulty to feed.  Many starve to death, considering their poor eyesight & distaste for flakes.> Can I just say, this is my first brackish tank.  I'm not what you'd call an experienced aquarist (I've only had a FW community tank for 5 months before this one). I guess I don't understand what the difficulty is in keeping this fish.  Proper marine salt, properly dissolved, gradually added to the tank - check.  Hydrometer - check. Regular water changes/good water quality - check.  Proper feeding (he eats everything I've offered - shrimp pellets, brine shrimp, bloodworms, Hikari Sinking Wafers...).   With all due respect, I feel like the article is "preaching to the choir" - the person who is researching the proper care of this creature is exactly the kind of person who should have them.  Do people really say, "I feel like starting a brackish tank.  Now, what kind of fish likes slightly salty water?"  I think most of us have certain critters in mind, and go from there. <Unfortunately, you are not the norm for most beginner fishkeepers.  Even when you go to almost any LFS, they'll tell you "BW consists of just adding a little aquarium salt to your tank.  Sure, you can keep them in a 10g tank.  Oh yeah, they'll eat flakes."  Lost of folks go years without ever doing a water change on their tank--only topping off.  I can go on & on about how poorly fish are kept, even by some so called "experienced" hobbyists.> And lastly... "A lot of these are sold because of their odd appearance and common names. Who wouldn't want a purple dragon? But that is insufficient reason to buy a fish".  IMHO these are perfectly good reasons to buy a fish.  They are fascinating in appearance and behavior - I know that's why I wanted to get one :)   It's just that... nobody should ever take on any animal without knowing what their needs are and being prepared to meet them.   <If only everyone thought like you!  Then I wouldn't be so busy helping fix all the mistakes everyone makes, because they didn't do any research of any kind & bought this really cool purple dragon that their LFS told them would be fine in their FW community tank, with just a little bit of salt & flakes for food.>   So kudos and thanks to you all, for helping me be more informed - mission accomplished, no? :) <Kudos back to you, for being the kind of fishkeeper that all should be!  ~PP> Thank you for your time, Cathy
Re: "There's a Dragon In My Tank!"  2/12/07  - 02/15/07 [...] gravel, sand, calcite or any combination of them. <The sand is fine.> Sand it is, then.  I'm sure he'll be happy to leave the small "guest tank" and go back to his 29g. I do also have some comments about the article "There's a Dragon in my Tank"- I would have liked to email the author directly but there was no email in the article.... so hopefully this will reach her. <It has> I appreciate your patience :) [...] <Definitely does not swim like any other "fish" I've seen.> Nope.  But it's the coolest thing I've seen in my tanks since the molly's last brood of babies :) "This is not a fish for beginner aquarists or even experienced freshwater aquarists beginning in brackish water."> Why on earth not? <Mostly because of their difficulty to feed.  Many starve to death, considering their poor eyesight & distaste for flakes.> I can definitely see that.  Actually tankmates seem to be the biggest problem - I tried a few mollies, but the females actually gorged themselves eating their flake food and then his food (they were sick on the bottom the next day with tummyaches - but fine now).  After I took out the 2 females, the male started chasing the Dragon around trying to mate with him (it sounds funnier than it was- but I can't help laughing when I say it).  Maybe guppies would be nicer. Anyway, for now the little fella will just have to have the tank to himself.  I was thinking about getting a Knight Goby... maybe a couple of Bumblebees, and make it a brackish goby tank.  Any comments or suggestions on tankmates?   I know that 29g is not a very big tank, I'm still thinking on it. <<Other gobies should work well.>> Nobody should ever take on any animal without knowing what their needs are and being prepared to meet them. <If only everyone thought like you!  Then I wouldn't be so busy helping fix all the mistakes everyone makes, because they didn't do any research of any kind & bought this really cool purple dragon that their LFS told them would be fine in their FW community tank, with just a little bit of salt & flakes for food.> Well thank you :)  I've been involved with avian rescue for some years... the stupidity never fails to amaze me, both on the part of the people who buy parrots and the stores that sell them. By the time our organization sees them the stories get pretty sad.  ("What, you didn't KNOW that a wild animal in your home will behave like a wild animal?  Millions of years of evolution will be undone just because you brought this creature indoors?")  So I know where you're coming from.  By all means - carry on, carry on - and thank you again for your time :).   <<Glad you understand my intent.>> Attached is a photo of Smaug, if you would like to have more "dragon" photos for the web site, I will send you some more when I take better ones and the tank is all finished settling in :).  Also attached is a photo of my African grey parrot feeding peanut butter to my dog (just because it's cute)  LOL <<Very cute--thanks for sharing!  ~PP>>

 Dragon Goby--Sand  2/15/07 Thank you so much for all your help. Just so's you know - the sand is perfect, he *LOVES* it :) <Wonderful, glad to help.  ~PP>

Old Discussion on Dragon Goby, New Discussion on Glassfish, BW plt.s  2/22/07 On 2/20/07, crew <crew@mail.wetwebmedia.com> wrote: Dragon Gobies Stuck in Aquarium Ornaments  2/20/07 [...]<Actually, that's exactly where my Dragon lives.  The fake mangrove root I have in my BW tank, has an end of one of the roots broken off & he slips inside it & lives in there.  He has no problem turning around inside the ornament & comes out often, to eat.> LOL how cool :)  I'm such a worry-wart (my girls call him "Mama's little bog monster.") - just had this vision of the poor little guy getting stuck in something like that. < [...]<Sounds like a happy life for your Dragon!> So far so good!  I've bought 2 glassfish (au naturale, no ink thanks) - Chanda ranga, for the brackish tank  They are still in quarantine, but for all I've read, they should be good tankmates for him.  I know that they were eating flake food in the store but I can't seem to get them to eat anything so far (have tried flake food, frozen brine shrimp, frozen AND freeze-dried bloodworms, freeze-dried plankton).  I've read varying accounts of glassfish, some say they are good eaters, others say they need live food.  They are very timid, I'm wondering if they would eat better if there were more of them in my tank (5 or 6 total)?   <<A school of them would be nice.  They may just be adjusting to their new home.>> I don't even know where to get live food - I tried to grow my own brine shrimp for my livebearer fry but I'm filing that one under "failed experiment." <<I get blackworms from my LFS.  Rinsed well in a brine shrimp net & stored in a shallow container with a little water, in the refrigerator.  My dragon's favorite food!>> Seems like I read that you have a planted brackish tank? <Nope, I have a 90g planted discus tank.  No surviving plants in my BW tank.  ~PP> Heheh well that might be us pretty soon too, I have read it's very hard to keep plants in salty water.  What about marine plants though?  Do you think any of them could do well in BW? <Marine plants won't fair well till a SG of around 1.018.  There are many BW plants that folks have success with, just not worth the trouble for me, since I already have a FW planted tank I'm happy with.  Here's a great thread on BW plants: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4792&highlight=brackish+plants  ~PP> Thanks again, Cathy

Dragon Gobies Stuck in Aquarium Ornaments  2/20/07 You might want to add to your FAQ about aquarium ornaments (or look into it--I think others have had the same problem).   <It will be now Cathy, thanks.> At least with sand, these swamp babies are burrowing fools - I came home yesterday to find that little Smaug had burrowed underneath a hollow ornament and was up inside of it.  I had been tempted to buy one of those large "mangrove root" ornaments but glad I didn't, because that was hollow as well (long tubes of hollowness for "roots").  Probably would never see him again if he crawled up inside of something like that.   <Actually, that's exactly where my Dragon lives.  The fake mangrove root I have in my BW tank, has an end of one of the roots broken off & he slips inside it & lives in there.  He has no problem turning around inside the ornament & comes out often, to eat.> I got a set of those "lock rocks" (I think they're by Penn-Plax) and made him a cave to put on top of his burrow, surrounded by lots of live plants (java fern, Anacharis, giant Val.s) - he's burrowed underneath that as well but at least he can't get stuck in it.  I'm trying to stay away from things like PVC pipe, just for aesthetic purposes, though I know they can be used. <They definitely love their caves!> As for the live plants, my giant Val.s aren't doing so great (the rest are fine - is it even possible to kill Anacharis? ;)) but he really enjoys hiding in them/swimming thru them and digs around frequently at the bases, I think he probably eats bits of plant material there.  It seems worthwhile for me to try to keep live plants with them if possible - we'll see how expensive it gets though.  Will keep you posted if I learn anything interesting or helpful.   <Sounds like a happy life for your Dragon!> Seems like I read that you have a planted brackish tank? <Nope, I have a 90g planted discus tank.  No surviving plants in my BW tank.  ~PP> Best Wishes!  Cathy

Dragon gobies    5/21/07 I know that there isn't much info on these fish but I know that more is  being discovered. <There's actually lots about these fishes in the aquarium press. Take a look at the Aqualog brackish water fishes book, or perhaps my one from TFH. Goby scientist Naomi Delventhal covered this species in considerable depth in her chapter on gobies.> I went to Wal-Mart (yes, bad idea, but I had to rescue  them from there) and bought 1 dragon goby, a 10 gallon tank some rocks  and plants. <10 gallons far too small. A healthy specimen will reach 30 cm or so within the first year, and up to 50 cm when fully grown.> Cleaned all and put him in. At the store he was all swimmy but once he settled in he became secluded (which I know is common) what I'd like to know about are his uncommon traits. The water is not brackish, yet he seems to be doing fine. <These are indeed hardy fish, and will tolerate freshwater conditions for long periods. BUT NOT FOREVER.> His tank mates are a snail, a Pleco, 12 swordtails (male and female), a very docile female crown beta that itself is very social, and some unknown number of ghost shrimp. <None of these fishes are really suitable, except maybe the swordtails, which will do okay in brackish water at SG 1.005. Swordtails don't like brackish water, but at low salinity it won't harm them.> Now, I didn't notice him eating before, but noticed he's been living for a few weeks now and my shrimp population is dwindling... <When starving, dragon gobies will eat shrimps and small fish. Their normal and preferred diet is a mixture of infaunal invertebrates (worms and insect larvae, for example) plus algae. They also filter feed from the water (live brine shrimp are ideal). It is likely you are not giving the goby enough food to eat, and since he's hungry, he's eating what he can. Bear in mind that when properly cared for these are NOT PREDATORY, and people have kept them with even guppies and not lost any fish.> So, someone suggested I feed him algae wafers, so I did which he seems to like. (He does the whole gulp and inhale nibble thing). <Quite so. The little teeth in his mouth are for scraping algae from rocks. Try offering some fresh algae, e.g. sushi Nori, and see if he goes for that.> My questions being, One: if my swordfish mate, will he eat the eggs? <Swordfish don't lay eggs, they produce live babies. If properly cared for the goby will ignore them, but if hungry he will eat them. But your swordtails will do that, too.> Two: even though he is doing ok in freshwater, should I put him in brackish anyway? <Yes, he needs a bigger, brackish water tank. At least 30 gallons, and ideally 55 gallons.> Three: I know this is asked a lot, but how can I mate the dragons (hoping for new info)? Do I just buy many and hope for the best? <Not been done yet, and probably complex. Many of these brackish water gobies lay eggs in burrows but the baby fish are planktonic, drifting around in the sea for a couple of months. Anyway, the first step is getting a group of them. They are territorial. In  a big tank people do keep them in groups, and they are quite fun like that. The fish "fight" by lining alongside each other, and push one another to see who is the strongest. Either way, each fish must have a PVC tube burrow of its own.> Four: should I put my goby pal on a diet and try to feed him live food vs. wafers? <He needs BOTH. They are filter feeders AND algae eaters, so doing just the one thing is wrong. A mixed diet of frozen bloodworms, live brine shrimp, and algae pellets is an excellent starting point. Watching them filter feed the brine shrimp is terrific fun -- they swim in the water, gulping the brine shrimp into their huge mouths like baleen whales!> Thank you for your time! -Dave <No problems, and good luck.>
Violet Goby... sys., hlth.  1/2/08 Normal environment is a hexagon 55 gallon tank. Had a leak develop and pulled up an emergency 10 gallon. All fish are fine and healthy. Came into the kitchen this morning to prepare breakfast and felt something under my feet. It was my violet goby on the floor! As near as I can tell he went out a small area that allows access to the heater control. Anyway I snatched him up and got him back in the tank. He had some floor dust on him - I touched him long enough to clean that off. He appears fine minus the huge dorsal fin that runs down his back - I cannot see the fin. No idea, no explanation but if it was somehow damaged what are the chances of it growing back? I put some frozen brine into the tank and he ate, everything appears normal but the fin concerns me. I do not see any open "wounds" per say, just a line down his body where the dorsal should be. <Violet gobies are excellent jumpers; indeed most gobies are, and eel-shaped fish even better, so an eel-shaped Goby is at real risk of leaping out of uncovered tanks! In any case, within reason, fish will recover from the trauma of landing on the floor. Fin membranes will grow back quickly, and spines eventually, though sometimes not to their full extent. Skin grows back quite quickly. The prime risk is Finrot/Fungus, to treat against these as a precaution. Do also remember these are BRACKISH water fish, and are extremely prone to disease when kept in freshwater. So don't keep at less than SG 1.005.> The other tank has a sealed top and they will be moving back into it today. This should eliminate the problem reoccurring. <Very good.> Thanks <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Violet Goby   1/9/08 It turns out he was ok from that - fin intact - he just had it laid down. Now, starting last night he swims to the top of the tank and pokes his head out, sinks down and back up again. Pretty much lethargic. Water is almost perfect, about 77 degrees and the rest of the fish are fine. He is still breathing and other than swimming to the top of the tank and drifting back down a few inches there is little or no movement. Ideas? <You haven't mentioned water chemistry. These fish must be kept in brackish water; when kept in freshwater, they do poorly, and usually sicken and die. So please tell me what the salinity is in the aquarium. I cannot stress this point strongly enough: you should be adding marine salt mix (not tonic salt) to each bucket of water at not less than 9 grammes per litre (i.e., SG 1.005 upwards). In addition, Violet Gobies (Gobioides spp.) must have suitable hiding places as well as soft sand (not gravel) for digging in. Wild fish forage by shoveling mud and silt through their gill rakers. In the aquarium, they will do the same thing with silica sand, removing small food particles easily. But gravel stops them doing this, and ultimately these fish are at serious risk of starving. Violet Gobies are in part algae eaters, so once or twice per week should be given algae wafers or pellets. They will feed on these quite happily as they soften up on the substrate. Otherwise, stick with wormy/plankton foods -- bloodworms, brine shrimps, daphnia, etc. It should be very obvious that Violet Gobies are not "normal" fish that can be dumped in a community tank. On the other hand, they mix wonderfully with brackish water things such as Mollies that leave them alone.> They are back in the big tank, as an FYI. <Hope this helps, Neale.>

Violet Goby... sys. mostly...   3/2/08 Hi, I purchased a "dragon goby" at PetSmart last night and was told he is a predatory freshwater fish. A quick Google search revealed this was completely incorrect. <Indeed. Neither predatory nor a freshwater fish. Brackish water fish that eats plankton, algae and small worms would be closer to the mark.> As we were driving home the front suspension of our car broke and apparently it's a miracle we got home without the car failing, so my husband won't drive any where. My question is can/should I *temporarily* put him in a tank with table salt? <Adding a small amount of salt (ideally rock salt or kosher salt) to the tune of about 6 grammes per litre would be quite helpful as a stop-gap. If your water is soft rather than hard, then raising the hardness through the use of a Malawi salt mix would also help. One recipe follows, but you'll find others online. Per 5 gallons/20 litres 1 teaspoon baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) 1 tablespoon Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) 1 teaspoon marine salt mix (sodium chloride + trace elements) > I know this is not the same and not advised but would it be better than freshwater? <In the very short term, yes.> Currently, he doesn't look so good. He's more pink than grayish and has been swimming somewhat sideways. Thank you, Kate <Hope this helps. But please do focus on rehoming in a slightly brackish (SG 1.005) aquarium, perhaps alongside guppies and mollies, knight gobies, etc. Cheers, Neale.>

Dragon goby sys. 2/17/08 Hello! I recently got a dragon goby from the local pet store - not knowing he was brackish - and added him to our freshwater tank. Its a 33 gallon, and right now we have the following in it; 2 Bala sharks, clown Pleco, dojo loach, 2 black tip sharks, emperor tetra and 3 black skirts. I realise this is going to be a little crowded as they start to grow up (right now they're all about the same size and I am assuming age). Our goby seems to be doing fine right now, he eats plenty and is growing a little, but we know now that he's not going to prosper in this environment. So my question is, can we change the tank to brackish without harming the other fish, or do we need to get a brackish tank specifically for our goby? I know we will have to get a second, larger tank eventually and separate the fish as they grow, but if our goby is suffering, I'd like to help him as much as possible before its too late. Thanks for your time, Kelly <Hello Kelly. Your Violet Goby/Dragon Goby -- Gobioides broussonnetii -- is indeed a brackish water fish. While they do occur in freshwater in the wild, they are rarely far from the sea, and in aquaria seem to last only a year or two in freshwater conditions. So long term, yes, you will need to rehome him. The problems when brackish water fish are kept in freshwater conditions vary from one fish to another, but overall it is a greater sensitivity to disease: Lymphocystis, Finrot, Fungus and so on. The best thing with Dragon Gobies is to move them into their own tank. They have quite special needs: sand for digging (either silica sand, river sand, or coral sand) plus several PVC tubes or similar for hiding in. They like rocks, because they scrape away algae using their special teeth. Plastic plants are a great addition, too. Because Dragon Gobies are completely peaceful, they work superbly well with livebearers such as Guppies and Mollies that will thrive under the same conditions. Glassfish and Wrestling Halfbeaks and Orange Chromides could be added safely, too. Unfortunately, none of your other fish is suitable for such a community with the exception of what I believe you mean by "Black Tip Shark", what I would call Sciades seemanni. This is a brackish/marine catfish and is also very peaceful and an excellent community fish, though predatory. While sold as a freshwater fish, it is really a brackish/marine fish and doesn't do well in freshwater tanks. Sciades seemanni is one of my all-time favourite fish, and surely among the most shark-like fish in the hobby. Do a Google search for Sciades seemanni just to check we're singing from the same hymn book though. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Dragon goby  2/21/08 Thanks for the quick reply! It looks like we are going to rehome the other fish into a second tank and use our 33 gallon as the brackish tank. I will keep the sharks with the goby and probably add another species or two - thanks for the suggestions. It looks like you are a right about what the black-tip sharks are really called, which is great because I searched black tips on Google and nothing that looked like my fish came up! Anyways, thanks again, you were very helpful! Kelly <Hello Kelly. Sounds like you're making the right choices. Do be careful not to overstock the 33 gallon tank though. Both Dragon Gobies and Shark Catfish get fairly big (expect at least 20 cm/8" for the catfish, and at least 30 cm/12" for the goby). While you could well keep them perfectly happy in the 33 gallon tank for the next year or two, before too long they'll need something a bit bigger (a 55 gallon tank would be ideal, and allow space for some midwater fish like Archers or Sailfin Mollies). Shark Catfish are among my very favourite fish in the hobby, and I'm sure you're going to enjoy them. Cheers, Neale.>

Dragon (Violet Goby), sys.   - 04/14/08 Hello, OK I have heard and read much about this wonderful fish that I recently lost in our fish tank. I will try again with another, but before I do, I want to be sure that I have as much information as possible so that I can assure that the Goby has a fair shot at a decent life here. <Indeed.> First, I keep reading about sand as a definite MUST have in the Brackish tank. OK<..this is great,. but would somebody please tell what kind of sand (please be specific) is OK for the tank? I keep hearing that Marine Sand (about the only one I can seem to find in stores and online) is NOT acceptable. If there is indeed an acceptable sand for this Goby,...a brand name or specific type would be most appreciated!! <Marine sand would be fine though perhaps not the ideal. Smooth silica sand (also called "silver sand") would be nice, as would smooth river sand. Basically avoid anything jagged. These fish feed (in part) by plowing through mud, filtering out small prey; let them do this in the aquarium. They also eat plankton from midwater and algae scraped from rocks. In the aquarium, feed bloodworms, algae wafers, and periodically "plankton" in the form of brine shrimp or daphnia.> Also,...the salt factor seems to be up for debate as well. <Only debated by the ignorant; these are estuarine fish, period.> I've been told Marine Salt is not advisable, yet I've been told Aquarium Salt is not good either? Can you please clear this up for me? What kind and how much per gallon of water? <Marine salt mix, of the type used in marine aquaria. Instant Ocean, Reef Crystals... whatever is cheap and easily obtainable in your area. Aquarium "tonic" salt, the stuff used in freshwater tanks, is not acceptable, and neither is cooking salt. As for the amount, you're aiming for 25-50% salinity of normal seawater, i.e., 9-18 grammes of salt mix per litre of water at 25 degrees C. That should result in a specific gravity of SG 1.005 to SG 1.012. The precise value you aim for doesn't matter, just so long as it is kept reasonably consistent over time: sudden, dramatic changes in salinity will stress/kill the filter bacteria.> Thanks so much,....I love your informative site! I also wonder if the Australian Desert Goby would be OK in Brackish water too with the Violet Goby. <Chlamydogobius eremius is indeed tolerant of brackish water. It can actually do perfectly well in anything from hard freshwater through to twice the salinity of seawater. Should be fine with the Gobioides sp., though don't force them to compete for space or burrows. Set up some small caves for the Chlamydogobius eremius, and then some sand and larger burrows (PVC tubes are ideal) for the Gobioides.> <Cheers, Neale.>

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