Care Level: Advanced
Live Plant Safe: Yes*
* For brackish environments, only such plants that can endure higher concentrations of salt such as Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus) & Mangroves (Rhizophora spp.) are recommended.
General Description: The Dragon Goby, also known as the Violet Goby, is found in brackish water estuaries of the southern United States, Central America, the Caribbean Islands and northern South America. Here, this detritivore spends much of its time on the muddy substrates filtering and feeding on plant matter. The Dragon goby truly looks of something that’s prehistoric in nature, with its wide head and spiny dorsal fin. Its bizarre appearance certainly catches the attention of many onlookers, however this species is best left to the dedicated aquarist willing to provide it with the specific brackish environment that it needs to live (see Care below). For those that do, it will be extremely rewarding to have this unique species! For its somewhat intimidating appearance, the Dragon goby is a relatively peaceful fish and it will not eat even the smallest tank mate. Tank mates need to be selected with care however, as the Dragon goby will not be able to compete for food in the presence of vigorous species. One Dragon goby per aquarium is preferred, as multiple individuals can squabble. An adult Dragon goby can reach a size of approximately 25″ in the wild, however 18″ is more typical in captivity. Note: Given the specialized care of the Dragon goby and their restricted compatability with livestock due to their dietary demands, we order these on a very limited basis.
Diet Requirements: Dragon gobies are detritivores in nature, meaning that they primarily consume organic material off of the bottom (detritus, plant matter). For this species to thrive long term, it absolutely requires algae/vegetable matter in its diet. We recommend feeding high quality vegetable based sinking pellets or flake foods, in addition to offering some frozen foods such as bloodworms or brine shrimp that contain spirulina algae. Algae sheets would also be excellent for a Dragon goby.
Care Requirements: An established minimum 30 gallon aquarium is ideal for a juvenile Dragon goby. With its large adult size potential, an aquarium upwards of 55 gallons or more is ideal. A Dragon goby should not be added into a biologically immature aquarium, as it is sensitive to nitrite and ammonia. Additionally, a Dragon goby will not tolerate deteroriating water parameters; biweekly or weekly water changes are encouraged to keep water parameters pristine (Nitrates < 15 ppm). The aquarium should be aquascaped with a fine to sandy substrate several inches deep because this species likes to partially bury at times, and use smooth pieces of wood or stones to create plenty of hiding spaces. PVC pipe can also be a great refuge for Dragon gobies. A Dragon goby would do best as a “species only” tank because they can rarely compete with most other fish for adequate food, unless the other tank mates being considered are exceptionally docile brackish/marine species. One such example could be the Bumblee Goby (Brachygobius xanthozonus). Most brackish tanks are kept at a salinity between 1.005 and 1.012. Unlike aquarium salt for freshwater, brackish tanks use marine salt. To achieve this salinity, we recommend mixing 1/8 cup of marine salt per one gallon of water. To err on the side of caution, you can use less and check the salinity level by using a hydrometer or refractometer. If brackish or marine Mangroves (Rhizophora spp.) are available, these would make an excellent addition into the aquarium. The true brackish Dragon goby, broussonnetii, will not live long in freshwater aquariums; please do not attempt. Recommended water conditions, 72-78° F, KH 10-25, pH 7.5-9.0, salinity 1.008-1.015.
Purchase Size: Medium: 4” to 6”
Note: Your item may not look identical to the image provided due to variation within species. Purchase sizes are approximate.