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  • Source: Copyright

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  • Source: Copyright Tropicalfishfinder

The Dragon Goby

Gobioides broussoneti [Lacepède, 1800]

The dragon goby is one of the most striking fish around. Start with the fact that it is a bright purple, add a long sinuous eel-like shape, and finish up with a head that looks too big and a face that appears to have gone one round too many with Mike Tyson, and you have a fish that certainly doesn’t blend into the background. In spite of its pugilistic face, the dragon goby, or violet goby as it is also known, is a gentle fish. They naturally feed on benthic organisms, and in the aquarium will enjoy a diet of frozen foods or live foods. Other fish, however, remain unharmed, and I kept a trio of these with a collection of small livebearers and catfish for over a year with no known casualties. The gobies themselves are territorial and in limited space males will battle by lying alongside one another and using their long bodies to push against one another. Since the gobies have no real armament of either spines or teeth, such fights rarely cause damage.

Although they prefer meat foods, they are also gluttons, and if sharing an aquarium with other fish very soon start to feed on flake rather than let the others have a meal without them.

In their natural habitat they are burrowers; collectors in Ecuador gather them by sticking their hands into mud and hauling out gobies whenever they feel one squirming. In the aquarium, therefore, they would prefer a fine substrate for burrowing. Few people want an aquarium full of mud, but sand is a good substitute. With that said, they will get along fine with gravel provided care is taken to ensure that it does not have sharp edges which will damage their sensitive skins. Roots, stones, and other cover will all be appreciated. They are naturally found in muddy bays and estuaries, but also are found inland in fresh waters, and will thrive in a brackish or a freshwater tank. I found them to be hardy, resilient, easy to keep and feed (provided you have the space) and interesting in their appearance and behaviour. They have not yet been spawned in captivity, which may be due to their large size which will prohibit all but the most determined from keeping a group long-term; they grow to around two foot long and, being territorial, probably do not feel secure enough to spawn in anything other than immense aquaria.


FAMILY: Gobiidae
SPECIES: Gobioides broussonnetii
ORIGINS: Southern North America through Northern South America
AQUARIUM TYPE: Large species or community
SIZE: 60 cm
DIET: Live or frozen foods, will eat high protein flake

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