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This months profile was written by Suzanne an active contributor to the site.

Central America
South america


Dragon Goby

Gobioides broussonnetii


    With their tiny eyes, huge mouth and their dragon-like top fin, Dragon Gobies are set apart from the fish world. When cared for properly, they can develop an iridescent, silvery blue metallic color with a gold blotch pattern.

Quick stats:

    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: 12 to 20 inches (30 -50cm) 12” being common
    Tank: 48 inches (55 gallon) longer is better than wide
    Strata: Bottom
    PH: 7.5 to 8.0
    Salinity: A 1% addition of salt is recommendedas these fish are found in brackish water.This can be accomplished by adding 7.5 TSP of sea salt/ 10 gallons (10g/10 L) on a hydrometer the reading should be between 1.005 to 1.010 specific gravity.
    Hardness: Hard (dH 10.0 - 20.0)
    Temperature: 75°F to 80°F (24 to 27°C)


    Order: Perciformes
    Family: Gobiidae
    Subfamily: Gobionellinae
    Genera: Gobioides
    Species: broussonnetii

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    Dragon Fish - Gobioides broussonetti
    Dragon Goby / fish
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    Gobioides broussonnetii

Common name:
    Dragon Goby, Dragon Fish, Violet Goby, Dragon Eel

Image gallery:
    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    North America, Western Atlantic: Charleston, South Carolina southward to Florida, along the Gulf of Mexico coasts of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and eastern-central Texas.
    South America: Caribbean coast of Colombia, eastward to Venezuela, Surinam, Guyana, French Guiana, and Brazil as far south as Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

General Body Form:
    Distinctive eel-like shape with a large head. The dorsal fin runs almost the entire length of the body.

violet goby

    Overall a rather dull looking fish. Generally Gray / Brown overall, The back is brown while the sides are silver and with good care can take on a violet iridescence. The fins are the same Gray / Brown as the rest of the body.

    A highly territorial, solitary fish that should be kept in a species tank. If not kept in brackish water (1.005 to 1.010sg) , you will have continuous problems with these guys and they wont live very long. Feed them a mixed diet consisting of frozen and freeze-dried foods. In nature this species is an opportunistic scavenger and feeds on small organisms in the substrate, by sifting mud in its mouth. The Dragon Goby has Teeth, and should be fed crunchy foods at time, like snails, in order to keep his teeth from growing too long, which will result in not eating and death.
    If kept in a community setting, They can be picked on by more aggressive tank mates. They love to stay hidden, especially from the aggressor. He will get aggressive in order to defend himself, but it will take a lot bullying for this to happen. Good tankmates include other brackish water fish species such as larger Liverbearers, Scats and Monos. The tank should have a substrate of fine gravel or preferably, sand. Because this fish likes to bury itself, sharp rocks can injure the fish. Provide hiding places with smooth rocks, bogwood,roots, caves, tubes, and tunnels. Leave large open areas for foraging. The Dragon Goby has Modified ventral fins allow them to cling to the glass, if they choose too. If you find your DG is hiding too much and you would like to see him, you can trick him by place a slab of rock leaning on the front wall, and he will “hide” and be in your view.

    Brackish water swamps. 1-100 feet down, Muddy bays and estuaries.


    Although no external sexual differences are known, it has been reported that spawning is possible in a large aquarium. As stated in Tropical Fish Hobbyist (#473),on pages 130-132. The author Harper suggests using a spawning group of one male and three or more females. The tank should be furnished with many hiding places for the females and a site for the male to build his nest. Stop feeding the fish for a week, and then condition the fish well with large amounts of high quality live food such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, earthworms and tubifex. Lower the salinity from the regular 7 parts per thousand (1.005 to 1.010sg) to around 5 parts per thousand (1.004)and then raise it to 30 parts per thousand (this is close to regular marine salinity about 1.023sg). The male will spawn with several females over the course of a day. After the spawning, remove the females and the male will guard the eggs. after 1.5 to 2 days, the eggs will hatch and the male should be removed. Fry require infusoria (particularly rotifers) and "green water" (single celled algae) for up to a month, then baby Brine Shrimp nauplii can be fed.

Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: Don Stillings
My Goby Dragon (who I simply called "Goby") recently died and my tank definitely misses him. He was about seven years old and 22" long, the biggest that I have ever heard of for his species. I am going to purchase another one, but I only buy from one dealer and he doesn't have any right now so I will have to wait. I kept him in a 80-gallon sand-bottom brackish tank with layers of flat rock and a few large hollow log ornaments. I adjusted the salinity of the water up and down with the seasons; saltier in summer and closer to fresh water in winter. I kept the rocks propped up on each other in such a way that Goby could burrow all across the bottom of the tank. He moved the sand around constantly, so I occasionally had to adjust the rocks. He shared his home happily with three Mono Sabaes. Like most dragons he ate by sifting through the sand, but as he got bigger he also ate flake and floating pellets. After he died the sand became immediately covered in algae, so I guess he was doing quite a job down there sifting the sand. When I first purchased him he was about the size of my index finger. I put him in a 55 gallon tank with a small community of fish, and he disappeared under a rock. I didn't see him for a couple of months, so I thought he was dead. I then bought a black knife to fill the void in my 55-gallon community, and when the black knife went under the rocks he chased Goby out. Happy that he was alive, I decided to put Goby in the bigger tank. He was a fun fish to have and to watch, and all my friends loved to see him. It broke my heart when he died, but everything that lives eventually dies. I recommend a Goby Dragon as a pet only for fish-keepers with better-than-novice experience in water care.
From: Gobie Mama
I have one Goby that is about 14" long. Little teeth like a catfish on his lips and spikes developing along his back. Never aggressive unless he feels threatened. Can't imagine my tank without him. I converted him several months ago to a brackish tank. I maintain the pH at 7.8-8.0 and the salinity at .07 or .08. He (I say he because I named him Dare), is wonderfully silver and lilac down his sides. Probably a little over 2yrs old. I also have one in fresh water that is about 8 mths and 12".
From: Michael
I have 2 of these fish, they are very interesting yet quite boring to look at as they tend to stay in 1 place for long periods of time and often look like they are dead but aren't at 12" long their requirements are quite low, they make good community fish with the exception of 2 of the same fish (they tend to fight with each other)
From: Tlaloc
I don't know what yall have seen with yall's gobies but mine's a teddybear. He's( I have no idea what it is but I'm gonna call it a he) only aggressive when other fish get in his cave when he goes out to wander around my tank. He just ignores all the other fish, and goes around to the other caves he's dug out of the sand. They love sand,they'll dig under everything. Also I've had mine for a at least 8 or 9 months and his been in freshwater since I got him in petsmart where they had him in the same, and he's perfectly healthy a foot long and still growing, bright metallic blue almost black on top. I just feed him shrimp pellets now that he's big enough to just swallow them. Until yours is at least 8+ in. it wont be able to swallow them so it won't touch them. Just crush them up and put it on the sand and they go to town on it. This is a spectacular fish that makes a great community fish if you got the tank for it(55 gal+), and sand, they wont be truly happy if you don't give them a couple of inches of sand to dig around in. :)





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