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Facts about the Dragon Goby Fish

[Phylum: Chordata] [Class: Actinopterygii] [Order: Gobiiformes] [Family: Oxudercidae]

The spiny-finned, meat-eating fish belongs to the suborder Gobioidei. In fact, the group contains more than 2,200 different species of gobies.

This section contains fun facts and interesting information about the dragon goby, including where they live, their diet, and how they reproduce.

Violet Goby Habitat and Geographic Range

The scientific name of dragon goby fish is Gobioides broussonnetii. But, aquarists often refer to it as dragonfish or dragon eel.

This particular gobies species prefers brackish water (e.g. not too high in salinity). Thus, native regions include:

In the wild, they thrive best in transitional areas, such as estuaries and river mouths. But, you can also find violet gobies living near the muddy substrates of shallow bays, swamps, and streams.

Characteristics of a Dragon Goby

Similar to the yellow watchman goby (Cryptocentrus cinctus), this species ranks with some of the most active sand sifters. Violet gobies also have a slender, elongated body with a somewhat 'bulbous' rounded head.

For the most part, they have grey and purple body colouring with a silver blue hue that tends to shimmer in strong sunlight. They also display vertical bands of dark colours running down the length of their eel-like body shape.

Here's the thing:

Dragon gobies have small eyes which renders them partially blind. As a result, they are mostly nocturnal creatures and become more active in the darkness.

Despite having very sharp teeth, they are not usually aggressive towards other fish species. Instead, these natural scavengers use them to scrape algae off rocks when feeding.

When kept in captivity, violet goby fish rarely grow more than twelve (12) centimetres long. Even so, it's common for the adults to reach lengths up to sixty (60) centimetres (24 inches) in their natural environment.

Tip: One of the lesser known fun facts about goby fish is their tendency for jumping. Thus, if you're taking care of fish in a tank it will need to have a secure lid.

What Do Dragon Gobies Eat?

Having a small size throat, and relatively poor vision for a fish, gobies tend to snack on small meals. As a result, the typical animal and plant-based food sources that violet goby fish eat will include:

Note: Large goby species feed on other small fishes. Whereas, the smallest of the genera will stick to planktonic algae as a major food source.

Dragon Goby Reproductive Process

Male and females typically share the burrow which provides them with a sheltered place to spawn. The genders dig with their mouths and keep the burrow clear of debris by fanning away sedimentary sand.

Goby females often lay up to 5,000 eggs during the reproductive period. The eggs stick to vegetation such as coral and substrate. The male supervises the eggs for a few days until they hatch as new colourless larvae.

Most of the young will only take a few months to reach adult maturity. In general, warm water dwellers can live for a period of up to ten (10) years.

Threat and Predators

Gobies have few predators because of their unique burrowing behaviour. Even so, some of the larger predatory fish species and wading birds will eat gobies if they can catch them.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (UICN) lists the current conservation status of the dragon goby as being the same as the red firefish goby ' 'Least Concern' (LC).

Pro Tip: Our fishkeeping for beginners section contains more information about common illnesses for aquarium fishes. But, Columnaris, fin rot, and several other bacterial infections can spread across the skin and fins of goby fishes.

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