The Ultimate Guide to Caring for Your Dragon Fish Goby (Violet Goby)

The Dragon Goby is a beautiful and unique fish that will add interest to your aquarium. Find out how to keep your fish happy and healthy in our comprehensive guide.

Dragon Fish Goby – Quick Facts

In a rush? Check out the quick facts about Dragon Fish Goby fish below.

Fish Info

Scientific NameGobioides broussoneti
Common NamesDragon fish goby, violet goby, dragon eel, dragon fish
AppearanceLong, think with a large head. Looks similar to an eel. Violet/purple color.
DistributionWestern Atlantic: Charleston, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Colombia, Venezuela, Surinam, Guyana, French Guiana, Brazil.
LifespanAround 10 years
TemperamentFalsely known as aggressive, but actually quite peaceful
Keep in Groups of2 – 4
Tank MatesPeaceful brackish fish
LengthUp to 60 cm in a large enough tank, but usually 20 – 40 cm.
Sexual Dimorphism
  • Not possible to determine sex externally
Breeding Difficulty Very difficult in captivity

Water/Tank Recommendations

Water TypeBrackish Water
Water Temperature64 – 90 °F (18 – 32 °C)
Water pH6.5 – 8.5
Water Hardness8 – 20 GH
Tank size50+ gallons (but possible with 25+ gallons)


The Dragon Fish Goby, often referred to as the Violet Goby or Dragon Fish, is a super-interesting and beautiful fish that many aquarists are interested in. This species has been quite popular for years, and it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon!

Dragon Gobies have a lot of appeal to aquarists who want to add some color to their tanks. But there are some things you should know about their requirements. You see, keeping this fish happy and healthy requires you to understand the kind of habitat they need (and why).

That’s where we come in. This guide details everything important to know about the Violet Goby so you can decide if it’s right for your tank.

About Dragon Fish Goby

Dragon fish gobies are a species of saltwater fish that is often mistaken for other animals. For example, their long and slender body shape makes them look like eels!

These creatures come from coastal waters in the Western Atlantic and are found in various parts of the world, including Charleston, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Colombia, Venezuela, Surinam, Guyana, French Guiana, Brazil, and more. There are over 100 different types of dragon fish gobies out there. The main difference between all those variants? Coloration.


The appearance of a Violet Goby is what earned them their name. Their bodies are long and slender, much like that of other goby species.

However, the base coloration is vibrant purple! The entire fish takes on this hue. It’s most prevalent on the fins and even covers some of the head as well. You might see subtle hints of yellow here and there to accentuate that “violet” look.

Their Length

Their average length is between 20 and 40 cm long, which makes them quite large for aquarium fish. This means that if you want to look after them, it’s essential to have a sizable tank (more on that later).

TIP: Dragon Fish Gobies can grow up to 60cm in a large enough tank!


The average lifespan of a Dragon Fish Goby is around ten years.

Like any fish, there are no guarantees when it comes to lifespan. Environmental conditions and the quality of care you provide will impact this number.

If you want to ensure that your Goby lives as long as possible, it’s important to provide them with top-notch care. This includes a healthy diet, clean and stable water conditions, and an environment that’s perfect for their unique needs.

Sexual Dimorphism

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to determine the sex of a Violet Goby externally, so your average aquarist will not be able to tell the females from the males.


Dragon Fish Gobies are brackish water fish that can only be kept in captivity with sufficient water.

The main focus should be on tanks that mimic their natural habitat as much as possible. As you would expect, Dragon Fish Gobies are happiest when they live in warm tropical brackish waters filled with lots of vegetation and hiding places.

Your tank needs to have plenty of rock structures for these fish to hide behind and explore.

TIP: These gobies may burrow into the sand every once in a while!

Caring for Dragon Fish Goby

Keeping a Dragon Fish Goby is a rewarding experience, but it’s not easy. These fish are known to be more challenging to care for than some of the other goby species out there.

The important thing is to have a little prior knowledge about this fish before committing to owning them. The last thing you want is a sad or unhealthy Dragon Fish Goby!

With that in mind, here are some guidelines on how you can keep these fish healthy and happy.


Dragon Fish Gobies are carnivores. They will eat just about anything you give them.

In captivity, these fish will do well on standard dry food. Some owners like to supplement dried foods with live treats. Brine shrimp work great for this!

How Often & How Much to Feed Them

It’s crucial to ensure you don’t overfeed your Dragon Fish Goby. You can avoid this by following the recommended feeding schedule of once per day and as much food as they can eat within around 2-3 minutes.

Remember, Dragon Fish Gobies are ambush predators by nature. They’re always on the lookout for food and will attempt to eat anything they can get their mouths around!

TIP: It’s important to monitor how much your Goby is eating in order to ensure that your aquarium doesn’t become overcrowded or dirty from waste buildup. Overfeeding is one of the most common blunders owners make when caring for these fish.

Possible Diseases

Fish diseases are very common. However, there’s nothing special about the dragon fish goby that makes them more prone to illness than other species.

That said, you should always be on the lookout for signs of health problems. Certain conditions can affect fish differently based on their unique biology.

One common disease that dragon fish gobies can have is ich. Known also as white spot disease, this condition causes small white spots to form on the fish’s body. As you might imagine, it’s highly contagious.

To treat it, quarantine your fish and use copper-based medicines or salt solutions. As always, prevention is better than treatment with diseases like this (which is why we recommend quarantining new additions to your tank).

Tank Setup

Dragon Fish Gobies are best kept in a well-decorated tank. They don’t need anything fancy, but the fish will appreciate more space to move around and explore.

This species is tropical and likes warm waters with plenty of plants. Standard live freshwater aquarium plants work fine, as do artificial ones.

These fish spend most of their time at the bottom half of the water column, so it’s not necessary to have deep tanks with significant light penetration.

Aquarium Size

Due to their size, the recommended aquarium size for a Dragon Fish Goby is at least 30 gallons per fish.

While some aquarists have succeeded in keeping them in smaller tanks (usually between 10 and 20 gallons), we recommend going bigger if you can afford it. This will help the Violet Goby feel more comfortable and stress-free!

Water Conditions

The best way to maintain the habitat of these fish is by mimicking their natural environment. However, some adjustments are needed for their specific needs in captivity.

The waters violet goby fish typically inhabit are brackish, warm, and shallow. They rest at depths between eight inches and two feet below the surface during the day. At night, they move up closer to the surface so they can hunt prey!

The exact amount of salinity required will vary depending on how sensitive your individual Goby is and what its preferences are (we recommend doing this under the guidance of an experienced aquarist).

However, it must be kept below full-blown saltwater levels. These are not true marine fish!


The ideal water conditions for your Violet Goby Fish should mimic the waters they’re used to in their natural habitat. Typically, that means a brackish environment with a pH of 6.5 to 8.5.


The ideal temperature for your Dragon Fish Goby is between 64°F and 90°F. This will allow them to live comfortably.

You should also monitor and regulate this level as much as possible. While these fish are hardy enough to withstand fluctuations, you shouldn’t go too far beyond the recommended range.


The recommended hardness for your violet goby should be between 8 and 20 dGH.

A hardness level outside of this range will have a significant impact on the health of your fish and even make them more prone to disease!

This is why it’s so important to monitor water parameters closely. Even if you think your tank is fine, there could be small fluctuations that are causing damage over time.


A reliable filtration system is essential when it comes to caring for any fish.

Dragon Fish Gobies are no different. In fact, they have some special needs in this department! These fish require a high rate of turnover (for ammonia removal).

If you don’t provide this, Dragon Fish Gobies can quickly succumb to stress or disease. Invest in an efficient filter that’s powerful enough to meet their needs and keep the tank clean!

Aquarium Plants

Dragon Fish Gobies appreciate plants within their environment. They can add beauty and cover to the environment while reducing stress in your fish.

It’s best to choose live aquarium plants instead of fake ones. The reason for this is simple: these fish may try to eat any plastic or artificial plants!

Behavior and Compatibility

Dragon Fish Gobies are not shoaling fish, but they are very happy kept in groups of two to four.

They’re not too territorial, so you can keep them with other similarly sized peaceful fish that are happy in brackish water. It’s important to avoid any more aggressive species as well. In general, these fish are great to keep with other peaceful species.

How Many to Keep Together

When you’re deciding how many dragon fish goby to keep in one tank, there are a few things that you need to consider.

First off, these fish tend to do better when they have company rather than being alone. More often than not, this means adding more of their kind into the same water environment. They can be kept with other dragon fish gobies as long as they all get along and don’t fight over territory inside the tank. As mentioned above, two to four fish is a good number for a group.

This is where it becomes important to size your tank appropriately. Keeping them cramped inside a small aquarium will put undue stress on each individual fish and increase the likelihood of territorial fighting. Aim for 30 gallons of tank space per fish.


Despite their reputation, Dragon Fish Gobies are actually very peaceful creatures. They love hiding out in the sand, scavenging for food in caves or crevices, and interacting with other fish within their community (if you choose to keep them with others).

They’re not shy at all! This is one of our favorite things about this fish because it allows you to observe some of their personality without having to wait too long.

Tank Mates

You don’t have to stress about finding compatible tank mates for your dragon fish goby. These are active and peaceful creatures that will spend most of their time hiding out in the aquarium substrate.

That said, you can easily add other species into the mix without any issues. As long as they aren’t too aggressive, your dragon fish goby should be just fine! Just be sure that the tank mates are also a brackish water species.

Some good tank mate options include:

There are more options, but these are some of our favorites when it comes to pairing with a Violet Goby.


Dragon Fish Gobies are very difficult to breed for your average hobbyist.

You need a very large aquarium and sexing the fish can be very difficult, which makes it a non-starter for most aquarists.

Should You Keep Dragon Fish Goby Fish?

After reading this guide, you should have a good idea of what it takes to care for these fish. The biggest challenge is understanding their unique water requirements and habitats.

However, if you’re willing to put in the time then they can be rewarding pets to own. They’re beautiful creatures!


We can’t forget to mention the obvious reason why so many aquarists are drawn to these fish:

  • They look stunning! Dragon Fish Gobies have a natural beauty that is hard not to appreciate. The colors and patterns of these fish make them stand out in any tank setup.
  • They are very unique and not particularly common, making an interesting addition to any tank.


Every species has pros and cons, and the same can be said for Dragon Fish Gobies. Here are some possible cons to owning these fish:

  • You need a large tank to own these fish, due to their size.
  • They require brackish water to thrive, so you will need to keep them with other brackish water fish.
  • It can be quite tricky to get your tank set up perfectly for these fish, so they are more suite to tank owners with some experience.
  • They are very difficult to breed in captivity.


Dragon Fish Gobies are an interesting and fun fish to keep. They’re gorgeous, active, and enjoyable to observe. They make a great addition to a brackish water tank (as long as their other tank mates are compatible).

If we missed anything in this guide or you would like more info on certain aspects of caring for Dragon Fish Goby, please do let us know.

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