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The Dragon Goby – Not Quite What You Would Expect

Hello everyone, Craig back again with another odd and interesting fish species to highlight! In this entry, I want to talk about an old favorite among fish enthusiasts, the Dragon Fish, Gobioides broussonetti. It has a long, slender eel-like body and a huge, gaping basket-like mouth. Coloration ranges from silver to grey to purple depending on health and environment. The Dragon Fish has tiny eyes and can hang vertical on your glass with its suction cup-like ventral fins. Want to know more? Well, let’s get into some specifics!


The Dragon Fish is something that is seen in stores on a regular basis. The problem is that people often make the attempt to keep these fish in a freshwater environment. While this is certainly possible, long term care will require a hard, somewhat saline environment. The Dragon Fish is typically found in estuaries and coastal waters from South Carolina to Brazil. While occasionally seen in freshwater, this is definitely a fish that will appreciate a brackish habitat. Keep that in mind when you consider bringing one of these odd fish home. Even if they are being kept in freshwater when purchased, they can have serious problems in the long run when not being kept in the proper setting.

A Big Mouth for Small Food

Something with a mouth as big as one of these fish has got to eat anything it can fit in its mouth, right? Well, not exactly. While many people assume that their large, tooth filled mouth is for catching fish, it is actually a big filter basket. In their natural habitat, Dragon Fish use that big gulping mouth as a perfect mechanism for swallowing copious amounts of mud and filtering out the little organisms that are found there. In captivity, feeding these fish a crushed flake food or sinking micro pellet works out almost perfectly. They will also take larger items like mysis and brine shrimp. A feeding cycle to vary the diet is a great way to go, feeding flake one day, sinking pellets on another, and mixing frozen food items in throughout the week, too. Watching the Dragon Fish’s blind search for food is really a sight to see.

Housing a Dragon Fish

Dragon Fish are, according to Fish Base, the largest goby in the Caribbean. Just how big is big? In its natural habitat, Gobioides broussonetti can reach lengths of almost 2 ft. in length! In a home aquarium, sizes can range from 8 inches to over a foot in length. Because of their potential size, a tank of at least 48 inches would be needed to keep them comfortably. Aside from that, if you plan on keeping more than one of this species together, you will certainly need extra space to provide several hiding places. Dragon Fish can be somewhat territorial with one another, but when given multiple places to hide, this aggression may be limited to feeding time. The aggression is limited mostly to pushing and shoving. To prevent stress, provide driftwood and rocky caves so the gobies feel secure.

If you are willing to give this strange fish the conditions it requires (including the brackish water that is needed for long term success), you will find the Dragon Fish to be a sturdy and fascinating resident to your home aquarium. 

Thanks, until next time, 


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