Scientific Name: Gobioides broussonnetii
Origins: Ranges from South Carolina along the Atlantic down to Brazil
Habitat: Gobioides broussonnetii primarily inhabits brackish estuaries and salt waters (salt waters mostly around the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea), but does very occasionally occur in freshwater. Occurs in muddy or sandy-bottomed waters ranging from 1 to 100 feet deep.
Maximum Size: Up to 24" in the wild, 14"-16" in captivity is more likely.
Care: The minimum tank size of Gobioides broussonnetii should be at least 55 US gallons, many people say smaller but this fish truly needs a tank of at least 55 gallons and preferably at least 75 US gallons. Temperature should be held between 70-80 degrees; pH should be held between 7 and 8.5 with a neutral pH not recommended yet tolerated by many specimens. Gobioides broussonnetii is unaccepting of soft waters and is best suited for a brackish water aquarium with a specific gravity between 1.005 and 1.015. They can quite easily acclimate to marine settings. Many specimens are housed in freshwater, which is far from ideal, and is really not recommended for the health of this fish. This is a peaceful fish despite its appearance and they do require a good amount of territory. They can become quite aggressive without it. Provide retreats among rocks, wood, dense vegetation, or PVC pipes. This goby needs a fine sand substrate. Gobioides broussonnetii make an ideal tank mate for small fish despite its robust size.They won’t even eat tank mates as small as bumble bee gobies, which make excellent tankmates! (unless there is a lack of food, they will eat tiny fish). Do not house with overly boisterous tank mates or other bottom feeders.
Feeding: Gobioides broussonnetii is a filter feeder, meaning that it sieves tiny suspended organisms in the water column or substrate through its mouth to obtain food. In captivity, unless they are getting enough food from “normal” feeding techniques, they will need to be target fed via tongs. Place the food on the substrate and this will allow the goby to sift through the sand for the food items. They should be supplied with a varied diet of meaty foods but also make sure there is some type of algae incorporated in the diet. This goby is truly not picky. They accept frozen, freeze-dried, and even flaked foods. Many hobbyists do not find success with pellets or flakes but with a little weaning it can be done. Due to the filter feeding habits of dragon gobies, small foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, bloodworm, black worms, cyclops, mysis shrimp, and small shrimp pellets are ideal. “Large” foods such as mussels, krill, and silversides can be chopped up into small bits and are eagerly taken, especially mussels and silversides, which seem to be a favorite of theirs. An important part of the Gobioides broussonnetii diet is algae. Be sure you are feeding plenty of algae based foods such as Spirulina flakes or bits of algae wafers.
An easy way to provide Gobioides broussonnetii with a good food source is to place them in a marine setting. The live rock in a marine tank provides an ample supply of micro-crustaceans, such as copepods, which make an ideal food source for them. If there is a large enough supply of micro-crustaceans for Gobioides broussonnetii to graze on in a marine setting, (which is dependant on the amount of live rock and how mature the tank is) only supplemental feeding may be necessary with foods such as bloodworm, algae wafers, and bits of silversides.
Breeding: There has not been an official documented spawning report in captivity, but, it is speculated that it can be done. The only advice I can give is to provide a very large tank (100 plus gallons) 1 male to 3-4 females with many nesting areas in caves or hollow logs. Lower the salinity and temperature and hope for the best!
Comments: Gobioides broussonnetii is often mislabeled as the similar species Gobioides peruanus. The two species are very similar in appearance but Gobioides broussonnetii is more elongated and thinner as Gobioides peruanus is shorter, thicker, and has a more deeply purple-colored body. The care for the two species is pretty much identical except that Gobioides peruanus will not tolerate marine salinities but will tolerate freshwater. Gobioides peruanus is predominantly imported into the UK so if you live in the UK, chances are you have Gobioides peruanus rather than Gobioides broussonetii and vice versa for the US.
Many thanks to SirMinion who provided this wonderful picture of his own Violet Goby. Note that this particular specimen is NOT Gobioides broussonnetii but rather Gobioides peruanus. None the less the picture gives you a good idea of what Gobioides broussonnetii appears like.
Additional Note:If not kept in satisfactory brackish water condtions, the violet goby may develop a slimy appearance. If this occurs, you may need to check the s.g. and increase the salinity.
Edited by AMS, 12 May 2006 - 08:52 PM.