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Violet Goby

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#1 AMS


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Posted 10 May 2006 - 07:51 PM

Common Names: Violet Goby, Dragon Goby, Eel Goby, & Dragon Fish

Scientific Name: Gobioides broussonnetii

Family: Gobiidae

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.

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Edited by AMS, 12 May 2006 - 08:52 PM.

#2 snowyangel


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Posted 25 May 2006 - 06:36 PM

That goby looks a little thin which can be a big problem for these gentle giants b/c they have small eyes so their slower then most fish at finding their food. :/
Here's a picture of our 7inch Dragon goby, you can definitely see the violet on him.
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Edited by snowyangel, 26 May 2006 - 05:55 PM.

#3 brickabrackish


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Posted 01 June 2007 - 05:33 PM

[quote name='snowyangel' date='May 25 2006, 12:36 PM' post='1197900']
That goby looks a little thin which can be a big problem for these gentle giants b/c they have small eyes so their slower then most fish at finding their food. :/

I must agree... I'll be the first to admit that I am an amateur, and recent, brackish water hobbyist, so I'm no expert on Violet Gobies, but I did get three very skinny and dull-colored one three months ago, and they are fat and iridescent now. Snowyangel is correct, in my limited experience, these guys are really blind, and are lackadaisical at getting food. AMS is also right, mine like hard water, as well as aquarium salt, and I have covered over half the bottom of the 150 gallon tank they are in with fine play sand and a maze of stacked sheet-cut stone. Since this is a covered "cave" system, I don't see them at all during the day. But, I've learned a trick with lighting. I have three lights over the tank, and in the evening, I turn each one off ten minutes apart. Before the last light is off, my dragons are coming to the surface and swimming slowly around the rim of the tank.. It appears they find their food by smell, and stinky stuff gets their attention quick. I feed them pureed pre-frozen and thawed shrimp, and at first, I used shrimp cocktail sauce to entice them. I'll also pre-dissolve a few algae disks, and throw in some pureed cooked veggies too (particularly carrots and zucchini). They love the mushy stuff, and the more smell it has, the better. Unfortunately, I have to do very thorough water changes and siphoning every week, or their tank water goes rancid fast. In just three months, my gobies are quite stout, sociable, and they have brilliant flashes of iridescent purple, blue, silver, and gold. They also get along famously with each other. As AMS also pointed out though, they should not be kept with other bottom feeders. I got rid of my Plecostomus fish just yesterday because I discovered that my Plecos like to suck the slime coats on my dragons, and can be quite persistent about it. I am curious to hear the input of other Violet Goby owners, as I still have much to learn about these unusual fish. Like how to tell the genders apart, etc. Thank you for your respective posts.

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