Firefish Goby: Care, Tank Size, Tank Mates, Breeding & Diet


Common Name(s)Firefish Goby
Scientific NameNemateleotris Magnifica
OriginEastern Africa, Hawaii, Austral Island, islands of Ryukyu
Temperature72-80°F (22-27°C)
Size2-3.5 inches (5-9 cm)
Minimum Tank Size20 gallons (91 liters)
Food & DietOmnivorous diet
Lifespan3-4 years
Water pH8.1-8.4
Tank MatesOnly one Firefish Goby per tank is recommended. May be tank mates with clownfish, shrimp gobies, and other dartfish.
BreedingMonogomous breeding pair will lays eggs on substrate. However, they are difficult to breed in captivity.
DiseaseMay be suseptible to saltwater ich.
Firefish Goby
Firefish Goby (Nemateleotris Magnifica)

Firefish Goby (Nemateleotris Magnifica), also known as red-fire goby, the fire dartfish, or the magnificent firefish is a species of dartfish that can be found mainly in the coral reefs surroundings of the Pacific and Indian oceans. Particularly from the coast of eastern Africa to the Islands of Hawaii and the Austral Island upwards to the islands of Ryukyu. The Firefish Goby is a stunning saltwater fish with impressive colorations and an astounding body shape, as well as a remarkable personality. And so it is one of the multiple famous fishes kept by many people in the aquarium. 

In this article, we will be talking about the Firefish Goby. To begin, we will be considering some intriguing facts about the Firefish Goby. Let’s dive in.

Interesting Facts About The Firefish Goby

There are numerous facts about the Firefish Goby that make it so fascinating. Let’s have a look at some of them.

  • Firefish Gobies Are Brilliantly Colored – The Firefish Goby is a glamorous fish with a tall and slender body. They have primarily three distinct colors existing on their body – orange-red, white, and yellow. The face of the Firefish Goby is yellow, with its posterior orange-red and its front half white. With their remarkable body color and slender body, they make for the most incredible pets in an aquarium one can have.
  • Firefish Goby Possesses Incredible Speed – There is a reason why the Firefish goby is also known as the dartfish. The name springs up due to the extraordinary speed of the firefish goby, especially at the sight of potential predators. They are very athletic and will probably jump out of an aquarium if the top is not sealed. Their dart-like speed is, however, not recorded yet. 
  • Firefish Goby Communicate Using Their Dorsal Fin – The firefish goby communicates with each other by making use of their dorsal fins. Since they are easily frightened creatures that seek a place of hiding whenever in the face of threats, they make use of their dorsal fin by twitching it to signal others of any nearby dangers.
  • Firefish Goby Are Sweet-tempered Fishes – Generally, the firefish goby are naturally very obedient and do not exhibit any tendencies or habits of aggression towards other fishes but may do so with their own species. The firefish goby can engage in violent behaviors with its kind mostly to exercise dominance over each other. And for this purpose, it is advisable to have only one firefish kept in an aquarium tank. Mated pairs can, however, live in peace with each other without displaying any signs of aggression.
  • Firefish Goby Are Omnivorous In Nature – Firefish goby are omnivorous fishes. Their diet generally revolves around foods like shrimps, zooplankton, and algae. Regular feeding habits are strongly advised if one desires to have them as a pet.
  • Firefish Goby Are Hardy and Adaptable – The Firefish goby are hardy and adaptable and can adjust well into life in an aquarium. 

Firefish Goby Care

As a general rule, the firefish goby needs adequate care, particularly in the aquarium, to live. The Firefish goby care, however, does not require much attention. These species of fish are mainly easy to care for. However, as with many other fishes kept in the aquarium, there are essential details one has to keep in mind when considering having the Firefish Goby as a pet. Let’s discuss some of them.

Firefish Goby Temperature 

The temperature of the Firefish goby is mostly between 72-80°F (22-27°C). These fishes are mostly found in waters about 72-78°F in temperature. It is also advisable to house them in those similar temperatures.

Firefish Goby Water pH 

With Firefish Gobies, the pH of the aquarium water should be between 8.1 to 8.4 at best. As earlier stated, the water temperature should also be at about 72 – 78° F (22 – 27° C). Firefish gobies as well prefer a dGh of between 8 to 12 and a salinity that ranges from 1.020 to 1.025. Although firefish gobies are relatively resistant to disease attacks, they should be conserved at the precise water conditions and parameters suitable for them. 

Firefish Goby Size

The firefish goby possesses tall and slender bodies and is lengthier in size than the tiniest killifish. On average, a grown-up firefish goby can grow as much as 2 to 3.5 inches (5 to 9 cm) in size.

Firefish Goby Tank Size 

To appropriately set up and keep the Firefish Goby, you need a medium-sized aquarium tank at least. The Firefish Goby is a highly territorial fish, and so it needs some degree of available swimming space, especially with a mated pair. Though the Firefish Goby is small in size, there is also a reason why it is known as the dartfish. They are incredibly active species of fish. They require some level of free-swimming area to enable them to display this natural darting demeanor. An aquarium tank of about 20 gallons (91 liters) is the minimum tank size required for a firefish goby. But as with a good number of pet fishes, bigger is better. 

Firefish Goby Food and Diet 

The Firefish Goby are easy to feed. As omnivores, firefish gobies require a mixed diet of zooplankton and diced meaty diets such as live Mysis shrimp and brine shrimp. Since the firefish gobies possess small guts, it is best to feed them at least twice a day. Making sure to provide the Firefish Goby with a variety of diets will assist them in maintaining their brilliant colors. 

In the wild, the Firefish Goby is generally found in parties gliding over the reef, collecting planktons drifting by in the current as food. Providing firefish gobies with live food is always highly valued, but live food comes with some disadvantages as most live foods can initiate diseases into the aquarium. Recommendable is a diet of frozen Mysis shrimp. A meal of well-prepared meal of dried flakes otherwise known as Tetra saltwater fish-food is a good feeding diet for this species of fish. Diets rich in vitamins are important to keep them active and healthy.

A combination of flake foods, seafood, zooplanktons, brine shrimp, algae tablets, tiny marine pellets, Mysis shrimp, and nicely diced meaty foods, will furnish the Firefish Goby with a well-balanced diet. Incorrect feeding is also one of the causes of death for these creatures. It is crucial to also oversee the feeding habit of the firefish goby. These species of fish will not compete for food, rather they will even cease eating completely when they feel coerced. The firefish goby might just starve themselves until their demise. So, keeping an eye on their feeding habits is essential.

Firefish Goby Lifespan

The lifespan of the Firefish Goby is mostly known to be about 3 – 4 years when given thorough care. The lifespan of the firefish goby is conditional on different components like the incorrect feeding habits of the fish, predation, and stress. These factors determine the lifespan of the firefish goby. Incorrect tank setup is also one factor determining the lifespan of these species of creatures. For example, if the lid of the aquarium isn’t properly shut, these creatures will jump out of the aquarium due to their darting nature, especially if they feel spooked. This is a major cause of death of most firefish gobies kept in an aquarium.

Firefish Goby Tank Mates

Generally, firefish gobies are not aggressive. They are a very peaceful and sweet-tempered species. As earlier mentioned, the firefish goby are naturally very obedient and do not exhibit any tendencies or habits of aggression towards other fishes but may do so with their own species. This suggests that they are not compatible as tank mates with their kind. The firefish goby can engage in malignant fights over dominance with its kind. Therefore, keeping two firefish gobies in the same aquarium tank is not a wise course of action. Mated pairs can, however, peacefully coexist with each other without showing any indications of aggression.

When it comes to tank mates, other species of peaceful and mild-tempered fishes are compatible with the dartfish, but not those of its own species. They get deadly aggressive with the presence of a rival, so to say. One firefish goby per tank is advisable, and if you must keep them as a mated pair, it has to be in a big enough tank. Possible tank mates of the firefish goby may also comprise the clownfish, or shrimp gobies, which are two gobies of similar species. Feeble and sluggish fishes are also recommendable tank mates for the firefish goby. 

All About The Red FireFish Goby

Firefish Goby Tank Setup

To best replicate the wild habitat of the firefish goby, a medium-sized aquarium tank or bigger will be required. The tank should be big enough to hold a reasonable amount of free-swimming space for the dartfish. As generally accepted, a tank with about 20 gallons or more is advisable, mainly if their maintenance is long-term. The water temperature should also be at about 72 – 78° F (22 – 27° C). With firefish gobies, the water dGh should be between 8 to 12, and the salinity should range from 1.020 to 1.025. Do well to integrate a system with mild lighting conditions and a reasonable amount of current moving over the reef live rock. These are incredibly timid creatures and find an aquarium with too many bright colors uncomfortable to stay in. Have it in mind that a Firefish Goby when spooked, might attempt to dart out of the aquarium tank in a bid to save themselves. Therefore, ensure to keep the Firefish goby in an aquarium with a lid system. Also, one should constantly recall shutting the lid of their aquarium very well due to their darting nature. 

It’s also highly recommended to fill the tank with sand. This is because, in the wild, lots of firefish gobies, when faced with imminent threat, dart into the sand to keep themselves safe. Supplying the aquarium with soft sand is ideal for this motive since the Firefish Goby enjoys having a bolt-hole. It is not suitable to use harsh soil as this may end up causing injuries to the fish. In the aquarium, the Firefish Goby requires a considerable amount of safe zones amongst outcroppings or stony crags where it can dart into if spooked. Since the firefish goby are very timid creatures, they might go into hiding for a day or two when first placed into the aquarium tank until they get better acquainted with their new environment, after which they’ll resurface and move more freely. Reefs and ravines in the reef are very much welcomed by firefish gobies. Solid corals and lava rocks also make wonderful homes for these elegant fishes.

Firefish Goby Breeding 

The Firefish Goby is a monogamous species. Unfortunately, the firefish gobies are a difficult species of fish to copulate. There are no clues indicating as to whether a firefish goby is masculine or feminine. If two firefish gobies acceptably make a pair, it is safe to believe that they are of different sexes. The breeding of these species of fish is also a bit of a mystery. Due to their shy nature, it has been difficult to examine the breeding pattern of the firefish goby. 

Very little information is known about the mating process of this species. However, as they do not breed when held captive, these details are just a hypothesis and not valid proof. Nonetheless, according to various estimations, there is a notable resemblance between the mating process of the Firefish Goby and other species of goby fishes. 

Generally, the male instigates spawning behaviors and entices the female to unite with him in the breeding ground. Once there, the female will lay her eggs on a substrate which will then be fertilized by the male. The eggs then hatch to produce frys or baby firefish gobies.

The firefish goby is a tender and beautifully colored species to keep. The information provided in this article will be richly beneficial to you if you decide to house this elegant species. If you already have a Firefish goby in your home aquarium, share with us your experience with this lovely breed in the comments below.

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With decades of collective fishkeeping experience, we are happy to share the fish care tips that we've picked up along the way. Our goal at Fish Laboratory is to keep publishing accurate content to help fishkeepers keep their fish and aquarium healthy.

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