Purple Firefish Goby – A Definitive Care Guide 2020

purple firefish



The Purple Firefish Goby (Nemateleotris decora) is a small saltwater fish decked with varying degrees of white, yellow, and deep shades of purple.


Their docile nature makes them an excellent addition to any aquarium of a suitable size. The fun going character and handsome appearance of the purple Firefish goby make it highly popular among fish owners.


You will learn about purple firefish care in the guide, including recommended diet, water condition, aquarium set up, joint disease, and other useful information.



Category Rating
Level of Care Easy
Temperament Peaceful
Appearance Yellow, white, and red color
Life Expectancy 3+ years
Size 2 to 3 ½ inches
Diet Carnivore
Family Gobiidae
Aquarium (Tank) Size 20 gallons
Water Conditions 720F-780F; pH 8-8.4
Aquarium (Tank) Environment Live rocks, caves, and moderate current
Aquarium (Tank) Mates Medium-sized docile species




Purple Firefish Facts




Purple Firefish goby (Nemateleotris decora) has a unique shape and color that makes them highly sought after by aquarists.


The fish belongs to the Gobiidae family, and that is known for its peaceful temperament. Other names of the fish include Purple Dartfish, Decorated Firefish, Flame Firefish, and Decorated Dartfish. The species can survive for up to 3 years with proper care.



Purple Firefish Natural Habitat



Purple Firefish Goby is generally found in the Pacific and Indian sea. The fish is commonly found in the reefs around Mauritius to Samoa, south to New Caledonia, and north to the Ryukyu Islands at depths of 82 to 240 feet.



Is Your Purple Firefish Hiding Too Much?



Juvenile purple firefish gobies are fond of hiding among rock works and corals. The coral reef is used as a defense mechanism that protects them from larger prey.


The small size allows them to remain hidden from large predators. They are not territorial remain nonviolent towards other fishes. Instead of hunting, the fish face the current allowing the prey to come to them.



Purple Firefish Appearance



The Purple Firefish Goby has a slender appearance with a single raised fin behind its head. The front of the fish is white, while the hind region is purple.


Their dorsal fin has seven spines and around 32 soft rays that they can erect when threatened. It is used to alert other fishes and a locking device that locks to an aperture similar to the triggerfish.


The purple Firefish goy also has a swim bladder. The unique structure allows the fish to hover to one location for long periods with the face pointed upwards. This movement is valuable in detecting predators in the wild.



Purple Firefish Goby Behavior



They are not territorial or aggressive. The fish is gregarious and calm. It is compatible with a large number of fish, making it ideal for community aquariums.


In the wild, the Purple Firefish is seen swimming in water currents near the reef’s heads, where they feed on planktons. In the native waters, several juvenile goby fish are caught sharing the same hole. But adult fish are generally territorial that don’t tolerate other fish, even of the other gender.


Adult Purple Firefish need a minimum 20-gallon enclosure. They will form a hierarchy of dominance inside the aquarium, similar to a hens’ pecking order. Adult healthy fish will dominate smaller and weaker fish.


The smaller and weaker Purple Firefish will respect the alpha fish’s command staying away from its path.


Purple Firefish has a peculiar behavior of flicking the first dorsal fin back and forth when swimming. Like most Gobiidae family members, the Purple Firefish stays exceptionally close to their hiding spot, swimming around the rocks and crevices.


Purple Firefish will tend to seek out unused areas inside the aquarium. They tend to claim empty large caverns or overhang as their home. If there are no caverns or rocks, the fish will swim to the lower half of the aquarium.


If the fish becomes stressed, they tend to jump out of the aquarium. The fish usually become stressed when due to low water conditions.


They are timid and feel threatened by larger fish. It will force them to spend most of the time hiding and reduce their lifespan. If larger fish harass them, they will become stressed and try to jump out of the aquarium.


The Purple Firefish will hide in the tank for days once introduced in the aquarium with other fishes. It makes some owners think that the fish has disappeared.


But the fish will reappear once it feels comfortable with the newer surrounding. Once the fish overcome its timidity, they will chase small food scraps with other fishes inside the aquarium.


The fish are generally gregarious and friendly with other fish. They are also nonaggressive fish that won’t harass other fish.



Purple Firefish Aquarium (Tank) Mates



Purple Firefish can be kept in a fish community in a small aquarium. They are not territorial and aggressive that makes them compatible with other peaceful fishes.


It would help if you considered keeping them with small fish. Larger fish might treat the fish as food and devoured them.


Fish that are not compatible with Purple Firefish include pufferfish, triggerfish, lionfish, butterflyfish, batfish, wrasses, and sweetlips.


They are also not compatible with eels since both like to swim through small holes and rocks. If you want to keep them together, you should make sure that there are plenty of rocks and other hiding places.


Good tankmates that can be kept with the fish include juvenile clownfish, butterflyfish, peaceful tangs, basslets, surgeonfish, and wrasse. Smaller fish like the benthic fish are also an ideal mate for fire goby fish.


Purple Firefish is an excellent choice for a reef aquarium. They don’t pick at corals or bother other fish. The fish like to spend most of the time swimming above the coral reef to feed on plankton. The small fish can also not bother invertebrates, including ornamental shrimp.


When picking mates for the Purple Firefish, you should not select species of the same group. They are aggressive towards conspecifics. Aquarium Conditions for Purple Firefish



Purple Firefish are sensitive to water conditions. You should make sure that the water temperature inside the aquarium is between 720F-780F. The water should be alkaline with a pH between 8 and 8.4 since they are a saltwater species.


Water should be kept clean at all times. Low quality and dirty water can increase the stress that reduces the immune system of the fish.


You should change about 15 percent water after every two weeks if the fish is kept in 30 gallons aquarium. For larger tanks above 30 gallons capacity, you should change about 30 percent water once a month.


Keeping the pH value to the desired level is necessary. The pH levels should be maintained using water changes rather than using chemicals. You must use proper testing equipment to check the pH level and nitrate or ammonia level inside the tank.



Purple Firefish Aquarium Setup



Purple Firefish require a medium-sized aquarium of at least 20 gallons. The fish will not attack other fish but will be aggressive towards their species if kept in a small tank.


The tank should be wider instead of taller. The aquarium should contain a corals reef. They also require lots of hiding places with plenty of crevices within rocks and caves. But avoid sharp rocks that can damage the body or long fins of the fish. Feeding Purple Firefish Goby 


Purple Firefish Goby are carnivorous and eat a large variety of meats. They prefer to eat brine shrimp, Mysis, shrimp, finely chopped and frozen seafood, and zooplankton.


Ensure only to utilize high-quality foods for these fish because they can quickly lose their attractive colors depending on their diet.


You can also give frozen food formulas that are available at most pet food stores. Gut loaded brine shrimp and foods enriched with vitamins are some of the best choices if you want your purple Firefish to maintain their intense purple hues.


For the most part, you shouldn’t face any difficulty feeding them. It can be an entertaining sight to see. Quickly strike at the food that floats near and often hunt for leftover scraps near the substrate.


That being said, it is recommended to put food directly in their face if tank mates prevent the food from ever reaching the bottom of the aquarium.


Purple Firefish Goby are quick swimmers and should not have much trouble in getting the food. However, they become timid when feeding with larger fish. Avoid placing the fish with larger fish.


But if you want to place them with larger fish, you should keep an eye out to ensure that the fish is feeding correctly. Consider spreading the food throughout the tank so that the fish has a chance to provide.


You should avoid overfeeding the fish as that may make them susceptible to different diseases. Consider feeding them as much food as they can eat in about six minutes. It will help if you spread out the feeding two to three times a day.



Breeding Purple Firefish Goby



It won’t be easy to determine the gender of the Purple Firefish goby if they have been bred in captivity. But once you’ve formed a Purple Firefish pair, all you have to do is meet the right conditions for high hatch rates.


The best part is that you can raise juveniles in the same tank they were red in because they guard both the eggs and the fry.


To initiate breeding, raise the tank’s temperature to around 85 degrees Fahrenheit and ensure that the pair has a stable environment with no threat from trespassers.


They must have a stable feeding schedule with food that reaches both Purple Firefish Goby. If the pair are seen competing for food, they will not mate since half the time they’ll be chasing each other for food scraps.


Please provide them with a light schedule of 10 hours of darkness and 14 hours of light. Courting and spawning will take around six months, and the total egg count will be about 500 eggs per spawning.


You’ll see that 90% of the eggs will hatch after about 100 hours. They must be fed on zooplankton and phytoplankton. Increase their food portions as they grow in size. On day 40, the fry grows large enough to be seen as juveniles. Common Diseases and Treatment



Purple Firefish Goby are resilient and hardy. They don’t succumb to illnesses unless the water quality is low. The fish may also become ill if they are always stressed out inside the aquarium.


A diseased Purple Firefish Goby may sometimes have marks or sores. A bacterial infection often causes this illness. The fish may also act out strangely and may appear to be lethargic. Aquarists have success in treating the condition using Furan medication such as Nitrofurazone.


It would help if you gave a full dose of the medication in a separate tank. Make sure that there is plenty of aeration in the aquarium used to quarantine the fish.


Avoid feeding the goby fish when they are given the medication. It will make the water toxic that will cause more severe health issues. Using erythromycin and tetracycline has also been found to be effective against the disease. It would help if you used the full dose; otherwise, the infection might reappear and difficult to treat.


Similar to other saltwater fish, purple firefish goby is also prone to protozoan and parasitic diseases. You should ensure that the water remains clean at all times.


The fish should also be provided with plenty of decoration items to ensure that they don’t get stressed out. A stressed Purple Firefish Goby is more likely to get a disease due to low immune systems.


Keep the fish happy by feeding appropriately and changing the water regularly. It will ensure that the fish lives for a long time.


You should also closely monitor the water conditions and clean the water at regular intervals. The fish will rarely become ill if you take great care in keeping the water clean and compatible with the fish.



Related Questions about Purple Firefish Goby




Are Purple Firefish Reef Safe?



Purple Firefish are reef safe. The fish won’t nip at and kills the corals. The fish will not eat soft corals and also corals with large polyps. It, too, won’t eat invertebrates such as snails, shrimp, and crabs. So, you can safely add the fish to your coral aquarium.



Are Purple Firefish Aggressive?



Purple Firefish are incredibly timid and feel insecure around larger fish. That being said, they will do well with peaceful fish that know well enough to leave them alone. A word on aggression, though: purple Firefish will attack similar-looking species. Therefore, it is recommended only to keep one per aquarium, unless you’ve got a 70-gallon tank or more significant.



Are Purple Firefish Hardy? 



For the most part, Purple Firefish is considered the ideal choice for beginners new to marine fishkeeping because they are incredibly sturdy and forgiving for things like water parameters and diet.


You can feed them most fish foods (carnivorous diet), and as long as you don’t deviate too much from the recommended care requirements, your Purple Firefish should remain free of disease for the duration of their lifespan.



Further Purple Firefish Care Tips



Purple Firefish Goby should be fed a nutritious diet so that they remain healthy and happy. It would help if you considered giving them a variety of food items. Consider mixing the food items to ensure that they get the most nutrition from food.


Remove uneaten food items inside the aquarium after about an hour. The food items will breakdown over time, resulting in excessive waste.


Another concern is getting them to eat when they are in quarantine. The fish will reject most food as it will be stressed out when kept in quarantine due to disease or when introducing to the aquarium.


It would help if you enticed the stressed fish to eat by giving gut-loaded feeder shrimp or frozen food mixed with sponge pellets.



How to Differentiate Male and Female Purple Firefish Goby?



Males and females are of the same size. There is no discernible difference between the two. It creates incredible difficulty when it comes to breeding the fish.


You cannot know about the gender of the fish. The five or six fish you have bought from the store may all turn to be males.


Males are not only aggressive towards other male and also female goby fish. It adds to the difficulty in determining the gender of the fish.



Where to Buy Purple Firefish Goby?



You can find Purple Firefish Goby for sale in most online stores. They are mostly available in pet stores in small sizes. Before introducing the newly bought fish in the aquarium, you should quarantine them for a few days to ensure that they are healthy.


Ask about the diet fed to the fish. It would help if you bought from a store that has properly fed them on a steady diet of high-quality meaty foods. It is essential since a fish that has been mostly fed with meat-based food will reject all other food. The result will be less healthy fish with a reduced lifespan.


Purple Firefish Goby are usually sold when they are small. Juvenile fire goby are more likely to jump when stressed due to the new environment. It would help if you kept a tightly fitting lid with holes covered to prevent the fish from jumping out of the aquarium.


Make sure to tape areas around the heater power cord, filtration, and overflow box. The fish will not jump as they grow and become accustomed to the new environment.



Wrapping it All Up: Are Purple Firefish Goby Ideal for Your Aquarium?



Purple Firefish Goby is a colorful fish and a joy to watch inside the aquarium. They are easy to care for and don’t have special nutritional requirements. It makes the fish suitable only for beginner aquarists.


But the water parameters and feeding guidelines must be followed so that the fish remains healthy.


Purple Firefish Goby are peaceful fish that make it easy to match tank mates. You can keep them in a small aquarium with other similar size fish. Taking care of the fish is not demanding. The alluring appearance and attractive personality make them perfect for reef and regular aquariums.



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