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Red Fire Goby or Red Firefish


Red Fire Goby, Nemateleotris magnifica

The Fire Goby is also known as the Fire Dartfish, Firefish, the Orange Firefish, Magnificent Dartfish and the Red Firefish. The Gobiidae family includes Firefishes, Mandarins, Jawfish and Tilefish. The Fire Goby comes from coral reefs in the central and western Pacific, including the Red Sea. The Fire Goby has a long, narrow, cylindrical body. It has a yellow head, a pinkish yellow front half and a firey red/orange back half. The rear fins are highlighted in black. Its dorsal fin is divided into two sections, which distinguish gobies from blennies. The Fire Gobies' most distinctive feature is an elongated first ray on the forward dorsal fin. This ray is pink at the front edge and is almost half the length of the entire body.  It is used to wedge the Fire Goby into a burrow for safety from predators. The Fire Goby has a swim bladder, which allows it to hover in one location for extended periods with its head pointed upwards. The Fire Goby is very popular and is a good choice for the intermediate marine aquarist as these fish are resistant to disease and adapt well to aquarium life. They are somewhat shy though, so a Purple Firefish (Nemateleotris decora) may be more readily seen in an aquarium than a Fire Goby.

Red Fire Goby, Nemateleotris magnifica

Red Firefish, Nemateleotris magnifica

A smaller tank is possible with a Fire Goby, but by the time other inhabitants are added, a tank of 40 gallons may not be large enough. They prefer a coral environment, lots of hiding places and a coral sand substrate for burrowing in. They will find or dig a favorite hiding hole to wedge themselves into. Lighting should be moderate and their should be a strong water flow. The tank will need to be covered, as Fire Gobies are good jumpers. If the tank cannot be completely covered, the sides should include extensions above the water of at least six inches, so that the Fire Goby cannot jump out.

The Fire Goby is a carnivore. It eats zooplankton, finely chopped small crustaceans, live & frozen brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, algae, spirulina flakes and other quality flake foods. Gobies will not touch corals and are too small to eat most crustaceans, so they are reef safe.

Fire Gobies can usually be found in groups and form mated pairs. No more than two are recommended for aquarium life. There are no significant characteristics differentiating males from females. Gobies are egg scatterers. The Fire Goby has been bred successfully in captivity. Juveniles are typically raised in a burrow.

Scientific Name: Nemateleotris magnifica
Family: Gobiidae
Care: Normal
Temperature: 22 - 28 C; 72 - 82 F
pH: 8.1 - 8.4
dH: 8 - 12
Specific Gravity: 1.020 - 1.025
Size: 8 cm; 3 inches
Breeding: Egg Layer
Life Span: ?
Crustacean Safe: No
Coral Safe: No


Two gobies of the same species, clownfish, shrimp goby.  Slow moving, timid tankmates are recommended.  Gobies are easily eaten by triggers, lionfish and large angels. The Fire Goby does not share a burrow with shrimp - this is a trait of the Shrimp Goby (Amblyeleotris and Cryptocentrus species).