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Set Your Tank on Fire Goby

Aquarists should give colorful, peaceable Nemateleotris spp. serious consideration when stocking or adding to their marine communities.

By John Dawes

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With the back half of its body colored bright orange and red, contrasting with a white front half and a yellow head, the fire goby (Nemateleotris magnifica) makes a dazzling addition to the marine aquarium. Another feature that endears it to hobbyists is its long, filamentlike first dorsal fin, which it repeatedly flicks out, especially when displaying toward other members of its own species. Then, there’s its habit of hovering at a slight angle (head up) just above the bottom, its lightning-fast darts when frightened, its tolerance of other tankmates (with an exception or two), its relatively hardy nature and ease of maintenance (once settled), its compatibility with reef invertebrates, its small size and much else besides.

All in all, the fire goby is a great little fish for a mixed aquarium community, as long as large and overbearing tankmates are omitted and as long as its needs are catered to. Basically, the same applies to its two nearest relatives: the purple fire goby (N. decora) and Helfrich’s firefish (N. helfrichi).

Want to read the full story? Pick up the July 2009 issue of Aquarium Fish International, or subscribe to get 12 months of articles just like this.

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