The dragon goby (also called the violet goby and the dragon fish) is one cool looking fish. It has a long slender look with fins that cover its back, tiny little eyes, and one large mouth lined with tiny (but clearly visible) teeth. Add to that a fin that lets it attach itself to the glass and it isn't surprising that everyone wants one. However, with so much misinformation out there it is hard to know what one should be doing with the dragon goby. The good news is you can keep more than one if you know the right information.
It is important to note that many local fish stores, pet stores, and even Walmart sell these with a load of misinformation. These fish are brackish water fish and can not survive long term in a freshwater tank (for more information check out the article Can't I Keep My Dragon Goby In Freshwater?). In addition to needing brackish water, the dragon goby often starves to death because people don't feed it well. You need to give this great fish algae pellets and frozen foods. It is also a good idea to do a little target feeding to make sure that the others in the tank aren't getting all the food. For more on his care check out the article The Dragon Goby.
The dragon goby is a peaceful scavenger. As such it can be kept with a lot of other fish and invertebrates that are peaceful and won't harm it as long as they tolerate or thrive in brackish water conditions. You can see the article The Dragon Goby: Tank Mates for a full list of options. However, because it is a brackish water fish it doesn't have near as many options as freshwater fish, especially freshwater community fish. Most pet stores don't carry the species that can go with it and this can lead many wondering if they can keep more than one.
Yes. Yes you can keep the more than one dragon goby. However, you will make sure that you take several things into consideration to make it work out.
Keeping More Than One Dragon Goby.
If you are going to keep more than one dragon goby it is important that you take the time to figure out what you should do to make it a successful tank.
- Consider the size of your tank. One dragon goby needs at least 29 gallons. It is important that you consider how much space each fish will need as an adult. You may think that getting three little four inch fish won't be a problem in your 29 gallon tank, but each of those cute little fish could be an 18 inch monster waiting to happen. Some dragon gobies have gotten bigger than 18 inches in the fish tank. Your 29 gallon just can't handle that! You will need a big tank for more than one dragon goby. A 55 gallon should be the smallest tank that you put more than one goby in (with a maximum of three gobies placed in there).
- Consider competition. Many territorial animals will fight when in a small space and the dragon goby is no exception. They fight for space and two of them might fight to the death. Many dragon goby keepers have solved this problem by keeping them in a group rather than a pair. It may also be helpful to keep an odd number so that it is easier for them to form a heirchy. Keeping 3 or 5 is a good idea depending on the space that you have.
- Provide plenty of hiding places. You go to the store and you see five to ten dragon gobies in a 10 gallon tank. Why can't you bring two or three of them home and throw them in your little tank? Well, they may do fine while they are really little, but as they age they will get territorial and will each need their own space. It is important that you provide at least one cave per goby with at least one extra. Caves can be any decoration that can be used for hiding in, around, or under. You can use rocks, driftwood, large shells, or decorations with hollows inside them.
- Consider other tank mates that want to hide. If you have other tank mates in there that want to hide you need to make sure that you provide them with their own space to hide. It isn't fair for everyone to fight over the same hiding spots in your tank. Make it a well completed tank for your best results.
- Make sure there is enough food. The dragon goby is already at risk to not getting enough to eat because of how it eats, when it eats, and how slow it is. You want to make sure that all of your dragon gobies are getting enough food and that the other fish in the tanks aren't eating it all before your gobies get their fill.
While there are many people who have successfully kept more than one dragon goby, this is often dependent on personality (as with most animals and fish). Every now and again a dragon goby will be a lot more territorial and will fight with the others until they kill them. This could happen in your tank when you keep more than one and you will want to consider that possibility before you come home with a group of them. There is some belief that keeping a male with females will reduce the fighting, however to this day no one is certain how to sex them.
All in all, you can keep more than one goby and you can be successful with it. However, you want to make sure that you are striving to meet the needs of each fish that you have and that you are trying to give them each the home that they need. Make sure that they are getting enough food, have enough hiding places, and keep an eye out for any fighting among the dragon gobies and you can provide a good home for all involved.