Fire goby, dartfish, magnificent
dartfish, firefish (do not confuse
these fish with the vastly
different scorpaenids in the
genera Pterois and Parapterois,
which are also known as firefish)
Indonesia, Buka Buka Island,
Range: Widespread in
the Indo-Pacific: East Africa to
the Hawai`ian, Marquesan and
Pitcairn islands, north to the
Ryukyu Islands, south to New
Taxonomic Troubles: This is the original name. You may find this animal listed in the family Microdesmidae,
Size: 9 cm TL ( 3. 5 inches).
Preferred Water Chemistry: Tropical marine.
Difficulty: Not difficult to keep for marine aquarists who have mastered keeping water parameters stable.
Almost guaranteed to jump out of an uncovered tank.
Tank Setup: Needs a sand and rubble substrate of several inches in which to dig its burrow. Appreciates
live rock with plenty of overhangs and boltholes. Absolutely peaceful with all but conspecifics, so it is best
kept singly or in mated pairs, though small groups can work out in a very large tank. Needs small, peaceful
tankmates. Reef safe.
Description: A long, slender fish. Face yellow, front half white, rear half red, with black second dorsal and
caudal. The first spine in the first dorsal is greatly elongated and may be as long as the fish itself.
Feeding: Feeds on zooplankton in the wild. Needs frequent small feedings of tiny meaty foods.
Breeding: Spawns monogamously in holes in the substrate. No record of fry being raised.
Firefish are popular aquarium fish, and this species is usually the least expensive and most easily obtained
of the genus. Their natural behavior is to hang motionless just above a burrow, heading into the current, and
snapping up zooplankton as they swirl by. It therefore does poorly with infrequent and/or heavy feedings. The
dorsal spine is a most distinguishing feature and is reported to be used to lock the fish into a crevice, much like
triggerfish. Because of its size and demeanor, this fish is popular for nano tanks, but it should only be kept in
larger nanos of 20 gallons or more.