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5 Best Tank Mates for Dragon Fish Goby (Compatibility Guide 2023)

Sarah Psaradelis

By Sarah Psaradelis

two guppies in tank

The dragon fish goby (Gobioides brousonnetti) is an interesting and rare species. They have a fascinating prehistoric eel-like appearance. As their name suggests, they appear as small underwater dragons, and they are commonly referred to as dragon fish. They are becoming increasingly popular for both novice and seasoned aquarists alike. The dragon fish goby is part of the Gobiidae family, and it is one of the biggest fish families in the aquarium hobby, with over 2,000 distinct species!

The dragon goby is one of the largest species of goby and grows to an extremely generous size. If you are interested in learning about the dragon fish goby and interesting fish you can keep with them, this article is perfect for you!

The 5 Best Tank Mates for Dragon Fish Goby

The type of tank mates that can live with the dragon goby is limited. This is because their conditions are quite different than other freshwater fish. The choices may be minimal compared to other types of fish, but these are some of the most recommended tank mates to be kept with dragon fish.

1. Guppies (Poecilia reticulata) – Best for Small Tanks

lots of guppies swimming
Image credit: underworld, Shutterstock
Size: 1–2 inches
Diet: Omnivore
Minimum Tank Size: 5 gallons (per group of 5)
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Community fish (should be in groups of 5)

Guppies are one of the most popular tropical fish in the hobby. They are small fish that grow to a maximum size of 1.6 inches. The males have brightly colored tails that are quite attractive in tanks. The male guppies’ coloring makes up for the lack of color the dragon fish goby has. They prefer to swim near the surface and can be kept with other tankmates that are suitable for dragon fish gobies.

Females are slightly larger and have more of a brown coloration, so it is better to add male guppies if you are interested in adding a colorful fish into the tank. Due to their small size, they are at risk of being eaten by dragon fish gobies when they are noticeably young, but adult fancy guppies seem to have no problem living with a dragon fish goby.

2. Archers (Toxotes) – Best for Large Tanks

Image Credit: Pavaphon Supanantananont, Shutterstock
Size: 10–12 inches
Diet: Carnivore
Minimum Tank Size: 40 gallons (per adult)
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi-aggressive

These make great large tank mates for dragon fish gobies. They grow to a decent length and are perfect for large tanks. The Archer is a semi-aggressive fish but has limited problems being kept with dragon fish gobies. They are not overly colorful and can fill out a tank with their large body so that the tank does not appear empty.

They will eat smaller fish, so they should be solely kept with dragon fish and no other small tropical fish that can fit into their mouths.

3. Glassfish (Parambassis ranga)

Glassfish inside aquarium
Image Credit: Rodrigo Nunes, Shutterstock
Size: 3 inches
Diet: Omnivore
Minimum Tank Size: 15 gallons
Care Level: Moderately difficult
Temperament: Community fish (should be in groups of 6)

Glassfish are fascinating fish. They have see-through flesh and make the perfect tank mate for dragon fish gobies. The typical glassfish lacks color, but there is a genetically modified (GMO) version that has colorful outlines. However, it is not recommended to support GMO glassfish because they have been injected with colorants that slowly leach into their bloodstream and cause early death.

This practice is deemed unethical in several states. If you want a group of glassfish, their natural appearance is good enough and adds a professional touch to an aquarium containing dragon fish.

4. Swordtails (Xiphophorus helleri)

swordtail guppy
Image Credit: neohch, Shutterstock
Size: 3–4 inches
Diet: Omnivore
Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Community fish (should be in groups of 5)

Swordtails, mollies, and platies are all closely related as livebearers. They make one of the best tank mates for dragon fish because they are not only colorful, but they also tolerate the same brackish water conditions that dragon fish thrive in.

The colors add an appealing look, and they swim at every level of the aquarium. Swordtails are exceptionally special as they are one of the best livebearers to tolerate water with a higher salinity content.

5. Bumblebee Goby (Brachygobius xanthozonus)

Image Credit: Pavaphon Supanantananont, Shutterstock
Size: 1–2 inches
Diet: Carnivore
Minimum Tank Size: 15 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi-aggressive

The bumblebee goby is related to the dragon fish. They have the same water condition requirements and eat the same diet. Bumblebee gobies are one of the smallest growing gobies and have a black and yellow banded body which is why they are described as looking like bumblebees.

They hang around the bottom of the aquarium, where they sift through the substrate looking for food. Since they are the same species of fish, they make excellent natural tank mates when kept together.

divider fish plants 2

What Makes a Good Tank Mate for Dragon Fish Goby?

Out of all the tank mate’s dragon fish gobies can be kept with, the swordtail and bumblebee goby are the best options. This is because the living conditions are well tolerated by both species. These fish should be kept in brackish water, and it is the best environment for a dragon fish goby.

We recommend only keeping guppies and glassfish with a dragon fish goby if you are a more experienced fish keeper. It is important to ensure that each tank mate is comfortable in their living conditions. Remember to increase the size of the tank according to how many fish you plan to add.

aquarium plant divider

Where Do Dragon Fish Goby Prefer to Live in the Aquarium?

The dragon fish goby primarily inhabits the lower level of the aquarium. It is the most suitable area for the dragon fish to swim in due to their eel-like appearance. They sift through the substrate and enjoy swimming amongst various plants and decorations at the bottom of the tank. They will sometimes swim toward the middle of the aquarium during feeding time.

Since dragon fish spend the majority of their time at the bottom of the aquarium, there should be adequate surface agitation from an air stone or bubbler to increase the amount of dissolved oxygen in the aquarium.

Water Parameters

It is important to ensure the water parameters are within ideal levels. This will keep your dragon fish goby healthy and increase their lifespan. Dragon fish originate from marine, fresh, and brackish waters situated near the Atlantic coast in America from South Carolina. The most important part is getting the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels right.

The tank should be fully cycled for 6 to 8 weeks before adding a dragon fish goby in. The next important aspect of water parameters is to get the pH level right, which should be between 7.5 to 8.0. The salinity content of the water should be maintained by the addition of aquarium salt at a content of 1.006 to 1.008.


The dragon fish goby is a large growing fish that reaches a maximum size of 20 to 24 inches. This makes them huge fish, and the majority of their body is long. Their body is an iridescent violet color that shimmers under bright light.

They are spectacular-looking fish. It is seldom that a dragon fish goby will grow to size under 20 inches. They can become stunted if the tank is too small, and this can lead to growth deformities where their body cannot grow to an average size. Stunting should be avoided as it lowers their quality of life.

Aggressive Behaviors

Dragon fish gobies are not overly aggressive. They can get into altercations with other fish if they feel threatened or cramped in their environment. They will typically mind their own business and display natural behaviors around the tank without fighting or chasing their tank mates. They are territorial and should not be kept with other dragon fish, or they will fight for space and resources.

Top 2 Benefits of Having Tank Mates for Dragon Fish Goby

1. Appearance

Colorful tank mates can be quite appealing when kept with a dragon fish goby. Since the dragon fish is not very colorful and has a single hue, fish like guppies or swordtails can make the aquarium colorful and more attractive.

2. Interaction

In the wild, dragon fish gobies will share their habitat with diverse types of fish. By adding tank mates into the aquarium, you provide the dragon fish goby with the social interaction it naturally requires.

Tank Size

Due to the dragon fish gobies’ enormous size, they require a minimum tank size of 75 to 100 gallons. These large fish thrive in sparsely decorated tanks with live plants, a sandy substrate, and rocky caves. If you plan to add tank mates, the size should be increased drastically to ensure each fish has enough space. Here is a stocking guideline to follow when adding tank mates:

  • Dragon fish and guppies 75 gallons
  • Dragon fish and swordtails: 75 gallons
  • Dragon fish and glassfish: 80 gallons
  • Dragon fish and Archers: 125 gallons
  • Dragon fish and bumblebee goby: 100 gallons

If you plan to add in multiple tank mates like a mixture of guppies, swordtails, glassfish, and a single adult dragon fish goby, the tank should be between 120 to 150 gallons in size. Remember, bigger is better when it comes to the size of the tank!

clownfish divider2 ah


Now that we have discovered some of the best tank mates for dragon fish gobies, you can experiment with which types of tank mates you like best. It may be easier to start with a shoal of guppies or swordtails, and then as you gain more experience, you can try and keep them with other gobies or archer fish. By following the stocking rules and getting the environment right, you can successfully keep your dragon fish goby with tank mates.

We hope this article has informed you of everything you need to know when keeping fish with your dragon fish goby.

Featured Image Credit: basuka, Pixabay

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