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Nemateleotris decora (Randall & Allen 1973)

(common name: purple dartfish)

Both photos submitted by Owen Hoffman. The fish inhabits his 55 gallon tank

These fishes are amongst the most distinctive and desired gobies, with their characteristic body shape, bright colors and flicking dorsal fins. There are two top fins, the first sporting six spines, the second with one spiny ray and four or five soft rays. There are four genera of about thirty described species.

The genus Nemateleotris contains the most popular species, the orange-red N. magnifica is "the" Firefish to many. Two other deeper water congeners are seen occasionally, the lilac and red N. decora, and yellow-faced N. helfrichi. Nemateleotris are unmistakable with their elongated anterior dorsal fin spines and perpetual body angle orientation.

The particular species shown in these pages is also called the Elegant Firefish. Indo-Pacific in distribution, Mauritius to Micronesia. To three and  a half inches in length.

Important notes regarding the Fire- or Dartfishes include provision of a sand and rubble patch for their burrowing, and a decent current in which they like to orient themselves. Though some folks keep them as individuals, and I have seen them as solitary around the Indo-Pacific, most should be kept in pairs to small aggregation (a few to a dozen) if put into a large enough system (twenty gallons per) all at once, and watched.

In the wild these fishes feed throughout the day on planktonic crustaceans mainly copepods. In captivity they eagerly accept all kinds of foods.

The subfamily's members make excellent aquarium inhabitants for reef and peaceful all-fish set-ups.

For more information and photos of all the species of this genus you can visit http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dartfish.htm

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