purple fire fish (Nemateleotris decorates) are members of the family microdesmidae. These small fish are native to the Indo-West Pacific. Its habitat extends from the Philippines to Australia. They were first introduced to the aquarium trade in 1973 by marine aquatic experts Randall and Allen.

Purple firefish are often confused with gobies. While they are very closely related to the goby family, they are actually dart fish. This species is predominantly white or yellow with slender cylindrical bodies. The body markings of this fish are extraordinary. They have a purple spot on their head, and their fins are trimmed with different shades of purple, blue, red, orange, and maroon. This is a small fish. It will only grow to a maximum length of 4 inches. They are more typically 2.5-3 inches.

This fish has an easy care rating and is an excellent choice for the inexperienced saltwater aquarium owner. They are classified as reef safe. This is a hardy species, very resistant to disease. Their overall durability, small size, and tolerance to various water parameters make them extremely popular with nano reef owners. This fish can be kept in an aquarium as small as 10 gallons, even smaller if you are diligent about maintaining water quality. The aquarium industry also sells purple firefish under the names fancy firefish, flame firefish, decorated firefish, fire goby, and purple dartfish.

If the size and survivability of this fish tempt you to add one to your community tank, you should be aware that they are prolific jumpers. They should only be kept in a tightly covered aquarium. This is one of the more aggressive dartfish, but it is still relatively tame compared to other marine life. It should only be kept with smaller, less aggressive fish. They will display territorial behavior towards their own kind. Don’t buy multiple. A male and female of the species will mix well.

Purple Firefish will require a lot of hiding places. Plenty of coral rubble on top of their main substrate will make them feel right at home. This fish should be allowed to feel secure in its new environment. He will starve rather than compete for his food. A fade in color is a good indication that he is suffering from malnutrition. If food is not a problem, this fish can live 7-10 years in captivity.

This is a carnivorous species. In their natural habitat their diet consists mainly of zooplankton. In captivity they will eat flake and pellet foods. However, as with any marine species, it is advisable to provide these fish with a varied diet. You can feed them vitamin-enriched brine shrimp, mysid shrimp, finely chopped fresh shellfish, and frozen or freeze-dried foods formulated for marine carnivores. These supplements will help maintain your shape and stamina.

The purple firefish occasionally breeds in home aquariums. This is a species that lays eggs. They are also monogamous in nature. Once a pair mates, they may spawn 2-4 times a month. The eggs are whitish in color and about 2 mm in diameter. The incubation period for the egg is 7 to 10 days, depending on the water temperature.

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