Firefish

Fire Dartfish

Family: Ptereleotridae Picture of a Firefish or Fire Dartfish, Nemateleotris magnificaNemateleotris magnificaPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Seth Weintraub
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I have a purple firefish that is so funny to watch! It spends a lot of time swimming in the powerhead current trying to catch particles of food that float by, or... (more)  Brian

   Firefish or Fire Dartfish are a beautiful addition to almost any aquarium! They are a good community fish and are very comfortable in a reef setting. They do like a cave or to burrow in sandy substrate.

   These fish belong to the family Microdesmidae, or Wormfishes. Before 1986, the Firefish or Fire Dartfish were classified as blennies and gobies. The Wormfishes comprise 36 species of eel-like fishes that include the closely related Purple Firefish, Nemateleotris decora.

   Their elongated dorsal fin is used to signal other firefish as well as a "locking device" similar to the triggerfish.

For more Information on keeping marine fish see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Marine Aquarium


Geographic Distribution
Nemateleotris magnifica
Data provided by FishBase.org
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Perciformes
  • Family: Ptereleotridae
  • Genus: Nemateleotris
  • Species: magnifica
Purple Firefish

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Firefish or Fire Dartfish are a beautiful addition to almost any aquarium!

Purple firefsih are a good community fish and are very comfortable in a reef setting. They do like a cave or to burrow in sandy substrate. These fish belong to the family Microdesmidae, or Wormfishes. Before 1986, the Firefish or Fire Dartfish were classified as blennies and gobies. The Wormfishes comprise 36 species of eel-like fishes that include the closely related Purple Firefish, Nemateleotris decora. Their elongated dorsal fin is used to signal other firefish as well as a "locking device" similar to the triggerfish.

Maintenance difficulty:    The Firefish or Fire Dartfish is easy to keep. They will readily eat most anything you feed them.

Maintenance:    Feed all kinds of live, frozen, and flake foods. It is best to feed small amounts several times a day. Since they feed on planktonic animals in the wild, they will do well with small protein foods like brine shrimp. Make sure they have plenty of places to hide, i.e. rockwork or live rock.

Habitat: Natural geographic location:    Firefish or Fire Dartfish are found in the Indo-Pacific: East Africa to the Hawaiian, Marquesan and Pitcairn islands, north to the Ryukyu Islands, south to New Caledonia and the Austral Islands; throughout Micronesia.

Social Behaviors:    This fish feeds in groups in the wild, they are found swimming into currents near reef heads feeding on planktonic animals. Several individuals may share the same hole (especially juveniles). Firefish have a habit of flicking their pennant-like first dorsal fin back and forth. They are a territorial fish with each fish requiring approximately 10-20 square centimeters (1.5-3.0 square inches) of vertical space. They will establish a heirarchy of dominance in the aquarium.

Sex: Sexual differences:    We have not found this information.

Light: Recommended light levels:    No special requirements.

Temperature:    No special requirements. Normal temperatures for marine fish is between 74 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit.

Length/Diameter of fish:    Firefish or Fire Dartfish adults can grow to 6.0 cm (2.4 inches).

Minimum Tank Length/Size:    A minimum 30 gallon aquarium is recommended.

Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong    Weak to moderate water movement is appreciated.

Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom    No special requirements.

Availability:    This fish is readily available and is inexpensive, the Purple Firefish is somewhat rarer and slightly more expensive.

Author: David Brough. CFS.
Lastest Animal Stories on Firefish


Brian - 2007-10-18
I have a purple firefish that is so funny to watch! It spends a lot of time swimming in the powerhead current trying to catch particles of food that float by, or "bickering" with my yellowtail blue damsel. Nothing serious, just fun and games!

  • Anonymous - 2012-04-11
    If you have more than one in a 15G or less they may fight. And they don't stop until there is a victor.
Reply
Robert - 2007-03-22
He is very fast and cool. He unfortunately died while he was with many other fish :(

  • Anonymous - 2012-04-11
    Sad:(. Make sure to keep the others from death.
Reply
Jeff Bridge - 2008-11-15
I have 2 firefish. I haven't seen one of them now for about 5 days, and the other one dissappeared today. Does anyone know how long these guys can survive if they burrow into the sand or into a hole in a rock? I'm a bit nervous because they are my favorite fish, and i hate it when fish die.

  • Anonymous - 2010-03-08
    Mine just reappeared after an entire month without seeing it. I even took all of the rock out of the tank and rinsed it off, assuming it had died. What a crazy fish
  • Paul - 2010-06-26
    Well , they are prone to jump out of the tank if it is not covered, check behind your tank.
  • Jessica - 2011-05-05
    Hi. I have an engineer goby who I haven't seen since I brought in (dug itself under a rock). I was also stressing it was dead. But yesterday I saw it not once but twice. If you have live rock and feed the tank in the early morning usually that's when it eats. But I am talking about dawn. I have been feeding the tank more brine shrimp and that's when I saw him so maybe try that. Otherwise you just have to hope they are still in there. Also, one more note these fish may get more confident with other fish in the tank I.E I put two fire gobies and a bi colored blenny in my tank and he seems to be a little more confident to come out. Do not put him into an aggressive tank unless your prepared to add serveal more fish with him because he will get beaten up. Found that out the hard way.
  • Ken - 2012-02-09
    I have a common cleaner wrass that hates my fire fish with a passion. One day they were fighting and actually ended up in my water over-outbox. I had the thing packed with bio balls to keep any fish (ie dimond goby) from getting into my sump. I have no clue how they got through all of them. It just goes to show that they A) Do dig through anything they can...to include bioballs and that B) they do jump.
Reply
Sarah - 2010-09-11
I have just bought a purple firefish to go in my nano tank and he is so weird. When I am sitting next to the tank he just hovers in the same place and stares at me constantly! If I go out of the room, he darts under the rock but when I am there he stalks me. Has anyone else had this experience with their firefish or is it just me? Lol.

  • Jessica - 2011-05-05
    Not sure about "stalking" but they definately are more confident when I am around. And when I talk to them (yes I talk to my fish) they nibble at each other. It's soo cute!
Reply