Nemateleotris decora
Source: Tropeland - Kasper Hareskov Tygesen
Nemateleotris decora
Source: Tropeland - Kasper Hareskov Tygesen
Nemateleotris decora
Nemateleotris decora
Source: - Kasper Hareskov Tygesen
Nemateleotris decora


Latin name Nemateleotris decora - Randall & Allen, 1973
Common name Purple Firefish
Family Microdesmidae - Nemateleotris
Origin East Indian Ocean, West Indian Ocean, Australia, The Red Sea, Indonesia
Max length 9.0 cm (3.5")

As aquarium fish

Minimum volume 90 l (24 gal)
Hardiness Hardy
Suitable for aquarium Suitable with care
Reef safe Always reef safe
Aggressiveness Docile but might be aggressive towards similar species


  • Zooplankton (Cyclops, pods...)
  • Small crustaceans (Krill, mysis, artemia...)

Jumps out of open aquaria

This species is known to jump out of open aquaria.

Hiding places

This species requires places to hide, especially when newly introduced into the aquarium.

Lives in a pair

This species can live as a pair (male and female).


This species is very shy and docile, so one should be careful when keeping it with more aggressive fish.

Enriched food

Over time this species can lose some of its colour when the food does not contain sufficient vitamins.

It pays therefore, to use a some type of enriched food, or one, specific to this species.

Family description (Microdesmidae)

Dartfish (Microdesmidae) are recognized by their unique torpedo like shape. All Dartfish need hiding places where they can withdraw to when feeling threatened. They do not normally naturally dig their own holes, but use ones made by other creatures.

They are generally a popular aquarium fish, relatively easy to keep, so for a small tank with peaceful fish the Dartfish is the obvious choice.

They can easily feel threatened by larger more aggressive fish with the result that they cannot feed enough and die by lack of food. One has therefore a greater chance of success when they are kept with smaller, peaceful, fish.

After first introducing a Dartfish, it is advizable to dim the light, so it can get used to the tank in peace.


Aquarium trade Yes
Distribution Indo-Pacific: Mauritius to Samoa, north to Ryukyu Islands, south to New Caledonia.
English common names Decorated dartfish, Elegant firefish, Elegant firegoby, Purple firefish, Purple fire-goby
Danish common names Violet ildhalekutling
German common names Veilchenschwanz-Flügelgrundel
French common names Eleotris décoré, Gobie-flamme maquillé

References and further reading

About references

Daniel Pomfret. 2008. Let’s Play Darts! Marine Dartfish - Tropical Fish Hobbyist - (English)
Bob Fenner. Firefishes, Dartfishes, Wormfishes, Family Microdesmidae, Subfamily Ptereleotrinae - Wet Web Media - (English)

Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2014. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication., version (08/2014).


pair couple, docile shy
Just a moment...
Just a moment...