Elegant Firefish, Nemateleotris decora

The elegant firefish (Nemateleotris decora) is a species of fish native to the tropical waters of the Indo-West Pacific. Its distribution ranges from Mauritius to Samoa and from Ryukyu Islands to New Calendonia. It is also known as the purple firefish and is found in depths from 82 to 230 feet.

The elegant firefish prefers hard, open bottoms of reefs, sandy patches and rubble, or in deeper water it is found on the outer reef drop-offs in strong current. When startled, they will dart into holes and crevices and are often found in pairs.

It is a popular species for captivity and prefers a reef aquarium and is resistant to diseases. If kept in a small tank, the elegant firefish could become territorial. Otherwise it is a fairly docile species. They are good leapers, so an aquarium hood is recommended.

The maximum length of the elegant firefish is three inches. The head is purple and body is either shades of white or yellow, gradually turning gray toward the tail. The fins have long bands of purple, red, black and orange. The dorsal (top fin) has seven spines and 27 to 32 soft rays. The anal (bottom fin near the rear) has one spine and 28 to 31 soft rays.

The main diet of the fish is zooplankton, larvae of copepods and crustacean.

Image Caption: Elegant firefish (Nemateleotris decora). Credit: TANAKA Juuyoh/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)