Resident Aquarium Nerd
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Murfreesboro, TN
If it makes you feel better, they probably weren't gasping for breath. Dragon gobies are filter feeders so they pump water through their mouth like that in order to find food (although, sadly, I highly doubt they were being fed properly). They're also rather sedentary and don't need a lot of room.
It's good that you didn't buy them. Dragon gobies tend to do poorly in captivity unless a specialized species-only tank is set up (and even then, it's hit or miss...guess it depends on how starved the fish is already). The best thing we can do is NOT buy them so that there's no demand for the fish (which would mean stores would stop stocking them).
I have to admit, unfortunately, that I tried keeping one once (they're my mom's favorite fish, haha). It did better than most, I suppose, since we got it eating prepared foods and it lived for a year. But a year is a short time for most gobies and I know that it probably died prematurely. I wouldn't try again unless maybe it was the only fish in the aquarium and I had a number of small, live food cultures. I seriously regret getting that fish, I had no idea just how difficult they were.
"We weep for a bird's cry, but not for a fish's blood. Blessed are those with a voice."
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