Smallest Salt Water Fish

The smallest salt water fish is the dwarf goby fish. The smallest variants grow no longer than 1 centimeter.

Facts about the Goby

The goby (plural gobies) are comprised of more than 2,000 unique species, the dwarf being one of them. Most of the goby fish are small. However, there are some species that can reach lengths of 30 cm (12 inches).

Whatever their size is, they play a vital role in the food chain. These are prey for fish like flatfish, cod and haddock. For this reason, they play a role in the human diet. Some species of the smallest salt water fish are also kept as pets in aquariums. However, their small size makes them less attractive than other fish.

In terms of morphology, their most distinguishing feature is the fused pelvic fin that looks like a disc-shaped sucker. It is similar to the dorsal fin sucker of the remoras. There are used by gobies to stick to corals and rocks.


Some species of goby fish live in shallow tidal water. However, some variants live in swamps and rivers. The majority live in saltwater, but a few variants are able to survive in freshwater. This family of fish can be found all around the world.


This trait is common among numerous gobies. A symbiotic relationship is when two species interact in a manner that is mutually beneficial. For instance, the goby has a symbiotic relationship with shrimps.

The shrimp makes burrows that the goby can live in with the shrimp. The benefit for the shrimp is that it can detect danger. Some goby fish species have symbiotic relationships with certain parasites.


This is a subsection of the goby family. Their most distinguishing feature is the ability to survive over water for long periods. This is possible because they are able to breathe through their skin.

The mudskipper is also able to dig into the ground where there is moisture. These can only be found in tropical regions.

Goby Fish as Aquarium Pets

Just a few types of goby fish can be kept as aquarium pets. Majority of these are those that live in saltwater. It is best if only a few fish are kept in the tank.

The smallest salt water fish in the world isn’t the most popular aquarium pet. The most popular is the neon goby. Majority of them prefer to stay at the lower areas of the fish tank.

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