Gurnard Dragonet

Last time this was in stock, it was £35.00£69.00

Gurnard Dragonet, Dactylopus dactylopus

  • Name: Gurnard Dragonet
  • Scientific Name: Dactylopus dactylopus 
  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Diet: Carnivorous
  • Group Size: Generally alone or in a male and female pair. They can be territorial, so it’s important to provide adequate hiding places in the aquarium for each fish if keeping more than one.
  • Place of Origin: Indo-Pacific region.
  • Coral Safe: Generally Yes
  • Critter Safe: Generally Yes, can be species/size dependent

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Aquarium plants can be shipped under the same shipping rules as dry goods.

Free shipping on orders over £50 (may exclude some aquariums)  Geographical restrictions may apply

LIVESTOCK = Fish, Critters and Corals

Minimum order value £30Delivery charge £19.99. Delivery days Are Varied At The Moment.  We will contact you to confirm your delivery day. Some geographical restrictions apply See shipping

Aquarium Plants: Are shipped the same as and can be mixed with Dry goods *Free shipping on orders over £50 or £6.99 for orders under £50. Some geographical restrictions may apply.

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The Gurnard Dragonet, scientifically known as Dactylopus dactylopus, boasts a striking appearance which will almost certainly leave a lasting impression. This fish typically reaches a maximum size of about 3 inches (7.6 centimetres). Its body is elongated and adorned with beautiful, mottled patterns. The dorsal fin stands tall and resembles a sail, while the pectoral fins are enlarged, contributing to its unique appearance. This fish possesses finger like sensory organs under their pectoral fins. As a result, the fish appears to scuttle about.

Taxonomy and Identifying Features:

Belonging to the family Callionymidae, Gurnard Dragonets are closely related to other dragonets. The genus Dactylopus includes species with elongated bodies, large pectoral fins, and a distinctive dorsal fin resembling a sail. The scientific name “Dactylopus” is derived from the Greek words “dactylus,” meaning “finger,” and “pous,” meaning “foot.” This name alludes to their finger-like appendages.

Natural Habitat:

Gurnard Dragonets inhabit coral reefs and rocky substrates in the Indo-Pacific region. They thrive in clear, warm waters with temperatures ranging from 75 to 82°F (24 to 28°C). Their natural habitat is a kaleidoscope of colours, teeming with various corals and marine life. It features an array of hiding spots amidst coral crevices and rocky formations, providing a safe haven for these small, colourful fish.

Keeping Gurnard Dragonets Healthy and Care Difficulty:

Maintaining the health of Gurnard Dragonets requires intermediate-level care. They are sensitive to fluctuations in water parameters, so a stable environment is crucial. Provide a well-established aquarium with pristine water quality. A tank size of at least 30 gallons (113 litres) is suitable for a single fish or a male and female pair. These dragonets can be territorial, so ensure ample hiding places. Maintain water temperature between 75-82°F (24-28°C) and a pH level of 8.1-8.4.

Special Requirements and Feeding:

Gurnard Dragonets have specific dietary needs. They are carnivorous and primarily feed on small crustaceans and invertebrates. To ensure their well-being, offer a varied diet that includes live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp, and copepods. Additionally, consider providing a sandy substrate in the aquarium, as Gurnard Dragonets may sift through the sand in search of small prey.

How Many Should I Keep:

In most cases, it is advisable to keep a single Gurnard Dragonet in a tank, as they can be territorial and aggressive towards conspecifics. If you wish to keep a pair, ensure a spacious aquarium with numerous hiding spots to minimize potential conflicts. To avoid overstocking, adhere to the general guideline of one fish per 30 gallons (113 litres) of water.

Lighting Preference:

Gurnard Dragonets do not have specific lighting requirements. They adapt well to various lighting conditions found in reef aquariums, ranging from low to high light.

Suitable Tank Mates:

Gurnard Dragonets are generally peaceful but can be threatened by larger or more aggressive tank mates. Ideal companions include other small, peaceful fish that share similar water parameter requirements. Compatible tank mates may include clownfish, gobies, and other reef-safe species. Avoid housing them with predatory or territorial fish that might stress or harm the Gurnard Dragonet.

Reproduction in the Wild:

In the wild, Gurnard Dragonets, scientifically known as Dactylopus dactylopus, engage in unique reproductive behaviours. They typically reproduce through external fertilization, where females release their eggs and males release sperm into the water column. The fertilized eggs then drift in the currents, eventually hatching into larvae. The specific courtship and spawning behaviours of this species have been observed to vary in different regions of their natural habitat.

Breeding Dactylopus dactylopus:

Breeding Gurnard Dragonets in a home aquarium can be a rewarding but challenging endeavour. To increase the chances of successful breeding, follow these steps:

1) Set Up:

Begin by setting up a dedicated breeding tank, typically a smaller aquarium with a capacity of 10-20 gallons (38-76 litres). Maintain stable water conditions, including a temperature of around 78-82°F (25-28°C), a pH level of 8.1-8.4, and salinity of 1.022-1.025. Provide the tank with ample hiding spots and live rock for the dragonets to lay their eggs.

2) Courtship/Spawning:

Replicating the courtship and spawning behaviour of Gurnard Dragonets can be challenging. In the wild, courtship rituals involve intricate displays and dances. Males exhibit vivid colours and extended fins to attract females. While simulating this in captivity is difficult, providing a well-maintained tank with proper water conditions is essential.

3) Rearing:

Once successful spawning occurs, the challenge continues with rearing the larvae. Dragonet larvae are tiny and require specific care. They are usually fed with live, small zooplankton, such as rotifers and copepods. The larvae are extremely delicate and sensitive to water quality, so meticulous attention to water parameters and cleanliness is vital for their survival.

Sexual Dimorphism:

Gurnard Dragonets exhibit minimal sexual dimorphism. Both males and females share similar external appearances, making it challenging to distinguish between the sexes based on physical characteristics alone. This lack of distinct sexual dimorphism further complicates breeding efforts in captivity.


Gurnard Dragonets, Dactylopus dactylopus, originate from the Indo-Pacific region. Their natural habitat encompasses a vast area that includes the waters of the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean. Within this range, they inhabit coral reefs, rocky substrates, and areas with abundant marine life.


Gurnard Dragonets, scientifically known as Dactylopus dactylopus, are intriguing marine fish with unique characteristics. Reproducing them in a home aquarium requires attention to water conditions and a commitment to providing suitable breeding environments. While they exhibit minimal sexual dimorphism, the challenge of breeding and rearing these dragonets is offset by the satisfaction of successfully nurturing these captivating creatures. Originating from the Indo-Pacific region, their distribution spans a wide range of waters, making them a fascinating addition to marine ecosystems.


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Dry Goods Delivery.

The store has provided information regarding their order dispatch and estimated delivery times. Here are the key details:

  1. Dispatch Timeframe: Orders placed before 2pm will be dispatched on the same day. Orders placed after 2pm will be dispatched on the next working day.
  2. Delivery Date and Time Guarantee: While the store aims to dispatch orders promptly, they cannot guarantee a specific delivery date and time. As the delivery process relies on couriers, there may be factors beyond their control that could affect the delivery timeframe.
  3. 1st Class Mail: For orders sent via 1st Class mail, the aim is to have them delivered on the next working day after dispatch.
  4. 2nd Class Mail: Orders sent via 2nd Class mail typically take approximately 2-3 working days for delivery after dispatch.
  5. APC Next Day Delivery: APC Next Day delivery is available for UK mainland postcodes. It is usually delivered on the next working day after dispatch. However, please note that items being delivered to more remote areas may require additional time for delivery.

It’s important to keep in mind that while the store strives to provide efficient delivery services, unforeseen circumstances or external factors could potentially impact delivery times. For further details or specific inquiries about delivery, customers should refer to the store’s terms and conditions or contact the store directly.

Livestock Delivery.

The store maintains specific policies regarding the delivery of livestock. Here are the key points:

  1. Licensed Livestock Courier: The store exclusively uses a licensed livestock courier for shipping fish and coral. This approach is chosen to ensure responsible and ethical transportation of the livestock.
  2. Livestock Shipping Fee: The livestock shipping fee charged to customers of £19.99 does not cover the true cost, and therefore, there is a minimum spend requirement of £30.00 before the option for livestock shipping becomes available.
  3. Pre-Arranged Delivery: The store never ships livestock without first arranging a suitable delivery day. Before dispatching the livestock, the store must confirm the agreed-upon delivery day with the customer.
  4. Saturday Delivery Confirmation: Customers who choose Saturday delivery must have their availability confirmed for the upcoming Saturday before the store sends out the livestock. This confirmation ensures that the livestock can be received promptly.
  5. Failure to wait for livestock: Not waiting for livestock, even if there is a reasonable delay, or cancelling an order after it has been dispatched will lead to you incurring charges for an emergency return to the base. Additionally, any losses of livestock will also be charged to you. Please be aware that the items you are ordering are living creatures – livestock. We kindly ask that you refrain from ordering livestock if you are unable to accommodate the possibility of a delayed delivery.

    These terms and conditions are a fundamental aspect of our policy. Our primary goal is to dissuade individuals who could react negatively to a delayed delivery and subsequently request order cancellations. It is of utmost importance to underscore that your order pertains to living creatures, not mere inanimate objects. In the event of an occasional delay, it is crucial that you respond in a rational and responsible manner, taking into account the welfare of the livestock. We kindly request that you refrain from placing an order for livestock if you tend to react strongly to such situations. By proceeding with the order of livestock, you indicate your acceptance and agreement to abide by these specified terms and conditions.

  6. Signature Requirement: Livestock deliveries require a signature upon receipt and cannot be left in a safe location. This precaution ensures proper handling and the well-being of the livestock.
  7. Geographic Restrictions: The courier has strict geographic restrictions for livestock deliveries. Unfortunately, deliveries to Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man, Isles of Scilly, Channel Islands, and certain Scottish offshore postcodes may not be possible. Customers are encouraged to contact the store via email to confirm if livestock delivery is available in their area.
  8. Minimum Order Value and Order Cancellations: The store has a minimum order value of £30 for livestock shipping. Additionally, the store reserves the right to cancel orders that are deemed high-risk or involve a high number of single tropical freshwater fish species.

It is essential for customers to familiarize themselves with these policies before making a purchase. For more detailed information or specific inquiries, customers should consult the store’s terms and conditions or reach out to the store directly for clarification.

Livestock Geographical Exemptions.

The store has specific geographical exemptions for livestock deliveries. Here is a list of the areas and postcodes where livestock delivery is not available:

  1. Islands: Livestock cannot be delivered to the Shetlands, Channel Islands, and Isle of Man.
  2. Postcodes: Livestock delivery is not available to the following postcodes:
  • AB30 to AB39, AB41 to AB45, AB51 to AB56
  • DD8 to DD10
  • BT all
  • DG3 to DG9, DG12 to DG14
  • KA18 to KA19, KA26, KA29 to KA30
  • HS all
  • IM all
  • JE all
  • ZE all
  • KW15 to KW17
  • TD9
  • FK17 to FK21
  • GY all
  • KA26, to KA28
  • PA20 to PA38, PA41 to PA49, PA60 to PA61, PA76 to PA78
  • TR21, to TR25
  • PH3 to PH26, PH30 to PH44
  • IV all

Customers residing in these areas should be aware that livestock delivery is not available to their location.

We can ship livestock to the Isle of Wight, this area is subject to a surcharge.

For further information or specific inquiries about livestock delivery to a particular area, customers are advised to contact the store directly for clarification.


According to the store’s policy, customers have the right to cancel an order within 14 working days of receiving the goods. To initiate the cancellation, the goods must be returned to the store in new and unused condition, adhering to their Returns Policy.

Important points regarding the return process are as follows:

  1. Return Condition: The goods must be returned in new and unused condition, as originally received. It is important to ensure that the goods are in the same condition as when they were sent out.
  2. Return Timeframe: The goods must be received by the store within 21 days of notifying them about the cancellation. During this time, customers are responsible for any loss or damage that may occur during the return shipping process.
  3. Refund Process: Once the store receives the goods in new and unused condition, they will initiate the refund process. The purchase price will be refunded to the customer.
  4. Return Condition Inspection: If the returned goods arrive in a condition that is less than what they were sent out in, the store reserves the right to return the goods to the customer, and no refund will be processed.

It is essential for customers to carefully review the store’s Returns Policy and follow the specified procedures to ensure a smooth and successful return and refund process. For more detailed information or specific inquiries, customers should consult the store’s terms and conditions or contact the store directly.


According to the store’s return policy, the following guidelines should be followed for returning goods:

  1. Use Returns Form: Customers need to use the store’s provided returns form to initiate the return process. This form helps the store acknowledge that the goods are being sent back.
  2. Return for Testing: If the goods are being returned for testing, the customer is responsible for covering the return shipping expenses.
  3. Refund of Postage Fees: The store will only refund postage fees if the order arrives damaged or becomes faulty within the first 4 weeks of purchase. Proof of posting is important, and customers should ensure the goods are well-packed and obtain proof of posting as the goods remain their responsibility until received by the store.
  4. Refund of Postage Costs for Replacement: If goods are being returned within 7 days of purchase under the Replacement Policy, the store can refund postage costs. However, the customer needs to agree on a delivery service with the store in advance, and only standard or tracked shipping fees will be refunded. The store cannot refund the cost of any special delivery service.
  5. Non-Refundable Postage: Postage costs for goods returned for any other reason than those mentioned above are non-refundable. The store reserves the right to deduct the original postage cost from any applicable refund.
  6. Mistaken Purchases: If a customer has made a mistake in their purchase, they need to return the goods to the store. The customer is responsible for the return shipping costs in such cases.

It is important for customers to carefully follow the store’s return procedures and terms and conditions. For further details or specific inquiries, customers should refer to the store’s website or contact the store directly.


If customers receive faulty goods, the following guidelines apply according to the store’s policy:

  1. Notification of Faulty Goods: Customers must notify the store within 7 working days if they receive faulty goods. This notification should be made as soon as possible.
  2. Replacement Parts: If possible, the store will dispatch replacement parts for the faulty goods.
  3. Return of Goods: If replacement parts are not possible, the store may request customers to return the faulty goods in accordance with their Returns Policy. The specific return procedures and conditions should be followed.
  4. Verification of Damage: Once the store receives the returned goods, they will verify the damage. If the damage is confirmed, the store will supply the required replacements.
  5. Return Postage Costs: If the goods returned to the store are found to be in good working order, the store is not able to refund the return postage costs. Additionally, the store reserves the right to deduct their original postage cost from any applicable refund.
  6. Consequential Loss or Damage: The store cannot take responsibility for any consequential loss or damage that arises directly or indirectly from the goods supplied.

Customers should carefully review and adhere to the store’s Returns Policy and procedures for returning faulty goods. For further clarification or specific inquiries, customers should consult the store’s terms and conditions or contact the store directly.

Manufacturer’s Guarantees

The store works in collaboration with manufacturers to ensure that their guarantees are honored, and they make their best efforts to resolve issues within the warranty period. The following guidelines apply to refunds and replacements:

  1. Postage Costs under Manufacturer’s Guarantee: Postage costs can only be refunded if the goods are returned to the store within 7 days of the original purchase, as per the manufacturer’s guarantee.
  2. Refund of Postage Costs for Faulty Goods: The store will refund postage costs for guarantee/warranty returns only if the product becomes faulty within the first 4 weeks of receipt.
  3. Replacements with Manufacturer Authorization: Replacements, whether parts or goods, can only be offered when authorized by the manufacturer. Customers should contact the store for further guidance in such cases.
  4. Prior Approval for Returns: Goods should not be returned to the store without prior approval. Customers need to contact the store and obtain approval before returning any items.
  5. Replacement of Glass or Ceramic Items: Glass or ceramic items can only be replaced if the store is notified within 48 hours of receiving the delivery.
  6. Replacement of Glass Bulbs/Tubes: Glass bulbs or tubes can only be replaced if they become faulty within 14 days.

Customers should note and adhere to these guidelines to ensure a smooth and efficient resolution of any issues with their purchased items. For specific inquiries or further information, customers are advised to refer to the store’s terms and conditions or contact the store directly.


According to the store’s policy, customers have the following responsibilities regarding breakages:

  1. Checking Goods on Arrival: It is the customer’s responsibility to thoroughly check the goods upon arrival for any damage. This should be done before signing for the parcel. If the parcel appears damaged, it is advised not to sign for it.
  2. Reporting Breakages: Any breakages or damages must be reported to the store within 48 hours of receiving the goods. It is important to promptly notify the store to initiate the resolution process.

By carefully inspecting the goods upon arrival and reporting any breakages within the specified timeframe, customers can ensure that appropriate actions are taken to address the issue. For specific instructions on reporting breakages or further information, customers should refer to the store’s terms and conditions or contact the store directly.