Interactions were investigated among five xerophilic fungi, Polypaecilum pisce, Basipetospora halophila, Eurotium rubrum, Aspergillus wentii and A. penicillioides, isolated from Indonesian dried salted fish. A range of water activities (aw) (0·98, 0·95, 0·90 and 0·84) and temperatures (15°, 25° and 30°C) were studied on agar media in Petri dishes, and with dried fish as a substrate at 0·90 and 0·84 aw at 30°C. Generally, the fungi exhibited one of two interaction types: mutual inhibition on contact, or inhibition of one or both species on contact, with the inhibited species continuing to grow at a significantly reduced rate. On glucose-based agar media A. wentii and E. rubrum were most competitive at all aw values and temperatures studied, while on NaCl media P. pisce and B. halophila were usually most competitive. The Petri dish system was a useful model, but did not completely simulate the interactions observed on dried fish. Polypaecilum pisce and B. halophila were able to compete more strongly on fish than on agar media, especially at 0·90 aw. This study provides some evidence that each species examined had a niche in which it was dominant, and that species interactions as well as environmental factors are important in determining the dominant fungal species on dried salted fish.