Mandarinfish Profile

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Synchiropus splendidus 2 Luc Viatour.jpg

These little beauties are one of my favorite fish, so I decided to do a profile on them!

Common Names: Mandarinfish, Mandarin Dragonet

Scientific Name: Synchiropus splendidus

Mandarin Dragonets are often mistaken for gobies, which they look very similar to due to their body shape and size. They can be found from Japan to Australia.


Mandarin Dragonets are considered difficult to keep because of their demanding and specific diets. They eat mostly fish eggs, copepods, gastropods, and small worms.

Some Mandarinfish are picky and will only eat certain foods in the wild, never learning to adjust to aquarium standards. They must also be removed from a tank and put in a smaller, empty one for feeding, as males are territorial and aggressive towards each other, especially around food.

Feeding these fish is the hardest part about keeping them. A slightly more strenuous method is to get a good population of copepods going in your tank, and the Mandarin Dragonets will have a constant food supply, no feeding time needed.

You can also train your fish to eat Artemia and other frozen foods. Simply feed them live brine shrimp, then add Artemia with the frozen brine shrimp, decrease the frozen brine shrimp and increase the Artemia, and so on.

Tank Size and Requirements:

The Mandarin Dragonet must have a minimum tank size of 75 gallons per fish. They can grow up to 4 inches long, and are very peaceful (when not kept with other males) saltwater community fish. They do best when kept in male-female pairs, although you may end up with some eggs.


Mandarin Dragonets have been bred in captivity, though it is rather difficult. Your tank will need live phytoplankton and brine shrimp cultures.

So that was a short and sweet guide on Mandarin Dragonets! Hope you liked it, and if you’d like me to add anything, just tell me in comments!


So... what do you think? Please leave me a comment or give me a


  • Amber: Thats a very interesting fish. Did you find any information on why they have such large tank requirements for a reasonably small fish?
  • Snails: It’s because of their ridiculously aggressive nature, male against male. They will fight unless kept in a very large tank.
  • Newfishmom: What a beautiful fish and a very well written and organized blog. I give you.. 2 thumbs up.... or I would if I could find my thumb up button. Nice job.
  • Laryl: wow that looks like a photoshop dream instead of a real fish! excellent info, thank you!
  • amneris3: Yes, Snails did you take this picture?
  • Snails: Nope. It’s one of the license free photos.
    I seriously DID NOT photoshop it.
  • Laryl: LOL I sure didn’t mean to make anyone think you did, I’m a photoshop user from the dark ages so it’s a just a compliment to the fish’s beauty. it’s sure impressive!
  • Snails: Heh, it’s fine.
  • Leanne88: Such a shame they are difficult to keep.. I see these a lot in my LFS and i always say how much i love the look of them!
    I currently only have a 20 gallon as a kind of step into the saltwater world so im quite limited to what fish i can get! I hope one day to have a large tank.. Maybe in the future i could look into these stunning fish!
  • rpsp_07: nice blog snails :) what a awesome looking fish :)
  • Snails: Thanks guys! I really, really want to, but it’s insanely expensive to take care of them....
  • Bonnietaylor: Well written. What a pretty fish.
  • Snowman: That’s an unbelievable fish. It looks like it’s wearing a kimono. Really pretty! Nice description.

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