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Spotted Mandarin Dragonet
(Synchiropus picturatus) Expert Peaceful 4" 30 gallons 72-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025 Carnivore Western Pacific Callionymidae Dragonets Reef Compatible Due to its vivid coloration and abstract markings, the Spotted Mandarin Dragonet is also commonly referred to by the nickname of Psychedelic Mandarin; it is also arguably the most stunning "reef-safe" fish species in the hobby. Spotted Mandarin Dragonets can be found in the wild throughout the Western Pacific where they are constantly on the search for zooplankton within the many caves and crevices among shallow reefs. Spotted Mandarin Dragonets are very peaceful species and will get along well with other aquarium inhabitants that aren't too aggressive for them. Spotted Mandarin Dragonets demand pristine water conditions and require a well established aquarium in addition to a constant supply of live amphipods and copepods. Although the Spotted Mandarin Dragonet is a popular and spectacular species it isn't as hardy as most marine fish and should only be kept by expert hobbyists that can meet their special needs. They are readily available from online retailers, but aren't as commonly supplied at local stores. Spotted Mandarin Dragonets require an established aquarium of at least 30 gallons and must be provided with an abundance of live sand and live rock for grazing as well as hiding. They have a very small biological impact upon their environment, but require excellent water quality and should be provided with efficient, high quality biological and mechanical filtration in conjunction with a protein skimmer and a refugium (to support live zooplankton populations). They are a very peaceful species and should be kept with peaceful tank mates of a similar size as they can be picked on by more aggressive and territorial fish. Spotted Mandarin Dragonets are carnivores and constantly patrol the sand, corals, and the reefs in search of amphipods, copepods, and other planktonic food sources within their natural environment. A supply of live amphipods or copepods is required for their survival in the aquarium, but they can sometimes be conditioned to accept other meaty foods such as live, frozen, freeze-dried, and vitamin enriched brine shrimp, blood worms, and finely chopped mysis shrimp as well as small, Spirulina-based flake foods. They will eat zooplankton at their leisure, but feed other supplements once to twice a day if they are eventually accepted.
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Green Mandarin
(Synchiropus splendidus) Difficult Peaceful 4" 30 gallons 74-82° F, dKH 8-12, sg 1.020-1.025, pH 8.1-8.4 Carnivore Indo-Pacific, Australia Callionymidae Dragonets Reef Compatible Green Mandarin Dragonets or as they are also commonly referred to as Striped Mandarinfish or Green Mandarinfish have a very unusual pattern of colors that has made them a popular aquarium fish species. While this species is very beautiful, it does have some special care requirements including excellent water conditions and a live food source of copepods and amphipods. In the wild this species is found in shallow lagoons or bay environments, where it lives in areas covered with branching corals and encrusted rock. It hunts for small invertebrates among the algae covered rock and amongst the corals. This species is best suited for established reef aquariums and FOWLR aquariums with peaceful community fish species. Green Mandarins have a cylindrical body with an angular shaped head, with large pectoral fins. Their coloration is a unique pattern of blue, green, orange and purple stripes and dots, that run the entire body and finnage. The pattern is similar to that of the ancient Chinese Mandarin dresses, hence the common name for this species. Green Mandarin Dragonets require established reef aquariums or fish-only aquariums with an abundance of live rock & live sand and excellent water conditions in order to do well in the home aquarium. This species is considered difficult to keep mostly because it feeds primarily on live foods such as, copepods and amphipods. It is important to have lots of live rock & live sand and if possible a refugium in order to provide habitat for enough copepods and amphipods to live and reproduce in numbers large enough to provide a continual food source for the Green Mandarin Dragonet. This species also needs peaceful tank mates, as it will shy away from much larger more boisterous fish species. Green Mandarin Dragonets feed on small organisms living on live rock, such as, amphipods and copepods. This species should ideally only be kept in established reef or fish only aquariums with a large amount of live rock & live sand. They will also eat mysid shrimp, brine shrimp and live black worms, but this should be used to supplement their natural diet. Refugiums are beneficial for the Green Mandarin Dragonet, since they provide a sheltered area for amphipods and copepods to breed without being decimated by the fish population.
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