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Info  Quick Care, Species Info, Aquarium Care & Photos
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Spotted Mandarin Dragonet
(Synchiropus picturatus)
Quick Care FactsCare Level: Expert
Temperament: Peaceful
Maximum Size: 4"
Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Water Conditions: 72-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Diet: Carnivore
Origin: Western Pacific
Family: Callionymidae
Species: Dragonets
Aquarium Type: Reef Compatible
Species Information
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.
Aquarium Care
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.
Feeding & Nutrition
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.
Additional Photos