The striking colored Mandarin Fish or mandarin dragonet (Synchiropus splendidus), is a small, brightly-colored member of the dragonet family. Native to the Pacific from the Ryukyu Islands south to Australia, mandarin fish has orange wavy lines on a blue background, with blue as the dominant colour.
Mandarin Fish are reef dwellers and slow moving. They are picky eaters and feed primarily on small crustaceans (such as Mysids, isopods, amphipods and benthic copepods) and other invertebrates with abundance on live rocks.
Mandarin Fish can be easily sexed with the male tends to be larger and more robust than the female. The male’s caudal and soft dorsal fins are larger and have more orange coloration on it’s face. The male has an elongated first dorsal spine, long enough to actually reach the base of the caudal peduncle when laid flat. Male mandarins can only be kept singly or with other females in an aquarium.
Mandarin Fish lack scales and have a thick, slimy, mucus coating on their bodies, that makes them resistant to parasitic skin diseases.
Due to their feeding habits and sensitive to water quality, mandarinfish are not suitable for the beginners as they are considered difficult to be kept. They usually do best in a well-established reef with peaceful, non-aggressive species maintained by the experienced reef keepers.