Mandarin Gobies are beautiful fish that can really brighten up your marine aquarium. However, many people underestimate how difficult it is to properly care for these marine fish.
Proper Mandarin Goby care requires that you can meet feed these picky eaters fed with a healthy supply of pods and frozen or live food. They are peaceful aquarium fish that gets along with a lot of other species but ensuring they remain healthy is the most challenging part.
Mandarin Gobies are not a fish for someone who is just starting in the hobby. They do require a little extra care that usually only someone very familiar with the hobby can carry out. Part of this is that you need to be able to supply your mandarin with nutrients all day, which is commonly done by keeping pods in your tank.
Keeping a pods farm in turn requires a refugium which also needs a sump, so as you can begin to see just on the equipment and ecosystem side of things, the mandarin is becoming a little needy. The real challenge is ensuring that enough pods are around all the time to keep your mandarin gobies happy.
Synchiropus splendidus is a relatively shy fish that isn’t going to start any conflicts with its tankmates. Synchiropus splendidus (Mandarin Goby or Mandarin Dragonet) is a reef-safe fish that mainly eats pods so it is important to have a steady stock of them. However, during feeding time, gobies will also eat Mysis shrimp or other shrimp if they want to but they shouldn’t be the goby’s main source of food.
They are slow swimming fish and can mostly be seen at the bottom of your reef aquarium.
Like any aquarium organism, Mandarin Gobies have needs within your reef aquarium beyond their food source.
Mandarin Gobies should have a temperature range between 75 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit.
The water parameters for Mandarin Gobies are comparable to many other reef fish.
A single Synchiropus splendidus should at least have a 30-gallon tank and that is because you need to be able to ensure there is enough live rock inside your reef aquarium for them to thrive. The live rock provides extra food for the goby to munch on.
Around 75 pounds of live rock is advisable for a Mandarin Goby. However, if you wanted to have more than one goby, you will need to keep a large enough tank to ensure the two gobies have enough space between themselves.
Just because the Mandarin Dragonet is a peaceful fish doesn’t mean you can load up their habitat with identical fish.
Synchiropus splendidus can generally get along with most other fish but there are some things you should watch out for.
Synchiropus splendidus or Mandarin Dragonet is typically a peaceful fish as long as it isn’t two males fighting over a female. That means the species get along with most other species of fish. It also doesn’t do well if it needs to compete for its food. It will let other fish gobble up their pods if it comes down to it. The Mandarin Goby is just a little too polite of a neighbor.
The largest sticking point in caring for a Mandarin Goby is their diet since it can be difficult depending on your setup to adequately provide for them.
Mandarins mainly will be seen feeding on copepods but can also consume some pellets, Brine shrimp, and Mysis shrimp. Live rock in your tank acts as a place for copepods to gather and other small organisms that your fish loves to snack on.
A retail store will often sell repacked feeders that come with copepods populations in them and sometimes other organisms that are great for the Mandarin goby’s diet. However, these feeders do not replace the need to establish a tank that can support a continuous copepod population.
There are two methods for acclimating fish. The method that you choose will depend on species and personal preference.
Being able to tell if your mandarin Goby is thriving is an important step in their care. You want to monitor their appearance and behavior closely. Is there anything growing on your goby’s scales? Is it acting erratically or going places that it has never gone before? Is it eating properly? Can you see its spine? These are all questions you want to ask yourself to get a general idea of how your fish’s health is good or not.
It isn’t exactly common but gobies can hump if they really want to. A potential factor in encouraging the behavior could be the flow of your aquarium. Remember that gobies prefer a lower water flow.
Though it isn’t normally a fish that needs to be quarantined before you introduce them to your reef aquarium, there can be times when you might want to quarantine them, like pellet training.
Acclimate them as you would to the main aquarium. You should provide some live rock if you can and pods if you don’t plan on feeding them every day. Feeding is the most important thing, so if you aren’t pellet training, make sure you have plenty of pods and/or feeding them foods like Brine shrimp.
The main difference between all the Mandarins is their colors while their behaviors and preferences are all the same.
Green Mandarin Gobies come in blue, green, and orange colorings. Green Mandarin Gobies are some of the most common you will see in an online store
These dragonets are characterized by their spots or targets spread throughout their body. The colors overlapping as the circle gets smaller.
This type of mandarin fish gets its name from its colors that resemble something that someone might hang in their VW bus.
Mandarins are not large fish and will only grow up to about 4 inches on average.
Though you might not think there is much of a difference between the two, there can be a difference in how the two backgrounds affect the diets of the fish.
The wild gobies will more likely consume a wider variety of food like small snails and shrimp as well as pods. The wild-caught fish will prove to be more difficult to train to consume other foods besides pods once in captivity.
Getting your goby from a reputable breeder will ensure that you are getting a fish in peak health that will be ready to accept frozen and live food and be easier to train to consume other foods like pellets come feeding time.
The Marine Ornamental Aquaculture (ORA) has begun to offer some Mandarin fish and they are a reputable dealer that will sell you a fish in peak health. You can also look into the Biota Group for your fish needs too.
However, you don’t need to buy directly from the breeder for your fish needs. Depending on your location it might be more financially feasible to try a reputable retail store to get your fish from.
However, some of them might be more expensive but some might also provide free shipping. make sure you consider all the factors before you make your final purchase. For instance, most retailers will provide their mandarin fish for 99 dollars but Live Aquaria has theirs listed for over 150 dollars. Of course, the type and coloration matter too.
Algae Barn provides the option to get either a male or female for only 99 dollars though they don’t offer free shipping, they do have multiple shipping options. Buying from a reputable captive-bred dealer or breeder can make caring for your fish much easier than buying one that was wild caught in its natural habitat.
Mandarin Dragonettes are amazingly beautiful fish but are only recommended for more advanced saltwater aquarium owners due to their diet usually consisting of live copepods that flourish well enough to replenish their supplies on their own.
Having copepods grow well enough in your aquarium to not get their numbers decimated by a single Mandarin requires a large aquarium of at least 90 gallons. Some have had luck in smaller tanks by dosing copepods regularly using a subscription from AlgaeBarn.com.
It’s possible to get them to eat frozen food and pellets but is very difficult with a wild-caught Mandarin. Even some captive-bred Mandarin may need extra help with diets other than copepods.
If you’re going to make an attempt to home this fish in your aquarium make sure you’re prepared to properly care for it.
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