Red Mandarin Goby

Synchiropus splendens

(2 Reviews)

Red Mandarin Goby

Red Mandarin Goby

Synchiropus splendens

(2 Reviews)

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Red Mandarin Goby Care Facts

Care Level: Expert
Temperament: Peaceful
Diet: Carnivore
Reef Safe: Yes
Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Max Size: 3 inches
The Red Mandarin Goby, Synchiropus splendens, also known as the Red Mandarin Dragonet, is a variation of the classic blue and greed Mandarins. They have a hypnotic red, blue, and green labyrinthine patternings across their entire bodies. The Red Mandarin Goby is exceedingly popular as it is relatively difficult to find in the aquarium hobby. Like their relatives, the Red Mandarin Goby has a sexual dimorphism making it easy to tell the difference between males and females - males have an elongated first dorsal spine. Two Red Mandarin Gobies of the same sex should not be housed together. 
The Red Mandarin Goby should be kept in a tank  with a plenty of live rock and a sandy substrate. They can be housed as individuals or in a pair. 

Keeping the Red Mandarin Goby (Synchiropus splendens) in Your Saltwater Aquarium

The Red Mandarin Goby, scientifically known as Synchiropus splendens, is a captivating and distinctive marine species that can be a rewarding addition to your saltwater aquarium. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide essential information on caring for Red Mandarin Gobies, covering their habitat, reef compatibility, size, lifespan, dietary needs in captivity, availability through aquaculture, compatibility with other marine species, sexual dimorphism, changes in coloration from juvenile to adult stages, temperament, specific tank requirements, and precise water conditions. We will also list common names for this species and explain why acquiring the Red Mandarin Goby from is a wise choice.

Habitat and Natural Range of the Red Mandarin Goby

Red Mandarin Gobies are native to the Western Pacific Ocean, particularly the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia waters. These fish inhabit shallow coastal reefs, lagoons, and other areas with a wealth of live rock structures, sandy substrate, and a wide variety of coral species. The presence of these elements in their habitat is essential for their survival.

Reef Compatibility of the Red Mandarin Goby

Red Mandarin Gobies are widely recognized for their reef-safe status. They have a minimal impact on corals and invertebrates, which makes them an excellent choice for reef aquariums. Their presence can even be advantageous by helping control the population of small crustaceans and unwanted pests, contributing positively to the overall ecosystem within the tank.

Size and Lifespan of the Red Mandarin Goby

Red Mandarin Gobies are a relatively small species, typically reaching an average size of 2.5 to 4 inches (6.35 to 10.16 centimeters). Despite their small stature, they can have a substantial lifespan in captivity. With proper care, they can live for up to 5 years, providing long-term enjoyment to aquarium enthusiasts.

Diet in Captivity for the Red Mandarin Goby

Red Mandarin Gobies feed on tiny crustaceans, copepods, and amphipods in their natural habitat. For successful care in a captive setting, it is crucial to replicate their natural diet as closely as possible. To ensure their health in a saltwater aquarium, it's essential to provide a well-rounded diet that includes:

  • Live Foods: Live copepods, amphipods, and small invertebrates should be a staple in their diet. Establishing a self-sustaining population of these small invertebrates within the tank is beneficial.
  • Frozen Foods: Supplement their diet with high-quality, marine-based frozen foods like mysis shrimp and brine shrimp. Offer these in small quantities.
  • Pellet and Granule Foods: Some Red Mandarin Gobies can be trained to accept high-quality, small pellets or granules. However, this should complement their live and frozen food intake, not replace it.

Aquaculture and Availability

Red Mandarin Gobies are occasionally available through aquaculture. By acquiring them from reputable suppliers like, you can ensure that the specimens have been well-acclimated for aquarium life.

Compatibility of the Red Mandarin Gobywith Other Fish and Invertebrates

Regarding compatibility with other tank mates, Red Mandarin Gobies are generally peaceful but can be selective due to their dietary preferences and gentle nature. To create a harmonious community tank with a Red Mandarin Goby, consider the following guidelines:

  • Cautious with Aggressive Eaters: Avoid housing them with aggressive or overly competitive feeders that might outcompete the Goby for food.
  • Peaceful Community: Opt for tank mates that are equally peaceful and non-aggressive to minimize stress for the Red Mandarin Goby.
  • Predator-Free: Keep them in a tank with fish species that won't view the Goby as prey. Avoid large predators or fish with aggressive tendencies.
  • Diverse Diet: Ensure a tank environment with a consistent source of copepods and amphipods, as a steady natural food supply is crucial for their well-being.
  • Stable Environment: Maintain water quality and tank conditions, as Red Mandarin Gobies can be sensitive to fluctuations.

Sexual Dimorphism of the Red Mandarin Goby

Red Mandarin Gobies do not exhibit sexual dimorphism, so distinguishing males from females based on physical characteristics can be challenging.

Juvenile to Adult Coloration Changes

Juvenile Red Mandarin Gobies have strikingly beautiful coloration with vibrant red and blue patterns. As they transition to adulthood, their coloration can become more subdued, and they might display more intricate patterns and spots. The mesmerizing beauty of juvenile and adult Red Mandarin Gobies is a significant attraction for aquarists.

Temperament of the Red Mandarin Goby

Red Mandarin Gobies are known for their peaceful and non-aggressive nature. They are relatively slow swimmers who explore the nooks and crannies of live rock structures, adding a unique dimension to the aquarium.

Tank Requirements of the Red Mandarin Goby

To ensure your Red Mandarin Gobies thrive in your aquarium, it's essential to provide them with the following tank requirements:

  • Minimum Aquarium Size: A tank with at least 30 gallons capacity is suitable for a single Red Mandarin Goby. A larger tank should provide ample space for both if you plan to keep a pair.
  • Substrate: A sand substrate is ideal, allowing them to sift through it in search of tiny invertebrates and copepods.
  • Live Rock: Incorporate live rock structures into the tank to offer hiding spots and opportunities for foraging. A well-structured environment simulates their natural habitat.
  • Tank Lid: A tank lid is recommended, as Red Mandarin Gobies are prone to jumping. A secure lid prevents their accidental escape, which can be harmful to the fish.

Water Conditions

To keep Red Mandarin Gobies healthy and thriving, it's crucial to maintain specific water conditions:

  • pH: Maintain a stable pH level between 8.1 and 8.4.
  • Salinity: Keep the salinity levels at approximately 1.025.
  • Water Temperature: Maintain a stable water temperature between 72°F and 78°F (22°C to 26°C).
  • Water Flow: Red Mandarin Gobies prefer low to moderate water flow within the tank, allowing them to swim comfortably and feed efficiently.

Common Names for the Red Mandarin Goby

The Red Mandarin Goby is known by common names such as the Psychedelic Goby and Mandarin Dragonet.

Why Choose the Red Mandarin Goby from

Acquiring Red Mandarin Gobies from offers several advantages:

  • Healthy Specimens: is dedicated to providing customers with robust, well-acclimated Red Mandarin Gobies, ensuring their readiness for aquarium life.
  • Responsible Sourcing: By choosing, you support responsible sourcing and ethical collection practices for marine species.
  • Expert Guidance: offers expert guidance and support, helping you provide the best care for your Red Mandarin Gobies in your saltwater aquarium.

The Red Mandarin Goby (Synchiropus splendens) is a striking and captivating addition to your saltwater aquarium. Admired for their vibrant coloration, unique patterns, and peaceful temperament, they can be a delightful choice for marine enthusiasts. Acquiring Red Mandarin Gobies from guarantees access to healthy specimens and expert advice to ensure their well-being in your aquarium.

Fairly healthy looking fish, got a male which makes me happy since my other dragonets are females. Nice size as well. Hasn’t settled in enough to want to eat yet, but this one has a shot to make it considering it looks fairly plump and healthy.

Reviewed by: Amber Greenetz on Feb. 23, 2022

The Red Mandarin Goby was received in great shape and has added life to my saltwater aquarium. Thanks

Reviewed by: Noel Henricks on Sept. 12, 2021

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