Spotted Mandarin Dragonet

Synchiropus picturatus

(0 Reviews)

Spotted Mandarin Dragonet

Spotted Mandarin Dragonet

Synchiropus picturatus

(0 Reviews)

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Spotted Mandarin Dragonet Care Facts

Size: 2-2.5 inches
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Peaceful
Reef Safe: Yes
Diet: Copepods
Origin: Indo-Pacific
Acclimation Time: 3+ hours
Minimum Tank Size: 30 Gallons
Coral Safe: Yes
Invertebrate Safe: Yes

The Spotted Mandarin Dragonet, Synchiropus picturatus, also known as the Picturesque Dragonet and the Spotted Mandarin Goby, is one of the most beautiful fish in the entire marine aquarium trade. The Spotted Mandarin Dragonet exhibits a vibrant green scaleless body with beautiful blue/green/red spots across. Male Spotted Mandarin Dragonets also have a large pointed dorsal fin. They are best kept in tanks with plenty of live rock and a sandy substrate. They are a staple in the marine aquarium trade but they can be fickle in their feeding habits. They mainly feed on amphipoda and copepods and can be quite picky. These organisms can be found naturally in larger reef tanks but you should also have supplements to ensure they are fed enough.


Keeping the Spotted Mandarin (Synchiropus picturatus) in Your Saltwater Aquarium

The Spotted Mandarin, scientifically known as Synchiropus picturatus, is a captivating and unique marine species that can be a rewarding addition to your saltwater aquarium. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide essential information on caring for Spotted Mandarins, 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 Spotted Mandarin from is a wise choice.

Habitat and Natural Range of the Spotted Mandarin

Spotted Mandarins are native to the Western Pacific Ocean, particularly the waters of Indonesia and the Philippines. These fish inhabit shallow coastal reefs, lagoons, and other areas with a wealth of live rock structures, sandy substrate, and various coral species. The presence of these elements in their habitat plays a crucial role in their survival.

Reef Compatibility of the Spotted Mandarin

Spotted Mandarins are considered reef-safe. They have a minimal impact on corals and invertebrates, which makes them an excellent choice for reef aquariums. Their presence can even contribute positively by helping control the population of small crustaceans and unwanted pests.

Size and Lifespan of the Spotted Mandarin

Spotted Mandarins are relatively small, 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. They can live for up to 10 years with proper care, providing long-term enjoyment to aquarium enthusiasts.

Diet in Captivity for the Spotted Mandarin

Spotted Mandarins primarily feed on tiny crustaceans, copepods, and amphipods in their natural habitat. Captive Spotted Mandarins require a similarly varied diet. To ensure their health in a saltwater aquarium, it's essential to provide a well-rounded diet that includes:

  • Live Foods: Live copepods and amphipods should be a staple in their diet. Cultivating a self-sustaining population of these small invertebrates within the tank can be 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 Spotted Mandarins 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 of the Spotted Mandarin

Spotted Mandarins are not commonly aquacultured but are available through reputable suppliers like By acquiring them from trusted sources, you ensure the specimens have been well-acclimated for aquarium life.

Compatibility of the Spotted Mandarin with Other Fish and Invertebrates

Regarding compatibility with other tank mates, Spotted Mandarins can be a bit particular due to their dietary preferences and gentle nature. To create a harmonious community tank with a Spotted Mandarin, consider the following guidelines:

  • Cautious with Aggressive Eaters: Avoid housing them with aggressive or overly competitive feeders that might outcompete the Mandarins for food.
  • Peaceful Community: Opt for tank mates that are equally peaceful and non-aggressive to minimize stress for the Spotted Mandarins.
  • Predator-Free: Keep them in a tank with fish species that won't view the Mandarins 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 Spotted Mandarins can be sensitive to fluctuations.

Sexual Dimorphism of the Spotted Mandarin

Spotted Mandarins do not exhibit sexual dimorphism until they are of breeding age, so distinguishing males from females based on physical characteristics can be challenging when they are young or small. Adult males will have a large pronounced pointed dorsal fin while females will have a smaller rounder dorsal fin.

Juvenile to Adult Coloration Changes

Juvenile Spotted Mandarins are renowned for their vibrant, striking colors. 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 Spotted Mandarins is a significant attraction for aquarists.


Spotted Mandarins are known for their peaceful and non-aggressive nature. They are relatively slow swimmers and spend their time exploring the nooks and crannies of live rock structures, which adds a unique dimension to the aquarium.

Tank Requirements of the Spotted Mandarin

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

  • Minimum Aquarium Size: A tank with a capacity of at least 30 gallons is suitable for a single Spotted Mandarin. If you plan to keep a pair, opt for a larger tank to provide adequate space for both fish.
  • Substrate: Utilize a fine sand substrate that allows the Mandarins to sift through it in search of tiny invertebrates.
  • Live Rock: Create a habitat with plenty of live rock to provide hiding spots and opportunities for foraging.
  • Tank Lid: It's recommended to have a tank lid in place, as Spotted Mandarins are prone to jumping. An open-top tank can result in their escape, which could be detrimental to their well-being.

Water Conditions for the Spotted Mandarin

Spotted Mandarins require specific water conditions to thrive. Maintain the following parameters:

  • pH: Maintain a pH level between 8.1 and 8.4.
  • Salinity: Keep 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: Spotted Mandarins prefer low to moderate water flow to ensure they can swim comfortably and feed efficiently.

Common Names of the Spotted Mandarin

Spotted Mandarins are also known by various common names, including the Psychedelic Mandarinfish, Green Mandarinfish, and Picture Dragonet.

Why Choose the Spotted Mandarin from

Choosing to acquire Spotted Mandarins from offers several key benefits:

  • Healthy Specimens: is committed to providing customers with robust, healthy Spotted Mandarins that have been well-acclimated to aquarium life.
  • Responsible Sourcing: By choosing, you support responsible sourcing and ethical collection practices for marine species.
  • Expert Advice: offers expert guidance and support to help you provide the best care for your Spotted Mandarins in your saltwater aquarium.

The Spotted Mandarin (Synchiropus picturatus) is a captivating and visually stunning addition to a saltwater aquarium. Renowned for their vibrant colors, unique patterns, and peaceful temperament, they can be a delightful choice for marine enthusiasts. Acquiring the Spotted Mandarin from guarantees access to healthy specimens and expert advice to ensure their well-being in your aquarium.

Reviewed by: Matthew Dupree on March 5, 2024

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