Usually found in a dazzling array of patterns and colors, the Spotted Mandarin will greatly improve any tank. They are normally docile fish and with time, can adapt to a number of unique environments. The following tips with help you create optimal conditions for this distinctive fish to thrive.

Proper Acclimation is Essential for Spotted Mandarin

Like most species of the picturesque dragonet family, the Spotted Mandarin needs a good amount of tank space. A minimum tank size 30-gallons is recommended for one male Mandarin. No more than one male should occupy the tank at a time; otherwise, the normally passive fish will exhibit aggressive behavior. Up to two or three females per male are usually okay. Males have longer dorsal fins and their brighter colors make them easy to spot right away.

Plenty of fine-sandy substrates, rocky crevasses, and overhangs are necessary. Mandarins are bottom dwellers and will burrow into the sand or seek refuge in small caves and brush.  This is especially true for the first two to three days when acclimating to the new eco-system where stress levels are high.

Feeding Requirements of the Spotted Mandarin

Close attention should be paid to feeding these animals as it can be tricky. They have been known to become malnourished and die early, even if feeding regularly. Vitamin-enriched foods, including amino-acids, should be a consistent part of the fish’s diet. They will take to shrimp, black worms, and copepods particularly well. Spotted Mandarins have also been known to eat flatworms. Certain techniques such as isolated spot feeding may be necessary when first introducing these types of food. 

Live Rock

For the best survival success rate, introduce the Spotted Mandarin into mature aquatic environments that include live rock.

Live rock is vitally important in the balancing of the controlled eco-system of your marine aquarium. With naturally growing algae this provides breeding grounds for bacteria and small invertebrate, becoming a supplemental food source the Spotted Mandarin will seek out.

Spotted Mandarin Care Sheet

  • Care level:  Difficult
  • Diet:  Carnivore
  • Reef Compatible: Yes 
  • Water Conditions: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
  • Origin: Indo-Pacific
  • Family: Callionymidae
  • Tank size (minimum): 30 gallons



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