Sea Fish

Mandarin Fish

  • Scientific name: Synchiropus splendidus
  • Common Name: Mandarin Fish, Mandarin Goby, Dragon Fish
  • Aquarium size: 200 liters
  • Temperament: Calm
  • Temperature: 24ºC to 27ºC
  • pH: Between 8.1 and 8.4
  • Diet: Carnivores
  • Length: Up to 8 centimeters


Mandarin fish (Synchiropus splendidus) is suitable for marine aquariums. It is a species of the Callionimidae family .

This tropical fish
is very attractive due to its morphology and coloration , from which it takes its nickname: Mandarin fish, due to its resemblance to the robes of the Chinese imperial officers. It is also curious that it is devoid of scales.

For diving enthusiasts,
seeing this species mating is quite a spectacle, although you have to be willing to dive at sunset.

They are peaceful and suitable for a community marine aquarium, in which there should be no more males of their species, as they
are very territorial.


They are small fish, their cylindrical body devoid of scales, it does not measure more than 8 centimeters.

Their skin is covered in a film of foul-smelling and toxic fat, which could be used to repel potential predators.

In its broad and depressed head, we find a small
protractile mouth, in which several rows of very fine teeth can be found.

Also striking and distinctive are its bulging eyes, and
its dorsal fin divided in two.

It is a fish that moves along the seabed, as demonstrated by its ventral fins, adapted to facilitate its movement through the substrate.

Perhaps the most striking thing, and for what is a fish in such demand, is
its coloration with skin on a green background, with stripes in different colors: orange, blue, red, even yellowish.

Sexual dimorphism

Sexual dimorphism is very evident. Males have a larger dorsal fin than females, the first radius is twice as long in males as in females. And

the males also have a much brighter coloration, than the females.

Distribution and habitat

The Mandarin fish is native to the Pacific Ocean , in the Philippine Islands, Malaysia, Indonesia and also in Australia.
It usually lives on coral reefs, always close to the seabed, where it finds its food.

Aquarium conditions

They need a well-established and mature marine aquarium , with a minimum size of 200 liters.

They must be provided with spaces where they can take refuge, they are rather shy fish.

Water parameters

They do not tolerate highly nitrogenous waters well. The water conditions, so that they remain in optimal conditions are:

  • Temperature: between 24ºC and 27ºC
  • pH: Between 8.1 and 8.4
  • GH: 5th to 10th
  • Density: 1.025



The biggest challenge to having Mandarin fish in the aquarium is in feeding, and acclimatizing to this aquarium life.
They are fish that are predators in the wild. Dead food is not easily accepted in the aquarium, and that is a challenge, especially for beginners.
We can
feed it with live brine shrimp , which we must raise ourselves. It is not difficult, as long as we have the necessary preparations. Little by little we can get him used to eating frozen foods too.
In captivity it also
shows a predilection for filamentous green algae.

Behavior and compatibility

They are calm fish, which come to completely ignore other species. However, they are very territorial, they do not admit that there is another male specimen in the same aquarium, if they will admit without any problem that there is one or more females.


Getting the Mandarin fish to lay eggs in captivity is not too complicated, the really difficult thing is to get the fry to get ahead.

The courtship routine begins when the sun is about to set.
In order to be successful in the aquarium, there must be three to five females to one male.
After a long circular parade one of the females will accept the male.
The pair line up together, belly to belly, and rise to the surface.
At a limit point, the female releases her eggs and the male his sperm.
The fertilized eggs are at the mercy of the current.
From then on,
the eggs take between 18 and 24 hours to hatch.
During their first two weeks of life they feed on plankton.

Mandarin fish photos

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