Mandarinfish/Dragonets (Callionymidae)

Mandarinfish And Dragonet Family Characteristics:

Mandarinfish and the related dragonets are small, mostly bottom dwelling species that often bury themselves in the sand during the day. Sometimes they will perch on a firm surface not too far away from the aquarium floor.

Identifying the sex of these fish is fairly straightforward, males have longer dorsal and anal fin extensions and brighter colors than females. The eggs are scattered in open water, and are normally described as pelagic (in contrast to demersal eggs, which are deposited on a surface). Although this behavior has been observed in aquariums, no fry have yet been raised.

Diet And Feeding:

Members of the Callionymidae family feed predominantly on small marine animals, such as crustaceans, that live among the debris on the seabed. An established aquarium with a good population of micro-organisms, and the occasional supplement of rotifers or brineshrimp nauplii, is essential for these fishes.

Aquarium Behavior:

Mandarinefish should be kept singly or in matched pairs. They are ideally suited to a quiet aquarium containing fish of a similar disposition. Seahorses make suitable companions. Avoid bare tanks housing large fish as these very rarely provide the best conditions for the comfort and welfare of these species. Avoid buying badly emaciated specimens as they usually fare very poorly.

List Of Popular Aquarium Mandarinfish And Dragonets:

  • Psychedelic Fish, Spotted Mandarinfish (Synchiropus picturatus)
  • Green Mandarinfish (Synchiropus splendidus)
  • Red Mandarin (Pterosynchiropus splendidus)
  • Red Scooter Dragonet (Synchiropus marmoratus)


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