Synchiropus Splendidus (Mandarin Dragonet)

Synchiropus splendidus

Last updated on June 29th, 2022 at 10:48 pm

The Synchiropus splendidus, also known as the mandarin dragonet, dragonet fish, or the mandarin fish, is a saltwater fish that’s native to Japan, China, and Taiwan. When kept in captivity, this bright orange fish can grow up to 3 inches long and can live up to 10 years when properly cared for. But before you bring one of these interesting fish home with you, make sure you know how to care for it first!

Mandarin dragonet is a fish native to the east Indian Ocean and the west Pacific Ocean. This hardy and easy-to-care-for fish makes an excellent addition to any saltwater aquarium and has become popular with many hobbyists in recent years thanks to its beautiful orange and blue coloration.

A beautiful and colorful fish, the Synchiropus splendidus is an excellent addition to aquariums of any size, especially those with live plants or other small animals such as shrimp and snails. This hardy, peaceful fish has no special diet requirements and only needs a tank that provides plenty of live rock for grazing and hiding places to make it feel secure.

They are one of the most stunning fish in the saltwater hobby, and despite their small size, they can make wonderful additions to reef aquariums with the right care.

If you’re considering getting some Synchiropus splendidus, here’s what you need to know about how to care for these beautiful fish.

Origin and descriptions

Synchiropus splendidus

Synchiropus splendidus is a striking orange, blue, and black fish from southeast Asia that can be kept in a reef aquarium. It’s not very picky about conditions and has been known to live for up to seven years in captivity. They grow up to 3 inches long and will eat flake food and frozen mysis shrimp.

The mandarin dragonet was first described by Bloch & Schneider in 1801 as Gobius splendidus. Later authors moved it into different genera before it was placed back into Gobius by Günther in 1870. It’s also sometimes called an orange-spotted goby, though it isn’t closely related to true gobies.

Cirrhilabrus rubripinnis (Redfin wrasse)

Species profile

The mandarin dragonet belongs to the family Callionymidae, which contains over 500 species of fish. These fish are popular with aquarium hobbyists because they are generally hardy and peaceful. While some species can be territorial, others are very social and will thrive in a community tank.

Most members of Callionymidae have rounded bodies that resemble a disc or oval shape, although there are exceptions such as Synchiropus splendidus. They are native to tropical waters off Australia and Papua New Guinea. They live at depths between 20-50 meters (65-165 feet) where they feed on small crustaceans and planktonic organisms.

Common names

The common names of the Synchiropus splendidus are dragonet fish, mandarin dragonet, mandarin fish, mandarin goby, or just dragonets.


The mandarin dragonet is found in coral reefs, usually in pairs or schools. These are very active fish and will eat all types of foods that they can catch. They are also very aggressive towards other species in their habitat. It is better to keep more than one mandarin dragonet per tank if you want to keep them with other fish.

The right temperature for these fish should be between 74 degrees Fahrenheit and 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Water conditions are important as well. You must maintain a specific pH level and use marine saltwater when setting up your aquarium.

Synchiropus splendidus size

These species are small, reaching only around 3 inches (7.6 cm) in total length.

Synchiropus splendidus tank size

Due to their small sizes, the minimum recommended tank size is 30 gallons (114 liters).

Tank requirements

A juvenile mandarin dragonet may be kept in a tank as small as a 15-gallon aquarium. As adults, they can become territorial and aggressive toward fish of similar body sizes, so they need ample room to swim when they reach maturity. An adult mandarin dragonet needs a tank between 30 and 40 gallons that contains plenty of hiding places like rocks or rock caves to feel secure.

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The tank should also have gentle water flow through part of it. Keep in mind that because these fish are so active, you’ll need to change about 20 percent of your tank’s water every week. Be sure to use an efficient filter for the best results. These dragons will appreciate some dim lighting, too.

If you decide to keep more than one mandarin dragonet in your tank, make sure each one has its own cave where it feels safe. It’s also a good idea to provide them with many different types of food at all times.

You can feed them frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms, and live worms—just be careful not to overfeed them, since their activity level is high enough without extra calories! They might try to eat smaller fish if they get hungry enough.

Tank mates

Synchiropus splendidus should not be kept with very large or aggressive fish, but they generally get along well with other small and peaceful community fish. Some good tank mates are gobies, blennies, dartfish, fairy wrasses, Green Chromis, Pajama Cardinals, Firefish, Small Damselfish, Royal Grammas, Clownfish, Coral Beautys, Watchman Goby, and pygmy angels.

Because of their shy nature, it’s a good idea to keep them in a species-only aquarium; if you do want to mix them with other species of fish, make sure there aren’t any territorial issues that might cause problems for your dragonets.

Synchiropus splendidus breeding

Synchiropus splendidus

Synchiropus splendidus has a unique spawning ritual that involves the courting of the female fish by the male. The pair will circle each other in preparation for mating. When ready, they will release their eggs and sperm into a sandy area where fertilization occurs. The eggs are then left to incubate for about 3 days before hatching.

If there are no problems with predators or other environmental factors, all of these steps should occur within a few days. Once hatched, young mandarin dragonets are on their own; parents do not provide any care for them after birth. It takes about 2 months for them to mature enough to be sold as pets, but it can take up to 4 months if water conditions are poor.

Acanthurus Triostegus (Convict Tang)

They can grow up to 3 inches long, but most pet owners keep them between 1 and 2 inches long so they’re easier to care for.

Are they aggressive or peaceful?

Dragonets tend to be peaceful fish and don’t often show aggression towards other aquarium residents, they are slow-moving creatures that are sometimes harassed by semi-aggressive and aggressive fish species.

However, they may nip fins if they are kept with active or aggressive species, such as bettas or angelfish. As a general rule, it’s best to avoid housing different types of fish together if you aren’t sure how they will react.

Synchiropus splendidus care

Synchiropus splendidus

Synchiropus splendidus require a lot of specific care to thrive in captivity. They should be kept in tanks with at least 30 gallons of water, which should be circulated by an efficient filtration system. The aquarium water should be maintained between 76 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit; even slight fluctuations can cause stress for these fish.

Water chemistry also needs to be carefully monitored, as it will affect your dragonet’s health. These fish prefer low-flow environments, so a low-powered filter or sponge filter is ideal for them. Like many other saltwater species, they enjoy hiding places like caves or overhangs that allow them to retreat when they feel threatened.

Synchiropus splendidus diet

Like most dragonets, mandarin fish enjoy a carnivorous diet. They are known to eat small crustaceans and fish eggs. To supplement their diets, feed them brine shrimp, bloodworms, and mysis shrimp. These can be purchased at any pet store that sells saltwater fish. They also enjoy snacking on a variety of other invertebrates like ghost shrimp, krill, and amphipods.

Make sure to remove any uneaten food from your dragonet’s tank within 24 hours so it doesn’t rot and pollute your water. You may want to invest in an algae scraper for cleaning algae off of your aquarium walls.

The Blackbar Soldierfish (Myripristis jacobus)

Synchiropus splendidus lifespan

Synchiropus splendidus

Averagely, Synchiropus splendidus can live for 10-15 years if they enjoy good care and proper water chemistry.

Parasites and diseases

Like most fish, Synchiropus splendidus are susceptible to parasites and bacterial infections that can be easily treated. However, they are somewhat resistant to certain diseases such as Mycobacterium marinum and Cryptocaryon irritans.

If you own a mandarin dragonet, check with your vet before purchasing any other type of fish so you do not introduce disease into your tank. Make sure to quarantine new additions for at least two weeks prior to introducing them into your main tank. A freshwater dip or treatment may also help prevent disease transmission from one fish to another.


The mandarin is a small fish and therefore a popular target for many common saltwater aquarium predators. Larger angelfish, hawkfish, larger wrasses, butterflyfish, and other predatory species have all been known to pick off a mandarin in an aquarium. If possible, it’s best to keep your mandarins in schools of at least three or more individuals.

Do Synchiropus splendidus make good pets?

Sure, these small and colorful fish make great pets! However, they do require some specialized care. To keep your mandarin fish happy and healthy in captivity, it’s important to provide a tank with plenty of space for swimming as well as hiding places for when your pet feels threatened or stressed out by its surroundings.