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The Mandarin Fish: a living work of art


The Mandarin fish ( Synchiropus splendidus) is suitable for marine aquariums. It is a species of the Callionimidas 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 Chinese imperial officials. It is also curious that it is devoid of scales.

For lovers of diving, seeing the mating of this species 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, since they are very territorial.


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

Its skin is covered with a film of foul-smelling and toxic fat, which could have the mission of repelling its possible predators.

In its wide 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 their bulging eyes, and their dorsal fin divided into two.

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

Perhaps the most striking, 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 ray is twice as long in males as in females. Y

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 in 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. Amoxicillin for fish  ampicillin for fish

Water Parameters

They do not tolerate very nitrogenous waters well. The conditions of the water, so that they are kept in optimal conditions are:

  • Temperature: between 75.2ºF and 80.6ºF
  • pH: Between 8.1 and 8.4
  • GH: 5th to 10th
  • Density: 1.025


The biggest challenge in keeping Mandarin fish in the aquarium is feeding, and acclimatizing to this aquarium life.

They are fish that in freedom are predators. In the aquarium they do not easily accept dead food, 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 food as well.

In captivity it also shows a predilection for filamentous green algae.

Behavior and Compatibility

They are quiet fish, which 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, what is really difficult is getting the fry to get ahead.

The courtship routine begins when the sun is about to set. For it to be successful in the aquarium, there should 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 releases 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.