Green Mandarin Dragonet - Synchiropus splendidus
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The green mandarin dragonet, sometimes mistakenly referred to as a mandarin goby, is arguably one of the most beautiful and flashy species commonly available in the marine aquarium trade. It features swirling patters of reds, greens, blues, and yellows that are sure to catch the eye. They are easily sexed as adults, with the male displaying a taller pointed dorsal fin.
The green mandarin is a difficult fish to keep due to their highly specialize diet. They feed almost exclusively on copepods, a tiny arthropod that occurs naturally in most marine aquariums, and will usually reject all other foods to the point of starvation. For this reason, despite it's small adult size of 3", it's recommended to keep these beautiful fish in tanks of 100 gallons or larger with lots of rock to ensure a sufficient population of copepods. Live copepods are commercially available, but mandarins are require hundreds per day to maintain their weight. Other than dietary concerns, they make for very hardy, gentle, reef safe, and beautiful additions to your tank at an affordable price.
As previously stated, mandarins have a highly specialized diet of copepods. While it is possible to get them trained on prepared frozen foods, it's highly suggested to keep them in a large enough tank to graze on copepods.