The Spotted Mandarin, also referred to as Target Mandarin, is a member of the family Callionymidae that grows to a maximum length of 3”. They originate in the Western Pacific from the Philippines, eastern Indonesia, and northwest Australia. In the wild they are found on sandy bottoms hovering over rubble below coral heads. In the aquarium, provide them with plenty of rockwork in which to hunt and hide.
Spotted Mandarins have light green bodies with unique turquoise, black and orange bull’s-eye patterns. Their face masks have beautiful turquoise and orange stripes. They can be kept in mated pairs or singly.
The striking colors and patterns of the Mandarin make them one of the most popular and common marine aquarium fish on the market, but the wild-caught specimens have a reputation as being difficult to feed and maintain. Those concerns are resolved as captive bred Mandarins have been raised on a variety of prepared foods such as: Nutramar Ova, finely chopped Hikari Frozen Blood Worms, fish roe, frozen or live baby brine shrimp, frozen daphnia. Hobbyists of all levels can now own and enjoy these easy to keep Mandarin Dragonets thanks to the research and production efforts.
As they grow, both in size and comfort of your tank the captive bred mandarins will start going more readily after prepared foods. When they are around 1 inch in size (the size we typically ship them at) you will need to feed a very small food as their mouths are not large enough to fit the foods we regularly feed our tanks. We have great luck using a mix of frozen blood worms and PE 1mm Pellets. As they hunt around your tank for pods they will also pick at both the pellets and blood worms.
Synchiropus picturatus is a peaceful fish that will fare best in the established reef tank provided there are no aggressive tank mates that may compete for food.