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.
How We House Our Fish
All of our fish are housed in dedicated captive bred fish systems. Each of these systems is dedicated to a single breeder and used to house the captive bred fish we receive from them. Great care is taken to ensure these systems do not get cross contaminated. We only introduce new fish into these systems when receiving an order from that system's breeder.
We do this as it allows us to ensure our fish are pest free without the need for medications. However, should any pest turn up we can and will medicate these systems.
Medicating fish is hard on them and diminishes their overall health. While medicating is a good precaution to take with all wild fish, captive bred fish from a trusted breeder can forgo medications and ultimately will be much healthier because of it.
That being said, when exposed to a tank where pests are already present, likely from an unmedicated wild fish being in the tank, these captive bred fish are by no means immune and can be infected. So it's important that all wild fish introduced to your system go through a proper quarantine.
Observation and Inspection
Upon arrival all of our fish go through an observation period of one to two weeks, depending on how long their journey to our facility was. During the observation period, the fish are inspected to ensure they are eating, aren't showing any visible signs of stress or pests, and otherwise look healthy. If they pass our inspection, they will be made available on our website.