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Mandarin Identification FAQs 

Related FAQs: Psychedelic "Gobies"/Dragonets/Mandarins & their Relatives 1, Mandarins, Mandarins 3Mandarin Behavior, Mandarin Systems, Mandarin Selection, Mandarin Feeding, Mandarin Disease/HealthMandarin Reproduction

Related Articles: Psychedelic "Gobies"/Dragonets/Mandarins, real Gobies & their Relatives,

Is this a normal scooter blenny? What's in a name? Scooter Blenny - 11/26/07 Hello, all. <Hi there, Jason.> I have been told by many that this is not a normal scooter blenny. <Depends on what you/they consider normal - which species, etc.> I always thought it was. <Understandable. Unfortunately, the term "Scooter Blenny" is not species-specific. That's the problem with common names. The little beauty you have is also known as a Scooter Dragonet, Ocellated Dragonet, Sailfin Dragonet, etc. Taxonomically speaking, it's known as Synchiropus ocellatus, which, according to Fishbase.org and ITIS, is a synonym for Neosynchiropus ocellatus. Although much variation in color/pattern can be seen, all fall under the same species. Please see this link, and click on the photo to the right for additional images: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php ID=7981&genusname=Synchiropus&speciesname=ocellatus.> I took this picture when the little guy was in flare up mode and really caught a lot of his detail. <I see - nice timing, great photo! It really is a little beauty!> He has many purple/blue sparkles and markings on his body and I guess that's what makes him different. Is this true or are they wrong? <You are all correct in that it is indeed considered a Scooter blenny, but now you can be more specific about which species! Either way, it's a beautiful little fish!> Thank you.
<You're very welcome -Lynn>


Mystery Dragonet   5/5/07 Hi I was wondering if you could help me identify this little Dragonet I bought a few days ago. He is about 3cm long and has a pale pink base color with green spots on his body and a couple of maroon spots on his dorsal surface, when his dorsal fin is raised it is black and yellowish green striped. I have sent the best picture I could get as he is quite small and does tend to hang about the rocks to the rear of the tank! I will of course get a better picture of him at some point in the future and send it to you as he is quite an oddity. <A better photograph would be very helpful> I know you shouldn't buy a fish that you don't really know very much about but he was in my local fish shop for a couple of weeks and he looked hungry! So I bought him as I have a decent live sand bed and live rocks and I also have a Starry Dragonet who is growing and eating well as I feed them a variety of frozen foods including Mysis, Krill and Copepods, also live Artemia and also there are little copepods in the tank for them both. <Hopefully your tank is large enough to sustain them both. These fish typically starve to death in captivity. You will need to replenishing the pod population in your tank on a regular basis. With some persistence and a lot of luck you may be able to train the new dragonet to accept some frozen foods. > I watch to make sure they get enough to eat although there isn't much competition for food as there is only one Ocellaris Clownfish who is a chilled out sort of character! I figured if my Starry is happy then I'm sure this one will be! And they get along well too because they have very different markings. I have looked on the net but the only one that comes close is Synchiropus circularis but it doesn't look colorful enough to me. <If you have not already looked on www.fishbase.org I would suggest you try doing a search on the genus Synchiropus and see what you come up with. Cheers, Faye
<Best of luck with your new dragonet, Leslie>
Mystery Dragonet follow up   5/5/07 Hi all! <Hi Faye> I emailed a few days ago regarding a Dragonet that I bought. <Yes I remember your email.> I have managed to get a slightly better picture of it, <Great, thanks for doing that!> he's really cute! <Yes indeed he is and very pretty as well! He certainly does look like a member of the Synchiropus genus. Do have a look at the various species within the genus Synchiropus on www.fishbase.org.> Thanks and feel free to use the pictures for whatever if they're clear enough, it would be a shame to not show other people this little dude! <OK thanks I will pass the photos on to Bob. Leslie> <<Where are they? B>

Mystery Dragonet follow up #2  - 05/16/07 I have checked out fishbase and the only one that comes close is a Circled Dragonet but I'm not sure. I have tried various and many searches on google using all Latin and common names but to no avail, there are plenty of copepods etc in my tank I check on a regular basis at night with a torch! And I also replace/top up my live sand regularly too. I said I didn't know much about this little Dragonet in particular but I do however know about Dragonets in general as I read as much as I could about them before I bought the Starry Dragonet I already had which has grown quite a lot since I bought him. <Well, sounds like he is doing very well then, eating and growing are both good signs.> I also plan on moving soon and will be purchasing a much larger tank which will have an abundance of live sand and rock, so they'll be even happier. <That sounds like an excellent plan.> I'll try to get a picture of him with his dorsal fin up he looks really good when he does that. <Yes those dorsal fins are amazing, thanks!> Thanks anyway, Faye <Your welcome! Sorry I couldn't be more help with the ID, Leslie>

Help identifying fish.  Ocellated or Scooter Dragonet (Synchiropus ocellatus)    2/16/07 <Hello Jessica and Randy!  Mich here.> Thanks for the great website.   <Welcome!> I've run across a fish that I'm unable to identify and though you may be able to help.  I was looking at the LFS and found a fish that is about 1.5" and listed as a scooter blenny.  When looking more closely, it definitely didn't look like a scooter blenny to me and I have had one in the past.  It sat perched on its pelvic fin.  Furthermore, it readily ate brine shrimp and then some frozen krill - very unusual for a dragonet if that is what it is. <Yes, I think you are correct with the Dragonet>   After talking to the guys at the LFS, I ended up taking the fish home with me and putting it into QT while I tried to figure out what type of fish it is.   <Yikes!  Always better to research first.  But good that you are researching period.> Both guys I talked to said they didn't think it was a scooter blenny, but they hadn't ordered it and it was the closest they could come up with. <Not a Blenny.> They also tried looking through the books they had and couldn't find anything.  I gave them a little bit for it and the guy said I could bring it back if I couldn't find our what it was or wasn't able to keep it. <Very impressive store policy!  Nice to hear.>   Anyways, here are some pictures: http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a240/techigirl78/top.jpg and http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a240/techigirl78/side.jpg .  Sorry they are blurry.  The head of the fish also has some very small, short hair like appendages on the skin, but can be seen when examining it close up.  I wouldn't usually bring something home I don't know much about, <Good to hear!> but this seemed like an exception since it wasn't ordered and LFS was at a loss.  Any thoughts?  Is it a dragonet, goby, sculpin, or something else?  Any help would be greatly appreciated. <A dragonet (Synchiropus spp.), I believe an Ocellated or Scooter Dragonet (Synchiropus ocellatus).  Ocellated, meaning having one or more eyelike marking, which in this case can be seen as the dark spot on the tail of the fish in your photos.> Thanks! Jessica and Randy P.S. I contacted you over a year ago about a coris venusta.  Just wanted to report he is still doing great and one of my favorite fish. <Oh!  Thank you for this update!  Good news is always nice.>   Thanks again!
<Welcome again!  -Mich>

Male vs. female mandarin I.D. 1/5/07 <Hi, Cathy. Graham here.> Is it possible for you to tell me if I am correct in identifying these two mandarins as a female and a male. <Yep. Where are the descriptions? Pix?> I have had the male for over a year and created a new attached (40 gal) seahorse tank to house a second (75gal reef) with the hopes to have them mate.   <An undertaking, to be sure.> I believe my new arrival is a female but want to make sure.   <The male and female Mandarin gobies are obvious in their differences. The male has a largely exaggerated anterior dorsal fin appendage that far outdoes the female's. her's is rather short and subdued. Sometimes, making this process harder though, is that males are more often collected for their color, and size...> They are not aggressive to each other but certainly not interested in each other either. <Well, give it time. Mating is opportunistic for the Mandarin goby, and if they tolerate each other without conflict, consider your quest halfway there.> Thanks for any info you can make. Cathy <You're welcome Cathy! Thanks for visiting! -Graham T.>

Scooter Blenny 12-01-05 Dear Bob (and/or crew): <Hello, Travis with you today.> I'm hoping you can assist me with a couple of questions. <I am hoping I can be of assistance also.> First, I have a 37g cube tank with a 15g sump, shallow (<2" cosmetic) sand bed, and 50# LR. It is a relatively young tank (<1yr), and has been an easy tank to start up - stable chemistry since just past the first week. All tests are currently optimal. <Sounds great.> I've been slowly stocking it with corals and fish, and it has a six-line wrasse and a royal Gramma so far, along with a couple of cleaner shrimp and a lot of snails (various sp.).  With that data out of the way, on to the questions: 1) We've fallen in love with a scooter blenny at our LFS. I did some reading (here and elsewhere) that states these fish are really dragonets, and so need more of everything than this system provides.  <This is very true.> I asked the seller, and he replied that these were not the same species, and wrote down "Petroscirtes temmincki".  <Sorry, I am not familiar with that name. I am familiar with the husbandry of "Scooters" though and they are a very demanding fish. They have the same requirements as a mandarin.> <<Is the taxonomic name of a scooter, a.k.a. the Striped Slimefish.. mmm.. delicious!  But, does it look like this animal?   Marina>>

Photo found via Google, no photo credits shown. MH

I can't find much information online about these, and that I can find seems to be non-authoritative.  <<I got this via Google Petroscirtes temmincki.  Some of these references do appear to be authoritative, though not written by scientists (science can't catch it all, that's where hobbyists come in).  Marina>> Is there any way to tell which species it is?  <<Take a look here: Synchiropus ocellatus & here - do any of these look like the fish? MH>> I don't have a picture, but the fish is a small brown (black) and white striped fish. When it gets 'excited' its face turns blue, and it flashes its top fin like a flag (very pretty pattern on that fin). <Sounds like a male.> When searching for that Latin name, some of the pictures look like different things entirely, so I can't be sure. LFS assures me that this little guy will be fine -- it isn't a dragonet. What's your opinion? <Ignore your LFS and go with your gut and educated mind.> 2) One of our corals (sold as "pipe organ", "Turbinaria sp.") seems unhappy -- once a week or so it will retract all (or most) polyps and stay that way for a day or two. It looks as good as ever when it re-emerges, and has good colour and extension. Is this normal behavior?  <It can be very normal.> Are there special care requirements for this coral? <You will want to make sure you keep your water pristine and run carbon as many polyp corals are sensitive to toxins. The toxins could be causing the polyps to close.> I'm grateful for any advice you can offer. <Always glad to help.> Matt

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