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FAQs on Mandarins/Psychedelic "Gobies"/Dragonets/  Reproduction

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

Related FAQs: Mandarins, Mandarins 2Mandarins 3Mandarin Identification, Mandarin Behavior, Mandarin Systems, Mandarin Compatibility, Mandarin Selection, Mandarin Feeding, Mandarin Disease/HealthMicrocrustaceans

Mandarins reproduce often in the wild... and captivity... often w/o detection in the latter.

Red Mandarin Breeding     11/18/17
Hello, this is Jinoo Kim. So I plan to breed Red Mandarins, but I couldn't find much info online. I have a list of questions I want to ask.
1. How can I get a pair?
<You can sometimes buy them as such... though they don't form permanent pairs in the wild. Typically there are multiple males vying for a breeding female... or buy males, females or a group of juveniles as you mention below>
Do I need to buy multiple and pair them off?
<Again; they don't make determinate pairs>
Or can I just buy a male and a female?
<Ah yes. The successful accounts I'm aware of went the route of raising groups...>
I know the male has to be bigger though.
2. Is there anything I have to do to trigger the mating dance routine?
Temp., water parameters, light intensity, etc.?
<Just good conditions, including some branching Acropora...>
3. How many eggs will they produce?
<Dozens to a few hundred>
4. Can I keep the fry with the parents? Will the parents eat the fry or are they just picky eaters?
<Mmmm... you (apparently) could use a bit of reading. Do you have Matt Wittenrich's Microcosm tome "Breeder's Guide to Marine Aquarium Fishes"?
I'd get this AND read his article here:
5. How do I feed the fry after they depleted their yolk sac? Is Zooplankton good enough? How many times to feed a day?
<A few types of live foods have been used. This is included in the citations above; and I would locate copies of Frank Hoff's food culture works>
6. How fast will the fry grow to maturity?
<Slow... the fry are small, easily lost. Don't reach sexual maturity for more than a year>
7. Will the fry attain the red colors? Or is there a chance that they can be born with orange coloration?
<Are mostly the color of parents, though foods can shift a bit>
There might be more questions I want to ask, but these are the most important for me.
My tank setup is a 29 gallon standard. It is a macroalgae tank, so full of copepods and amphipods. There is just an air filter, tons of macroalgae for nutrient reduction. I have the Chinese black box LED, it's called the Mars Aqua 300w Dimmable (got it from Amazon, very high output light). I plan to put an IceCap 2K (with foam cover) for flow, right now running some powerhead. Pretty tall tank, however not sure if it's tall enough for the mating ritual. 0 ammonia and nitrites, >10 nitrates. Calcium is 400, Magnesium is 1300, and alkalinity is 10. I have a Snowflake Eel living in there temporarily, it will move to a much larger tank. It is just there to keep feeding the beneficial bacteria. Water is kept at 78-80 degrees. Tons of live rock, bare bottom. Ten gallon ready just in case I need to remove parents. Thank you.
Jinoo Kim
<Exciting! I'd be gathering the in-print works I've cited here; putting together food production means (not hard to do)... Please do contact me/us with your specific questions as you progress here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Red Mandarin Breeding     11/19/17

Thank for the article! It helped a lot!
<Ah, good>
I know I kind of asked a stupid question about keeping parents with the fry. I knew they weren't Mouthbrooders, but I was hoping they would take care of the fry like discus or some other fish.
<Are pelagic spawners... some folks utilize egg catchers of sorts and overflow the fertilized and not eggs into these toward the evening; sorting them next day>
Then, I realize that they just release eggs to the
surface. At least I'm prepared with foods and setup. However, you mentioned I need branching Acros? Why is that?
<Habitat... have seen this and some other Callionymid species breeding in the wild; always associated with branching stony corals>
I have an ugly birdsnest colony
sitting around in my predator reef, would that work?
Also, how can the fry
be easily lost?
<Small, deleterious environmental changes and lack of nutrition mostly.
Thank you.
Jinoo Kim
Re: Red Mandarin Breeding     11/19/17

Ok, final question. Could you possibly spawn without the acro?
<Yes... I'd place some non-living material. Use the words "Mandarin spawning YouTube" in your search tool. B>
I kind of don't wanna add corals to a macroalgae tank, I want it to be pure macroalgae. Plus adding Acros would just add another worry to my system.
However, it is truly needed, I will add the Acros. Thank you!
Jinoo Kim
Re: Red Mandarin Breeding     1/16/18

Hello again, this is Jinoo Kim and I am updating my progress with the breeding, but I have a few questions however. I have a pair of mandarins and they keep spawning. I was able to rear the eggs and put them in my
friend's Kreisel tank. However, it turns out that The father is a red mandarin, while the mother is a green mandarin but she is borderline red (like a drab red mandarin). What color will be the offspring?
<Are these both Synchiropus splendidus? I am guessing that the offspring will be a mix of the colors of their parents>
Will their color be a mix between the parents' color, or will there be a variety of green and red mandarins?
<The former>
Also, how long will the eggs hatch?
<... let's have you read:
Anyways, I am really liking the progress so far, now I just need to building something that can feed these guys through out the day with pellet foods. Maybe an automatic feeder, with a funnel that goes down to an acrylic box where food can be available and away from bigger fish. Kind of like Marc's mandarin diner, except it's ALMOST set and forget. Anyways, thank you for everything! I have never thought I would accomplish this far!
<Keep on going Jinoo! Bob Fenner>

Is this a male or female goby ?      11/18/14
Is this a male or female.. Thank you
<Appears to be the latter; males usually have an elongated, pointed dorsal fin. Bob Fenner>

Mandarin sexing     11/24/13
Hi Bob, I think this is a female just want a second opinion. I know she is thin I am still trying to fatten her up!
I will attach a photo.
<Appears to me as such; yes. BobF>

Mandarin dragonet possibly egg bound, and Epsom use f's     7/31/13
I have never asked a question on this forum before so I hope this is the right place.
<Indeed it is>
I have a spawning pair of spotted mandarins and I am worried that the female has become egg bound, is this possible?
The spawn regularly but recently the female has got huge and they do the rise but no eggs are released this has been going on for 2 weeks. Do you have any suggestions?
<Yes; either a bath (of several minute duration) of a teaspoon per gallon of Epsom salts added to system water (outside the tank) or these added directly to the system at the rate of a tsp. per 5 gallons system water.
Bob Fenner>
Mandarin dragonet egg binding    7/31/13

Thank you. will Epsom salts affect coral and inverts??
<Not overtly negatively at the proscribed dosage. See WWM re MgSO4 use>
 As they are tricky to catch and it is a big tank. Also what are the symptoms of egg binding?
<As you state, a cessation in spawning/egg release, bulging...>
 She hasn't gone off her food and is very greedy!
<Mmm, well; other causes appear similar... gut blockage (same treatment), tumorous growths... BobF>
Mandarin dragonet egg binding    7/31/13

Sorry to bother you again. Your help is greatly appreciated you said the dose is 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons in display tank is this us gallons or uk gallons
<Level teaspoons and either measure of "a gallon" is close enough. B>
Mandarin dragonet egg binding    7/31/13

I read that they are pelagic spawners and hold eggs so the always appear more rounded is that correct??
<Callionymids do rise toward the surface (toward sunset) and are spawners... external fertilization... Females are decidedly larger, a bit less colorful, their unpaired fins not as flowing... but do not appear rounded at all times. I've seen the species used in the trade many, many times there and the wild>
 Is it just the norm Epsom salt u can buy or does it have to be specifically for the marine tank??
<Epsom is Epsom... magnesium sulfate... Household use quality/purity is fine. B>
Mandarin dragonet egg bound    8/1/13

So how many tea spoons for 120 gallon aquarium??
<... ? See prev. email...>
Mandarin    8/1/13

Also how long should I use it for?? Would you recommend 1 day??
<Search WWM... tool on every page... "Epsom salt dosage, treatment">
Epsom salt for egg bound mandarin    8/1/13

Hi, I spoke to you yesterday. I have dosed the tank with Epsom salt accordingly, I was just enquiring as to how many days I should dose?
<... the salt doesn't leave solution till you change water> 
Re: Epsom salt and mandarin egg bound     8/7/13

Good news, the mandarin had eggs tonight Thank you for your help
<Thank you for this follow-up. BobF>

Nightly Spawning in my Tank    10/8/12
Hey Crew! I've had a question for a while now and I've always gone to your sight <site> for questions. So here's what's up the critters in my tank spawn almost every night and almost simultaneously this includes my pair of Target Mandarin Dragonets
<Actually quite common, in the wild and w/ mixed sexes in captivity>

 and my anemones one being a Long Tentacle that for some reason likes attaching to rocks I know its odd and the other a "Magnificent" I put that in quotes because that's just what it sold to me online as to me it looks like a bleached Malu. Anyways they almost always spawn at the same time after lights go off and the moon LEDs come on (they being the Mandarin pair and the anemones). Now for the specs my tank is a 40 breeder with a 6 bulb T5 HO fixture hang on back refugium holds around 6 gallons and has a built in skimmer and is totally loaded with pods I keep a canister running on the tank because I have a very messy Snowflake Moray I have 50 lbs. of live sugar fine sand and 80 pounds live rock.  I feed the anemones 1/2 of a silverside or 1 piece of krill or some rods food everyday and the Mandarins are constantly grazing on pods and some times ill spot feed them some brine shrimp. Both anemones are hosting clowns LTA hosts a Clarkii and the "Magnificent" hosts a pair of Ocellaris. Now for the questions. Is them spawning this frequently a good sign?
 How do I get the Anemones to stop ( pretty tired of doing water changes just because my tanks full of anemone sperm and eggs)?
<No easy way to stop... will do so of their own accord in time, circumstances>
 Is this bad for other tank inhabitants?
<Not thus far>
Can I get the Anemones to stop without affecting the spawning of the Mandarins (cause that's the whole reason I got a pair of them).
<Only by removing them>
That's all the questions I have for now thanks.
P.S. I know the tanks to <too> small for the eel
<Will be in time>
I am hoping to upgrade to a 75 sometime after Christmas. I've had him for a year now and he hasn't hurt a single form of life that wasn't at one point frozen I know its a mistake waiting to happen but he lived in a stock tank at my lfs that was always filled with small fish like Chromis and damsels and it was never reported that he had  swallowed any.
<Bob Fenner> 

Female spotted mandarin?    11/12/11
My fish store recently did an order through ORA and actually picked up two spotted mandarins. I decided to buy both seeing as I am fairly sure I know how to sex them (the owner was clueless and purchased them as individuals as opposed to a pair),
<Okay... most folks do just buy these species of Callionymids as single...
Most collected are males, due to their greater beauty, demand in places/times... oh, and their greater ease of "shooting" with a small spear>
I have done lots of research on them, and they were only $35 each. They are following each other around and there is no biting (except the "female" may have nipped him lightly once or twice). I just wanted to double check that this is a female?
<The photo is exceedingly poor; I've done what I can to spiff it up... but does appear to be a female to me, or an immature male>
I know for a fact that the other is a male: he has the "signature" longish spike. He is more of an olive/brown, brighter body coloration while she's a dull gray/green color and his face and turquoise color are a bit brighter. The only thing that concerns me is that when I look at pictures of female spotted mandarins online, the dorsal fin is almost "circular" in shape. While her dorsal fin is certainly small and does not have a "sickle" at the end like the male, it does look like a triangle. I'll post a picture (sorry for the blue only coloration...they were more willing to be out and when I changed my lighting to actinic). Do you think it's a female? Thanks!
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Photo: http://img16.imageshack.us/img16/5136/femalemandarin.jpg

Goby mating and behavior question... -- 10/07/11
Hello, Thank you for having such a great site available to the general public.
I've searched your site for the information needed but did not find it.
We have a male and female green target Goby's.
<Mmm, the callionymid, Synchiropus picturatus I take it>

The male has been in the tank for at least a year with a cleaner shrimp which past several months ago.
So, we thought we'd get him a girlfriend.
<Mmm, don't live as pairs in the wild... Males go courting about sunset... temporarily drawing out females in Acroporid et al. branching stony corals... "jousting" w/ other males for reproduction...>
We got a female green target Goby. We acclimated her to the tank (floating her in a bag in the tank, adding tank water to the bag).
They were very curious about each other at first and hung out a lot together.
After about a couple of weeks, she's been nipping at him, which is a little surprising, since she is a little more than half his size.
He is not aggressive with her at all.
<Mmm, how big is this system?>
It seems that we're missing something, for sometimes they hang out just fine with each other and at other times she is aggressive, nipping and chasing him.
Is there some sort of Goby Language thing we're not getting?
<Likely goby knowledge... I'd be separating these two... or adding more "natural" decor for habitat, hiding... getting out of visual range...>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
PS - If these two were to ever mate, would we have to split them up when babies are born? Or, do they eat their young?
<Oh! Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mandreprofaqs.htm

Dragonet question, repro. beh.    8/24/09
Hello Crew,
I want to thank you, in advance, for your answers. I realize I write every few months, but I just don't know who else would have such good advice..
<Hence our site of qualified responders... folks who know what they know re ornamental aquatics; are able, willing-even desirous to share>
I know you get a lot of Dragonette questions, and I know that you have a lot of images, but I wanted to share mine and to get breeding information from you.
The pair are about 2.5" long (male longer than female, but female somewhat fatter than the male) and they are both plump and healthy.
<I see this in you images>
I have had the male a very long time and added the female 3 months ago.
I had lost my Mandarins years ago, from not keeping them in a tank that had enough food in it.
<Very common>
I had 100 lbs of live rock, yet my Mandarin still starved to death. I also had other predators in there who ate copepods and my population was not enough to help them stay alive.
I now know that even in my 65 gallon aquarium, I have to have a good, live copepod population in order to support my gobies, and I have had them a very long time and they are finally doing good. The introduction of a refugium, with live rock and pods growing in it was the best move I've ever made. I never run out now.
I wanted to find out if you can give me breeding advice for my gobies. How do you know when they are going to breed? Is their weight gain a sign?
<Yes; this and behavior. In the wild, Callionymids reproduce very often... almost nightly>
Lately, the male is overly protective of her. If another fish comes toward her, he stands between it and her and he flutters. he will put all his fins out and she will go into hiding. She has become extremely fat and looks like a pollywog (photos are included). He has become increasingly territorial over her. This is not his normal behavior. He has not been this way all year, and this is a new behavior.
Tankmates are one yellow tang, 2 blennies, 2 maroon clowns.
I have over 100 lbs of rock, maybe closer to 125. My refugium houses over 20lbs of live rock rubble as well for pod breeding and Chaeto.
I do run a wavemaker and have a good flow rate.
Are these breeding?
<Appears so to me>
Do you think the female has worms or parasites or do you think she is obese or just going into some kind of spawn?
<The latter>
Her stomach is distended and severely fat.
The male is fat also, but not anywhere near as round as she is.
Thank you,
<Do rig up some sort of low intensity "red light" and watch this pair an hour or so after "lights out"... I suspect they have been spawning... Oh, and do see the "petfish literature" re the popular species of dragonettes reproduction. They have been reared in captivity. Bob Fenner>

Mandarin Fish Eggs  11/15/08 Hello <<Hiya Candace>> I have searched the web for two hours and still no answer. Do you know what color the Mandarin Goby eggs are? <<Hmm As far as I am aware, these Dragonets produce colorless/transparent eggs. There is some mention re here: http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Synchiropus_splendidus.html>> Thank you so much, Candace <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Dragonet Male, Female pairings   5/19/07 WWM, <Shawn>      I have had a Female Dragonet in my tank (140 gal) now for about a month. Yesterday I added  the male i <I....> purchased a few weeks ago. I do have a refugium that's been going strong for about 6 months plus i have about 130 to 140 pounds of live rock with plenty of copodes and amphipods. When i put the male in the tank the female went over to him and they started to show all there fins like they where about to fight. Then a few minutes latter they really started going at it the male was biting the female i got them apart and a few minutes latter they went at it again. It seems to me the male is going after the female but after they break up and go too different sides of the tank the female  seeks the male out i don't get it. Are they going to be ok after this or will the male continue to beat the female up ????? <No way to tell...> Should i have done something different when adding the male or could it have been that the male was under stress and hungry maybe didn't have enough food from the quarantine . I am 100 percent positive that the fish are not the same sex.          Thanks,           Shawn <I would separate these two... at least temporarily... leave the smaller specimen in place... re-try having them together, past lights out time, in about a week or two. Bob Fenner>

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.>
Male vs. female mandarin I.D. repost with pix 1/11/07 <Hi Cathy, Graham T. here> Is it possible for you to tell me if I am correct in identifying these two mandarins as a female and a male.   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. I believe my new arrival is a female but want to make sure.  I will attach that image first. They are not aggressive to each other but certainly not interested in each other either. Thanks for any info you can make. Cathy <Cathy, if I read you correctly, the first pic is the alleged female, and the second is supposedly male? While I cannot make a positive ID for you that I feel more than 70% about with the quality of these pics, I will say that the alleged female looks female, but the second pic is hard to make out. (Sorry) -Graham T.>

Re: male vs. female mandarin I.D. repost with pix Thanks a ton. I know the second pic is a male.  It was that short point on the front of the dorsal fin that bothered me about the female. <Have seen this on females>   It is very small but I did wonder. They seem to get along fine.  A few agitated nips once in a while but nothing else. I am trying so hard to train her to eat Mysis shrimp and black worms but nothing yet. My male was easy to train.  I will keep trying thanks again
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Mandarin Reproduction FAQ - addition perhaps  - 06/30/06 Good Evening WWM CREW!  I come across WWM time and again when searching for all sorts of different information, bar-none the FAQ's and Summaries provide interesting no-nonsense info when I need it.  It's time to give something back! <Yay!> Not sure how you all feel about linking out to a "competing" website, <I/we are glad to do so... as the saying goes "It's the Net"... and this is WetWEBMedia... part of the Net... linking to all makes this tool/resource all the more complete/useful> but I've been maintaining an ongoing "log/diary" of my attempts to rear Synchiropus splendidus.  I'm thinking this kind of info would be helpful for anyone who hits the Mandarin Reproduction FAQ page! http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=824111&perpage=25&pagenumber=1 It's a "book" and the ending hasn't been written yet!  FWIW, enjoy! Matt Pedersen <Thank you for your shared efforts. Bob Fenner>

Re: Attn:  Bob  - Mandarin QT    8/13/06 Just wanted to say THANKS to Bob!  I added the 2 females at night and it worked out great!!!  No scuffles, the male has been a model citizen.  The little female follows him and the 3 of them often eat side by side! <Ahh! Thank you for this follow-up. BobF>

Mandarin fighting   6/8/06 I have recently added my 2nd Mandarin to my well established 120 Gallon tank.  (After regular quarantine procedure.)  I believe my existing mandarin is a female, due to her small dorsal fin.  The new mandarin's dorsal fin is very long and drapes over his body.  The problem is the minute I put him in the main tank, the fight was on. <Perhaps more like a "love-tussle">   He seemed to have bit the existing mandarin and wouldn't let her go. He was holding on to her and I didn't think he was ever going to let her go.  I did finally manage to get him away from her.  Anyhow, I managed to catch him and I have now put him back into the quarantine tank.  Do you think I have two males and I haven't identified them correctly? <Perhaps, but could be dissimilar in sex>   Is this normal behaviour between male and female mandarins? <Can be, yes>   Do you think I should return the new male back to the LFS?  I don't want to risk killing either one of them. He is so beautiful!  After all this quarantine procedure I sure would like to have him in my main tank.  Any suggestions you have would greatly be appreciated. <If it were me, mine, I'd first try floating the newcomer for a week or so in a plastic colander... anchored off to a corner of the tank or so (to avoid much direct lighting/heat)... this way the two can become acquainted (mainly chemically) w/o being able to get at each other... You do have some region/s that have dense (Staghorn coral is best) hiding possibilities? I would provide this/these ahead of releasing the new male. Bob Fenner>

Pairing Mandarins   6/1/06 Hi,   We have a 230 gallon DSB reef with a 50 gallon refugium and an extremely fat male green mandarin.  We also have a copepod culture.        We had a bad experience buying a male and female at the same time.  The female's tummy was sunken (we didn't realize it when we bought her) and she was never able to gain weight even though she seemed to eat copepods throughout the day. <Not uncommon> The male did scare her occasionally, but she would go back to hunting after a few minutes.  Anyway, she unfortunately disappeared a few weeks back (I am sure it was lack of nutrition - we even supplemented copepods which she ate readily, but nothing seemed to help her gain).  I don't want to make another mistake.  If we try to get him another mate, I will make sure she is very fat to start with.      On that note, we have a few questions:   1)  We've read that you should get more than one female if you have a male and they are not paired.  I am sure the tank can support 2 more - but don't completely understand the logic.  Please let us know if it is safer to get more than one and any details you can share.    <Can support more than two... on the basis of size of the system, refugium... this species is not "paired" in the wild... males, females reproduce opportunistically... "meet up" in Staghorn (Acropora) thickets toward evening...>   2)  Also read in a couple of places to get a female that is smaller than the male (or at least not larger).  Any light you can shed on this would also be appreciated.    <Size not important IME>   And of course - any other words of wisdom always welcome!   Thanks!   Doug <Enjoy the process, animals. Bob Fenner>

Compatibility/Mandarin Aggression   2/26/06 I requested a pair of Green Mandarins from my LFS.  They got in several and "paired" a male and female for me (they seemed to be getting along fine).  I brought them home and put them in a 20 long QT with plenty of live rock and a 30 gallon refugium that has been housing copepods for 2 years.  I've also supplemented with freshly hatched brine soaked in Selcon, which they love.  They will go to a 200 gallon tank with 65 gallon refugium in a couple of weeks (I got them 2 weeks ago). The problem is the male.  He chases the female whenever he sees her and nips at her tail.  This morning, I thought things were finally better because they were side by side a few minutes.  Then all of the sudden the "little devil" reached over and nipped her tail hard (she dashed away, of course). He is smaller, so she always gets away.  But her tail is getting more and more tears (not to the body - but enough to look really tattered now).  Should I put him in the refugium portion for a while or wait it out?  Both are eating well, but she "hides" more and more, especially if she thinks he is close by. <Should have researched before buying two.  They are aggressive toward one another especially in a 20 gallon tank.  Do separate them until your 200 is set up, and even then there will be run-ins but at lower occurrences.> Thanks for any advice!!! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Mandarin Aggression  - 02/27/06 Thanks James! <You're welcome Patty.> Her tail is not as bad as it sounded... but he is in the QT refugium stuffing himself for now.  The LFS said they put them together a week before they called and that they had spawned once, so I thought they would be fine together (with plenty of rock and hiding places).  However, I don't completely trust the LFS.  He didn't really seem to be trying to hurt her beyond the tip of her tail.  The chase never lasted more than a few seconds before he would give up.  But, better safe than sorry. The 200 and 65 refugium has been setup for 2 years and is ready for them.  I plan to give them one more week so the little notches in her tail are completely healed before moving them.  Then, I guess I'll put her in the big tank first just in case she still needs any hiding places. <They will definitely enjoy the 200.> Thanks again! PS  I researched like crazy before getting these.  I don't know how I missed it if a supposedly mated male is still aggressive toward the female or if the LFS simply fibbed.  The web (even this site) can sometimes be frustrating with all the contradicting advice - some say you can always add a female with one male, if you are sure it is really a female.  This pair is definately one male and one female.  However, I really appreciate having a place to get advice and yours makes sense. <Thank you.  James (Salty Dog)>

Dragonet Compatibility, Tankmates and Competition for Food (Follow up) 5/4//04 Leslie (or whomever is tending emails today), <Hi Greg, Leslie here this morning tending the home fires.> Thank you for the advice regarding keeping dragonets!  I see my typo caused some confusion and you are correct - I intended to ask if I could keep purple Firefish with the dragonets (not *should* keep Firefish with dragonets). <Your welcome and no problem re the confusion. I thought it may have been a typo. > I had read that Firefish also eat 'pods so, with a pair of dragonets and a diamond goby I was concerned that there might not be enough 'pods to go around. < A valid concern. According to the literature Firefish mainly eat copepods in the wild but in the aquarium they readily accept all kinds of meaty seafood. Keep they satiated with these other foods and they should not have to much of an impact on your pod population. > I have noticed my yellow tail damsels and my royal Gramma also love 'pods when one happens to be pumped through my pump return. <I bet they do.....but they are not dependent upon these for their main staple as the dragonets are.> I hope the dragonets are naturally better at foraging for 'pods in the live rock so they will have an ample supply. <They are pretty good little foragers if the pods are available for the foraging.  Keep the other fish well fed. The size of the aquarium and refugium you have planned is what makes this workable.  You can also supplement the pod population with cultures purchased online,  additional live rock and macro algae packages which usually are full of pods.> If you have not seen the following articles and FAQs  on the dragonets you may find them helpful..... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm. In addition there is an excellent survey here.... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pericaridanfaqs.htm      Regarding locating a male and female Pterosynchiropus splendidus and a Synchiropus picturatus, I am not sure how I can do this.  I had hoped a 180g tank would be big enough to prevent fights.  The only place I have found mated pairs of these fish is on Aquacon.com but, based upon feedback in several WWM posts, I have been reluctant to place an order with them.  Even if I were to order a mated pair of mandarins from Aquacon.com, they only sell pairs of the same type fish.  I have had terrific success with Saltwaterfish.com but they do not sell pairs of these fish.  My LFS is also unable to determine the sex of dragonets.  Do you have suggestions for locating a male Pterosynchiropus splendidus and a female Synchiropus picturatus (or vice-versa)?   <Typically when fish are sold as pairs they are same species pairs so that is why you are having trouble finding a interspecies pair. Your best bet would be to request a male of one species and a female of the other.  Jim at www.marinedepotlive.com or The Marine Center http://home.flash.net/~rarefish/ may be able to help you.  These fish are sexually dimorphic. Identifying a male and female should not be very difficult. The males are typically bigger and more colorful with a noticeably longer anterior dorsal fin. Now the problem is that most often the fish collected and sold are males because they are bigger and more colorful. If you decide to try sexing them yourself, you are going to have to get comfy at the LFS and just watch them for a while. Hopefully they will display for you and the anterior dorsal fin which is usually collapsed and laying across the back, will be displayed. > Also, please let me know what you find out regarding the possibility of a Pterosynchiropus splendidus and a Synchiropus picturatus mating (or even surviving together). <You may have to report back to us to let us know if they pair up but should be otherwise fine together.> If they will not mate could this also be an indication that they are different enough from each other that I might not need to worry about one being female and the other being male (to prevent fighting)? < A male and female of the 2 different species should be just fine together, however, the males of these species will fight with con specifics, so keeping 2 males together of any of the similar species is pretty much a recipe for trouble.>      Regarding the Firefish, I had read that they prefer to be kept in pairs but I did not realize they would fight if they are not a mated pair.  Does this apply only to the Nemateleotris decora or to the Nemateleotris magnifica as well?  I have the same questions regarding the Firefish: Do I need to be concerned about having a male / female pair if I have one Nemateleotris decora and one Nemateleotris magnifica? < You may very well have a problem the H.  decora.  It is the most aggressive of the Firefish and recommended only one male per tank. The H. magnifica is reported to be less aggressive, but still needs to be kept one male to a tank unless the aquarium is large. There is more information available on these fish here .......http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dartfish.htm > If so, is there a possibility that these two fish would mate?   < I'm sorry again, I am unsure about interspecies mating,  I will see what I can find out for you in the mean time try http://www.breeders-registry.gen.ca.us/  or perhaps Frank Marini who can be reached via www.reefcentral.com in the Fish Breeding Forum http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=86 > If this (mixed breeding) works, I could have some very unique looking fish! <No doubt, however the larvae are quite difficult to raise and your set up not conducive to rearing. If you intend to try and breed these fish you will need a different set up Thank you again for the help. Greg <You are most welcome> Leslie Letting Mandarins Spawn In Peace! Greetings!   <Hi there! Scott F. here tonight> I have a pair of mandarins in an acrylic 55.  No other fish, except a seahorse.  I have over 60 pounds of GREAT live rock.  The tank has been going for 10 months.  I have over 1000 individual zoanthids in the tank with power compacts.  The tank also gets about 2 hours of direct sunlight a day (if clouds don't interfere.) There is NO extra algae build up from this, this is my first tank ever and I don't think I would want a tank without sunlight now.  The mandarins spawn every night (at least every night that I get a chance to watch)... <Excellent! You're doing something right!> Awhile back, I threw in a Scopas Tang and 2 Blue-Green Chromis....Big mistake!  I had a predatory snail sucking out the zoanthids and then the tang would come along and eat the dead/dying zoanthid.  I lost a couple hundred zoanthids until i found the predatory snail (pyramid door snail)... <Bummer...But a good find on your part> The 2 Chromis were violent with each other, and kept preventing my mandarins from spawning. <Not surprising...These guys tend to be somewhat annoying to more passive fishes on occasion> They kept getting in between the mandarins when they were starting to circle at night.  A hatred grew for the Chromis..... <I can't imagine why! : )> Went to the hardware store..... Had a piece of acrylic cut that I used as a partition in the tank to go 'fishin'. Most of my rock work at that time was on one side...I put in the acrylic 'divider' and laid it on its side a bit. The tang swam right over. I caught him within like two minutes. I was amazed....within 10 more minutes, I had caught one of the Chromis....I was ecstatic! Alas, I COULD NOT catch the other Chromis.....he was too smart....I gave up and let him be, hoping his new 'isolation' would change his behavior towards my spawning mandarins....it did not....he was just as violent towards them, but only when they tried to spawn at night..... <Grr... always seems that the last fish is the pain-in-the-rear-one!> After a week or two of that, I had to take out every single rock to catch the last Chromis, zoanthids and all. To do this, I simply let the rock sit in the air with no water. Just pulled everything out and set it on plastic. I didn't siphon any water out, and I finally caught the last Chromis....it was horrible.... <I can imagine. I've gone through similar struggles myself over the years!> Spent hours fixing the rock and zoanthids. Only did one water change. By the way, I have over 100 pounds of sand, and only use a hang on skimmer that's become part refugium. Tank is INFESTED with Mysis and amphipods. <That's the kind of "infestation" we like to hear about!> Everything is now great, looks better, mandarins are back to freely spawning! I don't ever want to have to do this again, which brings me to my question: Can I throw in a purple Firefish?????? <I suppose that you can, but I'm a bit hesitant to recommend adding another fish to this system, based upon the problems that you had with the Chromis interfering. Granted, Firefish have a more peaceful disposition, but why take the chance? If you're intent on breeding the Mandarins, leave well enough alone> Will the purple Firefish care if the mandarins spawn????? <Hard to be 100% certain...> I trust you wetwebmedia!! Thanks for your attention!! Micah <Well, Micah- I appreciate your trust in us. If it were me, I'd pass on any new additions to the tank (fish wise, anyways) at this point. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Mandarin spawning - 9/11/03 I read your site EVERY weekday and as soon as my tank is full of corals, (and I have extra money) I'm gonna buy some of yer books!!<happy to hear> the only fish in my aquarium are 2 mandarins. <Oh?> I promise you, they're fat and got plankton to spare. <very cool>  had pods forever, and even now I have developing colonies of Mysis. plus 1 small seahorse.  I've watched them spawn twice in the past week or so close to lights out. the first time, my buddy was over kinda late when the actinics were on,  I wanted to show him all the coralline and I flicked on the other 96 watt power compact bulb for a minute. within 2 minutes the mandarins spawned (basically they met and engaged in a circling 'hug" for like 5 seconds and both released their 'stuff'. <Wow>  me and my buddy were both stunned. <I'll bet. So they feed on live pods and mysids, and right before the lights go out (actinics only?) they begin to spawn, Correct??>  the next 2 nights, I watched for a bit and saw nothing,  the next night, I had the idea to try and induce the spawning by flicking the white bulb on a few times when the actinics were on late.  and to my amazement within 5 minutes they got their groove on again!! <I know they have been known to spawn in captivity but have seen very little written on the subject. Anecdotal, but a very nice report. Gives me something to go on>  as soon as they're done they race away to the rocks as if they're embarrassed.  felt like I should pass this info along to anyone who might find this info useful. <Thank you sooo much!>  I'm now more interested in that spiffy moonlight. <Yesss!!>  so, I guess my question is, (only filtration is skimmer and live rock with weekly 10% water changes (R.O)....if I wanted to try and breed these mandarins would it be mandatory to isolate the eggs and 'stuff' in a separate container and figure out which first foods to feed them or does the remote chance exist that I could see babies in the main display at some point?? <Depends on predation. Many animals can and will predate on the larvae at various stages of development. I would say, though, that it is possible to have them in the main display tank. First foods will likely be phytoplankton, rotifers, nauplii, and like sized foods. Will need to be live for sure! Good luck - Paul>  thanks crew!! Micah in Cali.

Mandarin spawning follow-up/Anthony 9/12/03 I read your site EVERY weekday and as soon as my tank is full of corals, (and I have extra money) I'm gonna buy some of yer books!! <thanks kindly for the consideration> the only fish in my aquarium are 2 mandarins.  I promise you, they're fat and got plankton to spare.  had pods forever, and even now I have developing colonies of Mysis. <excellent to hear> plus 1 small seahorse.   <do consider a refugium if you do not have one already... the mandarins and seahorse will take a heavy toll in time (years) on the pod population... but a fishless refugium might feed them indefinitely> I've watched them spawn twice in the past week or so close to lights out. <yes... dusk spawning is the norm for them> the first time, my buddy was over kinda late when the actinics were on,  I wanted to show him all the coralline and I flicked on the other 96 watt power compact bulb for a minute.  within 2 minutes the mandarins spawned (basically they met and engaged in a circling 'hug" for like 5 seconds and both released their 'stuff'.  me and my buddy were both stunned.  the next 2 nights, I watched for a bit and saw nothing,  the next night, I had the idea to try and induce the spawning by flicking the white bulb on a few times when the actinics were on late.  and to my amazement within 5 minutes they got their groove on again!!   as soon as they're done they race away to the rocks as if they're embarrassed.  felt like I should pass this info along to anyone who might find this info useful.   <much appreciation indeed> I'm now more interested in that spiffy moonlight.  so, I guess my question is, (only filtration is skimmer and live rock with weekly 10% water changes (R.O)....if I wanted to try and breed these mandarins would it be mandatory to isolate the eggs and 'stuff' in a separate container and figure out which first foods to feed them or does the remote chance exist that I could see babies in the main display at some point?? thanks crew!! Micah in Cali. <spawning of mandarins is uncommon only because few people give them proper housing (quiet tanks) as you have. But they have indeed been spawned and reared. Julian Sprung published an article in FAMA magazine on the event in the late 1980's if I recall correctly. You can also find data and spawning reports in the Breeders Registry (marine database... well worth the subscription). Do some research starting with these tow points and send us pics of your baby mandarins later! Best of luck! Anthony>

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