The mandarin goby is arguably one of the most beautiful members of the genus Synchiropus family and is one of the most breath-taking marine fish ever found in our oceans. While commonly known as the mandarin goby and the mandarin fish, its true name is the mandarin dragonet. They are a small saltwater fish, generally reaching only about 3-4 inches in total length. In the wild, Mandarin Gobies can be found in the Coral Triangle, around Malaysia, Australia, Philippines or Indonesia, the Great Barrier Reef, and in the Indo-Pacific Ocean area.
They live particularly in shallow lagoons and inshore reefs, especially around rubble beds or dead corals, which offer them protection and privacy. This means Mandarin Gobies will require an well-established 30 gallon or larger reef aquarium with plenty of live rock and a sandy substrate for survival.
Their psychedelic coloration is what makes them unique and impossible to mistake for other species. Mandarin fish have scale-less bodies in blue, green, or orange-red, with a wavy pattern that creates a psychedelic impression. They are only aggressive towards conspecifics, i.e other mandarins and dragonets like the psychedelic dragonet and the scooter dragonet.