Red Mandarin Goby

Red Mandarin Goby

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The Red Mandarin Goby (Synchiropus splendidus), also known as the Mandarin Dragonet or Mandarin Fish, is a beautifully colored and highly sought-after saltwater fish commonly kept in marine aquariums. These fish are renowned for their vibrant appearance and unique behavior. However, they require specific care to thrive in a captive environment. Here's a care guide for keeping a Red Mandarin Goby in your saltwater aquarium.

Tank Size

A suitable tank size for a Red Mandarin Goby is a minimum of 30 gallons (approximately 113 liters), although larger tanks provide more stable conditions and better opportunities for natural behavior.

Water Quality

Maintain stable water parameters, including a temperature range of 72-78°F (22-26°C) and a specific gravity of around 1.025. Regularly test and adjust pH, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates to ensure optimal water quality.


Employ an efficient filtration system, such as a protein skimmer and live rock, to provide biological filtration and remove waste, ensuring water clarity.


Red Mandarin Gobies are predominantly carnivorous and feed primarily on small invertebrates and copepods. It's essential to establish a self-sustaining population of copepods in your aquarium to provide a continuous food source. Consider offering frozen or live foods such as copepods, amphipods, and other small invertebrates to supplement their diet.

Feeding Schedule

Since these fish are slow eaters, you must ensure a steady supply of copepods and amphipods for them to graze on.



Red Mandarin Gobies are generally peaceful but may be intimidated or outcompeted by more aggressive tankmates. Choose tankmates carefully, focusing on other peaceful reef fish and invertebrates that won't harass the Mandarin Goby.

7. Hiding Spots:

Provide an environment with plenty of live rock and hiding spots to make your Red Mandarin Goby feel secure. They often retreat to hiding places when they feel threatened or stressed.

Water Flow and Lighting

Maintain a moderate water flow to simulate their natural habitat. Ensure suitable lighting for the health of your coral and other tank inhabitants, as Red Mandarin Gobies are often kept in reef tanks.


Quarantine new fish before introducing them to your main tank to prevent the spread of disease.


Regularly monitor your fish for any signs of stress, disease, or aggression, and take appropriate actions if any issues arise.

Keeping a Red Mandarin Goby in a saltwater aquarium can be a rewarding experience if you are prepared to provide the specific care requirements they need. Maintaining stable water quality, establishing a natural copepod population, and creating a suitable environment are key factors in their long-term health and well-being. These fish can be a stunning addition to your marine aquarium when their needs are met.