Hardware components of my two primary tanks and some of the fish I keep
Mandarins and other dragonets
Posted 03/05/2012 at 12:24 PM by snorvich
Originally Posted by snorvich
Colorful, slow-moving Dragonets are some of the most interesting fish for the marine aquarium. Included in this group are mandarin fish, scooter blennies (which of course are not blennies at all), and other more esoteric dragonets such as fingered dragonets.
Dragonets have special feeding requirements because they have a very high metabolism and are grazers requiring nearly constant supply of food such as copepods and amphipods. On average they will eat a copepod about every 5 to 10 seconds. They are best housed in an established aquarium with large amounts of live rock and sand, ideally with an attached refugium. The general requirement for a single mandarin is about 75 gallons of tank, with about 75 lbs of live rock, and ideally a producing refugium. Tanks should be mature, that is at least 8-9 months old as a minimum.
Most dragonets that I have kept will also opportunistically feed on PE or hikari mysis, nutramar ova, capelin fish roe; however because of their lack of speed and aggressiveness, they do not compete well with other fish for food. Most aquarists feed once or twice per day and mandarins eat constantly, so maintaining a mandarin with normal feeding is not going to work.
In sufficiently sized tanks, you can keep a male and female but two males will not work whatsoever. If you have an ability to simulate sunset, they will often mate in appropriate aquaria. Since their slime coat is ill tasting to other fish, they normally can be kept with non competitors for the food (copepods) that they consume. However competitors such as six line wrasses, on occasion leopard wrasses, or other copepod consumers may be aggressive towards mandarins.