#1 Cause of the Death of Dragonets
It is hard to confuse the Mandarin Dragonet with any other type of fish as it has the most attractive pattern and coloration of any other fish kept in a reef. The fish body, which is scale-less comes in a green or blue color and has orange wavy lines across its body, as well as a bright red tail that has a blue edging.
The fish, commonly called Psychedelic fish because of the bizarre coloration may at times have additional color patterns on their bodies as well. Male Mandarin fish have pointed dorsal fins and are much larger than the females. Even though they are at times referred to as a Mandarin Goby, in reality, they are not a Goby and belong to the Dragonets family.
Reef Tank Suitability
Mandarin Dragonets, which come from the Philippine area, are some of the most commonly sold fish, but unfortunately, also have the highest perishing rate when placed in reef tanks. The primary cause of the high perishing rate is associated to their feeding habits, which are quite finicky.
A majority of the Mandarin Dragonets will only consume live copepods and amphipods. The pods can only be found in sufficient numbers in large reef tanks that are well established. A good reef tank should have fifty-five gallon with fifty lbs of live rock.
The measurements are based on the feeding requirements of Mandarin Dragonets and not space requirements as the Mandarin is known to be a very docile fish. Other than the size of the tank, another important factor is how the tank is fed, as well as its nutrient composition, given that such a tank will normally support a higher population of the pods thank tanks running under leaner conditions.
If possible find a Dragonet that can feed on frozen food as it will be an excellent candidate for small tanks, since they happen to be quite slow.
It is important to be cautious as while in the pet store, most Dragonets are only fed live food and are therefore kept under starvation conditions. When looking to buy a Mandarin Dragonet, ensure that it has a nice rounded belly. If the belly appears to be shrunken, it will mean that the Mandarin fish has over a given period been not feeding well, and it may not be possible to recover even when it is placed in a tank that has an adequate supply of food.
You can build a pod pile when you have a smaller tank as this will allow you to stack smaller shrimp pieces into the rocks after every few days. The rocks will thus act as a source of food, as well as provide shelter, making it possible for the fish to breed.