Mandarin Dragonet looks gorgeous with it’s mystery green/blue red color pattern. Its name derives from the Cloth of ancient china emperor. They all have this Similar color pattern. On the first day I saw Mandarin in my local fish store, my dream is to keep one.
Mandarin Dragonet is listed as a difficult fish to keep. They are relatively hardy if their food need is met. It is difficult to keep because they only eat live Copepods. We need a larger tank (more than 75 gallon) with a refugium and a lot of live rock in order to have enough Copepods for the mandarin. Some people successfully trained the mandarin to eat frozen food, but it is too much for beginner reefer. We also need wait for about a year to let our tank mature before buy a mandarin. The Copepods population will fluctuate before the tank mature, we don’t want to starve our favorite mandarin. We tend to play our tank water parameters or try new equipment during the first year, this all will effect our Copepods population. Just be patient before got a mandarin.
Will other fish bully Mandarin
Answer is NO. Mandarin has a thick mucus over it’s body, this mucus will protect the mandarin. No fish willing to touch it’s mucus, it must taste terribly bad. It’s bright color is a warning to other fishes, too. Because this, mandarin do not respect other fish’s territory, they will go wherever they want. Don’t forget they are Dragon.
Having a refugium will let the copepods to breed in a relatively safe place. Definitely help the long term survival of your mandarin dragonet.
Compete food with other fish
Sand sift goby will eat the copepods in the sand and compete with the mandarin for food. If you do want a Sand sift goby and mandarin, got your mandarin first, then watch the copepods poluation. if you still have plenty copepods, then try a goby.
Some Wrasses will compete with mandarin, too. Just avoid them.