Green Mandarin Goby (Synchiropus splendidus)

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Current Insights! Green Mandarin Goby (Synchiropus splendidus) Review


Prepare to be dazzled by the enchanting world of the Green Mandarin Goby (Synchiropus splendidus)! This extraordinary saltwater aquarium goby fish has long captivated hobbyists with its vibrant colors, distinct appearance, and captivating behavior. But here's the exciting news: thanks to remarkable advances in the aquarium hobby, including improved understanding of the animal, superior food options like copepods, and the availability of captive-bred specimens, the Green Mandarin Goby is about to earn an extraordinary 5 out of 5 stars in our review, making it a recommended fish for all enthusiasts that adhere to the recommendations of its care. Join us as we embark on a comprehensive journey, exploring every fascinating facet of this remarkable creature, from its visual allure and care requirements to its unique feeding habits and behavior. Get ready to witness firsthand why the Green Mandarin Goby truly shines in the spotlight of the saltwater aquarium world.

See why the Green Mandarin receives a 5 of 5 star review.

Goby Fish or Dragonet

The term "Goby" is often used in the common name of the Green Mandarin (Synchiropus splendidus), leading to it being frequently referred to as the Mandarin Goby; this is likely due to some similarities in appearance and behavior between Dragonets and true Gobies.
Dragonets and Gobies are small, bottom-dwelling fish often seen perching on rocks and substrates in the aquarium. They share some similarities in body shape and size, and both are popular choices for marine aquariums due to their colorful appearances and unique behaviors.

However, despite these similarities, they belong to different families. The Green Mandarin is a member of the Dragonet family (Callionymidae), not the Goby family (Gobiidae). Using "Goby" in the common name of Green Mandarin is a misnomer and can be confusing, as it suggests a taxonomic relationship that doesn't exist.

It's important to note that common names in the fishkeeping hobby can often be misleading or confusing, as they only sometimes accurately reflect the scientific classification of the species. For accurate information about a species' taxonomy, it's always best to refer to its scientific name.

Visual Appeal and Distinctiveness

The Green Mandarin Goby is widely recognized for its stunning visual appeal and distinctive appearance. Its vibrant green body adorned with intricate blue and orange patterns stands out among other fish species. The elongated body shape, ornate fins, and large eyes give the Green Mandarin Goby a unique and almost mythical appearance. Its beauty is further enhanced by the subtle iridescence that shimmers across its body, adding a touch of elegance to its overall presentation. This fish is a true showstopper and is guaranteed to become the focal point of any aquarium.

Green Mandarin Goby in a saltwater reef aquarium.

Care and Maintenance

While the Green Mandarin Goby is undeniably captivating, it must be noted that it requires specific care and maintenance to thrive in an aquarium setting. This species demands pristine water quality with stable parameters. A well-established aquarium with live rock and a sand substrate is highly recommended, as it provides ample hiding places and microfauna for the Green Mandarin Goby to graze on. Maintaining a stable temperature between 74-78°F (23-26°C) and a pH level of 8.1-8.4 is crucial. A moderate to strong water flow will also simulate their natural habitat, ensuring their well-being. It is advisable to regularly test water parameters and conduct partial water changes to keep the aquarium environment optimal for this species.

Feeding and Nutritional Needs

Editors note: Improved food options in the aquarium industry is a factor for which we can now recommend the Green Mandarin as a good option for your aquarium.

Feeding the Green Mandarin Goby is crucial to its care, as this species has unique dietary requirements. In the wild, these mesmerizing creatures feed on small crustaceans, copepods, and amphipods, which are abundant in their natural reef habitats. However, replicating this diet in the aquarium setting has historically posed challenges for hobbyists, as many Green Mandarin Gobies struggle to adapt to conventional fish foods.

Thankfully, with the advancements in the aquarium hobby and a better understanding of the species' nutritional needs, we now have access to a wide array of copepod cultures and live foods like those available from Nutramar that cater to specimens like the Green Mandarin Goby. These enriched live food options closely mimic their natural prey and have significantly contributed to the successful maintenance of these beautiful fish in captivity.

Video: A captive-bred Green Mandarin Goby feeding on flake food! Courtesy of customer M. Reed.

Behavior and Compatibility

The Green Mandarin Goby showcases intriguing behavior that will delight any observer. This species is known for its perching and hopping movements, as it gracefully moves between rocks and coral formations. They are relatively peaceful and can be kept in a community aquarium with other non-aggressive fish species. However, caution should be exercised when housing them with larger or more aggressive tankmates, as their small size and peaceful nature make them vulnerable. Creating an environment with ample hiding places is essential to alleviate any potential stress and provide a sense of security for the Green Mandarin Goby.

Price and Availability

The Green Mandarin Goby (Synchiropus splendidus) is readily available, and it's not listed as a species of conservation concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

The Green Mandarin Goby price can vary depending on size, availability, and whether the specimens are wild-caught or captive-bred. Wild-caught Green Mandarin Gobies are often less expensive when compared to their captive-bred counterpart. Guarantee on the fish can also influence the price; for example, offers an 8-day live guarantee while offers an arrive live guarantee only option at a lower price point for the same goby fish.

Captive-Bred Options

Editors note: The availability of captive-bred specimens is another factor (major) for which we can now recommend the Green Mandarin as a good option for your aquarium.

Captive-bred Green Mandarin Gobies are an excellent choice for those who prefer to support sustainable practices and promote the conservation of wild populations. Captive-bred specimens are bred in controlled environments, reducing the impact on wild populations and providing individuals generally acclimated to aquarium conditions. These specimens are often hardier and better adapted to aquarium life. Additionally, purchasing captive-bred Green Mandarin Gobies contributes to the advancement of aquaculture techniques and helps ensure the long-term availability of this captivating species.

Pros and Cons


  • Captivating visual appeal with vibrant colors and unique patterns.
  • Graceful and fascinating behavior, including perching and hopping movements.
  • Generally peaceful and compatible with non-aggressive tankmates.
  • The availability of captive-bred specimens supports sustainable practices.
  • Contributes to the diversity and beauty of a saltwater aquarium.


  • Requires a well-established and carefully maintained aquarium.
  • Feeding habits require supplementation with live or frozen foods.

Good Compatible Options

When considering tank-mates for the Green Mandarin Goby, selecting species that are peaceful, similar in size, and have compatible environmental requirements is essential. Some suitable options include:

  • Firefish (Nemateleotris magnifica): These small, colorful fish are peaceful and share similar environmental preferences with the Green Mandarin Goby.
  • Clownfish (Amphiprion spp.): Clownfish are hardy, easy to care for, and their playful behavior complements the beauty of the Green Mandarin Goby.
  • Blennies (Ecsenius spp.): Blennies are known for their unique personalities and make excellent tankmates for the Green Mandarin Goby, as they are generally non-aggressive.


In conclusion, the Green Mandarin Goby (Synchiropus splendidus) gets a 5 of 5 star review rating, a recommended addition to most saltwater aquariums. With its striking visual appeal, graceful behavior, and unique feeding habits, this species brings unparalleled beauty and intrigue to the underwater world of your tank. While it requires specific care and attention, the rewards of successfully keeping the green mandarin goby are well worth the effort. Whether you choose wild-caught or our recommendation of captive-bred specimens, the Green Mandarin Goby will provide endless fascination and be a stunning centerpiece for your aquatic haven.

Sources Used

1. Delbeek, J.C., & Sprung, J. (2005). The Reef Aquarium: A Comprehensive Guide to the Identification and Care of Tropical Marine Invertebrates. Ricordea Publishing.

2. Fenner, B. (2014). The Conscientious Marine Aquarist: A Commonsense Handbook for Successful Saltwater Hobbyists. T.F.H. Publications.

3. Michael, S.W. (2001). Marine Fishes: 500+ Essential-To-Know Aquarium Species. T.F.H. Publications.

4. Randall, J.E., & Allen, G.R. (2005). Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. University of Hawaii Press. 5. Scott, P., & Sutherland, D. (2006). The New Marine Aquarium. D.K. Publishing.

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