Synchiropus splendidus SYNSPL-010299-CHAJIM-001

This entry was posted on Saturday, January 2nd, 1999 and is filed under Dragonets, Spawning Reports.

The Breeder’s Registry©Information contained in this report is taken from submitted observations from aquarist unless noted otherwise (see comments). Information may be reproduced providing the Breeder’s Registry is cited.


Breeder ID: SYNSPL-010299-CHAJIM-001

Date received: 1/2/99

Identification: Synchiropus splendidus (Herre, 1927)

Geographic origin: Indo-Pacific


Taxonomy:(after I.C.Z.N.)

Kingdom Animalia

Phylum Chordata Subphylum Vertebrata

Class Actinopterygii (=Osteichthyes) Infraclass Teleostei

Superorder Acanthopterygii Order Perciformes Suborder Callionymoidei

Family Callionymidae (dragonets)

Genus Synchiropus (Gill, 1859)

Species splendidus (Herre, 1927)


Description: The family Callionymidae, commonly referred to as Dragonet, consists of several genera; Callionymus, Diplogrammus, and SynchiropusSynchiropus splendidus commonly known as the mandarin fish (and also commonly mis-named as Mandarin Goby) is a colorful benthic fish with various sorces listing a size range of 60 – 100 mm Standard Length (SL)> Described by Mills, 1986, as “…very garishly marked, with blue-green scribbly lines and dots covering its gold body. The fins, including its two dorsals, are similarly colored and have blue edges. It has gold-spotted gill-covers, and slightly protruberant eyes.”

Dragonets are relatively large-headed “small” scaleless fishes with eyes set on top of their heads. The mouth is small and pointed. There skin is protected by a thick mucus which is assumed to be poisonous (Debelius & Baensch, 1994). This species is collected at depths up to 100 feet, although most Type specimens were collected at shallower depths, typically in areas near coral heads with coral rubble and sandy bottoms. Feeds on small benthic organisms in the wild.


Duration male (yr): not indicated

Size male (mm): 50

Duration female (yr): not indicated

Size female (mm): 50

Physical differences: Male has longer 1st dorsal spine

Adult diet: Misc crustaceans on live rock, Live adult brine shrimp fed “greenwater”

Frequency of feeding(s): Brine shrimp fed once per day

Pre-spawning activity: Male & female look for each other in tank. Male displays fins fully fanned out to female. Male follows female around
with display. If female shows no interest, male gives up after about 5 minutes. If female shows interest, male and female press ventral surfaces together and swim to water surface. Then they dart back to the bottom.

Area spawning occurred: Near water surface close to pump output hey spawn near output of pump. It took the pump approx 40 seconds to
fill a gallon bucket. That works out to about 90 gallons per hour. The two nights I turned the pump off before the lights went out, they did not spawn. The next night (pump on) they spawned. I realize this is not extensive research, just what I have observed.

The area is open, about 6″ from the nearest rock. The mandarins mainly hunt about the live rock & caulerpa by day and venture near the surface
when feeding live adult brine (pumps off).

Frequency of spawning: nightly, repeated 4 times each night observed

Time of spawning:10 minutes after lights-out

Egg description: colorless.

Size of eggs: 1 mm dia

Approximate quantity: ~ 50

Incubation period: 1-2 days.

Larvae attracted to light? No

Time hatching occurred: N/A

Size of hatching larvae: 1.5 mm

Yolk sac present? Yes

Newly hatched appearance: Fry appeared to be yolk sac with small undeveloped fish. It did not appear that eyes, mouth or gut were developed at hatching. Fry mostly just floated in water and swam in “burst” on occasion. Fry got longer as yolk sac consumed.

Transfer / removal method: Turkey baster


Spawning tank size (liter): (Gallons):200 120 cm X 33 cm x 50 cm

Sides of tank covered? No

Lighting & photo period: 10,000K Metal Halide 175 watt, 13.5 hrs. ~ 30 cm from surface. (This is recycled bulb from reef now 2 yrs old)

Filtration: Live rock/sand in reef tank

Additives and dosages: Red Sea Mix™, sporatic water changes. replacement water pre-trested by RO. Strontium added 4 tsp/day

Specific Gravity: 1.026

pH: 8.0 – 8.5 (measured with Pinpoint pH meter)

Nitrates: none detected measured with SeaTest test kit)

Calcium: 450 ppm (measured with Red Sea™ test kit)

Water temperature (F): 80 \F0F -3/+2. The temperature fluctuation is mainly room temperature based. In the summer it gets warm here. If may tank temp goes to 82 I turn on the A/C or fan. I installed 2 300w heaters in attempt to stabilize the temp which would drop by 6-8 by morning. Since adding the heaters, temp only drops to 78 or so. 180 gal reef, 2 55 gal tanks and 55 gal sump are all tied together. With 600 watts of MH lights on reef and 175 on tank with mandarins in it, they do indeed heat the water somewhat. I do not believe spawning is temp related at this point. I believe it is light-related. If room lights are on after lank lights go out, they did not spawn either. The room was not in complete darkness, however as shop light used for algae cultures lights up room a bit. Location of spawning:Near water surface close to pump output


First food offered: First food offered: Rotifers

Second food offered: not applicable, no survival

Survival 1st week(%): 0. Of 12 eggs, aprox 4 hatched. All died after 3 days. Assume adult rotifers were too large as first food.


Original description: First described by A. W. C. T. Herre in 1927 as Callionymus splendidus in the Philippine Journal of Science, Volume 32, Number 3. In the main heading of the original description it the genus was misspelled as Gallionymus, but listed correctly as Callionymus on the figure (photo/illustration). The present use of Synchiropus splendidus was named valid by R. Fricke in 1981 and more recently (again by Fricke) in 1993. The genus Pterosynchiropus (Nakabo, 1982) is also listed as a a valid genus for this species (by Nakabo in 1984). Both Fricke and Nakabo are recognized experts with the suborder Callionymoidei and both Synchiropus splendidus and Pterosynchiropus splendidus(Eschmeyer, pers. com. 1999) are valid names, although Synchiropus has been in use much longer and this report is listed under this genus, using Synchiropus as the “senior” synonym.

Word origin: The genus Synchiropus is difficult to ascertain what original meaning intended. The Greek roots consist of; syn meaning together or with; chiro meaning hand; and -pus meaning a foot. A literal translation of ” together hand and foot’ does not offer much in the way of a clue as to what Gill had in mind in 1859. Nakabo’s usage of the genus Pterosynchiropus adds the Greek root ptero meaning a wing, a feather or a fin which might be in reference to the dorsal dispay of the males (however this is simply a suggested interpretation). The species splendidus appears to be of no specific root form and may simply mean “splendid” in recognition of the splendid appearance of this species!

Vernacular name: Mandarin fish, Mandarin goby

Suggested reading:

Debelius, Helmut, & Baensch, Hans A., Marine Atlas, 1994, Tetra Press, 3001 Commerce
Street, Blacksburg, VA 24060 USA, ISBN 1-56465-113-4

About this report: Information contained in this report is taken from submitted observations. Taxonomy, Synonomy, Original description , Word origin and Suggested reading are provided by member(s) of The Breeder’s Registry staff. Information is presented under the belief that it is accurate. If you have information in addition to, or contrary to that presented you are encouraged to contact the Breeder’s Registry. Permission is granted for “one-time” personal use. Reproduction as distributed or accessible media is prohibited without prior written permission. All rights reserved. 1999

The Breeder’s Registry© Information contained in this report is taken from submitted
observations from aquarist unless noted otherwise (see comments). Information may be
reproduced providing the Breeder’s Registry is cited.

Breeder's Registry staff are all volunteers and appreciate any comments or corrections on any of our posts.

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