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The Beautiful Mandarin Fish

The Beautiful Mandarin Fish


Mandarin fish are some of the most colorful fish in the ocean. They produce a blue pigment to accentuate their unique patterns. These bright colors help them avoid larger fish who want to eat them. In the animal kingdom, bright colors mark poisonous animals. This is how the tiny Mandarin Fish survives in the ocean. On average they grow to 3 inches in length. 

They prefer warm saltwater. They can be found in the tropics from Japan to Australia. They make their homes in coral reefs and the shallow pools near the beach. Fish like these are one of the reasons Ocean Blue Project seeks to preserve ocean habitat. 

What do Mandarin fish eat?

The Mandarin fish eats small invertebrates, crustaceans, and worms. These animals live on the bottom of shallow pools near the shore.  Or they live in a coral reef

This is where Mandarin fish make their homes. The coral branches provide protection from predators. It is said, Mandarin fish are very picky eaters. They will travel far from their home to find their favorite worms to snack on. 

Where do Mandarin Fish Live?

Mandarin dragonets live in the western Pacific Ocean and also they reside as far from Hong Kong all the way down to Australia. Mandarin Fish are threatened by overfishing and pollution from ghost nets to plastic polluting our One World Ocean. 

The mandarin fish is a member of the genus Synchiropus and is beautiful in color. 

Where do Mandarin fish live?

Mandarin fish enjoy the warmer temperatures of the tropical pacific ocean. Native to the Pacific from Ryukyu islands to Australia. They prefer a shallow pool or coral reef. 

These areas provide both protection from predators and food to eat. They can be found in the Coral Triangle as well as near the shore in a shallow lagoon. They enjoy playing hide and seek in order to avoid larger fish predators. 

Are Mandarin fish freshwater or saltwater?

Mandarin fish live in the saltwater of the ocean. Their bright colors make them attractive for people who keep saltwater fish tanks in their homes. But they live longer in the wild than in captivity. 

They protect themselves with sharp spines and smelly mucus. Might not be especially pleasant in your home aquarium. 

Mandarin fish fun facts

The bright colors of the Mandarin fish help them deter predators. These fish do not have scales. Instead, they have a mucus coating that protects their bodies.  

The male Mandarin fish perform a mating dance.  This ritual attracts a female to mate with and reproduce. They only dance at sunset near the ocean surface.  Once the male attracts a female she attaches to his fin. They swim together close to the surface, and their eggs and sperm form a cloud.

How poisonous is a Mandarin fish?

They have a smelly mucus coating that deters predators. This mucus can be toxic if it comes into contact with open wounds. They also have sharp spines that can cut fish or people. The combination of a sharp spine on the dorsal fin and poisonous mucus helps these small fish survive. 

You definitely don’t want to touch one. They are beautiful to look at. Each small fish, about 3 inches long, has a unique color pattern. They produce blue pigments to accent their colorful bodies. 

Ocean Blue Project Impact

The vision of Ocean Blue Project is, “To see our One World Ocean, beaches, and rivers be once again healthy and naturally beautiful ecosystems where wildlife, plants, and humans can thrive alongside one another.” Their impact is removing plastic waste from our ocean beaches. 

This includes preserving wildlife habitat. Volunteers clean up the beach and inland waterways so fish like the Mandarin can continue to thrive in our one-world ocean. Donate today and help preserve the wild habitat of the beautiful Mandarin fish. 

Author bio: 

Kellie Sperle writes for sustainable brands and for-purpose organizations. Together, we work to restore our planet so humans can live in harmony with mother nature. She writes to increase awareness of sustainable living practices. Find Kellie at www.kelliewritescopy.com.