The first batch of captive bred ORA Spotted Mandarins is being released and should be soon be available for purchase from your favorite Oceans, Reefs and Aquariums (ORA) merchant. Synchiropus picturatus is one of the jewels of the marine aquarium trade but all too often these stunning fish wasted away in captivity with many hobbyists finding out the hard way and others justifiably steering clear of this specimen. Through ORA’s efforts rearing these fish over the last year, they were able to successfully not only breed but raise these beauties in captivity giving hobbyists the opportunity to add a hearty and beautiful fish to their systems. These wonderful fish have colorful masks and their green scale-less bodies sport exquisite circular patterns of turquoise, royal blue, orange and black.
The dietary needs and appetite of wild caught Mandarinfish was a major reason these fish did so poorly in a captive environment. The ORA Spotted Mandarins are trained to eat prepared fish foods allowing the average hobbyists to meet the dietary needs of this fish in their own aquarium. Although the fish are trained to eat prepared foods, the ORA Spotted Mandarins are still maturing — being shipped at 1.25 to 1.5 inches in length — and will have voracious appetites. The company suggests frequent feedings — at least twice daily. Some of the frozen foods that they readily accept include: finely chopped Hikari Blood Worms, Nutramar Ova (prawn eggs), fish roe, and baby brine shrimp. They are also accustomed to eating New Life SPECTRUM Small Fish Formula pellets.
Although these fish have been raised in captivity, ORA cautions the hobbyist to take care when introducing these fish into their aquariums. “We admit, we’re also feeling a bit protective of them and we want every single one of them to be successful in their new homes,” said the company in their press release. “It is important for everyone to understand that ORA’s mandarins have led a sheltered existence in the hatchery and they are very naive. We wish to caution all hobbyists that these baby mandarins are not yet ‘reef-smart’ and should not be kept with fish large enough to eat them or show aggression to them.”
As for picking up two of these beauties and trying to get a mated pair, ORA notes the fish have been observed to reach sexual maturity but with their smaller size it becomes difficult to distinguish a female from a subordinate male with any confidence. The company plans on offering pairs in the future.
No word yet on the approximate price you’ll expect to pay at the checkout or just how many are going to be released with this batch but we can assume the pricing will be very fair for this exquisite fish. So go out and bug your favorite ORA dealer about getting one of these wonderful fish and be sure to come back and share your experiences with the rest of us.
Captive Bred Spotted Mandarins
ORA biologists have been hard at work developing the methods to breed and raise the Blue Mandarin, (Synchiropus splendidus) and the Spotted Mandarin, (Synchiropus picturatus.) The first wave of these captivating beauties is now ready to charm hobbyists all across the country. Even though they are some of the most attractive and popular aquarium fish in the industry, many wild-caught mandarins are difficult to feed and despite best efforts, most of them fail to thrive in aquariums. ORA has eliminated this heart-breaking problem by training our captive-bred mandarins to eat a variety of commercially available frozen foods and pellets. Now the average aquarist can enjoy the convenience of finding readily available (and affordable) food sources for their exquisite ORA dragonettes.
Caring for ORA Mandarins isn’t as simple as throwing a cube of frozen food and pinch of pellets in the aquarium a couple of times a week. At approximately 1.25”-1.5” in length, ORA’s Spotted Mandarins are still growing and have voracious appetites. We recommend frequent feedings – at least twice daily. Some of the frozen foods that they readily accept include: finely chopped Hikari Blood Worms, Nutramar Ova (prawn eggs), fish roe, and baby brine shrimp. They are also accustomed to eating New Life SPECTRUM Small Fish Formula pellets.
Our experience has shown that these young fish begin to grow rapidly when they are kept in a reef environment. We believe that while our mandarins can survive on 100% commercial diets, they will thrive in an environment that offers them a combination of frozen, pellet and live foods.
ORA is tremendously proud of the mandarins we have been nurturing for almost one year. We admit, we’re also feeling a bit protective of them and we want every single one of them to be successful in their new homes. It is important for everyone to understand that ORA’s mandarins have led a sheltered existence in the hatchery and they are very naive. We wish to caution all store owners and hobbyists that these baby mandarins are not yet “reef-smart” and should not be kept with fish large enough to eat them or show aggression to them. We have been amazed to observe that even at this small size our mandarins are reaching sexual maturity. In the future we intend to offer pairs, but at approximately 1.5” it is difficult to distinguish a female from a subordinate male with any certainty. Despite their petite size, we’re sure you’ll agree that ORA’s Spotted Mandarins are some of the prettiest fish ever produced. They have colorful masks and their green scaleless bodies sport exquisite circular patterns of turquoise, royal blue, orange and black.
These charismatic fish have such peaceful temperaments even seahorse lovers can consider adding an ORA Mandarin (or two) to the tank.
News of our dragonette success has been far-reaching and we thank everyone for their support and patience. Unfortunately we are only able to release limited numbers of the Spotted Mandarins this month with a strict limit of 2. If you miss the initial release, please don’t worry. We have many more staged up and it won’t be long before they are eating 100% commercial diets too.
As we continue to discover more efficient ways to raise baby mandarins, our success rate will improve and we hope to have both species of mandarins consistently available on the price list within a few months.