mandarin in 27 gallons


New member

I have a 27 gallons nano reef with approximately 25 pounds of liverock. I would really like to buy a green mandarin fish, but I know this is not recommended for a tank under 75-100 gallons... only if we don't respect some conditions.

I would buy a mandarin that already eats frozen food (I will ask the guy in the petshop to feed him) and I'm going to make a copepod culture in a 10 gallons tank.

Do you think that a mandarin eating frozen food would be happy in my tank considering that I would add a lot of copepods to my tank daily or weekly? I would propably feed him with frozen mysis and brine shrimp twice a day and he will eat in addition the copepods on my live rock.

But you can be sure that if you say this setup would not be fine for keeping a happy mandarin, I will not buy him. I'm not a killer biggrin.gif

Thank you in advance for your help

ps: sorry if my english is not excellent, I speak french tongue.gif


New member
I have kept the synchiropus oscellatus, wrongly called "the scooter blenny" but really a close cousin of the mandarin (synchiropus splendidus/picturatus), for a year now in my 29 gallon tank. Their eating and mating behaviors are exactly the same. She eats frozen, which is key as you noticed, and she does fine.

I would consider an refugium, however, if I were you. This will aid you tank on many levels... nutrient export, pod production, and a good place to watch a crazy world take place.


Staff member
RC Mod
You can add the water volume of your sump and refugium to your calculations for a mandarin...I.E., if you have a 29 gallon tank, a 10 gallon refugium and a 20 gallon sump, you are working up to 60 gallons as far as the water supply goes. The mandarin is a slow-swimming fish that loves to go in and out of elaborate rockwork. "Folding" his space by supplying convolute rock shapes and layers and pillars will keep him mentally active, and give him lots to do. Having as large as possible a refugium and sump will support his water quality and food supply.