The best mandarin goby tank mates can sometimes be hard to find, but making the right choice is incredibly important.
Mandarin dragonets are peace-loving fish, and they don’t fight with their tank mates.
The only aggressiveness that ever happens in the aquarium is between the males of the species.
Nonetheless, not every fish is compatible with a mandarin.
Some species are predatory towards these dragonets, while others are larger in size and scare the smaller fish.
Some are competent eaters, so they continuously fight for food and don’t let mandarins eat.
To ensure that you can get the right mates for your mandarin goby, here’s a list of all the compatible species you can choose from.
Plus, you will find all the other important information, like tank size and species to avoid.
Even though most of their parent species are famous for aggressive behavior, green Chromis is an exception.
These fish are generally friendly and peace-loving creatures that do well with mandarin gobies.
Chromis are also quite active and love swimming around.
They usually take up the middle part of the tank, and if you see them swimming at the top, it means they are uncomfortable or bullied.
Moreover, when they swim in synchronization, it’s quite a pleasure to watch them!
Furthermore, these Chromis are not picky eaters, and they eat pretty much anything you give them.
Their eating habits are not similar to those of mandarins, so they will most likely never fight over food.
Firefish are popularly known for quarreling with other fish of their species.
However, it does well with timid, small, and slow-moving creatures.
While keeping this fact in mind, mandarin gobies would be a perfect match for these fish. It’s an omnivore, completely the opposite of Mandarin.
Hence, their eating habits are quite different, which is good.
They are easy to take care of, and their required temperature, hardness, and pH levels are very similar to that of mandarin gobies.
Socially, they are pretty peaceful and don’t hurt or harass other tank mates if not triggered.
Lastly, they’re quite a sight for sore eyes!
Watching them move around with mandarins will be not only soothing but also aesthetically pleasing.
Royal grammas have got to be the most compatible, calm, patient, and peace-loving fish to put with your mandarin gobies.
They are also compatible with many other aquatic species, like invertebrates, corals, hawkfish, angels, rabbitfish, and many more.
Because of their tolerant nature and friendly behavior, they do well almost anywhere with any other species around them.
The only aggression they ever show is when someone tries to take over their marked territory.
Royal grammas do not like to share their space or hand over their homes to other fish.
So, when they see any potential threats, they tend to chase other fish away. Other than that, they are planktivores and will not interfere with a Mandarin’s diet.
Like mandarin gobies, clownfish do well with other species but are not fond of their own kind.
They also cannot reside with lionfish, groupers, and other large, aggressive fish. Hence, their nature and compatibility are very similar to that of a dragonet.
Clownfish are omnivorous creatures, meaning that they eat both meat and plants.
They can feed on crustaceans, zooplankton, algae, and worms, but they do not necessarily interfere with the eating habits of mandarins.
The two species feed on different food and have different diets, so they will most likely not compete during lunchtime.
As for the living environment and behavior with other fish, their nature is quite similar.
Needless to say, mandarin gobies and clownfish would make ideal tank mates.
An interesting fact about the watchman goby is that it is very symbiotic with shrimps.
In their natural habitats, these fish watch out and warn shrimps as soon as they spot any predators around.
Since shrimps have a limited vision, their partnership with watchman gobies keeps them safe and alive.
This example shows very well how caring and peaceful watchman gobies are.
Their friendly and helpful nature is why they do well with other fish, like mandarin gobies.
In terms of diet, they are not very picky with their food. Flakes, frozen and freeze-dried food items are also favorable for these fish.
Hence, you can feed the two fish differently, and they will not interfere with each other’s lunch.
Another one of the best mandarin goby tank mates is coral beauty (twospined angelfish) , a fish that stands true to its name.
It is, in fact, a coral beauty with its dark parameters and light, glowing centers. These fish are typically very peaceful, but they can be triggered if they feel threatened.
They like to mark their territories, and if other fish, most often dwarf angels, try to cross the boundaries, coral beauties will retaliate.
They can also become frustrated and aggressive if they are in a small tank with other tank mates, but that is true for pretty much every species.
Feeding these fish can also be quite tricky sometimes. Some feed on frozen foods and flakes without any problem.
However, some of these fish can be very picky and don’t like standard aquarium foods.
If you’ve got the latter kind, you’re in for quite a ride!
Yellow tanks can be aggressive towards their own kind and don’t do well with other yellow tangs in the same aquarium.
However, their behavior is relatively peaceful with other fish, like mandarin gobies.
They have a herbivorous food preference, so their eating habits and diets are pretty different from those dragonets.
They enjoy eating algae, dried seaweed, and other naturally occurring food.
Feeding them romaine lettuce sometimes is also a great idea.
Furthermore, live food, pellets, and flakes are also well-accepted. Overall, they’re easy to take care of and don’t require excessive attention.
In terms of temperature, pH, and other environmental aspects, they have very similar requirements to mandarins.
Hence, the two can do well in the same tank with the same environment.
True to its name, a Skunk Cleaner Shrimp sets up an entire cleaning station inside the aquarium and offers to clean larger fish.
No, they don’t have small mops in their hands!
Cleaner shrimps look for tiny parasites and dead tissues on the fish bodies and clean them.
They clean the fish thoroughly, around the gills, the body, and even inside their mouths!
Needless to say, these are very popular and sought after!
Apart from providing satisfactory services, cleaner shrimps are also very friendly and can live peacefully with mandarin gobies.
Taking care of them is not as hard, and their living environments are pretty similar to that of a dragonet.
You must add some iodine supplement to the tank periodically since they need it to build their exoskeletons.
Interestingly enough, this one has many names, including Pygmy Dwarf Angelfish, Atlantic Pygmy, Cherub Angelfish, and the Atlantic Pygmy Angelfish.
Pygmy angelfish can be aggressive, meaning that they don’t necessarily argue or hurt other fish, but they can be triggered.
Most of their aggression is targeted at angelfish in a small tank because a smaller swimming space can lead to stress and frustration.
However, if you give them a proper environment and a good amount of space to swim freely, they are very peaceful and friendly with other species around them.
They also require moderate effort to take care of them, but once they get accustomed to their surroundings and tank mates, Pygmy Angelfish can be very easy to keep.
The compatibility and behavior of this fish depend entirely on who it is with.
Most of these fish are fast swimmers and very shy. They hide in crevices to get away from predators and feed on sea anemones and plankton.
Butterflyfish are overall peaceful species if their tank mates have similar nature to theirs.
They are not aggressive or competitive as long as they have their own food and plenty of space to swim around.
They require a minimum of 75 to 150 gallons of space to live freely.
It is worth mentioning that a small tank could trigger these fish and make them frustrated in no time!
Last but not least, pajama cardinals are peaceful and friendly fish. They can live easily with other fish who have similar sizes and water requirements.
One of these compatible fish is mandarin dragonet gobies.
The critical part to remember is that these fish are nocturnal, meaning that they are active during the night and sleep during the day.
So, if you see them moving around the tank late at night, it’s not because they are uneasy; it’s just how they are!
These fish are carnivores, but they will not bully mandarins or take away their food.
However, they do like to mark territory and are not fond of sharing their specified space.
Mandarin Goby (Dragonet) Community Tank Size
When getting the best mandarin goby tank mates, pay specific attention to the size of the tank you are getting.
Mandarin dragonet fish are about 3 inches in size. So, they require a tank size of about 30 gallons to start with.
When you add more fish to the aquarium, it crowds the space, and you need to proportionally increase the size of the tank as well.
When the tank gets crowded, the swimming space decreases, and most fish find such an environment quite uninhabitable.
The fish start becoming frustrated, and their health declines. Eventually, they start to die “without an apparent reason.”
So, depending on how many different types of fish you are planning to put in the tank and how big, get an aquarium that’s big enough for everyone!
Tank Mates To Avoid
Since they don’t compete or fight for food, mandarins tend to get “pushed over” quite easily by larger, intimidating fish.
Incompatible species can harass, hurt, and intimidate the dragonets.
They also don’t allow these smaller fish to eat, which leads to them being scared and not eating properly.
The wrong tank mates can hence be bad for mandarins.
The following are some of the species that should be avoided:
Crabs and Lobsters
Giant crabs and lobsters are predators and, if they get hungry enough, they can feed on the little mandarin gobies.
Hence, keeping these species of potential prey and predators in the same tank is a wrong decision.
Wrasses eat the same food as mandarins, and they’re competitive eaters.
For the same reason I mentioned above, these fish cannot live in the same aquarium as mandarins.
They’ll leave little to no food for the smaller fish and result in declining health statuses of the gobies.
These fast fish are also predatory and can eat smaller mandarins if and when they get hungry.
Living with their predator can cause consistent stress on the fish.
This stress ultimately harms their health and can potentially be fatal.
Hence, eels are a no-no!
Again, sea anemones are predatory marine animals, and they lay low, waiting for their prey to arrive.
Since mandarins like to swim low, they’re easy targets for anemones and can be consumed.
The blue damselfish is an aggressive, bold feeder, which will hurt and bash smaller fish for food.
Hence, it should be kept away from small, timid fish, like mandarin gobies.
In a nutshell, the best mandarin goby tank mates are those that have a similar size but different food preferences.
They must not be large enough to intimidate the mandarins or small enough to be eaten by them.
Moreover, friendly nature and tolerant behavior will ensure maximum peace in the tank.
And as long as their eating habits don’t involve the mandarins themselves, you’re good to go!