Delay:   Loop: [stop] [reverse direction]

A dragonet’s hypnotizing beauty is often too much for the beginning aquarist to resist, whether or not he already has an aquarium. In fact, many local fish store owners and managers will be quick to point out that no particular animal in the hobby is responsible for luring more new hobbyists than either Synchiropus picturatus or Synchiropus splendidus. They are neither the most brightly-colored nor the most flamboyant fish, but hobbyists are undoubtedly enamored of their Grateful Dead-inspired, tie-died color pattern. Ah-ha! Maybe that is why they grab our imagination so quickly.

Unfortunately, it is those irresistible color patterns that ultimately lead so many of the dragonets to an untimely death. They are victims, perhaps the most frequent victim of all marine fish, of hobbyists’ impulse purchases. Uninformed, impulse purchases are the root of all evil done to this fish family. More often than not, they are mislabeled as gobies, merely compounding new hobbyists’ difficulty in obtaining accurate information on their husbandry. Perhaps the inaccurate name predisposes a sense of general ease of care to even the slightly more seasoned hobbyists familiar with the husbandry requirements of some gobies in home aquariums.

Once purchased, their life hangs in a delicate balance of chance. Either the new home will meet the dragonet’s requirements and the fish will thrive for up to a decade, or the aquarium will fail to provide the fish’s basic needs and it will die a long, slow, cruel death. That is the unfortunate reality of it, but it doesn’t have to end like that. With a small amount of research the tragedy is easily avoided.

Ironically enough, given the proper environment, dragonets are among the easiest marine fish to care for. They simply take care of themselves!

Text by Henry C. Schultz III.
Photos by Reef Central members.
A special thanks goes out to Dave Bayne (Nanook)
for his assistance on this project.

Reefkeeping Magazine™ Reef Central, LLC-Copyright © 2005