Another day, another letter, and I’m wondering whether I can get through this challenge without going all Dr. Seuss on you. We’ll find out together.
As it’s Tuesday, and “D-Day” we’re going to talk about Dragonets.
This is one of mine:
In the marine aquarium community, dragonets go by many names. In addition to the more accurate “dragonet” they’re known as Mandarinfish, Psychedelic Gobies and Scooter Blennies (just to name a few). With almost 190 species, they’re a diverse little crew.
Dragonets come in a variety of colors, from the green-spotted variety (like Flappy) to brilliant blue Mandarins and red-spotted type called Starry Dragonets. (We call our Starry one “Johnny,” but that’s a post for another day next Tuesday, which happens to belong to “J”.)
Most dragonets are non-aggressive to the extreme, fighting only with others of their species and gender and leaving other fish pretty much alone. Our green-spotted dragonet, Flappy, ignores almost everything else in the tank (much to the dismay of our territorial goby, Maximus, who seems furious to have his authority so lightly dismissed). He flutters around looking for copepods (his primary source of food) and like many dragonets he pauses to look at his food for several seconds before eating it. (One reason so many starve in captivity – faster fish often steal a dragonet’s dinner before he finishes pondering the idea of a meal.)
Fast, aggressive species out-compete dragonets most of the time, so dragonets are best kept in species tanks (like the seahorse reef I’m building) or lightly-populated reef tanks where other fish won’t steal their food or harass them into illness. I wasn’t familiar with the reef’s little philosophers before a few months ago, but it hasn’t taken them long to win me over. It’s worth the extra effort to keep them healthy and growing – their thoughtful nature never ceases to amuse.
Have you seen a dragonet? Have one yourself? Or is there another aquarium inhabitant that knocks your socks off instead? Hop into the comments and share!
(As always, thanks to my friend Wing for her fantastic photographs. Capturing Flappy is harder than it looks!)