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Red Scooter Dragonet

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Species group:

Other common names: Starry Dragonet, Stellate Dragonet

Scientific name: Synchiropus stellatus

The basics:
The Red Scooter Dragonet is quite well-named, as it “scoots” across the bottom in a most amusing fashion. It does well under the care of experienced hobbyists, but requires a near-constant supply of copepods and other tiny live foods.

The Red Scooter Dragonet is found along the coast of western Africa, from Mozambique to South Africa, where it inhabits rock piles near coral reefs and sea grass beds.

Appearance / health:
The 9 cm (3.5 in) body is mottled with red and white, and bears black spots.

Red Scooter Dragonets are slow, deliberate feeders that refuse all but tiny live invertebrates, and do not actively swim after their meals. They will starve if housed with bolder, fast-moving species. All Dragonets become subject to stress-related illnesses if not provided caves and other cover.

Behavior / temperament:
Red Scooter Dragonets are very active, scuttling over the bottom in their continual search for food. They can be kept in groups if provided enough room and cover, and stocked at a ratio of 2-3 females per male.

Housing:
This tiny live-food specialist is best kept in an aquarium that is stocked with rock/coral caves, live sand, and live rock. The tank should be well-established before Dragonets are added, so that ample populations of the tiny invertebrates they feed-upon will be present.

The following water quality parameters should be maintained for Red Scooter Dragonets: Temperature: 22-28 C (72-82 F); Specific Gravity (Salinity): 1.020-1.025; pH: 8.1-8.4.

Diet:
In addition to the tiny invertebrates breeding in live sand and rock, the diet should include a variety of live foods such as Mysis, enriched (pre-fed) brine shrimp, blackworms, glassworms, and copepods. Red Scooter Dragonets do best when provided 2-4 feedings each day.

Breeding:
Pairs will only breed when well fed (often fighting otherwise). The eggs are released at night as the pair swims towards the surface. The minute fry are difficult to rear unless continually supplied with live rotifers, wild-caught plankton, and similar foods.

Written by Frank Indiviglio

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