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Scooter Blenny - Care Of The Scooter Dragonet

Updated on November 28, 2010

Scooter Blenny Facts

Scientific Name : Synchiropus Ocellatus

Origin : Indo-pacific

Difficulty : Hard

Minimum Tank Size :30g if feeding, 75g if otherwise

Temperament : Peaceful

Temperature : 72 - 82°F

Reef Safe : Yes

Maximum Size : 5 inches

Diet :Carnivore

The Scooter Blenny is not really a blenny at all but a dragonet. It shares this common misconception with the Mandarin Fish. Unfortunately, it also shares more than just a name mix-up with the mandarin as it also has its same difficult dietary needs.

Scooter Blenny

They hail from throughout the Indo-Pacific ocean and are a common offering in the marine aquarium trade.

As such, the scooter blenny is an inexpensive fish to purchase. Specimens can be had for as little as $10.

They are usually white, grey and dark brown all throughout their bodies and are not as popular as the mandarin dragonet because of this.

They can attain a length of 5 inches which is very big for a dragonet i might add. Collection wise, they are brought into the trade just as often as the mandarin dragonet.

These two dragonets have the same plight in captivity. They usually perish most of the time.

Scooter Blenny Video


And they perish in record numbers mainly because most marine aquarium hobbyists cannot meet their dietary needs.

In the wild they sift through the substrate and live rock looking for live food to consume. This food is made up of a variety of tiny crustaceans that include copepods.

They may also consume worms that inhabit the sand. Their diet is the main problem here. Unless you have a large and thriving system can produce these life forms for the scooter blenny to consume, they normally suffer a premature death.

While they can be trained to eat prepared foods, they are especially slow eaters that will surely lose out to their faster tank mates.

They should be trained to eat prepared foods by first starting them off with some live foods like baby or adult brine shrimp.

Once they start eating live artemia, you need to introduce frozen foods along with the live brine shrimp.

Hopefully they will learn that the dead pieces of frozen food floating around is actually food.

The ultimate goal is to get them on something nutritious like frozen mysis, krill and a good pellet food.

The easiest long term solution to their dietary dilemma is to ensure the aquarium can constantly produce enough food for these fish. Which means housing them in an established 75 gallon or larger aquarium to be sure.

They graze throughout the day so they need to be target fed multiple times a day. But this can be difficult and messy at the same time. But it is required for the longevity of the scooter blenny in captivity.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I feel so horrible that I did not do the proper research before purchasing my scooter blenny (dragonet). I have a 55 gallon tank with plenty of live rock, but it probably is not mature enough to properly sustain the necessary copepod population, even though I replenish it weekly with reef stew since I have a local marine store that supplies it. The problem in my tank is competition for resources. The employees in the marine store told me I would have no problem with compatibility because I don't have any aggressive fish in there, which may be true, but I have a lot of critters that are faster than my poor scooter blenny and that liked to eat its pods and other reef stew contents! Two very hungry clowns who eat everything in sight, a coral beauty angel who picks at the rocks constantly, a diamond watchman goby who sifts all the pods from the sand, and a bunch of shrimps who pick everything off the rocks that they can...these all out-competed my poor scooter blenny, who just got lethargic on me and I couldn't figure out why. Now that I've done the research, I've figured out why. Unfortunately, in my heartache, the day after my scooter blenny died I impulsively went out and purchased a Green Mandarin on sale - not realizing that I was sentencing another poor fish to the same fate!! Now I have to figure out how to target feed/train this beautiful new fish - or find a more suitable home for it so it doesn't starve to death.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I have a scooter blenny who immediately started eating frozen Mysis shrimp. He a full 5 inches now and so I added a Mandarin Dragonet who's about 3 inches long to the tank as well. Do you think that he'll also begin eating the Mysis shrimpas well?

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      hi i just bought a scooter blenny and he is sifting the sand as i write. aparrently they were readily accepting brine shrimp. however i am yet to feed him as i only bought him this morning. i didn't expect him to eat anything for at least 2 days, but he is tucking in to the sand and copepods.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i had a scooter blennie dumped on me. his tail looks like hes been nipped. the woman told me that all the fish eat brine shrimp. i have yet to see all of them eat it. the engineer goby and scooter blennie i dont think i have seen either eat. they are in a quarentine tank together now, hopefully they will eat, im going to try mysis shrimp today. =] I don't think the woman really knew anything about them when she got them... which explains her coming in and being like "i give up" after many fish dying. =/ So far everything is live and well under my care. (55 gallon tank)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I've had one for about 2 months now in a 55 gal tank, and he's doing great. He eats frozen brine shrimp and I've never had a problem withhim and I am a very novice aquarist.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      HI i wish i could say the same but i put one in my tank and its disappered i have had all the rock out but cannot find him anywere

    • PirateFX profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi Richard,

      Your scooter is the exception. Definitely not the norm.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have to disagree with this, iv had my scooter in my 35 gallon for 2 years and he is still alive and well.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I picked up a scooter blenny from a LFS that was very skinny and nearly a goner. They even discounted them knowing that the scooters were going to perish soon unless someone grabbed them.

      I thought it was a horrible, torturous death so I bit the bullet and grabbed one with the intentions of reviving him and hoping he would thrive in a 46 gallon, regardless of how much it would cost me in the process. A week prior to bringing him home, I invested in benthic copepods to be dumped into my refugium as well as my tank. When I introduced him into my tank, he was very happy as there were copepods ready for him to devour unlike the LFS. He was going steady for about a week but then he started to panic and I knew then that he had eaten the copepod population to nearly extinction so I moved him into my smaller refugium in my sump (I've got two refugiums; one within and one feeding my sump). I introduced baby brine shrimp and at first he let them swim past him all over but then he gobbled them down like there was no tomorrow! Thankfully though, as there might have been no tomorrow for him unless he did..

      Slowly I introduced frozen brine but he didn't want any of that; he wanted LIVE and he definitely showed a fit when I would try to deceive him. He'd pout, and stomp around everywhere as well as swish some sand around with his fins so I got the picture. Then I introduced some amphipods and he went to TOWN hunting them down it was actually very exciting to watch. A long period of about one and a half months went by of trying on and off training and he FINALLY took frozen brine and mysid shrimp so now he's a VERY fat and happy dragonet! Love when he flashes his beautiful dorsal fin, and he does so very frequently now that he's happy in my display tank.

      They are very smart creatures, and mine communicates with me when he wants food by swishing back and forth and guiding me to his feed area. He also lets me know when some of my hermit crabs are potentially killing each other by nodding his head and guiding me towards the scene of the crime! He tries to make friends with my lawnmower blenny many times, but my lawnmower blenny is often busy searching for food that he just ignores him or throws a couple chomps at him to tell him to bugger off.

      Overall I'm very happy with my decision to save him, and I think he is as well. Even though sometimes he may get mad at me for not giving him food before I feed the other fish, but so long as he goes to sleep with a smile on his face, so will I!

    • PirateFX profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      I think yours are doing well simply because they're in a great system. 180 gallon plus a 55g fuge plus the addition of pods every month is an outstanding tank for these guys. Thanks for dropping by :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I have two Scooters in my 180 gallon reef tank for more than a year now and they are doing great. I have a 55 gallon refugium and a added them after the system was up and running for more than two years. I first got the pair at the local fish store. The pair will go into hideing for a week or so in the spring and then emerge. They sift sand and eat almost continuously. I do not have to feed them, however I add copepods the first of every month to ensure that the level is maintained in my system.

      While, many have said that these little creatures are difficult to keep, I have found that with a little extra care and a watchful eye they can be kept alive for an extended period of time.

      I feed my fish live brine shrimp weekly and once a week provide frozen brine, frozen cyclopeze and frozen rotofers. The fish and inverts get everything else off the during the week.

      Tank and fish are thriving.


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