Mandarin Fish Lake

Dive Palau - Mandarin Fish Lake Palau

If you want to see Mandarin Fish and take photos of these colorful little creatures, Palau is the perfect place for you. The dive site described here , Mandarin Fish Lake Palau, which is actually a lagoon within the famous Rock Islands of Palau, is just one of many opportunities to dive with Mandarin Fish with Fish ’n Fins. Another great site to observe Mandarins is the Fish ’n Fins House Reef. We have an exceptionally huge Mandarin Fish on our house reef - we call him Godzilla and he poses for your cameras every night.

Distance from Koror & Level of Diving Experience

Mandarin Fish Lake Palau is about 1 mile (2 kilometers) from Koror. 5 minutes by speedboat. The site is suitable for novice divers.

Diving Depth Summary & Visibility

The site is 3 to 24 feet (1 to 8 meters) deep. Visibility is between 15 to 40 feet (5 to 13 meters). There is no current

Fascinating Facts

Mandarin fish are very reclusive and prefer still water so they can easily hide among rocks or corals. They are very territorial, so once you find them, you can usually find them every evening in the same place. The male has a beautiful long dorsal fin otherwise the male and female look alike.

General Information

This secluded lagoon lies hidden between several of the famous Rock Islands of Palau. In the cove of the lagoon there are two large coral heads rising off the sandy bottom where the beautiful Mandarin Fish (Synchiropus splendidus) reside. Mandarin fish are extremely shy and can usually be seen only at dusk or on very cloudy days. Other fish species as well as invertebrates can also be found hiding among these large coral heads. To the patient photographer the rewards will be worth the wait.

Reef Formation

Mandarin Fish Lake is really not a lake, but a lagoon. The bottom is white sand. Two large coral heads stand almost in the middle of the cove.

Marine Life

Mandarin fish are the attraction to this area. The fish are easily seen as they dart among the corals. The fish are very colorful and contrast beautifully against the white branches of the coral heads.


The area can be reached only by boat. The Mandarin fish can be seen by snorkelers as well as divers. If you are taking photographs, SCUBA is indicated.

Mandarin Fish coming out of Staghorn Coral