what size tank and how old is the system. IMO
a mandarin needs a mature tank 9+ months old with lots of LR
, Im going to say 100 lbs is a good starting point.
A fuge is a must on a small tank. Tanks under 75 gallons may have trouble keeping one healthy with out a fuge. No scientific proof just knowledge gathered from friends and readings on the net. My first mandarin cleaned out my 125 with 125lbs of LR
in about 8 months the tank was not mature (LFS
said it was ok), he died. I then hooked up a fuge and wanted about 6 months before getting a new one.
if you have a small tank you may want to rethink a mandarin.