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Old 06-25-2004, 11:57 PM   #11
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Mine is eating frozen bloodworms but don't count on another mandarin doing that. I never intended them as food for him, he just snags a few every time I give them as a treat to the other fishes. I guess it's a good thing because I soak them in vitamins and while he has plenty of pods to eat I doubt there's enough diversity of life in my tank to provide him a balanced diet.

Really - don't count on them eating anything but living live rock fauna or you'll just be sentencing them to death by starvation.
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Old 07-17-2004, 09:54 PM   #12
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My mandarin is now eating quite a variety now. I use single ingredient foods without gel binders. Bloodworms head the top of his favorites. He eats adult brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, plankton, squid, and shrimp. The key appears to be size of particles. He seems to eat any of those foods as long as they are chopped small enough. I pop out a cube of whichever one onto a plastic cutting board, allow it to set for a few minutes to get a little less hard, then cut thin slices off with a very sharp knife. This usually results very small particles.

Many folks think mandarins live mainly on amphipods but it seems they actually live on mainly copepods. At least mine seems to eat those with more vigor and consistency than amphipods. The size is much smaller.

My mandarin will also accept freshly killed chopped snails.

To enhance his food supply and to increase his easy access to the copepods I wedge small pieces of food into one of his favorite rocks. This seems to attract numerous 'pods to his rock. Also, I've inoculated my tank with the 500ml copepod pack from Sachs Systems Aquaculture to give 'pod population a boost. I'm culturing my own pods in several small tanks as well as in the refugium to add to the system as 'pod population density shrinks.

My little guy is doing wonderfully but if I had it to do over I'd feel more secure adding a mandarin after establishing a HUGE copepod colony in my tank. I wouldn't count on live rock to have all the variety of 'pods already in it to produce the best results. Sachs Systems Aquaculture has lots of excellent cultures available. Everything I've ordered from them has arrived live and in excellent condition. If you order now I'd suggest the cold packs to keep your culture from boiling in the mail.
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Old 07-18-2004, 02:25 PM   #13
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From what I've gathered from other threads most recommend at least 75lbs of LR and 100 would even be better. You must also make sure none of your other fish feed on pods, this could deplete the population quickly with the addition of another pod eating fish. IMO the only was to keep a fish such as this on a smaller tank is with a mature fuge and a godo amount of LR.
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Old 07-19-2004, 11:47 AM   #14
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My mandarin is in a 75 gallon tank with about 115-130lbs of mature live rock and a 15 gallon refugium. I still think you should supplementally feed and enhance the pod population. You just can't realistically expect all the types of pods, etc. your mandarin needs to hitch along on the live rock and multiply to the extent you wish. 75lbs of live rock would be way under doing it in my opinion. Mandarins eat a lot. Ideally, I wouldn't put a mandarin in a tank less than a 150 gallon without supplemental feeding and never less than a 75 gallon.
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Old 07-20-2004, 09:23 AM   #15
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Kinda depressing to think of how many must starve to death from lack of knowledge on the keeper's part. This thread has been an eye opener.
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Old 07-20-2004, 12:55 PM   #16
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Makes me very sad. My little dude is very personable and I'm quite attached. It sucks that so many of them get taken from the ocean and starved. All because people are trying to make a quick buck. You can't really blame the home hobbyist because so many LFS will tell them mandarins eat frozen food or this or that when they don't.

I admit to breaking in on an overheard sales pitch at my local LFS. A sales guy was trying to sell a mandarin to a young couple. It's an easy sell really, because they are such cute and mild fish with such a sweet temperament as well as glorious colors. He was telling them the usual rubbish. I poked my nose in and asked the kids if they had the internet at home. They said sure. I told them hold off on buying this fish until you can research it. Also that from the sounds of their setup it would die soon and that it really only eats copepods and a few other live rock inhabitants. They left without the fish.
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Old 07-20-2004, 01:21 PM   #17
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I have a good size tank with a lot of rock in it and I am considering adding a pair of them, but that is only after researching the heck out of it. Anything smaller than my tank and a 150lbs or so of LR needs a fuge to sustain the pod population. And the fuge needs to be run by a pump...not a power head.
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Old 07-20-2004, 03:12 PM   #18
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I'd still suggest adding a decent sized 'pod culture to add some diversity. And get the fattest mandarin you can find. Buying two you can have real fun with a male and female, no fun at all with two males.
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Old 07-20-2004, 03:15 PM   #19
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I definately agree...
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