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Old 08-24-2005, 12:52 PM   #1
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Mandarinfish

I thought I would start a thread about keeping these beauties in the captive reef enviroment. A lot of writing on the internet and in magazines specifies very large tanks (150 gallon +) as requirements for keeping these guys. Nothing in my opinion could be further from the truth. While having a large aquarium helps in keeping any fish species they are not needed in the case of Mandarinfish. I have seen these guys thrive in 20 - 40 - 60 - 80 gallon aquariums when conditions are set up for them. Below are some things I have found very helpful in keeping Mandarin and other dragonet species alive in captivity.

1. The tank's gallon amount in cured live rock (example: 50 gallon tank with 50 pds of live rock)

2. A tank at least 6 months to one year old - this way the rock has had ample time to cure and the pod colonies ample time to become proficent.

3. A refugium - this is a place where the Mandarin cant go that copod colonies can replenish themselves

4. Calm tank mates that dont pressure the Mandarin

5. Attempted feedings of prepared food - If you give it sometimes they will take it

Any other ideas and or experiences?[/i]
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Old 08-24-2005, 12:55 PM   #2
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Also, don't keep other fish that will compete for the pods (six-line wrasse, etc).
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Old 08-24-2005, 01:05 PM   #3
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Like you said the only reason they suggest 100 gallon tanks is because they usually have alot of live rock with thousands of copepods. But they certainly could thrive in smaller tanks. I have a scooter dragonet that eats frozen brine shrimp,i was told they only ate copepods and its really hard to switch them over to frozen foods. This could be attempted with manadrins but it would help out having a lot of live rock to be sure because they are really really really hard to switch over and ive only heard about 3 people that have done this, 2 being pet stores that have kept reefs for about 20 years.

It would help if they tank was 6 months old,that means its probably stable and the copepods have had enough time to reproduce. You don't want to add one right away and have it eat them all right away and kill the population. It also helps to have some sort of algae type plant in the tank to since copepods live and reproduce in them like crazy.
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Old 08-24-2005, 01:26 PM   #4
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Good point flaminghot, copods seem to really like to crawl between strands and patches of algae so having lots of it in your refugium and a good bit within the tank really helps. I do keep a six line wrasse with my mandarin mainly because I keep clams and these guys eat those annoying bristleworms.

My six line takes all sorts of prepared foods so I dont know if he gives the mandarin much competetion on pods. Mainly I keep track of my pod numbers by keeping an eye on the fuge.
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Old 08-24-2005, 02:05 PM   #5
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also feeding the pods helps. i feed my dark refugium and sump phyto once a week for the pods. my mandarin is in a 29g with about 70lbs of rocks including the sump and HOB refugium. he pretty much eats frozen mysis shrimp though. another helpful tip to feeding mandarins is to feed the rest of the tank first, then turn the pumps off and feed the mandarin frozen foods. my mandarin cant eat with the pumps on. he likes to look at his food for a second and then eat. with the pumps on it justs blows away. live brine soaked in selcon for 24 hours also helps supplement thier diet


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Old 08-24-2005, 06:46 PM   #6
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i set up a small canister filter full of live rock pices and never cleaned it when i would open it the whole insides were full of little egg sacks and tons of pods im shure some didnt make it past the powerhead to get into the tank but it was swarming with pods
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Old 08-25-2005, 11:42 AM   #7
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cool. I have heard of this happening. In my old freshwater African Cichlid tank when I finally shut it down I opened the canister to find it full of snails oddly enough.
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Old 08-27-2005, 01:06 PM   #8
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I've got two in my 125. Thought I had lost one when I hadn't spotted it for over a month. Got a new one. A few weeks later I saw it, then I saw it again on the other side the tank. I kept looking back and forth as they darted in and out of the rock till I was seeing double. Both are growing and seem quite content. I have a 30 gal sump with several macro algaes growing and tons of pods down there. Some must be making it back up to the main tank. That has 180# of LR too.
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