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Old 06-06-2014, 12:31 AM   #1
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Manderin feeding w/gluttonous Gramma

I finally got a green mandarin dragonet and the LFS recommended 'trigger pods'. I followed all directions and was told the pods should last about a month. I did add them in TOTAL darkness as not to entice a feeding frenzy and left them in the dark overnight. By morning, sure enough, pods everywhere. Fast foreword about 4 hrs and not a single trace of them. I'm pretty sure my royal gramma cleaned them out. It's been three days and mandarin sure looks emaciated. Any recommendations on feeding that my gramma won't engorge on? I've looked around for brine shrimp but nobody local knows anything about them. Another LFS wanted to sell me more rock infested with an unidentified pod... Any advice? I may end up taking one of the fish back, probably the gramma, if I can't harmonize my tank.

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Old 06-06-2014, 12:51 AM   #2
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first I must ask how old is your tank ?
if it is less than a year old I strongly suggest bringing back the mandarin as he most likely will starve
giving the tank time to establish a good pod population
also finding a mandarin that was trained to eat frozen ,pellets,and other foods besides just pods would also be a good idea
I also recommend you read this article below

...I'd like to buy a Mandarin! | Melev's Reef
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Old 06-06-2014, 07:46 AM   #3
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The tank is about 10 months old. I knew he wouldn't eat prepared food, I just didn't realize my gramma had such an appetite. I didn't think about the refugium, though I don't have time to establish one if he's starving already.

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Old 06-06-2014, 11:02 AM   #4
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Take it back. You are clearly not ready for a mandarin.

What size tank do you have. 10 months IMO is not nearly old enough to have a WELL established self producing pod population to begin to support a mandarin.
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Old 06-06-2014, 11:28 AM   #5
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And when a mandarin is involved there is no way a bottle of tiger pods will last a month.
A week tops. Don't listen to advise from your lfs.
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Old 06-06-2014, 12:55 PM   #6
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The health of the mandarin is definitely my priority and taking him back is most likely what's going to happen asap, I was just doing some 'fishing' for advice to see if there was anything else I could try before giving up.

I'd rather take back the gramma, but if there's really no 'quick fix' I understand that as well.

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Old 06-06-2014, 01:08 PM   #7
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What size tank and how much live rock do you have? If not big enough and not enough rock then you would need to supplement.

Supplementing (pouring in) pods will get expensive unless you are culturing your own supply.

Likewise a refugium depending on size is no guarantee that you will have enough pods either.
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Old 06-06-2014, 01:35 PM   #8
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When I got my first mandarin I struggled to keep him from starving,

I bought pods weekly , it wasn't easy it cost me almost $50. a week to feed him .

eventually I came across that article I posted , and learned a lot I than realized if I don't train him to eat other foods he would die from starvation ,

I found a small 8x8x6 plastic box I could hang inside my tank , than I placed the mandarin inside the box than started feeding 3x a day , I started with live brine shrimp he took to that almost instantly , than slowly switched to frozen mysiss shrimp ,
he started to eat that after 2 days in the box , than I tried to slowly start feeding small saltwater granules this was the hardest part of the training,
at first he wouldn't touch them than I thought soak them in garlic extract bam he hit them hard ,it takes time to train but the out come is well worth it
I also used to raised pods , brine , mysiss to keep all my fish fat but it became time consuming , and wasn't a easy task
I had my little guy over 5 years and loved him to death ,
I recently lost him to stress from a major transfer to a new tank
mandarins are a very fragile fish and need special treatment

I miss my little guy so much he had such a personality,
he always waved as you walked by the tank

My next mandarin purchase will most likely be a mated pair
they won't be introduced to main tank till they are trained to eat other foods even though I have a well established pod population ,
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Old 06-06-2014, 02:31 PM   #9
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That's a very inspiring success story. I've already bought another bottle of pods which will go in tonight. I was thinking of how to isolate and train him and what you described is about what I had planned. I'm ambitious to try.

To anyone who's worried I'm making a mistake, I will keep you posted and I am absolutely concerned for his health, however, I have talked with over a dozen hobbyists in the last 24 hrs and have only had one suggestion to give up this early. I'll give it some time and see what happens. Very excited about training through.

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Old 06-06-2014, 02:53 PM   #10
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it will take time and patients , every mandarin has a different personality some may take to the training fast some may not , start slow not to scare the lil guy he will become trusting in you fairly fast , once you get his trust things will go a little easier for both you and him
if your not sure on something your doing don't be afraid to ask
there are several of us here on this site that went through this training method and it works
my guy took to it in about a week others took almost 2-3 weeks
keep feeding times consistent 3 or 4 times a day
these little fish are very smart
good luck with teaching him
look forward to hear a good out come
I have a step by step guide let me see if I can find it
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