I want a mandarin. While I hope to be able to train it to eat frozen foods, I recognize that needing a supply of live foods for the rest of it's life is not only possible, but probable. Right now, in my tank, I don't have anything that seems overly concerned about pods
. The sixline, damsel, and clown all seem to have figured out that hunting is totally unnecessary because when I approach the tank just so, food shall rain from the heavens. At night, I watch the copepods and amphipods dance around the tank sides, and on a rock that is covered with bryopsis (I'd clean it off, but my foxface seems to keep it trimmed, and corralled to just that one rock).
I also have a newly set up refugium in which I also see pods
at night. Mostly I hear people say "well established" or "mature" when referring to introducing a mandarin. Of course, there is no set definition for this.
So here's my Mandarin question. At what point can I look at my pods
crawling around and feel confident that the population is strong enough to feed a Mandarin? I've heard that in the wild, they gulp one down every 5-30 seconds. So, if I can count at least 5 per minute until I've run the length of the tank, think that would do it? LOL
I have a Galaxea coral sitting on top of a rock about midway up in the tank. It was a rescue project. LFS
manager gave it to me for free because it was essentially dead. 90% plain white corallites, and that 10% that had tissue, it was brown and recessed. Now it's about 25% covered with healthy polyps. Yay for rescue ops! Now, underneath it, in the gaps between coral rock and the rock it is sitting on, I occasionally see what appears to be mysid shrimp darting about. They look like mysids, act like mysids, and are the right size.
I've given some thought to purchasing live mysids and dumping them in the fuge to breed. But would they then decimate my pod population? What exactly do the darn things eat? Anyone have experience raising mysids?
Final musing (for now)!
On the aforementioned bryopsis farm/rock, near the sand line, is a purple sponge. It seems to have sprung up fairly quickly, as I only noticed it a few days ago and I tend to obsessively scrutinize every inch of the tank several times a day. I'll get a picture tomorrow when the lights come on. No fancy shape or anything, it follows the contours of the rock for the most part and is a mild lavenderish purple. Anyone seen the same type?
Other than making sure it gets enough food, is there a way to encourage it to grow faster? I really like sponges.
So, to recap, questions:
1) Is there a tried and true method of determining the strength of copepod/amphipod populations?
2) Would attempting to breed mysids be counterproductive to aforementioned pod populations?
3) Anyone know the general type of sponge I'm referring to (species identification is very difficult with sponges, I know) and how to encourage growth?
Thank you all, you've been a wonderful audience. I really need more sleep.