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Old 03-13-2012, 08:53 AM   #1
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Random musings and questions... Mostly relating to pods.

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

Next musing!
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.
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:38 AM   #2
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Forgot a musing!

Mini brittle stars! This might seem silly, but are these tiny little buggers actually a different species than the bigger ones you see for sale?
I had always assumed so, but lately I've been noticing them getting larger. Like, some of my "mini" brittle stars can stick a single leg out over a full inch. How big can I expect them to get?
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:19 AM   #3
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My dragon mandarin loves the coral food. I blend together mysis, squid and scollops into a fine paste. I add the tank water to make it more watery. The corals absolutely love it and i noticed whenever i would feed my corals the mandarin would be dashing around like crazy. I would squirt the paste close to the mandarin and it did not take long before he would follow the syringe around the tank.

I don't know anything about brittle stars...they kind of creep me out...so never owned one
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Old 03-13-2012, 08:38 PM   #4
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Here is a picture of the sponge from Question 3.
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:31 PM   #5
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I'll say one thing about a six line wrasse. They absolutely will hunt pods and will compete fr food with a mandarin. I would even watch aggression towards a mandarin. I took my six line out of my tank for this very reason.

Blood worms are good food to try for mandarin. Mine loves them.
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:45 PM   #6
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I doubt you will train a mandarin to eat prepared foods if it wasn't eating them since birth, like the ORA ones (even those revert to live only in many cases). I also doubt that you can sustain one that only eats live food in a 55 long term. They eat the equivelant of about a bottle of pods a day. IMO, a single mandarin would eat your tank empty in a couple months.
If you can get it to eat blood worms or black worms, then you are good to go, because these are large and cheap.

Mysid shrimp eat detritus.

And to your questions, no, no, and no.
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Old 03-14-2012, 02:49 AM   #7
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I would never even consider keeping a live food only mandarin in this tank without a well established refugium going. THough some say a 55 is fine for one, that just seems too chancy to me. My hope is that the refugium can sustain a larger population than the main tank.
Regardless of whether I can train one (assuming I even decide to get one, it's still up in the air) to eat frozen foods, I will try to worms as well.
I just dumped a pouch of AlgaGen Reef Pods Tisbe into the fuge. While I didn't actually see any live pods in it, I'm hoping there were at least eggs.
Thanks for combining detailed info with succinct answers, X!
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Old 03-14-2012, 07:23 AM   #8
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Reefs2go.com has great pods and for good price.
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Old 03-14-2012, 07:44 AM   #9
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And with the buy 1 get 1 free option, it's pretty sweet. Just for funsies, I went along the front edge of my DT and fuge with a flashlight and was able to individually count over 80 copepods and a few amphipods. I need help. LOL
Anywho, when my chaeto and halymenia arrive, maybe I'll order some pods.
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Old 03-14-2012, 06:07 PM   #10
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Skip the halimeda. It's not great for nutrient export and it does use calcium.
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