Originally Posted by Leighton79
Its a hiding to nothing. You will need TONS of live rock and at least a year of tank maturity before you can even entertain a mandarin.
Yes they are stunning fish, but about 90% die through starvation.
+1 on this
The tank needs at least a year if not more of maturity before you should even consider having a manderin. That year gives the tank time to settle and cycle properly. And thats given that you keep all of your water parameters prestine the entire time. Manderin's are very difficult to keep. I had one in my 200g set up that lived for 2 months then died because it ate all the pods
in my tank and starved to death.
The refugium is basically a 2-5 gallon low flow area that has a DSB
and a pound or so of LR
with a plant light above it that you can turn on on opposite hours of your DT or just keep it on 24/7. You use it as a place to grow out different forms of macro algae (i.e. chaeto in most cases). This helps keep nuissance algae under control in your main tank. It can also be used to breed pods
as the chaeto provides the perfect nesting ground for them and with the low flow rate they can thrive.
Again please dont go throwing advanced to expert care level fishes in your new to saltwater tank. Just because you may be expert freshwater keeper doesnt mean anything about the saltwater community.