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Old 06-06-2008, 10:54 PM   #1
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mandarin goby / copepod question

I'm eventually wanting a mandarin goby for my reef setup. My understanding is that I need a healthy population of copepods for it to feast upon.

How do I get this colony of copepods started? I assume someone has a few they could lone me?

My plans to have a six-line wrasse not a good idea? I'm hearing it will out-compete the mandarin?

Any other fish I should stay away from (for that same reason)?

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Old 06-06-2008, 11:17 PM   #2
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If you have a sump with a fuge you can go to the LFS and pick up some live pods. I think they're called tigerpods or arctic pods and dump them in the fuge. They will multiply in the fuge safe from fish and some will get washed up to the main tank. You need a pretty big tank to sustain enough pods to feed a mandarin. How big is your tank? also pods often hitch hike on LR or sometimes corals.

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Old 06-07-2008, 07:57 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by pat8you View Post
also pods often hitch hike on LR or sometimes corals.
I was going to suggest buying some new LR. I`m sure there will be some in there. But they do sell them at the LFS as Pat said.


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Old 06-07-2008, 09:19 AM   #4
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The tank is 27gal.

Are they something that I'll see crawling around on the LR then?
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Old 06-07-2008, 09:37 AM   #5
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IMO, a 27g tank is too small to be able to maintain a pod population big enough to keep the mandarin going.

Yes, you will see them crawling around, especially at night.
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Old 06-07-2008, 12:10 PM   #6
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My 2 cents on keeping Mandains

When picking out a Mandarin ask the LFS to feed them live Brine Shrimp. Then pick from any that are eating or at least show a interest in the shrimp. Note males will fight (more-elongated first dorsal spine).

Avoid Copepod feeders like Scooter blennies ECT.

Add Pods when you start your setup and every 3 months or when needed.

I had a pair for 2 years in a 30 Gal. It had a 20 sump and a 5 Gal. refugium for live plants(Chaetomorpha Algae and Calerpa). The overflow from the main tank was split between the sump and the refugium on top of the sump. Where I could control the flow in the refugium with a ball valve. 100 Lbs. +/- live rock in the entire system. I could judge the Copepod population by observing the Chaeto where I could see the adults against the dark green. Lighting; 10 watt over the refugium and sump (24, 7) and 260 watts on the main.

Least of all some luck.
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Old 06-07-2008, 12:12 PM   #7
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I think 27 may be too small also. I tried a mandarin in my 75-gallon after about 7-months of being set up. I have about 80-lbs of live rock in there. I also added the copepods in a bottle (which cost about $20 per bottle) around twice a month. Within a couple of months I did not see pods crawling around the tank at night like I used to and the belly of the mandarin started to shrink in. I ended up returning it to the LFS.
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Old 06-07-2008, 12:37 PM   #8
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Tiger pods alone are not enough to sustain a population for a mandarin. A 100 pounds of LR is probably just enough. New LR will most likely contain a decent population. They will migrate to a sump/fuge area and as ezy33 said, you can see them among the macro algae. You want to have a good variety of different pods.

In additon to 180 pounds of Live Rock I bought a detrivore kit from Inland Aquatics, ISPF, and eBay. Although the guy I bought from does not always have a kit up for auction there are many auctions for pods. Go for variety.

Your tank should be stable and mature before adding a mandarin. That means it has been running for about 8 months or more with a large quantity of LR and the pods have had months to grow and breed. If you can't meet those conditions, please don't buy a mandarin. It will probably slowly starve.

There a FEW people who get lucky enough to find a mandarin that will eat frozen mysis. There are exceptions to every rule. Brine shrimp do not have enough nutrition to sustain them though.
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Old 07-20-2008, 01:16 AM   #9
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I want to encourage anyone that plans to keep a mandarin goby to forget all the naysayers. People LOVE to discourage others. It just seems to be a natural human habit.

Instead of asking why it won't work, ask how will it work?

If you are willing to establish a couple of smaller tanks you can culture all the food your mandarin needs. I have 3 copepod tanks. I have a 5 gallon and two 10 gallons. I have bought macro algae plants from all over the place. Because these came from various places they came in with various types of micro fauna. Then I ordered pods from several places online. I bought from all over so that I would get a variety of types of pods. I also bought live rock from various places so that it too would come in with diversity. I ordered in a good algae paste and again this is something that can be bought from various places til you find a source you like and trust. I am using airstones in my copepod tanks and a variety of lighting. I have each tank set up slightly different so that should any one tank do better than the rest I can work on duplicating that in the other tanks.

I especially believe that the mixed species copepods from livecopepods dot com is a good choice because they have a 100 dollar special where the shipping is free. I've done that twice as well as smaller purchases a few times. I bought live mysis from another source as well and quite a few types of pods came in with those. The live mysis is cannibalistic, but the hitchiking pods stayed. I have seen as many as 6 small pod type creatures in my tanks.

I don't do water changes exactly. I have several tanks. Every day I take a small amount of water out of one of my display tanks and place it in the copepod tank and then take water from the copepod tank and put it back in the display tank. I do this several times until I feel I have managed to feed my display tank and have replaced some of the water in the copepod tank. I do small daily changes in all my tanks. So the display tank water is always in great shape.

I am careful to feed a variety of foods to my copepod tanks too. I feed flake, frozen meats, sinking pellets and the algae paste. My first tank is about 4 months old now and I can put a syringe in the bottom or on the sides or up against a rock and pull out hundreds of pods. My other tanks are only about 1 and 2 months old and will take a few more months to get to this point.

I use the syringe method to add about 3/4th cup of water filled with pods to my tank that the mandarin lives in everyday. I cycled that tank for 3 months using constant water changing so that the ammonia never got too high. I added pods during this time as well. I fed that tank every few days during that 3 months so that the pods would multiply before adding any fish at all.

If we were to buy any pet, dog, cat, rabbit, bird etc.. We would expect to buy food for them constantly. So why would it be any different for this great fish?! I think they are exquisite! I've already spent at least 400 dollars and 6 months preparing for this fish and I'll spend a couple hundred dollars more per year to continue to add to my pod population and keep increasing it.

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Old 07-20-2008, 07:20 AM   #10
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IMO it's like anything else in life. One should know the upside and downside before making a decision. While it seems you've done a great job researching and doing the things necessary for your mandarin others (like me) may not be willing to go that extra mile and add it to the already exhaustive list of tasks for maintaining a saltwater tank.

I think that's where most of the advise comes from. Knowing (or assuming) that the effort is just that ; exhaustive.

It's the first time I've seen anyone articulate what they go through to keep one of these fish in a small tank. I'm sure this post will be referred to many many times in the future. It's the last sentence that wraps it up for me.

"If we were to buy any pet, dog, cat, rabbit, bird etc.. We would expect to buy food for them constantly"

I do expect to buy food for them constantly. However, if I have 3 dogs I don't expect to have unique setups for each one. I expect economies of scale. When I buy that 3rd fish I don't expect to buy special food, do special chores, setup a new main/qt/sump for each new addition .. and not again with the 5th and the 6th (generally speaking). Doin the herb/carni , wet/dry , additive/no additive thing keeps me on my toes.

It's a great fish (along with the blenny). I look at it like the decision to have a child. All cute and cuddly but am I ready for the enormous responsibility it brings day after day after day. I opted out mostly due to the same advice I see on here that I got from others in the hobby. After reading your 'how to' personally I'm glad I did. I would never have kept up

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